Sunday, May 15, 2005

Fake ID

Intelligent design” gives me headaches. Of course, ID is a cleverly-conceived stalking horse for dismantling science-based school curricula. But the deeper threat is the confusion it sows about what science is. The further we move into the technological age, the more bewildered and addled people are getting about how things work. Not good.

Anyone can look at a scientific theory and find problems with it, then come up with explanations, fanciful or not, that purport to explain/resolve those problems. This is what ID does, on the grandest possible scale. But such explanations are untestable - they can never be proven or disproven via evidence or experiment. (If the End Times kick off tomorrow, I’ll retract this statement.) They are a matter of faith, and their strength in the public sphere depends on their political support or cultural resonance.

If something is not science, it’s not a valid critique of science. Accepting it as such undermines the whole scientific edifice. Which of course is what many of the ID folks have in mind.