Friday, August 05, 2005

Frightened By Intelligent Design Theory

In today's New York Times Paul Krugman states his fears re. Intelligent Design Theory. I just e-mailed him this response:

Dear Mr. Krugman:

· To hint that ID is using “fake research” is dishonest. The truth is that a growing number of actual scientists show interest in ID. This includes ID-ers problems with Darwinian macroevolution.
· “Fake research” has been used by Darwinists. See, e.g., Jonathan Wells’ Icons of Evolution.
· “Science” and “scientific truth” and “peer review” and “the self-policing nature of science” present actual scientists in universities as pure Cartesian intellects devoid of “politics.” Politics has long been involved in Neo-Darwinist promotion. Not all Neo-Darwinians have engaged in it. Just as not all ID-ers engage in it. But it seems to be a quite human thing.
· If it is true that some politicians hate Darwinism, so what? One commits the ad populum fallacy by inferring that this somehow undermines ID theory.
· It is an empirical fact that a small-but-growing number of actual scientists have doubts about macro-evolution. It is true that more scientists today accept macro-evolution than not. But, as Thomas Kuhn pointed out in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, this is always the way a potential revolution happens in science. So, when it comes to revolutionary science, numbers do not matter. Yet in the history of science, theories can come and go (see Kuhn again, e.g.). A prevailing scientific paradigm gets questioned, sometimes by only one scientist. It takes many years for the then-prevailing paradigm (called “normal science” by Kuhn) to gain acceptability.
· The political and emotional resistance to a candidate for a paradigm shift is understandable. I personally see this in a lot of the anti-ID literature. Yet there are serious discussions going on. See, e.g., Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA, edited by non-ID-er Michael Ruse and ID-er William Dembski. Don’t you think that the dialogue that takes place in a text like this is more fruitful than pointing out the political hatred on both sides?


John Piippo, Ph.D