Intelligent Design vs. Creationism

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With ID getting lots of press these days, and with an on-going court case trying to establish if ID is any different than creationism of yore, people can sometimes get confused about what exactly ID is. This can’t possibly be due to the ID advocates’ own equivocation and ambiguity, it must somehow be our fault, because otherwise they wouldn’t keep blaming us. So in order to help them out, I thought I would create a handy-dandy table comparing the attributes of ID, young-Earth creationism, and old-Earth creationism. That way, no one need get them confused ever again.

Young-Earth Creationism Old-Earth Creationism Intelligent Design
Age of the Earth 6000-10,000 years old. ~4.5 billion years old. We don’t know. And besides, it’s really not ripe for debate yet.
What was created/designed? All “kinds” (baramin) of living things. All “kinds” (baramin) of living things. Some feature(s) of the universe, including but not limited to living things, although it’s not clear which feature(s) of living things were actually designed.
Who was the creator/designer? God of the Bible. God of the Bible. Some unknown and unknowable “intelligence”, which we coincidentally happen to believe is God of the Bible.
What was the mechanism of design? Divine intervention. Divine intervention. We don’t know, but we know it can’t be “natural”, which implies divine intervention.
Evolution is… The cause of most of society’s ills. The cause of most of society’s ills. The cause of most of society’s ills.
Noah’s Flood… Was global in scale and occurred about 4000 years ago, exactly as described in Genesis. May have been local or global; may have occurred a long time ago or more recently, depending on who you ask. “They’ll ask, ‘What do you think of Noah’s flood?’ or something like that. Never bite on such questions because they’ll lead you into a trackless wasteland and you’ll never get out of it.”
Evolution and belief in God are… Incompatible. Incompatible. Incompatible.
Wants ideas taught in public schools? Yes. Yes. Yes. I mean no. I mean yes. I mean, look, we’ve been consistent and clear on this, so what’s the problem?
Do humans and apes share a common ancestor? No. No. Usually no. Occasionally yes. Sometimes I don’t know. And sometimes both no and I don’t know at the same time.
Claims to have science on their side? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Why do scientists almost universally reject them? Because they’re all a bunch of atheists, libruls, and ivory tower elitists who can’t be trusted. Because they’re all a bunch of atheists, libruls, and ivory tower elitists who can’t be trusted. Because they’re all a bunch of atheists, libruls, and ivory tower elitists who can’t be trusted.

There, hopefully that will settle things. There is really no need for anyone to be confused about where the ID movement stands on various creationist issues, given the straight-forward, no-nonsense approach that they use. We apologize for any misunderstanding caused by our part.

2 TrackBacks

Panda's Thumb makes an important point - the new slate of Democrats on the Dover school board is NOT reflexively anti-ID:

It shou...

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Confused about the various types of creationist stupidity? The Panda’s Thumb has this convenient chart. Make sure you’re using the correct derisive, mocking comments for the specific breed of idiocy you’re confronting. ... Read More

61 Comments

Intelligent Design vs. Creationism? There’s only one way to settle this: Googlefight!

“intelligent design” 8,420,000 results creationism 3,410,000 results

“intelligent design” wins!

The Vatican has come out in support of evolution, so somewhere on this chart you should show that evolution and some form of creationism are compatible. It doesn’t really make any sense to me, but I’ll not argue with it!

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 2, column 26, byte 123 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Aaarrrggh. Try again. Finally, I understand the distinctions. Appreciate the consistent and clear explanations. I also see that Kansas is using this whole Intelligent Design thing to recruit employers to the state.

What the Vatican supports is probably best called “theistic evolution,” and (if I understand it) is basically something like “God may have caused abiogenesis and maybe tweaked things here or there, but natural selection (and sexual selection, genetic drift, etc.) explains basically everything else.”

It’s my opinion the major difference between theistic Evolution and ID Creationism is that while both groups believe that God had a hand in the development of all life on this planet, the theistic evolutionists don’t feel that it is possible or necessary to “prove” their beliefs.

