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Talk:Intelligent design/Archive 2

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Where is this quotation from? -- "certain features of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause". We should not make any quotation without saying where it is from. If we're quoting ourselves, remove the quotation marks. --Larry Sanger 08:38, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Agreed. Will Nesbitt 08:41, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Name of this article

It's all right to separate the article into one about the theory and one about the movement. It's not good English to call it a "concept." Concepts do not make assertions; theories, hypotheses, etc., do. "Theory" is unobjectionable if used not in the scientific sense of a claim that has some evidence in its favor but in the philosophical sense of, simply, a general claim up for consideration. --Larry Sanger 08:38, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

I'm attempting to find a way to appease those who so adamantly opposed the possibility that serious scientitists can consider this a "theory". BTW, this is anecdotal and not entirely evidential, but my brother-in-law is a brilliant man: a nuclear physicists and one of the top authorities in the world on neutrinos and other sub-atomic particles. He sees no conflict in religion and Evolution and no conflict between Intelligent Design and science. We enjoyed a fascinating discussion on this topic yesterday because of my tinkering with this article.
At any rate, I'd like to find a way to divorce passion and opinions from this debate. The trap is that editors end up arguing from their belief-set rather than resting secure in the knowledge that nothing we write herein will much change the opinions of anyone who reads these words.
For your part, Larry, other than reverting, you find a productive way to address the real concerns that other editors have expressed about calling this concept a theory? Will Nesbitt 08:49, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Will, we can begin by your actually responding to the point I made in my last sentence above. --Larry Sanger 20:23, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

I apologize if I sound argumentative. I personally don't have any problem with the word "theory". To be honest, I took this position because I was bending over backwards to appease those who find this idea so repugnant that they take offense to calling it a theory. I was trying to find a way to keep them happy, while at the same time advancing a more unbiased article. My fear was that you had introduced another argument that was going to lead to an edit war and I wanted to cut that short.
Since that time, I have been clued in on your role in Citizendium. Actually, I'm delighted that you've taken this stance. I think this stance is correct, but the reason I'm delighted is because your role allows you to take a slightly more agressive position than I would have pushed for. Thanks for this and thanks for much more. Will Nesbitt 07:18, 18 May 2007 (CDT)
What about Intelligent design argument or Intelligent design explanation? Or Intelligent design idea? Or Intelligent design proposal? Just trying to avoid 'theory'. John Stephenson 02:08, 19 May 2007 (CDT)
  • You're all going to love this. How about the title "Intelligent Design" with no further signifier?! Compare this, to choose a random example, Evolution, which is not entitled Evolution, Theory of. By the way, notice also that Evolution is described from the outset as a concept, though the article uses theory as well. Evolution, Lamarkianism, (presumably ID, etc) are often discussed as concepts. Concept gets 25,000 google hits, theory gets 92,000. "Theory" obviously has stronger scientific/verifiability connotations, so it's more highly contested a designation. For NPOV, I'd go with concept or idea or claim when writing the narrative, except when explaining the debate over whether it merits designation as a theory. David Hoffman 12:14, 20 May 2007 (CDT)


Can anybody give me a reference to Biology as science that originates as source for ID? As far as I know some scientists with a variety of backgrounds are in favor of ID as some pseudo theory as opposed to the more modern evolutionary theory. But biology as science to my knowledge doesn't treat ID as a part of biology. Robert Tito |  Talk  19:58, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Rob, I guess you are referring to this article's workgroup? I don't know much of anything about intelligent design, to me, the watch/watchmaker analogy doesn't really make sense, I've walked down beaches and found natural things much more complicated than watches, but I don't seem to get that parable in any context -here or Life (blind watchmaker see Life talk page). In any event- I think the question of workgroup has a very practical basis. The workgroup editors can have a say in article approval. Here, it seems to me that both the Religion workgroup and the Biology workgroup should supply at least one editor willing to approve this article. That would also be true, for the article birth control. Intelligent design theory is not biology, but it is an alternative explanation to biology and it holds itself to be part of the "science of life" (as far as I can tell.) For those reasons, a neutral biology editor -who certainly would not be expected to agree with this theory, should be expected to be able to approve this article (when ready) as a fair and neutral encyclopedic entry on that theory. I could be wrong - but it seems to me that this should not just be religion, especially because (from wha I have read) its proponents claim that it is science-but because it is an argument for a diety I think that it should be also approved by religion. The alternative would be biology as the sole workgroup. Anyway, I would worry if it had no required input from biology. Nancy Sculerati 12:58, 19 May 2007 (CDT)

a small question

quoting from article- "process structuralist" Richard Sternberg. What is a "process structuralist"? Nancy Sculerati 12:25, 19 May 2007 (CDT)


We have to remove the Biology GRoup category from this article. We cannot have such a poor decision associated wih the bology workgroup. David Tribe 07:14, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

David, I do not agree that Intelligent Design is part of biology, I guess any more than Creationism is, and I can see how silly it would be to have Creationism considered part of Biology - but if the article discusess evolution, and Darwinism- what then? Should not Biology oversee it? Or can that be done best just by individual review and being sure that the article is accurate and neutral? A biologist probably would always know to check out an article that is about a subject famously at odds with biology, but what if the article is about some lesser known thing that - like this article, talks about evolution? Maybe there should be a different mechanism than a category workgroup to alert members of the workgroup-Criticisms of intelligent design . Nancy Sculerati 07:57, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

David, of course discussion of intelligent design--whatever you want to call the content of the claims it makes, theory, "concept," or something else--is germane to biology. We shouldn't remove a workgroup from an article simply because we disagree with how the article is named. In that case, the way forward is to propose a better name, one that biologists (and grammarians--it isn't a "concept" in any case) can agree with. Please do.

In general, what should we call bodies of thought that not everyone wants to bless with the name "theory"? (I personally am willing to call all sorts of absurdities "theories," but scientists have a different usage from mine.) To call it a "hypothesis" implies that it is testable, so that won't do in this case. --Larry Sanger 09:19, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Larry, actually I don't think this theory/idea is part of biology, although it concerns the origin of living things. For example, phrenology is not neuroscience, and is not health science. It may have been both those things once, but it is not either now. This theory has never been part of biology and is not now. We take biology to mean the science of living things and this theory is not science as accepted by scientists, it is philosophy, and religion -though I guess that the religion category is debatable. Again, and I am no expert in Intelligent Design-but I am an expert in Biology, I have never seen anything written about this intelligent design idea ( including this article) that does not contain an explanation of Darwin's theories and of the theory of evolution- which are, of course, very much part of biology, as a major part of the narrative. That's the only reason I see the Biology workgroup category as legitimate. Intelligent design is not only not a recognized theory in biology, even a disproven one, it relies on a philosophical construct rather than the scientific method and so is not, as I see it, science. That doesn't mean that an article on this topic is not needed. It's just a question of category. "Critical views of intelligent design" could be written entirely as biology and be part of the biology workgroup without question. This article is a kind of "alternative biology". Nancy Sculerati 10:30, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Nancy, I apologize if I am out of line, because I am not a biologist, so it will be too easy perhaps to dismiss my opinion, but here goes anyway because I'm not providing a biological argument, I'm providing an editorial argument.

I would agree with you that this theory/idea is not science by the definition of some, but I would disagree with you that the idea is in the same category as phrenology. I would disagree because phrenology has generally been proven to be quackery. While the idea of intelligent design was assumed to be outdated, but Intelligent Design has not really been disproven. I also disagree that this theory has never been a part of biology. I would submit that some form of a theory of intelligent design was a foundation of biology up and until the origin of species was widely accepted. (Medieval zoological (i.e. academic) works described animals and "why God made them that way.")

I fear that Intelligent Design's credibility has been tainted by its association with people who have an agenda. They are pushing ID mainly because they really don't understand Evolution's undeniable truth and they think that ID somehow disproves Evolutionary Theory. Thus, I can understand why you as a biologist would dismiss Intelligent Design Theory out of hand. Boiling all the verbiage out of it, you think Intelligent Design equals magic and magic does not exist, therefore Intelligent Design does not exist.

But there is a reason the idea won't go away. That's because in science the simple solution is usually the right solution. Intelligent Design's proponents boil it down like so: the universe appears to have a design, therefore there is a design and there probably is a designer. This logic feels intuitively right to many and it makes sense to the layman.

I may be a rare bird indeed in that I don't see a whit of conflict between Evolution Theory and Intelligent Design Theory. In fact, I evolution as evidence of intelligent design and vice versa. I see design in molecular structure, galactic structure, in subatomic structure. Design seems to be everywhere. I am willing to consider the possibility that we create the design by observation ...

This type of thought is definitely philosophical, but now that we have left the Dark Ages, and we know so much more than the Age of Enlightment, I don't think there needs to be such a rigid wall between science, religion and philosophy. So, I might be wacky, but I don't see any line (in reality) between these fields of human study. I know I am a member of a tiny minority in this regard.

I personally think the conflict arises because the uneducated masses don't really understand how simple and undeniable Evolution is. On the other hand, I think many in the scientific community dismiss Intelligent Design because they think its implications some how undermine or disagree with science. The scientific community thinks Intelligent Design is superstition rather than science. There are few that have taken the time to consider the possibility that these ideas are not in conflict in any way.

I personally would like to see biologists and scientists exposed to this theory, because further study might be warranted. As we both know, Origin of Species and a good many other scientific advances were roundly rejected when first floated. I should like to see fair-minded scientists like yourself examine Intelligent Design to better shake the psuedo-science from the idea. The fact is:e no fair minded person can dismiss the possibility that the universe has a design. If this possibility cannot be dismissed it might be valuable to measure it against other widely known possibilities.

