Evolution vs. Intelligent Design – a stalemate?

How Could it be? Says:

Evolution and intelligent design are tied.

Would you evolutionist agree that evolution and intelligent design are in a stand still if you look at it from a scholarly perspective. Yes, evolution has become the leading theory in society, but science has done as much to prove it as it has intelligent design. They both have one major flaw that prevents them from being fact. Evolution can’t explain how you get life out of no living chemicals; and intelligent design doesn’t have a designer. Untill the answer is solved they will both only be theories. No matter how much you want them to be fact its just not possiable without the proof.

24 Responses to Evolution vs. Intelligent Design – a stalemate?

  1. Durzal says:

    Evolution is a fact as it has been seen to occur, the theory of evolution explains the processes by which evolution occurs.

    There are many credible theories to explain how the first replicating molecules started their replication but even without these theories it would still be complete idiocy to ignore the fact of evolution and the huge array of evidence that supports the theory of evolution.

    Intelligent Design says: The universe is here and its so very complex so it must have been created by an intelligent designer (or God)
    This is just an assumption, as its not based on any evidence or credible reasoning, using this reasoning you can explain just about anything
    example
    planes keep going missing over the Bermuda triangle so aliens must be abducting them.
    (this is fine because like with ID I need no evidence with which to validate my claims)

    Evolution and Intelligent Design are not even in the same league.

    Evolution happens, its a fact.
    How it happens, is the theory.

    • TRUTH says:

      This debate is not about what happened AFTER life began on this planet. Few would debate that evolution exists as a natural function of living things, but the big question is… HOW DID LIFE BEGIN? If evolution is only offering theories in this realm, what is the harm in proposing a new theory? Intelligent design is not quite as simplistic as you make it out to be either. If you would approach the subject with an open mind, you may just learn something.

      • Durzal says:

        No your right, its not about what happened AFTER life began on this planet. Its about someone thinking that somehow evolution and intelligent design are equally valid.
        (and they just aren’t)

        “Few would debate that evolution exists as a natural function of living things”

        Please, please point this out to all those who argue against evolution on this blog.(and else where) It may well (finally) hit home if pointed out by a fellow believer.

        Evolution doesn’t offer any suggestion about how life began as evolution starts with the first replicating organisms.

        Abiogenesis however offers some very credible theories regarding how the first replicating organisms came to be
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis
        and its supported with solid evidence like result from this experiment and others of its kind
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment

        There is no harm in proposing new (scientific) theories but scientific theories are not just the vague ideas or idle speculation of a hungover scientist on a Monday morning, they have to be supported with some (often a lot of) evidence or solid mathematics.
        Intelligent design offers no evidence or credible reasoning of any kind whatsoever and so isn’t considered a scientific theory.

        If for example a truly irreducible complex organism of some sort was discovered this would mean something and may lead science to view ID with some small fraction of the credibility that evolution has with is huge, HUGE amounts of supporting evidence, but until is has something (anything) to support it.. why should anyone take it seriously.

        I really do think the general proposition of intelligent design is that simply, please feel free to point out how its not.

        I realise you may think I don’t approach the topic with an objective eye but I really do, mostly it points to complexity and says “how, if not by God(intelligence)”
        .. this isn’t science, its assumption.

        The best argument I’ve seen is based on the fact that if the universal constants of certain forces were not what they are (or very close to) life or the universe such as we know it wouldn’t have been possible, so it must have been designed that way.
        Although its still an assumption to say
        “so it must have been designed that way”
        It does highlight the tiny probability of our existence and provokes some sympathy for ID, until of course you read up on some of the newer concepts of physics like the idea of a multiverse where all the possible constants of the universe are explored.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle
        which also have grounding in other fields such as quantum theory which suggests parallel universes/many universes.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation

        I find it ironic that I’m being told to keep an open mind by someone who has named himself TRUTH.

    • Anonymous says:

