“Do you even know what intelligent design is?”

On the Pensacola News Journal’s letters page, one John Pasquale writes:

Do you even know what intelligent design is? Does your child?

Look into the work of biochemist Dr. Michael J. Behe or go to www.ICR.org (Institute for Creation Research).

At the ICR site, we learn that

The first human beings did not evolve from an animal ancestry, but were specially created in fully human form from the start.

and also that evolution has never occurred and is not happening now, and could never happen at all. Furthermore, “the millions of years postulated by old-Earth advocates never happened.

Michael Behe, on the other hand, writes in Darwin’s Black Box, pp. 5-6:

For the record, I have no reason to doubt that the universe is the billions of years old that physicists say it is. Further, I find the idea of common descent (that all organisms share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it. I greatly respect the work of my colleagues who study the development and behavior of organisms within an evolutionary framework, and I think that evolutionary biologists
have contributed enormously to our understanding of the world.

When I asked him, Behe confirmed that he accepts evolution, natural selection, and common descent.

(And let’s not forget that ID proponents are quick to point out that they are not creationists.)

So why would Pasquale recommend learning about ID from both the ICR and Behe? Either 1) ID is so broad a concept that it encompasses both a young and an old earth, both evolution and no evolution, both common descent and separate creation, and is therefore probably far too broad to be of much use; or else 2) Pasquale doesn’t know and doesn’t care about the differences between ID and young-earth creationism.

This seems to be a common affliction. It looks as though the Discovery Institute has a PR problem on its hands: on one hand, it wants to pretend that ID is scientific, which means accepting common descent and denying a literal interpretation of Genesis. On the other hand, it needs the political support of the uneducated rubes who want to believe that “I ain’t related to no monkey”. So no wonder the suckers are confused.

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