Intelligent Design

Creationism vs ID – Two Books or One?

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Stephen B writes that ‘Creationism is faith-based; Intelligent Design is empirically-based.’ Revealed Theology, Natural Theology, and the Darwinist Concoction of “ID/Creationism.” However, comments are closed [N.B. it is now working and open so you can post your comments at the above link if you wish] so I wanted to respond by posting a new thread if that is OK.

There is a difference between creationism and ID, I agree, but I don’t think it is along the lines of evidence vs presuppositions a priori vs a posteriori. Both must start with presuppositions; creationism starts from Scripture and natural evidence and is closer to the two book approach of Francis Bacon, ID tends to be a one book approach, but I would argue that ID must have some presuppositions.

So what are ID presuppositions? ID must start from a belief that design is real – and by logical necessity (deductive logic) it follows that there is a designer. Can one be an anti-realist, or hold that design is not real and be an ID proponent? Isn’t that what the Darwinists do – use the language of design in a non-realist manner?

ID starts from a belief in order, a belief in objective truth, and a belief in universal intelligibility – all grounded more firmly in theism, especially Christian theism I would argue. And there are good reasons from the philosophy of science that suggest that it is OK to start scientific research programs from dogmatic core positions (i.e. Lakatos), and this is part of good scientific methodology.

There is I believe an iterative process that goes on in the human mind between beliefs and evidence, where we constantly test our beliefs against evidence in terms of coherence to a pattern, but belief I would argue must come first. McGrath discusses some of this in his A Fine Tuned Universe book.

26 Replies to “Creationism vs ID – Two Books or One?

  1. 1
    StephenB says:

    I think there is a technical problem on my thread because I did not close off discussion of comments. It’s frustrating for an author to have that happen because it cancels out the effort to generate a good discussion. Still, some people have managed to get through, so I prefer to debate the subject at that location. To do otherwise would be to discourge a second effort to get on my thread.

  2. 2
    Gregory says:

    “So what are ID presuppositions? ID must start from a belief that design is real” – Steno

    I thought it was the goal to ‘detect design,’ i.e. not to assume it at the beginning before any analysis has been done.

    Is this the “dogmatic core position” that Steno means – one who studies ‘intelligent design’ must actually “believe in real design” even before studying it?

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    As in, design exists as an observable in our world, with definable characteristics in relevant cases.

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    In ID an intelligent designer is logically entailed in the same way that in the theory of common descent a common ancestor is logically entailed.

    You can’t very well have descendants from a common ancestor without a common ancestor!

    Therefore by logical necessity (deductive logic) it follows that there is a common ancestor.

  5. 5
    Steno says:

    Gregory – the question is whether ID is just a whimsical exercise, or whether it is to be established as a scientific research program. If the latter, then we must work within a paradigm with a strongly held set of core of beliefs.

  6. 6
    Upright BiPed says:

    Gregory, there is not an single properly-stated ID proposition that assumes its conclusion.

    You know… like philosophical materialism masquerading as methodological naturalism, thereby insisting (as a matter of scientific fact) that since we can only observe an effect in matter, that matter is all there is.

    That proposition can be shredded by an alert schoolchild, to have an entire class of grown professional scientists repeat as a their Gospel, is seriously f’dup.

  7. 7
    Gregory says:

    So, iow, start by assuming (design) what you are trying to prove/detect (design)? ID presupposes that ‘design is (always already)real.’ That’s the key, right?

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Gregory, Is it reasonable to presuppose that your very own blog entry could be the product of an intelligent agent and not the product of chance and necessity???

  9. 9
    Upright BiPed says:

    That’s right Gregory, ID theorists start out by assuming design, and under no circumstances of any kind whatsoever, can there not be design. According to the really well-balanced people who run other blogs, we routinely stone people to death for not agreeing with us. And that is all there is to it, so you can run along now. Nothing to know here…

  10. 10
    Gregory says:

    To add: How then does one come up with a notion (scientifically, philosophically, theologically or otherwise) of ‘things that are not designed’? Iow, if ID is to “start from a belief that design is real,” then is it even possible to have a thought about anything as ‘non-designed?’

    bornagain77, that’s a different question/topic/issue than what I was asking.

  11. 11
    Upright BiPed says:

    My wife is an artist. She mixes up a palette of various paints before she begins. She then uses those various colors to create what she has in mind.

    Gregory wants to know if there is any distinction whatsoever that can be made between what is on the palette (a result of agent intervention) and what is on the canvas (also a result of agent intervention).

  12. 12
    StephenB says:

    –Steno: “ID starts from a belief in order, a belief in objective truth, and a belief in universal intelligibility – all grounded more firmly in theism, especially Christian theism I would argue.”

