Science - Detecting design
Stephen Meyer, at Evolution News & Views has posted an article in defense of Intelligent design (ID) as science. In this article he states
The essence of these arguments (against Design) seems to be that the unobservable character of a designing agent renders it inaccessible to empirical investigation and thus precludes the possibility of testing any theory of design.
and then makes the case that
Many sciences are in fact directly charged with the job of inferring the unobservable from the observable. Forces, fields, atoms, quarks, past events, mental states, subsurface geological features, molecular biological structures all are unobservables inferred from observable phenomena. Nevertheless, most are unambiguously the result of scientific inquiry.
and concludes saying
The demand that the theoretical entities necessary to origins theories must be directly observable if they are to be considered testable and scientific would, if applied universally and disinterestedly, require the exclusion not only of design but also of descent.
So basically, excluding Intelligent Design from science based on its unobservability should also require Common descent evolution to be excluded.
Which brings me to my point (finally). I have often heard the charge that to conclusively show that an event in the past was the result of an intelligent agent. I.e. they are saying it is impossible to find some quantitative criteria on which we can judge an object or action to be intelligently caused.
I find this a curious charge to level against the ID theory. You see, any action or object that is, has or will ever be was caused by one of three possible categories of causes (Or combination of those causes). It is either caused by necessity (e.g. Sodium in water reacts violently), or chance (e.g. brownian motion or the roll of a die), or design (e.g. writing this article).
So if something is caused by either necessity, design or chance AND we cannot detect whether it was caused by design or not, then how can we conclude it was caused by chance? Can the evolutionist show me some quantitive criteria on which we can judge an action or object to be randomly caused? If not, then once again, the criteria by which they seek to exclude ID from science, also excludes the neo-darwinian theory of common descent.