This is actually a pretty good question and one that doesn’t have a simple answer. There are as many thoughts about ID as there are people. That’s a fortunate thing because the ID proponents can then argue whatever points they want and change them as they need to without actually stopping arguing about ID.
So let’s take a look at what ID is.For example, I ‘know’ several pro-ID people. One says that ID is not anti-evolution, and that ID does provide evidence. Yet he continually fails to mention what that evidence is. I believe he also accepts ‘micro-evolution’ . He also believes that ID is not religious. A second proponent says that ID encompasses everything in the universe and creation of the universe. He specifically states that everything that happens is directly (not indirectly) due to an intelligent designer (that must be a deity for logical reasons). The third, unequivocally states that natural processes are fine for everything, except the origin of life on Earth and the origin of intelligent life on Earth. Which puts him at odds with number 2. Surprisingly, they refuse to engage each other on their respective views of ID.
So, when discussing Intelligent Design, I do not rely on these individuals commentary about ID. I reply specifically on what the leaders of the ID movement say. These are the people who invented the modern, biochemical, version of ID and I’ll go with them. Let’s just see what they say, in their own words:
“The job of apologetics is to clear the ground, to
clear obstacles that prevent people from coming
to the knowledge of Christ,” Dembski said. “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 quoted, Benen, Steve, “The Discovery
Institute”, Church and State Magazine, May 2002.
Hmmm… that sounds pretty anti-evolution to me. I’ll point out that for those not up on the current state of affairs, Dr. William Dembski is a professor at Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary. He’s a professor of philosophy and has a degree in mathematics, and I believe, in theology.
“If we take seriously the word-flesh Christology of
Chalcedon (i.e. the doctrine that Christ is fully
human and fully divine) and view Christ as the
telos toward which God is drawing the whole of
creation, then any view of the sciences that leaves
Christ out of the picture must be seen as
- William Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between
Science & Theology, Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press,
So, God is it and if science says something that is different than what God says, then science is wrong.
One last quote from Dembski:
That’s it. And that simple statement means that ID is not allowed to be taught without violating the First Amendment. You see, ID isn’t just any deity, it is specifically Judeo-Christian religion.
Let’s see what some others have said:
“The absence of God is a necessary
presupposition of Darwinism.”
- Interview with Phillip Johnson about The Wedge of Truth,
Christianbook.com, August 14, 2000.
And yet, in no textbook or dictionary that I have, does evolution (or Darwinism) say “there is no God”. Phillip Johnson appears to have backed out of the lime-light of creationism. He was a big deal in the 80s and 90s and had some major influence on the creationist movements.
Michael Behe is an interesting character. He’s one of the few actual scientists in the Intelligent Design movement. He works in biochemistry and has tenure at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania (and the rest of his department have all signed a letter that basically says they disagree with him and please don’t judge Lehigh on Behe.)
- That no peer-reviewedscientific journal has published research supportive of intelligent design’s claims.
- That intelligent design seems plausible and reasonable to inquirers in direct proportion to their belief or nonbelief in God.
- That the basic arguments for evidence of purposeful design in nature are essentially the same as those adduced by the Christian apologist Rev. William Paley (1743–1805) in his 1802 Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected From the Appearances of Nature, where he sums up his observations of the complexity of life in the ringing words, “The marks of design are too strong to be got over. Design must have had a designer. That designer must have been a person. That person is GOD.”
- That the definition of “theory” supplied by the US National Academy of Sciences: “Theory: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.”, was insufficiently broad to encompass ID. Use of his broader definition of the word would allow astrology to be included as a scientific theory.
You can read the entire transcript of the Dover trial here. I suggest you pay special attention to the Behe cross-examination and the Barbara Forrest direct examination. So, we have positive support for ID as religion. We have ID changing science so as to encompass astrology. And, most importantly, we have the simple fact that there is no positive evidence for Intelligent Design.
Now for the big one. The Wedge Document. This is the ‘manifesto’ for the ID movement. It’s a five year plan (which ought make even a casual student of history a little wary) that calls for some interesting things. The link above takes you to the document. Let’s see what it says.
The very first sentence is:
The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West’s greatest achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and sciences.
Well, that’s not very subtle is it?
Later on we read:
Discovery Institutes’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature. The Center awards fellowships for original research, holds conferences, and briefs policymakers about the opportunities for life after materialism.
Nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. I wonder, does that include vaccines, computers, cars, etc?
From the Five Year Plan Strategic Summary:
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.
Intelligent Design will replace science with Christianity. Can’t get more unambiguous than that.
- 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.
Five Year Goals
- To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
- To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.
- To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.
Twenty Year Goals
- To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
- To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.
- To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.
So that’s it. The goals of the Intelligent Design movement include, for all intents and purposes making a theocracy.
Dr. Paul Nelson has said that ID is way behind on the research (essentially none), but I can’t find the quote right now.
Finally, I’m going to recommend a book by Dr. Barbara Forrest. Creationism’s Trojan Horse. Part of this book was damning testimony in the Dover trial.
What have we learned?
We have learned that ID is religious, specifically Christian. We have learned that ID has no research program. And we have learned that the leading proponents of ID all say that ID is religion and anti-science (including evolution).
I think that takes care of it, don’t you?
 I put micro-evolution in quotes, but I am not a fan of the distinction between micro- and macro- evolution. I maintain that it is a continuum and not easily separated into two distinct categories. There is some basis for the classification, I admit. I just don’t like using it and the main reason for that is because it is a constant avenue of attack of anti-science forces.
 Darwinism is a strange phrase that I have only heard from ID-proponents and creationists. I think that by making Darwin an ‘-ism’ they think that they are making science more religion like (to better attack it in the courts). This is beyond silly. For one thing, Darwin didn’t know about all the things we know now. His theory has been extended and expanded in ways Darwin couldn’t even begin to imagine.