13.4.08

THE IMPORTANCE OF TESTABLE IMPLICATIONS. This commentary on the emptiness of intelligent design cosmology notes the ultimate purpose of informed speculation, otherwise known as theorizing.

In both the natural and social sciences, however, theory is something more than mere speculation. Theory is the generalizable distillation of empirical investigation, the payoff that comes from gathering and connecting a heap of pertinent facts. It takes facts to build a scientific theory but it takes a theory to organize and make sense of the facts.

Theories are valued for their explanatory power. A developed and confirmed theory is what science aims for. It is the gold standard of scientific inquiry. The theory of gravity and the theory of relativity are not lacking in facts just because they are theories. To dismiss something as just a theory and not a factual science does not make sense from a scientific point of view. Theory is not all that “soft” and, for that matter, facts are sometimes not all that “hard” or firmly fixed.

Since scientific theories in all fields contain some unanswered questions, why is evolution singled out by the intelligent designers as the one gap-ridden speculative theory? The answer is glaringly evident: evolution is in direct collision with Genesis. If evolution is true, then the Bible’s description of how God fashioned the world in six days and created humans in their present form seems much the fairy tale. And if Genesis is a fairy tale, then of what validity is the remainder of the divinely dictated tome that serves as the unerring fundament of Judaic-Christian belief?

The response offered by the scientific defenders of evolution is predictable and somewhat incomplete: “We have no way of testing and demonstrating the truth or falsity of non-natural spirit forces that are presumed to be acting in nature.” It would be nice if someday someone would add, “and neither do the intelligent designers.” That is the real problem. Of course, scientists cannot move outside their fundamental paradigm and demonstrate divine causation, but neither can the designing creationists.

This is a crucial point because the burden of proof for intelligent design is on the designers. Where is their field work, their laboratory experiments, their observational reports and accumulated evidence measuring the effects of ID vectors on various natural forces and entities, all the things we would expect from a scientific inquiry interested in “hard facts”?

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