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Intelligent Design and Creationism 

Images from ID booklet 

The commonest charge levelled against Intelligent Design (ID) is that it is just ‘creationism in a cheap tuxedo’. So what is the connection between the two?

It is important to note that creationism comes in several forms. Some hold that the earth was created relatively recently – say 10,000 years ago – while others maintain that the creation of the Earth happened billions of years ago. Most creationists hold that the Earth was created progressively in a series of creative acts. For example, the Big Bang, if it actually happened, might have been the original act of creation.

It also needs to be said that Creationism, in its central assertion that the universe has a Creator, is a perfectly respectable and reasonable position. Indeed, it is by far the view that has dominated human thought since the beginning of time. It is, to most people who have ever lived, the most credible explanation of why anything is here.

But it is the connection between Creationism and science which causes the confusion. Creationism is based, not primarily on scientific observation, though that is part of it, but on religious authority. For example, Christians derive their belief in a Creator ultimately from the teachings of the Bible. Muslims hold the same view on the basis of the teachings of the Koran. Of course, they both find confirmation of their belief in nature and science. But their starting point is essentially religious authority – a part of human experience which is no less valid than scientific enquiry.

However, ID is not Creationism. ID is derived purely from scientific observations, not from religious authority. Clearly, ID provides support for religious belief, but it does not propose it or depend on it. The criticism that ID is simply another form of creationism is just simply wrong and arises from a confusion of religious and scientific ideas.

Dr Alastair Noble
Director of the Centre for Intelligent Design UK
May 2016

Image credits:
Thumbnail - a composite image...
Head and brain - - a public domain image under CC0
Holy book - - Creative Commons 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)