Monday, May 19, 2008

ID's Dead End

Intelligent Design proponents revere their concept as a modern, rigorous, and sound scientific discipline. To everyone else, it is pseudoscience. Even those that are not scientists see through the thin veil that conspires to conceal religious establishment in the fog of American scientific ignorance.

Why is ID not science? Here are my Top Twelve Reasons!

1. All support is anecdotal. It is not published in peer-reviewed journals, it is just someone's opinion. As Mark Crislip says, The plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence"! The only support of ID comes from websites, books and opinion pieces. -- not science

2 No predictive ability. ID is based on a handicapped cousin of inductive reasoning, starting with a conclusion and selecting observations and data to argue for that conclusion- it is not science.

3. No problems can be solved with it. Hypothesis based (real) science can create new medicines, new missile guidance systems, new agricultural remedies. ID is backwards looking because it has no ability to proceed forward. Because it is a bankrupt discipline no single scientific discipline will advance because of ID related overlays- it is not science.

4. It is not based on experimental tests. In legitimate science scientists formulate a hypothesis and test it with the best means available. Whatever the outcomes are, they are reported and incorporated into a larger body of understanding. Results are important if they support or do not support the hypothesis. To proponents of ID, any results that refute claims (not hypotheses) presented by ID are bogus, held up by the vast conspiracy to squelch ID.

5. It is based on the post-hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy. Like #2 above, conclusions are made first and then supporting data are fit skillfully to make it appear like a legitimate finding. It is like drawing the bullseye around the arrow and claiming a perfect shot. Not science.

6. It is based on the Argument from Ignorance logical fallacy. Proponents continually claim that "since we can't understand it, it must be a designer". Here proponents refuse to understand science, so they create their own brand of pseudoscience that seems scientific. Not science.

7. It depends on the logical fallacy of Using the Supernatural to Explain Natural Phenomena. Similar to point 6, it suggests that because they cannot use their scientific means to mesh with their foregone conclusion, that it must be achieved by a supernatural explanation.

8. It is not falsifiable. There is no experiment that can be performed to convince proponents that ID is not true. It is their conclusion, regardless of data that do not support the claim. To the contrary, a human skull showing up reproducibly in Devonian strata would be good evidence to rethink geology and evolution!

9. The only proponents are religious. Although not a means to exclude it as science, it should raise a red flag that the only people that see this as legitimate science have a faith-based bias. The fact that an atheist could not reproduce the same interpretation from the data suggest that it is highly suspect and not science.

10. Acceptance is culturally dependent. You can go into the backwoods of the Amazon and find folks that agree on the science of gravity. Subscription to ID is purely an American (now a bit British) phenomenon. True physical constants are equivalent regardless of race, ethnicity or country of origin.

11. There are no data to support it! Tying in nicely with #4 above, there are no findings derived from scientific tests that come to the ID conclusion. Those that can be twisted into such ends are better explained using non-paranormal means.

12. Scientists don't find evidence for ID. If ID were real, scientists all over the globe would find evidence to support it. If they found this evidence it would be publishable in the best journals and would be funded with jillions of dollars in grants. It would be one of the more exciting stories ever told! Sadly, we just find evidence that generally fits and occasionally expands consensus models. Reproducible findings between labs increases the power of models.

I probably could keep going, but let's stop here and I'll open the floor for comments. I'm especially interested in hearing about the hard science that supports ID. Opinions and books don't count. Thanks!

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