Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Rudski States it Plain

The Morning Call also published published this essay by Muhlenberg College psychology professor Jeffrey Rudski. Here's an excerpt:

Should both theories be taught in science classes? After all, science progresses by comparing competing theories. The competitors need to play by similar rules. In science class, those ought to be the rules of science. And, science demands that theories be testable, transparent, and fruitful. Let's compare evolution and intelligent design using science's rules.

Testability: Darwin wrote “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not have possibly been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

Countless research studies have tested evolution. With minor alterations to the theory and superficial scientific squabbles about pace of change, it has withstood every serious scientific challenge. How do you test intelligent design? We rely on faith. Does the theory break down when design is less than optimal? Should an organ like the human appendix mean that the designer isn't intelligent, and ought to be rejected?

Transparency: Evolutionary processes are transparent. Variation is produced by observable processes such as genetic rearrangement and mutation. Selection occurs in plain sight, and contrary to creationists' misrepresentations, is not random; variations such as giraffes' long necks provide advantages only where there are tall trees.

How does intelligent design explain its inner workings? Well, the designer's strategy has been described as “moving in mysterious ways.” Indeed, many religious traditions actively discourage trying to understand the designer's motives.

Fruitful: The theory of evolution has guided progress in science and medicine, frequently generating new discoveries. Intelligent Design has not revealed anything new or testable about life's origins or mechanisms, or spawned a single research study or discovery related to biology. Books and opinion pieces aren't the same as scientific research.

Exactly right. Go read the whole thing.


At 7:06 PM, Blogger Ian said...

I always find it interesting to humour ID by asking about less-than-intelligent characteristics you see in humans. The list is long and well-known: The appendix, male nipples, the common need for visual correction, etc., etc. I think the most glaring lack of intelligence though, is demonstrated by genetic and autoimmune diseases. Why Tay-Sachs? Childhood Leukemia? If they were intelligently designed, that's just sick..


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