Barr vs. Behe - Is Intelligent Design a Valid Science?

(George Brooks) #1

At the bottom is the link to the YouTube video presenting the Barr vs. Behe, or Behe vs. Barr, debate regarding Intelligent Design.

It was produced in 2011… so it reflects the context of discussion that BioLogos helped establish when it was founded in 2007.

I would be very remiss not to thank @Eddie for specifically mentioning the existence of this video (in the post linked below) … even if he didn’t actually provide the link to it. I can only assume that this is the correct video. It is the only one I found on the topic involving these two men.


Evolutionary Creationists should distance themselves more clearly from deism
(George Brooks) #2

Lawrence Krauss provides this video on why he thinks Intelligent Design is not a science… produced last year.

(Peaceful Science) #3

Science is the activity of an organized group of people. This group of people have governing bodies. These bodies have determined that ID is not “science”. Moreover, federal courts as well have officially determined (until it is overturned) that ID is a version of creation, and not “science.”

Of course the ID movement disagrees, and dispute this. Even as they dispute this, ID has to acknowledge that they are not part of mainstream science, as it currently stand. Moreover, it is clear to most people (even ID people) that ID uses different “rules” in their version of science than we do in mainstream science (case in point the discussions with @Cornelius_Hunter).

So it is usually self evident to say that “ID is not part of mainstream science.” I prefer saying it this way because it avoids calling ID “pseudoscience,” which is an unnecessarily inflammatory term (whether or not it is accurate).

Some of the key statements that unambiguously show what the federal courts and scientific bodies think about ID are here. I think this is required reading for anyone who cares about the OP’s question. One does not have to agree with the decisions of these bodies to recognize that these are the decisions that have been made. Until these bodies reverse their position (and so do the federal courts), ID is not part of mainstream science.



And many many more:

And of course, the Dover Decision:

The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory. (page 43)

After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. … It is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research. Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena. (page 64) [for “contrived dualism”, see false dilemma.]

ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID. (page 89)

To be clear, the ID movement strenuously objects to this ruling and these statements. See Casey Luskin’s (a JD) work on this here: However, this is currently and effectively the “law of the land” now. Until this decision is reversed, and ID is not explicitly rejected by almost every major scientific body, ID is certainly not mainstream science.

They can continue the work they care about, just as creation science advocates at the Creation Research Institute have for decades. Their chances of finding their way into public science curriculums are about as likely as AIG and YEC getting in.

(Dennis Venema) #4

It matters little to me if ID is “science” or “not science” - it might be pseudoscience, or just failed science. Either way it’s not helpful for understanding the natural world God has given us to explore.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

(Jon) #6

It would be failed science if it was actually science which failed to demonstrate the validity of the hypothesis. It’s pseudoscience because it doesn’t have a scientific hypothesis, doesn’t follow the scientific method, is as much science as astrology is science, but despite all this still claims to be science and co-opts the language of science in an attempt to present itself as science. That’s why pseudoscience is an accurate description.

(George Brooks) #7

To the extent that the ID movement doesn’t “comprehend” the ruling seems to indicate how “far gone” the thinking of these ID objectors has become.

It is impossible to call a body of thought dedicated explicitly to “using natural observations to prove un-natural causes” a science. This is a definitional issue.

@Eddie, you consider yourself a disciplined thinker, right? Do you defend attempts to categorize the “study of miraculous interventions” (aka, Intelligent Design) as a Science?


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

(George Brooks) #9


If someone describes something as Science … the sense of “natural” is implicit.

So if someone says the study of miracles is a legitimate part of Science … that has no place in public arena. Newton did well not to attempt to incorporate miracles into natural science!


(Greg Rogers) #10

ID’s lack of capability of helpfulness for understanding the natural is to me not much different than the mainstream “scientist” who claims that they can come up with valid explanations of how the world and universe came to be what it is today via the scientific methodologies used within science that determine hypothesis, theories and laws. Why you ask? Because I believe in God who stands outside of human reason and is beyond the laws of the universe and He could have chosen to have interjected miracles at any time…or all the time or at no time and all according to how He chooses. The worldview goggles we wear will necessarily interpret the outcome of whatever He did and does differently and so to me the ID guy can be just as wrong as the science guy when it comes to the determination of things.

Science used to figure out how to troubleshoot a present day dilemma or for developmental purposes for a drug company and such is one thing. Science used to determine the cause of the universe and how DNA formed over billions of years, to me is no more logical or illogical than the ID scientist suggesting the possibility that God just showed up and created it out of nothing. Both are just worldviews. Just because the mainstream scientist suggests that the formation of DNA by miracle is silly because this is not science still does not make it impossible because they must accept that this could have been true. If they don’t accept the possibility that this could be true, then they are so arrogant that they are blind and lost within the quagmire of self deceit. That was bold but I say with love.

