My latest post over at Right Reason in response to Ed Darrell, a science teacher, on whether Intelligent Design is science:
You ask me, “Can you propose a test of science that you think ID can pass?” My answer to that question is, I don’t need to, because I have not made the claim that ID is science. I don’t know whether it is or not, and am not sure it matters a great deal, except to people who think science is the only legitimate form of inquiry. But I am curious, as a cultural observer, about the enthusiasm with which the scientific establishment has attacked ID, an enthusiasm that results in reckless assertions about what science is and isn’t that bring even theories well within its own domain into question.
You, on the other hand, have made the dogmatic claim ID is not science. Yet you have yet to produce a definition of science that excludes ID that does not at the same time exclude positions such as string theory which—whatever their actual scientific merit—are quite clearly scientific theories. In past posts you have produced several, none of which you wish to stick to when push comes to shove. As soon as it is pointed out that one criterion would exclude some commonly acknowledge scientific theory, you move on to another, and the cycle repeats itself, World Without End, Amen.
You also, I think, drastically overstate your case when you make assertions about ID such as that “there is no theory”, that “no one works in the field”, and that “there is no scientific insight.” The second one is demonstrably false, the other two are highly suspect subjective judgments.
This is coupled with an overstatement of the merits of string theory. You claim that it is “based in real observations”, yet the debate within the scientific community over string theory is centered on the very fact that it is NOT based on real observations, and because of this there are no “experimental paths” (your words)—not even any conceivable “experimental paths” that are not fairly ludicrous (see Perseus’ last post).
I’m not saying ID is science. I’m saying that, based on what scientist themselves say about string theory, that IF string theory is science, THEN ID is science—by the same criteria. I am not making a categorical assertion; I am making a condition hypothetical assertion. You keep disputing this assertion, but you cannot produce any one criterion by which ID is excluded and string theory is not. You have not produced any criterion (any one you will stick to anyway) that would result in the consequent of my conditional assertion false when the antecedent is true.
And until you can, my assertion stands.
You also ask, “Other than string theory, is there any science that comes close to being as completely vaporous as ID?” I addressed this in an earlier post when I cited Martin Gardner’s observation that atomic and molecular theory were once in the same position as string theory is now. I suppose it was fair then (as it is fair now in the case of string theory) to criticize these theories as being bad science. And, apparently, that is exactly what happened. But I have never heard that anyone said that it wasn’t science at all. My understanding (limited as it is) is that quantum mechanics was also in such a state in its early development.
These theories have since panned out—to a greater or lesser extent. But that doesn’t mean their early status excluded them from being science altogether, which is what you are saying about ID.
Finally, you have criticized ID for the lack of papers published in scientific journals. I always find this criticism highly amusing. On the one hand, say its critics, ID isn’t science. And one of the reasons it isn’t science is that it has published so little in scientific journals. But when an editor does allow the publication of an ID article in a scientific journal, he is professionally and personally vilified because he published an article on ID, when (as everyone knows) ID is not science. I’m referring to the Richard Sternburg case, of course—after which, no editor who values his professional reputation is going touch a pro-ID article with a ten-foot pole.
ID is not science because its papers don’t get published in scientific journals; and its papers don't get published in scientific journals because it isn’t science. They’ve got ID coming and they’ve got it going.