Recently I said that origin of life questions fall outside
of the authority of science, because science can only speak on that
which is observed and repeated. Which life’s origin cannot be. I have
also been re-reading Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis (we gave the book for gifts this Christmas), and was delighted to see that Lewis makes the same argument about science!
note this too. You cannot find out which view [either materialism, the
view that matter and space is all there is, and can itself be explained
by matter and space, or creationism, the view that matter and space is
not all there is, and that matter and space can only be explained by an
intelligence outside of either of them] is the right one by science in
the ordinary sense. Science works by experiments. It watches how things
behave. Every scientific statement in the long run, however complicated
it looks, really means something like, ‘I pointed the telescope to such
and such part of the sky at 2:20 a.m. on January 15th and saw
so-and-so,’ or, ‘I put some of this stuff in a pot and heated it to
such and such a temperature and it did so-and-so.’ Do not think I am
saying anything against science: I am only saying what its job is. And
the more scientific a man is, the more (I believe) he would agree with
me that this is the job of science–and a very useful and necessary job
it is too. But why anything comes to be there at all, and whether there
is anything behind the things science observes–something of a
different kind–this is not a scientific question. If there is
‘Something Behind’, then either it will have to remain altogether
unknown to men or else make itself known in some different way. The
statement that there is any such thing, and the statement that there is
no such thing, are neither of them statements that science can make.
And real scientists do not usually make them. … After all, it is
really a matter of common sense. Supposing science ever became complete
so that it knew every single thing in the whole universe. Is it not
plain that the questions, ‘Why is there a universe?’ ‘Why does it go on
as it does?’ ‘Has it any meaning?’ would remain just as they were?
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, chapter 4: What Lies Behind the Law
then goes on to say that those questions are not hopelessly
unanswerable, but that they are answerable by means other than science.
Really, ID ought not to be taught in schools any more than darwinism*
should. The questions of the origin of life are questions of philosophy
and theology, and by the time students are studying those–i.e.,
college–they are, or ought to be, equipped enough to discern truth
* For clarification purposes, I use the term darwinism
to mean that theory in which life is explained by non-living chemicals
organizing themselves, at some time in the distant past, into
self-reproducing organisms. I am not speaking of natural selection, for which there is abundant scientific evidence, when I use the term darwinism.