I got a request to respond to a survey, the survey group being those who run pro-science websites and weblogs (though not referred to in quite that way), the particular answers to remain anonymous, and the results to be posted to an “intelligent design” weblog when completed.
The survey has but one question:
On which points are intelligent design and creationism identical? […] (Please check all that apply.)
The options given are, as often happens in amateur surveys, wretchedly incomplete. Here they are:
A. Both creationism and intelligent design require one to have a particular interpretation of the Biblical creation account.
B. Both creationism and intelligent design require one to accept a particular age of the Earth and of the universe.
C. Both creationism and intelligent design require one to reject evolution.
D. Both creationism and intelligent design identify the Christian God as the creator.
E. Both creationism and intelligent design hold that there is an intelligence behind certain features of nature.
F. There are no points of similarity between creationism and intelligent design.
G. None of the above options accurately describe the relationship between creationism and intelligent design.
I hope that others responding to this question, if sticking with the options above, simply respond with “G”.
If nothing else, the author of this survey has managed to overlook the option recently taken by Judge Jones in the decision for the Kitzmiller v. DASD case:
“Intelligent design” (or other labels on the same argument content) is a sham designed to insert the same arguments that were ruled impermissible in previous cases.
Another live option that encapsulates the same relationship without bringing in the legal term “sham” would be:
“Intelligent design” is a subset of the arguments previously labeled “creation science”.
Consider Henry M. Morris of the Institute for Creation Research, who criticized “intelligent design” thus: “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.”
I think that people who answer within the current framework, but don’t take option “G”, are likely to respond with option “E”. And I think that the useful rhetoric for “ID” to be gained thereby is to say that even pro-science people don’t see overlap between the religious content of “ID” and SciCre. For various other options given, the “ID” rhetoric is likely to be that the respondents simply “don’t understand ID”, and “how can they make such false criticisms?” The option likely to be touted as the “honest” answer would be “F”, though anyone picking that would have to be pretty much completely ignorant of the argument content of the two labels.
As given, the whole thing looks phonier than a street game of three-card Monte. And like that venerable con, the mark either cannot give the right answer, or is likely to get mugged for doing so.