User:Woozle/Evolution vs. Intelligent Design

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2007-06-05 Notes: This was written at a time when I hadn't yet extensively researched the situation. My conclusion now is more along the lines of "ID is just a thinly-disguised veneer of scientific-sounding language layered on top of creationism. Evolution may be just a theory, but it is a scientific theory; ID is, at best, an informal theory, and the more you try to get an ID supporter to define their terms or be specific, the more evasions you get. IDers and creationists believe what they believe because it fits what they want to believe, not because it's what the evidence shows."

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Point Counterpoint

  • The evolutionists do need to admit that evolution is just a theory, because it is.
  • The Intelligent Design (ID) folks need to admit that while evolution may be just a theory, it fits the facts very well, and while ID may be a theory in the most general sense ("a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action" [1], "An unproven conjecture" wiktionary), it is not a scientific theory ("A coherent statement or set of statements that attempts to explain observed phenomena, which has testable implications, and which is well tested and widely accepted as true." wiktionary), which is (where any doubt exists) generally a requirement for including such ideas in academic curricula.
  • The scientists need to admit that just because something doesn't have a lot of supporting data doesn't mean it isn't (or couldn't be) true, although it may well mean that it is highly unlikely. They also need to admit that we don't yet know enough about the universe to say that it couldn't have been (or wasn't) designed by an intelligent being.
  • The ID folks need to admit that until they have a specific theoretical argument with some testable conclusions, postulating an intelligent entity (which itself would need to be explained) when there are other simpler explanations is, as they say, making things unnecessarily complicated*.
*complicated: see Occam's Razor, a principle attributed to a 14th-century Franciscan friar who apparently agreed that it made proving the existence of God rather iffy [2]
  • The evolutionists need to stop worrying that Intelligent Design will, all by itself, turn schoolchildren into Bible-thumping science-haters, and focus on making sure that the scientific method and logical thinking are taught well