Thursday, November 17, 2005
Bringing Intelligence to Intelligent Design
The Big Problem that I have with Intelligent Design (the Lesser Problems, of course, are legion), is the claim (from the I.D. Cadre) that Intelligent Design is simply another "breakout" idea that expands the horizons of science, much like, say, the Copernican Theory of the Solar System, or the Special Theory of Relativity. It's The Big Problem because Copernicus and Einstein proposed their ideas to account for observed facts. The I.D. Crowd, on the other hand, started with the conclusion they wanted to arrive at, and are now scratching and pecking for facts to lead them there. It's the scientific process played backwards.
That said, there's a simple idea that could bring Intelligent Design into the fold of Real Science. I can't imagine why it isn't more widely discussed. It's obvious, it would give I.D. legitimacy, and it would profoundly transform and enrich the I.D. landscape. Why hasn't it become the I.D. centerpiece? Intelligent Design can be morphed from crackpot to cutting edge with just a single word:
Yes, aliens. If there are gaps in the evolutionary process that can only be explained by the interference of intelligent beings, aliens should certainly come first to mind. And aliens are legitimate science. Many eminent scientists believe that other intelligent races are likely. We know of no scientific reason that they couldn't have visited Earth and tinkered with the biology here.
But wait, it gets better: Once we accept the likelihood that it was aliens who, say, invented eyeballs, that opens the door to all kinds of further legitimate scientific study. For example, the I.D. "gaps" happened at different times over billions of years. Were they all the doing of a single interfering race? Or were we visited at different times by different aliens, each with a different agenda. By studying the nature and apparent intent of each intervention we may gain clues: If all the interventions support a single consistent goal, that suggests the same aliens each time. If not, then perhaps Earth was a waystation where different groups of passing aliens wiled away the time in casual DNA experimentation -- a rest stop on a busy highway.
There's so much else to explore! I foresee new scientific journals just to publish the articles. I foresee Larry Ellison endowing a chair at Stanford. Viva aliens!
As a footnote, I should mention that Francis Crick, half of Watson and Crick and certainly a highly respected scientist, suggested that the young and barren Earth might have been seeded with life by an alien race, so no can say alien intervention isn't a legitimate idea.
Viva intelligent, designing aliens!