Speaking on ID

Tomorrow, I give one of my occasional talks about Intelligent Design, in Columbia, MO. I stay away from religious questions at such events, unless someone in the audience explicitly brings one up. Evolution and ID are not religiously neutral topics, but whether Darwinian evolution succeeds as a scientific explanation and what this implies about the gods are different questions.

Most scientists and science educators would agree with this approach. After all, the primary reasons for resistance to evolution are religious, and the best way to dampen opposition to evolution is not to play into anxieties that accepting evolution will turn you into a godless infidel.

But then, I also have to wonder how my audience reacts to what I say when criticizing ID, especially if it’s a public event. If how people react is heavily dependent on what they perceive as the religious implications of what I say, where does that leave me? Should I worry that what a good number of people hear will be quite different than what I intend to say, because I do not really understand the context in which they interpret my words?

I really don’t know. And since I don’t know, I’ll go ahead and speak the way I am accustomed to. But when I think about it, this bothers me.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    “Evolution and ID are not religiously neutral topics, but whether Darwinian evolution succeeds as a scientific explanation and what this implies about the gods are different questions.”

    This may be a bit oversimple, but the first question is a scientific question, and the second is a philosophical question (although Dawkins would disagree with me on this).

    To the extent that we can categorize the questions this way, it makes sense to keep the questions separate, or at least to emphasize that when you comment on the second question you are no longer speaking as a scientist, but as a philosopher.

    Some people will immediately conclude that “Since the 2nd question is a philosophical issue, any opinion on it is valid”. I object to such subjectivism, but at least it recognizes the importance of dealing with alternative points of view (i.e. worldviews) when considering the second question.


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