Science and the Sacred

Science and the Sacred


Are Creationism and Intelligent Design Movements?

creationists.jpgDespite the existence of organizations like Answers in Genesis and The Discovery Institute, should creationism or intelligent design be called unified movements? In their study Doubting Darwin: Creationism and Evolution Scepticism, public theology Theos sought to test this assumption. Their conclusion, based on interviews with 50 prominent anti-evolutionists, found that rather than a unified group with a coherent set of aims and goals, most critics of evolution differ sharply in many aspects.

According to the report:

Interviewees did not seem to be united in either a geographical or a political sense. They did not necessarily belong to or attend any creationist groups or organisations and, where they did, they belonged to different ones. They did not keep contact with their counterparts in the US and they did not necessarily communicate with each other. There were vehement disagreements over theological matters and over the means by which evolution scepticism could be promoted. Intelligent Design had not successfully created a paradigm through which all evolution sceptics might engage in the debate around evolution.

Respondents also differed in their reasons for disagreeing with evolution, challenging the theory on theological, sociological, and scientific grounds.

However, the study did find that figures like Richard Dawkins have a galvanizing effect on evolution criticism and brought more religious believers under the banner of evolution scepticism. Respondents also felt that creationist and ID arguments were unfairly biased against and not given equal consideration, leading to a sense of being on the defensive and under attack by the scientific community, rather than a sense of contributing to science.

The full report can be found here.

Editor’s Note:

Due to concerns about unhelpful comments on the Science and the Sacred
blog, we have decided to block posts that do not engage the topics in a
meaningful way. We welcome both critical and supportive voices, but
request that all posts offer something relevant to the posted topic,
and not simply be inflammatory accusations or lengthy, unrelated
monologues. Our goal in moderation is to assure discussions stay civil, open, and balanced. Lengthy posts are fine, so long as they are courteous and add to the discussion rather than usurp it.

Share
|





Advertisement
Comments read comments(24)
post a comment
Hereeyestand

posted December 2, 2009 at 11:24 am


There are many reasons for skepticism regarding evolution. A hacker recently brought to light the email exchanges of several British and American scientists in the forefront of climate-change. Regarding this revealing exchange, John Tierney writes,
“When a journal publishes a skeptic’s paper, the scientists e-mail one another to ignore it. They focus instead on retaliation against the journal and the editor…These researchers, some of the most prominent climate experts in Britain and America, seem so focused on winning the public relations war that they exaggerate their certitude.”
“Contempt for critics is evident over and over again in the hacked e-mail messages, as if the scientists were a priesthood protecting the temple from barbarians” (Science Times (NYT) Dec. 1 2009, 1-2).
It’s this kind of group-think, exaggeration and dirty tactics that makes me wonder about how extensive this kind of problem is in the halls of academia. Last year, the documentary, Expelled, revealed that several academicians have been fired, denied tenure or simply harassed because of their sympathies for “intelligent design” (ID). In such a repressive climate, I think we have to be somewhat skeptical regarding the resulting scientific “consensus.”
Meanwhile, evolutionists promote the establishment position, that we, the public, can trust the findings of science because all of their findings and publications are carefully scrutinized by their peers. However, if their peers are no more than “a priesthood protecting the temple from barbarians,” we might have to question whether the foxes have been left in charge of the chicken coop.
Last month I heard David Berlinski, an agnostic who respects ID, relate a story about a publisher who apologized to a scientist because he had been forbidden to publish any paper sympathetic to ID. Berlinski suggested that this type of thing wasn’t unusual.
This raises the question, “What kind of trust should we place in the evol.-establishment?” However, according to the militant evolutionist, Richard Dawkins,
“It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in the findings of Science that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”
Ironically, it has taken a criminal-hacker to demonstrate that our trust is more “safely” placed elsewhere, namely in Scripture!



report abuse
 

Glen Davidson

posted December 2, 2009 at 1:09 pm


I’d call creationism and ID reactions.
Faulting the science appears to be their main goal.
So, both psychologically and politically, the impulse appears to be little more than reaction against what they do not wish to be true.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



report abuse
 

A Greenhill

posted December 2, 2009 at 1:41 pm


“…unfairly biased against and not given equal consideration, leading to a sense of being on the defensive and under attack…”
When I started coming out of the protection of the Christian bubble and living “in the world” (aka public universities), my response to the perception described above was this: figure out what the heck’s going on. When nearly every earth & life scientist in the U.S. says what you’ve been taught is wrong and that mountains of ‘alternative’ (actually mainstream) science exist… that’s when you should buckle down and figure out what the deal is.
Either two things are going on: Satan is doing a great job of fooling everybody, or creationism is misguided. After years of reading and consideration (much of which spent on the staunchly creationist side), I concluded that creationism is in error, not modern biology and geology.



