Intelligent Design: Lacking in Scientific Rigor

Well, I have posted on this before and many people disagree with it. But here is an Intelligent Design (ID) proponent making the same argument I have made.

Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’-but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.–Paul Nelson, Touchstone Magazine 7/8 (2004): pp 64 – 65.

Seems pretty obvious to me that ID has a pretty long ways to go before it comes even close to being thought of a respectable scientific endeavor. As such bringing it into a high school science course would be detrimental to the students.

Quote via Pandas Thumb.

Update: For completeness here is Paul Nelson’s response to the use of this quote.

Note, that the response is basically that the quote is accurate and that right now at best ID is some sort of proto-theory that needs quite a bit more work before it is ready for primetime. All the other gibberish about getting stoned by touching a silver ball is just Nelson’s way of trying to not admit he has pointed out a serious issue with ID…it ain’t a scientific theory. Nelson and his ilk, if the rest of them were honest, would add, “Yet”. My question is, what are they waiting for? Formulate some hypotheses, test them, gather data, present the results. Of course, that is alot harder than merely sneering at the notion of speciation or pointing to gaps in the fossil record.

FILED UNDER: Education
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. whatever says:

    There’s an old story about how a bunch of co-workers told the same jokes to each other over and over again. They finally decided to just assign them numbers. Someone would shout “Ten!” and everyone would laugh.

    Since you are on a broken record on this topic, you should assign it a number. You could write “Twenty two!” which would be the “I am so smart because I believe in evolution and ID people are idiots” post. You’d save a lot of time.

  2. legion says:

    While technically correct, both James and Paul aren’t addressing the actual reason ID doesn’t have a ‘theory’ behind it – ID, by its very nature, is irreconcilable with testing.

    How do you ‘test’ whether or not God exists? For any test that could be performed, one can conceive some aspect of God’s power that would render the test moot. That’s the mental failing of ID’ers and creationists in general – accepting evolution doesn’t disprove the existence of God at all; it just means you can’t take the Bible’s story of creation as literal fact.

  3. Wes Weeks says:

    ID proponents want to change the definition of science to suit their beliefs and are lobbying strongly to many state school boards to do just that. To allow non-scientific theories to be taught in science class just because people like them better serves no purpose but to degrade the education of our children.

    Would this argument even be taking place if not for the strong influence of religion? Of course not. The only reason it has gained a foothold at all is because it helps some people feel better about their religious beliefs.

    If you want to expose students in public schools to ID, then you need to do it in the correct forum, either a religion or philosophy class. Don’t try to pass it off as science.

  4. Kazmer Ujvarosy says:

    Theory of Evolution: Lacking in Rationality

    If intelligent design (ID) is far from scientific, the theory of complexity’s evolution from a simple beginning is even less scientific. As a matter of fact it has nothing in common with rationality–i.e., with science.

    Let’s face it, the delusion that a simple cause can generate complex effects greater than is found in the cause is most irrational. The difference between the simple cause and the complex effects have to come from nothing. So it is the evolutionists, not the creationists, who managed to get their hocus-pocus into the public school curriculum. Case closed.

    Now, is evolution’s concept of common descent false? Yes and no. If common descent is from a simple beginning, the answer is yes. But if common descent is from a most complex beginning, the answer is no.

    Based on the undeniable fact that our universe yields the complexity of human life we are allowed to infer that human life created the universe for the production of human life in its own image, similarly as a seed creates a tree for the purpose of self-reproduction. In other words, if a tree is the seed’s way of making reproductions of itself, then it is inferable that the universe is human life’s way of making reproductions of itself. So we find that the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for the production of human life because human life generated the universe for the production of human life in its own image. This concept of creation is in harmony with the principles of causality and biogenesis, as opposed to the concepts of cosmic and biological evolutions from simple beginnings.

    The scientific Theory of Creation demands no God or World Spirit, nor Darwin’s imaginary “natural selection,” nor the fantasy of a Big Bang, only the fact of human life’s existence. As Christ told to Philip, if you see me, you see the Creator, Father, or Common Cosmic Ancestor. Christ was enlightened enough to know that the universe is human life’s way of making reproductions of itself, just as the mighty oak is the acorn’s way of making reproductions of itself.