All that was my preamble. Here's my point and my argument.

You're falling into the trap of arguing the merits of the theory. It's not your job or my job to measure the theory on its merits. It's our job to journal the debate and theory so that others can do their own research and come to their own conclusions. The reason I'm psyched about Citizendium is because I think the neutrality policy is so much stronger and more clear than the NPOV at Wikipedia. Here's the appropriate quote I think for this topic:

Objection: how are we to write articles about pseudoscientific topics, about which majority scientific opinion is that the pseudoscientific opinion is not credible and doesn't even really deserve serious mention?
If we're going to represent the sum total of "human knowledge"--of what we believe we know, essentially--then we must concede that we will be describing views repugnant to us without asserting that they are false. Things are not, however, as bad as that sounds. The task before us is not to describe disputes fairly, on some bogus view of fairness that would have us describe pseudoscience as if were on a par with science; rather, the task is to represent the majority (scientific) view as the majority view and the minority (sometimes pseudoscientific) view as the minority view, and, moreover, to explain how scientists have received pseudoscientific theories. This is all in the purview of the task of describing a dispute fairly.

Therefore, IMHO it's in bounds to describe this idea/theory as not generally accepted by the mainstream scientific community. It's out of bounds to describe the idea as false and not scientific. All that said, I think much of what I've seen written from the ID camp is both false and not scientific. But I think that's precisely because the laymen and not the scientists are the ones most passionate about this theory. I think a good many of them would be a good less passionate if they realized that acceptance of ID does not infer a rejection of evolution or biology as we know it today. Will Nesbitt 11:12, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

  • First, from my standpoint, it's fine to keep ID in both biology and religion, even philosophy. As a minimum, this might force the biology folks to work on this article. (Granted, it's my view that the categories should be used as tags and that numerous articles are multidisciplinary.)
  • Second, this article has a serious problem with its pro-ID point-of-view. If we can't put a template banner that notifies the reader that the neutrality is still be worked out, then this article would make Citizendium look quite odd. (Cp. problems w/Scientology and Global Warming.) This isn't Will's fault but it merits attention.David Hoffman 12:25, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
Concept was OK. Hypothesis barely acceptable. Theory unacceptable, postulate, maybe ok, conjecture also maybe ok. David Tribe 06:36, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

Distinguishing ID theory from ID ignorance based myths

Its not a trap for us to reject material because it lacks merit as a scientific concept, its our job as scientists and Citizendium Biology editors to eliminate presentation of concepts that are without merits. We do this, and should do this, with every statement to ensure that the content of the atricles is an acceptable quality. Similarly, with scientific concepts that have been refuted, such as for instance, simple views of Last Common Ancestor, of parts of Lyn Margulis' theories that are poorly supported, or the HIV does not cause AIDS, we do not present them as acceptable, as it would be misleading the reader. Its not an philosophical stance, but an ethical position. We must not as professional scientists knowingly mislead the reader about the science of biology or suppress inconvenient facts.

In the ID article I have introduced grammatical challenges by highlighting the view that the statement that natural selection is undirected and random and implication that it is unable to create functional design is a misrepresentation. Inclusion or this misrepresentation of the basic logical structure of cellular evolution is not acceptable. Its leaving a fallacy unchallenged.

(This would ignore the fact that organ and cellular component (eg enzyme, gene regulator, surface sensor)functionality is a contributer to survival, and that selection for reproductive sucess is intrinsically related to the "apparent design" of all the components. My expression of this concept may be poor, but it will be unethical for me not to pursue it. Leaving the implied ID argument that selection does not possess this feature would be ethically wrong too, in the same way that accepting it as a theory.

As far as the intent to force biology folks to deal with the article, and similar efforts to plea for attention, could the proponents accept if they do so, realise that any with poorly grounded statements will be challenged, and not expect that we should lower scientific standards just because its a popular issue with non-professional biologists.David Tribe 16:12, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

David, I would encourage these edits and I agree that we should remove and edit conclusions based on ignorance. However, I do think that the direct criticism of Intelligent Design Theory should be apart from the presentation of the theory. (I hope to imply nothing by chosing this word, but I want to avoid a compound nomeclature like "theory/idea/hypothesis".) If we buried the idea or attempt to blow it out of the water before it is stated, then we will not only be unfair, but we will encourage endless circular arguments.
I think a major problem with ID is that the ID movement has framed the theory in such a way as to represent their narrow view. I think many of these particular proponents of ID are wholly ignorant of biology and I further think they have no desire to learn anything about biology or any other science which might contradict their beliefs. Please be aware that because the ID Movement's conceptionualization of ID is the most readily accessed version of the theory on the web, many assume that this conceptualization is wholly representative of the idea. It is not.
Perhaps in it's simplist form, Intelligent Design Theory is nothing more than a philosophical argument posing as science. I'll grant that. Here's that argument as I understand it: order implies organization; organization implies an organizer. There is a certain organization to the universe and thus some conclude that the universe has an organizer. As a layman, I'd like to make sure that simple idea remains clear and apart from ignorant verbose explanations of how it's impossible to evolve an eyeball, but also apart from criticism which explains why those conceptualizations are based in ignorance.
I'm mainly arguing to keep to the nuetrality policy in force. I encourage the scientists to keep the ID loonies at bay. I hope the scientists give the idea enough space to be understood by those who might wonder what ID means/is. Will Nesbitt 16:39, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

I am not going to try to engage this debate, I just want to clarify what I said above. I didn't mean to say that intelligent design is a biological theory. I merely said that it was germane to biology. And the way in which it is germane to biology is that biologists very much love to debunk it, if they care about the topic at all. Since biologists are the experts at this debunking, they ought to take responsibility for the parts of the article that concern the debunking. Is that fair enough? --Larry Sanger 16:27, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Another option, by the way, would involve us creating a new workgroup, such as (I'm just throwing out a name to give you an idea) "non-mainstream science" or "fringe science." --Larry Sanger 16:35, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

This is not science, it is not presented as a scientific argument. It is presented as a philosophical construct. From what I can tell- it says that the universe appears (to people) to have been designed, therefore there is a designer. I have tried to dfind out more about it, but there is nothing I can find in the Ehrman MedicaL Library at NYU. I'm not saying there shouldn't be this article. Will, just because something is not science doesn't mean it's false, this may be true- for all I know, but this is not science- and there is plentry of non-mainstream science and fringe science that actually is science. The last thing we need is to imply that unpopular or novel theories in science are not science. This is not science it is a philosophical way of thinking.Nancy Sculerati 16:51, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
I don't think we can have a Biology Workgroup tag here because it implies it is biology, i.e. science. I'd like to see a new workgroup covering pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, the supernatural, etc. I suggest [[Category:Pseudoscience and Hoaxes]]. John Stephenson 20:36, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
Definitely not. Workgroups are not categories in the sense of WP. Workgroups merely tell who, what group of authors/editors, are mainly editing the article, not what the article's subject belongs to. And never use the word "hoax" until it's proven false. Not all supernatural phenomena are proven false. If a special workgroup is going to be established, I'd suggest the name "Supernatural Phenomena Workgroup" or "Unexplained Phenomena Workgroup" to sound more neural. Yi Zhe Wu 20:44, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
that means you leave it to individual scientists to adopt this article - aka: no workgroup. Thank you for acknowledging. Robert Tito |  Talk  21:01, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
I don't know if you are sarcastic, I never said that, nor if I implied so. Yi Zhe Wu 21:02, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
If you would like to take it to the realm of serious science, please provide us with some fundament. If you can't - alas rest your case. So far I hear a lot of fuzz but I have not seen ONE basic scientific argument. If you cannot provide any scientifically supported fundament to this theory this should be dealt with as pseudo or metascience. Robert Tito |  Talk  21:17, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
Well, I said supernatural phenomena can have a "Supernatural Phenomena Workgroup" if it cannot be supported by current science. And although ID may not be a valid science, science editors can take care of the article, that's the essence of being in a "biology" workgroup, meaning that biology workgroup people can work on it. Yi Zhe Wu 21:33, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
in that we agree. Individuals can support it, edit it. Yet not the workgroup as so far I see no connection to the workgroup as you failed to provide the needed evidence. Robert Tito |  Talk  21:45, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
John how about [[Category:Metasciences]] it is less discriminating. Robert Tito |  Talk  20:44, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

I'm glad to see theory has now been removed from the title. However I'd point out that biology is under the natural sciences, and if we are to retain credibility, the retention of the workgroup label Biology has to come with the standards of the natural sciences being applied to the article. Thus the weakness and standing concept in the natural sciences have to be clear to the casual reader. It may be easier to create a satisfactory article if it is moved out of the natural sciences. It's certainly going to be detrimental to our natural sciences credibility, and drain the efforts of the biology edits if is is kept in the biology workgroup.David Tribe 06:11, 21 May 2007 (CDT)
Another workgroup title: [[Category:Pseudoscience and the Supernatural]]. I'm not sure people would understand what 'metascience' means. John Stephenson 20:54, 23 May 2007 (CDT)


Is there any good reason to capitalize "Intelligent Design" throughout the article? Generally that goes against normal style in writing about fields of study, philosophies, and artistic genres, unless they are named after a person. We don't capitalize evolution, geology, cubism, or nihilism; we do capitalize Lamarckism, Darwinism, and Marxism. I don't see why intelligent design would be different, unless we are classifying it as a religion (and I'm guessing we're not), like Islam, Christianity, or Buddhism. --Eric Winesett 16:11, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

I agree, Eric. --Larry Sanger 16:28, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

this article is called ID theory

so far I have not seen any sane and solid scientific theory that enveloped ID as being a scientific theory other than the notion it is more related to creation theories than any other theories. As such it should not belong to any natural science topics, unless one solid theoretical model - so far nowhere ever presented - is capable to explain the role of ID within the realm of natural sciences. Until that time it is merely hypothetical, for some theoretical and again others philosophical but not scientific until such fundament is delivered. Robert Tito |  Talk  16:36, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Please suggest another (neutral) name besides "theory" to describe the sort of thing it is. It is not a "concept," because concepts do not make claims, and ID makes claims. --Larry Sanger 16:38, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

so far hypothesis would even be too benificiary - the lack of any solid fundament removes even the notion of hypothesis as fot the latter you need solid based arguments - and preferably arguments not based upon other thoughts or ideas but based upon scientific known facts. Robert Tito |  Talk  16:48, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

what's the reason for not calling it "intelligent design" as a name?Nancy Sculerati 17:09, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Rob, you didn't answer the question.

