Joined: Mar. 2007
I have read discussions of intelligent design in which the participants debate whether ID can be stated as a scientific hypothesis. I have seen "scientific method" defined as being applicable to "intersubjectively accessible phenomena" and I have wondered whether ID really can be stated as a scientific hypothesis or not.
In the course of reading Richard Dawkins book "The God Delusion," I was persuaded that the creation of the universe by a supernatural agent can be regarded as a scientific hypothesis. And I agree with Dr. Dawkins that the God Hypothesis is very unlikely to be true. According to his typology, he and I are both "de facto atheists."
Having accepted the proposition that god can be stated and evaluated as a scientific hypothesis, I concluded that intelligent design can also be stated and evaluated as a scientific hypothesis. However, this treatment of ID depends on exactly how "hypothesis" and "scientific method" are defined. I believe that you and Lenny and other people can reasonably use different definitions for these terms and then conclude that ID cannot be regarded as a scientific hypothesis.
Whether ID can or cannot be regarded as a scientific hypothesis is really not much of an issue because the Discovery Institute's "God Lab" is unlikely to find evidence that verifies an ID hypothesis.
I disagree with Lenny on the point of being polite. When addressing the issue of teaching ID in high school biology classes, we should address fellow citizens/voters in a polite manner. We should simply explain that ID has not been verified and that, in the absence of verification, ID does not warrant inclusion in the curriculum of a biology class.
There is plenty of evidence that ID is in fact a creationist movement. We can therefore politely tell our fellow citizens that ID can appropriately be examined during a class on comparative religion.
Scientists should refrain from engaging in public debates with IDists. When scientists participate in public discussions of ID they should calmly and firmly and politely point out that ID has never been confirmed. They might lead the audience in praying that the Intelligent Designer materialize and introduce him/her/itself. We both know what the result of that prayer would be. That result would dampen the enthusiasm of people who are leaning toward accepting ID as valid.
I am a natural-born scientist (an INTJ) and I have NO inclination to accept supernaturalistic assertions. However, most people are not INTJs. They are more emotional than rational and they do feel comfortable with supernaturalism. I therefore believe that it is counterproductive to be impolite during discussions of ID because that will generate negative emotional responses and thus prevent many people from hearing carefully reasoned scientific explanations.
So I recommend that you and Lenny be polite, even when you really just want to scream a few expletives at those %@$+@&ds.