December 15, 2007

The Designer of intelligent design is... the Christian God.

Cdesign proponentsists of Intelligent Design have claimed many times over, as they did during the Kitzmiller v. Dover Board of Ed trial, that their notion is not religious because nothing is said explicitly about the nature of the designer. They all know who that "designer" really is, but it took William Dembski, the "Isaac Newton" of the Intelligent Design movement in an interview published yesterday in Focus on the Family's CitizenLink to finally put all speculation to rest.

I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.
That's nice and clear. Not only is the Designer in Intelligent Design a deity, it's the deity of a specific religion. This isn't Vishnu or Allah or Zeus; the Designer is Jehovah, the God of the New Testament.

Anyone who maintains that Intelligent Design isn't a religious doctrine can stop now. Game over, thanks for playing, your consolation prize is nothing. Dembski has spoken; the Designer of Intelligent Design is the Christian God.

Because things have a tendency to vanish down the memory hole, particularly when a Dover-like trial might be brewing in Florida or Texas in the near future, I've taken the liberty of saving a screen shot that shows Dembski's photo and part of the text of this interview, including the statement above. It's 283Kb and looks exactly like the FotF website, so there's no reason to click on it now. The link to the image is there simply as a placeholder for future reference.

Over at Uncommon Descent, the Intelligent Design weblog, various adherents are doing a variety of mental gymnastics in an attempt to paint the picture that Dembski's statement is one of personal belief and has nothing to do with the essential underpinnings of their sorcerous pseudoscience. While amusing to observe, it's rather unconvincing. Dembski was very clear in his statement. He didn't say "I believe that the Designer is the Christian God" or "Some people think that the Designer is the Christian God." He said that ultimately, the Designer in Intelligent Design is the Christian God. He's made a statement about the thing he's spent many years advocating in the media and his books.

A commenter at UD called PlatosPlaything puts the impact of Dembski's statement into some context:
Umm, that bothers me. This founder of the movement is not saying, “ID proves design, and in my opinion the designer is Jesus,” but, as a fact, the designer is Jesus. As you know, I’m a pagan ID supporter. Where does this leave people like me — as well as the scores of Jews, Muslims and atheists who support ID?

And as for academic freedom: yes, of course academics have the right, even in a public institution, to develop theories with controversial conclusions. But they do not have the right to tell my children that science says that Jesus made the world. Because, to put it bluntly, he didn’t. That, as far as I’m concerned, is simply a fact.
Of course, there's a pretty simple answer to that question, as the tone of a couple of those who have responded to PlatosPlaything have shown. It leaves you chucked out of the formerly big tent. In order to survive in America, because it's been losing favor with Christian science-deniers since Kitzmiller, the Intelligent Design movement is in the process of redefining itself as an expressly religious and expressly Christian one. The "scores" of Pagans, Jews and Muslims who have supported it are a tiny minority of those who do so and by purging them from the party and advocating for the One True Faith, ID can pick up a lot of Christian literalists who have heretofore come to the conclusion that it wasn't worth their time.

Dembski's statement — and it isn't his first with this flavor — is a signal of changing tactics. Next time around, the trial won't be about whether Intelligent Design is science, it will be about whether religious doctrine can be taught in public schools. It's a change in strategy also resulting from the loss in Kitzmiller.
I've got plenty of ulterior religious motive, I'd like to see ID succeed because of my Christian background and beliefs.

— William Dembski, 9/17/07

It's long past time to drop all the pretense and see Intelligent Design Creationism as a calculated means of advocating that a particular religion be taught in public schools as if it were science. It isn't, and it never was and, by demonstrating its true basis, Dembski has now explained quite clearly why it never will be.

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