Nancy, good question. Presumably, because now that there is an "intelligent design movement" article, "intelligent design" seemed ambiguous and the natural place for a disambiguation page. But I agree that it probably better serves as an article page, and then we can simply link to "intelligent design movement" from the top of the article. --Larry Sanger 21:26, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Larry, since it is not my article I leave the name to the authors/editors. I do have my questions as to what groups this article should ressort to. I merely stated my concern to see a serious science being taken away by something else. As far as I am concerned it can be called whatever the authors deem right - just do not bring in any workgroup in an unjustified way. Robert Tito |  Talk  21:30, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

I see you point now Rob, this article can't be forced on biology-for one thing, nobody that is an editor in biology knows anything much about it.Nancy Sculerati

I justified the inclusion of the Biology Workgroup above. As I said, the way in which it is germane to biology is that biologists very much love to debunk it, if they care about the topic at all. (And that's something that's not hard to find in any medical library, I'm sure.) Since biologists are the experts at this debunking, they ought to take responsibility for the parts of the article that concern the debunking. Is that fair enough? --Larry Sanger 21:51, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Larry Since you are no biologist you are excluded to decide that other than based upon EIC status. It would be a good initiative to leave it to the biology workgroup and not by someone acting as deus ex machina. For that I made my plea as the topic has nothing in common with biology as science but more with philosophy as a nice wine covered dinner talk. Robert Tito |  Talk  22:03, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Rob, I can't agree with excluding a philosophy scholar from the discussion. Ultimately this is about a philosophy that has foundations in theology while referring to biological premises--it is very convoluted. A philospher's input would be invaluable. --Thomas Simmons 21:09, 21 May 2007 (CDT)


A large portion of American people simply do not believe in the evolution, including myself (I'm not a creationist, and I don't wholly accept ID theory either, but I doubt that evolution is true). ID is an alternative theory to evolution, and the article should tell how the U.S. government and scientific community have effectively suppressed the propagation of ID, in classrooms and in the public. Yi Zhe Wu 16:41, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

many others will state propoganists of ID prevented or repressed evolution theories to be presented in the curriculum amd being taught to pupils/students. Robert Tito |  Talk  16:58, 20 May 2007 (CDT).
That was a long time ago before Scopes Trial, and now the whole thing turned around already...Yi Zhe Wu 17:02, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
This should be addressed at Intelligent Design Movement IMHO. Will Nesbitt 16:47, 20 May 2007 (CDT)


Is there any pro-ID editors in CZ? I think if there are they would offer contribution from another perspective and help the neutrality of ID-related articles. Regards. Yi Zhe Wu 16:55, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

That might be me, Yi Zhe, but I'm not an ID expert. If being pro-ID means being anti-Evolution, then I'm not pro-ID. If being pro-ID means that you do not reject the idea that the universe appears incredibly organized and too impossibly well-designed to be entirely a product of chance, then I am pro-ID. However, I'm not a scientist and I'm definitely not a part of the ID movement so I think I'm better qualified to nag and complain than to actually edit and write. Will Nesbitt 17:03, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
Ohh, I understand. I guess there are not many people that completely accept the ID theory (it looks fancy, I don't even know who formulated that theory). But I can say there are many "evolution skeptics" around. A long time ago I heard there is a saying like "every system with paradox is either incomplete or inconsistent", and seemingly there are a great amount of paradox existing in both evolution and the ID in current form. Yi Zhe Wu 17:12, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
where the paradox is in the incomprehensible nature of ID, contrary to the theories that handle evolution? Maybe that is the result of the lack of a solid basis for ID - if any can be found other than in metaphysical spheres. Robert Tito |  Talk  17:25, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

The purpose of this page, and professionalism

Just to be clear: the purpose of this talk page is not to discuss the merits of whatever claims intelligent design makes, but the article and related matters, such the management of the article. By focusing on the article, we can avoid needless controversy.

Furthermore, while most of the debate here has been civil, it has been straining the limits. You might want to review Professionalism if you have not done so recently. --Larry Sanger 22:32, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Move to "Intelligent design"

Glad to see the move to the new title, with the link to the Movement article. Minor glitch -- it looks like some of the editing history did not get carried over. There's no edit history for 5/18-20. (Presumably I wasn't the only one to make an edit during that period.) Can a techie fix the history please? Thanks. David Hoffman 23:15, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

That's because simply moving the page would have deleted the old edit histories for Intelligent design and Talk:Intelligent design. To find the whole edit history you'll have to look at both Intelligent design theory and Intelligent design and their talk pages. --Larry Sanger 23:19, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Ok. To find it, readers can go to Intelligent design theory and then click the redirect link. David Hoffman 07:00, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

Evolution of this article

Forgive me for complaining instead of editing, but I think the introductory paragraph is actually getting worse. One thing I would like to see Citizendium avoid is the Wikipedian tendency to try to cram everything into as few sentences as possible, especially in the lead. Periods are not rare commodities. I want to edit the second and third sentences for clarity, but they've become so garbled and overly complex that I can no longer decipher what I want to simplify.

Also, I'd almost rather misuse the term "theory" than call ID "the usual designation for a claim...". (I still like "Intelligent Design (ID) is the contention that certain features of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause," which is the wording on the ID movement page.) Maybe we need a brief mention of the fact that ID is called a theory by its proponents but not by its detractors even in the first paragraph. --Eric Winesett 01:33, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

It this case the problem is caused by including problematic claims about Darwinism in the first paragraph. We cannot let ID proponents misunderstanding of science go uncorrected. Where they constitute scientifically misleading representation of the logic of evolutionary theory and facts of natural sciences, they will need to be corrected. What is necessary is a clear indication of the challenges which this concept raises right up front. Unless we do this, the article will be fundamentally misleading about biological science.Fix the science, and then we can settle the style David Tribe 06:30, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

A good thing

I think I've put forth a good way to address the most important concerns of the scientific community by (at last) revealing the real argument for what it is. By revealing what the real argument is, we don't have to waste time in passionate circular arguments about the nature of God or the universe. Hopefully, I won't be pilloried. Lastly, now that I've found the argument, I think we can pare back some of the extraneous criticism. There is no need to repeat everything found in various sciences on this page. Let me know what you think! Will Nesbitt 07:17, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

Will, I appreciate your good faith efforts with this article. Now that some other folks are (may be) interested in editing it, it might be helpful if you stand back for a bit and see how the article evolves, or gets re-designed. It would be good to let the pendulum swing to where the majority of folks are comfortable with the piece, and then suggest refinements. Otherwise, I suspect people would be more inclined to delete than edit it boldly and sufficiently. For what it's worth, my two cents. David Hoffman 08:56, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

Agreed. Sorry for the multiple edits. I don't use "show preview enough" and I just wanted to edit myself to the point that I wouldn't be embarrassed by what I wrote. I don't have any ego invested in my suggestions, so feel free to kill or revert.

I just had what I seemed like a daylight moment when I made the connection between my arguments with "9/11 Hoax" believers and the arguments I've seen scientists have with ID believers. I still believe in ID, but I don't identify with the loon-birds who selectively reject science that does not support ID. Once you identify ID as staking out the "unknowable" it becomes much for scientists. If this is done in such away as to not reject the idea out-of-hand, then I think this should appease fair-minded folks who think ID has merit. Will Nesbitt 09:07, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

Opening paragraph

The opening sentence says that Intelligent design means something explained by an "intelligent cause" -- if the reader doesn't know what "intelligent" means, this becomes meaningless. Can't you replace the second "intelligent" with something else? The next sentence says that it refers to "things" -- that's a pretty vague, non-precise term. Then it says that certain disciplines are not "fully understood" - well, they may not be 100% understood, but they're not 30 or 40% understood, either. This phrasing seems to imply that they're only vaguely understood and that therefore ID is a reasonable argument. Hayford Peirce 11:57, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

The Design Argument and "Intelligent Design" as a modern phenomenon

The article makes it sound as if what proponents call "Intelligent Design Theory" is little more than the (very old) Argument from Design, also called the Teleological Argument for the existence of God. But, of course, that isn't what scientists are objecting to. So it will not do simply to repeat that old argument and say that it is what proponents mean, today, by what they call "Intelligent Design Theory." This is not at all what I see on, for example, this page, which I take to be a not entirely atypical presentation of Intelligent Design. In short, if we want to present ID as it is understood by its proponents, then we have to do a lot more than simply repeat an old philosophical argument. --Larry Sanger 23:30, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

I'm not sure i see what you're seeing at that page Larry, isn't "irreducibly complex" the same argument? What I do agree with is that this argument has taken many forms and recently has become more sophisitcated due to the increased knowledge of biological systems. These new forms of the argument should be discussed. Chris Day (talk) 23:43, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

My point is that ID theorists dress up ID in the language of science. You might make the point (and you might be right) that it is no more than the design argument in new clothing, but it is simply misleading to say that ID is no more than the old design argument, period. You can't understand ID itself if you don't understand that ID proponents dress it up in the language of science. A neutral presentation of the body of thought--and bear in mind, you all have the responsibility to represent ID fairly here, and "fairly" does not mean "as mainstream scientists see it" of course--requires that we present it in the same terms that its proponents present it. We can then proceed to present common or prominent refutations of such a presentation.

