Does “Intelligent Design” Qualify As a Scientific Theory?


Ankerberg: Stephen, what we want to talk about
now is the objections to Intelligent Design and one of the first ones that comes up all
the time, is some object by saying Intelligent Design does not qualify as science. What about
that? Meyer: Well, that’s essentially an attempt
to classify the argument or the theory. The people want to say is it science, is it religion,
is it philosophy, is it history? Well, my response to that first of all is it really
doesn’t matter what it is, how you classify the theory or an idea, what we want to know
about an idea is whether or not it’s true. And I made a case that there’s strong evidence
for Intelligent Design, however you classify it. But secondly, I would say there’s every
good reason to classify it as a scientific theory, in particular a historical scientific
theory about what happened in the past, about what caused life to arise, and the reason
I would say that is that in making my case for Intelligent Design, I use a standard,
historical, scientific method, in fact, the very method of scientific reasoning that Darwin
himself used in the origin of species. The method had a name, it’s called “the method
of multiple competing hypotheses” or “the method of inferring to the best explanation”,
and Darwin used that. And the method works like this, you propose,
there’s something you want to explain, in the past, you propose a number of competing
causes, you evaluate each one against our experience to see which one best explains
the evidence and then you infer that cause which would best explain the evidence. That’s
exactly the method I used in making the case for Intelligent Design, based on the presence
of information in DNA. As I examined different methods or different possible causal explanations,
I found there was only one cause that was known to produce the effect in question, namely
digital code or information and that cause is intelligence.
So, I used Darwin’s method of scientific reasoning to come to a non-Darwinian conclusion.
But what follows from that is that if my method of reasoning, if my way for making the case
for Intelligent Design is unscientific, then Darwin’s way of making the case for his
theory in the origin of species is unscientific as well. I don’t think anyone really wants
to say that, which is another way of saying that maybe these definitional questions don’t
really matter, but to the extent they do Intelligent Design has every bit as much claim on being
as scientific as its evolutionary competitors.

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