I sense that there are way too many folks who subscribe to a worldview then stiff-arming all others and calling them names because they are in such a tizzy defending their worldview. I have a chemistry background, yet surely would not call myself a “scientist.” I do sense that there is way too much pride in many theistic evolutionists who do call themselves “scientist” and declare as a truth statement that if a thing cannot be explained by processes of viewing it and determining it in the goggles of naturalistic processes, that it must thereby be impossible. To me, in accordance to the flavors and principles put forth in the Judeo Christian worldview, this is foolishness. Very sorry. Ok, so one leans towards wanting to put together models that show how DNA was produced through naturalistic/chemical means…but at least have the humility to suggest to ID brethren that they might indeed be right that DNA was created out of thin air by Our Only Creator who makes the total sum of all of the knowledge and wisdom put together on this entire website seem as dung compared to Him. He provided His Son, born of a virgin, who changed H2O to wine, raised the dead, healed lepers and folks with shriveled appendages instantaneously, was hard on the religious elite but gentle and firm with blatant sinners. He dies a torturous death yet rose again from the dead to be seen by hundreds where they were able to see the holes in his wrists and feet from the crucifixtion He endured. And He claimed that His death to be propitiation for sin and His resurrection proof that this is so. And for those willing to humble themselves to the seeming unreasonableness and unscientific nature of this message, can find the joy of this same living Christ who is willing to reside within their souls by His Spirit. Science is absolutely turned upside down and on its head blowing circuits and confused about this message. I believe it and I am a pretty cold calculated, rationalist myself (at least that is what my wife tells me ) And as a result of humbling myself to this God as He has accurately described Himself, I have seen Him do things that this same science cannot explain. To listen to folks banter on about ID being unscientific or not etc and other the other stuff where sides are defending the view they subscribe to…it is so miniscule in the scheme of things. We only live 80 or 85 years and on to eternity where we will encounter God. The squabbling over these items is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Invent a cure for cancer in this finite work within the scientific community in order to give good Christians more healthy years for vibrancy in passing forth the message of the supernatural miracle of the gospel to the lost or something. Very sorry.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

(George Brooks) #12

Nice quibble, @Eddie

But in the context of the discussion, any act of Intelligent Design is a Miracle !


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

(George Brooks) #14

Apparently you think the way Intelligent Design is discovered and documented is to find a blue print with God’s initials on it. Yeah … THAT would be a miracle.

But based on what the ID folks say … we are just going to discover a creation that is indisputably a miracle… even without the blue prints…


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

(Jay Johnson) #16

I am not a scientist, so I welcome those more qualified than me to correct or amplify on what I have to say. In any case, what you are missing is the value of basic theoretical research. The theoretical work that scientists do in asking basic questions about things like “how DNA formed” actually makes possible more concrete applications, especially in medicine. It is not only logical, it is necessary.

(George Brooks) #17


You missed my point before, and you are missing my point now.

Let’s assume for the moment that we CAN identify “Intelligent Designs”. Okay?
Now, once you’ve made that assumption, and someone FINDS an instance of “Intelligent Design” … by Definition (!!!) …

the discoverer has found a Miracle.

I was objecting to this particular sentence of yours, Eddie. I wrote:
“Nice quibble, @Eddie. But in the context of the discussion, any act of Intelligent Design is a Miracle !”

Your response:
“Hardly a quibble, unless you think that an architect’s blueprint is miraculous.”

That is plain wrong, Eddie. Any instance of an intelligent design that is discovered is a Miracle that has been discovered (as distinct from “It’s a miracle that it Was Discovered!”, right?).

If God makes an Intelligent Design (that complies with the usual definition that it is Irreducibly Complex… not just that God designed everything) it IS a miracle.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

(George Brooks) #19


Firstly, this is not some kind of trap. It’s simply definitions. And I’m objecting to your dismissal of my use of a definition.

There are no middle steps.

A) If Intelligent Design is proved by an example or case of Irreducible Complexity << right?

B) Then if you find such a case, it means you have found something God has done that could not be done by nature.

C) QED: You have found an example of a Divine Miracle << right?

What else would it be? We just said, by definition, that Intelligent Design is proved if we find a valid case of Irreducible Complexity … right?

I don’t see how you can argue yourself out of this one.

Intelligent Design by God is proved in one way.
So if you find an example… it’s gotta be a miracle… because no natural means can produce it!


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.