I'd like to remind everyone here (I'm not directing this at Chris) that neutrality means "writing for the enemy." I think that ID is a load of nonsense, but I can write sympathetically about it. That's part of being fair-minded: you are willing to consider other views to the extent that you can repeat them in about the same terms that they are presented by their proponents. --Larry Sanger 23:55, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

Don't worry I have thick skin. I see your point with respect to being presented as scientific method. The presentation has changed but the argument is the same but at the level of molecules instead of organs. One issue here is one of original research (from us). Was this argument presented by the defense in the Dover trial? (not expecting an answer from you Larry but we need to find a good source for this observation) . Chris Day (talk) 00:00, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

Criticism section

I really have problems with much of this section I'm afraid, at least the opening paragraphs. These seem to me not to be criticisms of the theoretical basis of ID at all but a series of attacks on the intelligence, knowledge and motives of its proponents. This seems to me to be wholly out of place. If this were the best that science could do to rebut ID then we'd be lost. To attack the theoretical basis of ID you have to find the logical flaws in the specified complexity argument, and make a case that things that seem to be irreducibly complex may not in fact be so. These two are the core elements of ID... Attack the message not the messenger.

I don't know exactly where the idea came that philosophy is not a part of science. Most relevantly here, logic is surely indispensible. The point is that ID, in seeking to explain the natural world can only be rebutted a) by its own internal inconsistencies, if any, and b) by the demonstration that there is already a better explanation than it can offer. The latter belongs to biologists, so if biologists are not willing to enter the argument and make their case, then they perhaps should not complain too much if ID holds the ring.

I guess I can take this lightly as ID has no presence in the UK as far as I am aware. But then this is a country where atheists are now the majority and church-going is a small minority activity. I gather that in the USA, most do go to church and the overwhelming majority believe in a God. Thus, the idea that some evidence of the existence of God can be found in the nature of living things perhaps falls on more receptive ears in the USA.

So where do you start if you really want to criticise people for believing in ID? Do you attack the politicians and schools in the US for promoting belief in a God? The scientists for not speaking out against the believers amongst them? Forget about why people believe in ID please, and forget about exactly who believes in ID, it's no more reasonable to do this than to attack people for believing in a God. Just address the logical case; that is not just fair and neutral, but indeed essential. Gareth Leng 03:15, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

 Gareth Leng 02:48, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

Gareth, I suggest that you edit those portions of the text that attack the proponents rather than the idea by moving that portion of the argument to criticism of the intelligent design movement. Will Nesbitt 07:22, 22 May 2007 (CDT)


I am stopping in here after having been away a while, and I have NOT read Gareth's comments just above that he just posted.

  • Tone. With all due respect to the hard-working contributors here, what comes to mind as I read much of this article--as far as I could get through it, that is--when coupled with a few of the statements here on the talk page that have frankly surprised me, is a WP article about a "Christian cult" that "mainstream Christians" are writing, who are making absolutely sure to get their slant in from the very get-go, to be hammered on some more as it goes on.
  • Either remove the article from the Biology Workgroup or rename it to something like "Mainstream scientific criticisms of ID"--I think the most accurate suggested title related to the actual content and Workgroup assignment I have seen to date.
  • This article is the perfect example of why CZ may need some sort of Interdisciplinary Workgroup. The unavoidable effect of forcing ID into one primary Workgroup means a neutral article will probably never come of it. Because, like say with the topic "globalization", ID simply does not "fit" into "one best category", and any effort to make it do so will only effect slants that tabulate to bias. If I had to say one primary Workgroup should get it, history religion would.
  • More at,945.msg7308.html#msg7308

Stephen Ewen 03:41, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

I made a few minor edits and moved a criticism to the criticism section. The criticism section needs an edit badly. It's a jumbled collection of refutations with no narrative or editorial framework. Will Nesbitt 07:35, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

For the record

"but has no basis in science, to many".

This is a vague comment about weight of opinion, and weight of opinion is in any case irrelevant. If 99% of a group of people believe something and there is no evidence, this is an irrelevant belief to acceptable argument. The phrase does not convey any meaning about the validity of the Intelligent design model. David Tribe 16:49, 22 May 2007 (CDT)


Obviously I agree. I've moved a section to ID movement, and tried to do some rationalisation.

There are some "arguments" that I feel I must just cut. It is hardly fair to say that it's not clear what ID theory means; it seems to me very clear what it means, it means quite simply that the complexity of living things is too great to be plausibly accounted for by the proposed processes of natural selection, or indeed by any chance driven mechanisms. The tenet of irreducible complexity argues that some features of living things could not have arisen by a gradual mechanism becaause the intermediate/precursor forms would have no adaptive value. The tenet of specified complexity is a reworking of an argument used by Hoyle and others to postulate an extraterrestrial origin of life by calculating the extreme improbability of particular features, such as the minimal components of the simplest living thing. The arguments have arisen often and in various contexts.

I also feel that I must cut adjectives such as "so called" which serve to disparage without elucidating.Gareth Leng 09:15, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

Gareth, this is not my understanding of ID, but I'm quite sure you know more about the topic than I. Is this your opinion about irreducibility and what it means and how it relates to ID or is this a fact that you can reference? I'm not questioning the validity of the theory, but I would like to know what respected expert in the field can said this. Will Nesbitt 09:37, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

Well I certainly question the validity of the theory but see no reason not to present it clearly and honestly (I'm sure we're together on this). Irreducible complexity is Behe's contibution, and specified complexity is Demski's. Specified complexity is a rather detailed probabilistic argument; the claimed flaw, put crudely, is the "golf" paradox. Hit a golf ball, it lands. See exactly where it lands, to the millimetre, the logo facing North east, beside a particular daisy. Calculate the chance that it would land exactly there, given all the other places and positions it might have landed. The odds against are phenomenal - so the irresistable conclusion is ... you must have aimed.

In fact you can't use probabilistic arguments at all in this way.

As for references - there was an excellent link to a series of articles by Behe etc with rebuttals - but it seems lost... Found it and reinserted it. See Behe's piece.[1]

Gareth Leng 09:50, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

Is the "irreducibility complex" another claim/theory or is that theory a component of ID, or is it another thought altogether? Either way, does it belong in a separate article? Will Nesbitt 12:05, 22 May 2007 (CDT)
There is no such concept that I know of - there is 2just the concept of "irreducible complexity". The following is Behe's description of it. "By Irreducibly Complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. An irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution. Since natural selection can only choose systems that are already working, then if a biological system cannot be produced gradually it would have to arise as an integrated unit, in one fell swoop, for natural selection to have anything to act on…"

Particular peces I have a problem with:

"Opponents of the theory also find it easier to believe that the 'design' found in the inanimate structure of the universe is not design at all, and instead find it easier to believe that the physical laws of the universe are unchanging and immutable."

Don't see the logical structure here at all I'm afraid, and the second haldf just seems to me to be wrong. Modern physicists happily talk about the possibility that universal constants might have different values, and of the possibility that the values have varied during the history of the universe.

"The so-called irreducibility complex has generally not been supported by evidence in nature."

?? This statement seems just wrong in several ways. Complex here should be an adjective not a noun, and in fact this is the part of ID that is based on evidence in nature; it is the interpretation of the evidence that is disputed. There is plenty of evidence for irreducible complexity, just, arguably, none that can be shown to be incapable of being explained differently.Gareth Leng 09:25, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

Anyway, I cut this paragraph, as the solid argument against the flagellum example is given later. I have also expanded on the flagellum argument in the account of ID as it looks rather odd to attack something when the case has not previously been made.

It might be appropriate to have an image of a flagellum so we know what we're talking about here?Gareth Leng 09:42, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

Mountain ranges...