    The scientific inference to design begins with the observation that nature “exhibits” certain features, and the Thomistic philosophical arguments for the existence of God begin with the observation that nature “displays” intelligibility and order. To understand the meaning of the verbs “exhibit” and “display” is to understand the aposteriori nature of the argument.

    The argument for a “first cause” would not be very compelling if the analyst began by assuming a first cause–just as the argument from design would not be very compelling if the scientist began by assuming design–just as Aristotle’s argument for a prime mover would not be very compelling if he began by assuming a prime mover.

    The only assumptions being made are the first principles of right reason, which set the rules for both apriori and aposteriori arguments.

    I have already made many of these points on my own post, and I will repeat my current comments at that same location, which is where this discussion should be held. I would prefer not to have to write everything twice.

  13. 13
    Blue_Savannah says:

    It’s perplexing to hear darwinists claim I.D = Creationism.

    Speaking for myself, I’m a YEC (young earth creationist) and while I appreciate and agree with many of the posts on UD (and other websites in regards to I.D) there are instances where I don’t. If Creationism and I.D were the same, why do I disagree with some of the claims made on here?

    I respect a person’s right to believe what they wish, even darwinists have a right to place their faith in the power of ‘nothingness’ to achieve great miracles that we can’t accomplish ourselves, but they really should stop lying about I.D = Creationism.

    Take care and God Bless

  14. 14
    Joseph says:

    My 2 cents-

    ID’s presupposition would be that there is one and only one reality behind our existence (and the existence of what we are investigating) and that we can determine what that reality is.

  15. 15
    tragic mishap says:

    There is I believe an iterative process that goes on in the human mind between beliefs and evidence, where we constantly test our beliefs against evidence in terms of coherence to a pattern, but belief I would argue must come first.

    I heartily agree with this. All reason is based on belief. There’s no way around this.

  16. 16
    lastyearon says:

    Bornagain, please tell me what the difference is between what’s on the palette and what’s on the canvas.

  17. 17
    StephenB says:

    –tragic mishap: “I heartily agree with this. All reason is based on belief. There’s no way around this.”

    Reason’s rules are not the same as methodologies used.

  18. 18
    Doveton says:

    Steno,

    There is I believe an iterative process that goes on in the human mind between beliefs and evidence, where we constantly test our beliefs against evidence in terms of coherence to a pattern, but belief I would argue must come first. McGrath discusses some of this in his A Fine Tuned Universe book.

    Aside from this being ironic (a belief about an iterative process between belief and evidence…) it strikes me as a rather obvious contradiction in terms. In point of fact, most peoples’ beliefs are not swayed dramatically by evidence and in most cases people revert back to long held beliefs in spite of contradictory evidence. Hence the reason that science aims to minimize, if not eliminate, the influence of researchers’s held beliefs by relying upon a methodology of testing and the systematic review of the results.

    If ID truly “starts from belief in order, a belief in objective truth, and a belief in universal intelligibility”, then it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to present it as science.

  19. 19
    Steno says:

    Doveton wrote “Hence the reason that science aims to minimize, if not eliminate, the influence of researchers’s held beliefs by relying upon a methodology of testing and the systematic review of the results.”

    That would be the careful testing of molecule to man evolution you are referring to?

    Those who believe in naturalism need not hold to methodology in science, and good scientific methodology is more firmly grounded in theism. Consider the planned work ‘For and Against Method’ between the Calvinist Lakatos, and the materialist Feyerabend. Lakatos upheld methodology, Feyerabend rejected it.

  20. 20
    Doveton says:

    Steno,

    Doveton wrote “Hence the reason that science aims to minimize, if not eliminate, the influence of researchers’s held beliefs by relying upon a methodology of testing and the systematic review of the results.”

    That would be the careful testing of molecule to man evolution you are referring to?

    Not sure what “molecule to man” reference you are referring to. I don’t recall making one. Evolutionary theory doesn’t describe a “molecule to man” scenario since it notes that evolution doesn’t start until you have life.

    Those who believe in naturalism need not hold to methodology in science, and good scientific methodology is more firmly grounded in theism. Consider the planned work ‘For and Against Method’ between the Calvinist Lakatos, and the materialist Feyerabend. Lakatos upheld methodology, Feyerabend rejected it.

    That’s all well and good from a philosophy perspective, but I am merely relating how science operates. You can believe that good scientific methodology is more firmly grounded in theism if you wish, but if ID truly is based on the beliefs as you’ve stated, it cannot be accepted as science.

  21. 21
    Gregory says:

    Imre Lakatos (ne. Lipsitz) was Jewish (who at one time, for safety reasons, but apparently not permanently or seriously, converted to Calvinist Christianity – “no one ever heard or saw Imre representing Calvinism” – Kampis et al. 2002).

