Assessing the Opposition to Intelligent Design

by Jason Carlson and Ron Carlson

This past week President Bush declared his support for the theory of Intelligent Design. President Bush, along with 50% of Americans, believes that the theory of Intelligent Design should be taught side-by-side with the theory of Evolution in our nation’s schools. While this was an absolutely intelligent declaration by President Bush, his comments drew nothing but anger and ridicule from the Secularists of the world.

The Secularists of the world cannot tolerate the possibility of a Creator-God (because once you admit there is a Creator, then you become morally responsible to the Creator); and they will do anything and everything to remove the option of a Creator-God from the table. There are a number of primary strategies employed by the Secularists to dismiss the option of Divine intervention and the theory of Intelligent Design as an explanation for the origin of life.

The first strategy the Secularists have used to dismiss the option of a Creator-God and the theory of Intelligent Design is to redefine the historical meaning of science. When it comes to the question of the origin of life, Secularists have redefined “science” to equal “naturalistic evolution”. In framing the debate in these terms, the Secularists have ruled out the possibility of God a priori, stating that only naturalistic explanations will be considered “scientific”. As a result of this, Secularists cling to the theory of naturalistic evolution as the only “scientific” explanation for life, in spite of facts such as: the failure of naturalistic evolution to account for the origin of life from non-living matter, or the failure of naturalistic evolution to account for natural selection’s demonstrable inability to produce any new genetic information, or the failure of naturalistic evolution to explain immense complexities like the single cell, the eye, or the ear (the problem of irreducible complexity). In spite of all of these problems and more, the Secular advocates of naturalistic evolution maintain that they alone are looking at the question of origins “scientifically”.

The second strategy often employed by the Secularists, in the debate over the place of Intelligent Design theory in our nation’s schools, is to attack the position of Intelligent Design with false labels. So, when you listen to Secular commentators or read their editorials, you will often hear Intelligent Design ridiculed as “pseudo-science”, “Creationism 2.0”,  “Creationism’s modern stepchild”, “faith disguised as science”, or “flat-earth science”. All of these labels are used with the purpose of flippantly dismissing Intelligent Design from the table of options without ever seriously addressing the arguments and claims of Intelligent Design. These ad hominem attacks only serve to reveal the philosophical bias the Secularists have against any theory for the origin of life that doesn’t rely solely on Naturalistic explanations.

Finally, a third strategy used by the Secularists to write off Intelligent Design is the tactic of stating that Intelligent Design is a philosophical or faith position and therefore does not belong in the realm of scientific debate and inquiry. This strategy contains the same flaws of the two false strategy’s mentioned above, but includes the additional flaw of failing to recognize the philosophical nature of their own, Secularist position. Secularism and its theory of naturalistic evolution are just as much of a philosophical or faith position as is Intelligent Design. No matter how “scientific” Secularists claim naturalistic evolution to be, the fact remains that when we are dealing with the question of origins, we are dealing with philosophical propositions. Science is based on observation and experimentation; and since nobody was around to observe the origin of life, and since it has not and cannot be replicated in experimentation, we are therefore dealing in the realm of philosophical speculation, not science.

Thus, the real questions should be, which philosophical position has more scientific evidence to support it and do students in science classes have the academic freedom to analyze and critique the pros and cons of any theory of origins that claims to be true?  This is where Intelligent Design theory and the theory of naturalistic evolution should be evaluated on the same terms… which is exactly what 50% of Americans believe and what President Bush called for this week.