This year’s Faith Angle Conference, convened in May by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, featured a lively discussion of the commensurability of naturalistic and theological interpretations of the physical world, during which Francis Collins said:
The intelligent design perspective, which is so prominent now in the evangelical church and, of course, is a flashpoint for debates about the teaching of science in schools, is basically this one, that evolution might be OK in some ways, but it can’t account for the complexity of things like the bacterial flagellum, which are considered to be irreducibly complex because they have so many working parts and they don’t work with any of the parts dropping out, so you can’t imagine how evolution could have produced them.
This is showing severe cracks scientifically in that the supposedly irreducibly complex structures are, increasingly, yielding up their secrets, and we can see how they have been arrived at by a stepwise mechanism that’s quite comfortable from an evolutionary perspective. So intelligent design is turning out to be—and probably could have been predicted to be—a God-of-the-gaps theory, which inserts God into places that science hasn’t quite yet explained, and then science comes along and explains them.
I think I would also say intelligent design is not only bad science; it’s questionable theology.
Read the full transcript here.