Intelligent design

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Intelligent design is the pseudoscientific view that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."


  • Intelligent design is not an argument of the same character as these controversies [within evolution science]. It is not a scientific argument at all, but a religious one. It might be worth discussing in a class on the history of ideas, in a philosophy class on popular logical fallacies, or in a comparative religion class on origin myths from around the world. But it no more belongs in a biology class than alchemy belongs in a chemistry class, phlogiston in a physics class or the stork theory in a sex education class. In those cases, the demand for equal time for "both theories" would be ludicrous. Similarly, in a class on 20th-century European history, who would demand equal time for the theory that the Holocaust never happened? ...

    If complex organisms demand an explanation, so does a complex designer. And it's no solution to raise the theologian's plea that God (or the Intelligent Designer) is simply immune to the normal demands of scientific explanation. To do so would be to shoot yourself in the foot. You cannot have it both ways. Either ID belongs in the science classroom, in which case it must submit to the discipline required of a scientific hypothesis. Or it does not, in which case get it out of the science classroom and send it back into the church, where it belongs.

  • Intelligent design (ID) is a scientific theory that employs the methods commonly used by other historical sciences to conclude that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. ID theorists argue that design can be inferred by studying the informational properties of natural objects to determine if they bear the type of information that in our experience arise from an intelligent cause.
  • Churches are block-booking seats for March of the Penguins, which is apparently a "condemnation of gay marriage" and puts forward the case for "intelligent design", ie, Creationism. To be honest, this is good news. If American Christians want to go public on the fact that they're now morally guided by penguins, at least we know where we all stand.
    • Caitlin Moran, The Times [of London], "Penguins lead way" section of column (20 September 2005).

Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District[edit]

  • We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture.
    • Ray Mummert, creationist/intelligent design proponent, Pastor at Brethren in Christ Church, East Berlin, Pennsylvania, March 2005. [See, for example, Lauri Lebo, "Pastor enjoys year in spotlight", York Daily Record (27 December 2005).]
  • Mr. Robert J. Muise (attorney for Dover Area School District): Would you agree that Darwin's theory of evolution is not an absolute truth?

    Dr. Kenneth Miller: I certainly would, for the very simple reason that … in science, no theory is ever regarded as absolute truth.

  • Poll: Majority of Americans Reject Evolution: Accept "The Flintstones."
    • Ironic Times (31 October 2005) page 2.
  • Intelligent Design Trial Hopes to Wrap Up Soon: Courthouse needed for Santa Claus, Easter Bunny trials.
    • Ironic Times (31 October 2005) page 3.
  • ID [Intelligent Design theory] is reliant upon forces acting outside of the natural world, forces that we cannot see, replicate, control or test, which have produced changes in this world. While we take no position on whether such forces exist, they are simply not testable by scientific means and therefore cannot qualify as part of the scientific process or as a scientific theory.

End of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District[edit]

  • [T]he empirical claims of the contemporary American Creation Science or Intelligent Design (ID) theory, which postulates a Creator of nature, are, just as the earlier theological argument from design, based on a mistaken, "creationist" view of human artifacts. Such view attributes functionality and complexity in an artifact to a singular human designer. The attribution aims at supporting an analogy between products of human designers, and the design-like adaptations found in nature, allegedly pointing to a supernatural Designer. The creationist view of artifacts, however, has been in conflict with conclusions of design history and history of technology alike: neither of them sees the functionality and complexity in artifacts as products of design but rather as results of re-design. Ironically, the evolutionary biologists, who fiercely oppose the creationist view of nature in ID proponents and defend the Darwinian understanding of the design-like adaptations as results of natural selection, tend to condone the creationist perspective on human artifacts characteristic for their opponents, and even seems to embrace it - thus forfeiting a crucial argument against the ID theory.
  • I've come to understand that all that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang Theory and all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell.
    • Representative Paul Broun, speech at Liberty Baptist Church (Hartwell, Georgia) sportsman's banquet, 27 September 2012: video.
  • The fundamental problem with intelligent design is that you can't use it to explain the natural world. It's essentially a negative argument. It says, "Evolution doesn't work, therefore the designer did it. Evolution doesn't work, therefore we win by default."

    But when you ask them, "What does intelligent design tell you about nature? Does it tell you what the designer did? Does it tell you what the designer used to design something with? Does it tell you what purpose the designer had for designing something? Does it tell you when the designer did it? Why the designer did it?" It doesn't tell you anything like that. Basically, it's a negative argument. And you can't build a science on a negative argument.

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