STRAWMAN ARGUMENTS AGAINST ID THEORY

Strawman

Many Arguments Against Intelligent Design Are a Strawman

The most common arguments against Intelligent Design theory are logic fallacies, such as the following:

1. Red herring
2. Unfounded rhetoric.
3. Ad hominem
4. Special Pleading logic fallacy
5. Appeals to argument from ignorance logic fallacy
6. Hand-wave off evidence.
7. Strawman
8. Circular reasoning (especially begging the issue that Irreducible Complexity has not yet been falsified)
9. Irrelevance
10. Illogical inferences and non sequitur
11. False dichotomies
12. Using outdated references and obsolete sources in support of the position of Darwinism to refute ID Theory.

I am not going to reference all the above categories, but focus in on the strawman claims.  None of the Discovery Institute fellows or proponents hold the views that Darwinists portray as the position held by ID proponents.  Take the false dichotomy contention as an example.  It should be understood by everyone regardless of their opinions on the controversy involving Intelligent Design and evolution that these theories are NOT a dichotomy.  Supporting evidence that confirms one theory does not automatically refute the other by default.  Such a notion is a false dichotomy.  There is no contradiction between the two theories.

Intelligent Design is a scientific theory because it attempts to explain how DNA might have originated on planet Earth, and how it increases in the genome of a population from one generation to the next resulting in greater complexity.  Science is a method to acquire knowledge and understanding of phenomena, and scientific theories explain the empirical data that is obtained by scientific research.

Intelligent Design research does not refute evolution, natural selection or variations by genetic mutations. ID scientists adopt the Big Bang, verify the old age of Earth, confirm evolutionary theory, and support common descent. ID Theory proponents repudiate creationism.  Again, unlike creationism, there is no contradiction between evolutionary theory and Intelligent Design.

Intelligent Design simply suggests that there are other mechanisms, at least one, that supplement known natural processes.  Intelligent Design is open to non-natural conjectures, but not supernatural speculation because science must adhere to empiricism and that which is observable.  Natural processes might have been interrupted by an artificial agency, such as a meteorite or by other extraterrestrial interference.

Intelligent Design Theory is a study of how information increases in the genome of a population resulting in greater complexity.  Since ID Theory is a study of information, it overlaps studies in computer science, information theory, and bioinformatics.  The information ID Theory is interested in genetic.  To better understand the design inference drawn from observing DNA, ID Theory studies “Complex Specified Information,” aka CSI.

There is nothing about ID Theory that refutes evolution or is anti-science.  There are many scientists who embrace ID Theory, including those who are nonreligious or atheists.   See the technical definitions for Intelligent Design here.

A problem that one might raise with discussing the strawman arguments against ID Theory is that many people are confused as to just exactly what correctly represents ID Theory.  Some might think that there is no general consensus as to the definition of Intelligent Design.  For example, some might decide that there are so many creationists who are fans of ID, that ID must somehow automatically conform to creationism by default.  This is not true, and should be a simple enough dilemma to resolve.  While it is true that ID Theory has been hijacked by zealous creationists who jump on the ID bandwagon to further the creationism cause, ID does not support creationism, but refutes creationism.

It was the Intelligent Design fellows of the Discovery Institute who were the scientists that coined the term “Intelligent Design,” and also provided the first hypotheses and definitions that comprise with ID Theory is today.  As such is the case, ID Theory should be defined exactly as the Discovery Institute fellows describe it as.  

It should be understood that ID Theory as withstood a barrage of stark criticism since Michael Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box (1996).  It was this book that Michael Behe first introduced and coined the term, irreducible complexity.  Intelligent Design gained even greater attention from the highly publicized Dover trial in 2005.  In spite of intense hostile review by the mainstream scientific community, Intelligent Design theory has not been falsified, this is especially true of the hypotheses related to irreducible complexity.  This assertion comes straight from Michael Behe himself, and can be reviewed here.

One strawman that is a favorite among Darwinist who attack ID Theory is the false accusation that Intelligent Design is Creationism.  This false claim is largely based upon the court ruling in the famous 2005 federal case, Kitzmiller v. Dover.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.  One should bear in mind that the Kitzmiller v. Dover case is a ruling as a matter of applying Constitutional law, not science.  

Another source of the imaginary strawman caricature of ID Theory being creationism is the promotion of the false claim by the NCSE. This is the organization that Eugenie Scott is the director of, who routinely campaigns making the false claim that ID Theory is creationism. 

The fact is that although there are similarities between ID Theory and Creationism, each of the two subjects are very much distinguished from the other.  Here are some examples of the most obvious  differences between ID Theory and Creationism.

Biblical Creationism is based upon religion; ID does not recognize any ideology.

Biblical Creationism is based upon the Bible; ID is not.

Biblical Creationism is based upon the Book of Genesis; ID is not.

Biblical Creationism is based upon philosophy; ID is not.

Biblical Creationism holds the Creator is the God of Israel; ID does not.

Biblical Creationism holds the Earth was created in six days; ID does not.

Creation science is primarily based upon geology and the fossil record; ID is based upon biochemistry.

Creation websites quote Bible verses; ID websites do not.

Creationists refute evolutionary theory; ID does not.

Biblical Creationism is an interpretation of the Book of Genesis; ID does not recognize the Bible.

Biblical Creationism requires a deity; ID does not.

Biblical Creationism identifies a designer; ID does not.

Biblical Creationism explains everything; ID does not.

Biblical Creationism offers macroevolution as an hypothesis; ID offers irreducible complexity.

Biblical Creationism relies heavily on the geologic fossil record pointing at gaps, and complaining of absence of transitional life forms; ID shuns arguments from ignorance positions.

Eugenie Scott

Eugenie Scott, Director of the NCSE, Promotes a Strawman Version of ID Theory

ID advocates in favor of evolution; Creationism refutes evolution.

ID advocates in favor of common descent; Creationism refutes common descent.

ID is a study of genetic information; Biblical Creationism studies flood geology

ID is active in applied sciences such as biomimicry; Biblical Creationism does not have an applied science.

How does Intelligent Design describe its own theory?

The technical definitions of Intelligent Design theory are available here.   You can also click here for the official Discovery Institute version of the definition.

ID makes it own affirmative predictions. ID Theory is not interested in what evolution and its mechanisms cannot do. What evolution doesn’t do is irrelevant. What ID Theory is interested in is what and how mechanisms of information increase and design DO perform. This is bioinformatics, and for examples of this work, you might like to review this, http://www.evoinfo.org/.

Intelligent Design research does not refute evolution, natural selection or variations by genetic mutations. ID scientists adopt the Big Bang, verify the old age of Earth, confirm evolutionary theory, and support common descent. ID Theory proponents repudiate creationism.

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