Intelligent Design and Peer Review

Proponents of creationism/intelligent design often try to sound fair and open minded by advocating “teaching the controversy.” There are a couple of problems with this. First, there is no real controversy over evolution within the scientific community. Evolution is established science and is a basis of modern biology, verifed by years of research verifying predictions made by the theory. Secondly, beyond its specious attacks on evolution there isn’t anything left from intelligent design. There is no real scientific theory which can be tested. They propose no specific alternative to claim to be different from religious creationism.
Panda’s Thumb speculates on what would happen if proponents of intelligent design were to face peer review as is standard for material published in true scientific journals. They track a lengthy discussion between an advocate of intelligent design and a scientist who descriibed herself as a “Christian theist” as well as a scientist. She starts out with a twist on intelligent design which its advocates probably did not anticipate:

I am happy to accept “Intelligent Design” as a scientific hypothesis to account for the development of life, as proposed by yourself, Dr Dembski, as long as you stand by this definition of intelligence:

‘ by intelligence I mean the power and facility to choose between options–this coincides with the Latin etymology of “intelligence,” namely, “to choose between” ‘…

However, such a hypothesis need not (and should not) be presented as an “alternative to evolution” as it is described in the Truth In Science materials. Far from rejecting an agent “with the power and facility to choose between options”, this is exactly what the Theory of Evolution postulates as the agent of evolutionary change – a process of_selection_ (aka “choice”) between options.

The response and full exchange is followed by Panda’s Thumb, leading them to ultimately conclude:

Not only is ID scientifically and theologically vacuous, it also is not ready for any peer review. I wonder if ID activists who are rooting for ‘teaching the controversy’ where expecting a form of ‘controversy’ about their own thesis… How ironically appropriate to see how ID is forced back into the shadows of our ignorance.

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