Friday, March 04, 2005

Common ground, or mere equivocation?

Patriot-News (Hat tip: Christianity Today Weblog):

Walczak persisted: 'It's not to say it's not metaphysically correct, but it's not science. There's not a single university teaching intelligent design in its science curriculum."

I might be seeing the faintest glimmer of hope for finding some common ground in the origins controversies. The first sentence is compatible with my own position, which is that ID is not a scientifically testable hypothesis but is a valid philosophical inference from the scientific data at hand.

The problem is when ID is juxtaposed with a concept of "evolution" which in effect denies that any intelligence was involved in the origin of species; the latter position is given the mantle of "science" (as it is in this debate) even though the denial of intelligent involvement is also not scientifically testable and is logically impossible to prove. What we currently have in academia (and schools) is an unlevel playing field where one untestable hypothesis is taught as fact and the opposing untestable hypothesis is barred from discussion.

On the other hand, the above statement from the ALCU lawyer might simply be a repackaging of the old chestnut that "creationism" (which ID opponents keep calling it so they don't have to deal with it on its own perits) can be taught in comparative religion classes. This is the functional equivalent of saying that it may be taught in underwater basket weaving classes, since neither exist in most schools. It also ignores the fact that the denial of ID is taught in science classes.

(And this can't be repeated too often: Intelligent Design is not creation science!!! It is dishonest for anyone to keep saying otherwise.)

Given that the ACLU layer was upholding the current paradigm of evolution-as-denial-of-ID, I suspect that what looks like possible common ground was just an attempt to sound more reasonable while defending suppression of dissent.