An Introduction to Intelligent Design – a critique
The Centre for Intelligent Design website features a set of brief (sometimes very brief) pdf documents which collectively form an Introduction to Intelligent Design, credited as written by Dr Alastair Noble, C4ID Director. This pamphlet sets out C4ID’s manifesto for ID. Often these documents are written in a way that could be seen as persuasive to the uninformed. On closer inspection, there is nothing new – the arguments are the same as those demolished in Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District.
This part of ‘An Introduction to Intelligent Design’ is brief and rests on the claims that Intelligent Design is truly a scientific approach, claims made in earlier parts. Unfortunately for the author this is not a position taken by the American judiciary, science as a whole, ad event prominent Intelligent Design proponents.
Although ID does not draw on any religious authority, it clearly has philosophical and religious implications. While it does not specify who the Designer is, it provides support for a theistic view of the universe. And it certainly confronts the neo- Darwinian world view that we live in a bleak, purposeless and undirected universe.
Here we come to the crux of the matter. For me, at least, it’s rather difficult not to equate a ‘designer’ with apparently omnipotent power to create or direct aspects of life with a deity of the type invoked by religions. Clearly, the ‘designer’ as conceived by intelligent design proponents must be supernatural: not only is there no direct physical evidence for its presence or existence, but the claims made for its actions require powers that are beyond universal physical limits. A bit like creating life out of mud, I guess. It’s notable that the principal (if not all) advocates of Intelligent Design are Christian.
The rest of this section merely makes more hollow claims for Intelligent Design importance, finishing with a completely absurd paragraph:
Intelligent Design is not just good science. It also raises philosophical questions which go to the heart of Western civilisation. It has the potential to make people reflect on the most fundamental questions about their existence. It is, perhaps, because the implications of ID challenges deeply-held beliefs about fundamental questions of life that it is so vehemently opposed without good scientific reasons.