Intelligent design is not science

May 20, 2008 

The film "Expelled," which complains that "intelligent design" is wrongfully excluded from scientific inquiry, is purposefully misleading.

The film avoids the central issue: That "intelligent design" is not a scientific theory. Scientific theories are, by definition, subject to either confirmation or denial by experiment; "intelligent design" is not. It is a theological concept and, as such, might usefully be examined in an appropriate academic setting. But as theology, it is not a viable scientific alternative to evolutionary theory and has no place in science laboratories or classrooms. Saying this is neither contrary to academic freedom (which the film raises as a diversion) nor narrow-minded.

"Expelled" also suggests that Darwinism is immoral. California State University, Stanislaus, Professor Richard Weikart, who appears in it, correctly argues that Adolf Hitler used Darwinian theory to legitimate his reprehensible policies. But the film misuses Weikart's research by mistakenly implying that Darwin led inevitably to Hitler. In fact, scientific theories, even those like Darwin's that address organic life, are morally neutral. Condemning Hitler does not necessitate condemning Darwinism any more than condemning biological weapons necessitates condemning the germ theory of disease.


professor of history, CSUS


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