An irony about intelligent design is that it is attacked from, so to speak, front and behind. Some, including theistic evolutionists, criticize ID’s minimalism — it declines to name a designer, to describe the act of design (so that you could picture it happening), to say when or how often the design is instantiated in life, among other things.
So goes the complaint. Let’s see here.
- When: Different scientific fields tell us different things. Astronomy doesn’t tell us when the earth formed. But geology does. That doesn’t mean astronomy is less a science because it can tell us things that geology cannot. ID tells us whether something was designed or whether it arose via material causes. ID doesn’t tell you when the designer acted. But other fields can. Fields like geology (dating methods), paleontology (looking at fossils), or molecular biology (molecular clock methods) can potentially tell you when the designer acted to implement some design.
- How often: As we learn more and more about where we should detect design, and as other fields tell us when that design happened, we can begin to get a handle on “how often” the designer acted. So this question is definitely not off limits to intelligent design and ID can help address it.
- Identity of the designer: True, ID doesn’t tell you who the designer is. That is because the scientific evidence doesn’t tell us. This is a good example of ID respecting the limits of science. Some see it as a weakness of ID. In fact, it’s a strength. As William Dembski has said, “This is not a matter of being vague but rather of not pretending to knowledge that we don’t have.”
We’re accustomed to Darwinists saying things they don’t know (scientifically) to be true. That’s doesn’t mean we get to say things that we don’t know (scientifically) to be true.
In a special irony, many theistic evolutionists tout methodological naturalism, criticizing ID for supposedly bringing God into science. These same individuals then pivot and complain that ID fails to identify the designer as God.
Meanwhile, design advocates are slammed for maximalism, or worse. Much worse. A friend shares with us these choice comments:
- Evolutionary biologist Massimo Pigliucci (2002): ID is “bent on literally destroying science as we know it.”
- Physicist Marshall Berman (2005): “The current Intelligent Design movement poses a threat to all of science and perhaps to secular democracy itself.”
- Science journalist Robyn Williams (2006): “ID is, in a way, terrorism.”
Whoa. So which is it, folks? Does ID do too little — or too much? And why the hysteria?
ID may be limited, but if it can show that even one feature in living things is designed by an intelligence (no matter when,where, or how), the whole edifice of materialism collapses. That’s why Darwinists are terrified. They cannot allow an intelligent foot in the door.
As for our theistic evolutionary friends, well, they’ve abandoned the principle of non-contradiction. Everything and nothing follows from that.