You might think I'm exaggerating about not understanding their own goals but just think about it for a moment. The movement encompasses people like Michael Denton who promote a deist version of creation and it also welcomes huge numbers of Young Earth Creationists who believe in the literal truth of the biblical creation myth. Many proponents are somewhere in between these extremes but the vast majority think that there's something seriously wrong with evolution that demands the intervention of an intelligent designer. The designer may have just made bacterial flagella and a few other complex molecular machines or he/she may have stepped in to make all the animal phyla. Almost every proponent of Intelligent Design Creationism thinks that the designer intervened in the human lineage to make humans special.
Someone named "nullasalus" thinks that it's only critics of Intelligent Design Creationism who are confused. He tries to set us straight at: A Quiz for Intelligent Design Critics.
In the near decade that I’ve been watching the Intelligent Design movement, one thing has consistently amazed me: the pathological inability of many ID critics to accurately represent what ID actually is, what claims and assumptions are made on the part of the most noteworthy ID proponents, and so on. Even ID critics who have been repeatedly informed about what ID is seem to have a knack for forgetting this in later exchanges. It’s frustrating – and this from a guy who’s not even a defender of ID as science.I try really hard not to misrepresent the Intelligent Design Creationist movement. That includes my preference for adding the word "Creationist" to their label. What they're talking about is creationism—a being who creates the universe and who creates some aspects of living organisms.
A great many prominent ID proponents are opposed to "materialism"—that means they support non-materialism, otherwise known as supernaturalism (e.g. founder Phillip Johnson). A great many prominent ID proponents try to paint all supporters of evolution as social Darwinists. They try to link us to Nazis and they go out of their way to denigrate Charles Darwin. This seems to be an integral part of the Intelligent Design Creationist movement and it can't be ignored.
Just read the titles of the major ID books. They are all about attacking evolution.
"Nullasalus" thinks he knows what Intelligent Design Creationism is all about so he's created a quiz to test us.
But I’m interested in progress on this front, and I think I’ve come up with a good solution: let’s have an ID quiz. And let’s put this quiz to critics, in public, so at the very least we can see whether or not they’re even on the same page as the ID proponents they are criticizing.Hmmm ... "other" proponents is a pretty broad category. It includes Jonathan Wells, Denyse O'Leary, Barry Arrington, David Klinghoffer, and Casey Luskin as well as a host of other "noteworthy ID proponents." In order to answer the quiz we need to consider all of them.
I want to stress here: the goal of this quiz isn’t to score points, or force ID proponents to concede controversial things – asking ‘Is there a complete and satisfactory origin of life theory?’ is an important question, but it’s not what I’m after here. I’m talking about the bare and basic essentials of Intelligent Design arguments, as offered by Dembski, Behe and others.
Here's the quiz. The questions are in italics and my answers are in bold.
To that end, here’s the quiz I’ve come up with, just by recalling off the top of my head the systematic mistakes I see made:
1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?
Yes, almost all Intelligent Design Creationists would have to agree that evolution, as defined, is a fact. Unfortunately, many prominent ID proponents can't bring themselves to do that (e.g. Cornelius Hunter).2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?
Apparently not, because there are very few prominent ID proponents who would agree that all living organisms share a common ancestor. Stephen Meyer, for example, has just written a book challenging the evolutionary explanation for the Cambrian Explosion. Since Meyer is the director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture and one of the founders of Intelligent Design Creationism, we have to concede that his views count.3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?
Their claim is that certain aspects of the history of life looked designed. That means there has to be a designer. Some of the Intelligent Design Creationists pretend that the designer could be aliens or humans from the future. It's just an amazing coincidence that all of them believe in creator god(s). The smartest ID proponents are honest enough to admit that they are talking about god(s) and most of the rest talk about god(s) quite frequently without ever overtly admitting that their god(s) are the intelligent designer.4. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, argue that any given purported incident of design must have been performed by God, angels, or any “supernatural” being?
I think it's quite fair to answer "yes" to the question of whether they are referring to god(s).
We all know that their god(s) are omnipotent and quite capable of doing whatever they want. They can poof flagella into existence and they can create all sorts of new animals during the Cambrian. These are not "natural" events by any reasonable definition of "natural." They are supernatural. So, "yes," the most noteworthy ID proponents explain their examples of design by appealing to supernatural acts. This is easy to disprove—all they have to do is describe in some detail how they think designed features can arise by purely natural means.
No, they are very, very, careful to avoid saying "must." But we all know what they mean. None of them have ever offered an explanation for design that doesn't imply god(s) or angels. All we have to do is ask them directly how they think purportedly designed features came into existence. "Do you think that God did it?" Most honest ID proponents would have to answer "yes."5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?
No. That's why there's not a single Intelligent Design Creationist who will admit to being an atheist. How could they?6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)
You know what the "sophisticated" ID proponents are going to say, don't you? They're going to say that the ID movement is only about detecting design and it has nothing to do with explaining design. They're going to say that you don't have to believe in god(s) in order to detect design. That's ridiculous. The "movement" is all about making science compatible with religion.
No, most of them are pretty stupid but they aren't that stupid. However, I doubt very much that Intelligent Design Creationism would have ever been created if its proponents didn't already believe in the Creator that's described in the Bible.
The essence of the movement is an attempt to use science to prove the existence of
god(s)an unknown intelligent designer.7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?
It's an example that's supported by a handful of noteworthy ID proponents. There aren't any Young Earth Creationists who believe it and very, very, few other Christians.8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?
I don't understand the question. I can't think of any group of ID proponents who advocate anything like this. If they exist, they are minor players.9. An ID critic proposes that intelligent aliens, not God, may be responsible for a purported incident of Intelligent Design – for example, the origin of the bacterial flagellum. Has the ID critic proposed a scenario which, if true, would disprove Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?That was pretty easy. I answered the questions based on more than twenty years of experience with prominent ID proponents so I'm pretty sure I've represented their true position on the intelligent design version of creationism.
The most noteworthy proponents would probably pretend that this is compatible with their beliefs. Nobody thinks they are telling the truth.10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?
"Nullasalus" continues ...
This list could be tweaked or expanded, I’m sure. But I have a suspicion here: I think many ID critics, at least critics of public note, would be unable to pass the quiz I just outlined. Not just unable, but unwilling – because to answer it would be to obliterate some common misrepresentations of Intelligent Design, and for whatever reason, those misrepresentations are very important to people. And pardon the repeated inclusion of ‘as offered by its most noteworthy proponents’ bit – I’m being stuffy about that because I don’t want to see someone exploit a loophole and run off on a tangent.How did I do? Did I pass?
Regardless, I offer this quiz for ID regulars – critics and supporters alike. Feel free to take it in the comments if you’re interested! I can already name a few ID critics on UD I think would successfully pass the test, and maybe some ID proponents would actually fail it. Perhaps we’ll see.