Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Few Visits From The Clue Fairy, And....

...the contributors to First Things are chastened about their being wedded to Intelligent Design.

So, if Intelligent Design is not science but still not religion, is Kitzmiller rightly decided? I think so. Like Cardinal Schönborn, I think it is unhelpful to get philosophy mixed up with science. Philosophy should take the results of science as given, as data from which philosophical speculation begins. As Quine wisely said, “No inquiry being possible without some conceptual scheme, we may as well retain and use the best one we know—right down to the latest detail of quantum mechanics, if we know it and it matters.” We ought not inject a philosophical argument into a science class; this is bad epistemology, and it is likely to create confusion. Moreover, scientists are generally as incompetent at philosophy as philosophers are at science. Regardless of how we ought to understand the establishment clause, Intelligent Design does not belong in high-school biology classrooms.

It's flattering ID to call it philosophy or metaphysics, of course. But I'm grateful for this distancing, however tardy, of my namesake journal from that giant humbug.

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