Monday, February 8, 2010

“Intelligent Design” = Religious Creationism

Creationism is a religious idea of the beginning of the universe. There have been as many creation myths as religions, and no one myth is better than the other. The high amount of Christianity in the United States has led to a movement seeking to belittle the scientific advances we’ve had on the origin of life and advance the Christian creation myth, having it taught as if it were science. The movement has made many claims that certain scientific facts back up creationism, but most of these claims have revealed the movement’s lack of scientific literacy and have been debunked. I will address these specific claims in later blogs, but today I will talk about the credibility of the creationism movement.

Merely believing in creationism is one thing, but many try to make it appear as a scientific theory, giving it a credible-sounding name (“Intelligent Design” or ID), wanting it taught in schools, and saying that it’s an “alternative” theory with much evidence in its favor, all the while making ill-informed criticisms of evolution. ID is not mainstream science as its proponents claim. The movement has shown itself time and time again to simply be a propaganda machine trying to give the appearance of respectability:
  • a 2003 poll showed support for teaching of intelligent design, but was found to be falsely reported and worthless to begin with
  • the Discovery Institute presented a bibliography listing reputable scientists who had dissented with evolution and supported ID. When the scientists were contacted, they said their work did not support ID or challenge evolution, and many said their work was evidence against ID
  • in order to get their promotional video on television, the ID movement deliberately hid the fact that it was about intelligent design
On top of the ID movement’s dishonesty, the “theory” itself has no explanatory power. A theory has explanatory power if facts can be deduced from it, and no facts have ever been deduced from ID theory. It may try to account for things we see, but accounting for things means nothing towards a theory’s truth. For instance, I can use my new “it’s magic” theory (IM) to say why things are the way they are. Now my theory can account for any fact anywhere, but it’s about as far from science as you can get. A real theory that reflects the workings of our world makes predictions and produces facts. ID has done neither.

In order for creationism to even be plausible, you must first show that there is a God, which is impossible to do. The “evidence” that the creationism movement shows for God (alleged failings of evolution and the big bang) is the same “evidence” they use to try and validate creationism, so there is a circular argument going on. It is no mystery why the scientific community doesn’t acknowledge creationism as an alternative: it is clearly motivated by religious theology and lacks the properties of a scientific theory.

- Evan

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