By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald penned these timeless words in his novel The Crack-Up. Unfortunately, scientists, politicians and Christians have not heeded Fitzgerald’s decades-old proverb when discussing the place of Intelligent Design theory in the scientific community.
The debate about Intelligent Design has not inspired intelligently designed arguments.
Supporters have promoted Intelligent Design theory since the 1980s as an alternative to Darwinian evolutionary.
ID theory makes two claims: 1) some structures and processes in nature are so “irreducibly complex” that they could not have formed through slow, evolutionary processes, and 2) an intelligent designer lies behind these processes.
Debate about ID theory intensified during the past year as the school board in Dover, Pa., voted to require its science classes to offer a statement about intelligent design. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union began challenging the ruling almost immediately, and on Dec. 23, the Federal Court ruled that ID couldn’t be taught in school because it wasn’t science and would violate the seperation of church and state. In the meantime, the debate about ID and evolutionary theory continues.
Unfortunately, supporters of ID and evolution base their arguments on premises the other side does not accept.
Scientists presuppose scientific data has all the answers to the mysteries of nature – a concept Christians reject.
Christians presuppose God has all the answers to the mysteries of nature – a notion non-Christian scientists reject.
As a result, the scientific community refuses to debate ID theory because of a lack of scientific evidence, and many ID supporters want to base their theory on their faith alone.
ID supporters must accept that scientists will require scientific evidence for their theory before the scientific community will begin debating it.
Evolutionists must realize ID implies the concept of an intelligent designer – one who exists above the laws of nature and physics – for which science cannot completely explain. Unless everyone can come together on these disconnects, the debate about ID will go no further than its current stalemate.
So where can ID supporters go from here? They can start with the warnings from the father of evolution, himself.
Charles Darwin hypothesized the blueprint for destroying his theory.
“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”
Darwin didn’t say the existence of an intelligent designer could dissolve his theory. In fact, Christians have found ways to incorporate evolution into their concept of God and creation. As such, Christians need not mention the existence of an intelligent designer in this debate.
ID theory’s place in the scientific community will hinge on only one of its claims, the one that concerned even Darwin: the complexity of the processes and structures of life.
ID supporters point to the blood clotting mechanisms in mice as proof of processes too complex to develop evolutionarily. Prove that scientifically. Prove something scientifically.
Give scientists a reason to doubt evolution, which will force them to look elsewhere for answers to the mystery of life’s origin by Darwin’s own admission. And when they do, there Intelligent Design theory will sit, ready for examination.
ID supporters can do all this without debating religion or God – concepts that ring hollow in the scientific community.
Intelligent Design may yet find a way into the scientific community. But its supporters first must prove their intelligent designer endowed in them the ability to intelligently and scientifically debate the issue.