Thursday, February 08, 2007


The ID Hypothesis

Some of us, it's true, have been getting more than a little impatient with the reluctance of intelligent design theorists to investigate, offer an hypothesis, or even deal forthrightly with the questions their "theory" raises.

Until now, they've steadfastly refused to offer a tentative explanation that might be tested by further investigation about the identity of their designer, where in the heavens we might find him, and when and how this designing was done.

That changed on Tuesday when Robert Crowther posted the following on the Discovery Institute's Evolution News and Views blog:

There are three common, but very different definitions of biological evolution.

1) Change over time (even billions of years, most leading ID proponents believe the universe is billions of years old)
2) Common ancestry, all forms of life evolved from a single original life form
3) Natural selection acting on random mutation is the primary mechanism by which life forms have evolved.

ID scientists do not have a problem with definition #1. There is some debate over definition #2, but it is not incompatible with ID. Definition #3, commonly referred to as Darwinian Evolution, is a specific part of evolution that ID challenges and is the heart of Darwin’s theory.

This, believe it or not, is progress. From Crowther's post, a number of hypotheses might be put forward that could guide scientific testing of intelligent design theory.

Before we get to what those hypotheses might be, lets clear away some of the obstacles left by Crowther's post. First, he claims that ID scientists do not have a problem with the age of the earth. Remember that Pedro Irigonegaray cross examined the leading lights of ID at the Kansas science hearings in May of 2005, and a surprising number of them had a hard time agreeing that the earth might be billions of years old. Remember, ID is a big tent designed to hold both old earth and young earth creationists.

Second, Crowther says "there is some debate" among ID theorists about common descent. Maybe, but the fact is that nearly every one of the ID witnesses brought to Kansas for the science hearings said they doubt common descent.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that some ID theorists really are, as Crowther asserts, open to common descent, but they don't agree that natural selection acting on random mutation is the mechanism of evolution.

Well, that leaves the door wide open for an hypothesis to be put forward by ID theorists about which evolutionary mechanism took us from fish to land animals, dinosaurs to birds, single celled organisms to human kind.

If it wasn't "Darwinian" evolution, then by all means, what was it?

This would require these theorists to say nothing about the identity of the designer or his present whereabouts. If you believe in ID and you believe in common descent, tell us, how did it happen?

Gentlemen, the ball is in your court.


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