Intelligent Design/Creationism Evolves

In a truly ironic move we are witnessing the evolution of Intelligent Design/Creationism (IDC for short).

As I’ve discussed many times, the ID movement has changed its strategy regarding the policies they are advocating to be adopted by school boards and legislatures. They know that any hint of the phrase “intelligent design” is going to be struck down by the courts, especially in light of the Dover ruling. In fact, they knew this before the Dover ruling ever came down. The big switch really began in Ohio in 2002 in an attempt to make the target too small for our side to attack successfully. Thus, you now have them advocating policies that would not teach ID explicitly.

In one place they may advocate that schools “teach the controversy” over evolution; in another they may advocate that schools teach “the arguments for and against evolution” or “the scientific evidence for and against evolution”; in a third, they may want schools to encourage “critical analysis” or “critical evaluation” of evolution; in a fourth, they may be pushing the idea of teaching “all scientific views about evolution.” All of these phrases mean essentially the same thing – they want the basic arguments that they make against evolution (which is the form that all of their arguments take) taught as valid, they just don’t want them labelled “intelligent design” so as to avoid the scrutiny of the courts.

I also find it rather amazing that there is a group of people who see evolutionary theory as so inimical despite its explanatory power. After all, evolutionary theory explains the changes over time of the Creationists themselves.

On the upside I see this as evidence of Creationism death as a pseudo-scientific theory that will present a challenge to evolutionary theory, at least in school curriculums. I don’t doubt that many people will reject evolutionary theory in favor of their preferred creation myth, it will just be the case that there won’t be any hope that such myths will work their way into the science classroom.

FILED UNDER: Education, Religion, Science & Technology, , , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. RJN says:

    It is the lack of explanatory power in evolutionary theory that gives Intelligent Design it’s legs.

  2. Anderson says:

    RJN: It is the lack of explanatory power in evolutionary theory that gives Intelligent Design itÂ’s legs.

    That is the stupidest thing I will read all month. And I’m a lawyer.

    Darwinism’s explanatory power is such that it’s the engine of biological studies. It’s answered more questions about how organisms got to be how they are than all the scriptures of the world combined.

    By way of comparison, what does creationism (excuse me, “ID”) offer as “explanation”? It says: “the Designer made it.” Period.

    ID is founded on a profound *lack* of explanation. Its entire premise is that there IS no “explanation” other than “God made it.”

    Have you no intellectual conscience whatsoever?

  3. Jack Ehrlich says:

    What set off the big bang? You can show five toes horse or something similar, four toed down to what we have today. Don’t you think it is kind of amazing that this “evolution” happened at just the right time for an intelligent ape to domesticate it and use it for transportation until the ape could discover and utilize fossil fuels deposted in the earth millions of years before. Modern man goes back how far? 60k years. Where is the link between us and what ever came before. Explain the mutation between what ever came berore us and modern man, if you can. There is no fossil evidence that shows the steps of transformation. Why is it that our cousins have not evolved in 5 million years? IF environment effects all species equally, why were there no dynosaurs on the moon? They had plenty of time to evolve, and surely within the 100 or so million years they existed, all manner of environments affected them. Natural selection has far too many holes in it for it to be accurate. In small mattters maybe. Let us see what it takes to creat life. Science cannot perform this act. Why, they can duplicate everything except the power to do it.

  4. Anderson says:

    Not as bad as RJN, Jack, but keep trying.

    (1) The Big Bang is an issue for astrophysics, not biology.

    (2) If there hadn’t been horses, we wouldn’t have used them. So what?

    (3) The fossil record teems with “links,” as a browse at talkorigins.net will reveal to your astonished eyes.

    (4) Who said that other apes *haven’t* evolved in 5 million years? Of course they have.

    (5) “IF environment effects all species equally, why were there no dynosaurs on the moon?” Okay, I take that back; you’re tied with RJN.

  5. Anderson says:

    Oops, my bad: talkorigins.org.

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    RJN,

    It is the lack of explanatory power in evolutionary theory that gives Intelligent Design itÂ’s legs.

    Oh really? You mean like the inability to predict that bacteria would evolve resistance to antibiotics….oh wait. Or like insects that evolve resistance to insecticides…oh…yeah, nevermind. Or that how orgainisms with rapidly changing environments would have higher rates of mutation…oh…darn. Or how predator-prey relationships are altered by the evolution of the predator….oh…whoops.

    Oh I get it, you ain’t seen no donkey turn into no dog so evolution ain’t true.

    What set off the big bang?

    You’re joking right? This has to do with the origins of the universe, not the origins of species. This is like saying, “Lichtenstein has no nuclear weapons so we’ll nuke Bangladesh.”

