On the surface, Intelligent Design seems to be a perfectly reasonable approach to studying complexity. In our everyday experience, there is certainly nothing controversial about attributing the purposeful arrangement of components to an intelligent agent.
This is often the idea that sucks most people into the acceptance of intelligent design. It is the argument that William Paley made in the 1820s—that so many things in nature showed the unmistakable signs of having been designed. This is the idea that Charles Darwin reverse-engineered once Charles Lyell provided him with all the time in the world, and Thomas Malthus provided him with a biological imperative.
Gordon uses the creation of Stonehenge to illustrate the problem of admitting ID into the arena of science. Problems in explaining how the stones got where they are abound and easy solutions are not forthcoming. That does not stop modern archaeologists from using the best available science to solve the problem. So where does ID enter?
But mainstream archaeology is content to treat these knowledge gaps in our understanding of the past as simply that, and NOT as proof that primitive man had some outside help. Besides, who or what else could possibly have intervened during the building of these ancient structures?Why, yes it does. It is the primary strategy that is used by those promoting Intelligent Design. This is the same strategy that allows a scientist like Michael Behe, one of the primary supporters of teaching Intelligent Design, to sit in front of a judge and say that under his definition of science, astrology would qualify. Just because we don't know why something happened, does not mean that we can posit an explanation that cannot be hypothetically tested and call it science.
Oh, ye narrow-minded expert! Hath not thou considered the alien? Why bias your investigation of archaeological complexity towards earth-bound engineers?
Enter the alien enthusiasts. Not the dispassionate ones who merely concede the possibility of life outside of our solar system (a viewpoint that many scientists would share), but the hardcore fanatics. You know who I'm talking about. The ones who spend their summer vacations dressed up as aliens in Roswell, New Mexico. The true believer wants the world to acknowledge not just the probability of extra-terrestrial life, but that intelligent beings from outer space have physically visited earth and made contact with mankind. So they search out the mysteries of the ancient world looking for opportunities to preach their UFO gospel. There might not be any credible evidence of UFO visitations to planet Earth, but if there are questions that mainstream archaeology can't sufficiently answer, you can guarantee that alien believers will plug E.T. into these gaps. Does this strategy sound familiar?
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