Intelligent Design Creationism

Is Not Science

"Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology" and "intelligent design is not a scientific concept."
--John Marberger, President George W. Bush's science adviser, responding to Bush's suggestion that we teach intelligent design creationism in public schools

Fall 2013 Lecture Slides: PDF Format (Introduction to Natural Selection, Creationism/ID)

Intelligent Design Creationism is not science; it makes no testable predictions so it can not be falsified. Intelligent Design Creationism is a belief system; it is religion.

Ask a proponent of Intelligent Design Creationism what experiment could in principle be performed and what result could possibly be obtained that would convince him that Intelligent Design Creationism is wrong. If there is no such experiment and no such result, then the "theory" is not falsifiable and is, in fact, a construct. The Discovery Institute (2005) says, "Of course there's no way to falsify a mere assertion that a cosmic designer exists. This much we are agreed on."

Evolution is easily tested. Show me fossil remains of a cat or dog in a pre-Cambrian layer of rock. Show me any lifeform on Earth that does not share half of its DNA with single-celled yeast. This would convince any rational person that evolution is wrong. The recent finds of Tiktaalik and human chromosome number 2 are very powerful tests of evolution and both confirmed evolution.

Proponents of Intelligent Design Creationism do not publish their results in peer-reviewed science journals.

Here is Bill Dembski's rather weak explanation/excuse: "I've just gotten kind of blase about submitting things to journals where you often wait two years to get things into print," he says. "And I find I can actually get the turnaround faster by writing a book and getting the ideas expressed there. My books sell well. I get a royalty. And the material gets read more."

Or maybe he can't get his work past the editors and reviewers because it's BAD SCIENCE. It's interesting to compare this with the AIDS deniers' reasons for not publishing their nonsense in peer-reviewed research journals. Global Warming deniers and Holocaust deniers have the same problem. A skeptic would say, "First publish your argument in a peer-reviewed journal, then I shall read it."

This new stealth version of creationism is trying to distance itself from its fundamentalist religious origins by referring to an "Intelligent Designer" for legal reasons, specifically to evade the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Robert Carroll on the SkepDic Intelligent Design webpage says, "There is also much hypocrisy and deceit in a movement that does not refer to God in published documents as the intelligent designer, but opens its public presentations with a Christian prayer and doesn't hesitate to refer to God when alternatives such as aliens as the designers are brought up".

Ask a proponent of Intelligent Design Creationism if he really believes that the "Designer" could be an advanced space alien. Who designed the alien, then?

Could the "Designer" be a non-Christian god, like Odin, Zeus, or Brahman? Could the "Designer" be another supernatural figure recognized within Christianity? "Of course not!", he will say. Ask him why not.

Who says that Intelligent Design is the same as Creationism?

1. Scientists
National Academy of Science and Institute of Medicine published Science, Evolution, and Creationism

2. Federal Court
Kitzmiller et al. vs. Dover Area School District et al. Memorandum Opinion 20 Dec 2005 by Judge John E. Jones III
Thomas More Law Center - motto: "The Sword and the Shield for People of Faith"

3. Religions
United Methodist Church, Roman Catholic Church, 10000 signatories of The Clergy Letter Project
Vatican conference will give intelligent design critical study

4. Ironically, the proponents of ID say this.
An analysis by Dr. Barbara Forrest of editions of the ID textbook Of Pandas and People before and after the 1987 Supreme Court decision in Edwards v. Aguillard showed undeniably that ID and creationism are identical.

    Before: "Creation means that various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent Creator with their distinctive features already intact fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc."

    After: "Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc."
See also the Quotations from ID proponents at the bottom of this page.

New! For those of you who think incorrectly that both sides of every issue should be presented just to be fair, a webpage cataloguing all of the scientific evidence in favor of Intelligent Design Creationism and a list of all the articles published by Intelligent Design Creationism proponents in peer-reviewed science journals showing that Intelligent Design Creationism is a valid research program.