    You can show five toes horse or something similar, four toed down to what we have today. Don’t you think it is kind of amazing that this “evolution” happened at just the right time for an intelligent ape to domesticate it and use it for transportation until the ape could discover and utilize fossil fuels deposted in the earth millions of years before.

    That is a severe case of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    As for modern man and the exact mutations, why doesn’t Creationism/ID have to provide the exact step-by-step process for how the universe was crafted by the designer? No answer? Gee, I’m shocked.

    IF environment effects all species equally, why were there no dynosaurs on the moon?

    Uhhhh…I’m going to hazard a guess here, but how about the environment on the moon is not conducive to life. Now of course, that wouldn’t stop God from bring dinosaurs into existence on the Moon, so right back at ya’.

    Natural selection has far too many holes in it for it to be accurate.

    Well aside from the fact that you haven’t given a single example of a “hole”, all theories have “holes” in them. No theory is perfect, so I guess the theories of gravity are just shit too, right?

    Let us see what it takes to creat life.

    Again, this does not deal with evolution, but with abiogenesis.

    Science cannot perform this act.

    That is not the job of science. Science, provides the explanation.

  7. Jack Ehrlich says:

    1. It has to start somewhere.
    2. Do you honestly think mankind would have advanced without the horse? My point is, it is very convenient for all of these things that fall into place for man to use at a time when he can use them. Not bad for an evolved ape. If you believe that. I have a bridge.
    3. No they don’t there is nothing between us and what came before with anything like the capability we have. Beside, they were perfectly capable of surviving, but they did not. Why. Other apes did.

  8. RJN says:

    “Oh really? You mean like the inability to predict that bacteria would evolve resistance to antibioticsÂ….oh wait. Or like insects that evolve resistance to insecticidesÂ…ohÂ…yeah, nevermind. Or that how orgainisms with rapidly changing environments would have higher rates of mutationÂ…ohÂ…darn. Or how predator-prey relationships are altered by the evolution of the predatorÂ….ohÂ…whoops….”

    Steve: The above from your comment refers to natural selection. ID theory accepts natural selection as obvious. You can’t separate ID from origins no matter how you try, or misdirect, in your other comments. Also your spelling sucks.

    Anderson: I did not expect much from you, and wasn’t disapointed. My remark stands; I suspect that any of your clients that see this will begin to wonder and tremble. Talk Origins is a turgid site; it is difficult to extract real information. Also, the comments seem, often as not, to be written by unevolved apes hooting from the cover of the jungle.

    The lights are going out across the campus; where is the rage?

  9. floyd says:

    why, oh why can’t people just shut-up and think what they are told to think by the secular priesthood[a.k.a.scientists]? average people are way too dumb to be allowed to think for themselves; what next?… dress themselves? feed themselves? where’s it going to end?

  10. G A PHILLIPS says:

    Evolutionary theory you say, even though its all based on known lies, you still call it a theory. microbiology has blown all these lies away. And the earth being an accident has been proved impossible by math, you are still listening to the same lies that have been shown to be wrong and or made up, for the last 150 years. Dudes why? And how in the great blue hell did you get something that’s 5 million years old to compare something that you think is 5 million years old too.

  11. Steve Verdon says:

    It has to start somewhere.

    Yeah, so your beef is with astrophysics on the big bang.

    Do you honestly think mankind would have advanced without the horse?

    Given that there are cultures with humans that don’t have horses…maybe.

    My point is, it is very convenient for all of these things that fall into place for man to use at a time when he can use them.

    Again Jack that is after the fact reasoning. I’m sure I could do the very same with your life history and then conclude you had nothing to do with the way your life turned out and that God made it all happen. If that is your belief, let me ask you, how does it feel to be God’s marionette?

    No they donÂ’t there is nothing between us and what came before with anything like the capability we have.

    Actually, there is quite a bit of evidence on this. I know you don’t believe me, but TalkOrigins.org has lots of information on this.

    The above from your comment refers to natural selection. ID theory accepts natural selection as obvious. You canÂ’t separate ID from origins no matter how you try, or misdirect, in your other comments. Also your spelling sucks.

    I note you backpedalling here. So much for the claims of no-predictions and the misdirection. Here is a hint: ID makes no predictions and ID proponents have stated catagorically that they will make no predictions.

    Oh, and yeah my spelling sucks, but at least I have a much better understanding of the scientific process. Predictions are a necessary condition for something to be considered science.

    Talk Origins is a turgid site; it is difficult to extract real information.

    Translation: RJN doesn’t understand it, so it must be wrong.

    RJN, that has got to be the lamest argument agains evolutionary theory. Evolutionary theory is a very broad theory (as it should be given it is the unifying theory of biology), and hence in encompasses areas that no single person can hope to understand them all. I myself limit myself to the game theory aspects of it since it has implications for economics.

    The lights are going out across the campus; where is the rage?

