Arguably, it is not possible to precisely define “science” since it has many facets. However, it is very important to note that science entails a set of principles that have been proved which can be used in giving explanations of facts and phenomena. As a matter of fact, numerous theories have been developed by various scholars in various academic fields in the attempt to address various issues in these fields, (Wade, 2005). Generally these theories can be categorized as either scientific or non scientific. However, debates have emerged lately concerning whether or not certain theories should be categorized under “scientific theories.” Among the theories that have given rise to such debates is Intelligent Design and Darwinism theories. Therefore, the main objective of this essay is to evaluate whether or not Intelligent Design and Darwinism theories are scientific theories.
Before evaluating analyzing these theories, it is important to first determine what a scientific theory entails. Firstly, a scientific theory must be testable. Precisely, in principle it ought to be possible to prove it wrong. Secondly, the truth of a scientific theory should be determined through experiments. Thirdly, it should be possible to apply scientific methods such as; observation, experiments, revision of the theory as well as hypothesis, (Wade, 2005). The other characteristic of a scientific theory is that, it should be possible to make testable predictions of what should be expected should conditions that are autonomous of the original problem change. Another point is that, the same pattern of reasoning should be applied in solving various problems when using the particular theory. Lastly, a scientific theory should lead to new areas of study.
Intelligent Design can be defined as a scientific research program and of society of philosophers, scientists and other scholars who search for evidence of design in character. According to this theory, certain universe aspects and features of living things can be best explained from the intelligent cause point of view, and not an uncontrolled process, for instance, natural selection, (Jay & Jonathan, 2011). Based on study and analysis of the components of a system, a design theorist is in a position to elucidate whether different natural arrangements results from chance, intelligent design, natural law or a combination of any of these.
A good number of opponents of theory argue that Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory based on various reasons. However, based on the attributes or rather characteristics of scientific theories, this theory can be indeed categorized as one of the scientific theories. Generally, any scientific study entails four steps: observation, hypothesis, experiment, and conclusion. This theory follows the four steps as well. For instance, when undertaking a study based on this theory, observation is made that intelligent agents produce multifaceted and precise information, (Center for Science and Culture, 2010). In the second step, these theorists formulate a hypothesis that if a natural object is designed, this object will have the multifaceted and precise information. This is then followed by various experiments on the natural objects so as to establish whether they have multifaceted and precise information, (Wayne, 2008). This is then followed by a conclusion based on the outcomes of the experiments.
Just like in the case of other scientific theories, Intelligent Design Theory does make testable predictions. For instance, according to this theory, it is believed that specified complexity will be found in biology. One such form of complexity which is detectable is irreducible complexity, (Center for Science and Culture, 2010). This can be tested by attempting to reverse engineer biological arrangements to establish if an “irreducible core” exists. The other testable predictions which are made in this theory are: re-use of similar parts in dissimilar creatures; biological structures function; and lastly, is the swift appearance of convolution in fossil record.
On the other hand, Darwinism theory can be defined as a biological theory that was formulated by Charles Darwin and other individuals to explain origin and development of living organisms. According to Darwin, all species of life forms originate and develop in the course of natural selection of minute variations which are inherited, and increase the ability of an organism to compete, reproduce and survive, (Edward, 2006). Through research, this theory has been refined and modified over time; however, it still forms the basis of scientific perceptive of life evolution. Like in the case of intelligent Design Theory, Darwinism has given rise to various debates on whether it can be categorized as a scientific theory.
Based on the way it was formulated and how it works, Darwinism can be classified as a scientific theory. Precisely, although disputed by a good number of scholars, Darwinism has the attributes of a scientific theory, (Austin, 2009). For instance, this is an established scientific form of a segment of the universe that produces suggestions which has outcomes which can be observed. Arguably, new research can be generated from this model. Besides, the model can be used in the comprehension of observed phenomena.
As mentioned earlier, to entirely understand why and how Darwinism is scientific, it should be evaluated based on the accepted criteria for describing scientific theories. One of the characteristics of a scientific theory is that it must be possible to be applied in describing as well as explaining observed phenomena. The theory puts forward various problems which can be worked on by scientists so as to understand the natural world better, (Edward, 2006). Additionally, the theory can also be tested. It proposes hypothesis which can be experimentally be tested to verify its soundness. However, it should be noted that it cannot be testes directly like in the case of the chemistry or physics theory; rather it can be tested like other historical theories based on historical records.
The other attribute of this theory is that it is progressive, and progressiveness is one of the attributes of scientific theories. This implies that the theory is can be used to explain what other theories have explained previously. Moreover, it is possible to compare the explanations of this theory of a given phenomenon with those of other theories, (Austin, 2009). Lastly, it should be possible to make conclusions in the case of scientific theories, as already mentioned. This is true in the case of Darwinism. Various conclusions have been reached when carrying out investigations on a given issue in the area of biology based on Darwinism theory. Thus, based on these illustrations, it can be argued that indeed Darwinism is a scientific theory.
A fundamental principle in science is that a scientific theory should have predictive power; and authentications of these predictions are considered to be very crucial as well as supportive for such a theory, (Edward, 2006). Most people argue that Darwinism has never successfully predicted anything. However, it of importance to note that it is not necessary for the predictions of a theory to be right for such theory to be categorized as a scientific theory. The most important factor is that a scientific theory should be able to provide testable predictions; and such predictions can be proved to be either right or wrong. Arguably, Darwinism theory does make testable predictions. This can be illustrated using various examples.
According to the theory of evolution or rather Darwinism, genetic information ought to be passed on in a molecular mode that will be more or less exact but allows for minor changes. Based on this prediction, biologists discovered existence of DNA with a rate of mutation of about 10-9 per nucleotide per division of a cell, (Edward, 2006). According to this theory, it is claimed that some DNA sequences are mutual among different living organisms. Hence, a prediction is made that the disparities in such DNA sequence among two living organisms should more or less bear a resemblance to both the biological the dissimilarity among them as per their composition as well as the time that has elapsed since the two organisms have separated within the course of time, has it has been proved based on fossil evidence. This has been experimentally tested and it has been proved to be the case. Therefore, it can be concluded that, predictions of Darwinism can be studied and tested empirically in the laboratory, (Austin, 2009).
In conclusion, scientific theories have various characteristics mentioned above. It is not necessarily for a theory to provide correct predictions scientifically for it to be categorized under scientific theories. The most important thing is the theory to possess the attributes of a scientific theory. Based on these, it can be concluded that both Intelligent Design and Darwinism theories are scientific theories and they do provide testable predictions.
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