Re: Question for ID propopents--the demarcation question

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Wed Nov 02 2005 - 12:50:02 EST

Please take religious articles from The Times with a pinch of salt as the reporter Ruth Gledhill is frequently inaccurate, despite being brought up in a vicarage some 8 miles from where I used to live.

We take the The Times each day and I have a low opinion of its religious reporting

As I said in my previous psot it is getter harder and harder to draw a line of demarcation between YEC and ID. They have become much closer in the last 5 years. That was evidenced in the UK by a joint Snelling and Johnson anti-Darwin trip.

We also need to distinguish ID from its distinguished 19th homonym, the Design argument associated with the likes of Ray , Paley and Buckland (see my PSCF paper contrasting Paley/Buckland and ID of DEc 1999 - on These three must turn in their grave when they are likened to ID.

I dont think NCSE are unfair to link ID and YEC together as they often share the same bed. However some do not have a nuanced distinction of ID and YEC as they are not totally equivalent

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Chris Barden
  To: Robert Schneider
  Cc: ASA
  Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2005 3:46 PM
  Subject: Re: Question for ID proponents--the demarcation question

  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 veiled 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
      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 B. Miller
      Research Assistant Professor
      Dept of Geology, Kansas State University
      Manhattan, KS 66506-3201
Received on Wed Nov 2 12:52:27 2005

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