Statements by important figures in the ID movement, showing that they do not believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old, or that they otherwise reject the main beliefs of YEC:
For the record, I have no particular opinion about the age of the earth and accept for purposes of argument the currently orthodox figure of 4.6 billion years. I guess I would say that the current evidence is most consistent with some continuous or intermittent creation process over a long period of time, with new genetic information appearing from some source unknown to science. Phillip E. Johnson, in "Should Evolution Be Taught in Schools?," on-line dialogue between Johnson and Philip Kitcher, Slate, August 18, 1999. Johnson is the author of several books on Intelligent Design, and one of its founding architects.
The irreducibly complex biochemical systems that I have discussed in this book did not have to be produced recently. It is entirely possible, based simply on an examination of the systems themselves, that they were designed billions of years ago and that they have been passed down to the present by the normal processes of cellular reproduction. Michael J. Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. New York: The Free Press, 1996, p. 227. Behe is also one of the founding architects of Intelligent Design.
This is another statement by Behe:
. . . the message "evolution or design, one or the other," is a flawed choice. To the extent that the public has gotten that impression, it is regrettable. There is nothing in the idea of intelligent design that precludes the design being unfolded over time, and I myself judge that scenario to be the most consistent with all of the data we currently have. What's more, I am mostly happy with [Loren Haarsma's] statement, "suppose the laws of nature are fine-tuned not only for the self-assembly of molecules and stars and planets, but also for the self-assembly of biological life and biological complexity." Michael J. Behe, "The Positive Side of Intelligent Design: A Response to Loren Haarsma," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 59:63, March 2007.
Although acceptance of intelligent design has now gone international and includes scholars of many different religious faiths and philosophical worldviews, among Christian proponents of intelligent design, the majority hold to a non-literal interpretation of Genesis 1. I’m one of them. William Dembski, "Why President Bush Got It Right about Intelligent Design," BeliefNet, Aug 4, 2005. Dembski is perhaps the current leading theoretician of Intelligent Design.
Here's another statement by Dembski: ". . . I accept standard astrophysical and geological dating (12 billion years for the universe, 4.5 billion years for the Earth) . . ."
Note that this is out of context, not even being a complete sentence, but the meaning is clear, namely that he rejects the central claim of YEC. The material in parenthesis is from the original. Dembski does indicate considerable sympathy for the Young-Earth view in this 54-page essay, which is on theodicy. (the quote is found on page 18) If there is any doubt in your mind that Young-Earth creationists are not universally happy with Dembski, read this critique of that essay, here.
* * * *
Note added to the above on October 21, 2010: Yesterday, The Panda's Thumb Blog (Which, although it is no friend to the ID movement, usually seems get its facts right, and in this case, it is using quotations of Dembski and other sources.) reported that Dembski now says that he is a Young-Earth Creationist. This seems to be a recent development. The same post quotes Dembski as believing that the scientific evidence ruled out YEC, as recently as 2009.
The article indicates that it is possible that Dembski changed his mind on the subject to retain his position at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. It doesn't strongly put that forth, and offers no evidence for that possibility.
There doesn't have to be any shame in changing one's mind. I've done it myself, on origins, and a lot of other things. It is possible that Dembski has changed his simply because he now believes that the Biblical evidence for YEC is overwhelming. He seems to believe that Biblical evidence is more important than scientific evidence.
* * * *
Jonathan Wells is an important member of the ID movement. (For his relationship to the Discovery Institute, see here.) He is the author of Icons of Evolution. Wells has written:
Many people have been given the impression that the chronology of Genesis is the root of the conflict between Christianity and Darwinism. Surprisingly, however, biblical chronology played almost no role in the initial opposition to Darwin's theory, because most Christians in the nineteenth century accepted geological evidence for the age of the earth. Nor was chronology an issue at the 1925 Scopes trial, because creationist William Jennings Bryan accepted the old-earth view. Historically and theologically speaking, the basic conflict between Christianity and Darwinism is not chronology, but design.
Stephen C. Meyer is an important ID theorist. He is one of the main experts consulted by Lee Strobel, in his Case for a Creator. He is a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute. On Jan 29th, the Dallas Morning News published an op-ed piece by Meyer, in which he said, among other things:
The theory [ID] does not challenge the idea of evolution defined as change over time, or even common ancestry, but it does dispute Darwin's idea that the cause of biological change is wholly blind and undirected.
From the FAQ of the Center for Science and Culture, a part of the Discovery Institute, an important supporter of ID:
4. Is intelligent design theory the same as creationism?
No. Intelligent design theory is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the "apparent design" in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism is focused on defending a literal reading of the Genesis account, usually including the creation of the earth by the Biblical God a few thousand years ago. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design is agnostic regarding the source of design and has no commitment to defending Genesis, the Bible or any other sacred text. Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he "agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement." Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are "the easiest way to discredit intelligent design." In other words, the charge that intelligent design is "creationism" is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case. For more information read Center Director Stephen Meyer's piece "Intelligent Design is not Creationism" that appeared in The Daily Telegraph (London) or Center Associate Director's piece "Intelligent Design and Creationism Just Aren't the Same"in Research News & Opportunities.
