Ayn Rand Institute: The Bait and Switch of “Intelligent Design”

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An unexpected voice in the debate about Intelligent Design has joined the voices of reason. Keith Lockitch, who holds a Ph.D. in physics and who is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, CA, has written a very compelling evaluation of Intelligent Design leading him to the conclusion that “Intelligent Design” is religion masquerading as science.”

Keith Lockitch observes that

Their premise seems to be that as long as they don’t explicitly name the “designer”–as long as they allow that the “designer” could be a naturally existing being, a being accessible to scientific study–that this somehow saves their viewpoint from the charge of being inherently religious in character.

But does it?

He quickly points out something I have also been arguing namely that the designer ID proponents have in mind has to exist outside nature itself.

By the very nature of its approach, “intelligent design” cannot be satisfied with a “designer” who is part of the natural world. Such a “designer” would not answer the basic question its advocates raise: it would not explain biological complexity as such. The only “designer” that would stop their quest for a “design” explanation of complexity is a “designer” about whom one cannot ask any questions or who cannot be subjected to any kind of scientific study–a “designer” that “transcends” nature and its laws–a “designer” not susceptible of rational explanation–in short: a supernatural “designer.”

This conclusion can also be reached when observing that ID argues that science does not deal with the concept of design as it pertains to biology while also arguing that science succesfully applies design detection in areas such as criminology, archaeology, cryptology etc. The obvious conclusion thus is that science cannot address ID’s designer since it exists outside nature.

See for instance Where purpose and function meet or Topic: The Other Flagellum II

Lockitch quickly focuses on what is self-evident, even without having access to the Wedge Document:

The supposedly nonreligious theory of “intelligent design” is nothing more than a crusade to peddle religion by giving it the veneer of science–to pretend, as one commentator put it, that “faith in God is something that holds up under the microscope.”

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The Purist Form Marketing from Abnormal Interests on May 7, 2005 3:43 PM

When there is nothing to sell but a lie. PvM writing on Panda's Thumb directs our attention to "The Bait and Switch of 'Intelligent Design'", by Keith Lockitch, Ph.D. and junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, California.... Read More


That was a really good essay and hit the point exactly.

It’s a good article, although I’m slightly surprised at the source.

My born-American-naturalised-European husband insists that one of the great thing about living this side of the pond is that mentioning either Ayn Rand or Intelligent Design will usually get you a blank “wtf?” sort of look.

The Ayn Rand Institute should recognize common bedfellows. I would say that it is one of the most qualified institutes to speak on religions masquerading as science. Oh the irony!

Sometimes, one really must be a bit choosy of one’s allies. This is one I’ll pass on-thanks.

I was hoping that someone would mention the pro-evolution, anti-creationist official statement of the Episcopal Church on Creation and Science. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/1902[…]_ENG_HTM.htm

The supposedly nonreligious theory of “intelligent design” is nothing more than a crusade to peddle religion

Music to my ears. Thanks for the link to this great article, Pim.

The best part of the article was: “Their scientifically accessible “designer” is nothing more than a gateway god–metaphysical marijuana intended to draw students away from natural, scientific explanations and get them hooked on the supernatural.”

Their scientifically accessible “designer” is nothing more than a gateway god—metaphysical marijuana intended to draw students away from natural, scientific explanations and get them hooked on the supernatural.

Marijuana is a lot better for you than intelligent design. At least, that’s what I’ve heard …

Great White Wonder Wrote:

Marijuana is a lot better for you than intelligent design.

The former can be used to counteract the nausea and vomiting induced by the latter.

Oh God, I have to agree with something the Ayn Rand Institute put out! Ugh. Now I really hate IDCers.

Ah, the Objectivists. Non-psychologists who think they know more about psychology than psychologists (well, Rand only acted like she knew anything about psychology; she had admitted to Nathaniel Branden that she knew nothing about it), non-ecologists who think they know more about the environment than ecologists, and non-climatologists who think they know more about global warming theory than climatologists.

Oh, and have you read about how quantum mechanics is fantasy pseudoscience?


I wonder if the evidence that supports relativity and quantum mechanics is immoral and nihilistic? Or perhaps evil?

I’m going to have to agree with Chip Poirot here. Lockitch himself is an intelligent, level-headed person (and his article is good, as everyone else pointed out), but the majority of the fellows at the ARI aren’t.

One does not have to agree with the Ayn Rand philosophy to agree with the excellent observations made about ID.

Anyone who works at the Ayn Rand Institute is delusional. Rand was, after all, the High Priestess of Self and worshipped at the altar of individualism. However, she was not self consistent. If she were, she would have told her pinheaded followers at ARI to go home, because the last thing on earth that her philosophy should tolerate is a cult following.

I like the emerging alignment. What do these three have in common?

1) Ayn Rand Institute 2) YECs 3) Panda’s Thumb

They all oppose cosmological ID.

Actually, I do agree with the philosophy of Ayn Rand (partially; I disagree with her treatment of environmentalism and psychology, amongst a few other things) and the article this thread is about; I just think the fellows at the ARI are nuts.

Sorry for spam deleting Heddle’s first attempt at posting his comments. For some reason, I thought it was spam and ran it through the spam filter. I will work with the administrator to correct this.

Spam filter’s doing it’s job.


Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 9, column 2, byte 296 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/mach/5.18/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

One often has to be careful about what comes out of ARI – they are in essence the main Objectivist Fundamentalist organization (i.e., followers of the atheistic philosophy of Ayn Rand, celebrating metaphysical realism, objectivity, individual rights and property rights, and the free market) – but at the time, much of what they publish is often quite insightful. On the negative side, they tend to be very dismissive of environmental concerns, and in the domain of physics, Special Relativity, General Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics (particularly, the probablistic nature of causality in Quantum Mechanics). But this particular article was obviously one of their more insightful pieces. And given the nature of Keith’s work in physics, perhaps there is some hope for them in that domain as well.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on May 7, 2005 3:01 PM.

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