Twice I have heard certain critiques levelled against intelligent design theory and its proponents that do not seem to me to comment on the actual theory. I would like to present this critique now and point out that is not actually critique of intelligent design, but a critique of some misunderstood modification thereof. As a critique of this as yet unnamed third theory, it is devestating. Of intelligent design theory per se, it is not a critique at all.
Critique of some theory #1: Federal Judge John E. Jones III… called [intelligent design] a “mere re-labeling of creationism” and said it amounted to an unconstitutional establishment of religion.
What intelligent design is not, part 1: Intelligent design is not Christian, is not Creationism in the normal sense of the term, nor is it even Theistic. It is a scientific hypothesis born out of observation of our very perplexing universe.*
Critique of some theory #2: “I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.”
First of all this is hilarious. Second of all, it does not, sadly, comment on the important issues surround the origins debate. The critique being levelled, if I may be permitted to “propositionalize” the joke, is that invoking a god or gods as the creator of things, without seeing him, knowing anything about him (them), or even making sense of his (their) attributes, is absurdity beyond absurdity. Well and good! God does make sense to some people, I have no problem with that.
What intelligent design is not, part 2: Intelligent design makes no comment (as of yet) as to who this intelligence is. Whether it is a spaghetti monstor, a lepricon, or James Taylor, having become supremly powerful and omniscient, going back in time to design our universe to support life… this is not currently at question. The first question for science is, “The universe has irreducibly complex systems within it. What hypothesis explains this data?”
I do hope this clarification is helpful to some people. Please let me know if it is not, or if I am missing something.