On Uncommon Descent William Dembski claims that Richard Dawkins has admitted that life could be designed and thus wonders: “Is ID therefore scientific?”. As I will show this is a logically flawed conclusion.
First of all lets point out Intelligent Design does not claim merely that life is designed but that such design can be detected via scientific methods. In this aspect if differs from science which admits that design always remains a logical possibility, however science also accepts that if such design is ‘supernatural’ no scientific method can detect such design.
William Dembski wrote:
I expect that Dover was not the end of litigation involving ID. In the next court case, it will be interesting put depose the people on the other side who appear in EXPELLED as they try to argue that ID is religion given their huge concessions in this film.
It’s ironic that once again Dembski is bragging about how ‘next time… you just wait… next time…’. This promissory note is a typical response from ID creationists whenever reality conflicts with their beliefs. Remember how Dembski was bragging how the next time evolutionists would be under oath, he would certainly be able to expose them using the ‘vise’? In Dembski’s fantasy world of “The Vise Strategy: Squeezing the Truth out of Darwinists”, he explains that next time… we will get the ‘truth out of Darwinists’. When the opportunity arose in the form of the Dover Kitzmiller trial, Dembski was curiously absent and the remaining witnesses for the defense, outlined nicely why ID was religiously motivated and lacked as a science. While the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses were hardly needed to expose this, contributions of Barbara Forrest, which the defense tried to have ‘expelled’ for obvious reasons, as well as the testimony of Ken Miller all but sealed the fate of ID creationism.
So what will it be next time? ID will have erased its history of religious foundations? Unlikely? ID will have shown that it can have a scientific ‘theory’ of ID, a contradiction in terms if I have ever heard one? Unlikely as even staunch ID proponents have come to admit the scientific vacuity of ID. For instance in Berkeley Science review, Philip ‘Father of Intelligent Design’ Johnson expressed his frustrations:
Philip Johnson wrote:
I also don’t think that there is really a theory of intelligent design at the present time to propose as a comparable alternative to the Darwinian theory, which is, whatever errors it might contain, a fully worked out scheme. There is no intelligent design theory that’s comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific people that we have affiliated with the movement. Some of them are quite convinced that it’s doable, but that’s for them to prove…No product is ready for competition in the educational world.
Source: Michelangelo D’Agostino In the matter of Berkeley v. Berkeley
Could ID be therefore scientific? Sure, nothing is beyond the impossible and science will surely consider this possibility, although so far, ID has done nothing to engage science and to show that ID can indeed be a scientific position.
So wake me up when ID creationists provide a scientific explanation of how the bacterial flagellum was ‘designed’.
In fact, to argue that Dawkins admits that life could be designed is hardly news. After all, as a scientist, Dawkins would hardly reject the possibility of a designer, although he does explain why such a possibility is highly unlikely by using ID’s own arguments. Now that’s just too ironic for words.
In his Time Discussion with Collins, Dawkins for instance stated
DAWKINS: To me, the right approach is to say we are profoundly ignorant of these matters. We need to work on them. But to suddenly say the answer is God–it’s that that seems to me to close off the discussion.
TIME: Could the answer be God?
DAWKINS: There could be something incredibly grand and incomprehensible and beyond our present understanding.
COLLINS: That’s God.
DAWKINS: Yes. But it could be any of a billion Gods. It could be God of the Martians or of the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri. The chance of its being a particular God, Yahweh, the God of Jesus, is vanishingly small–at the least, the onus is on you to demonstrate why you think that’s the case.
No need for Ben Stein and still while miracles like ID becoming scientifically relevant are never beyond a logical possibility, it seems also evident that ID is not making much progress in actually following such a path. Perhaps Dembski can help us understand how ID will be able to testify differently next time… Well, there will always be a next time I guess.
PS: I will attempt to leave a trackback. Of course history tells me that such an attempt is futile. ID is not ready for science.