They said it: contrasted introductions to (and definitions of) Intelligent Design at Wikipedia and New World Encyclopedia
|December 29, 2012||Posted by kairosfocus under Education, Philosophy, Intelligent Design, Darwinism, science education, ID Foundations, Science, worldview issues/foundations and society|
News has just put up a post with the Meyer lecture on intelligent design (with a close focus on the pivotal case, origin of life, the root of Darwin’s tree of life analogy). I responded here, in light of the history of ideas issues raised by the lecture as well as the question of why origin of life is so pivotal tot he whole question at stake, but in so doing I had occasion to visit the Wikipedia article on Intelligent Design.
I saw that it had further mutated and evolved under intelligent direction into an even more strident tone than the last time I bothered to look or comment, and so I think it instructive to contrast two introductions to ID in online encyclopedias, Wiki and New World Encyclopedia (NWE) which has the inputs of Dr Jonathan Wells:
Wiki: >> This article is about the form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute. For the philosophical “argument from design”, see Teleological argument. For other uses of the phrase, see Intelligent design (disambiguation).
Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank. The Institute defines it as the proposition that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” It is a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins” rather than “a religious-based idea”. All the leading proponents of intelligent design are associated with the Discovery Institute [n 1] and believe the designer to be the Christian deity.[n 2]
Scientific acceptance of Intelligent Design would require redefining science to allow supernatural explanations of observed phenomena, an approach its proponents describe as theistic realism or theistic science. It puts forth a number of arguments in support of the existence of a designer, the most prominent of which are irreducible complexity and specified complexity. The scientific community rejects the extension of science to include supernatural explanations in favor of continued acceptance of methodological naturalism,[n 3][n 4] and has rejected both irreducible complexity and specified complexity for a wide range of conceptual and factual flaws. Intelligent design is viewed as a pseudoscience by the scientific community, because it lacks empirical support, offers no tenable hypotheses, and aims to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes.
Intelligent design was developed by a group of American creationists who revised their argument in the creation–evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings such as the United States Supreme Court’s Edwards v. Aguillard decision, which barred the teaching of “Creation Science” in public schools on the grounds of breaching the separation of church and state.[n 5] The first publication of the phrase “intelligent design” in its present use as an alternative term for creationism was in Of Pandas and People, a 1989 textbook intended for high-school biology classes. From the mid-1990s, intelligent design proponents were supported by the Discovery Institute, which, together with its Center for Science and Culture, planned and funded the “intelligent design movement”.[n 1] They advocated inclusion of intelligent design in public school biology curricula, leading to the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, where U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that intelligent design is not science, that it “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents”, and that the school district’s promotion of it therefore violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.>>
NWE: >> Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection”  Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things.
Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.
ID also is not considered by its theorists to be an “argument from ignorance”; that is, intelligent design is not to be inferred simply on the basis that the cause of something is unknown (any more than a person accused of willful intent can be convicted without evidence). According to various adherents, ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be intelligently designed even if it is flawed (as are many objects made by humans).
ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent. It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution). Because of such conflicts, ID has generated considerable controversy.>>
This is an obvious case of whose report do you believe, why?
I would like to hear our thoughts on these two introductions, noting that in its current appeals for funding and support Wikipedia says it is the no. 5 most popularly visited web site in the world.
As a starter, I think the Wiki article is an obvious case of ideologically charged well-poisoning, as Nizkor summarises:
Poisoning the Well
This sort of “reasoning” involves trying to discredit what a person might later claim by presenting unfavorable information (be it true or false) about the person. This “argument” has the following form:
- Unfavorable information (be it true or false) about person A is presented.
- Therefore any claims person A makes will be false.
This sort of “reasoning” is obviously fallacious. The person making such an attack is hoping that the unfavorable information will bias listeners against the person in question and hence that they will reject any claims he might make. However, merely presenting unfavorable information about a person (even if it is true) hardly counts as evidence against the claims he/she might make. This is especially clear when Poisoning the Well is looked at as a form of ad Homimem in which the attack is made prior to the person even making the claim or claims.
. . . and that it so taints Wikipedia that something as loaded, unfair and biased as their article [just look at the drive-by ideologically loaded a priori materialism driven, question-begging redefinition of science in the teeth of easily accessible history and philosophy, compounded by the twisted-about propaganda tactic accusation that it is those who would appeal to more traditional and well accepted views who are trying to redefine science, cf. my remarks on that problem here , here and here on as well as Johnson’s rebuke here] passes their vaunted “NPOV” — neutral point of view — mechanisms that I must view all Wikipedia articles with considerable caution.
So also, on topics where the known biases of the obviously dominant a priori evolutionary materialist secular humanist views are liable to distort what is presented and how it is presented, this popular online encyclopedia has essentially zero credibility.
I also think that should inform our decisions regarding support to that site in any way, shape or form.
Now, what do you think? Why? END