Grey Thoughts
The Motivations of the 'Defenders of Science'
Brian Pollard has an article on Online Opinion about Intelligent Design (ID) and whether it should be taught in schools. Throughout the article Brian makes some very good points such as
Before approaching an answer to this question, it is worth considering the areas of lack of precision in the popular presentations of both these concepts.
This of course is sadly lacking, especially in light of consistent misrepresentations of ID by the 'defenders of science'. Consistently we hear that ID is just creationism in a cheap tuxedo, or it is a religious stance. A quick look at any of the comments for this article will show how often this happens.

Brian's makes his best point when he says
As to whether the designer was the one we call God or not, it would be prudent to leave that to theologians and philosophers, but the possibility of the existence of God cannot simply be denied. It must remain true that God exists or not. To dismiss outright even the possibility of God’s existence, because the issue had already been prejudged in the negative, could only rest on prejudice.
This is the most common problem with the anti-ID crowd. It isn't an objection against ID itself, but against the ramifications that flow from it. Their bias and religious/metaphysical beliefs do not let them consider anything that might suggest that God exists. This is why so often you see responses that do not deal with the concepts of ID itself, but instead just seem to be a knee-jerk reaction to anything with anything other than atheistic metaphysical ramifications. Commenter Maracas (the first comment) highlights this well, saying "What a diatribe of non scientific obfuscation. Leave science to the Scientists who are prepared to prove their theories. You have the bible to push your 'intelligent design' creationist theory. Be satisfied that it has not been banned as unscientific, non proven propaganda."

Of course, even when the anti-ID crowd try to deal with the actual arguments of ID, they still seem to fall short of understanding what ID is really talking about. For instance, 2 of the commentators easily highlight this.
A criticism of the design of the mammalian eye (the retina is the wrong way round, and not attached to the back of the eyeball) is immediately met by a special plead that the intelligence behind its design is beyond our current understanding.

In other words, ID does not even claim that the intelligence used in the design will be recognisable for what it is. This begs the question of whether the proponents of the idea even know what they mean by intelligence.
This is not only a serious misrepresentation of the ID position, it is also wrong according to current scientific understanding and logic.

Firstly, using this argument, unless you have a perfect design, you cannot conclude that something was designed. This is obviously illogical. You only have to look at FORD motor cars.

Secondly, ID does not respond to this point by saying 'it is beyond current understanding', but instead says that design does not have to be perfect to be designed.

Thirdly, current science shows the design of the mammalian eye to be highly effective for it's requirements. Answers In Genesis has a good, but technical article about the well designed mammalian eye.

Another commentator makes a bad blunder when he says
as a student teacher I am looking forward to contrasting ID with the scientific method, and might throw in Norse creation stories and Flying Spaghetti Monsterism for good measure. They have similar merit to Intelligent Design.
Notice the scorn in the comments. The lack of understanding of different religions or equating them with recently made up ones like the Flying Spagetti Monster (FSM) is obviously driven by an anti-God bias. What is worse is this bias has made them make bad logical mistakes. Simply put, as ID does not talk about the identity of the designer (as this is outside the scope of science at this stage), then ID is completely consistent with FSM and Norse myth. ID is simply the postulation that Intelligence was involved in the design of certain observation objects. As such, it is consistent with any religion that has an intelligent agent. Obviously, this means it is also not consistent with atheism, which is where the real opposition coming from.

Ultimately, much of the opposition to ID is coming from people who adhere to materialist assumptions about reality, and those assumptions are being challenged. It seems that the 'defenders of science' are really just defenders of their own metaphysical(i.e. religious) assumptions. Brian's man point is that we should be looking for truth, not begging the question by only allowing non-intelligent explanations. It's a pity the commentators don't take this on board.
Alan, I posted the comment re. FSM on the other page. It was a bit cheeky, and probably a waste of a good post. My second post is more relevant. Science DOES NOT have anything to say on the existence of God, the afterlife or anything else metaphysical. What science does have a lot to say about is the workings of the universe which can be described by scientific theories and tested by experimentation and observation. If there is no testing, then there can be no scientific theory. I think there are too many atheists who attempt to disprove the existence of God with science, which is not possible & is a distortion of science. There are also many Christians & people of other faiths who are scientists and are happy with the scientific explanations for the formation of the universe and development of life. A good example is Father George Coyne, the Vatican's chief astronomer, who has commented on evolution here:
I'm keen to have informed, civil debate on this issue. If we do that then we will all be better off.
Regards, Rob
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