Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Intelligent Design is not Creationism

One of the ACLU’s biggest arguments is that Intelligent Design is just hidden Creationism. However, Intelligent Design and Creationism are not the same thing!

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, Creationism is “the doctrine that ascribes the origin of matter, species, etc. to acts of creation by God.” This differs from Intelligent Design in that Intelligent Design only looks for a designing intelligence, and not for information about the designing intelligence. In fact we could be living in a world designed by Martians and as long as it was designed by the Martians this would be totally consistent with the theory of Intelligent Design.

Perhaps William Dembski said it best when he wrote “Creation is always about the source of being of the world. Intelligent Design is about arrangements of preexisting materials that point to a designing intelligence. Creation and Intelligent Design are therefore quite different. One can have creation without Intelligent Design and intelligent design without creation.” (The Design Revolution, 38)

Some people will argue that Intelligent Design is just disguised theology but if they really understand the theory they will realize that it is not. Although it is similar to Creationism in that it has theological implications, it differs in that it does not require specifically theological, biblical presuppositions (i.e. earth created in a day). In fact, even if the Intelligent Design of some structure has been established, it is still a separate question whether a wise, powerful and beneficent God ought to have designed a complex information structure one way or another. (Signs of Intelligence, 10)

Intelligent Design is not concerned with why the designer decided to do something one way and not the other, it is not concerned with what the designer was thinking at the time, and it is not concerned with who the designer is/was. Intelligent Design is only concerned with the fact that there is a designer.

This difference between Intelligent Design and Creationism seems to be a difficult concept to grasp for many Darwinists. For reasons unknown, many seem to attack the individual supporting Intelligent Design instead of attacking the theory of Intelligent Design itself. If you are like me, you may have experienced this yourself.

It seems that because many who support Intelligent Design also happen to be Christians (even though Christianity and Intelligent Design do not have to correlate) makes for an easy target on religious grounds.

For example, Barbara Forrest, a philosophy professor at Southern Louisiana University, wrote a paper titled The Newest Evolution of Creationism. In this paper she states her views on the Intelligent Design movement. The following are some quotes from that paper: (It should be noted that Wells and Johnson are well known supporters of the Intelligent Design movement).

[Jonathan] Wells, influenced in part by Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon, earned Ph.D.'s in religious studies and biology specifically "to devote my life to destroying Darwinism.”

[Phillip] Johnson, a law professor, whose religious conversion catalyzed his antievolution efforts…

At heart, ID proponents are not motivated to improve science but to transform it into a theistic enterprise.

Note that none of these statements have anything to do with the suppositions set forth by Intelligent Design, but have everything to do with the person that supports it. The quotes listed above are not selected at random but rather give a complete picture as to the nature of the essay. (Click Here to read the article) It is sad to see that those who are considered professionals in their field struggling so badly to find faults with the theory that they are reduced to avoiding it altogether and simply attacking the person.

I hope you’ve been able to see that Intelligent Design theory, although compatible with Creationism, is NOT a requirement for, nor is it a component of creationism.

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