17:26:55

Director's Introduction

The Director of the Centre for Intelligent Design, Dr Alastair Noble, introduces the Intelligent Design debate in this 4 minute video clip.

Dr Alastair Noble's introduction to ID

© Centre for Intelligent Design

How the Scientific Consensus can hinder Science

How the Scientific Consensus can hinder Science

This article seeks to discuss "Scientific consensus" as it is understood today and how, in the past, scientific consensus has had to undergo seismic shifts. Read more

Intelligent Design is definitely NOT Creationism

Intelligent Design is definitely NOT Creationism

Dismissing Intelligent Design as 'Creationism' is the easy way of avoiding having to deal with the empirical evidence for design. Read more

Was there a cause of the universe?

Was there a cause of the universe?

Cosmologists tell us that we now know a fair amount of detail about the conditions of the universe from the first split second, 13.7 billion years ago. Read more

The Fine Tuned Universe

The Fine Tuned Universe

The words ‘fine tuning of the universe’ have been around for quite a while and are greeted with bafflement, scepticism and wonder; in about equal proportions. What on earth (or in the universe) does it mean? Theoretical physicist Paul Davies calls it the ‘Goldilocks Enigma’.1 Is it real... Read more

University finds brain's complexity beyond belief

University finds brain's complexity beyond belief

RESEARCHERS  have found that a single human brain has more molecular-scale switches than all the computers, routers and Internet connections on the entire planet! Read more

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Doubly designed?

Metamorphosis: the beauty and design of butterflies

Watch this 4' 22" video clip to explore the world of butterflies which, in the words of the commentary, are shown to be doubly designed!

Metamorphosis: The Beauty & Design of Butterflies

Academic Freedom

See the new menu item ACADEMIC FREEDOM. To quote from the lead in to the new page: ".... However, there is another key issue raised by ID.  It is the freedom of academics and science educators to explore and discuss the issues associated with ID.  The exploration of ID within science should not be dismissed as something it is not – a disguised religious position."

Press Release

The Centre for Intelligent Design on September 27th 2011 issued a press release and additional material relating to the call by Prof Richard Dawkins, Sir David Attenborough and others for a legal  ban on Creationism and Intelligent Design in Britain's schools. Click here for the Press Release page.

Meyer vs Fox on Premier Radio:

Is Intelligence allowed in Biological Science?

Don’t miss a most revealing debate on Premier Radio between Stephen Meyer, a leading proponent of Intelligent Design who directs the Centre for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, and Keith Fox, Professor of Biochemistry at Southampton University, who also chairs the UK Christians in Science network.

This programme was broadcast when Dr Meyer was in London recently for the Inaugural Lecture of the Centre for Intelligent Design, UK. That event focused on Dr Meyer’s recent book ‘Signature in the Cell’ – a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year - which claims to show that the DNA code is the product of intelligent mind, not naturalistic processes. Prof Fox disagrees strongly with ID, arguing instead that, given time, scientists should be able to work out a naturalistic explanation. The core of this debate is not just how life could have originated, but whether intelligent mind as a cause is allowed as an explanation in science. Click here to find the broadcast.
Creeping Creationism or Galloping Intolerance at the Edinburgh Science Festival 2011?
I recently attended an evening event (21 April 2011) at the prestigious Edinburgh Science Festival. Organised by the Humanist Society of Scotland, it addressed ‘The Threat of Creeping Creationism in Scottish Schools’. As a proponent of the debate around Intelligent Design (ID), I thought our Centre might feature. I wasn’t wrong.

It wasn’t the creeping creationism that worried me.  In fact one of the speakers from Aberdeen University assured us there was no such problem in schools, and some of the survey data presented to the contrary was lacking in statistical significance.  How horrifying is it that one, yes one, school in Scotland has invited a ‘creationist speaker’ to talk to pupils?

What really worried me were the factual inaccuracies and the tone of intolerance – not a good start for an event purporting to advance the cause of open scientific enquiry.  One speaker – a member of the Glasgow ‘Brights’ compared ‘creationists’ and ‘intelligent design proponents’ to ‘Holocaust deniers’ – a claim as silly as it is scandalous.

The general approach was to dismiss as ‘tendentious’ the evidence presented by those who disagree with the consensus, reinforce with demeaning slogans (‘ID is BS’ is one the humanists are currently proud of, implying more than ‘bad science’ of course), and assume that a person’s background or beliefs allows you to disregard any argument they may advance in science.

