In a scientific debate such as Intelligent Design vs. Evolution, it is important to know each side’s qualifications. Since the discussion is largely based on scientific principles, it seems prudent to determine the level of science education and accomplishment on each side. It is also important to look into each side’s possible motivation. Finally, it may be important to see what each side gains if their side wins or how much they lose if their side loses.
Lets start with the most important aspect: qualifications. Not every evolution proponent is a practicing scientist, but there is a substantial number of them that are. Without a doubt, the discoveries that are made to further evolutionary theory come from well-trained scientists. These scientists all have PhDs in the respective fields (paleontology, botany, biology, molecular biology) and publish articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. They spend their whole lives devoted to finding out the reality that underlies the world around us.
Intelligent design proponents, like those from the Discovery Institute, are rarely scientists. Have a look for yourself here. Most either specialize in philosophy/religion or in government/public policy. Even in their most scientific blog, Evolution News and Views, there are only three PhDs in fields related to evolution out of the 15 contributors.
These qualification alone should be enough to give someone interested in the intelligent design debate reason to swing towards the evolution side. However, we shouldn’t stop there. What about each side’s motivation? Both groups claim to want to find the truth of life’s origins and complexity. However, if we look again at the backgrounds of the contributors to the Discovery Institute’s evolution blog, other motivations become clear. Ignoring the fact that nearly a third of the contributors are outright theologians, we see that even the scientists mentioned above have religious motivations. For example, Jonathon Wells has a PhD in religious studies. Cornelius G. Hunter, another of the scientists mentioned above, wrote the book Darwin’s Proof: The Triumph of Religion Over Science. I think it is pretty clear that many intelligent design proponents have religious motivations and are not simply looking for reality.
Finally, let us look at what each side gains or loses if their side wins. If intelligent design is clearly and forever proved wrong, the Discovery Institute and similar intelligent design proponents will have to find new jobs. This is clearly a strong motivator to persuade people to their side. If evolution is proven wrong, intelligent design proponents will enjoy wider recognition and the vindication they lust after. Evolution proponents will have to shift focus to studying ID principles, but likely will keep their research positions. These two scenarios show how ID proponents have a bigger stake in this debate.
From the above comparisons, I think it is pretty clear that the evolution side should be the side to trust.