    Probably because of things like Intelligent Design, IMO. I read this on another site…went something like this:

    Indian, Chinese and other scientist around the world: “How can we compete with the U.S.? They are rich and have huge technological advantages in just about every arena.”

    Enter Intelligent Design

    Indian, Chinese and other scientist around the world: “Oh….cool, they forfeit.”

    C’mon floyd, evolutionary theory is not some secular religion, it is a scientific theory. You want to beat it, get in the lab and do the experiments, or at least tell the Disco Institute to do it.

  12. G A PHILLIPS says:

    The big bang lie was proved impossible by math too.

  13. G A PHILLIPS says:

    Donkey Dudes, Question: What holds atoms together? I have the answer, you never will, unless…………

  14. RJN says:

    I am perplexed, old man. You make claims for evolutionary theory that scientists don’t make. My understanding of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is that it avoids origins. How could anyone possibly prove a theory of origins? A theory of origins is a speculation based on some evidence, and an intellectual path; fine so far, but not subject to experiment and peer review.

    I am sure you are a fine economist, and I do owe you for bringing up this subject in your post, so good night. Neo-Darwinian evolution, excluding design, is faith based. So there.

  15. Anderson says:

    RJN is presented with excellent, even devastating, refutations of his bonehead remark, and cheerfully resorts to ad hominems and other diversions.

    Jack Ehrlich could probably write up “The Horse: Key to Intelligent Design” & get it published by Regnery. Still waiting to hear about the dinosaurs on the Moon, Jack.

    I have to go visit dKos now & remind myself there are stupid Democrats, too.

  16. T Szappan says:

    1. Science is based on the scientific method. It works like this. Someone takes a scenario, and makes a prediction based on a certain factor. They then design a logical, duplicatable method to test it. If their prediction was right, they test it again. And again, trying to prove their prediction wrong. Anyone with a basic knowledge of logic knows that one cannot prove something true, they can only fail to prove it false. If they keep failing to disprove it, they try it again, maybe a different way or in a different situation. If the prediction stands up to all this for a long time, it may become a theory. A theory, should it survive further testing for much, much longer, may become a law.

    Evolution follows these rules. It has been tested repeatedly, and has, after a very long period, become a theory. It is science.

    ID does not follow these rules. It’s supporters have yet to provide – and for now, it seems, will not provide – a testable prediction that someone could attempt to disprove. Therefore, it is not science.

    2. Science relies on observable, documented, and proven facts.

    Evolution, on a small scale, has been observed and documented repeatedly. It is science.

    ID is unobservable, and has only been documented (as Creationism) in one book, which even it’s supporters say is imperfect, having been written by man, who was not an eyewitness and my not have completely understood the dictation, metaphorically speaking. It is not science.

    I attended an average high school in MI. It was small, so we were able to have some interesting discussions in class. When we learned about evolution, we learned genetics, and about the small-scale, documented cases of evolution. We never really touched on the subject as a larger idea. We were left to form our own ideas about our origins.

    I know people from my school who, like me, believe that evolution is the answer. Others (including a good friend) believe that God created, and has a hand in, all things. Still others (more good friends here) believe that God started it all, then left nature to itself and humans to their free will. We have all formed our opinions on our own personal belief structures. And we were all taught the same thing in school.

    People who push so hard for ID don’t realize that school isn’t the only place where kids learn, or form their own belief structures. Kids learn from everything around them. If you want your children to learn about ID/Creationism, take them to church, talk about it in their presence, watch debates about in on TV, or read them online or in newspapers. As with anything else, your actions and opinions get noticed more than you think. But don’t try to push it into a science classroom, where it clearly does not fit the curriculum.

    You might want to do it while they’re young. Chances are, by the time they get to evolution, they have already formed some opinion on the matter anyway. Most have. Don’t sell them short, they really do pick things up early. Kids are smarter than a lot of people think. And if you’ve ever met a teenager, you know there’s no point in arguing.

    It also seems to me that the only other reason to want to include ID in classrooms to bring it children who wouldn’t normally be exposed to the idea. If this is the case, it is probably because the children are of a different faith. They are probably getting their own version of a creation myth at home, or are basing their beliefs in their own culture’s religion. I have always said that a person’s beliefs are a part of who they are, and you’re not going to change them. It’s kind of rude to try. And as I just mentioned, chances are they’ve heard about it, but these kids have already probably formed an opinion and that has already become a part of their belief structures. You’re not going to change their minds.

    So not only does evolution not belong in a science classroom, I can’t see the point of having it there. Social studies, maybe, or comparative religion, but not science.