OPEN EPISTLE TO KANSAS SCHOOL BOARD November 8th, 2005 I write with joy and thanks in my heart after having read of your bold decision to promote the Church of The Intelligent Designer and its one true God IDio. Finally, our Church needs no longer cower behind a façade of science.

Now that your blessed action on IDio’s behalf has rendered the Constitution, with its irritating religious establishment clause, inoperative, we can proudly proclaim in every Kansas classroom, “There is but one Intelligent Designer and His name is IDio!” We thank the taxpayers of Kansas for donating their money to proselytize for His church. May IDio mutate you all intelligently.

www.godinabox.com

James Wrote:

The Vatican has come out in support of evolution, so somewhere on this chart you should show that evolution and some form of creationism are compatible.

Sure, but not according to the cre/IDists. In their view, the Vatican is wrong. Although the IDists did try to get the Vatican to come out with a pro-ID position, basically saying, “Darwin was right about some things yet wrong on some fundamental level,” but that attempt seems to have failed.

A more precise description of their position is that evolution is the mechanism by which God formed living things.

Similar the laws of physics are what He used to create the universe and everything we see around us.

The salient feature of ID is that there isn’t any.

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Theistic evolution, as jim says above, is the belief that God is a decent (actually perfect) engineer who set the universe in course and didn’t need to come in and fix things after that. He would have created the most basic rule(s) (from which all other arise), confident that they would unfold and bring about whatever He wants the universe to do. Life, mankind and cheap wristwatches might be it, or might be a byproduct of the whole ineffable plan.

Personally, I couldn’t care less about that - I am happy to believe that He takes an interest in us and would rather not see us self-destroy (my religion is about my personal relationship with God - not about his ineffable plans for the whole of the Universe which is a tad too big thinking for me). Obviously, I have no proof of His existance beyond my faith, and I have no interest in forcing my faith on anyone else, much less through science class (this disclaimer borught by the atheist-religious peaceful cohabitation association).

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf, hoping that this helps atheists to understand that not all theists are extremist nutjobs.

Actually Grey Wolf, i think you just described Deistic Evolution. Theistic Evolution has to believe that God still does something some of the time.

Basically what the Vatican said was that they are not scientists, and that God created Reality. If Science observes reality to be different from religious beliefs, then people should listen to the Scientists and ignore their previously held religious beliefs.

Basically its making a distinction between Theology and Science.

Pope John Paul II had been pushing for this viewpoint for awhile

Steve, You left out one point in the ID column in rows 3, 4, 7 and 11: “But ID is not about religion.”

Google fight

“intelligent design” 9,290,000 results

evolution 244,000,000 results

Looks clear to me!

my religion is about my personal relationship with God

“Your own, personal, Jesus…”

Actually, George, you have a point (two people agreeing on Internet? Must be the end of the world!). Technically speaking, it *would* be Deistic in the sense that it was started and “ignored” - except that I (obviously) subscribe to it and see it as Theistic because I do see God taking a hand whenever some species become intelligent enough to need guidance (and, depending on the day, to provide them with souls, although I am very shaky on the topic of souls). Thing is, I do think he intervenes. Just not on things that run themselves: evolution, physics, etc.

Its the retarded intelligent creatures bent on self destruction that need handling.

Anyway, enough religious ranting for today. It is sort of out of place. Conclusion: yes, I might have described Deistic Evolution. I certainly don’t think God needed to come in and help along the way. That would be incompetent.

In the topic of Religion, Science and Reality, Religion should only tell its followers how to respond to what reality is. Unfortunately, that does depend on first telling what reality *is*, which is where it gets into trouble since it is not prepared to accurately describe it. Which is why Science should be listened to and, once you have a clearer picture of what reality is, you can go to your religious authority (if you have one) and let him advise you what you should do about it.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf, who had to wait until morning to post this since he was blacklisted between the first message and this one…

I can’t believe that these specious, long-winded ID arguments are getting so much attention. Its all so much NOTHING! I think Shakespeare’s Macbeth sums up ID quite nicely.

