The Intelligent Design (ID) movement is coming under criticism, if not actual attack, from two different sources: young earth creationists and evolutionists. Each side is accusing it of either aiding and abetting the other, or of actually being identified with the other. Neither criticism, however, is accurate.
Experience and logic
The concept of ID is actually a product of experience and logic. Every human being learns to recognize design from babyhood. Sounds are designed to convey meaning, and the baby learns language. Marks on a page are designed to convey meaning, and the young child learns to read. It is readily apparent to both the baby learning to speak and the child learning to read that some sounds and some marks are random and some have meaning. Later in life the sight of a car, a dress, or a building is at no time associated with randomness, but rather with design. The more complex the design (having more different parts with more interactions between them), the more intelligence is attributed to it.
The concept behind the ID movement, then, is to take our experience about ourselves and check it against the world and universe we live in. This takes place quite apart from any theological or philosophical viewpoint. The sticking point is that if ID can be seen in the natural world, a theological and philosophical conclusion cannot be avoided. Because the ID movement does not allow itself to be pushed to any conclusion, it comes under fire from the creation community as being compromising and untruthful — or at least not willing to stand by the truth. And because the ID concept does lead inexorably to the conclusion of an Intelligent Designer, the evolution community accuses the proponents of ID of being creationists. This last point was more than amply demonstrated last summer by the knee-jerk reaction of the evolution community to the decision by the Kansas Board of Education regarding testing standards.
When one looks at the variety of people involved in the ID movement, it is easy to see that the ID umbrella covers a wide variety of views and philosophies, Christian and non-Christian. Men like Phillip Johnson, Lee Spetner, Michael Behe, Michael Denton, William Dembski, Jonathan Wells, and Paul Nelson — some of the better-known proponents of ID — have come together with one main purpose: to demonstrate logically and scientifically that evolution, either in totality or in part, is an idea without a foundation in fact, and that the natural world does indeed proclaim itself to be intelligently designed. Thus, the ID group does not pretend to include a religious agenda, although there are some committed young earth creationists involved….
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