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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Intelligent Design and Creationism

The weekend is ending! I hope you all had a chance to spend time with family and friends and celebrate (in the USA) our Independence Day and the troops who give of themselves to keep us free! I've picnic'd and partied and played games for the last week with all sorts of people and it has been great.

You will see me begin catching up on the commentary threads, as promised. Also, concerning the differences between Intelligent Design and Creationism I give you the take of John Morris in this month's issue of Acts and Facts, a newsletter available from the ICR. I will intersperse some comments and, if there are any highlights, they are mine.


Intelligent Design:
Strengths, Weaknesses,

and the Differences

John D. Morris
INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH • www.icr.org

William Paley, a predecessor of Darwin,
championed the concept of intelligent
design. With surprising precision he elevated
the intuitive truth that “design demands
a designer” to a defensible position.
It almost goes without saying that
if you discover a functioning watch, with
all its interworking parts, each showing
purpose and contributing to the purpose
of the whole, that it could not be the result
of impersonal, unthinking, natural
causes. There must be a thinking mind
behind the design we observe.

This is, by the way, the most logical conclusion one would reach when observing the complexity of life, that it has been designed. Those who deny it must begin making corollary assumptions that depend upon remarkably unlikely chance occurrences in large numbers and often in very precise orders.

Darwin argued that as it relates to
life, the natural process of natural selection
could create design. To him, imperceptibly
tiny steps, each conferring some
slight advantage, could accumulate the
high level of design we see in living organisms.
Darwin’s naturalistic mindset
is continued by Richard Dawkins: “Biology
is the study of complicated things
that give the appearance of having been
designed for a purpose.” (The Blind
Watchmaker, 1987, p. 1.) The author asserts
atheism, but it is hard to imagine a
more religious book. This religion, his
worldview, is naturalism.

Oddly enough, many of you who read this blog from time to time cannot even understand that naturalism is a worldview, cannot understand that they bring preconceptions to their view of science and their means and methods of looking at origins. I still find this to be amazing!


Everyone sees the design. It is impossible
to miss. No one could claim
that life’s processes and structures are
completely random. The difference lies
in the stories told about the origin of
the design. Naturalists ascribe the design
to the work of random mutation
acted upon by natural selection. Biblical
creationists insist the design is purposeful
and due to the intelligent actions
of the Creator God of the Bible.

For decades, creationists have taught
the concept intelligent design, ascribing
the observed design to God. But recently
a new player has entered the fray,
the Intelligent Design Movement or
IDM. Housed primarily at the Discovery
Institute, a secular think tank in
Seattle, its advocates espouse two main
planks. First, that the exquisite design
we see all around us, especially in living
systems, is far beyond the reach of
random, natural processes, and second,
that a strict reliance on natural causes
can be equated with the religion of
naturalism.

Thus, apart from Christianity or any other Godcentric belief, the ID movement concentrates on the evidence which calls for scientists to believe what they observe apart from their preconceived notions and acknowledge that life has been designed without regard to the indentity of the Designer.

The strengths of the IDM are several. It
has drawn a large and capable cadre of
scholars of many persuasions. Major contributors
include agnostics, New Agers,
Christians, and evolutionists. It is strictly
secular in its writings, lectures, and policy.
The two principles above are the glue that
binds proponents together. All desire to see
science and education freed from the religious
shackles of naturalism.

Shackles? Yes, well as I have mentioned before, there is operational science and then there is the science of origins. Operational science doesn't consider whether anything has been designed, it simply tries to understand what now is and find ways of understanding it better or using it more efficiently, etc. Origins science is a science of supposition, almost entirely devoid of tests and observations. It is forensic in nature and depends largely on one's beginning assumptions. Naturalists throw out all supernatural forces before the questions and research even begin, thus ignoring real possibilities and possibly completely missing truth.

With such a secular stance, the IDM
has made inroads into school boards and
legislatures. Often criticized as being creationist
in disguise, the IDM scrupulously
refuses to speculate on the identity of the
designer. It is what it claims to be, strictly
secular, seriously promoting better science
and education.

The weaknesses of the IDM in some
ways are similar. Its big umbrella sometimes
offends supporters who take a
more firm and definitive position. Establishment
critics, who wrongly charge
advocates with a hidden agenda, “sneaking
creationism in through the back
door,” have been able to intimidate
school boards and judges, and to date
virtually all of ID initiated lawsuits and
lobbying efforts have failed. Temporary
gains have all been lost.

Now Dr. Morris, from his own point of view as a creationist, gives his opinion on whether Christian creationists should take part in the ID movement:

Another weakness follows from pushing
Biblical teaching away. The Bible has
answers to life’s big questions. Likewise
strict naturalism has consistent answers,
although quite different. ID has no answers
at all which satisfy. Furthermore,
the Bible insists that God receive glory
for His majestic handiwork, and it is not
likely that He will bless or grant lasting
success to any effort which chooses to
omit Him from their thinking.

The differences between Biblical creationism
and the IDM should become clear.
As an unashamedly Christian/creationist
organization, ICR is concerned with the
reputation of our God and desires to point
all men back to Him. We are not in this
work merely to do good science, although
this is of great importance to us. We care
that students and society are brainwashed
away from a relationship with their Creator/
Savior. While all creationists necessarily
believe in intelligent design, not all ID
proponents believe in God. ID is strictly a
non-Christian movement, and while ICR
values and supports their work, we cannot
join them.

3 comments:

cranky old fart said...

"ID is strictly a
non-Christian movement, and while ICR
values and supports their work, we cannot
join them."

The wink and nod is duly noted.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, well as I have mentioned before, there is operational science and then there is the science of origins. Operational science doesn't consider whether anything has been designed, it simply tries to understand what now is and find ways of understanding it better or using it more efficiently, etc. Origins science is a science of supposition, almost entirely devoid of tests and observations. It is forensic in nature and depends largely on one's beginning assumptions. Naturalists throw out all supernatural forces before the questions and research even begin, thus ignoring real possibilities and possibly completely missing truth."

This "operational science vs. origins science" nonsense is simply intended to disguise the fact that creation science fails so miserably at scientifically supporting its own suppositions. I note that you remain unable to name even a single testable prediction that supports a creationist view.

Radar, it has been pointed out to you more than once that the theory of evolution is capable of making testable predictions with regard to information that is uncovered about our past - testable predictions that falsify YEC, by the way – and that such predictions are routinely confirmed. That is why it would be a simple lie to claim that the theory of evolution "is a science of supposition, almost entirely devoid of tests and observations".

If you're content to let the characterization stand for creation science, knock yourself out.

-- creeper

radar said...

"Radar, it has been pointed out to you more than once that the theory of evolution is capable of making testable predictions with regard to information that is uncovered about our past - testable predictions that falsify YEC, by the way – and that such predictions are routinely confirmed. That is why it would be a simple lie to claim that the theory of evolution "is a science of supposition, almost entirely devoid of tests and observations"."

I disagree that evolution has been able to produce testable hypotheses that disprove creation. Name one.