??? Haven't seen ID proposed as an explanation for mountain ranges etc - all I've seen is ID as an explanation for purely biological things?? This may be a creationist view but its not ID.Gareth Leng 10:08, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

Please change it back. It certainly is not correct to say that geology etc are "things in the natural world", and I was only trying to make the sentence make sense. I have never heard a single explanation of intelligent design that I have ever been able to follow and do not understand it, so I really have no business writing here. My mistake. Nancy Sculerati 10:15, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

I also don't know, Nancy. Obviously, we have to get some people actually familiar with ID here. There is a version of the design argument that concerns physics--in particular, how is it that the universe has exactly the physical constants needed for life to exist? It's more likely that God fine-tuned things than that the constants just happened to be correct. (The other explanation is that there are infinite universes with infinite numbers of different constants--some might have life, some not.) But I don't know if ID proponents consider this part of their argument for ID or not. --Larry Sanger 10:22, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

I am another non-expert on the subject of ID. However, it is my understanding that intelligent design seeks to establish an intelligent designer. This is not limited to biology (i.e. irreducibility complex) but also to physics and other "evidence" of design in the universe. I would appear that these arguements are being refuted, but I don't know who is making the argument to begin with. [1][2] Will Nesbitt 12:16, 22 May 2007 (CDT)
I took it out. Nancy Sculerati 06:25, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

Peer reviwed discussion of professional comment

Here is a short take on some of the recent literature on Intelligent desisn which have to take on board in this article. Lets start discussing it with an emphasis on identifying peer reviwed evince and peer reviewed interprwetation as a basis for the article:

1: IUBMB Life. 2007 Apr;59(4):235-7. On intelligent design, cognitive relativism, vitalism and the mystery of the real world. Kornblihtt AR. PMID 17505958

2: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 May 9; Biological design in science classrooms. Scott EC, Matzke NJ. Although evolutionary biology is replete with explanations for complex biological structures, scientists concerned about evolution education have been forced to confront "intelligent design" (ID), which rejects a natural origin for biological complexity. The content of ID is a subset of the claims made by the older "creation science" movement. Both creationist views contend that highly complex biological adaptations and even organisms categorically cannot result from natural causes but require a supernatural creative agent. Historically, ID arose from efforts to produce a form of creationism that would be less vulnerable to legal challenges and that would not overtly rely upon biblical literalism. Scientists do not use ID to explain nature, but because it has support from outside the scientific community, ID is nonetheless contributing substantially to a long-standing assault on the integrity of science education.PMID 17494747

3: Theory Biosci. 2007 Apr;125(2):81-92. Epub 2006 Jul 18. Photosynthesis research on yellowtops: Macroevolution in progress. Kutschera U, Niklas KJ.

The vast majority of angiosperms, including most of the agronomically important crop plants (wheat, etc.), assimilate CO(2) through the inefficient C(3) pathway of photosynthesis. Under ambient conditions these organisms loose about 1/3 of fixed carbon via photorespiration, an energetically wasteful process. Plants with C(4) photosynthesis (such as maize) eliminate photorespiration via a biochemical CO(2)-pump and thus have a larger rate of carbon gain. The genus Flaveria (yellowtops, Asteraceae) contains not only C(3) and C(4) species, but also many C(3)-C(4) intermediates, which have been interpreted as evolving from C(3) to fully expressed C(4) metabolism. However, the evolutionary significance of C(3)-C(4)Flaveria-intermediates has long been a matter of debate. A well-resolved phylogeny of nearly all Flaveria species has recently been published. Here, we review pertinent background information and combine this novel phylogeny with physiological data. We conclude that the Flaveria species complex provides a robust model system for the study of the transition from C(3) to C(4) photosynthesis, which is arguably a macroevolutionary event. We conclude with comments relevant to the current Intelligent Design debate. PMID 17412289

4: Yang Q, Siganos G, Faloutsos M, Lonardi S. Comput Syst Bioinformatics Conf. 2006;:299-310. Evolution versus "intelligent design": comparing the topology of protein-protein interaction networks to the Internet. Recent research efforts have made available genome-wide, high-throughput protein-protein interaction (PPI) maps for several model organisms. This has enabled the systematic analysis of PPI networks, which has become one of the primary challenges for the system biology community. In this study, we attempt to understand better the topological structure of PPI networks by comparing them against man-made communication networks, and more specifically, the Internet. Our comparative study is based on a comprehensive set of graph metrics. Our results exhibit an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand, both networks share several macroscopic properties such as scale-free and small-world properties. On the other hand, the two networks exhibit significant topological differences, such as the cliqueishness of the highest degree nodes. We attribute these differences to the distinct design principles and constraints that both networks are assumed to satisfy. We speculate that the evolutionary constraints that favor the survivability and diversification are behind the building process of PPI networks, whereas the leading force in shaping the Internet topology is a decentralized optimization process geared towards efficient node communication. PMID 17369648

5: Q Rev Biol. 2007 Mar;82(1):3-8. What is wrong with intelligent design?Sober E. This article reviews two standard criticisms of creationism/intelligent design (ID)): it is unfalsifiable, and it is refuted by the many imperfect adaptations found in nature. Problems with both criticisms are discussed. A conception of testability is described that avoids the defects in Karl Popper's falsifiability criterion. Although ID comes in multiple forms, which call for different criticisms, it emerges that ID fails to constitute a serious alternative to evolutionary theory. PMID 17354991

6: CBE Life Sci Educ. 2007 Spring;6(1):1-8. Clicker evolution: seeking intelligent design. Barber M, Njus D.

Two years after the first low-cost radio-frequency audience response system using clickers was introduced for college classrooms, at least six different systems are on the market. Their features and user-friendliness are evolving rapidly, driven by competition and improving technology. The proliferation of different systems is putting pressure on universities to standardize or otherwise limit the number of different clickers a student is expected to acquire. To facilitate that choice, the strengths and weaknesses of six systems (eInstruction Classroom Performance System, Qwizdom, TurningPoint, Interwrite PRS, iClicker, and H-ITT) are compared, and the factors that should be considered in making a selection are discussed. In our opinion, the selection of a clicker system should be driven by the faculty, although students and the relevant teaching and technology support units of the university must also participate in the dialogue. Given the pace of development, it is also wise to reconsider the choice of a clicker system at regular intervals. PMID 17339388

7: Nat Rev Immunol. 2007 Feb;7(2):144-54. Interleukin-7 receptor expression: intelligent design. Mazzucchelli R, Durum SK.

Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is produced by stromal cells in lymphoid tissues and is required for the development of T cells and for their persistence in the periphery. Unlike many other cytokines that act on lymphocytes, IL-7 production by stromal cells is not substantially affected by extrinsic stimuli. So, the amount of available IL-7 protein is thought to be regulated by the rate that it is scavenged by T cells. As we review here, there is mounting evidence indicating that the amount of IL-7 receptor expressed on a cell not only determines how vigorously the cell responds to IL-7, but it can also determine how efficiently the cell consumes IL-7 and, therefore, affect the supply of this limiting resource in the niche. PMID 17259970

8: ACS Chem Biol. 2006 Aug 22;1(7):429-31. Bacterial evolution by intelligent design. Winans SC. In a process called quorum sensing, bacteria produce and secrete certain signaling compounds (called autoinducers) that bind to receptors on other bacteria and activate transcription of certain genes. A clever genetic selection yields a new quorum-sensing transcriptional regulator that marches to the beat of a different drummer. PMID 17168520

9: Nature. 2006 Oct 12;443(7112):615. Intelligent design gets political. Brumfiel G. PMID 17035964 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

10 Gene. 2006 Dec 30;385:2-18. Epub 2006 Aug 5. Intelligent design and biological complexity. Zuckerkandl E.

Before any intelligence can appear, a world endowed with the potential for being experienced as a body of phenomena has to be existent. Indeed, if there is to be an intelligence, there first has to be something intelligible. Hence, when an intelligence is present, "creation" must already have taken place. Nevertheless, biological complexity has been deemed by some to be one of the privileged points of insertion of a supernatural intelligence endowed with temporal and causal primacy. In the course of a critical review, it is pointed out that the spectacle of nature's spontaneous tinkering with the structures and performances of informational macromolecules and with interactive connections among these molecules suggests that intelligence and design are absent from evolution. Nor is intelligent design required for explaining biological complexity, which can increase spontaneously as a byproduct of combinatorial intermolecular gambles and of the restoration of molecular damage wrought by mutations. One of the possible molecular pathways to spontaneous evolutionary increases in complexity is described. PMID 17011142

11: Dalton Trans. 2006 Jul 7;(25):3045-51. Epub 2006 May 31. Intelligent design: the de novo engineering of proteins with specified functions. Koder RL, Dutton PL.

One of the principal successes of de novo protein design has been the creation of small, robust protein-cofactor complexes which can serve as simplified models, or maquettes, of more complicated multicofactor protein complexes commonly found in nature. Different maquettes, generated by us and others, recreate a variety of aspects, or functional elements, recognized as parts of natural enzyme function. The current challenge is to both expand the palette of functional elements and combine and/or integrate them in recreating familiar enzyme activities or generating novel catalysis in the simplest protein scaffolds. PMID 16786062

12: Gynecol Oncol. 2006 Jul;102(1):1-4. Evolution through intelligent design. Karlan BY. PMID 16777526

13: Mol Syst Biol. 2006;2:2006.0020. Epub 2006 May 2. The intelligent design of evolution. Styczynski MP, Fischer CR, Stephanopoulos GN. PMID 16738565

14: J Clin Invest. 2006 May;116(5):1134-8. Defending science education against intelligent design: a call to action. Attie AD, Sober E, Numbers RL, Amasino RM, Cox B, Berceau T, Powell T, Cox MM.

We review here the current political landscape and our own efforts to address the attempts to undermine science education in Wisconsin. To mount an effective response, expertise in evolutionary biology and in the history of the public controversy is useful but not essential. However, entering the fray requires a minimal tool kit of information. Here, we summarize some of the scientific and legal history of this issue and list a series of actions that scientists can take to help facilitate good science education and an improved atmosphere for the scientific enterprise nationally. Finally, we provide some model legislation that has been introduced in Wisconsin to strengthen the teaching of science. PMID 16670753

15 J Clin Invest. 2006 May;116(5):1133. Why we think it is important to discuss intelligent design. Neill US, Marks AR.

Belief in God and belief in the science of evolution are not mutually exclusive concepts. Thousands of scientists who believe in God are able to separately study and teach evolution. As scientists and parents, we owe it to our children to ensure that public school science curricula teach the science of evolution and not promote a particular religious faith or belief system. PMID 16670752

16: Science. 2006 Apr 14;312(5771):189-90. Erratum in: Science. 2006 May 5;312(5774):697. Computer science. Life in silico: a different kind of intelligent design. Krieger K. PMID 16614189

17: Debating intelligent design. Johnson NT. PMID 16564355 Lancet. 2006 Mar 25;367(9515):984-5. Comment in: Lancet. 2006 Jun 17;367(9527):1975-6. Comment on: Lancet. 2006 Jan 7;367(9504):1.Lancet. 2006 Jan 7;367(9504):2.

