Intelligent design (ID) is a theory that argues that living beings were designed by an “intelligent designer” in their current form. As a direct rebuttal to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection, intelligent design gained popularity in the 1990s, mainly in the United States. According to Kutschera et al., ID supporters cite William Paley’s reasoning from design for the presence of God as evidence that living creatures’ structural parts and processes are “inherently complex” (337). Therefore ID proponents claim that, contrary to conventional evolutionary theory, no single creature could have evolved gradually through evolutionary processes and genetic drift from working precursor systems. Instead, live creatures must have been designed simultaneously by an intelligent designer.
Scientists have long viewed ID as closely tied to scientific creationism, the belief that empirical knowledge may prove that life on Earth was created by a supernatural hand. Intelligent design proponents, on the other hand, argued that they had no stance on the creation and were indifferent to biblical literalism. This paper presents an analysis of ID through past research and studies. It seeks to identify the assumptions and facts presented along with their connection to contemporary issues.
Connections between Sources
Intelligent design has been a topic of research for many individuals regarding religion, education, and medicine. On the subject of religion, Collins presents a discussion on the connection between science and religion and concludes that science and faith are “friends” since one leads to a deeper understanding of the other (1) The stance on religion’s connection to the science presented by Collins is echoed by Thorvaldsen (2), who presents an argument linking theology to ID. Thorvaldsen summarizes his argument by proposing that a good response to the existential issue calls for a theological aspect of nature that is anchored in scriptural commitments and connected to the scientific understanding of the world. The two authors, Collins and Thorvaldsen, agree that religion is inseparable from nature through the concept of intelligent design.
Critics of ID have researched the connection between naturalism, creationism, and scientific evolution and found them incompatible. Caetano-Anollés stands out as one of the researchers who strongly refuted the existence of a link between scientific revolution and the creationism theories propelled by ID proponents. According to Caetano-Anollés, “biological complexity is irreducible and can only be explained by the existence of an intelligent designer” (3). On the same note, Kojonen (1) argues that the ID debate denotes the concept of the “God of the gaps,” further disqualifying any connection between science and religious beliefs of an intelligent creator. According to Kojonen, the ID theory is founded on ignorance as it tends to invoke the supernatural creator in avenues that require pure scientific research. Caetano-Anollés and Kojonen view science as a subject that explains evolution and all-natural phenomena clearly and should not be diluted by unfounded beliefs about an intelligent, supernatural being.
ID has received further criticism from three reserves analyzed in this text. Barnes, Kojonen, and Magill raise different points to prove that scientific evidence is solid and should not be interlinked with theological perspectives. In their analysis of the ID debate, Kojonen argues that ID is a religious and cultural practice founded on the desire to refute scientific evolution and develop a form of natural science that resonates with theological perspectives. In support of the distinction between science and naturalism, Barnes asserts that of all the documents analyzed on ID, minimal proof was given linking natural science to religion. According to Barnes, “websites promoting ID were narrowly focused on the issue of the existence of God” (28). When answering the question of innovation and ID, Maggil argues that family medicine should focus on “innovation as opposed to ID theories” (88). The arguments presented by these three authors show that involving ID in pharmaceutical and scientific explanations of phenomena is irrelevant.
While most researchers evaluated herein based their arguments on medicine and religion, Hartelius took a different approach and evaluated the relevance of ID in psychology. According to Hartelius, metaphysical philosophies advanced by Taylor and Wilber “represent a Zombie psychology” (95). For ID to apply in psychology, it would have to meet the most significant standard: it should not be attributed to metaphysical causes based on tradition rather than scientific evidence. Hartelius summarizes their stand on ID by claiming that the belief in supernatural causes should neither be applied nor taught in psychology. This resource is unique in its area of focus compared to the other seven resources evaluated herein.
Connections to Contemporary Issues
The ID debate has significantly impacted the education, religion, and research fields globally. It has now taken center stage in public debate in the United States. Notably, a small group of political activists, including the Discovery Research center in Seattle, has been aggressively promoting ID as a “hot-button issue” (Kutschera et al. 338). Some conservative Christians who are looking for a legally sound way to counter evolution and endorse fundamentalist-friendly science in the public sphere have also become interested. The lack of a uniform policy or standard of education in the US implies that the public school system differs considerably between states due to the lack of national regulation. Curricula are decided by committees and panels of elected officials. As a result, Biblical literalists have a wide range of options for influencing the educational system, particularly science education, biology and geology instruction.
