Comment on Science and Methodological Naturalism by Paul Giem.
Of interest, Richard Dawkins (in a little-noticed passage in The Blind Watchmaker, pages 1 and 2) has conceded that design can be empirically detected. The passage reads:
… Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. Physics is the study of simple things that do not tempt us to invoke design. At first sight, man-made artefacts like computers and cars will seem to provide exceptions. They are complicated and obviously designed for a purpose, yet they are not alive, and they are made of metal and plastic rather than of flesh and blood. In this book they will be firmly treated as biological objects.
…Never mind whether cars and computers are ‘really’ biological objects. The point is that if anything of that degree of complexity were found on a planet, we should have no hesitation in concluding that life existed, or had once existed, on that planet. Machines are the direct products of living objects; they derive their complexity and design from living objects, and they are diagnostic of the existence of life on a planet. …
He doesn’t quite finish the thought; cars and computers are evidence that not just life, but intelligent life, once existed on a planet. But the fact of the matter is that everybody, including Dawkins, knows that for all objects except life itself, for which a special exception is pleaded, specified complexity is a reliable indication of intelligent design. Which means that whether or not the Divine can be detected, design detection is firmly within the domain of science. Methodological naturalism cannot properly exclude it from science.