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Author Topic:   Does intelligent design have creationist roots?
Fallen
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Posts: 38
Joined: 08-02-2007


Message 1 of 151 (505276)
04-09-2009 6:36 PM


Recently, while browsing the “A Designer Consistent with the Physical Evidence” thread, I came across a post by Bio-molecularTony, who apparently associates himself with the Intelligent Design movement. In his post, he frequently made reference to the designer in question being God – and, with this assumption, went on to discuss the possible abilities, motivations, etc. of God.

In response to Tony, Coyote asked why someone would post so much about religious belief in a thread relating to Intelligent Design. I suggested that Tony didn’t correctly understand what Intelligent Design was about. Coyote then went on to argue that Intelligent Design is fundamentally an evolution of “scientific creationism,” thus implying (apparently) that Tony was correct to assume that Intelligent Design is a religious idea.

Since this topic is fundamentally different from the original intent of that thread, I think a new topic is order.

Continuing the discussion:

Coyote writes:

The reason I cited Of Pandas and People is the following (this is the textbook going through editions and revisions):

quote:

Creation Biology (1983), p. 3-34:
“Evolutionists think the former is correct; creationists because of all the evidence discussed in this book, conclude the latter is correct.”

Biology and Creation (1986), p. 3-33:
“Evolutionists think the former is correct, creationists accept the latter view.”

Biology and Origins (1987), p. 3-38:
“Evolutionists think the former is correct, creationists accept the latter view.”

Of Pandas and People (1987, creationist version), p. 3-40:
“Evolutionists think the former is correct, creationists accept the latter view.”

Of Pandas and People (1987, “intelligent design” version), p. 3-41:
“Evolutionists think the former is correct, cdesign proponentsists accept the latter view.”




Note that these last two versions span the Edwards v. Aguillard decision of the U.S. Supreme Court banning creation "science" in schools. That is what led to the invention of "intelligent design."
This is a clear case of a creationist text being cut-and-pasted, changing "creationists" to "design proponents" -- except for the one place they missed and ended up with "cdesign proponentsists."
So yes, I believe that intelligent design was invented to masquerade its religious background, and to replace creation "science" after it was banned by the court.

As I was saying, I could perhaps agree that the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, who wrote the textbook, changed from being a creationist organization to being an organization advocating Intelligent Design. If I recall correctly, one of the writers of the textbook testified at Dover that “creationists” was a placeholder term until a new term was thought up. This seems unlikely to me, however, since a lot of traditional creation science was apparently in early versions of the textbook. (global flood, “kinds,” etc.) Thus, it would seem that the FTE changed from being a creationist organization to an organization supporting Intelligent Design during the time period you mentioned.

While I agree that Intelligent Design draws some of its support from creationists and former creationists such as the FTE, I disagree with your statement that “intelligent design was invented to masquerade its religious background, and replace creation ‘science’ after it was banned by the court.” I disagree because I think its clear that many of the advocates and supporters of Intelligent Design come from very anti-creationist backgrounds. As I mentioned in my second post, Michael Behe was a Christian both before and after rejecting evolution in favor of ID. David Berlinski was an agnostic both before and after he started supporting ID. Demsbki, Rana, and Ross are all examples of old earth creationists who have weighed in to support Intelligent Design. All of these people hold and advocate beliefs that are extremely offensive to YECs. Yet, they are among the founders of the Intelligent Design movement.

As a result, I think Intelligent Design draws its support from many groups, including creationists. Frankly, this shouldn’t be surprising, considering that many groups advocate a world that is intelligently designed.

Edit: On further research, early versions of the text book do not discuss "kinds," the global flood, or the age of the earth. My statement in this post was inaccurate.

Edited by Fallen, : accuracy


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AdminNosy
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Message 2 of 151 (505279)
04-09-2009 6:44 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
subbie
Member (Idle past 126 days)
Posts: 3509
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 3 of 151 (505284)
04-09-2009 7:09 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Fallen
04-09-2009 6:36 PM


quote:
I disagree because I think its clear that many of the advocates and supporters of Intelligent Design come from very anti-creationist backgrounds.

Well, in the first place, it's hardly clear since the word "many" is rather vague. You mention 5 by name, does that constitute "many?"

Second, it's far from clear that any of the people you mention are anti-creationist.

quote:
Demsbki, Rana, and Ross are all examples of old earth creationists who have weighed in to support Intelligent Design. All of these people hold and advocate beliefs that are extremely offensive to YECs. Yet, they are among the founders of the Intelligent Design movement.

