Tuesday, September 27, 2005


The ID trial in Pennsylvania got underway yesterday. One of the ACLU’s witnesses, Kenneth R. Miller, a biology professor from Brown University, had some good things to say.

"Intelligent design is inherently religious. It is a form of creationism," Miller said during four hours of testimony that often resembled an extended college seminar. "If you invoke a spiritual force in science, I can't test or replicate it.

"Scientific theories are not hunches," he added. "When we say 'theory,' we mean a strong, overarching explanation that ties together many facts and enables us to make testable predictions."
His comments here attack two of ID’s weaknesses.

First, the argument that intelligent design is not specifically religious is technically true but realistically a load of crap. Proponents of ID used a bit of semantic finagling to replace the word “divine,” which is what they really mean, with the word “intelligent.” But with the exception of Scientologists and the UFO obsessed, anyone who believes the world was intelligently designed believes the designer was God.

Second, Miller points out that statements like this one: "Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact," deliberately play upon a misunderstanding of the word “theory” as it is used in the phrase “theory of evolution.” A more suitable definition of “theory,” as used in a scientific context, is:

A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
Courtesy of the American Heritage dictionary.

It’s almost impossible to argue against ID without repeatedly stating the obvious, but I guess that's what it takes to argue science against superstition.

--Matthew McCoy