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“The State of Scientific Research on Intelligent Design”

It has been almost 18 years since the Discovery Institute was founded and over a decade since Darwin’s Black Box was published. In DBB Behe says that ID proponents will look rather foolish if they fail to produce a research programme of their own. But since then, nothing.

I came across this article by Bruce Chapman (courtesy a link from Kristine, the Amused Muse). In it, Chapman says:

I keep getting asked about the scientific research projects underway that relate to Darwinism and intelligent design. So why aren’t we talking more about them publicly? For several good reasons:

The most important is that the Darwinist establishment would like nothing better than to “out” research programs before they are finished. The idea is to shut down damaging evidence as early as possible. Strangle the infant in the crib. Demand answers now to questions still being explored.

What’s interesting about this is that Chapman misrepresents how science works. I, for one, would be very interested in anyone doing research into intelligent design, primarily because I can’t see how such a thing is possible. And unlike the IDist, who often appear to be saying “if I can’t imagine it, it must be false”, when someone claims to have a solution that I can’t envision I want to know more, I want to understand how it can be done.

Designing a research methodology which actually allows the investigation of ID would be a great achievement. It would be a landmark in the philosophy of science. In order for anyone to be able to do research into intelligent design, they need to have built the appropriate basis. If they have done so, then why is it a secret? I don’t see how a major expansion of the scientific method would be greeted with anything but enthusiasm. On the other hand, if they haven’t made such a breakthrough, how are they able to do any research into intelligent design?

Chapman goes on to say

As for foes and critics who pester us for information about research now underway and who insinuate that, unless we oblige them, we must accept their opinion that such research is not happening, we owe them nothing. Since when does a scientist have to “report” on his work to the public before he is ready? The opposite is almost always the case.

It’s false to say “we owe them nothing”. The ID movement has waged a war on science for two decades. They have demanded a place at the table in discussions about how science is taught. They have done everything they can to make the lives of science educators difficult. They have hurt science education in the US. They have been a major part of the right-wing war on science. They owe an awful lot to their “foes and critics”.

And no, it isn’t true that scientists are expected to say nothing about their work “until they are ready”. Funding agencies require progress reports. Departments require progress reports. People report on work in progress in seminars and talks all the time.

Chapman ends by saying

We know of a lot that is happening, and it’s exciting. As for the rest, we’ll report it when it’s ready, not before.

Of course, this was October 2006. Ten years after DBB. Will they have anything to show ten years hence?


One Response

  1. Do they lave labs anywhere? Microscopes? Qiagen kits? 50 ml conicals?

    For some strange reason, I just have this feeling, that their ‘research’ is the same ‘research’ theyve always had: ‘math’, and pubjacking.

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