Intelligent design equals creationism
Intelligent design equals creationism
Bo Alawine - Hattiesburg American, Dec 18, 2006
Editor's note: This column is in response to "Darwin's Deadly Legacy," a program by Coral Ridge Ministries that aired a few weeks ago on WDAM-TV.

Setting aside the contention intelligent design is a scientific theory on par with the theory of evolution through natural selection or the ridiculous notion Charles Darwin is responsible for Hitler, several issues should concern the intelligent design advocate.

First, many intelligent design proponents insist on "teaching the controversy;" i.e., present both sides of the evolution vs. intelligent design debate and allow students to decide for themselves that which is true. Would these intelligent design advocates be as willing to have both sides of other "controversies" such as whether white supremacy is acceptable be presented so students could decide for themselves? Somehow, I don't think so. The responsibility of science educators is to mold young minds with the latest accepted, peer-reviewed scientific knowledge, not to confuse them with socio-religious dogma.

Second, the whole concept of intelligent design reeks of intellectual dishonesty. Intelligent design presupposes that an intelligent designer exists or existed. If this entity exists/existed, He/She/It must have designed or created all that is. This sounds remarkably like creationism, something the courts of this nation have prohibited being taught in our public schools. Proponents of intelligent design would gain more respect for their position if they admitted intelligent design is repackaged creationism rather than to push intelligent design as if it were something new. This repackaging causes speculation as to the true motives of intelligent design proponents.

Lastly, there are certain practical considerations yet to be addressed by those pushing to introduce intelligent design "theory" into the classroom. If all the "facts" are to be presented, who is/are the intelligent designer(s)? What is to be his/her/ its/their purpose for designing all life? What predictions can be made as to future actions of an intelligent designer?

There are numerous mono-theistic religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam and, my personal favorite, Flying Spaghetti Monsterism (whose followers are called "Pastafarians"), all of whom have their own cosmogony. According to the Web site for Wikipedia, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is "the deity of a parody religion founded to protest the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to require the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution."

Also to be included would be various polytheistic religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, not to mention animism, paganism, etc.

From a truly objective intelligent design viewpoint, all of the designers postulated by these religions must be presented as each is just as valid as the other. Are proponents of intelligent design willing to travel that road? Again, I don't think so. I suspect intelligent design proponents are interested in only the designer of one particular religion.

The search for truth begins with the simple statement "I do not know." Evolutionary theory is the foundation for all biological sciences and meets the tenets of the scientific method: The stating of a problem, the collection of facts through observation and experiment, and the testing of ideas. Proponents of intelligent design will argue evolutionary theory can't be proven. Any reputable scientist will tell you no theory can ever be proven, it can only be strengthened, modified or discarded.

I contend intelligent design theory can meet only the first tenet of the scientific method. Given there are no experiments which can be conducted to collect facts to support the "theory" and no ideas which can be tested, I can only conclude intelligent design is no theory at all.

Bo Alawine, a 1987 graduate of USM, works for a defense contractor on the Gulf Coast. He resides in Ocean Springs. His e-mail address is