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December 27, 2004

The IDers Rear Their Heads Again

Topics: Faith

I'm useless as a philosopher, and I hate philosophy. I'm no theologian, but I know what I believe and don't believe. About faith I know a lot about, for having gone so far in life without any. But then one day I came to know of faith by realizing that I had lost my disbelief. For me it was a conscious decision to crack open the closed window in my room, and then the room simply filled with a faith that fully replaced any remaining air of disbelief. There were left acceptable mysteries that were not threatened by lack of or because of - science. I didn't need a theory because I accepted certain mysteries. Since that day I have nothing to sell you and there is nothing I need to buy from you. Even though I'd been a scientist my entire adult life, I felt no need to prove or disprove anything about God. Does that make me a dumb scientist or a blind one?

And now comes this great piece from  Transterrestrial Musings :

Hugh Hewitt discourses on the introduction of ID in the public schools, alongside evolution. At the risk of setting off another evolution debate here, while his point about the MSM making ID defenders out to be gap-toothed sibling-marrying Bible thumpers is well taken, he's quite mistaken on the general policy issue. He's viewing this through the eyes of a lawyer, but that's not how science works:

My limited expertise is not with the interaction of ID and evolutionary theory, though it seems to me quite obvious that the hardest admission to wring from a evolutionist enthusiast is that while even conclusive proof of evolution wouldn't deny the existence of God, no such proof has yet been offered.

Of course no such proof has been offered. Proof of the validity of the theory (and there's nothing about that word that should shake our confidence in evolution or any other scientific theory) of evolution does not, and cannot, exist. And that's true not only for evolution, but for gravity, quantum chromodynamics, and any scientific theory that one wants to consider. Proving that theories are correct simply isn't how science works.

How science works is by putting forth theories that are disprovable, not ones that are provable. When all other theories have been disproven, those still standing are the ones adopted by most scientists. ID is not a scientific theory, because it fails the test of being disprovable (or to be more precise, non-falsifiable), right out of the box. If Hugh doesn't believe this, then let him postulate an experiment that one could perform, even in thought, that would show it to be false. ID simply says, "I'm not smart enough to figure out how this structure could evolve, therefore there must have been a designer." That's not science--it's simply an invocation of a deus ex machina, whether its proponents are willing to admit it or not. And it doesn't belong in a science classroom, except as an example of what's not science.

I've made my position on this subject quite clear in the past. ID, and creationism in general should be able to be taught in the public schools. Just not in a science class--they need to be reserved for a class in comparative religions. Of course, I don't think that public schools should even exist, but that's an entirely different subject.

The point is that ID isn't science--it's a copout on science and the scientific method, and as I said in my post a couple years ago, creationists attempting to get their views into science class, whether explicitly as the 6000-year-old solution or dressed up as science, as in ID, is a failure of their own personal faith in their own beliefs. They seem to think that if science doesn't validate their faith, then their faith is somehow thereby weakened, and that they must fight for its acceptance in that realm.

But that's nonsense. Faith is faith. It by definition requires a suspension of disbelief. If their faith hasn't the strength to withstand science, then they should reexamine their faith, not attempt (one hopes in futility) to bring down a different belief system that is entirely orthogonal to it.

Well said. That's it, faith is faith and there is no room left for unreasoned disbelief. But for me faith isn't blind because seeing isn't the issue, knowing based on reason is the issue. As for mysteries, every good scientist knows that there is far more to know than is known - and that certainly hasn't stopped science so far, rather it has inspired it.

Preston at Consternations has full coverage of this topic in his "Evolution and 'Intelligent Design' Theories To Coexist in Pa. School District"

Posted by Hyscience at December 27, 2004 11:51 PM

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