      My question to you is “Where did the replicating molecules come from?” Evolution is not a fact, it is only taught as fact. What has been seen to occur and what you refer to as evolution is, in fact, adaptation rather than evolution. However,there is one fact you cannot provide an explanation for. NO LOWER FORM OF LIFE HAS EVER EVOLVED INTO A HIGHER FORM OF LIFE. It is ludicrous to think that the human eye and all its functions and the human brain and its mysteries and complexities would occur by chance, or the connection between what the eye sees and how the brain receives and computes that information would just happen to develop over millions of years. And why have we stopped evolving then? Why aren’t we now super-human? What has changed over the course of time? I encourage you to read Darwin’s Enigma or Darwin’s Leap of Faith, or A Case for Creation, which is scientifically documented, with an open mind. I remind you there is a lack of fossil evidence of transitional forms of life…NO LEGITIMATE FOSSIL EVIDENCE EXISTS THAT SHOWS ONE SPECIES CHANGING INTO ANOTHER. NOT A SINGLE ONE…You are right. Evolution and Intelligent Design are not in the same league. In fact there is more evidence to the sudden appearance, across the board, of plant and animal species than there are gaps in the evolution theory. And if you listen to your own evolution experts, they admit that the so-called evidence to evolution is comprised of almost 100% gaps. Evolution in theory, happens over millions of years, so the fossil record should contain mainly transitional life forms, yet it does not. It does not because it is not…the theory is just that, an incredibly flawed theory.

  2. paleotn says:

    Modern biology makes no sense EXCEPT in the light of evolution. Secondly, evolution has nothing to do with the origins of life. Thirdly, “intelligent” design is nothing more than a smoke screen for those, like yourself, who are either too embarrassed or too afraid to publicly state their “god” did it. There is no stalemate, except in your own delusions.

    • TRUTH says:

      First of all, if history teaches us anything, “modern biology” will soon be “the biology of yesterday”, making your first point moot. Secondly, evolution DOES attempt to explain the origins of life. If this was not the case, then evolution and intelligent design theorists would not be so diametrically opposed. Intelligent design DOES NOT deny that species evolve, but insists that evolution may be part of the design. Third, Intelligent design is a legitimate alternative theory to darwinian evolution, which is taught exclusively in schools to children as fact. Most supporters of intelligent design being taught in schools, have no problem publicly stating that their own personal religion reveals the identity of the designer, it is not a smoke-screen, it is an alternative to the rigid doctrines of public policy. If it is such a ridiculous idea, why is there so much controversy over the subject? Why can’t evolution and intelligent design be taught side-by-side in the classroom, and let the children decide the truth for themselves?

      • Durzal says:

        Newton’s law of universal gravitation(1687) is very much a science of yesterday but is still used to put rockets into space.
        The fact that the progression of time makes modern biology old biology has no bearing if the biology in question is sound and as Paleotn says “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”
        Should we ignore all sound modern science because we know it will at some point become a science of yesterday?

        Evolution does NOT attempt to explain the origins of life.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenisis
        Quote
        “In the natural sciences, abiogenesis, or “chemical evolution”, is the study of how life on Earth could have arisen from inanimate matter. It should not be confused with evolution, which is the study of how groups of living things change over time.”

        The reason there is so much controversy is that the US is a highly religious country and theists would rather believe a pseudo science like intelligent design that supports their dogma than real science like evolution.
        I’m British(much less religious nation) and there isn’t any controversy here, only America seems to still be debating evolution(bless em) and trying to teach creationism in science class.

        Intelligent Design can be taught in the classroom in my opinion as long as its in a religious education class, unfortunately some feel that it should be taught in the science classroom, which is absurd as its not science.
        (what’s next voodoo?)

  3. Michael K Gray says:

    Evolution & Stupid design are mutually exclusive.
    There are only 4 ways by which one might argue to the contrary:
    1) If one is an outrageous liar
    2) If one is alarmingly ignorant
    3) If one is certifiably insane
    4) A convex combination of the above
    You choose…

  4. GLUAISTEAN says:

    YOU ALL SHOULD STOP PLAYING WITH YOUR WEINERS

  5. dmoney012485 says:

    I would suggest looking up RNA.

  6. Boris says:

    Why can’t evolution and intelligent design be taught side-by-side in the classroom, and let the children decide the truth for themselves?

    Boris says: Because there is no such thing as academic freedom at the elementary and secondary school levels. Because not one Christian college or university teaches Intelligent Design magic – they all teach evolution, common descent, Big Bang cosmology and the rest of the science Bible believers hate and fear. Because not one Christian college or university teaches that there is any controversy about evolution – because there isn’t. The idea that high school students are qualified to make assessments about the validity of major scientific theories is ludicrous.

  7. Rich R says:

    {Why can’t evolution and intelligent design be taught side-by-side in the classroom, and let the children decide the truth for themselves?}

    Because there is nothing to “decide”. The point of teaching is to let them know the facts, not the musings of the scientifically feeble minded. There simply is no debate in any real sense. I’ll admit that much. The only people who believe in ID have no backing in any scientifically valid arena. Behe’s university recently laid a cosmic smack down on him and he’s one of the few with legitimate credentials.

