This kind of discussion is getting to be dull: it seemed relevant a generation ago, but now both sides have lost the argument. But the result trends toward science, nonetheless. However, science has failed via Darwinism and the result is it now confronts a group on the religious right that can point to their methodological errors and the pseudo-science of Darwinism. How on earth did a science culture that put a man on the moon allow that to happen? Fred Hoyle clearly blew the whistle here, long ago. Watch out, natural selection can never be right. Drop it. But he was ignored and sadly many otherwise very intelligent physicists toe the line on natural selection. That’s very destructive to science education. The issue of evolution should be simple: we see it as a process in deep time but its mechanism is not clear. That is because we suspect increasingly that evolution is not a subject that resolves to basic science. It is closer to cosmology and deals with life on planets. And it seems to evoke the issues of ‘fine tuning’. It is easy to exploit such concepts but we can take them or leave them: the point is that evolution confuses us: it has a clear aspect that connects to biochemistry but that can be misleading. There is something at a higher level that we don’t even see as yet and which is connected to a more general process of the evolutionary as a kind of macro process to the micro of biochemistry and dna. In other words, something we can’t do yet. It is not wrong to admit ignorance! To have invented the natural selection mythology and then let that become an ideology for social conformity is reprehensible and will become a permanent black mark on the reputation of science. Scientists are not necessarily to be trusted. They will deceive to promote an ideology, etc, etc… The current pandemic shows the danger: the public needs to trust the science and consider the issues of epidemiology from experts. But multiple generations of the Darwin paradigm have left many wary of science and its claims. In part that is also the abuse of science in military technology, economic propaganda, and capitalist exploitation of the environment. It is hard to find worse morons than the experts in such fields. In economic theory the highest branches of mathematics are used to promote theory idiocy. And it works experts are produced the illusion of science. In the case of evolution we suspect an ideology of social darwinism at work. To be fair we can’t imagaine the mechanism of evolution. It is something still beyond our ken. The issue is perplexing. Biologists would have done better to have admitted their ignorance and made evolution an open field.
The confusion is almost beyond repair, we fear. But the crisis has been exposed in biology itself. But nota bene, you dare no trust biologists on evolution. But once they have a captive student caught in the exam/degree system, ideological conformity is easy to enforce.
And the ID group has helped here with many resources. But the basic issue of ‘intelligent’ design lingers as a lost cause. We should be fair, the issue of design is tricky. Biochemical machines almost beg for the designation, ‘intelligent’. But if you believe in ‘god’ you will probably never get it straight. Natural selection was pseudo-science but now we confront a dubious projection of the issues of ‘design’ given a creationist innuendo as intelligent. In and of itself the question of design should be simple: we see design in nature and design is naturalistic. But to call that ‘intelligent’ has backfired. You must specify what you mean and not let the innuendo of religion lurk in the background. Perhaps in the era of artificial intelligence the issue might clarify once we see basically mechanical software perform in a way that seems intelligent.
To me, ‘intelligence’ in nature is obvious, but it is also a stretch of the terminology that I for one can disregard as implying no animistic implications. But I would be wary of public usage here. We can see the danger in the original saga of intelligent design: the Old Testament is tale the ultimate intelligent designer. But if we look closely the whole subject of theology here is a huge mistake, a blunder. Yahweh is a stupid god and no intelligent designer! The Bible shows the way a theistic myth gets out of control and ceases to make any sense and ends up as superstition. I see no reason to deny ‘design’ the predicate ‘intelligent’ if we can remember that we are not talking about god, but in practice that is impossible. The whole field of biology is a hopeless muddle, twice over, between the Darwinists and the religious design groups.
To speak of intelligent design you must first renounce religious assumptions in biology but that is precisely what the religious biologists cannot do. The whole field is a wasteland at this point.
It is useless to say science and religion can coexist. It just won’t work. ID is cogent critique but bad science, and Darwinism takes up useful biology but grossly incorrect theory.
To handshake between the two is useless.
In general theistic religion based on faith is doomed to failure a slow death of a clever deception. Meanwhile scientists are hoping the blot against their reputation will be taken off the record. Too bad, the scientist is marked for life for a dishonest episode of its youth.
John Lennox gets to the heart of a great question by challenging Richard Dawkins on the assumption that science and faith cannot coexist.