I’m ambivalent to the question whether ID is or is not science. I don’t care how it is classified. The more important question is whether it is true. Even though in some people’s definition of science, ID might count as science, in other people’s definition of science it won’t count as science. Therefore, just to be safe and avoid pointless arguments, ID should not be promoted as science even by IDists.
Certainly IDists use scientific findings to advocate their assertions, but that doesn’t make ID science any more than a police investigator using science makes the police investigator a scientist.
What I view as representative scientific disciplines of investigation:
1. applied and theoretical electro magnetic theory
2. quantum chemistry
3. thermodynamics for heating and air conditioners and nuclear reactors
4. celestial mechanics
These involve hypotheses, predictions and experiments. ID does not have direct experiments because the mechanism (the Designer), even if He exists, usually chooses not to show up in such experiments.
Not every truth claim about the physical universe is accessible to science. I claim Socrates was a real person as Plato described, however, we only have Plato’s testimony to rely on. Even if Socrates was a real person, and even if there is credible evidence to that effect, such questions about the physical universe are outside science.
If the design of life came about by mechanisms outside those that can be demonstrated in laboratory experiment and are outside physical laws of chemistry and physics, then even if ID were true, ID might not be properly called science. Therefore I think ID should not be promoted as science.
ID is hypothesis, a claim about the physical universe.
This is my view:
Perhaps, however, one just really does not want to call intelligent design a scientific theory. Perhaps one prefers the designation “quasi-scientific historical speculation with strong metaphysical overtones.” Fine. Call it what you will, provided the same appellation is applied to other forms of inquiry that have the same methodological and logical character and limitations. In particular, make sure both design and descent are called “quasi-scientific historical speculation with strong metaphysical overtones.”
This may seem all very pointless, but that in a way is just the point. As Laudan has argued, the question whether a theory is scientific is really a red herring. What we want to know is not whether a theory is scientific but whether a theory is true or false, well confirmed or not, worthy of our belief or not.
Does it really help IDists to claim they have a “Positive case for ID” and that “ID is science”? When I’ve witnessed debates on the topics, the IDists have lost. Why? They get bogged down in arguments over definitions rather than delivering discussions about the computer-like, well-engineered systems within biology and why such systems must transcend laws of physics and chemistry as a matter of principle. Therefore, ID should not be promoted as science.
With respect to the public school science issue:
I’ll wager a bottle of single-malt scotch, should it ever go to trial whether ID may legitimately be taught in public school science curricula, that ID will pass all constitutional hurdles.
Being an advantage player, I should have taken that wager. I’d certainly like to upgrade my collection of scotch whiskey’s to be more like Richard Hughes’.