    Your question is akin to asking why children shouldn’t themselves decide between astrology VS cosmology or medicine VS witch doctors or gravity VS “Mel’s theory of floaty things”. It would damage the scientific validity of the country for the foreseeable future. I will not agree to becoming the rational world’s punchline any more than we already are. Did you hear the latest headline about a goat being put on trial because a criminal transformed while evading the police? That really happening in 2010. That’s not quite as funny and backwards as believing in ID.

  8. Laurence Topliffe says:

    I thought you might be interested in this new book on Intelligent Design. Based on what I’ve read from each side of the argument, I would say that neither side has provided any solid proof that shows that what they think is true. This book does that. It proves beyond any doubt that intelligent design must be true. The knowledge in the book is not covered by either side and when it is included in the discussion, it inevitably leads to only one conclusion. The premise is that human beings have an ability that cannot be the result of evolution alone and that humans are the only being on Earth that has this ability and it is impossible for any other being on earth to develop it.

    I guarantee that you will not be disappointed in what you discover.

    The Irrefutable Proof of Intelligent Design (Paperback)
    $18.50
    This book is available at http://www.cafepress.com/IntelDesProof.

    Sincerely,
    Laurence Topliffe

    • The Atheist says:

      Hi, Laurence. I’m honored to have the author of a book on Intelligent Design post to my blog! It looks like this book is fresh off the press, published just this month (July, 2010). Congrats!

      I’m pleased to give you a bit of publicity here, and to invite you to discuss the book as an avenue for you to get more exposure.

      I looked up your book to see a bit “about the author” but I wasn’t able to find anything. May I ask what your areas of expertise are in the areas of natural creation and Intelligent design? You mentioned that you’ve ‘read from each side of the argument’ and I was wondering what you felt was missing from the natural creation ‘side of the argument’.

      • Durzal says:

        OMG!! a human ability that disproves evolution….and it only costs $18.50 to find out what it is…QUICK HUNNY FIND MY WALLET!!!

        Good luck getting a reply from this one A3.

        • The Atheist says:

          You never know, Durz! He may be monitoring the blogs he’s posted to. If I search for the title now, it only shows up on 3 sites:

          At the very least, I would expect him to search on the name of his own book from time to time, notice the link to this post, then check back. So far, according to my search results, this is the only site inviting him to discuss and promote his book. So we’ll see!

  9. That is why there are Deists. says:

    I’m not really an atheist, but I was browsing this site out of interest because I am also not very religious and occasionally find myself doubting that God exists. I would “technically” consider myself a Jew because I celebrate the Jewish holidays with my family. (I find that for many people religion is more hereditary than choice, at least when they are younger.) However, in my family we hardly ever go to religious services or talk about religion, so I have given some thought to the matter personally. I decided that my beliefs are most similar to the Deists or Agnostics. Deism was a very common religion in the 1700s and I was wondering why it isn’t anymore. Simply stated, it means that you believe that a God created the universe, the first life, and the laws of science, but doesn’t interfere any further. This is kind of between intelligent design and evolution- that some intelligent creature started evolution. With my logic, it is the only reasonable answer. Logically, intelligent design is ridiculous and we have a lot of scientific evidence towards evolution. But, it still bodes the question of how and why everything exists. Can it really be a coincidence that molecules of carbon, etc. can join together to form the human brain, which is capable of complex thought, or eyes capable of turning light waves into pictures in our brain? Is it random that two gasses combined to form a liquid capable of sustaining this life, which can be found on a ball of rock spinning around a giant ball of fire, and that all of this is kept at the perfect temperature? How does any of this really exist, and why do the scientific laws that we take for granted, like gravity, work the way they do? And amongst all this science, we are still able to see the unique beauty of a sunset, which is after all only patterns of waves and electric signals. In my mind, there has to be a reason why this all came to be, some Higher Power that we have no way of comprehending. These are my thoughts, and I was wondering what the atheist community has to say about this.

    • That is why there are Deists. says:

      Basically, what I am trying to say is that not everyone who believes in a God is going against science, as you would claim. In my opinion, science is the “how and why” of everything in the physical universe, and religion should be the “how and why” of science. Science cannot explain its self. (Well, it can to a degree, but eventually it comes down to certain laws, like gravity, Newton’s laws, etc, which can only be explained by “because they just do”.) If you try to use science to explain science you will end up with a paradox similar to “God told us to believe the bible; the bible told us to believe in God.” There is obviously something about it that we are incapable of understanding/explaining, and this something is what I consider God.

  10. The Atheist says:

    That’s a very good observation and a good question about why Deism is so much less popular today than in the 1700s. From what I can tell, it’s still alive and well in people’s descriptions of what they believe. It’s a shame that these people don’t recognize themselves as “Deists” per se, I think they lose a historical perspective and fail to appreciate the good company they are in (Spinoza, Einstein, etc).