So, to you, the fact that old earth creationists support ID is proof that ID doesn't have creationist roots? How curious.

The quote from Coyote that you present in your OP is conclusive evidence that the IDeas presented in People and Panda are based on creationism. Beyond that, the basic game plan that IDers use is straight out of the creationist handbook.

Step 1, find something that science hasn't (yet) explained (or that you don't think science has explained)(or that has an explanation that you don't understand). Wave your hands around a bit about this "mystery," then conclude that it's proof of intelligent intervention.

Step 2, misrepresent what the theory of evolution says, then attack your straw-man misrepresentation.

Step 3, ignore all established methods of presenting your ideas to the scientific community and publish a mass-market book to try to convince those without scientific training that there's something to your nonsense.

Step 4, when the scientific community rejects your IDeas, claim that closed-minded dogmatism (or atheism) is the only thing preventing scientists from accepting what you say.

Make no mistake, IDers' roots are showing to anyone who wants to look.


For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and non-believers. -- Barack Obama

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat


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Coyote
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Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 4 of 151 (505285)
04-09-2009 7:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Fallen
04-09-2009 6:36 PM


Origins of intelligent design
Thanks for starting a new thread. You're correct, we were getting off topic on the other one.

I'll stand by my post that you cited in the opening post, but I'll make one addition.

This comes from the infamous Wedge Document, an internal fundraising and planning document of the Discovery Institute that somehow leaked and ended up on the internet.

The Discovery Institute, you might remember, is funded in part by folks who want to see the country come under biblical rule, and is the chief proponent of intelligent design.

Here are two passages from that document:

quote:

We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

Governing Goals

* To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
* To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.



So there you have it; two passages from the Discovery Institute's infamous leaked document.

Nowhere is there any plan to do scientific research, nor any mention of laboratories and other scientific necessities. Rather, what we see are plans to force science to accept censorship and domination by religious belief. What else can "science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions" mean if not "you do it our way or else?"

Not exactly a scientific attitude, eh? And this is the main force behind intelligent design.

Now you try to tell me ID is science, and not religion.

I'll get the popcorn going.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

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Huntard
Member (Idle past 677 days)
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 5 of 151 (505304)
04-10-2009 1:43 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Fallen
04-09-2009 6:36 PM


And even using logic...
While the others have given you reasons wy ID is creationism, even when you use simple logic, you can get to that fact.

It goes something like this:

Who/what is the designer? There are really only 2 possibilities. Either they are aliens with advanced technology, or it is a supernatural being. If it is aliens, then where did they come from. If they "evolved" through natural means, then the step has just been moved one place. If they're also designed, then who is their designer? Here there are also 2 possibilities. Either they are other aliens, or it is a supernatural being. You can keep this up for a while, but eventually you'll have to come to the supernatural being, because we know life hasn't always existed. Well, and dealing with the supernatural, just isn't science. Guess what does deal with the supernatural? That's right, creationism!


I hunt for the truth

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PaulK
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Posts: 15812
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 6 of 151 (505305)
04-10-2009 2:57 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Fallen
04-09-2009 6:36 PM


The argument that the FTE had rejected creationism in favour of ID was tried in the courtroom - and failed, because the evidence was so strongly against it.

From the decision of the court. as hosted at talkorigins.org


By comparing the pre and post Edwards drafts of Pandas, three astonishing points emerge: (1) the definition for creation science in early drafts is identical to the definition of ID; (2) cognates of the word creation (creationism and creationist), which appeared approximately 150 times were deliberately and systematically replaced with the phrase ID; and (3) the changes occurred shortly after the Supreme Court held that creation science is religious and cannot be taught in public school science classes in Edwards. This word substitution is telling, significant, and reveals that a purposeful change of words was effected without any corresponding change in content, which directly refutes FTE's argument that by merely disregarding the words "creation" and "creationism," FTE expressly rejected creationism in Pandas. In early pre-Edwards drafts of Pandas, the term "creation" was defined as "various forms of life that began abruptly through an intelligent agency with their distinctive features intact – fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc," the very same way in which ID is defined in the subsequent published versions. (P-560 at 210; P-1 at 2-13; P-562 at 2-14, P-652 at 2-15; P-6 at 99-100; P-11 at 99-100; P-856.2.). This definition was described by many witnesses for both parties, notably including defense experts Minnich and Fuller, as "special creation" of kinds of animals, an inherently religious and creationist concept. (28:85-86 (Fuller); Minnich Dep. at 34, May 26, 2005; Trial Tr. vol. 1, Miller Test., 141-42, Sept. 26, 2005; 9:10 (Haught); Trial Tr. vol. 33, Bonsell Test., 54-56, Oct. 31, 2005)

