Thursday, January 19, 2006

Orson Scott Card Speaks Out On ID

Renowned author Orson Scott Card has written a well thought out article that seeks to tackle the Intelligent Design (ID) issue. After reading so much demagoguery from both sides on this issue, it was refreshing to read Card’s take. Unlike the demagogues, Card accurately explains ID in a rational manner. Card then lists the most common arguments against ID and discusses each issue.

For the first two-thirds of the article, I thought Card was writing as an ID apologetic. He lambastes the anti-ID arguments as the epitome of unscientific dogmatism. He takes on Darwinism (but not evolution) with great zeal and accurately describes the problems with it. He notes that new scientific knowledge shows that Darwinism is simply inadequate to explain biological complexity. Card reveres Darwin’s research, but points out that not all of his conclusions can still be held to be valid. He says that Darwin helped show the way, just as Columbus showed the way to the New World, but that just as Columbus arrived at erroneous conclusions, so did Darwin.

But then Card turns around and accurately describes the problems with ID. Card doesn’t have a problem with the science behind ID, just as he has no problem with the science behind Darwinism, but he does have a problem with IDers making the unscientific leap from pointing out problems with Darwin to boldly stating that the only possible solution to the puzzle is an intelligent designer of some sort.

The science behind ID brings to light new questions and demonstrates the inadequacy of Darwin. But both Darwinists and IDers have the same problem. The conclusions they draw from their observations do not withstand scientific scrutiny. They are not the only possible answers to the observations. One side claims that science proves there is no God, while the other side claims the opposite. But neither side has devised a scientific test that proves or disproves their conclusions. Card says that what we have here is a religious squabble – a battle of faith rather than a battle of science.

Card slams demagoguery and unscientific arguments on both sides of this issue. He argues that “real science” is open to inquiry. It regularly challenges established theories. It asks questions and seeks scientific ways to adequately answer them. It accepts and incorporates whatever answers result. But real science does not ignore observations and it does not dogmatically adhere to theories proven to be inadequate. Card says, “If both sides would behave like scientists, there wouldn't even be a controversy…” He tells us what he thinks ought to happen:
“In fact, what every school board in this country should decide is to ignore both sides' demands that the schools teach their faith, and allow the public schools to perform their public service: educating children in our shared culture, including what we have learned through the scientific method.”

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