The Implications of Intelligent Design
Images in ID Booklet
Although Intelligent Design (ID) does not draw on any religious authority, it clearly has philosophical and religious implications. While it does not specify who the Designer is, it provides support for a theistic view of the universe. And it certainly confronts the neo-Darwinian world view that we live in a bleak, purposeless and undirected universe.
ID also challenges the view that science can only deal in materialistic explanations – a position known as ‘methodological naturalism’. Sean Carroll of California Institute of Technology has given a very clear statement of this position in his 2003 paper, now available on the Internet, ‘Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists’. He writes:
The materialist thesis is simple: that’s all there is to the world. Once we figure out the correct formal structure, patterns, boundary conditions and interpretation, we have obtained a complete description of reality’. Revealingly, he then adds in parenthesis, ‘Of course we don’t have the final answers as to what such a description is, but a materialist believes that such a description does exist’.
It is evident that none of that is science. It is, in fact, a philosophical position, a worldview, a kind of faith position, posing as a coherent scientific conclusion. It is, in a word, an immoveable commitment to naturalism – a philosophical position which is incapable of verification.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that Neo-Darwinism succeeds as a world view only if it is assumed that there cannot be a non-material explanation of origins. But ID demonstrates that there is clear evidence of intelligence causation of the universe. It is a poor scientist indeed who cannot be sufficiently open-minded to consider the possibility of a non-material origin for the universe, especially when so much of the evidence points in that direction. Science should always go where the evidence leads and should not, as a starting point, rule out one set of explanations.
Intelligent Design is not just good science. It also raises philosophical questions which go to the heart of Western civilisation. It has the potential to make people reflect on the most fundamental questions about their existence. It is, perhaps, because the implications of ID challenges deeply-held beliefs about fundamental questions about our lives that it is so vehemently opposed without good scientific reasons.
Dr Alastair Noble
Director of the Centre for Intelligent Design UK
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