Intelligent Design – Is it “Science”?

Over at BloggingTheology, I am in a discussion with a guy named “Seeker”, who is a strong proponent of Darwinian evolution and a critic of “intelligent design” (ID) theory.  Below is the discussion so far.  Notice that he is basically arguing that since there is scientific “consensus” that Darwinian evolution is true, theories like ID are therefore “pseudo-science”.  This is a common argument raised by “stubborn atheists”, as one scientist refers to people like “Seeker”, even though there are many scientists who have critiqued at least some elements of evolutionary theory, especially on the issue of the creative power of “natural selection”.  Also notice that he is not very learned on basic biological concepts like “natural selection”.

 

  • Ijaz, the scientific community rejects ID as ”pseudo-science” and this paper [the link is at the end of my statement] demonstrates that ID is false. Read it. Furthermore Ijaz, I really am shocked at your incredible inconsistency, where in one area scholarly consensus supports your view [ higher criticism esp. rejection of Deity of Christ ] you accept it like a parrot. But in another where the scientific consensus does not [ descent of humans from a common ancestor with apes you reject this etc] you reject the consensus and accept a religious doctrine (I.D) as ”science”.

    Either way though, the scientific consensus rejects I.D, why not accept this view as do you with the consensus of higher criticism?

    https://biblio.ugent.be/publication/952482/file/6828579.pdf

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    • Seeker,
      In the things of science, somewhere in the middle of that process, much of what we “know” was considered “pseudoscience” before it became just plain science.

      Ijaz seems to be simply pointing out an increase in peer reviewed scientific publications in relation to ID. There is nothing wrong with that.

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    • Seeker, your bias is showing. Brother Ijaz referred to a peer-reviewed study. How is that not scholarly? Sure, there might not be “scientific consensus” on ID yet, but many scientists are ID proponents. It’s not a popularity contest. It’s about evidence. In Biblical studies, the evidence is overwhelmingly against the traditional Christian point of view. In science, the evidence for ID is building and it is quite possible that the “scientific consensus” regarding Darwinian evolution may be a thing of the past. As Ibn Issam pointed out, in science, what was once “consensus” has ended up being completely wrong and eventually discarded by science.

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    • To Ibn Issam, Ijaz Ahmad and quranandbibleblog,

      Here is part of my response, quoting the Letter sent by Dr. Robert P. Kirshner President of American Astronomical Society to the President of the United States regarding evolution, (his views are so solidly established within the scientific community due to the overwhelming evidence, that even Scientists in Somalia agree with it, please educate yourself)

      Dear Mr. President,

      As President of the American Astronomical Society, I was very disappointed by the comments
      attributed to you in an article in the August 2nd, 2005 Washington Post regarding intelligent design.
      While we agree that “part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought”, intelligent
      design has neither scientific evidence to support it nor an educational basis for teaching it as science.
      Your science adviser, John H Marburger III correctly commented that “intelligent design is not a
      scientific concept.”

      Scientific theories are coherent, are based on careful experiments and observations of nature that
      are repeatedly tested and verified. They aren’t just opinions or guesses. Gravity, relativity, plate
      tectonics and evolution are all theories that explain the physical universe in which we live. What makes
      scientific theories so powerful is that they account for the facts we know and make new predictions that
      we can test. The most exciting thing for a scientist is to find new evidence that shows old ideas are
      wrong. That’s how science progresses. It is the opposite of a dogma that can’t be shown wrong.
      “Intelligent design” is not so bold as to make predictions or subject itself to a test. There’s no way to find
      out if it is right or wrong. It isn’t part of science.

      We agree with you that “scientific critiques of any theory should be a normal part of the science
      curriculum,” but intelligent design has no place in science classes because it is not a “scientific critique.”
      It is a philosophical statement that some things about the physical world are beyond scientific
      understanding. Most scientists are quite optimistic that our understanding will grow, and things that seem
      mysterious today will still be wonderful when they are within our understanding tomorrow. Scientists see
      gaps in our present knowledge as opportunities for research, not as a cause to give up searching for an
      answer by invoking the intervention of a God-like intelligent designer.