report abuse
 

Jay Hutchison

posted December 2, 2009 at 1:59 pm


“However, the study did find that figures like Richard Dawkins have a galvanizing effect on evolution criticism and brought more religious believers under the banner of evolution scepticism.”
Anyone who has read Richard Dawkins’s books on Evolution would not become more skeptical of Evolution. So I can only assume that it is the ID/Creationism proponents use of his name that is doing this. Or by associating his atheism with the theory of evolution as a whole to try to create fear and revulsion in believers towards science.
Luckily, science continues whether the religious like it or not.
There are many books that spell out the evidence for evolution in ways that people without science backgrounds can understand. Read them for youselves if you are an “evolution skeptic.” The information is at your fingertips. It is truely a beautiful theory that once understood will change the way you look at the world in incredible ways.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted December 2, 2009 at 2:03 pm


Since ID proponents can’t agree, and most can’t even publically state, how old they believe the Earth/Universe is, or when, how, where, what life began, I wouldn’t be expecting any cohesion in goal. Scientists involved in ID should not be concerned with goals other than to prove their theory – though most are part of groups with stated cultural and theological, sometimes differing, goals. “We don’t like Darwin or Dawkins” is neither a theory nor a goal. But it is big business, apparently.



report abuse
 

RickK

posted December 2, 2009 at 2:12 pm


“Respondents also felt that creationist and ID arguments were unfairly biased against and not given equal consideration, leading to a sense of being on the defensive and under attack by the scientific community, rather than a sense of contributing to science.”
Interesting. For 150 years, the opponents of evolution have been better organized and better funded than the science community. The power of the global Christian community is enormous – possibly more powerful than any other group. And since Darwin first put pen to paper, Christianity has been at odds with evolution. Yet evolutionary theory is stronger and better supported today than ever before.
So all I can conclude from this is that evolution’s success is based not on conspiracy by some great global atheistic community. Rather, the tremendous, overwhelming and unstoppable success of evolutionary theory is based on the fact that it is true.
And the utter failure of creationism is based on the fact that it is false. Or, to use the gentler word by the reasonable Mr. Greenhill, creationism is “misguided”.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted December 2, 2009 at 2:49 pm


Creation, itself, may not be a movement. It is likely just a belief.
However, Creation Science was invented over 40 years ago when it became apparent creationism could not be taught in public schools, as it amounted to religious proselytising. Creationism labeled as science, the inventors believed, could be taught. The late Henry Morris co-founded the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) to promote Creation Science, and in that sense Creation Science was a movement.
That turned out not to be true. A Supreme Court ruling in 1987 held that Creation Science had only a religious purpose.
Thus Intelligent Design was created. Intelligent Design can reasonably be called a movement, since it is primarily supported by the Center for Science and Culture (CSC), an organization within the Discovery Institute. Phillip Johnson was the primary inspiration for the Intelligent Design movement, and he help found the CSC.
Anyhow, I recently published all of this on the Web:
http://ntskeptics.org/2009/2009december/december2009.pdf
http://ntskeptics.org/2009/2009december/december2009.htm
John Blanton



report abuse
 

Ray Ingles

posted December 2, 2009 at 2:53 pm


It’s interesting to contrast that with the so-called “New Atheism” “movement”. While that, too, is characterized as a “movement” by some, others point to “schisms” in atheism: http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2009/10/atheist_schism.php
I’d say that people like Behe, Meyer, Egnor, et. al. serve as a similar rallying point for the so-called ‘evolutionist’ crowd, too.
Interesting parallels… politically, anyway. On the science side, though, I’d say the comparison breaks down pretty thoroughly.



report abuse
 

JustGuessing

posted December 2, 2009 at 3:49 pm


I can’t believe God would create a universe where magic would have to be used. Think of the huge hindrance on science and technology that would be.



