Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Taking ID Personally
Writing in The Guardian, Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the Seti Institute in California, says that the battle over teaching creationism in US schools has become achingly personal.
They [ID activists] say: "If you Seti researchers receive a complex radio signal from space, you'll claim it as proof of intelligent, alien life. Thus your methodology is completely analogous to ours - complexity implying intelligence and deliberate design." And Seti, they pointedly add, enjoys widespread scientific acceptance.
... In fact, we are not looking for complex signals, but simple ones (such as a pure radio tone). And we seek this type of signal in places where we suspect planets might exist. It is universally acknowledged that planets don't produce such radio tones; only transmitters do. The analogy with Seti is a poor tactic for defending ID.