Rebuke of Inflated Claims Concerning Origin of Life
Intelligent Design (ID) theory is the view that living things have the appearance of being designed because they are, in fact, designed by an intelligent mind(s). Who (or what) that mind is, is something that ID is agnostic about. The designer could be the Christian God but it could also be the god of some other religion or even an extraterrestrial life form. Despite this, many critics of ID regard it as a religious attempt to “hijack” science. Many of these same people are also unwilling to acknowledge that ID has any evidence going for it, including evidence from the origin of life.
James Shapiro is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago. He is also a critic of ID and wrote a blog article titled, “What Is the Best Way to Deal With Supernaturalists in Science and Evolution?” The following excerpt from his article provides some telling comments for those who criticize ID with exaggerated claims.
Rather than accept that evolution science is always a tentative work in progress, conventional evolutionists make absolutist statements like ‘all the facts are on my side.’ Making obviously inflated and unrealistic assertions is hardly likely to convince anyone who has serious questions.
What is the alternative?
...In order to be truthful, we must acknowledge that certain questions, like the origins of the first living cells, currently have no credible scientific answer.
Shapiro goes on to state his confidence that one day the question of life’s origin will be solved by a plausible scientific theory. And perhaps Shapiro’s confidence is well placed, but perhaps it isn’t. There may not be any plausible scientific theory because the first replicating cell did not, actually, come into existence through the blind forces of nature. Unless (or “until”) science provides such a plausible theory, ID remains a rational and defensible position. And given the rationality of the ID position, it is entirely possible that the designer is, in fact, the Christian God.
James Shapiro, “What Is the Best Way to Deal With Supernaturalists in Science and Evolution?,” HuffPost, June 16, 2012, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/evolution-debate_b_1425133.