Dean Esmay has the most fair-minded, indeed I would say scientifically-minded, response to Intelligent Design that I've ever read from anyone outside the movement. He begins with his bonafides:
- I don't believe in God.
- I believe evolution is sufficient to explain everything we see in life on Earth.
- I think creationists are kind of silly but mostly harmless.
- I think the Intelligent Design people have some arguments that deserve examination for what they are rather than mischaracterizing and distorting them.
- I think calling them names, behaving as if they are a huge threat to scientific freedom, and distorting their position, does more harm than good.
Then he goes on to say:
Having looked over the Intelligent Design people's literature, I find that they do not suggest that the Earth is 10,000 years old, they do not suggest that a Great Flood wiped out the dinosaurs, they do not suggest that God comes down and creates new species, or any of that. They suggest that at a molecular level certain features of life on Earth show signs of having been engineered rather than simply evolving.
Are they wrong about that? Probably. But to treat them like pariahs for wanting to examine the question? This is hardly rational. . . .
The oddest criticism I've seen of the Intelligent Design people . . . is that somehow just by looking for evidence of a creator, free inquiry will be stopped. How do people come to believe this strange non-sequitur? If the ID people design testable and falsifiable hypotheses--which as it happens they have done (more [at a link Dean provides])--how is free inquiry or the persuit of science harmed? If they're proven wrong, then doesn't that just strengthen Darwinism?
Furthermore, how is it "science" to declare that there is no creator and therefore one shouldn't bother to look for evidence of one?
For people who claim to care about free inquiry, I've never seen a group who acts more like William Jennings Bryan than the "evolutionists" who angrily fulminate that the very question of the possibility of design should never be allowed anywhere outside of a church. . . .
I fail--utterly--to see how science will be destroyed by allowing these questions.
OH, THANK YOU JESUS!! -- I mean, thank you, Dean! This is a shower of fresh cold water from the snowy peaks of common sense. I envy and honor and forever link to your ability to say it so simply. A lot of the Comments on this post are first-rate too, e.g., Doc Rampage says:
Too many people grow up treating science like a religion. If a scientist says it, then you can't question it. How is this any better than: if a priest says it, you can't question it? Sure, the scientist can appeal to Observation for his claims, but what do we have besides his word that Observation is better than Inspiration? Surely the priest would say the opposite.