      The schools of our nation have a tough job—and there is no part of their task that is more
      important than science education. It doesn’t help to mix in religious ideas like “intelligent design” with
      the job of understanding what the world is and how it works. It’s hard enough to keep straight how
      Newton’s Laws work in the Solar System or to understand the mechanisms of human heredity without
      adding in this confusing and non-scientific agenda. It would be a lot more helpful if you would advocate
      good science teaching and the importance of scientific understanding for a strong and thriving America.
      “Intelligent design” isn’t even part of science – it is a religious idea that doesn’t have a place in the
      science curriculum.

      Sincerely,
      Robert P. Kirshner
      President, American Astronomical Society
      Harvard College Professor and Clowes Professor of Science at Harvard University

      Source

      https://web.archive.org/web/20060508070409/http://www.aas.org/education/pressreleases/maran_PR.pdf

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    • Seeker, you are still showing your bias, nor did you answer me question. Ijaz referred to a peer-reviewed study. How is that not scholarly?

      In response to your appeal to Kirshner, let me refer you to distinguished paleontologist Dr. Gunter Bechly. But first, here are Dr. Bechly’s credentials:

      1987-1991: undergraduate studies of biology at the University of Hohenheim / Germany
      1991-1994: main and graduate studies of biology at the Eberhard-Karls-University in Tübingen / Germany (with focus on entomology, subsidiary subjects: paleontology and parasitology)
      1994: diploma degree (= M.Sc.) in biology with a diploma thesis (in German) on the morphology of dragonfly wings titled “Morphologische Untersuchungen am Flügelgeäder der rezenten Libellen und deren Stammgruppenvertreter (Insecta; Pterygota; Odonata) unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Phylogenetischen Systematik und des Grundplanes der *Odonata” under supervision of Dr. Gerhard Mickoleit (Inst. Zool., Univ. Tübingen)
      1994-1998: Ph.D. student under supervision of Prof. Wolf-Ernst Reif at the institute for geology and paleontology of the Eberhard-Karls-University in Tübingen / Germany
      1999: graduation as Ph.D. in geosciences with summa cum laude degree with the paleontological Ph.D. thesis “Phylogeny and systematics of fossil dragonflies (Insecta: Odonatoptera) with special reference to some Mesozoic outcrops” under supervision of Prof. Wolf-Ernst Reif (Inst. Paleont., Univ. Tübingen), co-refereed by Prof. Carsten Brauckmann (TU Clausthal-Zellerfeld) and Prof. Rainer Willmann (Univ. Göttingen). Parts of this Ph.D. thesis have been accomplished at MCZ, Harvard University
      Dec. 1, 1998 – Aug. 31, 1999: Scientific trainee in the department of paleontology at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart
      Sept. 1, 1999 – December 15, 2016: scientific employee as curator for amber and fossil insects in the department of paleontology at the State Museum of Natural History (SMNS) in Stuttgart / Germany, as successor of Dr. Dieter Schlee and previously Prof. Willi Hennig
      since October 8, 2016: Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture in Seattle, WA, USA
      since April 25, 2017: Senior Scientist at Biologic Institute in Redmond, WA, USA

      https://gbechly.jimdo.com/science/academic-career/

      You can also see his extensive publications here: https://gbechly.jimdo.com/science/publications/

      Clearly, Dr. Bechly is much more qualified than either you or myself or anyone else here. Now let’s see what he has to say about this matter:

      “I am a German scientist (paleo-entomologist), specialized on the fossil history and systematics of insects (esp. dragonflies), the most diverse group of animals.

      I am also a senior scientist at the Biologic Institute in Redmond and senior fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, working on paleontological evidence for intelligent design theory.

