Intelligent design is not science

17th March 2006 at 00:00
Intelligent design is not science.

Proponents of intelligent design will invariably ignore, overlook or misinterpret the tenets of scientific thought which are universally accepted in the scientific community and which must be met if any field of study is to be correctly classed as a science.

TD Lenton (TES, February 24) is no exception, but as a "scientist" must be aware of the hierarchy in scientific thought.

After observation and measurement in a field of study, a hypothesis is proposed which will account for these and can be tested and used to make further predictions.

Provided such predictions continue to be successful, the hypothesis may be developed into a theory which must account for and explain these observations and must continue to do so.

The theory is the ultimate level in scientific thought but to be accepted as such it must be capable of being tested and disproved at any stage.

Intelligent design is incapable of being tested or disproved. It cannot, therefore, be classed as science.

I am a chartered physicist, a teacher and was a candidate for the Anglican ministry; there is no conflict of interest here.

I do not, as TD Lenton ludicrously suggests, like to be regarded as a god but rather see my role as trying to help children understand and appreciate some of the great wonders and mysteries in the universe.

I do not, ever, preach my faith to impressionable youngsters, so why would the supporters of intelligent design expect me or any other teacher to preach their beliefs under the thinly disguised pretext of science?

It is high time that intelligent design is recognised for what it is and any suggestion of introducing it into science syllabuses must be dismissed.

John Harrison

Hadfield Place

Glossop, Derbyshire

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