Intelligent Design as Science Part 5 Reasons to Reject Design

The evidence for design seems to be strong, so why hasn’t intelligent design made an impact on the scientific community?  Why is intelligent design continually labeled pseudo-science?

The reason is it has been defined out of the discussion by scientists.  To help you understand, I will use some definitions from a teaching by Greg Koukl called, “Science and Faith are they Compatible?”

 Modern science is based upon three interlocking philosophical notions: Naturalism, physicalism, and scientism–the holy trinity of the new order.

  1. Naturalism:

    a. A metaphysical notion, meant to be a full picture of the world

    b. The only thing that exists is the physical world (physicalism/materialism) governed by natural laws.

But how do we know these laws?

  2. Empiricism:

    a. An epistemological notion (i.e., having to do with how we know things)

    b. Information comes through the five senses.

    c. What is the method of interpreting this information? “Science”

1) Measuring only the material, physical world

2) Appealing only to natural laws

These are combined into one single philosophical idea has kept science and religion at odds. This notion is called:

  3. Scientism (John Kekes: “scientific imperialism”):

    a. The view that science is the only reliable method to give us truth about the world.

    b. Science is our model of intellectual evidence.

    c. “Science deals with facts; religion deals with faith.”

         1) Believe in religion if you want, just don't confuse it with the real world.

         2) Astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss, Case Western Reserve University: “Scientists base their work on claims to knowledge that they can prove, but faith ‘isn't amenable to             proof….Science and religion are two different world systems bashing heads together.'”

  4. Science has become the high priest of the new intellectual order.

By defining that science can only deal with the material world, any and all explanations beyond the physical realm are eliminated by definition.  Even if the evidence points to an intelligent designer, any and all conclusions must be naturalistic.  The supernatural is thrown out by definition.

The following illustration was borrowed from Greg Koukl, president of Stand to Reason:  A murder has been committed.  The officer in charge tells his men we must use the best methodology possible to find this killer.  However, as you look for the man, it cannot be a white male.  One of the officers immediately protests saying, “What if a white male committed the murder.”  The senior office in charge looks at him and says, “As I said before follow the evidence where it leads but it cannot point to a white male…end of discussion.”

Many scientists today say, if the evidence points to an intelligent designer, it cannot be the scientific answer.  Richard Lewontin, a renowned scientist, says this:

“It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen[1].”

Lewontin says scientists must come up with a naturalistic answer, no matter how counter intuitive it is.  He says scientists are forced, even before looking at the evidence, to look for a material cause.  Lewontin admits science has gaps in the evidence to support Darwinian Evolution.  What he aptly illustrates is we don’t have a God of the gaps problem but instead we have a science of the gaps issue.  He closes by saying the explanation has to be material because we must not let God in the door.

This is why any and all articles accepted in the scientific journals today must avoid any implications for intelligent design.  If they do, they are resoundingly rejected.  The few papers that have made it through the process have caused an uproar in the scientific community and individuals have lost their jobs.

It is not the scientific evidence that keeps intelligent design out of the discussion; it is a philosophical commitment to naturalism that rejects it.  Remember whenever evidence contradicts the reigning scientific philosophy; the philosophy will always trump the evidence.

Go to part 6


[1] Richard Lewontin, “Billions and Billions of Demons,” The New York Review of Books, January 4, 1997.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Edgar Ayala June 13, 2014, 1:38 pm

    When exactly does scientific evidence ever point to an intelligent designer? It’s not simply that God has to be shut out from any explanation, but rather that so far all we have found is natural evidence pointing to natural causes. I’m not saying that there isn’t a designer, but that science has no reason to believe so.

  • Steve Bruecker June 13, 2014, 3:07 pm

    Edgar,
    You said, “…so far all we have found is natural evidence pointing to natural causes.” How do you know that? How does information in the human cell come from a material cause?

    In my previous answer I showed it is the philosophy of science, not science itself that prohibits intelligent design.

    Reread my series and look for all the signs or evidence of intelligence. I am not proposing a “God of the gaps” theory. I have provided evidence. I am supporting my contention, that the best answers to many of the questions of design, causation, and information have their source in a designer.

    Steve

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