I attended a five day Intelligent Design conference to see if it really was 'religion masquerading as science'. I was impressed with the level of scientific evidence supporting ID. The arguments were robust and compelling, but I believe it's all for naught. ID in its present incarnation will not usurp current evolutionary theory for two reasons - one of which I discuss in the post.
ID proponents call their opposition Naturalism and this is their first mistake. Everyone loves Nature, no matter religion or epistemological position, Nature inspires us all. Nature is where we see the glory of God. Nature is where ID finds its evidence. Nature lies dear to all our hearts. To pit yourself against Nature is not the way to win hearts and minds.
And Naturalism has nothing to do with Nature. Naturalism explains our solar system and the life within it as the result of unrelated accidents - one planet smashes into the Earth and the result is the moon, meteors rain down, volcanoes erupt, even the evolution of life is a arbitrary - mutations (accidents) in DNA provide the fuel by which natural selection steers the course of evolution. It is car crash evolution - a car goes through a bush, hits a tree and ends up in a lake - the bush, the tree and the lake are objects of Nature but the car crash is not a natural process.
Galileo was tried for heresy because he could not accept the received wisdom of the day that insisted the sun, the planets and stars rotated around an immovable Earth. He argued that the movement of the stars made no sense with that explanation. He said: God is perfect, God's work is perfect, Nature is God's work. If a natural phenomenon does not make sense, it is not Nature that is illogical, but rather our understanding of its processes. Nature makes sense - mathematical sense. Science, medicine, engineering are only possible because of the intelligibility, predictability and logic of Nature.
If ID is to succeeds it must lay claim Nature. Nature is God's work and ID is a champion for God. By calling its opponent Naturalism, ID is giving credence to an explanation that is not a natural process. Call it what it is - Car Crash Evolution. I believe this will pique the public's interest and allow ID to better explain itself.
Edited by Vanessa, : punctuation correction