report abuse
 

RickK

posted December 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm


“I’d say that people like Behe, Meyer, Egnor, et. al. serve as a similar rallying point for the so-called ‘evolutionist’ crowd, too.”
That’s true! However, there’s a subtle difference. Dawkins doesn’t have to lie – blatantly, provabaly, demonstrably lie. Ham, Behe, and Egnor all lie openly and without reservation.
Meyer is just a bit more subtle, but he conveniently ignores the fact that evolution does not postulate a sudden random event creating mass complexity. Meyer conveniently ignores the “bit by bit” buildup of evolution – the long collection of small improbabilities over time. Meyer likes to portray evolution as one huge improbability all at once. But while Meyer doesn’t portray an honest representation of evolution, he does understand that he is misrepresenting evolution.
In other words, Meyer does intentionally misrepresent the truth.
In other words, Meyer is just as much a fan of dishonest discourse as Ken Ham or Kirk Cameron.
Richard Dawkins has a huge advantage over the creationists – he can go to sleep at night with the knowledge that his world view doesn’t require blantant lies. That’s why Richard is so much more articulate during debates – he gets more untroubled sleep.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted December 2, 2009 at 6:53 pm


While their primary mantra is “Evolution Is Wrong,” the various evolution-deniers (or “history deniers” as Richard Dawkins has recently named them) have some other commonalities. Most (but not all) of them are Protestant fundamentalists and Biblical literalists. Intelligent design creationism has tried to unite Young Earth Creationists and Old Earth Creationists, but they are not compatible and it isn’t working well.



report abuse
 

kirk

posted December 2, 2009 at 9:06 pm


I think that when a common, central narrative motivates me to take political action, I become part of a movement regardless of how I would report the “cause” of my action.
A belief in young earth creation or Intelligent Design (TM) alone is not a movement. Running for the school board to put either meme into the curriculum is “movement behavior” that puts an organism into a movement.
I believe in evolution of species through natural selection. I am a dues paying member of the Texas Freedom Network and I vote against candidates that belong to various anti-science movements I oppose. That makes me part of the science movement. Guilty as charged.



report abuse
 

John

posted December 3, 2009 at 9:32 am


That’s why Richard is so much more articulate during debates – he gets more untroubled sleep.
- RickK
Dawkins looks quite tired when up against John Lennox.
http://www.fixed-point.org/index.php/video/35-full-length/164-the-dawkins-lennox-debate



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted December 3, 2009 at 11:05 am


“Are Creationism and Intelligent Design Movements?” — what the opening post and the comments missed is that this survey was about the *UK*. The UK antievolutionists interviewed in this survey might not be particularly organized — at least, not organized into an “intelligent design” movement, which is what the report was looking at (also, apparently a good proportion of them are old-fashioned YECs — they wouldn’t necessarily have felt the need to organize into a new movement if they were happy in their old YEC organizations, e.g. the survey itself says that they got their 50 interviewees by starting with 12 from the Faraday Institute — they at least are somewhat organized.



report abuse
 

Ray Ingles

posted December 3, 2009 at 12:43 pm


Mere Christian – you write, When you are actually “in the world,” you find out that evolution is meaningless to the reality of human day to day life. We have evolved past the need for evolution to have any meaning or bearing on our value.
One can agree with your second statement – about value – but disagree strongly with the first. Evolution is very important in all kinds of fields already (medecine, biology, agriculture, fishing, animal husbandry, etc.) and can shed light on many more fields than that. Read David Sloan Wilson’s “Evolution For Everyone” for an excellent overview.
Evolution doesn’t give humans their meaning, but it certainly does make a big difference in how we care for the people who mean so much to us.
(I’ve already discussed how there certainly can be “justice in naturalism”, no need to rehash that again.)



report abuse
 

windarr

posted December 3, 2009 at 1:27 pm


While their primary mantra is “Creation Science Is Wrong,” the various design-deniers have some other commonalities. Most (but not all) of them are atheists and theistic evolutionists. Materialists has tried to unite theistic evolutionists and agnostics, but they are not compatible and it isn’t working well.



report abuse
 

windarr

posted December 3, 2009 at 1:34 pm


The argument of Ray Ingles sounds convincing – as long as he doesn’t make a clear scientific distinction of what kind of evolution he’s talking about: micro (variation w/in kind) or macro (the origin of people, plants & animals). As a zoologist I agree with variation w/in the created kind – but disagree strongly with macro which is philosophy disguised as science.



report abuse
 

pds

posted December 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm


The Design Spectrum
It is sad to see that this blog has become a haven for those who want to misrepresent and spew invective at ID proponents and others. Very sad. Is that what the Theistic Evolution Movement is all about?



report abuse
 

Beaglelady

posted December 3, 2009 at 6:10 pm


. As a zoologist I agree with variation w/in the created kind – but disagree strongly with macro which is philosophy disguised as science.

