Encouraging ID Research

Via Pharyngula, we have news of a new online poll at Baylor University asking

How should Baylor approach intelligent design research?

  • Encourage it
  • Discourage it
  • Prohibit it
  • Support it

Here’s why I would vote for Option Number 1.

Yes, I think Baylor should support ID research. Baylor is a conservative Christian (Baptist) school, but it has demonstrated a certain commitment to scientific integrity in the way they objected to some of the shenanigans Dembski tried to pull when he was there. This puts Baylor in a unique position of authority from which to declare that ID’ers ought to get off their duffs and finally start doing some research goddammit!

Actual research would do two things for ID. Number one, it would lend some legitimacy to ID’s claims to be in some way scientific. But more importantly, actual research would only document the fact that ID is not, in fact, a valid scientific conclusion. Leading ID proponents know this, which is why they’ve studiously avoided performing any actual research thus far. The closest any ID’er has come to doing actual research was Jonathan Wells’ ill-fated attempt to predict, based on ID, that centrioles would function as microscopic turbines to create Polar Ejection Force–a claim that has since been disproven.

So Baylor should encourage ID to begin doing some actual research. What they should not do is to support ID’s current habit of presenting their conclusions as scientific in the absence of any verifiable supporting research.

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