Message Theory – A testable ID alternative to Darwinism – Part 1
|February 16, 2009||Posted by Walter ReMine under Education, Philosophy, Intelligent Design, Science, Culture, The Design of Life|
Message Theory is a testable scientific explanation of life’s major patterns.
That claim should intrigue you. If I heard such a claim, I would nearly leap across the room to demand more details; else I couldn’t sleep that night. That is because I highly value testability, just as all scientists do, (in physics, chemistry, geology, medicine, engineering, etcetera) – and just as evolutionists do in all their court cases.
Message Theory should even intrigue evolutionists, because it offers what they repeatedly demanded from their opponents – a testable, scientific alternative to evolution. Yes, that is exactly what they demanded. In reality, the evolutionists’ response has been exceedingly superficial, falling into two categories: (1) Silence; or (2) They misrepresent Message Theory. (If you are aware of exceptions, let me know.) Therefore, my posts here will not much address the evolutionists’ response to Message Theory, since a serious response doesn’t much exist.
The creationist/ID response has been more varied, and I focus on that here. Many see Message Theory as exciting and promising. For example, Origins Magazine reviewed it saying, “I can give no greater accolade than urging that this book should now be the starting point for all of our discussions.” Phillip E. Johnson calls it “Bold and fascinating … a comprehensive theory.” Carl Wieland calls it, “Masterpiece … incredible … of immense value.” Michael Behe and many others have given glowing reviews, (see this link). To which I say, Thanks! That’s a good start.
However, some creationists/ID-ists are hesitant to investigate Message Theory, and the central reason is its claim of testability – its claim to make numerous coherent, risky, predictions about what we should see, and should not see. Unfortunately, many creationists/ID-ists do not value testability, and some aggressively dislike testability. Without knowing any details about Message Theory, we encounter their leading objection – testability.
For example, some creationists say, “Aren’t you claiming to test God?” To which I answer: No. Message Theory is about life’s data – many observations that must be explained – and Message Theory explains those observations in a testable (falsifiable, vulnerable, empirically risky) manner. It meets all the criteria for a scientific theory. A theory is tested, not God. The thought process is no different than concerning, say, the Piltdown fossils, which needed an explanation. These fossils were a hoax created by an intelligent designer – a testable explanation that no scientist disputes. We need not test the intelligent designer, (indeed, the designer of the Piltdown Hoax remains unidentified), rather we test the theory. In science we test explanations (i.e., theories); not God.
Also, deep down, many creationists want the ‘certainty of faith,’ and they are not yet comfortable with the inherent riskiness of science – they haven’t learned to balance the two types of thought: risk and certainty.
The classic creationist organizations (ICR, AIG, CRS) often do not value testability, (and sometimes they explicitly oppose testability). Instead, they use a different criterion of science; a different value system. They claim “science must be repeatable, and since origins are not repeatable, creation and evolution are equally unscientific.” They are deeply mistaken. For example, we frequently execute murderers (which is not a flimsy thing to do) based solely on scientific evidence, even though the murder is not repeatable.
Instead, repeatability is how we identify naturalistic laws (as opposed to the work of intelligent beings); therefore the creationists’ demand for ‘repeatability’ is implicitly a demand that science must be purely naturalistic and cannot include an intelligent designer. They are shooting themselves in the foot!
Thankfully the ID organizations don’t take that approach. They take a more sophisticated approach, yet they tend to undervalue testability nonetheless, (sometimes through redefining it into obscurity).
In my many discussions with my fellow creationists/ID-ists, the foremost obstacle to Message Theory is their devaluing or misunderstanding of testability. So let me pause to underscore this for my readers: If you do not value testability highly, then leave now, or you will only waste your time, and mine. Let me put it stronger: Anyone (creationist, ID-ist, or evolutionist for that matter) who cheapens testability is a danger to science, and moreover, they miss many opportunities to advance creation/ID as superior science.
Let me put my claim stronger still: Message Theory is testable science, and macro-evolutionary theory (as practiced by its modern proponents) is not. I employ testability – the same tool evolutionists use in all their court cases – to turn the tables on evolutionists.
After handling some comments, I will next discuss Message Theory proper.
– Walter ReMine
The Biotic Message – the book