INTELLIGENT DESIGN (ID):
ID vs. OTHER BELIEF SYSTEMS ABOUT ORIGINS
WHAT DOES THE ID GOD LOOK LIKE?
ID and other belief systems concerning origins:
In some respects, ID and science are parallel fields of study. They
both start by observing nature. Both use reasoning to infer the processes
that might have been at work to produce the universe. But in one area,
science and ID are exact opposites. That area is the method by which scientists handle the currently unexplainable phenomenon. In any science, there are
limitations to knowledge. As mentioned earlier,
in ancient times, science was in its infancy. Very little was known
about how the weather developed, how the sun, moon, planets, stars, etc.
moved, and many other phenomena happened. So people assumed that God was
directly involved in all of these activities. As science developed, more
and more of these phenomena were explained by purely natural forces. But
there still remained some items that could not be explained. This
deficit remains today.
Where science and ID differ is over how to handle these unexplained areas of
|Scientists assume that all events happen
due to purely natural causes, and that, over time, the unexplained will
gradually wither away as our knowledge of the universe increases. |
|Supporters of ID assume that at least some of the unexplained phenomena happened because a
superior intelligence designed them. |
The main purpose
of science and ID is to learn more about the universe, and to lead
wherever the evidence takes the researchers. However, many followers of ID
appear to place great effort on:
|Proving the existence of one or more Gods, and to |
validity of naturalistic evolution.|
Since ID is
essentially one technique of attempting to prove the existence of God, it can be used to support
both creation science and theistic evolution. Portions of ID are compatible with
both a young earth (less than 10,000 years of age) and an old earth (over
4 billion years of age). However, other parts of ID seriously conflict with
'young earth" creation science. Most supporters of ID accept:
|The "Big Bang" origin of the universe -- that the universe
came into existence as an infinitesimally small object many billions of years ago and expanded rapidly.|
continuing design and intervention
by an intelligent entity, as evidenced in the appearance of new species since the original creation.
"In principle, an evolutionary process can exhibit such 'marks
of intelligence' as much as any act of special creation."
These common beliefs in ID are
incompatible with a literal interpretation of the creation stories in
Genesis, which implies the creation of the earth and its life forms over a
seven day interval, less than ten thousand years ago. This is the
concept accepted by most Christian proponents of creation science.
In spite of these conflicts, creation scientists and ID researchers may share sufficient beliefs
to coexist in the same movement. According to one of its leading proponents, William A.
Dembski, ID is "a theory of creation that puts Christians in
the strongest possible position to defeat the common enemy of creation, to wit,
naturalism. Throughout history common enemies have been invaluable for
suspending in-house squabbles and uniting people." In a recent book based on
Discovery Institute's Mere Creation Conference, on 1996-NOV, at least four of the
nineteen contributors are "young earth" scientific creationists; i.e. believers in
the most popular version of creation
science. The rest support theistic evolution.
2,3 Unlike other scientific conferences, this one was
directed by a fundamentalist Christian group (Christian Leadership
Ministries). No opposing points of view were allowed to be
This essay continues below.
What kind of God does ID attempt to prove the existence of?
ID researchers only attempt to prove that a super-human intelligence existed in
the universe. Many only speculate on the nature of that intelligence; they
do not try to prove whether that intelligence is an actual deity. They
do not necessarily believe that it is the Judeo-Christian-Islamic
God: a bodiless spirit, single,
infinite, immutable, loving, eternal, immortal, invisible,
omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. 4 They can only
hope to show that:
|One or more intelligent entities existed at the time that a particular design
was implemented. However, the entity or entities do not necessarily exist now.|
|It or they had powers well beyond that of normal humans -- but were
not necessarily omnipotent.|
In fact, the designers of life forms or other features of the universe
that they are trying to detect might be any of the thousands of Gods and
Goddesses worshiped by humans. A deity or deities may not be involved at all.
Designs could have been created by some form of extraterrestrial beings who are centuries ahead of
humans in knowledge.
Proponents of ID have a wide range of theological and philosophical
beliefs. Persons with all of the following beliefs could embrace ID:
|A strict monotheist (e.g. a Jew or Muslim
who believes in one God). |
|A duotheist (e.g. a Wiccan or Zoroastrian
who believes in two deities). |
|A trinitarian (e.g. a Christian who
believes in three divine persons within the unity of a single Godhead).|
|A henotheist (e.g. a Hindu who believes in many
Gods and Goddesses who are aspects of a single deity, Brahman).|
|A polytheist (e.g. followers of many of the Aboriginal religions in
the world who believe in many Gods and Goddess as discrete entities.)|
|A Deist who believes that God created the
universe, set it in motion, left, and has not been seen since.|
|An Atheist, Agnostic, Humanist,
or anyone else who might hold open the possibility
of a very advanced species of intelligent beings existing in the
William Dembski, "The Intelligent Design Movement,"
Cosmic Pursuit, 1998-Spring. Online at: http://www.origins.org/offices/dembski/docs/bd-idesign.html
Some excerpts, abstracts, etc are available online. See: "Mere
Creation: Scholars United Under Intelligent Design" at:
William Dembski, Ed., "Mere Creation; Science, Faith &
Intelligent Design," Intervarsity Press, (1998).
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
"Awareness of God / Attributes of God," at:
Copyright © 2001, 2002 & 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2001-JAN-14
Latest update: 2004-FEB-4
Author: B.A. Robinson