Monday, June 06, 2005

Assessing ID

I have been reading a bit more of Dembski here and wanted to share his excellent and consise summary of the 'test' for ID going down the road.

ID's criterion for success is rather the following: whether its arguments are sound, whether its evidence for design is solid, whether its critique of materialistic accounts of evolution holds up, whether it is developing into a fruitful scientific research program, and whether it is convincing to people with no stake in the outcome of this debate. On all these points, ID is proving quite effective.

This seems to me to be exactly the rub. The second to last is where I have my strongest doubts. IOW, where design could prove to be helpful in advancing science. I.D. seems to me to be a limited franchise, though arguably one of the more important ones (and perhaps the most important subject). Of course, the same could be said for evolution's take on origins...but that isn't the beall and and endall of evolutionary theory. Evolutionary concepts such as descent with modification, natural selection, etc. have proven quite fruitful in terms of investigating the real world (from understanding population genetics to finding new vaccines for diseases). I have much doubt as to whether I.D. offers anything along those lines. Which isn't to say that the question I.D. is concerned with isn't important. I just think that its prospects as a lively research program may be greatly restricted by its focus on the origins of design...with little to say about biology or physics in the here and now.


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