Re: Question for ID propopents--the demarcation question

From: Chris Barden <>
Date: Wed Nov 02 2005 - 10:46:44 EST

I agree with you Bob, and I would add something else. NCSE and other
"watchdog" groups have been all too willing to take these alliances as proof
that ID is nothing more than a thinly velied form of creationism.
Journalists view NCSE as a quotable authority and it informs their views
accordingly. Thus we don't see a careful distinction between the two in
print. I think back to an article in The Times a few weeks ago about the
Catholic church saying that the Bible didn't have to be true. Besides that
being a ridiculous gloss of their argument, the article also included a
completely superfluous and misleading comment about how this was somehow
connected to ID.

And this problem extends even to science writers, who should really know
better. In last week's Chemical and Engineering News (Oct 24), there is an
article by Elizabeth K. Wilson commenting about some kind of (imagined?)
furor over a paper in Journal of Chemical Education (JCE 2005, 82, 1094)
that encourages students to think critically about potassium-argon dating.
I've seen the paper, and while the chemistry in question is interesting, it
can easily be read as encouraging students to question the age of the earth.
Moreover, the author, William A. Howard, is an admitted young-earth
creationist, so this is an open-and-shut case of creation science finding
its way through the imperfect process of peer review.

But Wilson conjoins creationism and ID throughout the piece. She says the
JCE paper "marks the second case of a paper espousing arguments influenced
by creationism or intelligent design (ID) that has been published in a
peer-reviewed journal" (I suspect there would be more if she had started
counting from the nineteenth century). She then spends two paragraphs
one-sidedly summarizing the PBCW / Richard Sternberg story. The relevance of
ID to creationism, the supposed subject of this article? "ID differentiates
itself from creationism in that it does not explicitly invoke God as creator
of the universe, but rather an 'intelligent designer.'" I am amazed at the
naivete of that statement.

On 11/2/05, Robert Schneider <> wrote:
> I agree with Keith's assessment of ID and appreciate his comments.
> It is also interesting to read the final paragraph of Dembski's article
> linked below:
> I close with a story about Henry Morris's son John Morris, the president
> of ICR. In the spring of 2001, I was invited to give some talks at UCSD and
> in the surrounding area. John showed up at one of my talks, introduced
> himself, and invited me to visit him at the ICR campus. I took him up on his
> offer and visited the following day. He graciously showed me around and had
> me speak about intelligent design to the ICR scholars who were present that
> day (unfortunately, neither Henry Morris nor Duane Gish were in). Toward the
> end of my visit, John noted that ID fell short of a full creation model, but
> then commended ID for conclusively showing the bankruptcy of Darwinism. He
> was right. As a limited tool for dislodging materialism, developing the
> concept of design, and applying it to biological systems, ID is the best
> thing going. I would therefore like to encourage Henry Morris and all
> young-earth creationists to view intelligent design as a friend in the
> destruction of Darwinian materialism and in developing the scientific
> understanding of design in nature.
> Bob comments:
> it is this kind of strategy that creates a problem for the ID movement,
> because when YECs tout ID arguments against "Darwinism," they are doing
> exactly what will convince mainstream scientists that ID is a form of the
> kind of creationnism they detest. While this may be a partnership of
> convenience (of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" sort) from which the
> YECs gain much, it cannot help ID at all in the world of science. I wonder
> if Dembski has really thought through the implications of this pas-de-deux.
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Keith Miller <>
> *To:*
> *Sent:* Monday, October 31, 2005 11:04 PM
> *Subject:* Re: Question for ID propopents--the demarcation question
> Here's one from Dembski:
> "To be sure, I am not a young earth creationist nor do I support their
> efforts to harmonize science with a particular interpretation of Genesis."
> *
> *
> The issue is not whether some ID advocates have stated that they are not
> young Earth creationists, but rather whether the "theory of ID" (however
> that is envisioned) has any scientific content that would distinguish it
> from those who reject common descent, if not an ancient Earth. Young Earth
> advocates and those who reject common descent at virtually any level of the
> taxonomic hierarchy can, and do, consider their arguments as employing ID.
> In my view, the inability of ID to make any statement about when and where
> in evolutionary history the design events are presumed to occur shows the
> practical emptiness of their arguments. There is absolutely no agreement
> among ID proponents about which structures or biological transitions are
> those which demand the action of a non-natural designing agent. Basically
> any transition or biological structure that a particular individual sees as
> too complex to yield to future natural cause and effect explanations can be
> cited as an example. There is no consistent criteria by which other
> investigators can independently identify a candidate structure.
> Keith
> Keith B. Miller
> Research Assistant Professor
> Dept of Geology, Kansas State University
> Manhattan, KS 66506-3201
> 785-532-2250
Received on Wed Nov 2 10:49:04 2005

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