Competing Strategies for Debunking Intelligent Design
So I have been checking out different blogs on scienceblogs.com recently, and there really seems to be a serious groundswell of attention and thought concerning the debunking of ID/Creationism relating to the Ben Stein movie Expelled. While the movie serves as a big screen propaganda piece about the ludicrous claim that the mainstream science community is unnecessarily rejecting Intelligent Design, there is a very real discussion between scientists as to the crafting of an ideal strategy of effectively debunking this unfalsifiable and patently wrong psuedo-hypothesis.
The idea brought up by Steven Novella of neurologicalblog's view is basically that ID should be refuted due to the fact "The primary scientific criticism of ID is that it is not a legitimate scientific theory, but rather a transparent attempt at recasting religious faith (creationism) in scientific-sounding jargon. But ID lacks the minimal criteria to be considered science."
Jason Rosenhouse of evolutionblog believes that while Steven Novella's idea is in fact true, the debunking of ID resides with the fact that "The primary scientific criticism of ID is that the specific assertions made by ID folks, about irreducible complexity, complex specified information, the alleged holes in evolutionary science, and so on, are universally false. That's why scientists reject ID." In other words ID is should be debunked because it is in fact wrong about the claims it makes, and we should pick apart each nugget of info they state to dissect and destroy the ridiculous assertions being made.
While each blogger makes fairly compelling arguments on their own behalf, I believe this is definitely one of those issues that has to be fought on many different fronts at once, each argument against ID being specifically tailored to the particular situation at hand. I was talking about the Expelled controversy with someone yesterday who didn't really know hardly anything about the situation(ID/Creationism in schools, the unethical filmmakers and their expulsions of PZ Meyers and other nonadherents to ID, etc) and found that it was such a complex issue to describe and explain. This got me thinking about formulating an effective way of easily revealing the simple problems with ID.
One of the blog comments I found particulary elucidating was this of Joe Shelby:
"I think there's the 2 sides of ID and each here (Jason and the first commenter) is addressing their own.
ID side 1 - evolution is false because of (insert creationist claim here). this really translates to "the scientific claims made by ID are false" is the exclusive position that should be taken in higher education academia and the media.
ID side 2 - ID postulates that the problems pointed out with evolution in side 1 above (never mind that they've been proven false and were proven false long before Darwin) can be resolved by acknowledging the actions of some intelligent designer (but we're not going to say who, how, or why). This is the "unscientific" part, the back door to get their religious indoctrination into public schools. This is where their "you're not letting us be science because of your materialistic philosophical definition of science that intentionally denies God exists" at the heart of the Wedge document comes into play.
So yes, there's truth on both sides of the anti-ID argument. And (yes, that framing thing) the right one needs to be used at the right time. science doesn't need to address ID because 1) the claims made by ID on evolutions flaws are false (ID is bad science), and 2) the postulates assumed by ID to explain those claims rely on some supernatural entity (ID postulates a scientifically unsupportable tenant).
its up to the context of each anti-ID writing, or really the specific claim of the ID supporter being reacted to, that the author decides which of the two points is the more important.
when dealing with science in the public media, ID is proposing claims easily shown to be false.
when dealing with science education in public schools, ID is proposing a religious entity as an alternative to the accepted scientific explanations, which is unconstitutional. oh, and its bad science, too.
both are fully legitimate "primary scientific criticisms" against ID."
Anyways, I guess I would just like to know what you think is the best way of explaining and debunking ID to people?
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Yoda