So exactly what is a kind?



report abuse
 

drummer

posted December 4, 2009 at 10:42 am


Is the reason for there not being a overwhelming sense of unity in entities like the Discover Institute possibly because they have come together based on their dissatisfactions with evolution? I question how uniformed the different scientific communities that support evolution appear to be unified. I mean would Biologos really agree with Richard Dawkins when he said that their there are some things that appear to be designed, and that if life was spawned on earth then it was from some type of extraterrestrial being had planted it on the earth? And that being himself been formed using Darwinian methods? If you don’t think he said this, it is found on “Expelled”. It seems that the movement has started like many movements have started, that being a common enemy.



report abuse
 

Ray Ingles

posted December 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Unapologetic Catholic

posted December 5, 2009 at 3:00 am


PDS,
You have a question pending that you have repeatedly dodged. Here it is again:
What creationist/ID website was the source of your misquotation of Gould?
Ponder that question if you don’t want to answer it. ID proponents routinely misrepresent the truth and then dodge the direct questions askignfor the source of their misrepresentations. Asserting that is not spewing invective.
If you care to demostrate yoru willignness to actually engage in the discussion instead of whining, maybe you can answer this easier and less threatening question for me.
How many years was the period of the Cambrian Explosion?



report abuse
 

Not very bright

posted December 8, 2009 at 1:37 am


Let me put it right out there first of all. I am an evangelical orthodox believer. That is my preconceived worldview. I have read post after post and have yet to see anyone use the name Jesus. (I am probably wrong about this) It seems inconceivable to me that an organization that calls itself “christian” would not mention His name. I have heard mister Giberson at a conference in my hometown and he also did not mention the name Jesus, although the title Christ was mentioned once or twice. All your scientific gibberish has not in the least given me any indication why you consider yourself to be Christian. I personally do not think you are. There is no Christianity without Jesus. It is just a made up religion that is not an inconvenience to the way a person wants to live. No restriction to act a certain way. You make it up as you go. That kind of god is not worth giving adulation to. I know this is out of the theme of this thread, but I had to start somewhere. How can you convince me that your belief is valid?



report abuse
 

Unapologetic catholic

posted December 9, 2009 at 2:04 pm


Not Very bright:
” I have read post after post and have yet to see anyone use the name Jesus. (I am probably wrong about this)”
You are indeed wrong about this.
Your criticism is unChristian and unwarranted.
Notice the very name of this organization? BioLOGOS?
Who is the Logos?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.”



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

We're Moving
Science & the Sacred is moving to our new home on The BioLogos Foundation's Web site. Be sure to visit and bookmark our new location to stay up to date with the latest blogs from Karl Giberson, Darrel Falk, Pete Enns, and our various guests in the science-religion dialogue. We're inaugurating ou

posted 8:00:00am Dec. 11, 2009 | read full post »

Shiny Scales, Silvery Skins, and Evolution
  Source: Physorg.comIridescence -- a key component of certain makeup, paints, coatings of mirrors and lenses -- is also an important feature in the natural world. Both fish and spiders make use of periodic photonic systems, which scatter or reflect the light that passes against their scales or

posted 8:00:00am Dec. 09, 2009 | read full post »

A Stellar Advent Calendar
Looking for a unique way to mark the days of the Advent season? The Web site Boston.com offers an Advent calendar composed of images from the Hubble Telescope, both old and new. Each day, from now until the celebration of the Nativity of Christ, the calendar will offer a beautiful image from the hea

posted 8:00:00am Dec. 09, 2009 | read full post »

Belief, Guidance, and Evolution
Recently BioLogos' Karl Giberson was interviewed by Marcio Campos for the Brazilian newspaper Gazeta do Povo's Tubo De Ensaio (i.e. "Test tube") section. What follows is a translated transcript of that interview, which we will be posting in three installments. Here is the first. Campos: Starting o

posted 8:00:00am Dec. 08, 2009 | read full post »

Let's Come at this From a Different Angle
Every Friday, "Science and the Sacred" features an essay from a guest voice in the science and religion dialogue. This week's guest entry was written by Peter Enns. Enns is an evangelical Christian scholar and author of several books and commentaries, including the popular Inspiration and Incarnatio

posted 8:00:00am Dec. 04, 2009 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.