Some Truth on Intelligent Design

As a proud senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, I am often attacked by my debating opponents as being part of a “creationist” think tank, the idea being that my secular-based advocacy about bioethics is really religion in disguise. This canard is a reference to Discovery’s work in “intelligent design,” which uses science to investigate whether the philosophy of evolution, e.g., that all life is a result of random processes, is supported by the evidence.

When this point is raised, I patiently reply that ID is not “creationism,” which accepts a “Biblical” account of the emergence of life, it is science, and that in any event, I am not part of the ID work at Discovery. Moreover, the attempts by the Science and Bioethics Establishments to avoid a debate on the merits of ID by portraying the theory as religious rather than scientific is fast losing steam.

Deomontrating this last point, witness the op/ed article written by Discovery Institute senior fellow Michael Behe in today’s New York Times, which introduces ID theory in terms anyone can understand. The key sentence: “…[I]t is the profound appearance of design in life that everyone is laboring to explain, not the appearance of natural selection or the appearance of self organization.”

Again, this isn’t my field of expertise. But the issue of ID is worthy of respectful debate and should be accepted or rejected on the merits of the arguments proponents present, not dismissed out of hand as religion. To do otherwise is intellectual laziness and/or the expression of fear at confronting an explanation for biological life that may be as plausible as the idea that the whole kit and kabootle is a mere accident of physical interactions.

(Warning: The link to the New York Times may require registration.)

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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