Often notice that people tend to be “black and white” when talking about practices in any field, let it be management, design, development or whatever… e.g. go completely scientific and measure everything and be very structured or become completely ad-hoc and reactive.
Of course it’s an option to work in a binary way, but in my opinion it is not necessarily the best way to go while facing complex problem. You must have various “tools” in your toolbox and be creative in applying them depending on a situation or context.
As a confirmation for myself I’ve stumbled upon an article recently which covers exactly the same topic - http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/the_science_in_the.html
So, can design be a science? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Can it be empirically based, evidence driven? Yes. Will it have to reply on intuition and the creativity of individual designers? Sometimes, yes.