Arguments For Intelligent Design. In recent years American theologians have responded vigorously to Darwinian claims by putting forward an alternative that they believe provides a better account of why living organisms appear so well adapted to their environments
In recent years American theologians have responded vigorously to Darwinian claims by putting forward an alternative that they believe provides a better account of why living organisms appear so well adapted to their environments
According to supporters of Intelligent Design, such as Michael Behe and William Dembski, science can only go so far in its understanding of how organisms developed over time
The answer proposed by Intelligent Design supporters is ‘none’, in which case evolutionary theory, which tries to show how an eye might have evolved from more primitive light-detectors, is dramatically undermined:
how did a spot become innervated and thereby light-sensitive? How did a lens form within a pinhole camera?...None of these questions receives an answer purely in Darwinian terms. Darwinian just-so stories have no more scientific content than Rudyard Kipling’s original just-so stories
Behe’s claim is that irreducibly complex features such as the eye are made up of parts (lens, retina, rods, cones) that form a highly successful unit – but that these parts on their own would be useless in evolutionary terms; they would not lead to success
He asks us to consider a mouse-trap, and how the various parts of it work together to create a functioning whole unit: the base, the metal spring, the holding bar, the catch. If any one of these parts were missing or worked less efficiently, then the mouse-trap would fail to work. The mouse-trap only functions when all its parts are in place, and we know this is how the designer designed it. In the same way, a complex feature like an eye only functions when all its parts are in place. Working backwards from this complex unit towards a simpler one, as evolutionary explanations do, results in these parts being removed or made less efficient, and the eye would cease to function. Evolutionary theory, therefore, fails to explain how well-adapted features like the eye came about
It turns out that irreducibly complex systems are headaches for Darwinian theory, because they are resistant to being produced in the gradual, step-by-step manner, that Darwin envisaged
The conclusion drawn by Behe, Dembski and their colleagues is that complex features such as the eye can be explained only if we posit the existence of an intelligent designer, God, who deliberately created these units with a specific function in mind
Because of the scientific presentation of Intelligent Design theory there were campaigns across the United States to introduce Intelligent Design into the science curriculum to be taught alongside evolution. In 2005 a significant test case was brought to court by the parents from Dover Area School in Pennsylvania. The parents objected to the teaching of Intelligent Design alongside evolutionary biology in science – they argued it was a form of creationism and had no place in science. The court heard evidence form a number of adaptationists (supporters of Darwin’s theory) and from Intelligent Design supporters, including Michael Behe. After several months the judge ruled that Intelligent Design was not a science and he barred its teaching from science classes.
Do you agree with the judges decision??
Dawkins attacks the assumption (made as part of the principle of ‘irreducible complexity’) that features like eyes cease to function if a part of them is removed
With evidence stacking up in favour of an evolutionary explanation for design, Intelligent Design has to look elsewhere for examples of irreducible complexity, mindful of Dawkins warning:
Do not just declare things to be irreducibly complex; the chances are that you haven’t looked closely enough at the details
It might be objected that that there is a global conspiracy to against Intelligent Design, but the explanation given by editors is that Intelligent Design does not follow scientific methodology: it does not carry out rigorous testing in tightly controlled experiments,, or make definite predictions based on its theory; it lacks consistency and generally any scientific utility