The evidence clearly shows that at the beginning "Intelligent Design" was just another name for creationism.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


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PaulK
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Posts: 15812
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 7 of 151 (505306)
04-10-2009 4:57 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Fallen
04-09-2009 6:36 PM


Behe's background
quote:

As I mentioned in my second post, Michael Behe was a Christian both before and after rejecting evolution in favor of ID.

So far as I can tell, Behe used to be a creationist. In 1994 he was arguing that the absence of transitional fossils for whale ancestry was evidence against evolution.

Even in Darwin's Black Box he stopped short of explicitly endorsing common descent (granting only that the evidence seemed convincing).

And, of course, Behe's views still seem to be more religious than scientific, even if he is no longer a creationist.


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Percy
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Posts: 19231
From: New Hampshire
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Member Rating: 3.3


Message 8 of 151 (505314)
04-10-2009 7:19 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Fallen
04-09-2009 6:36 PM


I didn't know anything about David Berlinski, so I looked him up at Wikipedia. Here's the first paragraph from the Intelligent Design section:

Wikipedia writes:

An outspoken critic of evolution, Berlinski is a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, a Seattle-based think-tank that is hub of the intelligent design movement. Berlinski shares the movement's disbelief in the evidence for evolution, but does not openly avow intelligent design and describes his relationship with the idea as: "warm but distant. It's the same attitude that I display in public toward my ex-wives." Berlinski is a scathing critic of "Darwinism", yet, "Unlike his colleagues at the Discovery Institute, [he] refuses to theorize about the origin of life."

Berlinski is a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, and it's interesting that the Discovery Institute is so hard up for Senior Fellows that they have one who describes his relationship with their core values as "warm but distant." I doubt you could find any senior fellows of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) who would describe their relationship with science as "warm but distant."

Anyway, getting to the topic, intelligent design is in something of a quandary. It's an attractive haven for any who reject evolution for whatever reason, but as Dover so clearly revealed, conservative Christians concerned about science education are attracted to it because they think it's just creationism under another name. This misunderstanding by the conservative Christian public by no means indicts intelligent design as creationism (that conclusion derives from other evidence), but it does mean they would be nearly as unsatisfied with the teaching of intelligent design as they are of evolution. What most conservative Christians don't know about intelligent design is that it believes the universe began with the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, that the earth is 4.56 billion years old, that the current geology of our planet reflects the expression of natural forces over billions of years, and that there was no global flood about 4500 years ago.

In other words, the immense popularity of intelligent design with the conservative Christian public is due to the fact that they have no idea what it really says. But creationist organizations like ICR (Institute of Creation Research) have a clear understanding of intelligent design, and while the two movements have a polite relationship, knowledgeable creationists (by knowledgeable I mean they know what intelligent design is, not that they're knowledgeable about science) reject intelligent design.

Probably the worst thing that could happen for intelligent design would be to get accepted into a public school science curriculum somewhere, because then its congruence with 99% of the standard science curriculum would suddenly become apparent to conservative Christians. Public support for intelligent design would quickly dry up. Discovery Institute understood this on some level when they walked away from the Dover trial.

--Percy


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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 487 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 9 of 151 (505317)
04-10-2009 7:25 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Fallen
04-09-2009 6:36 PM


Intelligent Design doesn't "have creationist roots". It has a Creationist trunk, Creationist branches, Creationist twigs and Creationist leaves.

It's Creationism in bad glasses and a wig.

Even the supposedly new centre-point of ID: irreducible complexity is the exact same argument that Creationists have been peddling for years, it boils down to "wah, wah, wah, it's complicated" ergo "GodThe-Intelligent-Designer-formerly-known-as-God did it".

Edited by Mr Jack, : No reason given.


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PaulK
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Posts: 15812
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 10 of 151 (505321)
04-10-2009 7:59 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Percy
04-10-2009 7:19 AM


quote:

What most conservative Christians don't know about intelligent design is that it believes the universe began with the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, that the earth is 4.56 billion years old, that the current geology of our planet reflects the expression of natural forces over billions of years, and that there was no global flood about 4500 years ago.

