Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Melanie Phillips Confuses ID and Creationism

And not in the usual sense. Her article in the Spectator takes great pains to separate the two viewpoints, creationism and ID. She writes:
Whatever the ramifications of the specific school textbooks under scrutiny in the Kitzmiller/Dover case, the fact is that Intelligent Design not only does not come out of Creationism but stands against it. This is because Creationism comes out of religion while Intelligent Design comes out of science. Creationism, whose proponents are Bible literalists, is a specific doctrine which holds that the earth was literally created in six days. Intelligent Design, whose proponents are mainly scientists, holds that the complexity of science suggests that there must have been a governing intelligence behind the origin of matter, which could not have developed spontaneously from nothing.
Come again? How exactly does Intelligent Design stand against creationism? How does it come out of science? Intelligent Design is the antithesis of science. It is, by its very definition, anti-science. ID argues that, when one has exhausted the known avenues of explaining something, it must be designed by God. As any scientist will tell you: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Kenneth Miller in both of this books about the subject takes great pains to give examples of history in which a particular phenomenon was not understood and, therefore, given over to the workings of God. The problem with this viewpoint, and it is one that pervades ID literature is that your god gets smaller and smaller as you push him off to the corner somewhere.

The other problem here is that, while the Intelligent Design supporters take great pains to try to get ID taught and taken seriously without the hint of religion, its key promoters and originators are very clear about what their inspiration is. William Dembski has been quoted as saying:"
Intelligent design is the Logos of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory." (William Dembski, Jul/Aug 1999, Touchstone, p. 84)
The Discovery Institute's supported witnesses in the Dover trial had no idea what ID really was, they just wanted creationism taught in the schools. As Judge John Jones III said after the trial:
In the realm of the lay witnesses, if you will, some of the school board witnesses were dreadful witnesses and hence the description “breathtaking inanity” and “mendacity.” In my view, they clearly lied under oath. They made a very poor account of themselves. They could not explain why they did what they did. They really didn't even know what intelligent design was. It was quite clear to me that they viewed intelligent design as a method to get creationism into the public school classroom. They were unfortunate and troublesome witnesses. Simply remarkable, in that sense.
ID is best seen as "big tent" creationism. Science it is not.


  1. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

    Here's a saying from physicists that applies to ID: "A theory that explains everything explains nothing."