Intelligent Design Theory/Talk

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Moved: However, this claim is not consistent with modern biological understanding, which considers natural selection to be a critical component of speciation.

Which definition of NS are you using? A+B or just B?

Yo, LDC, I didn't mean to step on you. Let's cooperate. I want to make this page conform to the Wiki nature, and I could use your help. --Ed Poor


I'm curious. What exactly is the difference between ID and the scientific theory of evolution then? Obviously that God is behind it, but in the realm of the physical are there any differences? In other words, if ID accepts mutation, followed by natural selection, resulting in speciation, and only adds the bit that God caused the mutation, does that pretty well sum it up? If so, then ID is basically the acceptance of evolution except for belief that God is behind it. --Dmerrill

If someone who is as unqualifed as Crocker say I am may deign to answer ... (Oh, you were asking ME!)
My understanding of ID is speciation means new species arise somehow. It doesn't specify mutation as the method. It does say there is evidence of intelligence at work, rather than random forces such as cosmic ray bombardment. I might be misusing the word 'speciation' though.
Darwinists say that any of several natural random forces followed by a non-random process governs evolution. ID rejects random forces as the cause of new species arising and agrees that, once arisen, they are subject to the non-random process of natural selection.
Confusion arises when Darwinists (sorry, it's just a handy word...no offense meant) imply that Natural Selection is both (a) the cause of new species arising and (b) the non-random process whereby successful species persist and unsuccessful ones perish.
(Whew, hope that's halfway clear now.)--Ed Poor

Actually, Ed, you're more likely to know about this particular school of beliefs than I am, so I'm happy to let you write most of this particular article, and will only edit things that are clearly false. I've spent much of my life studying real science, so I'm not an expert on the religious stuff. --LDC

The reason I disagree with Ed so much is that I'm a scientist who grew up in the southern US. This means I was exposed to all of this stuff as a child, and I also have an interest in the history of science, which involves a lot of this kind of thing. Ed seems to have a somewhat limited scientific background, which is fine, but makes it difficult for him to hit the NPOV from the get go. GregLindahl
I concede that hitting NPOV will be hard for me, inasmuch as I fail in my conscious attempt to seperate bias from real knowledge. I'm actually fairly good at detecting bias within myself, or I would never learn anything. But I'll rely extensively on you and LDC to point out my bias when I miss it. --Ed Poor


Ask yourself whether it is fact or opinion. All religious beliefs are opinion by definition. If it's an opinion, the npov rule is that you attribute it to someone or some group, thus placing it in context. So, no matter how much you believe "Foo is the best Bar!", you would write it as
"[A few|some|many|most|all] [Christians|people|Americans] [believe|think|accept that|say that] foo is the best Bar. However, [a few|some|many|most] [ditto] believe it is not."
That a group of people believe an opinion is a FACT, but the opinion is still an OPINION. Hope that helps. --Dmerrill

The helpful tone helps, I'm just not sure I can do it (shrug). Elsewhere on Wikipedia I've seen extensive debate as to what is to be labelled fact, and how strong or numerous objections must be to qualify for inclusion. Anyway, I think I have a good chance of hitting NPOV on ID. Ed Poor

But if I miss NPOV on Darwinian evolution, you gotta keep putting me back on track. I'll get it eventually. Ed Poor

I was under the impression that a major underlying component of ID theory was "irreducable complexity". That is (if I understand it correctly), the notion that there are certain complementary developments in cellular evolution that couldn't have happened independently of each other. I don't subscribe to this belief, and obviously don't know enough to explain it, but I was surprised not to see any mention in the article. -D

Another surprise is lack of the term Secular humanism... sheesh. GregLindahl
Even Humanism of any flavor whatsoever. I'll join you in that "sheesh".
I thought you guys didn't like name-calling. But if you want me to work in a reference to evolutionists as secular humanists, I'd be happy to oblige: I could even call them God-denying, materialistic, pinko fascists. But my heart wouldn't be in it. Because I'm a humanist, and I wouldn't like to see 'humanist' used as a put-down word. --Ed Poor



Ed, I think you misunderstand Darwin's theory. He never proposed a method by which variations occur, as that was well outside of scientific knowledge at that time. He only proposed natural selection. So saying ID is contrary to Darwinian evolution is incorrect. I realize a lot of Creationists make that error, but I've read all of Darwin's work myself and he states quite clearly that he doesn't know how the variations are introduced. --Dmerrill