18: Bioessays. 2006 Apr;28(4):327-9. "Intelligent design" as both problem and symptom. Wilkins AS. PMID 16547955

19: FASEB J. 2006 Mar;20(3):410-1. Intelligent design: fallacy recapitulates ontogeny. Grinnell F.PMID 16507757

20: FASEB J. 2006 Mar;20(3):408-9. FASEB opposes using science classes to teach intelligent design, creationism, and other non-scientific beliefs. PMID 16507756

Started to look at these. Added 5 to this article and 2, 19 and 20 to ID movement; 6 and 12 are I think irrelevant, and 14 and 15 too slight?Gareth Leng 12:15, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

A good database for researching

Research ID is a wiki with GFDL license that has tons of materials dedicated to the research of ID, and most of their stuff is neutral. I think this can be a good general reference tool while not an official "source". What do you all think? Yi Zhe Wu 20:41, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

We have a certain mission here at Citizendium to be scholarly, and that does not include reviewing informal sources simply because they are available. Here, to have an article on intelligent design we need to have scholarly resources. There are so many topics to write about in our infant encyclopedia that I think those that do not have a primary interest in intelligent design, and I am sure that includes the entire biology workgroup, are better focused on where their interests lie. If Citizens who are, perhaps like yourself, interested in ID, but not experts,I think that library research must be done. There can be no real progress here without real sources. Reviewing scholarly sources will further this article, but that website is not such a source, we have no way to judge its reliabilty or importance. I think we should put this article on hold until someone, expert or not, is able to draw up a scholarly review of the subject - the history of the idea, exactly what is meant by the term etc. That is going to take more than searching the web, at a minimum it is going to take library research. Nancy Sculerati 21:13, 22 May 2007 (CDT)
Eh, sound good, but although I have some interest in ID, I'm not that big at scientific stuff. I may write about the historical aspect in the article about ID movement from what I learned in US history class, though. Yi Zhe Wu 21:40, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

Total scientific nonsense

The article is now returning to presenting a community debate about ID at the start of the article. This is not scientific biology. It is damaging to have such poor quality material here. I understand it is well intentioned but the article has got noticibly worse.

what next - channeling being discussed, extra-sensory percertion?

Since there is weak or negligible evidence (~ zero)to support theID concept, It cannot be presented here as something considered to have scientifically vetted value.

David Tribe 01:07, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

Don't really see a problem. The article makes it clear that the concept is not accepted by any but a very few scientists, it's hardly as though the article is endorsing the conclusions. The challenge is to explain the concepts as clearly and fairly as possible (i.e. "writing for the enemy", making the strongest case that can be made) and then to explain why scientists discount them. My problems with the article have been a) that I don't think the argument for ID has been made as clearly as it should be, and that the scientific rebuttal has been in the past presented as a rebuttal by authority and ad hominem attacks, not through cool logic and analysis. I don't personally see that your point about lack of evidence is really sustainable (indeed, as the theory explains everything, the problem is not lack of evidence for it but the inability to test it). There is no direct evidence for the existence of a designer, but there is also, after all, no direct evidence that any species has arisen through natural selection. The value of evolutionary theory is that it provides a plausible, parsimonious and elegant explanation without recourse to any supernatural agency. ID proponents argue that it does not provide a plausible explanation of many features of living things, and point to specific examples of evidence that, they claim, refutes standard evolutionary theory. They are, in my opinion, wrong, but not trivially wrong. Indeed they may even be right in some of their criticisms yet wrong in their remedy.
The flagellum argument has not been clearly refuted here, and I think it is not trivial to do so. I think that the flaw in the argument is in the implicit presumptions a) that bacteria are simple and b) that evolution is a progression to increasing complexity. In fact bacteria are more highly "evolved" than any living things, as the products of more generations of natural selection than any other. The flagellum now may indeed seem irreducibly complex, but may not have been in now long vanished precursors: Gould made an analogy with scaffolding; when you construct a building you do you use all kinds of cranes, scaffolds, hoists, ladders, buttresses - there comes a point when these are not needed any more and when they are removed, they leave no trace of exactly how the edifice was constructed. In other words, the direct precursors to modern bacteria may have been much more "complex" than modern forms, and natural selection eliminated elements that became redundant, leaving a building with no scaffolding and no signs of how it was built in the first place, a structure of apparently irreducible complexity.

Gareth Leng 03:58, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

Here is a paper describing how the typre III sectertion machimery and flagella are functionally related. J Bacteriol. 2007 Apr;189(8):3124-32. Epub 2007 Feb 16.

Cross talk between type III secretion and flagellar assembly systems in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Soscia C, Hachani A, Bernadac A, Filloux A, Bleves S.

Laboratoire d'Ingenierie des Systemes Macromoleculaires (LISM), CNRS-IBSM-UPR9027, 31 Chemin Joseph Aiguier, 13402 Marseille Cedex 20, France.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa cytotoxicity is linked to a type III secretion system (T3SS) that delivers effectors into the host cell. We show here that a negative cross-control exists between T3SS and flagellar assembly. We observed that, in a strain lacking flagella, T3SS gene expression, effector secretion, and cytotoxicity were increased. Conversely, we revealed that flagellar-gene expression and motility were decreased in a strain overproducing ExsA, the T3SS master regulator. Interestingly, a nonmotile strain lacking the flagellar filament (DeltafliC) presented a hyperefficient T3SS and a nonmotile strain assembling flagella (DeltamotAB) did not. More intriguingly, a strain lacking motCD genes is a flagellated strain with a slight defect in swimming. However, in this strain, T3SS gene expression was up-regulated. These results suggest that flagellar assembly and/or mobility antagonizes the T3SS and that a negative cross talk exists between these two systems. An illustration of this is the visualization by electron microscopy of T3SS needles in a nonmotile P. aeruginosa strain, needles which otherwise are not detected. The molecular basis of the cross talk is complex and remains to be elucidated, but proteins like MotCD might have a crucial role in signaling between the two processes. In addition, we found that the GacA response regulator negatively affects the T3SS. In a gacA mutant, the T3SS effector ExoS is hypersecreted. Strikingly, GacA was previously reported as a positive regulator for motility. Globally, our data document the idea that some virulence factors are coordinately but inversely regulated, depending on the bacterial colonization phase and infection types. (David Tribe- unsigned)

Merits of the claims

"Just to be clear: the purpose of this talk page is not to discuss the merits of whatever claims intelligent design makes, but the article and related matters, such the management of the article. By focusing on the article, we can avoid needless controversy."

We are discussing the article. The merits of statements in the article, or proposed to be included in the article have to be settled. These are essential parts of ensuring the article is improved. If it is to be included under Biology we have to ensure that the claims about biology are professional in quality. There are bound to be disagreements about this as the topic is largely consisting of misunderstandings about biology, and to leave those misunderstanding unexplained will be a disservice to the reader . There is yet to appear in the article any example of irreducible complexity in which there is any demonstration that the complicity is actually irreducible, or a discussion of the logical criteria for irreducibility. David Tribe 06:17, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

I think I understand you, but think you're aiming at the wrong target. I don't have any problem with the idea of irreducible complexity (but consider it to be conventionally explainable). Complexity of a system is not an absolute, it is simply measured by the number of interactions between the components; the more interactions the more complex the system. However what is currently called a complex system is generally one where interesting behaviour arises as a direct result of the complexity, and the most interesting systems are those composed of simple components where complexity results in emergent behaviour. Emergent behaviour is systems level behaviour that, by definition, arises only above a certain (high) level of complexity, and these are relatively easy to demonstrate computationally in dynamical systems modeling, and lots of examples of emergent behaviour in biological systems have been described/proposed. Now any emergent behaviour is irreducibly complex in the sense that simpler systems do not exhibit such behaviour at all. In other words, you cannot trace a path of directed evolution from simple systems that express the 'target' behaviour in rudimentary form to the final form. This is said by ID proponents to pose a challenge to Darwinism.

The answer (or an answer) is that systems have not evolved for a single purpose throughout evolution. (One example is evolution of the wing - as a structure for flight, small wings are pretty useless, but it is argued that they evolved for thermoregulation (where small wings have some adaptive value and bigger wings are more efficient. Beyond a certain point they also become useful for their aerodynamic properties and so become subject to selection pressure towards a different goal). So an emergent behaviour might arise as a result of increasing complexity in a network where the components were adapted for different purposes, but when the threshold for emergence was reached, evolution then took a different path.

So there is a serious and well posed challenge - how could evolution produce behaviours that absolutely require a highly complex, multi component system - a challenge posed as the question of irreducible complexity. There is also an answer. The answer might be wrong, we don't know the actual path that evolution took. But, for the moment, modern evolutionary theory is not at hazard because there are plausibleanswers within the theory. They just aren't easy to get across concisely.