It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing

Right on, Billy!

Grey Wolf, who had to wait until morning to post this since he was blacklisted between the first message and this one…

don’t get all paranoid, now. I too was unable to access PT until this morning. maybe a router issue somewhere along the line, or a local site issue.

It’s a very rare thing someone gets banned from here. in over a year, I have only seen it happen 3 times, and believe me, those folks were rude, obnoxious, foul-mouthed individuals who anybody would ban in a second.

Google fight

“intelligent design” 9,240,000 results

theory of evolution 49,200,000 results

clearly the right theory won but “evolution” is a word which has other meanings…

Any simple categorization is bound to be incomplete, of course, but, nonetheless, a couple of criticisms of your chart.

1) When you say that “Evolution and belief in God are incompatible,” that’s a little over-simple. If evolution means that there is no purpose to the universe, or to life, then believing Christians should and do reject that. If, however, evolution means that living things have descended from no more than a few original types, and have diverged greatly, perhaps even into different phyla, then many, at least in the Old-Earth Creationism column, can and do accept at least that much.

2) When you say “Usually no, occasionally yes, …” you seem to expect that everyone who fits in one of just three categories should be alike. Why should they? There are more categories than three, although the divisions you make are useful. People in these three columns are not three monolithic groups.

Alexander Wrote:

Shakespeare’s Macbeth sums up ID quite nicely

…and goes on to sum up the enabling background political climate nicely as well:

“What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?” – Lady Macbeth

Martin LaBar,

Your sarcasm-meter is past due for calibration.

Google fight

“intelligent design” 9,240,000 results

theory of evolution 49,200,000 results

clearly the right theory won but “evolution” is a word which has other meanings…

hmm.

let’s do this right.

to look for a specific phrase, you need to put it in quotes when doing your search:

“intelligent design”

“theory of evolution”

“evolutionary theory”

if we do that, the results become:

9,420,000

1,780,000

1,460,000

of course, by and large if you look at the actual links that pop up, the vast majority under “intelligent design” are ones that are critics or satires of it.

Martin LaBar Wrote:

Any simple categorization is bound to be incomplete, of course, but, nonetheless, a couple of criticisms of your chart.

Thanks for the feedback. Please note that I was being a little tongue-in-cheek with my table here, even though everything I say is 100% true. Always.

1) When you say that “Evolution and belief in God are incompatible,” that’s a little over-simple. If evolution means that there is no purpose to the universe, or to life, then believing Christians should and do reject that.

But evolution does not mean that life is meaningless, nor has it ever meant that. Some people have taken evolution to imply that life is meaningless, but it’s definitely not a part of the theory. If you ask me, the purpose and meaning of life are wholly subjective, and cannot possibly be refuted or affirmed by any scientific theory. So saying that “evolution means life is meaningless” is a silly thing to say. One’s life must not mean very much if its purpose hinges on whether this week’s experiments uphold this theory or that theory. (Unless you’re a grad student, in which case you don’t have much of a life anyway.)

Sadly, creationists of all stripes, including the IDists, do say these sorts of things, but they’re not talking about evolution, they’re talking about their personal attitude towards it. In their eyes, evolution means that there is no God, and that’s what makes life meaningless, at least for them.

If, however, evolution means that living things have descended from no more than a few original types, and have diverged greatly, perhaps even into different phyla, then many, at least in the Old-Earth Creationism column, can and do accept at least that much.