Ed also doesn't understand Darwin's theory: variation PLUS natural selection. GregLindahl

Actually, Ed's present text is a pretty good statement of the difference bewteen ID and the present neo-Darwinian synthesis. It is true that Darwin himself didn't know the variation mechanism (or even the inheritance mechanism since the discovery of DNA was decades away), but we do now. It doesn't much matter to the overall theory itself, but we do have a present scientific understanding that variation is caused by the various means Ed mentions. I would leave the text, but clarify that ID doesn't so much disagree with Darwin as it does present threory. --LDC

Gee, thanks! My fan!!
BTW, sorry to Dmerrill whose edit I just overwrote. There's gotta be a better way of coordinating cooperative edits. I'm schizophrenic enough trying both to argue for ID (which I believe) and maintain the NPOV (which I agree is a MUST for an encyclopedia). --Ed Poor

Where it departs from the commonly accepted biological view is in the belief that the variations which are subsequently acted upon by Natural Selection are not random, but guided by the hand of God.

I think this is the opposite of ID, where'd you get this?--Ed Poor
Would you like to (a) do this together with e-mail, or maybe (b) create an ID_draft page and edit each other's work? I'm okay with either, leaning to the latter. --Ed
Um, that was what I got from reading what you wrote. I must have misunderstood it. But don't bother with a draft, just edit what I have. Or at least maintain my explanation of the scientific theory, as I believe you do (did) not understand it. --Dmerrill
Actually, after reading what Ed wrote, it sounds to me like what ID claims is that natural selection can cause small changes to occur within a species, but it denies that these changes can accumulate enough to produce major changes. Why there is this mysterious barrier that prevents changes from accumulating over time beyond some mysterious limit--that is not explained. Some specific examples (like the eye, which is an common example also cited by creationists) are cited to bolster the claim that certain kinds of major changes can't occur without divine intervention, but those are only specific example and I don't see any expression of an overriding principle that explains why or how the cumulative effect of changes within a population just suddenly stops after a certain point (thus preventing new species from occuring). The reality is, especially after seeing the example of eye in this draft, that I don't really see much of a fundamental difference between ID and creationism. They seem to share a lot of the same arguments and (with all due respect to you, Ed) seem equally bogus and unscientific. -- Egern.
The biggest difference between the two branches of creationism over the issue of whether any new species came into being after God originally created life. ID accepts the fossil record, "Sudden Creationism" rejects it. With the poll LDC cited showing 89% of Americans split almost equally on this issue, I'd say it's a significant difference -- at least to them.
The bogus and unscientific remark doesn't bother me. Explain mercilessly and boldly put it in the critique section. I don't care if most of the ID article is critique, as long as the ID article explains ID. Ed Poor
Okay, after further looking at this, I am not clear on whether ID even accepts the existence of small cumulative changes within a species, since Ed has made some references to natural selection as some sort of "weeding out process" once a species has been created. I don't think there is a clear understanding here by ID of what natural selection is. Is ID claiming that the only mutations or changes that occur are those that create new species? Is ID denying the existence of small and new changes occuring over time within populations but which don't actually create a new species?
Darn good questions, I'll try to find out over the next week or so. That's what I like about interacting with people who are smarter than me, I find out how ignorant I am. Ed Poor

From an outside perspective, I really don't like the look of the revised article - 2 sentences explaining the principles and 90% is a rebuttal. WE do not ascribe to ANY viewpoint here, and this article definitely implies that "The scientific viewpoint is correct". NPOV dictates that we do not assert ANY viewpoint as being correct. The fact that 90% of the article is a rebuttal certainly implies that the rebuttal from the scientific viewpoint is more important, which is not NPOV. Let the article express it's viewpoint in peace, such an extensive rebuttal is not necessary. - MMGB

That statement throws me. It doesn't seem like 90% rebuttal to me. It reads like a straightforward explanation of their belief and where it differs from science. What am I missing? Can you be more specific? --Dmerrill
Never mind, I see what you're talking about. The heading made it *look* that way, but the content really doesn't *read* that way. The last 90% was not rebuttal, but chiefly neutral discussion of ID. --Dmerrill
Yeah - you got what I meant - it was a "look" issue, not a content issue. Thanks - MMGB

When talking about science it probably might be helpful to check from time to time to re-read the excellent article about the scientific method. It may well be that the considerations here suffer from the assumption that a scientific question is posed instead of a historical or philosophical one. Just because one talks about nature in general doesn't mean that it has to be science per se.


