Intelligent Design Creationism is a version of creationism that focuses on the creation of life. Proponents of this version claim that god played a direct role in creating some parts of living organisms. They concentrate on biochemical structures like bacterial flagella and folded proteins but they're also interested in things like speciation and the Cambrian explosion.
Evolution can explain most of the things that the Intelligent Design Creationists worry about so their main overt activities are concentrated on discrediting evolution and discrediting those scientists who support scientific explanations of biology. Given this necessity, you'd think that the leading proponents of IDC would be quite knowledgeable about biology and evolution.
Not true. It's quite easy to show that Intelligent Design Creationists do not understand evolution (or biochemistry, for that matter). The most obvious example is their continued use of the word "Darwinist" to describe their opponents. Even the ones that have considerable training in biochemistry, (e.g. Behe, Axe) demonstrate a remarkable ignorance of modern ideas about molecular evolution.
Here's the problem: this doesn't seem to be an issue with most Intelligent Design Creationists. They think that being an expert in biochemistry, biology, and evolution is NOT a requirement in the fight against evolution. They seem to honestly believe that experts from outside these fields—experts such as engineers, computer scientists, philosophers, lawyers, and theologians—are quite capable of refuting evolution and showing that intelligent design is the only reasonable scientific conclusion.
That's why many of the leading lights in the movement—such as William Dembski, Casey Luskin, Stephen Meyer, and David Berlinski have no expertise in biology/evolution. Like I said earlier, it's trivial to show that these creationists don't know what they're talking about when they discuss evolution but that doesn't seem to matter to anyone at the Discovery Institute. It's almost as if they treat that ignorance as a badge of honor—something to be proud of.
I was reminded of this today when I read Denyse O'Leary's latest post on Uncommon Descent. She's promoting the views of Evgeny Selensky, a Russian scholar who supports the intelligent design version of creationism. You can read his original essay here: Intelligent Design: pro et contra. Denyse's promo is at UD Commenter ES’s pro-con worldview and scientific issues summary on ID. Denyse is impressed by anyone who claims to be a scientist and opposes evolution.
This is a very useful summary from one who is not a part of the North American debate, so it is good to be able to see what he state of the debate looks like through fresh eyes.If you think about it for a minute, you'll realize that this is truly bizarre. Here's a man, Evgeny Selensky, who knows almost nothing about biology or evolution but feels qualified to talk about it. Why? Because there's something bigger than biology that trumps all the inconvenient biological facts that argue against creationism. This is how Selensky puts it ...
In this case, one whose eyes are shaped by having grown up during the Soviet and post Soviet era in Russia, who is a qualified physicist, a theologian, and a practising computer programmer.
So, let us take due note.
Classical Darwinism also maintains descent of all known life forms from one or several common ancestors. This is also in contradiction with the traditional ecclesiastical perspective, in particular with the teaching about the Person of Christ. Revelation has it that God put on human flesh and does not say anything positive on whether it follows that God through his incarnation in the Person of Jesus Christ has also put on animal flesh. On the contrary, even though the building blocks of human and animal flesh are the same, human and animal natures are different. In Judeo-Christian revelation there are pointers to a striking difference between the creation of man and the creation of other life. Of course, we do not know how exactly it was done, but while man came into being by some kind of direct mysterious act of creation the other forms of life that preceded him were created indirectly (cf. "Let Us make man in Our image" (Gen. 1:26), and "let the land produce leaving creatures" (Gen.1:24)).Most of us aren't particularly shocked when we read this because we've known all along that Intelligent Design Creationism isn't about biology or evolution (or law, or computer science). It's about god.
If we look further, not only Christianity but all known religions have it in common that man bears in himself something divine. I think this commonality alone deserves serious consideration.
Finally, ID posits that biological systems bear a signature of intelligent agency and consequently they are not a result of some spontaneous undirected processes. For this reason, in contrast to evolutionism, ID is not in conflict with Orthodox Christian theology.
It looks like Denyse O'Leary is finally coming right out and saying that it's all about religion. I wonder if she's going to get in trouble with the Discovery Institute for blowing their cover?
If I'm right about this, then Intelligent Design Creationism isn't going to be killed off by showing that their science is wrong.1 It certainly isn't going to be killed by any court cases in the United States of America, otherwise it would have disappeared after McLean v. Arkansas in 1981.
Jason Rosenhouse [Twenty Years After Darwin on Trial, ID is Dead] and Jerry Coyne [Jason Rosenhouse pronounces intelligent design dead] disagree. They think that Intelligent Design Creationism is dead. Here's how Jerry puts it ...
. . . and he’s [Rosenhouse] absolutely right. All the bluster of intelligent design (ID), once so visible in books like Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box and Phillip Johnson’s Darwin on Trial, has been reduced to pathetic sniping at evolutionary biologists on a few ID websites. The arguments of IDers have been countered, the ID “science” that, we were told, was “right around the corner” hasn’t made an appearance, and their same refuted arguments keep cropping up.New arguments like those in The Myth of Junk DNA, The Edge of Evolution and Signature in the Cell keep cropping up like the moles in the famous game. Make no mistake, some of those arguments aren't easy to refute. I dare say most evolutionists can't do it.
However, Jason and Jerry are wrong for another reason. Intelligent Design Creationism is not about science. It's about creationism.
Here's the comment I posted on Why Evolution Is True
I was watching television the other day and I saw a debate involving candidates for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.
Most of them were creationists and most of them mouthed the standard slogans of Intelligent Design Creationism.
If that’s what a dead horse looks like, I urge you all to keep beating it before it gets up and bites you in places you won’t like.
Jerry, you and Jason are being very naive. Intelligent Design Creationism is a “movement” not a scientific hypothesis. It’s about as dead as homeopathy and astrology.
1. Although it's still important to show that their science is wrong.