      I am a philosophical theist and strongly reject atheism, naturalism, materialism, reductionism, and scientism. I did not become a theist in spite of being a scientist but because of it. My “conversion” is based on a careful critical evaluation of empirical data and rational arguments, following the evidence wherever it leads. I am skeptical of the Neodarwinian theory of macroevolution and support intelligent design theory for purely scientific reasons.”

      https://gbechly.jimdo.com/

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    • Seeker,

      A question for you. Do you think that natural selection has the power to create novel characteristics or does it simply “select” existing traits?

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    • quranandbibleblog, I am answering your question[s] now right here,

      You asked ”Seeker, your bias is showing. Brother Ijaz referred to a peer-reviewed study. How is that not scholarly?”

      I.D is not within the consensus of modern scientific scholarship; Discovery Institute is not a scientific enterprise; sure its proponents have degrees in science [some of them] but it is not a recognized accredited scientific institution. Do enlighten me. Also it suffers from a lack of predictability and reproducibility ; two core fundamental scientific constructs.

      You said: ” Seeker, your bias is showing”.

      Are you serious? Do you not have unproven Islamic presuppositions?

      You asked : ”A question for you. Do you think that natural selection has the power to create novel characteristics or does it simply “select” existing traits?”

      I am not entirely certain with regards ton the specific answer to this question; it maybe possible that natural selection is theoretically capable of such a thing, even though it might seem counter-intuitive. Do share your proofs on it.

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    • “I.D is not within the consensus of modern scientific scholarship; Discovery Institute is not a scientific enterprise; sure its proponents have degrees in science [some of them] but it is not a recognized accredited scientific institution. Do enlighten me. Also it suffers from a lack of predictability and reproducibility ; two core fundamental scientific constructs.”

      That still does not change the fact that many respected scientists regard ID as a scientific theory and believe that it should be investigated using the scientific method. I gave you the example of Dr. Bechly.

      I also showed you testable and predictable questions that ID proponents ask. These can be tested using the scientific method. Therefore, ID is a valid scientific theory. ID is not creationism. ID proponents do not propose to determine who the “designer” is. They are simply proposing that a scientific investigation of nature will shows evidence of design.

      “Are you serious? Do you not have unproven Islamic presuppositions?”

      I was referring to your criticism of brother Ijaz for using a peer-reviewed scientific study. You simply want to dismiss the fact that scientists have published peer-reviewed studies which show evidence of design in nature. That’s called bias.

      “I am not entirely certain with regards ton the specific answer to this question; it maybe possible that natural selection is theoretically capable of such a thing, even though it might seem counter-intuitive. Do share your proofs on it.”

      Really?! You are arguing for the scientific validity of Darwinian evolution and the invalidity of ID and criticizing ID proponents as not having studied biology, yet you don’t even understand one of the most important concepts of biological evolution? That’s amazing!

      But actually you proved my point. Many people who blindly accept Darwinian evolution do so because they have been told that, but not because they have actually studied it.

      To answer your question though, natural selection is a biological concept which states that organisms which have favorable or advantageous traits are more likely to survive and reproduce. Thus, over time, a population of such organisms will have more individuals with the favored traits and less individuals lacking such traits. Let me give you a hypothetical example:

      Suppose there is a species of beetles in which individuals have one of two characteristics: dark color or white color. The beetles happen to live in an environment where the dark color allows the individual to hide from predators. Thus, over time, the population of darker-colored beetles will increase because they have a better chance of survival and reproduction and the white-colored beetles will decrease in population. Natural selection will favor the darker-colored beetles.

      In this scenario, natural selection did NOT result in the emergence of the dark-color trait. It already existed in the population. Natural selection simply favored that trait because it was favorable in the environment the beetles lived in. There is NO scientific evidence that natural selection can create new traits. It can only favor EXISTING traits.

