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115 ra. Discovery Institute's "Intelligent Design" vs. IY?
115 ra. Discovery Institute's "Intelligent Design" compared with IY?
Subject: Evolution, Intelligent Design & Integral Yoga Date: August 4, 2005 3:07:02 PM EDT
I've just been looking over the website of "The Discovery Institute." Located in Seattle, Washington, USA, they're the main promoters of "the theory of intelligent design" (ID) which they call an alternative to the "neo-Darwinist theory of evolution." They're an activist organization which has been getting a lot of attention in the news lately because of their drive to be included in public school biology classes.
< www.discovery.org >
I'm curious about how we (followers of IY) could easily differentiate ourselves from ID. Not knowing much about the details of their approach, other than a brief look at their website, it seems to me that we may risk being thrown into the category of ID by mainstream scientists who consider it merely a front for Creationism.
On the other hand, perhaps there's an opportunity here. For example, the Discovery Institute includes a list of hundreds of scientists and their academic affiliations who have signed a petition asking that ID be taken seriously by the scientific community. Perhaps some of the folks on that list would be interested in IY?
How would IY members of postAUM2005 respond if a scientist asked us how we'd differentiate ourselves from ID, without us sounding like just another religion (or worse, an Indian cult)?
For those interested, I've included below a taste of what the ID people say about themselves on their "Center for Science and Culture" sub-site.
1. What is the theory of intelligent design?
The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.
2. Is intelligent design theory incompatible with evolution?
It depends on what one means by the word "evolution." If one simply means "change over time," or even that living things are related by common ancestry, then there is no inherent conflict between evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory. However, the dominant theory of evolution today is neo-Darwinism, which contends that evolution is driven by natural selection acting on random mutations, an unpredictable and purposeless process that "has no discernable direction or goal, including survival of a species." (NABT Statement on Teaching Evolution). It is this specific claim made by neo-Darwinism that intelligent design theory directly challenges.
3. Is intelligent design based on the Bible?
No. The intellectual roots of intelligent design theory are varied. Plato and Aristotle both articulated early versions of design theory, as did virtually all of the founders of modern science. Indeed, most scientists until the latter part of the nineteenth century accepted some form of intelligent design. The scientific community largely rejected design in the early twentieth century after neo-Darwinism claimed to be able to explain the emergence of biological complexity through the unintelligent process of natural selection acting on random mutations. During the past decade, however, new research and discoveries in such fields as physics, cosmology, biochemistry, genetics, and paleontology have caused a growing number of scientists and science theorists to question neo-Darwinism and propose design as the best explanation for the existence of specified complexity in the natural world.
4. Is intelligent design theory the same as creationism?
No. Intelligent design theory is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the "apparent design" in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism is focused on defending a literal reading of the Genesis account, usually including the creation of the earth by the Biblical God a few thousand years ago. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design is agnostic regarding the source of design and has no commitment to defending Genesis, the Bible or any other sacred text. Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he "agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement." Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are "the easiest way to discredit intelligent design." In other words, the charge that intelligent design is "creationism" is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case.
For more info re ID, go to:
Intelligent Design FAQ
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