Old-Earth creationists most certainly do not accept that living things have descended from one or a few original species. They’re called creationists precisely because they reject common descent. Those who accept common descent but insist on divine intervention for… well, something… place themselves within the ID camp, along with lots of others who have completely different and mutually exclusive viewpoints. These people can accept that “evolution” in the sense of common descent allows God to exist, just so long as there is some sort of empirically detectable divine intervention. But the ID movement as a whole does not make any distinction on this issue; they tell their followers that evolution writ large (they usually just say “Darwinism”, which they misleadingly use as a blanket description for all things evolutionary) is akin to atheism.

2) When you say “Usually no, occasionally yes, …” you seem to expect that everyone who fits in one of just three categories should be alike. Why should they? There are more categories than three, although the divisions you make are useful. People in these three columns are not three monolithic groups.

The IDists are welcome to have a diversity of views on some subjects, but if the Big Tent is so large that it encompasses completely opposite viewpoints, then ID means nothing and the ID movement stands for nothing. Human-ape ancestry is not exactly a minor issue. It’s probably the most contentious issues in the whole evo/cre debate, at least for the creationists. (I have seen otherwise normal people driven to tears by the thought of having an ape for an ancestor, which gave me a wonderful means of taunting them.) Even still, I don’t expect them to speak with one voice, but I at least expect them to address the issue, make an effort to resolve the issue, and have their leading proponents (e.g. Stephen Meyer) be consistent about their own personal views on the issue. Otherwise, they’re not even making a token effort at doing science. In science, we come up with ways of testing contentious issues in the hope that the evidence will eventually resolve them. In ID, they come up with ways of sweeping contentious issues under the rug because they know their followers have made up their minds already for reasons that have nothing to do with the evidence. The old-school creationists at least have the balls to say what they believe.

Theistic evolution can also mean…

God is the unseen hand that tips the dice.

Key word that makes this compatible with a God who is involved: tips. Key word that makes this compatible with science: unseen.

hello all,

I think that Muslims are against ID even though they share pretty much the same beliefs as them:

“Intelligent Design” Is Another of Satan’s Distractions – http://www.harunyahya.com/new_relea[…]t_design.php

I just don’t see how satan is involved tho.

Trust me, if Harun Yahya is involved, Satan is no less involved ;-\

hugs, Shirley Knott

Trust me, if Harun Yahya is involved, Satan is no less involved ;-\

Keep in mind two things, folks:

(1) ICR gives money and printed materials to Harun Yahya. and (2) The IDers in Kansas brought in a member of Harun Yahya to “testify” that if we adopt ID in our schools, the Muslim fundies will like us more.

Odd, isn’t it, that none of the foaming fools over at Dembski’s lovefest ever mention either of those two things.

Evolution and belief in God are… Incompatible?

Someone has a serious faulty logic problem here. If God is defined as the creator of the universe then God exists outside the laws of physics and cannot be limited by them. That means (theoretically) God and evolution can coexist where evolution is simply another designed by God and under “His” control.

In short, God could have evolved man like you fast forward a tape in a vcr if God created the universe.

Also, intelligent design simply states there are outside forces at work influencing evolution that make the normal traceable evolutionary history impossible. Unexplicable gaps in the evolutionary tree can be found and attributed to external influences whose effects seem to match no discernable pattern other than they are clearly not random, just not predictable.

Geneticists and molecular biologists are the primary investigators of both evolution and intelligent design, and not once is creationism even mentioned in sceintific arguments for intelligent design.

Comment # 57268

Tahir Wrote:

Comment #57268 Posted by Tahir on November 14, 2005 02:55 PM (e) (s) 6 thousand year old you must mean “4 thousand year old” (time of Abraham) or “3 thousand year old” (time of Moses). I do not think the Israelites existed before then (4k yrs ago).

Why do you think the stories only date back 4,000 years ago? The oldest tablets that have been found of the epic of Gilgamesh, the origin of the Noah’s Flood story, is close to 5,000 years old. I wouldn’t have much doubt that some stories actually have older origins then that.

So I stand on my statement that we should not take 6 thousand year old poetry as science.

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on November 9, 2005 1:22 PM.

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