To the editor, I find I cannot let Mr. Rimmington's letter (“Bousquet misreads expelled”, July 17) go unanswered. I have not seen the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed so I cannot respond to any of Mr. Rimmington's remarks regarding the movie itself, but I am well qualified to criticise his comments regarding science and scientists. In his next to last paragraph Mr. Rimmington indicates that “many of the blacklisted scientists ... entertained the idea of 'intelligent design,' though still loyal to science.” It is impossible for a scientist to be 'loyal' to science and simultaneously entertain the idea of intelligent design (ID). Science is the effort to understand physical phenomena through research. In general, scientific research consists of observations of natural physical phenomena, hypothesizing about the causes of those phenomena, performing experiments to confirm or disprove the hypotheses, followed by more observations, hypothesizing, etc. Eventually, confirmed hypotheses can be used to build scientific theories. One basic requirement of experimentation is that all scientific experiments must be capable of replication by other researchers in other laboratories. This simplified description does not fit all areas of science equally well. Some areas of science such as astronomy are primarily observational. But this does not change the basic methodology of observing, hypothesizing, and confirming or disproving hypotheses. The basic idea of ID is that there are some aspects of evolution that we not only don't understand, but that we cannot even in principle understand. Instead of following the scientific method to attempt to understand these things, ID says we should just accept the existence of an intelligent designer who has caused these things to be the way they are. This is the exact opposite of science. It is in fact a belief that science should not be used to investigate certain things.
By Brian Gaulke