I stop over at UncommonDescent every once in a while. (I don’t do so very often, though, because I always end up irate over the spin, or feel the need to correct their poor understanding of science.)
One thing that always gives me a laugh is their attempts to distance themselves from the “God” word, but at the same time, their whole impetus is to lead people to God. While looking over their latest posts, I noticed a remarkable number of entries dealing with God and Religion: “[Sam Harris says:] Scientists should unite against threat from religion”, “The Open Society and Its Secular Enemies, “David Klinghoffer, author of the new book Shattered Tablets: Why We Ignore the Ten Commandments at Our Peril (Doubleday)…”, . Hmmm, maybe the ID movement has finally given-up the pretense of being non-religious. Afterall, none of these have anything to do with the “very, very scientific” theory of Intelligent Design (unless that designer is supernatural, of course). But, I was wrong. In one of the threads (ironically, one talking about the new “Expelled” movie), this exchange happened:
JJS P.Eng: Changing PZ and friends minds is not the purpose of [the Expelled] movie. The purpose, IMO, is to expose the venomous rhetoric and tyranny of the materialist establishment and is aimed at those who aren’t in the extremes, but in the middle. They are the ones who need persuading.
Rocket: The use of “venomous rhetoric” and “tyranny” is pretty strong language. It makes you sound angry and desperate, as if you are arguing from a weak position. People who are confident of their position don’t need to be so vehement.
So if ID is not creationism, then exactly who is the designer? Isn’t he the same as the creator? Creator (a person who creates), designer (a person who devises or executes designs, esp. one who creates), they sound the same to me. Can you tell me how they are different?
Is the designer a person, a supernatural being, an energy force, a deity, or what? Help me out here. Persuade me.
William Dembski: Rocket is no longer with us. –WmAD
Aw, Rocket got banned. It’s still forbidden to make the “Intelligent Designer” = “God” connection in writing. (If, on the other hand, you make that connection, get down on your knees and ask for Christ’s salvation, then the ID movement will have accomplished it’s goal.) The ID movement is caught in this whole game of doublespeak.
The word “Intelligent Design” was first coined to sidestep the problems of teaching creationism in the first place. In the 1980s, some creationists (including Dean Kenyon, who is a six-day young-earth creationist) were writing a book named “Creation Biology”, then renamed to “Biology & Creation”, “Biology & Origins”, and finally renamed to “Of Panda’s and People”. While this was going on, there was a major court case: Edwards v. Aguillard, which made it illegal to teach creationism in schools. Dean Kenyon was used as an expert witness (for the Creationist side) in that court case. When the ruling was made in 1987 that teaching Creationism in schools was illegal, the authors suddenly decided to change the wording of “Of Panda’s and People” from “Creationist” to “Intelligent Design”. The chart below shows the number of times “Creationism” versus “Intelligent Design” is used in the Of Panda’s and People book. Obviously, the change was made in response to the ruling, in an attempt to distance the book from “Creationism”.
The entire Intelligent Design movement has attempted to distance itself from the “Creationism” word – both for political reasons (i.e. getting it into schools), and because creationist scholarship has been sub-par (to say the least). This means denying the “Intelligent Designer” = “God” connection in public, even though they explicitly state that Intelligent Design is supposed to be a conduit to lead people to Jesus Christ.
The Wedge Document – which is the premiere and guiding document for the Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture – states in the very first sentence:
“The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built… [The] materialistic conception of reality eventually infected virtually every area of our culture, from politics and economics to literature and art… Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies… and [has] re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.”
It’s ridiculous to believe that “Intelligent Design” makes no assertions about the identity of the designer. There is plenty of explicitly theistic language in the document, and if the designer were anything other than a deity (e.g. an alien species), then the Discovery Institute would fail in the “overthrow of materialism” and advancing a “broadly theistic understanding of nature”.
On the first page of Behe’s latest book “The Edge of Evolution”, he says that the physical constants of the universe (including the strength of gravity and the atomic weight of hydrogen, presumably) were designed. This plays right into John Stewart’s observation that: “Basically, Intelligent Design is the idea that life on earth is too complex to have evolved without a guiding hand. We’re not saying it’s God, just someone with the basic skill set to create an entire universe.”
In their own words:
“And if there’s anything that I think has blocked the growth of Christ [and] the free reign of the Spirit and people accepting the Scripture and Jesus Christ, it is the Darwinian naturalistic view…. It’s important that we understand the world. God has created it; Jesus is incarnate in the world.” – William Dembski, ID proponent
“Father’s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.” – Johnathan Wells, ID proponent
“There’s a difference of opinion about how important this debate [advocating intelligent design] is. What I always say is that it’s not just scientific theory. The question is best understood as: Is God real or imaginary?”
– Phillip Johnson, ID proponent
(Gee, Phil, I thought ID had nothing to do with identifying the designer.)
The Church of the Designer who Shall not be Named, says: Thou shall not make the connection between the Intelligent Designer and “Creator” (*except when you’re being honest). I thought it was particularly ironic that Rocket was banned in a thread about “Expelled”. “Expelled” plays on the victimization theme by saying that scientists should be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it leads, and says that evolutionists are suppressing the truth. Rocket was following the evidence where it leads (“intelligent designer” = “God”), and he was banned by the IDists for saying the “wrong thing”.
It’s pretty ridiculous. It’s like someone saying that they’re not going to talk about the president and then saying: “There is someone in the White House who’s a very bad. This person, who’s name begins with “G”, and has a wife named Laura – is very bad. His dad was president. But, I’m *not, not, not* talking about George W. Bush – that’s just your inference, okay? And this bad man went to Yale, and has two daughters. But, if you say that I’m talking about George W. Bush, I’m going to ban you from my website. But, I really secretly want to you make that connection – just don’t say it out-loud. We are not talking about George Bush.”