Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Letter on ID in "The Philosophers Magazine"

[This was published in most recent issue of The Philosophers Magazine. I corrected one typo in the first sentence.]

Dear Editor:

I must both commend and correct comments in the same issue and on the same subject. In his column “Provocations” (Issue 30) Michael LaBossiere rightly claims that Intelligent Design (ID) theory is a legitimate scientific competitor with Darwinism. Darwinism claims that life shows no signs of designing intelligence, and ID advances the opposite thesis on the basis of empirical evidence and principles of scientific explanation.

However, in a news story on Flew’s rejection of atheism, we are told that ID theorists are “leading a partially successful campaign to stop the theory of evolution being taught as fact in the schools.” This isn’t quite right. It makes it sound like ID advocates want to censor Darwinism. Rather, ID theorists argue that Darwinism should be presented as a scientific explanation for the development of the biosphere—but only along with ID as an alternative scientific theory. Both theories claim to best explain the facts of the matter. ID proponents believe that they should both be taught as claimants to fact and judged by their explanatory virtues. Neither should be taught alone as dogma.

Douglas Groothuis
Professor of Philosophy
Denver Seminary


R. Chapman said...

I greatly enjoy this blog, but have a question about this letter.

I was under the impression that it wasn't that ID proponents wanted it to be REQUIRED that ID be taught along with Darwinism, but only that it legal for it to be taught, if that's what the school or teacher wants to do. In short, educators should have the freedom, but not necessarily a mandate, to teach ID and criticize Darwinism in the classroom.

Am I wrong that this is what ID advocates typically push for?

Ed Darrell said...

Does that journal lay out a hypothesis for intelligent design? As you are aware, one of the great failings of the defendants in Dover was to present any theory of intelligent design. Consequently, it's quite premature to say there is any ID theory. That is also the position of Paul Nelson at the Discovery Institute, that there is not yet any theory, and consequently nothing for schools to teach.

If all of science agrees it's not science, why should we waste time on it?