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Creationism / Intelligent design
Transcript of Creationism / Intelligent design
English Christian apologist, philosopher & utilitarian
1743 - 1805
Some of his political, social and economic ideas are remarkably advanced.
He is best known for his exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God in his work
, which made use of the watchmaker analogy (natural theology).
A best seller for most of the 19th century (even after the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species)
Certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an
, not an
such as natural selection.
Life as we know it could not have developed through
natural processes - only the guidance of an intelligent power can explain the
complexity and diversity
that we see today.
In the same way a
implies the existence of its maker, so too one may infer the Creator of the universe exists, given the evident complexity of Nature.
Paley argued that the world of nature displays more
than that found in the watch. As the adaptation found in natural organisms seems to be both
complex & achieves a purpose
, Paley reasons that this must be evidence of divine design.
1) A watch performs a valuable purpose, timekeeping, which a designer would find useful
2) The watch would be unable to perform such a purpose if its parts were any different, or arranged in any other way.
from United States public school curricula by the outcome of the
Scopes Trial, but in the
the National Defense Education Act led to Biological Sciences Curriculum Study reintroducing teaching of evolution.
In response, there was a resurgence of creationism which was presented as
, based on biblical literalism but with Bible quotes optional.
survey found that virtually all literature promoting creation science presented the design argument. Such publications introduced concepts central to
including irreducible complexity (a variant of the watchmaker analogy) and specified complexity (closely resembling a fine-tuning argument).
The United States Supreme Court Edwards v. Aguillard ruling barred the teaching of "Creation Science" in public schools as breaching the
separation of church and state,
and a group of creationists rebranded Creation Science as "intelligent design" which was presented as a scientific theory rather than as a
The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design
(Richard Dawkins 1986)
Intelligent design is viewed as a
by the scientific community, because it
support, offers no tenable
and aims to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable
"The old argument of design in nature, as given by
which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of
has been discovered"
Religious leaders have come out against ID too
Creationism is unconstitutional
in public school science curricula
Published in 1989 & represents the beginning of the modern "intelligent design" movement.
"Intelligent design" was the most prominent of around 15 new terms it introduced as a new lexicon of creationist terminology to oppose evolution without using religious language.
Highly criticised (scientific/education community).
"A single system which is composed of several well-matched interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning"
"Messages transmitted by DNA in the cell were specified by intelligence, and must have originated with an intelligent agent"
Michael Behe, 1996
When something exhibits
(i.e., is both
, simultaneously), one can infer that it was produced by an intelligent cause (i.e., that it was designed) rather than being the result of
complex specified information
(CSI) as anything with a less than 1 in 10150 chance of occurring by (natural)
is better able to explain the observed
as is evident from the use of
to design certain
electronic, aeronautic and automotive systems
that are considered problems too complex for human "intelligent designers".
avoid positing the identity of the designer
get the Bible out of the discussion
The Blind Watchmaker
A design is not necessary
Demonstrates through computer simulation that "highly complex" systems can be produced by a series of very
small randomly generated
yet naturally selected steps,
rather than an intelligent designer.
The watchmaker analogy is a
if complex things must have been intelligently designed by something more complex than themselves, then
anything posited as this complex designer
(i.e., God) must also have been designed by something yet more complex.
The comparison to the
construction of a watch is fallacious because proponents of evolution do not consider evolution "lucky"; rather than luck, the
of human life is the result of billions of years of
The difference between the potential for the development of complexity as a result of
, as opposed to that of randomness coupled with
"This textbook contains material on evolution.
is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."