The Pro-ID Webpage

Logical Fallacies: a basis of ID/C arguments

You have learned a lot about logical fallacies from both Browne and Keeley, and Schick and Vaughn. By looking through common ID/C proponents arguments regarding Natural Selection and ID/C, you can spot immediately a number of logical fallacies in common use as "evidence" of their ideas.
  • False Dichotomy: ID/C proponents imply that if Natural Selection is wrong, ID/C must be correct. This is a false dichotomy, implying there is only one alternative to Natural Selection should it fail a test. Is young Earth fundamentalism the only alternative hypothesis if the atomic theory fails? Is young Earth fundamentalism the only alternative if the theory of plate tectonics fails? Is young Earth fundamentalism the only alternative if the germ theory of disease fails? What about if the theory of gravity fails? Now, having considered that, ask yourself this: is young Earth fundamentalism the only alternative if Natural Selection fails?

  • Ad Hominem: ID/C proponents, like their predecessors in the Creation Science movement, like to make personal attacks on biologists and other scientists rather than confronting established scientific ideas in the scientific literature. For a recent example, science writer Carl Zimmer asked a blogger for the Discovery Institute for evidence for a claim the blogger was making. Mr. Zimmer was first ignored and then told to buy a book published by the Discovery Institute to get his answers. He was also invited to participate in a debate rather than given the information he requested. Mr. Zimmer persisted in asking for the evidence without having to buy a book or participate in a debate first. The blogger, David Klinghoffer, then wrote: "Carl hasn't read the book and now, having ducked out of a proper debate, he can go on denouncing it without ever having read it. He's perfectly willing to waste our time on Facebook, where the phrase 'pecked to death by ducks' comes to mind." (Evolution News and Views. "We Called Out Darwinist Critic Carl Zimmer, and He Folded." David Klinghoffer. July 19, 2012.).

  • Straw Man: ID/C proponents distort (either intentionally or unintentionally) the principles of Natural Selection is order to make them easier to knock down. For example, Michael Behe in an interview with the Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center (a pro-ID/C organization, despite their name), said, "In Darwin's Black Box I argued that at least some very complex biochemical systems found in cells required purposeful design. However, some aspects of biology are simple, and could have appeared by chance in a Darwinian fashion." (Lopez, Mario A. "An Interview with Dr. Michael J. Behe"). Behe wrongly implies that (1) Natural Selection (which he labels "Darwinian", although that label is also inaccurate) can only create biological structure randomly and (2) that complexity is not possible from simplicity. Neither of these are true, either about Natural Selection (the selection part of Natural Selection is purposeful, as through a predator) or complexity (in fact, the complexity of ice crystals is easily explained by the basic geometric and chemical properties of water molecules, which are very simple). Behe sets up a straw man - a false picture of Natural Selection - so he can more easily knock it down.

  • Argument from ignorance: ID/C proponents make claims along the line of, "because we don't know how X arises, Natural Selection is wrong and ID/C is correct." Just because we do not know, does not mean we cannot know. Argument from ignorance is the entire basis of "Irreducible Complexity," the core idea of ID/C wherein some biological structures seem too complex to be explained by Natural Selection. This represents a mere lack of creativity on the part of ID/C proponents; real scientists will spend time (sometimes decades) and resources doing experiments to understand the structure rather than declaring we cannot know.

  • Burden of proof: ID/C proponents are the ones who need to demonstrate positive reproducible scientific evidence for their claims, but instead they often demand scientisits prove them wrong. It's impossible to prove that God or another intelligent designers doesn't exist - you cannot prove a negative. This amounts to a purely non-scientific request.

  • Moving the goalposts: ID/C proponents have done this repeatedly. They describe a biological system that they claim is evidence for ID because Natural Selection has not explained it. Then, it is explained by Natural Selection (e.g. the eye, the immune system, the bird wing, the bacterium flagellum). They then go and find another structure and make the claim again. They are never going to accept evidence for Natural Selection, so they just "move the goal posts" again and ask scientists jump through another, new hoop.

