Five myths about intelligent design that many Christians believe

Consider this article by Melissa at Hard Core Christianity. (H/T Neil Simpson)

Here’s her list of 5 myths about intelligent design:

  1. Intelligent Design (ID) is just a fancy name for Creationism. 
  2. ID has been dis-proven by the fossil record, which supports common descent. 
  3. ID claims that the “intelligent agent” had to supernaturally intervene in natural history over and over again. 
  4. ID uses a disguised form of the “God of the gaps” fallacy.
  5. ID research has not produced peer-reviewed literature.

All five of these myths are also believed by most opponents of ID in the media, and even in academia. So it’s not just Christians.

And here is the detail on myth #4:

MYTH #4: ID uses a disguised form of the “God of the gaps” fallacy.

The true story: ID does not say “We don’t yet know how life emerged from non-life, therefore an intelligence must have done it.” Rather, it makes a two-fold argument: 1) Neo-Darwinian explanations for the emergence and divergence of life are sorely insufficient in their explanatory power and 2) there are features of nature, such as the specified complexity of the digital information in DNA, that are best explained by intelligent agency. We already know from direct experience how to detect intelligence in other branches of science, so inferring intelligence based on the same type of observed effects is completely reasonable. In scientific practice, we infer the existing cause that is KNOWN to produce the effect in question. Since biochemistry contains information, ID theorists infer that there must be an informer, because there are no other sources of information. Ironically, whenever a materialist says, “We don’t yet know how life emerged from non-life, but one day science will explain it,” they are actually using the Science of the Gaps fallacy.

When discussing ID, it’s important to do two things. First, define ID. Second, block any attempt to bring God, the Bible, religion, church, feelings, personal experiences, personal faith, philosophers, or philosophy into the discussion.

To define ID, point the person to this book from Cambridge University Press.

If anyone is debating ID with you and brings up God, the Bible, religion, evil and suffering, sub-optimal designs or philosophy, then immediately tell them that you will not debate natural theology or the problem of evil with them. Anyone who thinks that ID requires the best of all possible words, optimal design, etc. doesn’t understand ID. The ID argument concludes design, if successful. It has nothing to say about goodness and badness and feelings and religion. Intelligent design asserts that an intelligent cause is the best explanation for some specific effect in nature. We can’t say from the data if the cause is good or evil, only that it is intelligent. ID is not natural theology, it is mathematics.

After we infer design based on the science alone, THEN we can talk about who the designer is, and whether he is a nice designer or a mean designer. Those are two separate questions.

If you want to debate intelligent design, then watch this lecture by Stephen C. Meyer, and read Melissa’s article. That’s all you need to get started. If you want to understand even more about it, listen to this debate with Stephen C. Meyer and Keith Fox.

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