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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Intelligent Design is NOT Creationism in disguise! I have a dream...

Creationists fall into two basic groups - Young Earth Creationists, who believe science affirms the historicity of the Bible, and Old Earth Creationists, who prefer to let the claims of unbelieving scientists convince them to inflate the account of creation in Genesis from six days to long ages in some way, either usually by a day-age scenario (which if you read carefully cannot be possible as plants would have to exist for an entire age without sunlight, for instance) or some kind of gap either just before or just after verse one.   We usually give these two beliefs acronyms of YEC and OEC.

Theistic Evolutionists do not necessarily consider the Genesis account at all, but do believe that a Creator God made the Universe and life and then let evolution do the job from there.  Some of them believe God created all the basic kinds of life which has since varied and some just believe God made primitive life and give evolution credit for being the primary creative force behind the life forms seen today.

Both groups are believers in a Creator God.   Group one sees that the evidence confirms the Bible, group two sees that most of the evidence confirms the Bible but some falsifies a part of it or turns part of it into metaphor while group three has a minimal commitment to the Bible and has made it into a very simple formula in which the Bible is not an important factor in the equation if it is in there at all.

Darwinists try to explain every new finding in terms of Darwinism.   It is common for new discoveries that do not relate to the subject at all nevertheless couched in Darwinian terms at some point.   This has become a habit to scientists and is clearly key to obtaining grant money.  But when I make my next post I will show why this kind of Darwinian labeling is dishonest or irrelevant.  

So Creationists look at scientific discoveries and see how it fits in with the Bible, Darwinists look at scientific discoveries and fit them into a Darwinian scenario somehow but ID proponents do not make assertions about either nor do they identify an agent for design, they simply show that real science says things are designed as we will see below...

Now on to Intelligent Design.  I'll present what it is and why it is not in agreement with YEC and cannot even be classified as OEC because the Bible does not enter into the discussion.   At best the ID proponents as a group might be Theistic Evolutionists but many of them discount evolution completely.   However, it is important to understand that the Bible is not part of ID at all:

From the Discovery Institute itself, the center of the ID movement in science...

Definition of Intelligent Design

What is intelligent design?

Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Through the study and analysis of a system's components, a design theorist is able to determine whether various natural structures are the product of chance, natural law, intelligent design, or some combination thereof. Such research is conducted by observing the types of information produced when intelligent agents act. Scientists then seek to find objects which have those same types of informational properties which we commonly know come from intelligence. Intelligent design has applied these scientific methods to detect design in irreducibly complex biological structures, the complex and specified information content in DNA, the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion approximately 530 million years ago.

See New World Encyclopedia entry on intelligent design.

Radar - YEC would never agree that a Cambrian explosion took place 530 million years ago.   In fact we would say that is a lower level of the Flood sedimentary layers and within it are primarily the creatures that were living at the lower levels of the world at that time, that they were mostly the less intelligent or mobile but there is nevertheless a sampling of every basic type of organism and all fully formed.   We would disagree with 530 million years and suggest about 4300-4500 years ago would be accurate.

Is intelligent design the same as creationism?

No. The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the "apparent design" in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations.
 Creationism typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. Intelligent design starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural.

Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he "agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement." Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are "the easiest way to discredit intelligent design." In other words, the charge that intelligent design is "creationism" is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case.

Is intelligent design a scientific theory?

Yes. The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. Intelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.


ID scientists are able to test and make falsifiable claims.   I find that Darwinists claim that they can do this as well, but when they are asked to do so, they either give us a story about things that happened long ago and so thereby there is nothing observable to test, or they present features of natural selection that actually better fit the Creationist model or, while they may be mutations, they are not examples of new systems but are rather results of broken systems, examples of preexisting information being repeated or deleted or examples of triggers that cause the cell to turn to meta-information already held within the cell to implement variations already held within the cell or apply algorithms already present within the cell.

I often post the output of ID science.  While some of the ID members are not, there are some who are Christians and a few who are even YEC.   There are organizations like and Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research (and a multitude of others) so opportunities for YEC scientists to work on projects, have peer review and publish technical journals now exist.  But some YEC have settled into the Discovery Institute.   So you may find that a YEC scientist will be on staff at the Discovery Institute.  But the Discovery Institute is devoted to the theory of Intelligent Design and is not interested in promoting Creationism as an organization.   Therefore members like David Berlinski, who is a non-practicing Jew and not a Creationist at all is an ID scientist.