  • Special pleading: ID/C proponents claim they must use the law to force their ideas into public school classrooms because the science community won't take them seriously. But science is not democratic - while everyone is free to propose ideas, ideas themselves live or die by their usefulness in surviving the scientific method. ID/C ideas create no new information, make useless or untestable predictions, and allow no progress to be made in the natural world. Their ideas get no consideration in the science community as a result. Their use of law to get their way, when normal scientists don't need to do this, is a form of special pleading.

Intelligent Design Creationism

The SMU "Darwin vs. Design" event - 13,14 April 2007

The Texas State Board of Ignorance ... er, I mean Education

2009 is Darwin Year

  • Vatican celebrates Darwin - The Vatican is holding a conference next year to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of the Species

Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research can't offer masters degrees in science education

Texas Education Agency Director of Science Christine Comer forced out over ID

Ken Miller came to SMU!

Professor Kenneth R. Miller (Brown University Biology)
"Time to Abandon Darwin? What the Collapse of 'Intelligent Design' means for Science & Faith in America"
15 November 2007 at 5:00pm Hughes Trigg Ballroom

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial
NOVA - Tuesday 13 November 2007 on PBS at 7:00pm CST
with Professor Kenneth R. Miller (Preview on YouTube)

The Collapse of Intelligent Design - Ken Miller at Case Western Reserve University 2005, 2hr

Recommended: Ken Miller's 'Only a Theory'
Here are the first three parts of a very entertaining presentation Ken Miller gave at the University of Texas-Austin, titled "God, Darwin, and Design - Lessons from the Dover Monkey Trial."

"Intelligent Design is not Science" guest lecture by Professor John Wise (SMU Biology) 19 November 2008

Intelligent Design is not Science guest lecture by Professor John Wise (SMU Biology) 18 April 2007

(Un)Intelligent Design guest lecture by Professor John Wise (SMU Biology) 17 April 2006

Kitzmiller et al. vs. Dover Area School District et al. Memorandum Opinion 20 Dec 2005 by Judge John E. Jones III

Taken to School: An Interview with the Honorable Judge John E. Jones, III

- by Jane Gitschier in PLoS Genetics, December 5, 2008

Supplement to Expert Witness Report : Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District by Dr. Barbara Forrest

Intelligent Design Creationism Proponents (Cdesign Proponentsists)

Intelligent Design Creationism Opponents

Every Ph.D. biologist, chemist, geologist, physicist, etc. in the world (except Behe and Wells), but especially



  • "In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents."
    --Judge John E. Jones III, Kitzmiller et al. vs. Dover Area School District et al. Memorandum Opinion 20 Dec 2005

  • "Intelligent design isn't science, even though it pretends to be. If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."
    --Reverend George V. Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory

  • "We find that science's descriptions of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution are not in conflict with theology." and "Therefore be it resolved that the General Conference of the United Methodist Church go on record as opposing the introduction of any faith-based theories such as Creationism or Intelligent Design into the science curriculum of our public schools."
    --The United Methodist Church at its General Convention 2008

  • "Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology" and "intelligent design is not a scientific concept."
    --John Marberger, President George W. Bush's science adviser, responding to Bush's suggestion that we teach intelligent design in the schools

  • "ID leaders know the benefits of submitting their work to independent review and have established at least two purportedly "peer-reviewed" journals for ID articles. However, one has languished for want of material and quietly ceased publication, while the other has a more overtly philosophical orientation. Both journals employ a weak standard of "peer review" that amounts to no more than vetting by the editorial board or society fellows."
    --Matthew J. Brauer, Barbara Forrest, and Steven G. Gey in "Is It Science Yet?: Intelligent Design Creationism and the Constitution" Washington University Law Quarterly 83 (1)

