Science versus Intelligent Design: A reader explains

From Mike Elzinga whose comments deserve their own posting

It doesn’t require a federal judge to figure out if ID/Creationism is a science or not.

Anyone can go through the list of activities of the ID/Creationists and pseudo-scientists and compare them to the activities of working scientists.

Do typical working scientists engage in the following activities when advancing new ideas?

Do they pitch them to naive audiences while complaining they can’t get a fair hearing in the science community? Do they form institutes that spend millions of dollars to crank out propaganda pushing their idea and criticizing the scientific community? Do they issue talking points to grass-roots organizations and political groups to be argued in churches and local newspapers around the country? Do they publish books on their ideas in the popular press and claim they are peer-reviewed?

Do they encourage grass-roots organizations to elect sympathetic politicians to state and federal legislative bodies? Do they have these politicians slipping stealth riders into bills requiring the advancement of their ideas to children in public schools? Do they have teams of lawyers figuring ways to advance the idea without breaking the law?

Do they elect members to local school boards and state boards of education to press the idea into specific classes in public schools? Do these board members provoke law suits in order to get a court declaration on the constitutionality of the idea and whether or not it is a science?

Do they challenge members of the scientific community to debates and bus in hecklers from surrounding churches to help support the new idea while making it difficult for the member of the science community to get his or her points across? Do they connect their ideas to human immorality claiming that these ideas must be advanced to return mankind to the “right path”?

Do they quote-mine members of the scientific community in order to make it appear that these new ideas are actually supported while the rest of science is falling apart? Do they misrepresent scientific ideas and attribute these misrepresentations to the rest of the scientific community? Do they invent new words with unconventional meanings and then “clarify” them with more fuzzy words?

Do they leave experimentation and verification to others while claiming they themselves aren’t responsible for such activity? Do they make allusions suggesting that they are in a league with history’s greatest scientists? Do they go to unusual lengths to have their name widely recognized? Do they engage in word games that attempt to change the definitions of science in order to include the supernatural?

Do they claim to do experiments that demonstrate their ideas but constantly find reasons to withhold the techniques and data from the wider scientific community?

Do typical ID/Creationists engage in the following activities when advancing their ideas?

Do they submit their theories for peer-review to get clarification and criticism from experts? Do they propose experiments, collect data and do the difficult work needed to support their theory? Do they acknowledge data that do not support their theory? Do they acknowledge data that contradict their theory? Do they clarify their ideas when members of the scientific community point out misconceptions and inconsistencies with well supported theories and data?

Do they interact routinely with members of the scientific community in order to keep their ideas subjected to scrutiny and criticism? Do they demonstrate deep knowledge of the relevant issues to the members of the scientific community? Do they command any respect from the scientific community for their over all understanding of the issues?

When we compare the above lists of activities, where do we typically find the pseudo-scientist?

If you compare what the pseudo-scientist does with what a typical scientist does, the typical scientist has fewer things he or she must do in order to convince the scientific community. Scientific activity is much simpler and more transparent. All the political and grass-roots agitation among naive audiences is not even necessary. When you compare the activities of pseudo-scientists with those of the ID/Creationists, there are striking similarities.

Why are the activities of the typical ID/Creationist and pseudo-scientist so much more involved and so different from the activities of the typical scientist?

You don’t need a federal judge to tell you.