Science, Evolution, and Intelligent Design
UCS Statement on Science, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (html) (pdf)
Section 1: Science as a Way of Knowing
Section 2: Science and Society
Section 3: Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design
Section 4: Why Intelligent Design is not Science
Section 5: Science Education and Intelligent Design
Section 6: Fairness and Balance in the Classroom and Beyond
The intelligent design movement is exceptionally good at creating false controversies and misconceptions. Yet their basic claims are easily debunked.
There is scientific controversy over evolution: There is no debate about evolution among the vast majority of scientists, and no credible alternative scientific theory exists. Debates within the community are about specific mechanisms within evolution, not whether evolution occurred.
Structures found in nature are too complex to have evolved step-by-step through natural selection [the concept of "irreducible complexity"1]: Natural selection does not require that all structures have the same function or even need to be functional at each step in the development of an organism.
Intelligent design is a scientific theory2: A scientific theory is supported by extensive research and repeated experimentation and observation in the natural world. Unlike a true scientific theory, the existence of an “intelligent” agent can not be tested, nor is it falsifiable.
Most scientists are atheists5 and believe only in the material world: Such accusations are neither fair nor true. The scientific method is limited to using evidence from the natural world to explain phenomena. It does not preclude the existence of God or other spiritual beliefs and only states that they are not part of science. Belief in a higher being is a personal, not a scientific, question.
Responding to Intelligent Design
- “Intelligent Design? A special report reprinted from Natural History Magazine” - A nicely laid out report that presents a position statement by an intelligent design proponent followed by a rebuttal from a pro-evolution proponent. Includes many of the key players in the debate.
- “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense” - July 2002 article published in Scientific American by editor-in-chief John Rennie. (see rebuttal by Johnson and Harrab “15 Answers to John Rennie and Scientific American’s Nonsense”)
- “The Flagellum Unspun: The Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity” by Kenneth R. Miller, professor, department of molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry, Brown University, 2004. A pre-publication article with a good explanation of why the Intelligent Design argument of irreducible complexity is not supported by science. (See response to Miller by William A. Dembski.)