The arguments raised by ID supporters have moved from religion to education, seeking to revolutionize the school system. Kutschera et al. show that by attempting to impose ID on public school biology curriculums, school board members in locations like Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Dover have put ID on the public map (340). Right-wing commentators and politicians, such as Senator Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and President Bush, were voicing their support by the middle of 2005, as did colleges (Kutschera et al. 340). Today, politicians and editors have increasingly accepted and supported the ID debate. Many ID proponents are now campaigning for equality, claiming that ID should be integrated into the public schools’ curricula. However, the debate continues with two opposing sides fighting hard to enforce their views.
Connections to My Context
ID is closely related to culture and traditions as it encompasses the theories and perspectives a group of people wish to embrace. Intelligence design knowledge and its history are essential for my career practice. As a graduate and a professional, I will be working in a community comprised of individuals with varied religious beliefs and cultural practices. I will have to comprehend and accommodate different views on ID. As shown herein, the ID debate will not end anytime soon. I might become an instructor at a time when ID has been integrated into the school’s curriculum. In that case, I will be required to maintain and foster a neutral position on the subject to facilitate learning for those interested.
The first step to conflict resolution in any environment is understanding the controversial issues present. Having studied the resources on supporters and critics of ID, I will be better placed to handle disagreements on this subject. In addition, the two resources supporting ID have comprehensively addressed all views that may lead to the adoption of ID in the education and medical fields. The critics have also shown why ID should not be adopted on many levels. The sources have changed my thinking from a shallow believer in ID to a critical analyzer of all relevant facts. The resources have opened my eyes to the broader context of ID in connection to religion, medicine, and education. This research serves as a basis for further research on ID and its impact on society. I have gained an interest in ID and would like to apply this knowledge in my future career.
Evaluation and Reaction
This research paper was based on eight sources in support or opposition to the intelligent design theory and one resource detailing the connection between ID and current issues the contemporary society. Evaluating the evidence provided, I feel that ID proponents did not provide sufficient facts to win the debate. Although teachers and politicians have supported ID and reporters, personal and cultural perspectives are the main drivers of ID, as shown by Collins and Thorvaldsen. Further, the claim that ID should be upheld because creation cannot be completely explained by science is fallacious.
ID is one of the issues in American society that will most likely change the course of education and politics in the nation. Hartelius made a significant contribution to the topic of ID’s future impact when they argued that ID should not only be dismissed but also prohibited from the American educational system. Following the evidence gathered from the sources used here, I believe that the medical and education sectors will be in a critical condition if the ID is integrated into the learning calendars. I commend the researchers’ skills in comparing theological and scientific evidence in relation to ID and forming ground for further debate on the matter. As a future leader and professional, I believe this information is crucial for fostering an informed community ready to make intelligent choices in such debatable matters.
In conclusion, intelligent design has been a topic of discussion for many years now, with no sign of the end of the debate. The theory advanced y ID supporters hold that nothing could simply exist and develop from its predecessors without the involvement of supernatural power. The power attributed to creation has been named intelligent design. Since its inception centuries ago, scholars have continually sought proof and techniques to evaluate the ID topic in reference to its impact on society. Some have found it a fair theme, arguing for its inclusion in the American education system. Others have strongly objected to its adoption, citing interference with the scientific principles that define the existence of all phenomena. As the debate continues, the education, religion, and medical fields stand as the key recipients of policies to be formulated concerning ID.
Caetano-Anollés, Gustavo. “Creationism and intelligent design are incompatible with scientific progress: A response to Shanta and Vêdanta.” Communicative & integrative biology 9.1 (2016): e1123356.
Collins, C. John. Science and Faith: Friends or foes? Crossway, 2003.
Kojonen, Erkki Vesa Rope. “The God of the gaps, natural theology and Intelligent Design.” The journal of analytic theology (2016).
Kojonen, Erkki Vesa Rope. The Intelligent Design Debate and the temptation of scientism. Routledge, 2016.
Magill, Michael K. “From the association of departments of family medicine: intelligent design or evolution? Innovation in family medicine residencies.” Annals of family medicine 5.1 (2007): 88.
Hartelius, Glenn. “Zombie perennialism: An intelligent design for psychology? A further response to Taylor’s soft perennialism.” International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 36.2 (2017): 93-110.
Kutschera, Ulrich, Georgy S. Levit, and Uwe Hoßfeld. “Comment. creationism and intelligent design: dogmatic concepts that will not got away.” Ann Hist Phil Biol 19.2014 (2018): 337-341.
Barnes, R.M., Church, RA & Draznin-Nagy, S. “The nature of the arguments for creationism, intelligent design, and evolution.” Sci & Educ 26, 27–47 (2017).
Thorvaldsen, Steinar. “Intelligent design and natural theology.” (2020).