Intelligent Design : LUSENET : Atheists United Discussion Group : One Thread

This will collect reference material on the intelligent design debate.

(To be updated later)

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2000


These are some points on The Tower of Babel by Roger Pennock.

This is an indispensable book on Intelligent Design. It will answer practically any question and provide background on any ID related argument.

The author is a philosopher and, it should be noted, is not an atheist. He appears to be a Quaker or from a Quaker background, although he does not discuss his own religious beliefs. He is adamant about arguing that belief in evolution does not imply atheism. While most of us here probably do not care about this argument, it is politically useful in a society where many voters feel they have to believe in god.

In fact, Pennock makes the case that ID is not an issue among scientists. There are no holes in the theory of evolution that are leading scientists who deal with the facts to look for a better theory, and the ID'ers do not really care about the evidence. The main argument against evolution is that it undermines morality.

The book is very enjoyable, as the author weaves in themes from information science to comparative linguistics to the Texas two step to UFO-ology. The discussion of non-Christian creationists from the Hare Krishnas to the Raelians, who believe human life is an experiment run by space aliens, is amusing. But it is also exhausting in its depth. It would be hard to read in one sitting.

These are a few facts that you need to know about the ID movement today:

1. There have been no peer reviewed scientific papers on ID. There is really only one book, Darwin's Black Box by Hans Behe, that argues for ID from a scientific perspective. (The author is a molecular biologist, and he believes in some sort of evolution, but he believes that certain molecular structures are too complicated to have arisen by other than design. However, other scientists have refuted some of his points. The field of molecular biology is very new, and the entire basis of his argument may fall apart as more is known.)

2. There is a certain amount of division among the creationists. There are the Young Earth Creationists (YECs) who believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old because the Bible is literally true, the OEC's (Old Earth Creationists) and a variety of other theories. The different factions are united only in their belief that evolution is wrong because it provides no basis for morality.

3. One of the main ID proponents is Philip Johnson, a professor of law at UC Berkeley. Johnson admits that he has not had a science course since high school. His arguments are based on post modern notions that there is no real truth, only different narratives. He believes that a creation myth is an important basis of morality for society, and that ID is required to overcome modern trends towards divorce, adultery, homosexuality, etc. Johnson is silent on a lot of issues such as how old the earth really is, because he does not want to stir up differences among the different creationist factions.

4. Creationism is not only a problem for biology, but also geology, linguistics, and other sciences, and the scientific method itself. While linguists believe that languages evolve over time and distance, creationists believe that different languages were created by God in the Tower of Babel incident. The entire field of comparative linguistics is a challenge to creationism.

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