Intelligent Design 101

After you’ve seen the movie, you’ll need the book!

If Expelled left you with any doubts whether intelligent design is a scientific hypothesis, and not a religious dogma, as its detractors claim, then you need to do a little reading. (Sorry. I understand. It’s just not on youtube yet.)

Intelligent Design 101 places the scientific debate over intelligent design and “unintelligent evolution” in the context of the struggle for hearts and minds going on in our society, according to William Dembski, who wrote the foreword to the book. ID luminaries such as Phillip Johnson and Michael Behe contributed chapters that deal with the complete range of issues, from thoughts on the nature of science and the implications of Darwinism for the law to the evidence for design and Darwinism’s inability to explain how nature’s complexity can be explained by mere chance and time.

The leading edge of virtually every field of science has produced evidence that the world is too complex and too finely tuned to be an accident. The universe was designed by an intelligence far beyond that of Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Carl Sagan, or Richard Dawkins – who once declared, “The illusion of purpose is so powerful that biologists use the assumption of good design as a working tool.”

If design is such an effective tool for scientific inquiry, and if it is so obvious there is purpose in nature, what would lead one to conclude it is an illusion? Perhaps the problem isn’t so much illusion as delusion … an anti-God delusion.

Try to talk with someone who places blind faith in Darwinism to get them off the hook about the reality of God, and you’ll get a lot of heat and light – derision and abuse. And you’ll also get smoke – a barrage of arcane factoids that supposedly demonstrate that neo-Darwinist macroevolution can explain not only the origin of the species but its development as well. The truth, however, is that all the Darwinists can offer is examples of change within a species. There is no evidence of transition from one species to another. And even more significantly, they can offer no explanation for the origin of life and intellect.

The preface to Intelligent Design 101 offers this perspective:

People should have the good sense to know when a viewpoint is being forced due to lack of evidence.

One fascinating aspect of the current debate is that many leading Darwinists behave more like the stereotypical “fundamentalists” than do the religious “fundamentalists” they oppose. They imagine zealots who seek to censor the teaching of evolution on purely religious grounds. In the secular academy, questioning of the neo-Darwinian creation account usually is not tolerated. Establishment opposition to any alternative supposition to neo-Darwinian evolution is as voracious as that encountered by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) when he published his arguments for a Copernican, sun-centered solar system. People on all sides of the macroevolution debate see the important worldview implications in the balance.

Because of its intolderance to dissent, academia generally has a “pro-Darwin-only” approach to origins. Wearing philosophical blinders, Darwinists commonly proclaim in a self-contradictory fashion that intelligent design is both false and unfalsifiable. Evolution, they say, is the only possible answer, and this is infallible fact.

Those with an open mind see the issue differently. Intelligent design is a fresh, and compelling, alternative to the tired arguments of Darwinism.

 Intelligent Design 101 will give you reasons to embrace intelligent design as a reasonable alternative to blind adherence to Darwinist dogma.

Cross-posted at CounterCulture.

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About Mark Kelly

Jesus follower, Bible reader, husband/father/son/brother/uncle, rider, hiker, snapshooter
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4 Responses to Intelligent Design 101

  1. Matt says:

    Is ID a hypotheses? Yes. But then, me claiming that the sun is shrinking is also a hypotheses. It’s a discredited and woefully incorrect one but it’s still a hypotheses.

    The term ‘Darwinists’ actually interests me. It seems to be a rather strange construct of ID proponents but it doesn’t actually make any sense.

    There is no field or branch of science called ‘Darwinism’. Trying to say that would be much like saying that the Theory of Relativity is ‘Einsteinism’ or Gravity is ‘Newtonism’.

    Neither is there is field or branch of philosophy called Darwinism.

    So what does this rather odd little term mean, hm?

    I think it, if anything, portrays a rather horrible understanding of the shape of science whenever it is used. It indicates that those being referred to as ‘Darwinists’ blindly follow Darwin, which is just silly. Any scientist will tell you that Darwin was wrong and ignorant about a great many things and that the Theory of Evolution has changed and been improved quite a lot since he penned that good ol’ 1st Edition.

  2. Admin says:

    The difference between a hypothesis that the sun is shrinking and one that there is a designing intelligence behind the structures of nature would be that the latter is supported by data, while the former is not. A better analogy would be between the shrinking sun theory and the hypothesis that the structures of nature are the result of random development over long periods of time. The data do not support that hypothesis. If the value of a hypothesis derives from its explanatory power, Darwinism as a grand theory is worthless.

    As if you didn’t know already, ‘Darwinism’ is shorthand for “neo-Darwinist macroevolution.” Surely you understand shorthand. It’s much the same way ‘creationism’ is used and misused. I don’t believe I claimed there is a field or branch of science called Darwinism, but there is a religious/philosophical principle that informs the way neo-Darwinist macroevolutionists interpret data.

    Yes, Darwin was mistaken and ignorant about many things. That in fact is the premise of Michael Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box. If Darwin had a powerful microscope, his understanding of cellular mechanics would have led him to revise his theory. Yet scientists today have their electron microscopes, and they still refuse to acknowledge the implications of the data for the religious/philosophical principle that informs their worldview.

