Is intelligent design really science?

This article is from Hank Hanegraaff, The Complete Bible Answer Book—Collector’s Edition (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008)
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Richard Dawkins, professor of the public understanding of science at Oxford and arguably the best–known Darwinist on the planet, claims those who do not believe in evolution are “ignorant, stupid or insane.” But in place of rhetoric and emotional stereotypes, intelligent design (ID) proponents actually propose reason and empirical science.

First, ID proponents are willing to follow scientific evidence wherever it leads. ID theorists neither presuppose nor preclude supernatural explanations for the phenomena they encounter in an information–rich universe. As such, the ID movement rightly practices open–minded science.

Furthermore, ID begins with the common scientific principle that intelligent design is detectable wherever there is specified, organized complexity (i.e., “information”). This design principle is central to many scientific fields, including archaeology, forensic pathology, crime scene investigation, cryptology, and the search for extra–terrestrial intelligence (SETI). When applied to information–rich DNA, irreducibly complex biochemical systems, the Cambrian Explosion in the fossil record, as well as the fact that earth is perfectly situated in the Milky Way for both life and scientific discovery, the existence of an intelligent designer is the most plausible scientific explanation.

Finally, although its conclusions are not worldview–neutral, ID lends no more support to Christian theism than Darwinian evolution lends to atheism. Thus, the appropriateness of ID for public education ought to be judged on the basis of the theory’s explanatory power, not on its metaphysical implications.

For further study, see William Dembski, The Design Revolution (Grand Rapids: IVP, 2004); see also Francis J. Beckwith, “Intelligent Design in the Schools: Is It Constitutional?

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