How to Topple the Theory of Evolution
Don't Poke Holes in Evolution
I touched on this topic in a previous post (linked at bottom), but evolution and intelligent design are not mutually exclusive. Evolution could be disproved and that wouldn't make intelligent design any stronger an explanation. The same vice versa. It is also possible they could both be wrong (this is all from a logical standpoint; I have more from a realistic viewpoint below).
How Is Intelligent Design a Better Explanation than Evolution?
Unfortunately, any discussion between evolution and intelligent design pits the two viewpoints against each other, suggesting both have supporters and detractors, proponents and opponents, experts and critics–that the views are in some same hemisphere of intellectual inquiry, equivalent in validity and acceptance, both with their share of merit and deficiencies. In truth, evolution is as far a superior idea to intelligent design as the spherical earth versus flat earth debate.
Intelligent Design does not provide a specific explanation–only a generic, general one
The entire premise of intelligent design is that some intelligence outside our cosmos, created it. Unfortunately, this doesn't provide a specific explanation of how anything happened, only that it did because some intelligence wanted it (though technically we don't even know the intelligence wanted it, as that implies desire and personality).
Credit to Matt Dillahunty for this descriptor: intelligent design is best summarized as a "panacea," a cure-all, an answer or solution for all problems. Anything mysterious in the universe can be explained by "god did it," etc. This doesn't actually answer the big questions of why something happened and how.
Intelligent Design does not have predictive power
In order for a scientific theory to be a theory, it answers the question, "Why?" Additionally, it creates the framework for predicting what happens in the natural world. A theory cannot merely describe that which is observed: that's called a "fact." Intelligent design does not make predictions about the natural world. Evolution can predict natural selection and the survival of some species in the face of an outside predator or influencing factor.
The Scientific Method
In order to better understand the reasons for why evolution surpasses intelligent design, one has to understand the scientific method.
Note: Source for the following materials is from this video on YouTube.
- Fact: observation about the world around us. This is something that can (usually) be universally accepted based on observation, summarized in digestible description.
- E.g. "It is sunny outside."
- Hypothesis: a proposed explanation for a phenomenon made as a starting point for further investigation. Hypotheses are tested and do not necessarily become a theory, law, fact, etc.; they really just become a possible explanation for something.
- E.g. "It is sunny because the sun is out."
- Another false hypothesis: "It is sunny because the gremlins mined rubies last night."
- Theory: a well-substantiated explanation acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation.
- A theory provides description about the way things are and will be.
- In normal everyday conversation, when someone proposes a theory (I theorize the moon is round), their proposition is actually a hypothesis.
- A theory has countless experiments that have shown it is sufficient to explain all the observations it encompasses.
- Law: a detailed description, usually using math, describing how something happens.
- A law does not, however, tell us why it happens.
- Gravity, for example, is a law and a theory.
For this reason, evolution becomes incredibly hard to displace. It's a rigorously tested and verified theory over many generations and experiments in a variety of fields and has withstood such scrutiny. Intelligent design is not in the same league of examination and study.