    I’ve edited this for a post on my site as well.

    thunderbird: Care to substantiate how those ideas are “ridiculous”? As for Hitler, he also believed that the “Aryan race” was possibly descended from aliens, based on some misshapen skulls he found in Africa (created by a tribal tradition of moulding babies heads).The man was obviously a bit off. You can’t blame evolution theory for the Holocaust, anymore than you can blame it for America’s history of slavery and racial bigotry. Hitler thought the Jews were inferior. The theory of evolution didn’t teach him that. He decided that all on his own.

  17. Thunderbird;

    Mis-use of an idea doesn’t invalidate the idea. Using Einstein’s theory to make bombs instead of energy may be a mis-use of the idea, but the idea is still proven true.

  18. Steve Verdon says:

    RJN,

    What claims have I made that evolutionary biologists don’t? I bet you can’t even come up with one. I also note, that you have completely abandoned your initial position, was it due to the complete vacuity of that position?

    My understanding of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is that it avoids origins. How could anyone possibly prove a theory of origins? A theory of origins is a speculation based on some evidence, and an intellectual path; fine so far, but not subject to experiment and peer review.

    I’ve never claimed evolutionary theory has anything to do with origins, so what is your point here besides a strawman?

    Further, I think that the research shows it is possible to due research into the origins of life that are repeatable. This type of research is still on going and its results are quite tentative, but to say, “It can’t be done” is false.

    And mere assertation that something is one way or the other is a piss poor argument RJN. Evolutionary theory is no more faith based than meteorology.

  19. T Szappan says:

    Wow. Completely reversed my point there near the end.

    “So not only does ID not belong in a science classroom, I canÂ’t see the point of having it there. Social studies, maybe, or comparative religion, but not science.”

    To think, I even re-read that before I posted. Twice. *shudder*

  20. Anderson says:

    T Szappan, you are fighting the good fight, but your opponents are impervious to intellectual argument.

  21. floyd says:

    steve ; i might agree except the evolutionists don’t seem to think their theory can stand next to such nonsense as creationism and survive. what’s to fear so much as to justify censorship in public discourse? creationism? , if you really want to beat it get in the church and do the prayer,or at least tell the BSi [brainy scientists that is] to do it![lol] see the perspective?hee-hee. BTW, i thought disco was dead!

  22. floyd says:

    steve; read ” the gods of the copybook headings” by rudyard kipling . it is only a moderate sized poem but he writes almost as well as i do [lol] check it out, floyd

  23. Steve Verdon says:

    Floyd,

    What censorship? The problem with teaching creationism in publicly funded science classrooms isn’t that creationism is “better”, but that it is religion and a specific religion as well. Nobody talks about introducing African creation myths, South American creation myths, and so forth. Nope, just the Christian creation myth. Still you and everybody else are perfectly free to talk about it anywhere else, like this blog post for example. So claims of censorship are just outright nonsense and actually undermine you position, IMO. Stop playing the victim.

  24. floyd says:

    steve ; you hardly ever address my points#1 the secular left is in fact trying to remove christianity from public dicourse[ although the clasroom argument has some little merit]#2 evolutionists are down right paranoid about any opposing view[ showing a lack of confidence in their position]#3 the thought that the scientific method is the only source of truth is nonsense [although it is A valid place to seek it]logic and reason have other applications.#4 the rudyard kipling reference illustrates the fact that there are some universal truths that are self evident, but confound the “wise” among us none the less. seeing the scientific method as a tool is common sense, seeing it as validation of all truth makes it a religion. thank you for seeing the sarcasm in my first post and keep seeking the truth without blinders. i truely enjoy your work.

  25. Steve Verdon says:

    floyd,

    You may think that “secular left” and “evolutionists” are synonyms, but they really aren’t. I am not a member of the Left (and hence I can’t be part of the secular Left as well), but I despise and oppose the notions of ID and teaching creationism as scienctific fact. So your worry about whatever the “secular left” is doing is rather off point, IMO.

    Evolutionists are not paranoid, they are just sick and tired of having to take time…valuable time, from their research to debunk religious myths cast as science. If you feel that your religion is under attack by scientists, then I suggest your real problem are those who want to make science subservient to religion which is what causes the problem. Oddly enough many if not most scientists hold religious views as well as scientific ones.

    As for the notion of “The Truth” your right that the scientific method is not the only way. I imagine that the scientists who think the scientific method is the only way would fill a small room. The scientific method though is the only way to do science since any other method that allows for the supernatural as a possible explanation is worthless.

    As for the Kipling poem, I haven’t read and don’t really plan on it. I am not a big believer in this self-evident truth thing as it strikes me as a weak kneed argument that one deploys when one has nothing else to support the argument.

  26. floyd says:

    you know i don’t think of creationism as science.nor do i think any clear minded person is a leftist. no implication ,draw no inference. now c’mon read the poem ,you’ll like it. i’m not a religious person or a scientist so i have no dog in this fight , except a reverence for the truth , just as i’m sure you have.