The middle sentence seems to say that ID rejects selection, although the article says twice that ID accepts selection. I'm gonna just take out the middle sentence.


It accepts that there is a process of natural selection, and it accepts the scientific view of how it works.
Where it departs from the commonly accepted biological view is in the belief that the variations which are subsequently acted upon by Natural Selection are not random, but guided by the hand of God. Once the variation has been caused due to deliberate acts of God, the survival or extinction? of a newly arisen species is believed to then be subject to natural selection.

I'm under the (perhaps mistaken) impression that ID does not actually refer to a scientific theory. ID by itself simply refers to the belief that God (or some intelligence) is involved in the development of life. Therefore, it's more of an umbrella philosophy (?) that might be proven by a range of theories (or sub-theories.) The various theories that go under the heading of ID range from the unscientifically vague (evolution within species can happen naturally, but speciation requires God to step in) to the specific (certain cellular mechanisms are so interdependent that they could not have developed independently of each other.) Some of these theories-- like the second one-- might be falsifiable; therefore they enjoy some status as legitimate scientific theory. However, because the general concept of "ID" itself isn't a scientific theory, it enjoys certain privileges; for one, it doesn't have to be falsifiable. It enjoys the status of a religious or philisophical belief. These same point out its limitations; because it's not a scientific theory, it shouldn't be treated as an actual scientific theory, by us, or by a school board (for example.) There should be some differentiation between the general and the specific.

Back on track, we seems to miss the point if we describe ID as a) a complete, integrated scientific theory, or b) some specific theory having to do with speciation. My particular impression is that the set of theories vocally promoted by ID-supporters will develop as necessary until the smorgasbord consists of nothing but "legitimate", falsifiable scientific theory. I don't really know how off the mark I am on this, so I'm not volunteering to mess with the article. Any comments? -D


Can I just comment that 'Intelligent Design' has a broader usage than that given in this article. It can refer simply to the belief that God designed the universe. This is entirely compatible with standard Darwinian evolution, with no divine intervention -- life could be produced by a purely natural process, evolution, designed by God. God might merely have written the laws of physics, or chosen the fundamental constants, and left the universe to run like clockwork afterwards. (Basically, classical Deism.)

To be honest, I've never heard before of the particular theory being presented in this article being called 'intelligent design', but I suppose I maybe just aren't up with all the latest creationist theories... But I think we need two separate articles -- one on the notion that the universe was designed by an intelligent being (something which a Darwinian or a 'Sudden Creationist' might agree with), the other on the particular theory of the origin of life presented here. -- SJK

Adding further - I am familiar with the particular flavour of ID as presented - that God specifically directs the genetic variations. But the broader picture of ID has existed for centuries, Newton held that all scientific processes existed solely because "God made it so". I like the sentence defining ID as the belief that "God designed all life and scientific processes" - it is the only common theme among the various flavours of ID that exist. The article should then go on to explain the subtle varitions that exist from the simple "God did it" belief which just accepts all scientific thought as valid, to the theories that attempt to specifically explain how God interacts with life. - MMGB

Not sure of this; might be the opposite:

It accepts that there is speciation, the creation of more than one species out of a single species.

I'll leave it in for now; I hesitate to start another Wiki War, but my (superficial?) understanding of ID is that one species does not necessary "come out of" another. The argument goes something like this: If God can create the cosmos; if God can create life; if God can guide evolution via supernatural intervention; why can't God go poof and make a male and female trout? or Adam and Eve?

(I do not mean to argue (here) that ID is true, I'm just trying to get a grip on what it is. I guess I'm not as well-versed on it as I initially thought.)

--Ed Poor


Three uses of the rejected term "sudden creationism" remain in the article. How can they be revised out of the article?

Also, the article is 77% a comparison between the theory of evolution and Intelligent Design which has a separate page. Someone should write more about ID. Me, I guess, but I'll need some time to bone up on it. Going off half-cocked hasn't been too productive for me here . . . Ed Poor

The article claims that ID uses a different definition of speciation than the rest of science. It would be useful to know what that definition is. Also, who are the major proponents of the view? --AxelBoldt

Two good points, I'll try to find out. Ed Poor