Now to cover some FAQ: 

Is intelligent design theory incompatible with evolution?

It depends on what one means by the word "evolution." If one simply means "change over time," or even that living things are related by common ancestry, then there is no inherent conflict between evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory. However, the dominant theory of evolution today is neo-Darwinism, which contends that evolution is driven by natural selection acting on random mutations, an unpredictable and purposeless process that "has no discernable direction or goal, including survival of a species." (NABT Statement on Teaching Evolution). It is this specific claim made by neo-Darwinism that intelligent design theory directly challenges.

Is intelligent design based on the Bible?

No. The idea that human beings can observe signs of intelligent design in nature reaches back to the foundations of both science and civilization. In the Greco-Roman tradition, Plato and Cicero both espoused early versions of intelligent design. In the history of science, most scientists until the latter part of the nineteenth century accepted some form of intelligent design, including Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, meanwhile, the idea that design can be discerned in nature can be found not only in the Bible but among Jewish philosophers such as Philo and in the writings of the Early Church Fathers. The scientific community largely rejected design in the early twentieth century after neo-Darwinism claimed to be able to explain the emergence of biological complexity through the unintelligent process of natural selection acting on random mutations. In recent decades, however, new research and discoveries in such fields as physics, cosmology, biochemistry, genetics, and paleontology have caused a growing number of scientists and science theorists to question neo-Darwinism and propose intelligent design as the best explanation for the existence of specified complexity throughout the natural world.

Radar - Actually Edward Blyth, a Creationist, first proposed and used the term "natural selection" and proposed it to be the method by which variation within kind could conserve the kind.

Is intelligent design theory the same as creationism?

No. Intelligent design theory is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the "apparent design" in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism is focused on defending a literal reading of the Genesis account, usually including the creation of the earth by the Biblical God a few thousand years ago. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design is agnostic regarding the source of design and has no commitment to defending Genesis, the Bible or any other sacred text. Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he "agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement." Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are "the easiest way to discredit intelligent design." In other words, the charge that intelligent design is "creationism" is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case. For more information read Dr. Stephen Meyer's piece "Intelligent Design is not Creationism" that appeared in The Daily Telegraph (London) or Dr. John West's piece "Intelligent Design and Creationism Just Aren't the Same" in Research News & Opportunities.


Darwinism is the new racism

There you have it.   Darwinists try to lump ID in with Creationism but they are not the same thing.   Furthermore it is the censorship and derision mode of groups like talk origins and NCSE that try to make Creationists appear unscientific while desperately doing everything within their power to stifle the assertions of Creationists that make Darwinism look unscientific.    Darwinism censors from fear and fear is a matter of no faith.  In short, Darwinists do not have faith that their hypothesis will be accepted if it is compared to Creationism and they know that ID makes their hypothesis look primitive and outdated.  Thus they put tremendous energy and time across the board of media and academia and scientific organizations simply establishing and maintaining an intellectual apartheid or, in American terms,  Jim Crow as applied to science.    In this scenario the Darwinists are the Lester Maddox and George Wallace while Jonathan Sarfati and Stephen C. Meyer and their colleagues are the Martin Luther Kings.   When will the censors have the guts to stop?  Never.  It will require the voices of the people rising in protest and unfortunately it now comes down to lawsuits as institutions that are prejudiced against ID and Creationists on the basis of worldview are being sued on First Amendment grounds and being forced to pay large sums for their intransigence.

Someday origins science will be viewed and considered by the content of the evidence and not the label on the abstract...I have a dream that all scientists in every corner of the world will be exposed to all the evidence, that all students in every grade level will be able to view that evidence and think for themselves and that the censorship of the 20th Century will be broken and beaten in the 21st...hopefully soon!   I have a dream that anti-science censoring agencies like the NCSE will be put out of business and rightfully castigated for their attempts to stifle dissent from Darwinism.   I have a dream that real science will be allowed to rule the day again and the atmosphere conducive to questioning and testing and exploring will be the norm rather than the exception.

