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Science and “Pseudoscience”: Frank Turek on Darwin's Doubt

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As you may recall, among the backhanded compliments in Gareth Cook's New Yorker review of Darwin's Doubt there is the characterization of Stephen Meyer's book as a "masterwork of pseudoscience." While not referencing Cook directly, Frank Turek responds eloquently to the point about ID as "pseudoscience" in a review of Darwin's Doubt at Townhall.com. Steve Meyer himself said much the same on the Michael Medved Show yesterday.

[C]ritics attempt to smear Meyer by claiming he's doing "pseudoscience" or not doing science at all.

Well, if Meyer isn't, doing science, then neither was Darwin (or any Darwinist today). Meyer is using the same forensic or historical scientific method that Darwin himself used. That's all that can be used. Since these are historical questions, a scientist can't go into the lab to repeat and observe the origin and history of life. Scientists must evaluate the clues left behind and then make an inference to the best explanation. Does our repeated experience tell us that natural mechanisms have the power to create the effects in question or is intelligence required?

Meyer writes, "Neo-Darwinism and the theory of intelligent design are not two different kinds of inquiry, as some critics have asserted. They are two different answers -- formulated using a similar logic and method of reasoning--to the same question: 'What caused biological forms and the appearance of design in the history of life?'"

The reason Darwinists and Meyer arrive at different answers is not because there's a difference in their scientific methods, but because Meyer and other Intelligent Design proponents don't limit themselves to materialistic causes. They are open to intelligent causes as well (just like archaeologists and crime scene investigators are).

So this is not a debate about evidence. Everyone is looking at the same evidence. This is a debate about how to interpret the evidence, and that involves philosophical commitments about what causes will be considered possible before looking at the evidence. If you philosophically rule out intelligent causes beforehand -- as the Darwinists do -- you will never arrive at the truth if an intelligent being actually is responsible.

Since all evidence needs to be interpreted, science doesn't actually say anything--scientists do. So if certain self-appointed priests of science say that a particular theory is outside the bounds of their own scientific dogma, that doesn't mean that the theory is false. The issue is truth -- not whether something fits a materialistic definition of science.

That is exactly right. Largely, everyone agrees on the evidence. It's the interpretation of that evidence that is the focus of the debate about Darwinian evolution. Darwin's champions arbitrarily limit the range of possible interpretations, for reasons that most cannot convincingly justify or even candidly specify.