I believe that if Intelligent Design one day becomes a workable science, it has the potential of causing incredible harm to Christianity.
Think of the following scenario. I know it is somewhat far-fetched, but please bear with me:
It is the year 2020. Intelligent Design advocates have finally managed – after many years of work – to create a workable, scientific theory of Intelligent Design. Instead of trying to weasel Intelligent Design into schools, they have spent years collecting data, creating hypotheses, and testing predictions through various experiments. They have finally solved the initial problems with their theory and have managed to convince a large portion of the scientific community that there is some merit to the idea that the universe was created by a designer.
Will this be good for Christianity? Well, at first it might seem to be. Ardent critics of Intelligent Design, like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, will appear on television talk shows, admitting that they were wrong. Pastors and evangelists will ecstatically preach from the pulpit that science has finally proven that God exists. Millions of Christians around the world will experience a renewal of faith; churches will be filled to overflowing with new converts. Apologists, the likes of William Lane Craig and Josh McDowell, will wink at the television cameras, and say something along the lines of: “I told you so.” All will be honky-dory in Christendom.
Then, something happens. Electrified by the newfound euphoria of proving the world wrong, Intelligent Design theorists work double-time to extend their theory. They have provided sufficient scientific evidence that a designer exists, but they have also found a way to obtain information on who the designer actually is. They spend weeks collating data that will provide them with an answer. After much analysis and modelling, the Intelligent Design theorists reach a conclusion. But when they see the answer, a slow, icy horror creeps through each one of them. . .
The intelligent designer of the cosmos is not the Christian God!
Think about this story: if Intelligent Design is simply debunked by the scientific community – if it follows Young Earth Creationism into the wastepaper basket of “outrageous ideas that didn’t make it into science” – Christianity will survive intact. After all, the simple debunking of Intelligent Design will not disprove the existence of the Christian God. However, if Intelligent Design one day reaches the level of being considered science, will it not hold the potential of destroying Christian belief if it reaches unexpected conclusions?
These are thoughts that I had while reading the discussion of Intelligent Design between Lui and R10B in one of my earlier posts.