Demarcating Science

Stephen Meyer’s magisterial Darwin’s Doubt examines the Achilles heel of Darwinian theory, the “Cambrian explosion.” He makes a compelling case that the phenomena cannot be explained within a standard Darwinian account.

In the final chapters, he turns to an alternative, an ID explanation of the Cambrian explosion, in the course of which he addresses standard objections to ID’s scientific credentials. It is not scientific because it’s not testable, falsifiable, cannot make predictions, does not provide a mechanism, and so on. Ruled out of science by demarcating science, ID is dismissed.

Meyer has several responses to this, but his most penetrating is that “the materialist evolutionary theories that intelligent design challenges, theories widely regarded by convention as ‘scientific,’ fail to meet the very same demarcation standard. In other words, there is no defensible definition of science, and no specific demarcation criterion, that justifies both excluding intelligent design from science and including competing materialistic evolutionary theories. . . . . intelligent design and materialistic origins theories invariably prove equally scientific or unscientific” (390).

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