Monday, November 03, 2008
What is Intelligent Design?
The opponents of Intelligent Design are constantly trying to muddy the distinction between creationism and Intelligent Design. They do this in several ways. The first is to employ a deliberately sloppy and indefinite definition of Intelligent Design; the second is to simply misrepresent it.
To the left is an attempt through logical division to show the several distinctions visually. Note that this is only one limited way to define something--through showing it's parts--and does not take the place of a real definition.
By "weak case" Intelligent Design, I mean anyone who holds that the universe is the product (by whatever mechanism) of Intelligence. By "strong case" Intelligent Design I mean the belief that the design can be scientifically verified. This analysis misses a lot of subtleties in the differences, but I think it captures the main categories.
What the Intelligent Design movement per se calls "Intelligent Design" is simply Strong Case Intelligent Design, which would include both Intelligent Design evolutionists and creationists of both the young and old earth stripes, although many young earth creationists would disavow connections with other Strong Case Intelligent Design advocates because of the latter's heavy reliance on a literal interpretation of Genesis.
What many ID opponents try to obfuscate is the very real differences between Intelligent Design evolutionists and creationists. It serves their rhetorical and political purposes, but does very little to further understanding about the issue.