Numbers (a widely recognized scholar of the history of science) is a critic of Intelligent Design.
Statements by important YEC organizations, showing that they are deeply critical of the ID approach:
Our concern with the intelligent design approach probably devolves upon two main factors. First, it is ineffective, no more convincing to evolutionists than is young-earth creationism; second, it is not really a new approach, using basically the same evidence and arguments used for years by scientific creationists but made to appear more sophisticated with complex nomenclature and argumentation. . . .
The intelligent design movement has been quite successful in one aspect, however. Many Christians now seem to think that it has freed them from having to confront the Genesis record of a young earth and global flood. All they need to do, they have decided, is to believe in intelligent design. This result was surely not what Dembski and others intended, but that is what's happening.
Our other hesitation to get on this bandwagon is their use of the same arguments and evidences we Biblical creationists have used for years, while simultaneously trying to distance themselves from us. Our adherence to Biblical literalism is ridiculed by evolutionists, and the ID advocates would be embarrassed to be tarred with the same brush. In fact, Dembski goes so far as to say belief in evolution itself is okay, as long as it's not naturalistic. Henry Morris, "The Design Revelation," review of William Dembski's The Design Revolution. Morris was the co-author of The Genesis Flood, (1960) among many other accomplishments, and founder of the Institute for Creation Research.
Morris also wrote this:
The most serious deficiency in the ID movement, however, is its neglect of the most important of the alleged evidences for evolution—that is, the problem of the fossils. These are the remains of billions and billions of once-living plants and animals now preserved in the sedimentary crust of the earth. These all give abundant evidence of suffering and death during all the supposed geological ages which they are supposed to depict.
The .PDF version of the file gives the copyright date as 2006. (The .HTML version is here.) The entire article is a discussion of ID versus young-earth creationism, and apparently it is meant as the ICR's current word on the subject.
Answers in Genesis (AiG) is another important YEC organization.
See "AiG’s views on the Intelligent Design Movement," by Carl Wieland, 30 August 2002. To summarize, Wieland says that the ID movement has serious philosophical weaknesses.
The Creation Research Society is another important young-earth creationism organization. They do not have as many problems with ID as the ICR does. Their view is that ID is an ally, that, if successful, will make wide acceptance of young-earth creationism possible. See here for an article on the subject, published by this organization in 2000.
Here's a later article in a publication of the Creation Research Society, which calls on the ID movement to publicly embrace a young earth and the importance of Noah's flood. The article states that: "They sometimes say that they hope to discuss such issues in private later on." (emphasis in original)
The Creation Research Society seems to be a society of scientists, loosely organized, and their publications seldom, if ever, have articles that speak officially for the Society. (This is commonly true of other scientific societies.) Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research are more centrally organized, and many of their publications appear to speak officially for the organization.
It is true that at least some of the conflation of ID and young-earth creationism by opponents of both is a strategy to discredit ID. However, it is also true that some of those who wish to require the teaching of ID in public school classrooms have encouraged, and obtained, the support of young-earth creationists. Many people, mostly evangelical or fundamentalist Christians, not well informed, or maybe even deceived, would identify themselves as believing both Intelligent Design and young-earth creationism.
This post was significantly re-worked on August 15, 2007, from the original post date.
In a previous post, I charted some of the different beliefs about origins. There are sincere Christians who believe neither YEC or ID.
I fixed one typo, and edited the last two sentences in the last full paragraph, on October 4, 2007.
On April 18, 2008, I added a link to another post of mine, which summarizes my problems with the Intelligent Design movement, but emphasizes my belief that the universe, and humans, were designed by an Intelligence. I am by no means alone in having such problems, or in believing that there is an Intelligent Designer.
I also added a link to the source of the second quotation of Michael Behe, because the article is now available freely on-line.
On February 3, 2009, I added a quotation from Jonathan Wells.
On August 8, 2009, I am adding a link to a post from the Panda's Thumb, which post claims, without documentation, unfortunately -- I'm not disputing their claim, but can't back it up -- that three new additions to the staff of one of the branches of the Discovery Institute are Young-Earth Creationists.
On September 7, 2009, I made a few editorial corrections in my own writing -- quotations or source citations were not changed.
On July 30, 2010, I am adding a link to an attempt to define ID, by the BioLogos Forum.
On September 17, 2010, I checked most of the links in this post, and corrected some, and made some minor editorial changes.
On October 21, 2010, I inserted material on a change of belief by William Dembski. That material is clearly marked in the above post.
I have indicated some of my own problems with the Intelligent Design movement here, and with Young-Earth Creationism here.
On March 3, 2012, I became aware of a post, entitled "Intelligent Design is NOT Anti-Evolution," that covers much of the same ground as the post you are reading.
Thanks for reading.