  • "To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer. You have to say something like 'God was always there', and if you allow yourself that kind of lazy way out, you might as well just say 'DNA was always there', or "Life was always there', and be done with it."
    --Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker : Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design p. 141

  • "The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me to be so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows."
    --Charles Darwin from The Autobiography of Charles Darwin

  • "While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific."
    --Lehigh University Biochemistry Department Position on Evolution and "Intelligent Design"

  • "Pseudoscientists make poorly substantiated or demonstrably false claims and refuse to relinquish them when shown the counterevidence. 'Scientific' creationism and its 2.0 version, 'intelligent design,' provide the canonical examples of the conservative embrace of pseudoscience. Creationists and intelligent design proponents claim to act scientifically, but in fact they do little more than spread scientific-sounding arguments in defense of a biblical or religious agenda. It is doubtful whether any amount of evidence would change their minds."
    --Chris Mooney in The Republican War on Science p. 22

  • "Dembski's law of conservation of information and the rest of Intelligent Design are not just pseudoscience, they are wrong pseudoscience."
    --Victor J. Stenger in The Emperor's New Designer Clothes

  • "Incorporating intelligent design into science classrooms is an obvious impediment to scientific progress."
    --Alan J. Scott in "Danger! Scientific Inquiry Hazard" Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 31, No. 3, May/June 2007

  • "Let's not kid ourselves. Regardless of superficial scientific appearances, intelligent design was fabricated by a handful of Christian apologists with the mission of discrediting evolution and of bringing conservative Christian values into public school classrooms."
    --Charles L. Rulon in "Debating Creationists" Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 31, No. 3, May/June 2007

  • "... putting intelligent design in opposition to Darwin is like offering a program on faith healing versus oncology. Faith healing is worth discussing, but not as a scientific alternative to medical treatment ..."
    --Lee Cullum, "A problem at its genesis," Dallas Morning News Opinion Viewpoints 4 April 2007.

    Quotations from ID proponents
    I thought you guys claim that ID is science and not religion. Your own words say something quite different:

  • "Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory."
    --William Dembski, Signs of intelligence: A primer on the discernment of intelligent design. Touchstone 12(4) (Jul/Aug 1999): 76-84.

  • "the conceptual soundness of a scientific theory cannot be maintained apart from Christ"
    --William Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science and Theology, 1998, p. 209

  • "As a Christian man, yes, I do believe it is God as the divine power and as the intelligent designer of evolution."
    --William Dembski, Darwin's Unpaid Debt, Baylor University 22 October 2008

  • "Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools."
    --Phillip Johnson, American Family Radio, 10 January 2003.

  • "there are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred."
    --Michael Behe, 2005

  • "Father's words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism."
    --Jonathan Wells, Darwinism: Why I Went for a Second Ph.D.
    (Incidentally, the person whom Wells calls "Father" is Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church which is also known as the "Moonies", and the ultraconservative Washington Times.)

  • "Many states have brought in Intelligent Design but they have called it science. A design needs a designer which is god. It's religion, not science."
    --William Nowers, one of the founders of Creation and Evolution Studies Ministry and author of the book, Creation-Evolution and a Nation in Distress, being surprisingly honest about the goals of "intelligent design"/creationism proponents. His ministry is making an effort to put religion in science classes in Virginia.

  • Eric Rothschild: But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?
    Michael Behe: Yes, that's correct.
    --Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, Trial transcript: Day 11 (October 18, 2005), PM Session, Part 1

  • "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture."
    --Ray Mummert, Dover PA pastor

  • More quotations from ID proponents can be found in The Horse's Mouth by Brian Poindexter, 2003.

Science is intolerant. Science is biased. Science does not operate democratically. Not every idea is worthy of inclusion in the vast system of knowledge. We don't teach astrology in the astronomy courses. We don't teach alchemy in the chemistry courses. We don't teach Holocaust denial in the history courses. Intelligent Design Creationism is pseudoscience masquerading as science, and as such it deserves the attention it receives in our course.

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