Sunday, April 13, 2008

Two Myths About ID

In one short little essay Michael Egnor manages the noteworthy feat of exploding two Darwinist myths about intelligent design. The first myth is that design can be produced by natural forces like mutation and natural selection. Design, as Egnor argues, requires intelligent direction ab defino.

The second myth is that intelligent design is not falsifiable. Understand that a theory that is falsifiable is not necessarily false. Rather to be falsifiable means that we can imagine some observation that, were we to make it, would show the theory to be false. It may be that that observation never occurs because the theory is in fact true. For example, a theory that holds there to be only nine planets in the solar system may be true, but we can imagine an observation that would falsify it, namely the observation of a tenth planet. On the other hand, try to imagine an observation that would falsify the belief that ghosts exist.

Since falsification (or testability) is a standard criterion for what constitutes good science, the critic of intelligent design seeks to have ID ruled out of bounds because, he alleges, there is no imaginable observation or state of affairs that would show that biological structures were not designed by an intelligent designer, and therefore the theory cannot be falsified. This, however, is a peculiar criticism for the simple reason that ID is the denial of Darwinism and therefore Darwinism, if it were true as its votaries believe it to be, would itself constitute the falsification of ID.

As we have argued elsewhere on Viewpoint, Darwinism states that natural mechanisms alone are sufficient to account for all that we see in the biological realm. intelligent design denies this claim and states that natural mechanisms by themselves are not sufficient to explain at least some biological phenomena. The two claims are mirror images of each other. They have the same logical character. If Darwinism is true, as the Darwinian believes it is, then ID must be false, but if ID is not falsifiable then neither is Darwinism. Thus ID and Darwinism either both qualify as science or they both fail.

Egnor concludes his essay by noting that, "The truth is that Darwinists aren't concerned that intelligent design isn't falsifiable. They're concerned that it isn't false."

Read the whole thing at the link.