So in summary, irreducible complexity is everywhere; I just don't see it that hard to explain how it might have arisen.Gareth Leng 07:35, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

I'm sorry, but I'm still confused. David, are you suggesting that we not have an article about intelligent design at all? If you agree that it's all right that we have one, then how do you think the article should be improved? --Larry Sanger 08:15, 23 May 2007 (CDT)
Larry my position is that it will inevitably attempt to include much discussion that will fail to meet ethical criteria of professional scientists. Already at least two editors in that group have stated that it will not fit. This was overridden. We are thus faced with the unpleasant task of ensuring what is written is consistent with professional biology. A simple solution is to take it out of that category. While it's under Biology it must be based on evidence about the natural world that has meet peer review criticism. The onus of those who wish to discuss it is to provide that basis. Its a tough ask. The same, less difficult actually, applies to the argument that HIV does not cause AIDS, and several other controversies. I have no problems with a CZ article on ID but if its categorised as natural science it has to meet certain demanding critical standards. In math it would have to meet the math editors standard. It might fit with History, and Current Events. David Tribe 18:18, 25 May 2007 (CDT)


[2] Quote: Contrary to the assertions of Behe and Dembski, a survey has shown that only 20 of the 42 proteins of the Salmonella typhimurium flagellum are universally required in bacterial flagella; and of those, 18 have already been found to have homologous related proteins that function in other, simpler biochemical systems (23). It is therefore not true that simpler precursors would be nonfunctional; they clearly could have had different functions, just like the related systems in existence today. Deleting parts from a modern system does not simulate evolution in reverse, any more than decapitating modern vertebrates provides information about the origin of cephalization in early invertebrates.

The relevant citation is this: This is only part but the full papers must be read for this point to be fully appreciated

REF 23- Nat Rev Microbiol. 2006 Oct;4(10):784-90. Epub 2006 Sep 5.


From The Origin of Species to the origin of bacterial flagella. Pallen MJ, Matzke NJ.

In the recent Dover trial, and elsewhere, the 'Intelligent Design' movement has championed the bacterial flagellum as an irreducibly complex system that, it is claimed, could not have evolved through natural selection. Here we explore the arguments in favour of viewing bacterial flagella as evolved, rather than designed, entities. We dismiss the need for any great conceptual leaps in creating a model of flagellar evolution and speculate as to how an experimental programme focused on this topic might look. PMID 16953248

Crucially, Miller pointed out that the flagellum is modular, in that the T3SS (Type 3 secretion system that is responsible for flagellar protein export constitutes a functionally intact subsystem capable of performing a useful function (protein secretion) in the absence of the rest of the flagellar apparatus. However, there are additional arguments, which we elaborate below, in favour of viewing bacterial flagella as evolved — rather than designed — entities.

Therefore, when discussing flagellar evolution it is important to appreciate that there is no such thing as 'the' bacterial flagellum. Instead, there are myriad different bacterial flagella, showing extensive variation in form and function. The most well-studied bacterial flagellar system is that of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (Salmonella typhimurium) (Box 1). However, in Gram-positive bacteria, flagella lack P- and L-rings4, and in spirochaetes the flagellar filaments rotate inside the periplasm5. Some flagella rotate using proton-motive force, others depend on a sodium-ion gradient6, 7. In Sinorhizobium meliloti and Rhodobacter sphaeroides, the flagellum rotates unidirectionally, with a fast, slow or stop mechanism, whereas in S. typhimurium reversals in the direction of flagellar rotation are used to re-orientate the cell8, 9. Flagellar filaments vary in their physical properties: some show right-handed helical packing, others left-handed; some are flexible, others rigid; some are straight, others curly10; some undergo post-translational modifications such as glycosylation or methylation, others do not11, 12. In Escherichia coli alone there are over forty antigenically distinct flagellins, with good evidence that variation is driven by diversifying natural selection13. Indeed, flagellins in general provide a perfect illustration of Darwin's dictum14 that "nature is prodigal in variety, though niggard in innovation", in that the surface-exposed domains are highly variable, ranging in length from effectively zero to 800 residues, yet the peripheral domains that mediate inter-subunit interactions are highly conserved15. Furthermore, some systems deploy a single flagellin, whereas others, like the S. typhimurium model system, exploit two different flagellins, but never in the same filament. In other exceptional cases, up to six different flagellins are incorporated into a single flagellum16.

Many new flagellar systems have been discovered through genome sequencing — a trend that is likely to increase with time. For example, over three hundred flagellin sequences were obtained in a single sequencing project that focused on samples from the Sargasso Sea17. By even the most conservative estimate, there must therefore be thousands of different bacterial flagellar systems, perhaps even millions. Therefore, there is no point discussing the creation or ID of 'the' bacterial flagellum. Instead, one is faced with two options: either there were thousands or even millions...

....vestigial non-functional remnants of flagellar genes or regulons have been discovered in several bacterial species18, 19, 20, 21. This phenomenon is evident even in the model organism E. coli K-12, which possesses a two-gene remnant of an ablated flagellar system (Flag-2)21. At least one degenerate flagellar system (from Brucella melitensis) still has a cryptic role in infection, even though it is no longer capable of mediating flagellar motility — proof that flagellar systems can mediate a useful function other than locomotion22.

Despite this diversity, it is clear that all (bacterial) flagella share a conserved core set of proteins. Of the forty or so proteins in the standard flagellum of S.typhimurium strain LT2 or E. coli K-12, only about half seem to be universally necessary (Table 1). This reduced flagellum is still a challenge to explain, but if one accepts that all current flagellar systems diverged from their last common ancestor (the ur-flagellum), why stop there? All flagellins show sequence similarity indicative of common ancestry (homology)15, 23. But then all flagellins also share homology with another component of the flagellar filament, the hook-associated protein 3 (HAP3) or FlgL (as is evident from the application of InterProScan to FlgL from E. coli)15, 24. Therefore, although the ur-flagellum contained flagellin and HAP3, these two proteins must have evolved from a common ancestor in a simpler system that contained only one flagellin-HAP3 homologue. Similarly, six proteins from the rod (FlgB, FlgC, FlgF and FlgG), hook (FlgE) and filament (HAP1/FlgK) show sequence similarities indicative of common ancestry25. Therefore, the flagellar rod–hook–filament complex has clearly evolved by multiple rounds of gene duplication and subsequent diversification, starting from just two proteins (a proto-flagellin and a proto-rod/hook protein) that were capable of polymerization into an axial arrangement.

When examining homologies between flagellar and non-flagellar (NF) proteins, it becomes clear that several flagellar subunits share common ancestry with components from other biological systems. For example, at least two regulatory components are homologous to NF proteins: FliK resembles YscP from the Ysc–Yop NF T3SS, and the flagellar sigma factor, FliA, shows clear sequence and structural homology to several other NF sigma factors25, 26, 27, 28. Similarly, FlgA, which has a role in the assembly of the P ring, has recently been shown to be homologous to CpaB, a protein involved in type IV pilus assembly29. More specifically, both proteins contain a pair of tandem beta-clip domains that, it has been hypothesized, might bind to sugars in peptidoglycan29. On a similar theme, FlgJ contains a C-terminal amidase 4 domain, which mediates hydrolysis of peptidoglycan and is shared with many other bacterial proteins30.

Thanks David; however, there is a misconception apparent here - the misconsception is that ID denies evolution. It doesn't; it only denies undirected evolution, i.e. by natural selection. The idea behind it is that there has to be something (an intelligence) to 'direct' evolution. In this case, to drect the evolution of a group of proteins to allow them to display a behaviour that is only apparent when they are all connected. The argument holds whether we are talking about 20 proteins as much as for 40, and whether about one species or many. The only rebuttal that I see is in that first sentence "Crucially, Miller pointed out that the flagellum is modular, in that the T3SS (Type 3 secretion system that is responsible for flagellar protein export constitutes a functionally intact subsystem capable of performing a useful function (protein secretion) in the absence of the rest of the flagellar apparatus." This essentially is the argument as I stated above, that the components might have evolved by natural selection for different purposes, and that motility is an emergent property that arose subsequently. The rest is not germane to the issue. Incidentally I don't think that Behe declared that the 42 were "universally necessary"; I don't see why he would as this is not necessary to the argument, only that in at least one species some large number are all necessary for any functionality.
However, a full and careful account of the flagellum system and the conventional interpretation would I think be exactly what is needed here. We can't rebut the general thesis, but can seek to show in a particular flagship example that ID does not pose a serious challenge to modern biology, despite what its proponents claim. Seems to me we can do that calmly and fairly and be all the more effective for avoiding disparagement. In other words, it's enough to show that the claim is wrong without suggesting that it is illegitimate to make it in the first place.

