The Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, a leading proponent of the “intelligent design” movement, and the star witness in the developing case against the school board of Dover, PA, would have us believe that the currently accepted definition of “science” is flawed and needs revision. No doubt, this is because the inconvenient definition of “science” categorically rules out so-called Intelligent Design as a viable scientific theory.
The United States National Academy of Sciences defines a scientific theory as:
…a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.
Since Intelligent Design does not deal in facts, laws, and provides no hypotheses to test, even Behe agrees that it’s not a scientific theory under this definition.
Behe instead proposes to think outside the box of 21st century science, and relax the definition a bit, to the effect of:
Under my definition, scientific theory is a proposed explanation which points to physical data and logical inferences.
The “logical inference” of Intelligent Design is essentially, “It looks complex, therefore it must be designed.” Unfortunately, neither Behe nor any of his ID colleagues have defined what is meant by “looks complex,” and all instances of “irreducible complexity” presented by ID proponents can be explained by modern evolutionary theory.
Under Behe’s definition, astrology would also be considered a science. Behe actually agreed with this when asked by the plaintiff’s attorney Eric Rothschild.
Proponents of Intelligent Design swear and cross their heart (pun intended) that their hypothesis bears no religious implications. With that in mind, I wonder what a high-school class on Intelligent Design would consist of:
TEACHER: Darwinian evolution does not explain the complexity and diversity of today’s species. An alternative is that an “Intelligent Designer” created everything we see today. Conveniently enough, the book of Genesis provides just such an explanation. Let’s begin our reading.
The day we accept miracles as scientific explanations is the day we revert to 15th century science. Hopefully the trial in Dover, PA will make a strong stand against such foolishness. The only miracle here is that Mr. Behe was ever allowed to teach a college Biology class.
Even the Christian Science Monitor makes the following refreshing and enlightened statement:
If this case encourages a deeper pondering of God, that’s welcome. One could even argue that intelligent design, as a widely accepted concept, should go much further, seeking to scientifically explore mankind’s spiritual nature rather than the origins of matter. But such exploration is a personal one, not appropriate for a public classroom. [emphasis added]