Science, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

Introduction
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

Section 4: Why Intelligent Design is not Science

 

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.
  • Intelligent design is based on the scientific method3: Intelligent design might base its ideas on observations in the natural world, but it does not test them in the natural world, or attempt to develop mechanisms (such as natural selection) to explain their observations4.
  • 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.

 

Suggested Resources

Responding to Intelligent Design