I caught the tail end of a segment in BBC Two's News Night wherein the host Jeremy Paxman was moderating a discussion between Intelligent Design proponent Professor Andy Mcintosh and Darwinist Professor Lewis Wolpert. And as usual, I think the media has no clue what ID is all about. Neither, I suspect, do Darwinists based on that discussion. Professor Wolpert spent the interview (the part I caught) chanting the Darwinist mantra "ID is just religion" while moderator Jeremy Paxman kept asking Professor Mcintosh, "But who is the designer?"
On the News Night website, they called Truth in Science, the organization that Prof. Mcintosh represents, a Creationist group. I don't know how accurate that is. From what I caught of the interview, TIS isnt a Creationist group but an ID group. The two are different, and this is what the media doesnt seem to get. Creationism is based on a literal interpretation of Genesis (which means Creationists believe all this is created by God--a religious belief). ID is based on a scientific hypothesis based on what these scientists have observed in nature, that the complexity of life on earth could not have come from random events, that the pattern of life on earth seems to be following instructions, and where there are instructions, then there must be some intelligence behind it. That's all. Who is the designer? is not a question an ID proponent could answer scientifically since there is no evidence of the identity of this entity. It could be anybody: God, Nature, little green men, they dont know and dont profess to know. What there is evidence for is that someone did it. Just like CSI. Those forensic scientists in the TV show could look at the evidence and conclude that a death isnt random or accidental based on the evidence: someone did it. The difference of course is that in CSI, the evidence for the identity of the killer can be found. In the case of ID theory, the scientists havent found evidence of who did it. When an ID proponent says, "I believe the designer is God (or Nature, or Steve from next door)," he is making a philosophical or theological statement, not a scientific one. But anti ID people seize upon this and conflate the faith with the science. "See? He believes in God (or Steve)! Therefore ID is a religion." This is illogical and just plain stupid.
I think both sides of the debate have good arguments, but what do I know? But the fact is that when a scientific theory becomes the mainstream, it becomes intolerant of competing theories. Competing theories have to constantly prove themselves against the mainstream. I think that's a good thing. We can't blindly follow every new thing that comes along just because they sound nice or they agree with our own personal belief system. Fledgeling theories have to prove their mettle to gain acceptance. The ID people, knowing that the mainstream view controls the publications where they can gain legitimacy, have taken their case to the public, who can then decide. But they can only decide wisely if the facts are accurately reported by the media but media hasnt done its homework. Or worse, they have already taken a side in this debate.