    Paul Feyerabend didn’t ‘reject’ methodology, as Steno imagines. Feyerabend embraced various methods and highlighted the multiple-methodologies that are employed in 20c. PoS. Do you recognize the difference, Steno or was the title ‘Against Method’ the only thing you actually read? This is a common misunderstanding about Feyerabend and does not fit with the ‘real facts.’

    You have assumed what you are seeking to ‘prove’ by saying that ‘real design’ is a presupposition, Steno!

    “I wouldn’t have seen it if I didn’t already believe it.”

    Thanks to Joseph, who did actually address head-on ‘ID presuppositions.’

  22. 22
    StephenB says:

    —Doveton to Steno: “You can believe that good scientific methodology is more firmly grounded in theism if you wish, but if ID truly is based on the beliefs as you’ve stated, it cannot be accepted as science.”

    That is correct.

    —Gregory to Steno: “You have assumed what you are seeking to ‘prove’ by saying that ‘real design’ is a presupposition, Steno!”

    That is correct.

    It is also correct to say that, for Steno, Aristotle, in arguing from motion back to a prime-mover, wasn’t really providing a logical argument based on observations in nature but was, in fact, simply assuming a prime mover and then smuggling that assumption into his conclusion.

  23. 23
    Steno says:

    Doveton “…if ID truly is based on the beliefs as you’ve stated, it cannot be accepted as science.”

    Science is based on a belief in order and intelligibility, which coheres to a design plan. The scientific experimental process was formulated because Bacon and the early Royal Society wanted to overcome the noetic effect of sin. Read Peter Harrison’s Book The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science.

    Lakatos’s work on scientific methodology that involves holding a core of beliefs dogmatically is in line with a Calvinistic-Augustinian approach to learning. The reason is that Lakatos believed that the alternative was relativism, something he was fearful of from his experience of communism and facsism in Hungary, and not something science can work with if concepts change their meaning through a dialogue. Feyerabend struggled to avoid the problem of relativism in his work, and at one time embraced it. So scientific research programmes become impossible if they are not supported by a core of beliefs.

    A presuppositional approach doesn’t seek to prove anything, that is the point of it – it leaves room for faith, a sensus divinitatis, and the work of the Holy Spirit. The belief that you can prove things scientifically is incoherent.

    Perhaps the American constitution wishes to shape science, but one may wonder why politics should shape science if science is a search for truth – and I am not an American. I believe politics should follow good philosophy, not the other way around.

  24. 24
    Doveton says:

    Steno,

    Doveton “…if ID truly is based on the beliefs as you’ve stated, it cannot be accepted as science.”

    Science is based on a belief in order and intelligibility, which coheres to a design plan. The scientific experimental process was formulated because Bacon and the early Royal Society wanted to overcome the noetic effect of sin. Read Peter Harrison’s Book The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science.

    Lakatos’s work on scientific methodology that involves holding a core of beliefs dogmatically is in line with a Calvinistic-Augustinian approach to learning. The reason is that Lakatos believed that the alternative was relativism, something he was fearful of from his experience of communism and facsism in Hungary, and not something science can work with if concepts change their meaning through a dialogue. Feyerabend struggled to avoid the problem of relativism in his work, and at one time embraced it. So scientific research programmes become impossible if they are not supported by a core of beliefs.

    A presuppositional approach doesn’t seek to prove anything, that is the point of it – it leaves room for faith, a sensus divinitatis, and the work of the Holy Spirit. The belief that you can prove things scientifically is incoherent.

    Perhaps the American constitution wishes to shape science, but one may wonder why politics should shape science if science is a search for truth – and I am not an American. I believe politics should follow good philosophy, not the other way around.

    Here’s the thing, Steno – science isn’t about finding truth or even really proving things. Science is about setting up useful models of how the world and universe around us work so that we can use the models to help us live a little more comfortably and longer. Science doesn’t care about “order and intelligibility” and certainly isn’t based on believing in such things, nevermind whether such coheres to some alleged design plan – science is about coming up with repeatable, consistent, and predictable, explanations about phenomena. As such, such things like belief are irrelevant to practicing science.

    And no, the American Constitution isn’t being used to shape science; science is an international endeavor that operates according to a standard methodology around the globe. There’s nothing for the American Constitution to impact as far as science is concerned and certainly nothing that the Constitution could effect as far as every other country involved in science is concerned. I’m not sure where your comments on that even come from.

  25. 25
    Mung says:

    Sit back and admire.

    Science doesn’t care about “order and intelligibility” and certainly isn’t based on believing in such things…

    …science is about coming up with repeatable, consistent, and predictable, explanations about phenomena.

    …science isn’t about finding truth or even really proving things. Science is about setting up useful models of how the world and universe around us work…

  26. 26
    DrBot says:

    Sit back and admire.

    Impressive isn’t it. Look at all the things that elegant, parsimonious and versatile approach has achieved!

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