Sunday, 14 April 2013

Creationist science . . . or is it?

Over lunch last week I found myself in an interesting debate with a gentle and progressive Muslim friend and a gentle and polite Christian friend.  I'm hoping both of them will continue to debate in such an open way, and that our full and frank debate did not offend them.

I must write about part of the discussion.

It was about the battle between supporters of Intelligent Design (ID) and the supporters of the Theory of Evolution.  My Christian friend put the point that both sides accuse each other of 'not being scientific' and that they should drop this argument and move to the evidence.  When I complained that this was a reasonable point of view from the point of view of evolution he asked me how I would define science.

In my own amateur way I said that science was the process whereby someone develops an idea into a hypothesis which can then be compared with the evidence from the world around us, and as confidence was developed that there was a good level of agreement the hypothesis might develop into the status of a Theory.  Ultimately when the evidence is overwhelming then the Theory might reach the coveted state of becoming a Law.  (I should have added the question of falsifiability.)

He agreed.

I added that ID specifically doesn't do this.  It looks for evidence and then tries to fit a hypothesis to it retrospectively.  He disagreed.

So I asked him where the hypothesis for ID might be, and I was amazed to hear that his answer was that the bible is the hypothesis.

I pointed out that the bible is not exactly self-consistent and offered the evidence of the two versions of the creation story in Genesis and was told that they were not very different in the grand scheme of things.   I disagree about that.  See for yourself that the whole thing is in a different order in the second version. The first is Genesis 1:1-2:3, and the second is Genesis 2:4-25.)

So which of us is correct?
  • Can the bible be offered rationally as an hypothesis for Intelligent Design?
  • Does ID truly follow the scientific method or does it just try to use convenient parts of scientific methods to pick selective holes in evolution without offering a complete counter-proposal?
Thinking about the topic further since our discussion I would also ask:
  • Is ID falsifiable?  If the bible is its hypothesis then I would suggest that it is self-falsifying.
  • Which point of view indulges in more ad hominem attacks?  Evolutionists rarely call their opponents names (although sometimes the word creotards has come up in discussion) whereas the ID lobby never fails to use terms like 'Darwinist' (which they consider pejorative), 'neo-Darwinist' (which is clearly more so) and worse?
I maintain that ID is not science in the real sense of the word.

1 comment:

Christian said...

Standing by your statement that ID is not real science is the best thing you can do. If the Bible is an hypothesis for ID, it is also a hypothesis for god. So where is the evidence for god?