    The decline in the number of self-declared Deists may be a reaction to conservative religious fanaticism whose voice has become increasingly brash since Deism was most prominent. My guess is that people with deistic beliefs may be so put off by religious fanaticism that they don’t want to be associated with religion in any way. So they prefer to think of themselves as agnostics. In the past few years, even fanatic Christians seem to recognize this stigma and attempt to dissociate themselves from it by claiming that “Christianity is not a religion”, but rather it’s “knowing the Lord”.

    Regarding an atheist’s reaction to your thought that our existence is too much of a coincidence to have been brought about by chance, here are a few reasons I doubt it (or rather than “doubt it”, I should really say “rush to believe it”). The idea may come from a self-centric viewpoint: since the odds are so against my existence, then the fact of my existence must indicate that there is something special about my existence. I don’t mean that it is merely special to me, but I mean that it must be special in a more general sense. That’s exactly how lottery winners feel. In fact, odds are so astronomically against any one person winning that the winner wonders “why me?” Why am I special? But the odds that someone will win the lottery are 100% (depending on the lottery rules). Our view of our own existence may be like that. There are some cosmological theories currently under investigation that predict that there are an infinite number of universes within an infinite time span with infinite permutations of physical parameters (i.e., different Laws of Nature). If this turns out to be true, then a universe like ours with these particular parameters (Laws of Nature) is to be expected. Since we would only find ourselves in a universe where the Laws of Nature happen to cause carbon to form, etc, then these particular Laws of Nature would seem very special. What are the chances of a universe like this? It may turn out that they approach 100%.

    The other reason to doubt it (or at least not “rush to accept it”) is that the reason we humans developed the idea of gods in the first place was to explain the unexplainable. However the unexplainable has diminishes as science matures and as a consequence, so has the need for a “god explanation”. What causes thunder? God. What moves the Sun? God. So whether a god exists or not, the reasons we humans have developed a belief that gods exist are based on conclusions (God causes thunder) that we now know are wrong. What caused the universe? God. The lesson isn’t that we’re sure that a god did not create the universe, the lesson is that presuming that “God did it” has not proven to be a reliable default answer to (as yet) unexplainable questions. We are wrong to automatically presume that gods are the cause of things that we don’t understand. Superstring theories (and the various related cosmological theories) are showing a lot of promise, though it’s too early to tell how they will pan out. However, the reasons for postulating them (mathematical models based on proven theory) seem more plausible and based in reason than the reasons for postulating the existence of gods.

    Finally atheists are (and must be!) agnostic about a god that has not been defined in any useful terms. If you were to say that an unknown being (whether characterized as a god or not) exists, and that there is no description for this being, then I have to withhold judgment on whether the being exists. If I doubt it, my doubt can only be based on reasons you give for conceiving of such a being. Claims for deistic god are on a sliding scale of useful description. One description of a deistic god could be that that he created the stars, life and humans. We can doubt that because evidence for a Big Bang, abiogenesis, and evolution are too strong. Another description might be that a deistic god caused the Big Bang. We can doubt that too (though not as certainly) since there is more reason to accept any of the scientific cosmological arguments than accepting a guess that a deistic god is the cause.

    I don’t claim, as you say, that “not everyone who believes in a God is going against science”. Here is a recent example where I express my view about deism vs. science; here I said that “there are believers like Spinoza for example, whose spiritual beliefs don’t conflict with observation”.

    I’m not sure where science uses “science to explain science”. There are certainly philosophies about science, and science about why we believe what we do (i.e, science about philosophy). And there is the study (a science) about the scientific process itself. But I don’t find the circularity that you seem to. Could you explain?

    • Madnomad says:

