Intelligent Design holds that the universe and its living things are not simply the product of random chance; an intelligent cause is behind their existence. Intelligent Design does not conflict with Darwinism’s belief in evolution that living organisms will change over time. It does run counter to the new school of Darwinism that holds random selection drives evolution. Chance mutations occur without reason. Intelligent Design challenges this direction head-on based upon its belief that changes occur due to a reason. ~Paul J. Weyrich (courtesy of Orthodoxy Today)
What Mr. Weyrich should have said was that in random selection “chance mutations occur without a demonstrable reason.” All that ID tells us is that there are complex structures and then infers that, because most complex structures we know are the product of intentional design, all complex structures owe their structure, origin and development to a Designer. It does not actually explain anything more about the processes of mutation and selection–it presupposes them, and then covers them with some philosophical frosting. He does have it right when he says that ID challenges neo-Darwinism “based on its belief that changes occur due to a reason.” ID is just that–a belief, a philosophical claim, reasonable enough in a certain sense but not a scientific hypothesis. Unlike philosophical claims, which are never definitely confirmed or rejected, a scientific hypothesis can be repeatedly tested and found to be true true or false.
I happen to agree with the argument from design as a philosophical argument. It seems reasonable to me that there is a general orderliness to the laws of nature, which the practise of science assumes, and this orderliness tends to suggest that the universe has been arranged and well-arranged by an Intellect. But this is not proveable or demonstrable in the way that the acceleration of gravity can be demonstrated to be 9.8 m per second squared. The claim is just simply not scientific. There is nothing inherent in complexity and structure in nature that compels conviction that evolution is guided and directed. This should not scandalise Christians, even though some have become so enamoured of the possibilities of natural theology that they forget that our God is a hidden and mysterious God.
Physicists tend to see patterns of order as evidence that strengthens belief in an Author of the universe, whereas biologists find random mutation so unguided and without apparent purpose that it is much more difficult for them to accept a sovereign Deity. What ID theorists would like to do is affirm that there is a purpose to random mutations, as indeed I think there is, but that affirmation is not an affirmation derived from scientific study nor can it be repeatedly demonstrated nor proved by experiment. There seems to be a muddling of reasons why things change and happen–their purpose–and their material causes.
ID simply lacks everything, including scientific method, that would pass muster as science. Citing the Discovery Institute, the headquarters of the ID-as-science fraud, does not inspire confidence in Mr. Weyrich’s argument. Mr. Weyrich is right to note, as I have done before, that ID is really as far from creationism as East is from West, but that does not make ID more scientific.