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  • Where is your proof that substantiates your claim that I.D is a scientific concept? What is the criteria required for a concept to be qualified as scientific? Are you aware that I.D fails on every account? And that the ”scientists” supporting are doing so due to an agenda based in religion (research all the proponents of I.D such as Jonathan wells etc who began this movement). This is not based on science but in religion.

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    • A concept is scientific if it can be tested using the scientific method. So here are some predictions that can be tested:

      (1) Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and specified information).
      (2) Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors.
      (3) Convergence will occur routinely. That is, genes and other functional parts will be re-used in different and unrelated organisms.
      (4) Much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions.

      https://evolutionnews.org/2011/03/a_closer_look_at_one_scientist/

      If you are aware about “junk DNA”, you may know that recent studies have basically debunked that concept. Parts of DNA that were previously considered “junk” are now known to have important functions such as gene regulation.

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  • Ijaz stated : ”While intelligent design (ID) research is a new scientific field, recent years have been a period of encouraging growth, producing a strong record of peer-reviewed scientific publications.”

    Shocking ignorance mixed in with arrogance! Why do 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of all scientists globally refute you on this? Imagine a concept such as the Trinity etc and I claimed that it is in fact the real concept of Islamic monotheism, would you accept it? Why not? Well, for starters it seems to contradict evidence i.e textual proofs such as the Qur’an and Hadith as well as the views of all Islamic Scholars. Same thing by saying I.D is science or Evolution is false.

    Ijaz why you so quiet?

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    • You exhibit the same arrogance that so many in your camp do. Notice your childish question to Ijaz. You obviously assume that he is staying quiet because he has no answers. Well, maybe its just because he is busy and doesn’t have time to respond?

      Seeker, why are you childish?

 

 

6 thoughts on “Intelligent Design – Is it “Science”?

  1. Paulus

    He has a point.

    “Higher criticism” lacks any substantive evidence contra your claim. Most of it is theory and suggestion, e.g Q source.

    But Muslims use it and accept it to criticise Christ and the church.

    I think he pinpointed your inconsistency nicely.

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    1. ROTFL, so Cerbie has an opinion on scientific issues? Your opinion is garbage of course. Bias is your middle name, so who cares what you think? I exposed “Seeker” as an ignoramus, just like I have exposed you so many times!

      By the way, idiot, he wasn’t defending your “conservative” scholarship of the Bible. In fact, he was using the “consensus” among Biblical scholars to compare it to the “consensus” among scientists regarding Darwinian evolution. Basically, he was arguing that if Muslims appeal to consensus in one field, they have to accept it another field. But that’s just a fallacy. Sciences like biology are different from Biblical textual criticism. And it has been demonstrated that what was once considered “scientific consensus” was eventually proven wrong and discarded by scientists. On the other hand, Biblical textual criticism has continued to build overwhelming evidence, even with new discoveries, that the Bible has been edited and corrupted. That’s just not going to change. Sorry, Cerbie… 😦

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      1. Paulus

        I think you are upset that atheists see the inconsistency in Islamic worldview as well.

        I merely think he made a valid point. Since higher criticism is by definition about “reconstructing texts” based on assumptions and hypotheses, it is not evidentially based. We see it shifting all the time, e.g the historical Jesus studies. What are we up to now, fourth or fifth attempt?

        So Muslims appealing to higher criticism like yourself do it because of consensus, not evidence. In fact, you admittedly you are completed unqualified in any form of biblical studies yet routinely claim to know that corruption took place.

        Atheists see right through you guys because inconsistency is easy to spot

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      2. LOL, “higher criticism” is not based on evidence? Are you serious? The evidence is in your manuscripts! All the forgeries, additions, deletions etc. You just don’t like where the evidence leads, just like stubborn atheists don’t like where the biological evidence leads.

        Face it, Cerbie. You are too biased to be an impartial observer in anything involving Muslims. So, your opinion is basically equivalent to garbage. Sorry!

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