It would be fair to say that many leaders in the ID movement believe that, However ID itself takes no position on those matters. Indeed there are YECs happily within the ID movement.


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Percy
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Posts: 19231
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 11 of 151 (505326)
04-10-2009 9:38 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by PaulK
04-10-2009 7:59 AM


PaulK writes:

It would be fair to say that many leaders in the ID movement believe that, However ID itself takes no position on those matters.

Strictly speaking you're right, it doesn't, but that's beside the point. Strictly speaking neither does evolution.

Indeed there are YECs happily within the ID movement.

Which was the point I was making. They only think they're inside it, and only because they misunderstand it, see ICR's rather nuanced position on intelligent design: Intelligent Design and/or Scientific Creationism

--Percy


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PaulK
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Joined: 01-10-2003
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Message 12 of 151 (505330)
04-10-2009 11:09 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Percy
04-10-2009 9:38 AM


quote:

Which was the point I was making. They only think they're inside it, and only because they misunderstand it, see ICR's rather nuanced position on intelligent design: Intelligent Design and/or Scientific Creationism

You're including some of the leaders of the ID movement in that - Nancy Pearcey and Paul Nelson are two that I know of. Philip Johnson once said that it was too soon to talk about the age of the Earth. The ID movement knows that it can't get a Young Earth taught in schools - which is what the ICR is upset about - but it still wants the YECs on board.

If the ID movement achieved it's objectives I think that there would be an internal struggle over the issue - and I can't say that the Old Earthers would definitely win.


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Percy
Member
Posts: 19231
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 13 of 151 (505335)
04-10-2009 11:45 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by PaulK
04-10-2009 11:09 AM


PaulK writes:

You're including some of the leaders of the ID movement in that - Nancy Pearcey and Paul Nelson are two that I know of.

Like I said, the Discovery Institute is evidently desperate for fellows. Does their presence make YECism part of ID?

--Percy


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PaulK
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Posts: 15812
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 14 of 151 (505339)
04-10-2009 11:56 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Percy
04-10-2009 11:45 AM


quote:

Like I said, the Discovery Institute is evidently desperate for fellows. Does their presence make YECism part of ID?

We're not talking about nobodies or hangers-on like Berlinski here. Nancy Pearcey was a contributor to Of Pandas and People, for instance.

So I'd say that the answer is yes. They are there because YECism IS part of ID. Which is the way that the ID movement wants it. Why else won't they admit to the Earth being 4.5 billion years old ?


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Percy
Member
Posts: 19231
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 15 of 151 (505354)
04-10-2009 1:34 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by PaulK
04-10-2009 11:56 AM


Ah, I see, we're talking about different things. I was wondering why you mentioned Nelson and Pearcey. I wasn't talking about ID leadership, I was talking about the rank-and-file. What I originally said was, "In other words, the immense popularity of intelligent design with the conservative Christian public is due to the fact that they have no idea what it really says."

My point was that the conservative Christian rank-and-file by and large does not grasp that ID is fairly distinct from their own views. As Dover made clear, the rank-and-file has it all confused. When asked to describe ID all they could do is talk in terms of God and Christ and Noah's flood and all lifeforms being created by God and getting rid of evolution. Few conservative Christians have ever heard of irreducible complexity or specified complexity or that information can only be created by intelligence. They're grasping at ID not because they've had it inculcated in their minds from the pulpit for years and years (as has been the case with creationism and which explains why so many are familiar with creationist positions - you can find creationist brochures on the tables near the entrance to many conservative Christian churches) but because it sounds like their best bet for opposing the teaching of evolution.

On the other hand, the leaders of the ID movement understand the distinction between creationism and ID very well.

Why else won't they admit to the Earth being 4.5 billion years old?

They do admit the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. I just rewatched Flock of Dodos a couple weeks ago, and there was Behe expressing his belief that the earth is billions of years old and that the universe is billions of years older. And I believe it was Stephen Meyer who I saw in a debate express similar beliefs.

I think what you're thinking of is the Discovery Institute's "big tent" approach, and certainly people like Paul Nelson's presence is helpful in making this case to assuage the concerns of YEC organizations like ICR. Nonetheless, they view Discovery Institute's position askance.

--Percy


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