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INTELLIGENT DESIGN (ID):

OPINIONS ABOUT ID, mostly by scientists.

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Opinions favoring ID:

Belief is split over the validity of ID. A few high-profile scientists support ID and are doing active research in its support. The general scientific community dismisses ID as another form of creationism:

bullet Michael Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University, author, 14 and leading proponent of ID said: "I think [ID] is making a lot of progress in the sense that it's now an active topic of conversation." 10
bullet Judge Robert H. Bork. an extreme conservative and strict constructionist judge said: "[Behe, a leader in the ID movement] has shown that Darwinism cannot explain life as we know it."  2
bullet President George W. Bush, during an media interview on 2005-AUG-01, made a brief comment favoring having schools teach ID "...so people can understand what the debate is about." He continued: "I think part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes." 3

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Opinions critical of ID:

bullet Scott Atran, anthropologist and psychologist, wrote: "Nothing indicates that people who believe that life arose by chance also believe that morality is haphazard." 5
bullet Sam Clifford, a high-school biology teacher from Georgetown, TX, said: that intelligent design is "a piecemeal, haphazard concoction" that he does not have time for. 6
bullet Jerry A. Coyne, evolutionary biologist, wrote:
bullet "Not only is ID markedly inferior to Darwinism at explaining and understanding nature but in many ways it does not even fulfill the requirements of a scientific theory."
bullet "The geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky famously declared, 'Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.' One might add that nothing in biology makes sense in the light of intelligent design."
bullet Richard Dawkins, leading evolutionary biologist, wrote:
bullet "Natural selection is not some desperate last resort of a theory. It is an idea whose plausibility and power hits you between the eyes with a stunning force, once you understand it in all its elegant simplicity"
bullet "The supernatural explanation fails to explain because it ducks the responsibility to explain itself."
bullet Daniel C. Dennett, a philosopher, wrote: "Evolutionary biology certainly hasn’t explained everything that perplexes biologists, but intelligent design hasn’t yet tried to explain anything at all."
bullet Marc D. Hauser, evolutionary psychologist wrote:
bullet "What counts as a controversy must be delineated with care, as we want students to distinguish between scientific challenges and sociopolitical ones."
bullet "Incredulity doesn’t count as an alternative position or critique."
bullet Stuart A. Kauffman, theoretical biologist wrote: "To state that a given organ is so improbable that it requires design is just ill founded. The argument uses standard probability, which does not apply to the evolution of the biosphere."
bullet Leonard Krishtalka, director of the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History. Referring to ID, he said, "That's a religious belief, and science has no comment on that." Referring to the lack of understanding of the evolution of a living cell, Dr. Kristalka commented: "The absence of knowledge does not mean the answer is a supernatural creator." 4
bullet Steven Pinker, Psychologist, wrote: "An evolutionary understanding of the human condition, far from being incompatible with a moral sense, can explain why we have one." 5
bullet Lisa Randall, physicist, wrote: "We don’t have an intelligent designer (ID), we have a bungling consistent evolver (BCE). Or maybe an adaptive changer (AC). In fact, what we have in the most economical interpretation is, of course, evolution."
bullet Scott D. Sampson, paleontologist, wrote: "Rather than removing meaning from life, an evolutionary perspective can and should fill us with a sense of wonder at the rich sequence of natural systems that gave us birth and continues to sustain us."
bullet Dr. John Staver, a professor at Kansas State University professor and co-chair of the committee that crafted the new science standards for Kansas public schools, described ID as a "fringe idea at the moment, and not one being discussed all that much in the scientific community." 4
bullet Tim D. White, paleontologist, wrote: "A denial of evolution–however motivated–is a denial of evidence, a retreat from reason to ignorance." 5

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Michael Behe, "Darwin's Black Box: The biochemical challenge to evolution," Touchstone Books, (1998). Read over 260 reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  2. Robert H. Bork, "Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline," Regan Books, (1996), Page 294.
  3. "Bush endorsement of 'Intelligent Design' in public schools is irresponsible, says Americans United," press release, Americans United, 2005-AUG-02.
  4. "Kansas board to restore evolution to curriculum, but new fight over 'Intelligent Design' expected," AANEWS, 2001-JAN-12.
  5. From the book review on the Amazon.com web site for John Brockman, "Intelligent Thought: Science versus the Intelligent Design Movement," Vintage Original, (2006). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
  6. Jay Mathews, "Who's Afraid of Intelligent Design?," Washington Post, 2005-MAR-23, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/

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Copyright © 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-MAY-10
Latest update: 2006-MAY-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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