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Philly Inquirer Associated Press Article Has GOOD Definition of Intelligent Design

Casey Luskin

You know you’re fighting a media war when you jump for joy simply because a news article accurately characterizes your theory. Well, I’m jumping for joy right now because an AP article by Martha Raffaele in the Philadelphia Inquirer has an excellent definition of intelligent design:

“U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III is expected to rule Tuesday on whether the Dover Area School Board violated the Constitution when it ordered that its biology curriculum must include “intelligent design,” the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause.”

(“School district awaits judge’s decision on ‘intelligent design’” by Martha Raffaele, Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec 20, 2005)

By using the term “intelligent cause,” this article accurately characterizes how ID proponents promote their theory, rather than a straw version which says that intelligent design refers to a “supernatural creator” (the “ACLU Darwinist” definition) a “supreme being” (the Scientology definition)) or a “higher power” (the “Alcoholics Anonymous” definition).

Design proponents simply refer to an “intelligent cause” because the available information from the empirical data don’t allow design theorists to scientifically infer any more than “mere intelligence” as a cause. Even Eugenie Scott concedes that “[t]he intelligent behavior of material creatures is therefore natural, and an appropriate subject for scientific investigation.” (Eugenie C. Scott, Evolution vs. Creationism, pg. 123 (Greenwood Press 2004)) Intelligent causes are valid objects of scientific study, and make valid explanatory causes. “Higher powers,” “Supreme Beings,” or “Supernatural Creators” would be beyond the reach of study through the scientific method, and thus cannot be referenced as a scientific explanation.

It’s a safe bet that any reporter who uses any of those three definitions of ID either (1) is uninformed and not read anything written by an intelligent design proponent, (2) has only talked to Darwinists from the NCSE who constantly misrepresent the theory, or (3) is an informed Darwinist who is purposefully misconstruing the theory so as to engender public opposition. Often it’s some combination of all three. Regardless, I find this issue incredible: where else does the publicly attacked viewpoint rarely get properly defined by the media? Oh yeah, it’s just like everything else that people oppose using political tactics.


Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



Judge JonesKitzmiller v. Dover Area School District