For now, the inkwell remains poisoned:


Republicans reject science, they make war on it, they hate it, they spit on it, they want to repeal the 20th Century. Actually they want to roll back the 20th, 19th, and 18th Centuries. How many times have you heard this from a journalistic opinion-maker?

Katrina vanden Heuvel sounds the refrain again in a Washington Post op-ed:
The 18th century was defined, in many ways, by the Enlightenment, a philosophical movement based on the idea that reason, rational discourse and the advancement of knowledge, were the critical pillars of modern life. The leaders of the movement inspired the thinking of Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin; its tenets can be found in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. But more than 200 years later, those basic tenets -- the very notion that facts and evidence matter -- are being rejected, wholesale, by the 21st-century Republican Party.
Facts? Evidence? You have to laugh at this coming from any of the vast majority of journalists, such as Ms. vanden Heuvel (who edits The Nation), whether those on the left, at the center or even from many on the right side of the spectrum. If there's one thing we've learned from repeated uniform experience it is that on one scientific issue, the most contentious there is -- evolution -- it's treated as taboo for writers to inform themselves properly, to know the facts and evidence behind the scientific challenge to Darwinian theory.

Never mind whether, having adequately informed themselves, they were to find the argument for intelligent design convincing or totally unconvincing. Either way, fine! In reality, most don't even know the difference between ID and creationism. Say what you like about Young Earth Creationists, they at least could tell you that accurately enough. But Garry Trudeau, for example, the revered Doonesbury cartoon "journalist," sure couldn't. You may remember his cartoon last month that won plaudits from Darwin advocates.

I will never forget my personal experience with a journalist who often writes for The New Republic. In an email exchange he chastised me for thinking the universe was created a mere 6,000 years ago. He assumed that was the main issue for intelligent design advocates. I explained to him that wasn't the case and that I'm not a YEC, that intelligent design assumes a universe more than 13 billion years old and a history of life going back more than 3 billion.

Not long after, he criticized me again on the very same point, for believing in a 6,000-year-old world. I don't think he believed that I was lying in my previous email to him. He just could not surrender a plank in the platform of his own ignorance: The belief that this is all fight about whether in riding around on dinosaurs, cavemen went bareback or opted for more of a western saddle. He had that audio loop playing over and over in his head. He couldn't hear a thing I said.

Other journalists might be able to characterize ID a little more accurately. They could repeat the dumb-dumb mantra that it says life is "too complicated" (the New York Times's formulation) or "too complex" (National Public Radio) to have arisen by Darwinian means. The more inquisitive among them, who have read the Wikipedia article, might tell you it all has to do with a bacterial fla-something or other.

Everyone knows the phrase "intelligent design" and they know it's a vital idea in the wider culture but very, very few in journalism, including on the science beat, could tell you what evidence ID theorists actually offer for their views. Just glance at the headlines here at ENV, the new arguments and information offered every day, from cutting-edge science.

To the typical professional who purports however tangentially to comment on the evolution debate, intelligent design is an alien land with an unspeakable language. In the famous phrase from the Hunt-Lenox Globe of 1510, signifying dread of what lies beyond the edge of the world, the unknown and unknowable, Hic sunt dracones: "Here there be dragons."

Not that this profound and cherished ignorance stops the commentators, in their modesty, from commenting. It often seems like it's the ones who know the least who say the most, who come back to the subject most eagerly and often. And that is the point. They say Republicans are the anti-science party, the uninformed boobs and benighted monkeys, comfortable with and fiercely protective of their own cluelessness? Oh please!

In her Washington Post article, Ms. vanden Heuvel gives us other issues on which Republicans are supposedly hostile to science. Of course there's man-made catastrophic global warming. Put yourself in the place of a thoughtful consumer of news who has taken the trouble to educate himself on the scientific case for and critique of Darwinian evolution, but who on global warming has not yet had the time to conduct similar scrutiny. You know that on evolution, it's the mainstream media who, in reality, sit in the dark and resist knowledge.

If you know that to be the case on this one issue, why would you trust the word of Katrina vanden Heuvel and her colleagues on any other scientific question?


The "Enlightenment" was a movement amongst the rich and the famous and was in no way fundamentally critical to the very changes she attributes to it.   It was the Reformation that turned its back on Aristotle's way of thinking and introduced empirical science to not only the rulers of the day but also the masses as Gutenberg began the printing of the Bible and the Bible led to the education of the common man. It was the rich and the established religious rulers who wanted to keep the Bible away from mankind.  They knew that the Bible would teach the common man truth.  They knew that the liberties they took for themselves should be shared with all mankind.

