An anonymous commenter on a previous post seems singularly impressed with the argument that Intelligent Design is the same thing as creationism because references in a pro-Intelligent Design book called Of Pandas and People to "creationism" were changed in later editions to "Intelligent Design". What the editors did, claim ID critics, is to simply use a search and replace function to change the words.
I don't know that this is true. I'm sure I could find out by doing a little research, but I'm still trying to figure out why I should care.
I have asked the anonymous poster to tell me logically how this proves that Intelligent Design is the same thing as creationism, but all I seem to be getting in response is a repetition that it happened. This poster is not alone in his enthusiasm for this argument--or rather, this assertion. There are apparently a lot of ID critics who think this constitutes some kind of impressive case against Intelligent Design. They too are mum on exactly why we are supposed to be impressed.
If there were a book that discussed "materialism" and someone went through and replaced the term with "Darwinism" would that mean the two were the same thing? And why should anyone be surprised that some of the same arguments that can be made for creationism can be made for Intelligent Design? Obviously all creationists believe in Intelligent Design. But it does not follow that all those who believe in Intelligent Design believe in creationism. Need we point out that just because all materialists believe in common descent it does not therefore follow that all those who believe in common descent are materialists?
But I have thought a little more about it, and I'm beginning to think this idea--that simply replacing terms in a book can actually establish the identity of two different things--has some interesting possibilities. I mean if you could actually change reality by changing terms in a book, just imagine what you could do! In fact, if simply using the search and replace function can actually change things, then we don't need arguments anymore at all. Why bother making arguments when, with a few keystrokes, you can simply change your opponent's positions?
If I can change Intelligent Design into creationism by simply using my keyboard, then why can't I change Darwinists into believers in Intelligent Design by the same mechanism? But that would be boring. If I'm going to change Darwinists into something, why should it be human? We could revive endangered and extinct species this way. All we would have to do is a little hunting and pecking and, presto, we could have the Caribbean monk seal back!
This all sounds fairly preposterous, of course, but that's what happens when you follow the logic of this kind of argument to its conclusion.
Well, I've got to go now. I'm traveling, just got to the hotel and about to dig into a burrito. Oh, wait, maybe I can write up a little account of it and just change all occurrences of "burrito" to "prime rib."