First establish the facts about intelligent design

My scientific training taught me that the starting point for any credible conclusion is to establish the facts and consider all possible interpretations of the data.  In this respect the event was a travesty of accuracy.

Firstly, no matter how often it is asserted, intelligent design is not creationism.  The latter is a religious position; the former a minimal commitment to intelligent causation based on empirical evidence.  Intelligent design has been described as the science that studies signs of intelligence.  I know this is uncomfortable for the humanists, but if they wish to enter this debate they need to know what they are talking about.

Secondly, the Centre for Intelligent Design in the UK has said it is not targeting schools.  We cannot say it more clearly.  Our aim is to contribute primarily to the debate in academia and in the public square.  Of course, if I am asked to speak about intelligent design in schools, I do so, but that is fairly infrequently.  Happily, one of the contributors said he welcomed such contributions in schools, and another assured me that he would not subscribe to a ban on such discourse.

Thirdly, and most crucially, Intelligent Design is not ‘evolution denial’.  ‘Evolution’ is a complex theory, with several major strands of varying evidential strength.   As a matter of fact, intelligent design theorists have a range of positions on evolutionary propositions.  At its simplest, elements of evolution could be part of the design.

However, intelligent design certainly challenges Darwinism at a fundamental level – that nature and life cannot be the result of blind and purposeless forces.  The reasons, based on established scientific findings, why ID theorists detect mind as well as matter and energy among the fundamental constituents of the universe are elaborated elsewhere on this website.

Science is fundamental to evolution

The published blurb for the event was revealing.  It contains the statement, ‘evolution is fundamental to the understanding of science’.  I know what is intended here, but actually, in the pursuit of scientific understanding, it’s the other way round.  Scientific method and evidence are fundamental to all scientific theories.  The theory is not above the method.  Following the evidence where it leads is how you do science.  So I’d rather say, ‘science is fundamental to understanding evolution’.

If a scientific finding, like the vast banks of functional information in DNA (‘the genetic code’), lacks a credible evolutionary explanation, as it does, the alternative of a source in intelligent mind must, at least, be worthy of consideration.  That’s the wholly scientific approach of making an inference to the best explanation – and one that is known to have similar explanatory power elsewhere, as, for example, in the generation of computer software or print media.  Now that’s getting to the heart of intelligent design, without invoking any faith position.

Naturalism – a faith position?

You might rule out an explanation which invokes intelligent mind because it does not fit within the ideological naturalism which is invading science.  In that case you’re no longer doing science, but have adopted an overarching philosophy of nature into which you then try to fit the data - a faith position in effect.

If I were an organiser of the Edinburgh Science Festival, I would worry, not about the discussion of intelligent design in nature, which just happens to be the original starting point of Western science, but about the not-so-creeping arrogance of the new scientism, which acts as if it knows all the answers about everything, even where it doesn’t, and does not permit discussion of other credible interpretations of the evidence.

If the science of origins cannot be debated freely, in schools or anywhere else, then it’s not creeping creationism we should be concerned about, but galloping intolerance.

Dr Alastair Noble
Director
Centre for Intelligent Design, UK

April 2011

Post script - TESS:
For some recent press comment on matters relating to the event which is the focus of that article go to http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6079694.

 

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Prof Mike Behe UK Tour

Prof Mike Behe, Professor of Chemistry at Lehigh University, USA, toured the UK in November 2010.  He is author of Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. For one week he gave lectures and was a speaker at a day conference in Oxford. Click here for a report on the tour.

Full details of the tour and the day conference can be found at the associated website www.darwinordesign.org.uk.

Premier Radio interview

Mike Behe is adamant that the latest science proves Intelligent Design to be true. He recently spoke to Premier Radio presenter Justin Brierley, who will be hosting the London leg of the Darwin or Design tour on Monday November 22nd. Justin began by asking Behe how it feels to be labelled a "maverick" by the majority of the scientific community.

Hear Prof Mike Behe

Press comment

GUARDIAN - UK Centre for Intelligent Design claims it will focus on science, not religion



NATURE - Blogs - New intelligent design centre launches in Britain - September 24, 2010

Dr Noble says. "I would stress that we’re not targeting schools."