Monday, December 26, 2005

The Science of ID

Brian Ogilvie, a former professor of mine, wrote an article that looks at natural theology in the 17th century as an early example of intelligent design and its problems:

... Natural theology had identified design as the best proof for God's existence. It had an optimistic view of design: this was the best of all possible worlds, the human eye the best of all possible eyes. This argument glossed over some obvious problems. Why do some people get cataracts? Why do our eyes have a blind spot where the optic nerve plunges through the retina? To natural theology, which argued that the Designer is perfect, just, and all-powerful, these flaws were embarrassing. Even before Darwin, they opened up natural theology, and the Christianity it supported, to skeptical attacks.

... If, by chance, Intelligent Design develops a real scientific research program and identifies biological adaptations that evolution cannot explain, scientists will not become modern-day natural theologians in droves. Instead, they'll start seeking a better natural explanation. If Intelligent Design is a real science, its proponents should welcome this possibility. If they shudder at the thought, they should stop cheapening their religious beliefs by trying to pass them off as science.

Long ago, Saint Augustine warned Christians that spouting falsehoods about science would only make their faith seem ridiculous. Intelligent Design proves him right.

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