    You are correct that scientists today don’t blindly follow Darwin. But many do blindly follow the principle of atheistic materialism that informs their worldview. They subscribe to the anti-God delusion because they don’t want to admit the reality of a higher power. If we acknowledge Creator God is real, then we realize how puny we are in his presence. We have to ask ourselves what God is like and what God expects of us. We might have to live our lives for something other than our own ends and accept values that transcend our own selfishness. We might have to admit there is an objective truth that defines right and wrong – and then have to submit our opinions to that truth.

    There’s a lot at stake here. Neo-Darwinist macroevolutionists aren’t just defending an inadequate scientific hypothesis. They are defending a premise – atheistic materialism – that allows them to live their lives the way they want, instead of living them to give their Creator the honor he deserves.

    But then you knew that already.

  3. Matt says:

    There is simply no evidence for ID that has been brought forth. The closest they’ve come is a slight variation on the Watchmaker argument – “It’s so complex, it had to be designed!”

    And Evolution has a lot of evidence to back it up, a lot of ‘explanatory power’. You just have to look at resources such as talkorigins.org (highly respected, fully referenced to thousands of different papers, research, etc) to see just a sample of it.

    Behe has shown to be ignorant and not even knowledgeable in the field he claims expertise in. His testimony at the Dover trial really did leave him with a lot of egg on his face with statements such as (paraphrasing) “No one has been able to explain the formation of the human immune system” … and which point a couple dozen widely circulated dozen papers on the subject were presented which proved him wrong.
    Of course, that doesn’t stop Behe making such silly assumptions as he does in his various books. Unless he travelled back in time and spoke with Darwin he wouldn’t know what it’d take for Darwin to change his mind – he was merely projecting his own thoughts onto his own schema of Darwin. Indeed, Darwin even wrote down a lot of things which would instantly disprove his theory … none of which have ever actually been found, including irreducible complexity.

    Scientists, and rightly so, do not use unnecessary mechanisms in their work. There is no evidence for any sort of higher power in the Universe. None. If you start accepting mechanisms for which there was no evidence, you’d have to start accepting that invisible fairies are responsible for us not floating out into space.
    Of course, if someone did find such evidence and was thus able to sustain their findings … well, their name would go instantly down in history wouldn’t it? The man who proved god existed? Hard to get more famous than that.

    Oh wow. The old ‘morality comes from god’ argument? I haven’t seen that old chestnut brought out for a while. Ever heard of the Social Contract? Or how even morality might be evolutionary in nature (simply put, people learned that not screwing each other over was generally a lot better than murdering, stealing, etc).

    You seem to have a very strange perception of science, including some rather odd misconceptions.

  4. Admin says:

    You’re right. There’s no evidence for ID – if you’re satisfied with Darwin’s science. Your assertion that there is no evidence shows your determination to cling to a materialistic explanation. The data is all the same, whether your hypothesis is materialism or ID. The issue is which hypothesis best explains the data. I’ve not seen a single item that cannot be accommodated by ID, and the list of things materialistic Darwinism can’t explain gets longer every day.

    Macroevolution can’t even explain how the most basic structures of cellular biology developed, much less anything massively complex like DNA. It can’t explain where life originated. It can’t document an actual example of species transition. It can’t explain how intellect evolved. Yet true believers cling to their dogma, because letting it go requires a change of worldview – and that is what they find unacceptable. That’s why we see such a snide, belittling tone used to refer to ID proponents. The other side must be dismissed as ignorant, else people might notice the bankruptcy of the Darwinist worldview.

    Yes, we’ve all heard of the Social Contract. It’s another remnant (chestnut) of the Enlightenment that Flat Earth Atheism clings to because letting it go means acknowledging a truth it doesn’t want to live with. The Social Contract doesn’t hold water. Right and wrong are what a society agrees it is? Then colonial slavery wasn’t wrong because the Social Contract supported it. A country like Myanmar can’t be guilty of human rights abuses if its Social Contract doesn’t recognize human rights.

    Romans 1 explained the determination to deny God’s reality a long time ago. Paul wrote about people “who push the truth away from themselves …. The truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. They knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. … Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. … When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done. … They are … haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful.”

    Believe what you choose, friend. There is no argument I can make that will persuade you, and it’s not me you have to explain yourself to anyway. The truth is in front of you; it’s in your heart. The Creator of the universe made you himself with loving care and has moved heaven and earth to make it possible for you to personally experience his love. Science is demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that he is real. The historical evidence proves beyond reasonable doubt that he raised Jesus from the dead so we would know who we can trust to tell us the truth about God.

    Whether we choose to acknowledge the truth determines whether or not we will be able to live in a just, free civilization. Whether I choose to acknowledge the truth personally determines whether I will be able to live the kind of life I was created to enjoy – and what kind of life I will experience after this one is over. We are free to choose what we will believe – and free to live with the consequences.

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