Creationist Georgia Purdom deserves congratulations for putting her finger on a key difference between creationism and intelligent design. That’s a distinction that many Darwinists egregiously and intentionally muddle, leaving the media and much of the public confused. Dr. Purdom, who has her degree in molecular genetics, works with the organization Answers in Genesis. In a brief video she asks, “Is the Intelligent Design Movement Christian?”
Emphatically, she says no, and characterizes ID this way:
It’s an evidential approach that basically tries to answer the question of what is designed, not who, when, why, where and how. Which is why the movement is not Christian. Because the Bible does tell us who, why, when, where and how. And so while there are Christians within the intelligent-design movement, the movement itself is not Christian.
The central problem is they have divorced the Creator from his creation. And by not having the history of the Bible and not understanding the fall of man and the curse on all creation, they have a difficult time explaining evil in the world such as carnivory and flesh-eating bacteria.
Let’s put aside the theological implications of flesh-eating bacteria, since she rightly understands that ID doesn’t go there, even as ID advocates believe (or not) about such things as seems best to them individually. Dr. Purdom nicely reminds her viewers that ID begins with the evidence, and only the evidence, on a variety of scientific fronts.
Surely that’s what makes it so powerful and so interesting. Though Dr. Purdom could stand to do some reading up on current ID literature, which she appears to think does not extend beyond the idea of irreducible complexity, she’s right in an important way. ID reaches conclusions that leave plenty of room for theism, but it does so without presuppositions beyond a willingness to follow the evidence where it leads.
She says, “So Biblical creationists have used intelligent design arguments, complexity arguments, for many years, to confirm Scriptures.” But for our part, we don’t “use” arguments like moves on a chessboard. This is not a game. And here is a point where I think we differ from Darwinists, who have their own set narrative to “confirm.” I would simply like to know what’s true, and in all honesty the only thing I’m entirely certain about is that I don’t already have everything all figured out.
Research on intelligent design represents an “evidential approach,” exactly so, that doesn’t try to go beyond what science reveals. A very different way of reasoning, creationism begins with a favored conclusion, a predetermined religious view and works backward from there, seeking support for faith in a particular way of reading the Bible.
Whether it’s fair or accurate to equate the latter approach, in blanket fashion, with authentic Christianity, effectively requiring it of all Christians, I leave to others to decide. I think that if I were Christian myself and not Jewish, I would find such a notion rather off-putting. In apologetics, the business of Answers in Genesis, the purpose is to convince the unconvinced. But I struggle to see who would be won over by a strategy like that.
Still, the underlying point that Georgia Purdom makes is valid and should be widely broadcast. Her bottom line, her problem with intelligent design, is that ID is science. That fact distinguishes it from creationism, and it is what drives Darwinists mad.