It was Christians who began universities that were opened to commoners and not just the royals and the rich.  It was Christians who produced the scientific method and established the basic sciences.   Christians like Newton and Bacon and Bacon and Maxwell and Lord Kelvin and Grossteste provided the impetus for the advancement of scientific knowledge while it was Christians and Theists who asserted that God had made man with inalienable rights and said so in the Declaration of Independence as they formed the United States of America.  It was the Christians who led the abolitionist movement that ended slavery and again spearheaded the equal rights movement that eliminated Jim Crow Laws in the South and put an end to laws which segregated men on the basis of race.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was both a Republican and a Christian minister. 

"The US Declaration of Independence states that God Himself bestowed our rights and liberties upon us. The entire American political experiment is based on that unique premise. No other bulwark exists to safeguard the natural rights of human beings except Divine sanction. Remove God, and you also remove all claims to liberty, rights, meaning and purpose." - InalienableRights.Org

My point is made.   I would disagree with the journalist in many ways but, as a YEC, I would also disagree with Klinghoffer.  I believe that new findings about the Solar System and the Universe being made by various spacecraft sent out to gather information will convince the ID people that the Solar System has to be thousands and not millions of years old. Soon there will be more observations from deeper into space to understand.  We already have discovered recent volcanic activity on the dark side of our own Moon and the mounting evidence for a young Solar System will be a devastating blow to Darwinism.  Either way, it is certain that ID is not Creationism, rather it is empirical science that observes and tests what we can see now and makes scientific observations, hypotheses and theories.   ID is real science pertinent to what we can observe now and minus the plethora of stories that comprise the bulk of Darwinism. 


Jon Woolf said...

Sorry, Radar. Intelligent Design as propounded by the Disco Institute was proven in court to be warmed-over creationism. The history of Of Pandas and People is conclusive. In early drafts it was explicitly creationist; only in later drafts, after Edwards v. Aguillard was it transformed into "intelligent design" by its cdesign proponentsist authors.

AmericanVet said...

Right, Jon, and the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald acted alone. John Wayne Gacy was originally cleared by police as a suspect in child murders. Islam is a religion of peace. Abortion is not the murder of a child. There is a Santa Claus, and Easter Bunny and that court case decided the science...NOT! Some goofball judge who wanted to get his name in the Rolling Stone will not decide the science.

Copernicus and Kepler ignored what the ruling paradigm wanted and kept promoting and eventually proving a Heliocentric Solar System.

You sound like one of the guys with that tape loop playing over and over again in your head. Get it straight. ID is NOT Creationism of either the YEC or OEC variety. It is empirical science focused on observable processes and systems with no attempt to tell any origins stories. This post makes that completely clear to anyone who is honest and free of brainwashing. I give you the benefit of the doubt and conclude you cannot overcome your indoctrination.

Jon Woolf said...

...that court case decided the science...NOT! Some goofball judge who wanted to get his name in the Rolling Stone will not decide the science.


It wasn't the judge who said that, Radar. It was the cdesign proponentsists themselves. The evidence is all on the record. The book that became the "intelligent design" textbook Of Pandas and People started out as a creationist textbook called Creation Biology.

Anonymous whatsit said...

What more is there to say? Of course it's in ID's best interest to not align itself overtly with religious motives. They're trying to sneak this stuff into classrooms, after all.

The origins of ID as being "creationism in disguise" are clearly demonstrated in Jon Woolf's link above, even if Radar is (as usual) unable to admit that to be the case.

"Is intelligent design a scientific theory? Yes."

Notice the waffling that follows this statement in the above article.

"Scientific theory" has a specific meaning in science. ID has not yet proposed any testable, falsifiable claims that can be used to confirm or refute it, so it has a ways to go yet.

Radar likes to claim that the theory of evolution falls short of this benchmark, but that is clearly based on his abundant unwillingness to read what the theory of evolution is actually about.

"Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism."

There are some differences, but there is also overlap, similar to the differences and overlap between OEC and YEC. I can't think of any ID proponents that are not religiously motivated.