    Most likely lamebrained evolutionists will always find arguments to “rationalize” their delusions about evolution from a most simple beginning. In any case I’m not amused when I see the views of deluded persons published, who in the name of science try to make others deluded.

  5. Kazmer Ujvarosy says:

    The Scientific Theory of Creation

    In modern science cosmic and biological evolution advances from the specific to the general, from the lower rank to the higher rank, from simpler systems to more complex systems. Evolutionists seek to understand how complexity arises from simplicity in the world–i.e., how the simple fundamental particles build themselves up to such complex and organized systems as the universe and human beings. So how can quarks, gluons and other building elements self-organize into the universe and eventually generate human life? The answer, my research work for over 30 years suggests, lies in the observation of biological systems whose development we can follow from beginning to end.

    A tree is such a system. If apples could meditate on their origin, probably they would ask: “How can the earth’s elements self-organize into this tree and eventually generate apples?” Because apples are not in the position to observe the development of their tree from a single apple seed or common ancestor, conceivably they would credit their existence to the self-organizing properties of inanimate entities. After all, once a seed develops into a tree, there is no way to put a finger on the tree’s parent seed. From a particle state it transforms itself into what may be called a field of life force until it reproduces itself in the form of seeds in its own image or likeness. Thus seeds have both particle and field properties.

    The situation of human beings in the universe may be likened to the situation of apples on their parent tree. We ask, “Why are the conditions prevailing in the universe so favorable to the development of human life?”

    This observation–i.e. that the universe is fine-tuned for the production of human beings–is called the anthropic cosmological principle. Based on the observation of nature we may answer: “The universe is fine-tuned for the production of human beings because a seed of human life generated the universe for the production of humans in its own image, just as a tree is fine-tuned for the production of seeds because a seed generated the tree for the production of seeds in its own image.”

    Stated more simply, just as a seed is the genotype of the phenotype tree, so also human life is the seed or genotype of the phenotype universe. In a nutshell, human life is the procreative seed of the universe.

    Now, if it is correct that human life is the procreative seed of the universe, then human life is necessarily everlasting or perpetual, because the universe has no power to act upon the very cause of its own origin, just as a tree has no power to act upon the seed of its own origin. From the eternity of human life follows that the cosmological constant of the universe has its origin in that seed of human life which generated the universe for the purpose of self-reproduction.

    Whereas the universe is subject to a never-ending cycle of creation and destruction, the seed of its origin remains constant. We may add that just as seeds, human life has both particle and field properties. In its potential or seed state human life is a particle. But when it acts on the ashes of the previous universe, it transforms itself into a field of life force for the generation of the next universe. The Zero-Point Energy, the Cosmic Microwave Background and the galaxies’ dark matter halos, as well as gravity, are the field manifestations of the everlasting seed of human life. For as long as we discover a life form superior to human life, human life remains both the input and the output of the universe, its beginning and end, or its Alpha and Omega.

  6. […] n amount of umbrage with people using this quote and penned a short piece over at IDTF. At Outside The Beltway (hardly a liberal source), Steve Verdon make the following po […]

  7. David Lukens says:

    Intelligent design is the foundation of science, which assumes that nature is orderly and that we intelligent beings can understand it – in short it is intelligently designed. Since it is the foundation of science it is true; but it is not an alternative to evoulution. Special creation is the alternative to evolution, as Darwin repeatedly states in “Origin of Species”. As the foundation of science, it cannot be proven true by science – science has already assumed it. As the foundation for science, it cannot provide any more details than “nature is intelligible, nature is designed – look for the design”. The scientists reporting on the working of DNA, or the motion of the planets, or whatever, are reporting on the intelligent design. Hence inteligent design and evolution are not in competition; evolution and special creation are in competition.

  8. […] Unfortunately, Intelligent Design is a device that intrudes into scientific inquiry, and becomes a sieve for data and public debate. I personally don’t believe that the existence of God is provable, or else we would need no faith. Science seeks to prove — by observing, recognizing and measuring. Let the proponents of ID prove scientifically that their hypothesis has merit and then we should debate ID’s inclusion into popular culture and scientific thought. […]