Intelligent Design Theory Vs Science

26 03 2006

I was just checking a mail in my gmail inbox when I happened to find a curious text advertisement link with an article entitled ‘Science that Backs Up Faith‘. It did not contain any surprising revelation and was in expected lines of a ‘Christianity Today‘ weekly. But something really shook me when I read through the whole article. The whole concept of Intelligent Design Theory although claimed by its proponents as a secular alternative scientific theory was being projected as the best weapon for supporting (dogmatic) religious faiths as against a rational dialogue. This is an interesting feature of any religious institution; ie. find shelter in some arguable scientific logic when in crisis and then propagate its age old dogmatic beliefs. A strange mixture of sophist arguments and ‘thou shall not since such is the logic’. If so what is the distinctive features of science and such religious supported pseudo theories?

The organisation called ‘Centre for Science & Culture’ and ‘Discovery’ has very many scientists working and propagating I.D. Theory. The have an FAQ about it. Hmm … that sounds nice. But let us go deeper.

1. What is the theory of intelligent design?

Ans:- The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection

Is it?. The obvious logical flaw in here is the casual usage of the term intelligent. What can be considered as more intelligent, let us say than human beings? If something is more intelligent than the best human brain, it has a very direct implication that all dynamics of its action can never be explained by human race at any point of time. So the purpose of science is futile in this regard. Scrap all questions and investigations about universe and believe what you feel like (aka go join a seminary and learn all those bull craps and never question for it is out of human reach).

Next comes the issue of what we perceive as intelligent. Out of a million possibility it is just one that can happen (if we exclude the multiverse theory). If we all – the people born as the result of that possibility – stand up and say that its probability was just one in a million and so it was directed does this fit to some logic? Well, if the change was well directed by whoever-it-be all that we think turns out to be the direct or indirect consequence of a directed thing. ie the outcome was predestined. There was no other possibility. So why bother to think about it at all. Or we might be thinking since that happens to be our destiny. So as per the theory even the upper hand of scientific community that rejects their claim is (or was) also the destiny. Why should they blame them (if they still use logic)? Further all foundations of logic is irrelevant since things happen because they are ought to. This might make a orthodox religious person happy but not a science student in me.

This has in fact been the stereotype response from religious bodies to scientific investigations. You can put a full stop to any investigation by introducing a God’s hand. It is a perfect theory. Also the most flexible one. This full stop can be put at where you like. Anywhere. So the very usage of intelligent design and supporting evidence that they project from scientific investigations is a parody in itself. They showcase evidence resting on the base of science and then try to redefine science by introducing an arbitrary element which is undefined. This is synonymous to a statement “English alphabets starting from a to z and punctuations are wrong and too incapable to write this language”. I think the fallacy inherent is quite obvious for any student of logic. The issue of encapsulation.

Other questions that it raises all becomes irrelevant when the founding logic itself is inconsistent. But let also try to discuss issues like ‘Darwinism’ and ‘Creationist’ arguments. Darwinian theory is not a theory complete in itself. It was the first rational investigation about the phenomena of life. It has its defect like most established scientific theories. But the point is its consistency with the scientific rigour. Science is not knowledge in itself. All it does is a methodical arrangement of knowledge. Thus it interconnects most information and observations with other natural phenomena by a rigorous and well explained logic. This is in direct contrast with religious methodology which bases everything on some age old faith which is unchangeable. Science too keeps some basic faiths, like universe is consistent and ‘laws of nature’ does not change with time. But there are no observable evidence or compelling logic to change these as of now. Still, if the need be, it will adapt with the new observations and redefine unlike religions. So a scientific debate about Darwinian theory should be based in the realms of science and not faith which contradicts established scientific notions at any level.

Well, the bottom line is that it may not be the ultimate truth (if at all something exists) that we might be heading to, but just some new vocabulary to address its manifestations. This process, with its discipline, constitutes science. It may not be the panache of all human issues in any age. But it certainly gives better insight about the physical universe as it proceeds through time. This is easily verifiable by the historical role played by faith based and scientific institutions in any age. Rationality may not be the key for all life questions, but its part is undeniable. Therefore, let faiths survive but let them never be the dominant factor but the balancing hand to inculcate some values for social stability.

PS:- I do not loath religions but certainly their dogmas and hegemony in social life.




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