More Than Intelligent Design


by Dr. Hugh Ross

Scholars involved in what has come to be known as “the Intelligent Design movement” deserve respect. They swim against the powerful tide of naturalism, and I applaud their efforts and integrity. At the same time, however, I sense a need to clarify a subtle but significant distinction between their goals and those of the organization I represent, Reasons To Believe.

Intelligent Design (ID) proponents refrain from making a specific identification of the Designer, and they have their reasons. Many work in academia and have firsthand awareness of ardent naturalists’ and outspoken nontheists’ resistance (to choose a mild term) to Christian theism. Because that wall of resistance seems so impenetrable, they propose a step-wise move against the reigning paradigm. They seek to establish first the possible existence of some undefined intelligent designer, then the probable existence of such a designer, and later, perhaps, to discuss the (possibly) discernable characteristics of the designer. At this last step, the Christians among them might propose the God of the Bible as the likely designer.

One irony of this painstakingly cautious approach is that naturalism may die of natural causes before ID advocates reach steps two or three. In the upper echelons of research and scholarship, naturalistic theories’ frailty is more and more freely acknowledged. Even if ID proponents do nothing to expose the inadequacies and inconsistencies of its explanation for the cosmos and life, naturalism may self-destruct.

Winning the argument for design without identifying the designer yields, at best, a sketchy origins model. Such a model makes little if any positive impact on the community of scientists and other scholars. Such a model does not lend itself to verification, nor can it make specific, credible predictions. On both counts, scholars, particularly scientists, would be reluctant to acknowledge the concept’s viability and give it serious attention. Nor does this approach offer them spiritual direction…


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