Sunday, September 21, 2008

Creationism, Intelligent Design - What do the academics really think?

I often hear from creationists that there is substantial academic support behind intelligent design. This bizarre statement is at odds with reality - which is not unsuprising given its source. Nonetheless, I have done some basic research into the matter and found that several academic bodies in Australia and around the world have policies against the teaching of Intelligent Design and strongly rebuking creationism as a whole.

As you would expect, intelligent design policies are more heavily populated in areas which are subject to this vile academic schicanery, particularly geology and biology. Perhaps the best instance of this comes from the Geological Society of Australia who released its own Intelligent Design policy in March 2006 which was undersigned by the president and 18 former presidents of that society. The policy is strongly worded against the teaching of intelligent design:-

The Geological Society of Australia considers that notions such as Fundamental Creationism, including so called "Flood Geology", which disregard scientific evidence such as that based on repeatable observations in the natural world and the geological record, are not science and cannot be taught as science.

An essential element in the teaching of science is the encouragement of students and teachers to critically appraise the evidence for notions being taught as science. The Society states unequivocally that the dogmatic teaching of notions such as Creationism within a science curriculum stifles the development of critical thinking patterns in the developing mind and seriously compromises the best interests of objective public education. This could eventually hamper the advancement of science and technology as students take their places as leaders of future generations.

In some parts of Australia, the advocacy of notions like Creationism is confronting the integrity and effectiveness of our national education system and the hard-won evidencebased foundations of science. The Geological Society of Australia cannot remain silent. To do so would be a dereliction of our responsibility to intellectual
freedom and to the fundamental principles of scientific thought. As a consequence, the Society dissociates itself from Creationist statements made by any member.


So the next time someone says there is academic support for Intelligent Design or Creationism. Tell them they are full of it.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

yeah, think critically... except when the main tenet of Darwinian evolution is questioned, that is: that Aristotelian causation applies to everything... except biology.

Formal cause in biology is a no-no because then that might imply that the mind behind all of design might be God, and countenancing that possibility is forbidden a priori. You see, atheism necessarily requires evolution, but evolution does not necessarily require atheism. Theism allows for multiple explanations/mechanisms to be studied and evaluated, atheism necessarily limits the options a priori.
Intellectual honesty, anyone?

CASE - now with holiness said...

Lol - it is clear, anonymous, that you do not understand evolution.

Biologists do not doubt aristotelian causation except to the extent that same provides that intelligence must be the causative factor. Evolution is "caused" by the raft of mutations and variations resulting from the imperfect replication process at a genetic level which is then naturally selected by the phenotypic effect. Thus, it is caused by natural and not intelligent means.

Of course, on this understanding, your particular objection is, itself, intellectually dishonest. Then again, we cannot expect anything more from the point of view of theology.

In fact, on that particular charge, I can point out that any person seeking to establish God in the universe around them without first identifying that God, by means of actual evidence, are themselves intellectually dishonest in that, they are inferring something not from direct evidence, but rather saying their point is proven by the absence of countering evidence. Of course, any suggestion about the vague nature of the universe could generally fall within this illogical framework - why not suggest that mankind was designed, not by a God, but rather by aliens in a neighbouring solar system? Can you prove it didn't happen?

The point is that without evidence in favour of your point, and relying solely on the lack of evidence against it, is intellectual dishonesty in the extreme.

Good for you for trying though, even though you are on the wrong side.

ozatheist said...

from the ID policy:
Science seeks to explain natural phenomena using natural laws, verifiable and reproducible
observations and logical analysis; it reaches explanations that are always subject to
amendment with new evidence
.


anonymous - believing goddidit is totally unscientific. It's not so much that it is "forbidden a priori" but that there is no evidence for a design causation. As you can note from the above quote, science is content to amend explanations as long as there is verifiable evidence.

Provide verifiable evidence for god(s) or aliens and science will study and evaluate them. Until then...

AV said...

Formal cause in biology is a no-no because then that might imply that the mind behind all of design might be God, and countenancing that possibility is forbidden a priori.

Forbidden by whom? Please supply the minutes of the meeting of Teh Grand Darwinist Evilutionist Conspiracy where that motion was passed.

Got positive evidence in favour of your God? (Positive evidence, mind you: I-found-a-supposed-gap-in-evolution-therefore-magic-man-did-it does not count as evidence.) Out with it, then.

You have failed, in any case, to notice the contradiction in your own reasoning. If God is the "cause" behind all causes then what caused God? Defining your God in such a way that causation doesn't apply to it is simply special pleading. There is no evidence to support that contention. Any five-year-old can special plead magical powers for their imaginary friend.

David Gee said...

Nonetheless, I have done some basic research into the matter and found that several academic bodies in Australia and around the world have policies against the teaching of Intelligent Design and strongly rebuking creationism as a whole.

Hmm, yes there are some academics that do contradict creationism and strongly rebuke it. I think you will find that the creationist you were speaking to were refering to the academic study - the science and not the scientist. It proves nothing to say that yes there are institutes out there denieghing creationism. On that logic I could equally say that athiesm is invalid and untrust-worthy because large numbers of Christian and theist philosophers deneigh it!

Evolution is "caused" by the raft of mutations and variations resulting from the imperfect replication process at a genetic level which is then naturally selected by the phenotypic effect.

Evolution is an interesting theory but in dire need of help. As I have written recently in an article on birds (http://operation513.blogspot.com/2008/10/neo-darwinism-is-dying-with-chicken.html) the systems and specimins that science have uncovered make an embarassment of the theory. It is not only unable to explain certain systems present in the world but the systems present (such as the bird lung and feather to begin a long list) are impossible if the theory is true. Where is your true science then, are you honest in your academic approach if you cling to a theory that is logically impossible?

Got positive evidence in favour of your God? (Positive evidence, mind you: I-found-a-supposed-gap-in-evolution-therefore-magic-man-did-it does not count as evidence.) Out with it, then.

As for evolution see above. Re the evidence? The currently contested design of the universe (which if random is as probable as me shooting a bullseye on the otherside of the universe) aside you can look at the revealed Word of God and examine what He says about Himself. If I come and talk to you you don't need evidence of my existance anymore. Likewise if reliable witnesses record interactions with a person you can assume that person exists. What the Bible says about God makes clear that He is and what is revealed is confirmed in history, archeology and linguistic studies the world wide. Many others such as Russel/Marx/Voltaire have tried to discredit the Bible. They are gone and the Bible still stands - you want to disprove the God of the Bible? Give it a go if you want....