      I find your reasoning to be consistent and well thought thru. However you conclusions I must disagree with. You say that with the growth of science the need for the God explanation diminishes. Here is where we part ways. You said we once thought the reason for thunder was God and now we know that is not true. We do? Science certainly has explained how thunder happens and, perhaps, the conditions that must exist that give rise to thunder but the reason WHY thunder, or any natural occurrence, happens is because God designed it that way. Science is the study of how nature operates. However it is silent on why it operates the way it does. So to give the God explanation is still accurate and science has never shown otherwise. To show the rules of chess and how they operate and to discount the intelligent agent who plays the game is telling only half the story.
      As far as your lottery example, 2 things come to mind. First it is not 100% that there will be a winner. And 2nd the odds of chemical evolution “creating” life and winning the lottery cannot be compared. It has been said that the possibility of life starting from lifeless chemicals are so remote that they can not be described in terms of probability or chance. In other words it is impossible. For you to say the evidence for abiogenesis is too strong is either a lack of information on your part or you have been decieved. There is zero evidence for abiogenesis. The miller-Urey experiment is so far removed from possibility, as the trap system invented does not exist in nature, as to render this only as further proof of the impossibility of abiogenesis. In the simplest living cell there must exist functional enzymes, RNA and DNA. To create the enzymes you must have RNA. To create RNA you must have DNA. And to create DNA you must have enzymes. And around we go. No my friend, the law of biogenesis still stands as one of our most basic and unbreakable laws of nature.
      On to your other idea of an infinite amount of universes existing under different laws in an eternal system, I would have to ask, what evidence do we have for this concept? Either way, with different laws that are outside our laws of nature, this is what we would describe as super-natural. Any system that operates outside of nature as we understand it is by definition just that. So if I were to summarize your position, it would boil down to this. If chemical evolution is not possible, than the supernatural is an absolute necessity. Abiogenesis is not possible, as I believe I have demonstrated, therefore the supernatural does exist. So therefore we were created by the supernatural and, as far as we know, are the only intelligent beings in the universe, then yes, perhaps we are special.

  11. Francis Smallwood says:

    Me and my good friend Joshua have been having an in-depth online discussion on Intelligent Design and neo-Darwinism, posting on our blogs. I am advocating neo-Darwinism and Joshua is advocating ID. At the moment we are discussing whether ID is science or creationism. For those of you who may be interested, here are the links:

    Joshua’s opening statement at his blog:
    http://philosopherjosh.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/debating-darwin-and-design-a-dialogue-between-two-christians/

    My opening statement at my blog:
    http://musingsofscience.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/debating-darwin-and-design-francis-smallwoods-opening-statement/

    Our first round of responses:
    http://musingsofscience.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/debating-darwin-and-design-science-or-creationism-1/

    Our second round of responses:
    http://musingsofscience.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/debating-darwin-and-design-science-or-creationism-2/

    If you are interested and have a read of our discussion, please post your thoughts, comments, or criticisms!

    Best

  12. Madnomad says:

    You are correct. There will never be “proof” either way. It is the same for any historical event that cannot be observed. However we can come to an understanding of an event based on the evidence, if the evidence sufficiently favors one explanation over another. And, I believe, the evidence clearly favors creationism. Certainly if we accept the laws of nature as constant, you really don’t have to look much further. Without a intelligent creative agent, life begins only by breaking the law of biogenesis. It’s amusing to me how much effort is put into disproving this one law. So much so they have a name for it – Abiogenesis. I wonder how much money in grants is funneled toward this field of study vs., perhaps, Athermodynamics or similar?
    That aside, if we look at evolution and follow the evidence, I believe we find some serious deficiencies. What is the driving force behind evolution? Is it survival? Is it mutation and selection? What is it that makes the evolutionary process, first a creative process, and then an uphill or an increasingly complexity-enhancing process? The answer in both cases is information. Information has to be the driving force behind evolution. Simple and irrefutable. Without information, how does a cell, first of all maintain life, and secondly, how does it perpetuate life. Recent scientific discoveries have exposed the vast amount of information used by living organisms to do just that. So we must ask ourselves, what is information? Can information be part of the physical process of evolution? Does mutation and selection account for the “creation” of, and the increase of information? Does information have physical properties that are subject to mutation and selection? For example, do the pixels that make up the letters I am typing, have anything to do with the information I am relaying? Perhaps. But only in the most superficial way. Being capable of intelligent thought, I am able to arrange these pixels in a coherent pattern, so the actual information begins with thought. If I did not speak English, I could arrange these pixels all day long and no information would be created. Conversely, if you did not understand English, I would be wasting my time giving you this information.
    So we need 2 separate types of intelligent agents in the transfer of information. One to transmit and one to interpret. If both are not present and both do not understand the same “language,” information is useless if both are needed to perform. So we have to ask ourselves these questions, what comes first in the creative process? Is iy the Information or the living cels that require the information in order to be alive? Does evolution provide a vehicle in which to create and increase information? Is information a physical entity which can be selected? Do mutations to the genetic code actually increase or decrease information? Is information the product of intelligence or a product of the mindless, intelligent-less, purposeless process of evolution? And, must one of our most basic and well established laws of nature be broken in order to a account for evolution? I’ll leave you with this thought. By definition, if a well established law is broken, we have a name for that kind of instance. It’s called a miracle.

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