Gareth Leng 09:10, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

Gareth, for a variety of reasons I could not agree more. Will Nesbitt 15:56, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

Gareth, is not this whole section, and as in the article, original research? Who among prominent crtics of specifically ID has made this argument? What have those critics said? Stephen Ewen 13:27, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

I don't accept this line. This is not Wikipedia. I think that one of the differences is that we favour a coherent narrative thread, and the validity of the factual statements therein we can assert on our own authority as experts, in other words we can synthesize information from multiple sources. The arguments have been made in the literature by many sources, some specifically addressing ID and some addressing the examples that ID cite - such as the flagellum. If ID uses flagellum as an example, I certainly think it appropriate to state the biological account of flagellar function and evolution whether or not those accounts were written to counter ID. The article at present contains no novel criticisms of ID and no novel account of evolution or biological processes. The flagellar argument has been very explicitly addressed by several authors in terms related to those used here. There are certainly references to be added - I write directly on the wiki so things come from me in bits. (Incidentally the section that you refer to above I think is from David, not me) However if you have specific concerns please point them out, as I guess I take for granted too many things. The scaffolding metaphor is for instance (I think) first used by Gould, but has become so common that I tend to forget to attribute it. Gould needs citing in this article, and I'll try to find the most appropriate way to do that. It sounds as though Miller should also but I haven't read his book I'm afraid.Gareth Leng 07:27, 25 May 2007 (CDT)

First paragraph pretty good now, I think

The first paragraph of a controversy-strewn topic such as this is supremely important. I think that as it now stands it's pretty good; it seems to me to be impartial, judicious, knowledgeable, and informative; it gives a good overview of what ID, and possible controversies, is about. Hayford Peirce 09:54, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

It is much better than a couple of days ago. However, I reversed the second and third sentences. I think it's not unreasonable to have two sentences describing ID before we jump into the criticisms. Also, the logic follows through the paragraph better now, with evidence for the claim following the introduction of the claim. Now the second paragraph follows logically by expanding on the scientific theory/non-theory disagreement brought up at the end of the opening paragraph. --Eric Winesett 12:13, 23 May 2007 (CDT)
I wholeheartedly agree. I did snip a clause and made a minor change to the first paragraph. The clause I removed was subtly, but definitely, critical of ID. I think this is better left to the second paragraph. Furthermore, the clause removed ignores the possibility that the Intelligent Designer designed those laws of nature which many mainstream scientists describe as "chance" and the "laws of nature". This is a nuanced difference from what is implied by the clause, but too awkward to explain in the overview. Will Nesbitt 15:55, 23 May 2007 (CDT)
The first paragraph is really hopeless for a biology article. It consists of discussion of irrelevant philosophical points and hearsay. It should focus on the evidence from factual examples presented in peer reviewed biology journals by professional biologists. So where are the peer reviewed articles that present the evidence on this the inytelligent design argunts are substantiated. I am seraching for them, biut they have to be identified. So far there is only evidence showing the concept is rather unconvincing and that the flagellum example has been misanaysed as evidence for intelligent design, as its irreducible complexity is demonstrably reducible. What the point in writing about opinions when the evidence is not presented in a credible way. We will need to develop the evidence first. David Tribe 07:18, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
David, compare this to the first paragraph of an article about bigfoot (another "biological" phenomenon). The first paragraph would describe bigfoot as a hairy upright primate thought to live in North America. The second paragraph would state the mainstream opinion that there is no credible evidence for the existance of bigfoot.
What constantly amazes me about Intelligent Design (and I'm not talking about you specifically here) is its ability to stir up passions and endless arguments. No one seems to worry about completely and utterly rebuking bigfoot or the Bermuda Triangle, but by golly the world might fall off its axis if the ID argument isn't presented from some particular perspective.
And here's my particular perspective. (I can only hit one note so I hope my song isn't too annoying.) ID is no scarier or more dangerous than bigfoot and people who believe in bigfoot will do so regardless of what is written herein. What does it hurt to describe bigfoot's fur, the unique arch of his fur, his malodorus stench and the sound of his midnight shriek. There's plenty of room in the next paragraph to provide reasons why most scientists don't believe there is sufficient evidence to support any claims about bigfoot.
Of course, there are always the claims that it's dangerous because children use the site for research and they might be confused. This is possible, but unlikely. When I was 7 I believed in the tooth fairy. When I was 13 I believed in bigfoot. When I was 21 I was an atheist. I'm just over forty and who knows which beliefs I now hold that I will abandon by the time I'm sixty?
People tend to figure things out on their own, in their own ways and in their own time. I don't think we need more than a top level pro and con on this argument. If you feel yourself getting worked up because ID is given too much credibility herein, then remember: ID is just bigfoot. If you feel yourself getting worked up because ID is being slighted herein, be thankful because from what I've seen Citizendium is the best chance for ID to get a fair shake in a reputable forum. Then, we can agree to back away and let the activists and fanatics wage trench-warfare elsewhere. Just my humble and yet unsolicited opinion, but maybe some better form of this manifesto needs to be summarized at the end of the article to terminate the circular arguments. Will Nesbitt 08:17, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
David, the first paragraph of this article should concern the general claims made by ID proponents, and how scientists respond to those claims. It is not necessarily the purpose of the article, let alone the first paragraph of the article, to present "the evidence from factual examples presented in peer reviewed biology journals by professional biologists." Since most ID proponents are not professional biologists (depending on how you label the people associated with the Discovery Institute), most of ID is developed outside of peer-reviewed biology journals. But that, of course, is your point. What exactly do you take to follow from that? That we shouldn't have an article about ID, or what? I wish you would answer this question.
I think you might be saying that, if there are no "factual examples" in biology journals, then the article shouldn't be assigned to the Biology Workgroup. But I don't think that follows. The article will report claims by ID proponents about biological facts; biologists are best suited to debunk such claims, and of course they do so not infrequently, even the likes of E. O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins. As I'm sure you know. --Larry Sanger 08:38, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
Neutrality is important in this article not only because it is a cornerstone of CZ, but for simple tactical reasons. If an article takes an overtly opinionated editorial line, then it will simply be disregarded by those who we might most wish to be influenced by reason. The principle must surely be that we enable the reader to make up his or her own mind given the clearest factual information that we can deliver. In this case, the facts are mainly facts about opinions - i.e. what is the case for ID as made by ID proponents? and what is the case against ID as made by biologists? I don't think that it helps to interleave the case for ID in the body of the text with line by line rebuttals, as it imposes overt opinion onto what is a reporting of fact - i.e. the fact that this is the case as made. Some interleaving is necessary in the lead I guess, but I think that we biologists both can afford some humility and indeed need to show it - it is our opinion that the case we make for evolution of flagellum is a satisfactory one. Others may be unconvinced. The only way to be convincing is not be exercising authority (with phrases like "all mainstream biologists agree") but by displaying a reasoned and coherent account; this we can do, with the aid of David's literature references. Perhaps it's best to leave the lead until last, but at present it seems clear from the lead what the opinion of the authors of this article is about ID, and so I think it fails at least my neutrality test - that conclusions be left for the intelligent reader to draw, and that it should not be obvious what the opinions of the authors are.Gareth Leng 09:21, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
It seems that what is missing is a scholarly review of ID by the classic ID proponents. Where can that information be found? Who can find it-who has access to those references and the interest and motivation to read them? I read this article and still have no idea when the historical record first makes mention of this idea, who its major proponents have been, etc. Isn't that what the lead should clearly include? Right now all it really says is: "Proponents of ID point to examples in the natural world, such as living organisms that, in their view, can best be explained by a higher intelligence, rather than by chance interactions." Has no author ever published a book that received serious discussion by scholars- whether they be in philosophy, religion, or alternative biology (for lack of a better term)? I don't understand how this subject can be important if that's not the case. Is this a situation where you all are aware of smething that you think the general audience knows? Please be more explicit. Even that #$*!! watchmaker analogy that keeps coming up- how about presenting it more cxlearly and in its various permutations? This article seems as if the framers of the idea of ID are absent and only the critics are present. All that is clear here is that there is a big controversy. And I don't think it's a neutrality ssue so much as it is the void of actual encyclopedic information about ID. I would fill it if I could, but I can't. Actually I am getting quite curious to know about it, since it seems to have raised such a storm. Can't anyone help me out and write it? Nancy Sculerati 10:07, 24 May 2007 (CDT) "The classic design argument for the existence of an intelligent creator may be traced to ancient philosophy, medieval scholastics (e.g., Aquinas) and early modern thought, such as the "watchmaker analogy" by William Paley." was Thomas Aquinas one of the proponents of ID? Was William Paley. Ridicule me if you want, but I know next to nothing about either one. If they were in fact proponents why isn't

Quite right Nancy, and I've been looking at the ID literature myself. I think both Dembski and Behe deserve close attention. Dembski's arguments on specified complexity are very technical, and hard to encapsulate, but it's a non trivial and interesting approach, certainly shouldn't be brushed aside. He's demonised for the conclusions not for the means of getting there, which just seems wrong to me - I think the original book was a Cambridge University press monograph, it was only when the idea was attached to ID that the criticism started to flow. Gareth Leng 10:34, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

On the history - I think until the 20th century, most scientists believed in God the creator, and saw nothing exceptionable in the idea that evidence of His hand was to be found by close observation of living things. Indeed, it would have seemed almost perverse to accept the existence of a creator and yet to deny the possibility that He left any evidence of his work. Even Darwin hesitated (very markedly) about accounting for man through natural selection. Having said that, the argument that you could deduce the existence of God from observation (Aquinas' argument) was always controversial. In purely abstract terms though I think the question is a fair one - Is it possible to distinguish objectively between an article that has been designed (i.e. has evolved in a directed way) to fulfil a particular purpose, and one that has evolved by natural selection to fit its purpose? I don't know the answer to that question but it seems a reasonable one to ask.Gareth Leng 10:50, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

Thanks- I am not familiar with any of Thomas Aquinas' arguments. I just ask that if (and I still don't know) he was a proponent of ID that this be made clear- and why his arguments are im,p[ortant to that idea is made explicit, including a summary of what the arguments are. Nor do I know anything about either Dembski and Behe, in fact, I have never seen either one of their names before. So, at the least, I would much appreciate your filling in a clear explanation of just who all these people are and what their ideas were in so far as ID is concerned. If you are able to, if in fact what Americans mean buy ID (The lawsuits about teaching ID in schools are American, I don't know if this goes on elsewhere) is the same as what you are talking about. I am very interested to read it if no one else is and would thank you for it. Nancy Sculerati 11:08, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
Just on this one point--Aquinas couldn't have been a proponent of ID simply because ID purports to be a scientific theory. Aquinas merely used a version of the design argument, as did many other philosopher-theologians. That doesn't make him an ID proponent. --Larry Sanger 11:25, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
Agree its necessary to identify the sources we quote from and I've inserted a holding section on this.Gareth Leng 11:48, 24 May 2007 (CDT)