UK columnist defends intelligent design

May 2, 2009 • 7:05 am

Lest anybody say that creationism isn’t a problem in the UK (and this is something I heard repeatedly while lecturing about evolution on the Queen Mary 2), have a look at this week’s Spectator column by the British conservative writer Melanie Phillips.  She makes the absurd claim that intelligent design is not the same thing as creationism, and asserts that Judge Jones was flatly wrong in finding them similar.

Whatever the ramifications of the specific school textbooks under scrutiny in the Kitzmiller/Dover case, the fact is that Intelligent Design not only does not come out of Creationism but stands against it. This is because Creationism comes out of religion while Intelligent Design comes out of science. Creationism, whose proponents are Bible literalists, is a specific doctrine which holds that the earth was literally created in six days. Intelligent Design, whose proponents are mainly scientists, holds that the complexity of science suggests that there must have been a governing intelligence behind the origin of matter, which could not have developed spontaneously from nothing.

Really? ID comes out of science?  Which scientists did the work that led to the hypothesis of intelligent design? And  what about the doctored ID textbook in which the word “creationism” was simply replaced by the words “intelligent design”? Why is it that the biggest supporters of ID are evangelical Christians?  And if she thinks the proponents of ID are “mainly scientists,” she should look again.

Ms. Phillips has a track record of attacking evolution; here’s another example:

But evolution is not a fact. It is a theory with holes in it. What Emmanuel questions in its religion classes, and may question in its science classes, is scientism, the doctrine that says the only questions worth asking are the ones that science can answer.

This is an extremely dubious doctrine which many scientists themselves think is anti-science. Scientists such as the physicist Stephen Hawking still haven’t managed to produce their grand theory of everything that can explain the mysteries of creation.

And evolution certainly does not have all the answers. It does not explain human self-consciousness; it does not explain altruism; it does not explain how existence began.

Scientists like Dawkins say such questions are unanswerable and therefore should not be asked. But this attitude is not only the height of arrogance – when it translates into telling faith schools what they cannot teach and what pupils are not allowed to think, it becomes totalitarian.

Her article is hardly worth refuting, but it’s important in showing that seemingly intelligent and influential people in the UK buy into forms of creationism. As I’ve said repeatedly to Brits, the problem in their country is much worse than they realize.  And The Spectator should be ashamed of itself.  This is not a matter of opinion; it’s a matter of fact.

19 thoughts on “UK columnist defends intelligent design

  1. It’s a sad fact that we Brits have our share of IDiots. Even worse, it seems that those with least to say tend to shout the loudest!

    Phillips and her ilk are a menace to society, but I suppose that is the cost we pay for freedom of speech.

  2. The mistake you made is calling Melanie Phillips a ‘conservative writer’. At best, she is an ignorant pseudo-journalist, and most likely a malicious extreme creationist.

  3. Not only is ‘Mad Mel’ (as she is known over here) a supporter of Intelligent Design Creationism, but she is one of the shrillest voices in the UK ‘MMR causes autism’ movement. A truly appalling human being all round.

  4. First we had belief in God or gods, then the brilliant Darwin came along with the wonderful theory of Evolution,evidenced by the progression of design,presumed understandably to be nature. Now our scientists are about to create life artificially through the synthesis of DNA, should we now start to consider the concept of progression of design by advanced science? Our scientists as sure as eggs are eggs will want to create more complex organisms and who knows eventually create ‘ man’ in their own image. Are we so attached to the theory of Evolution that we cannot look beyond at other possibilities , which include a much wider spectrum of understanding the past, in a new 21st century light

    1. If you look at the Raelian philosophy, they claim that we were created by an advanced race of human scientists from elsewhere in our galaxy.

      I really believed in evolution, but having looked into this in detail, I now tend to believe in ID, it makes sense and shouldn’t just be dismissed as nonsense! Even Darwin himself confessed before he passed, that his theory was absurd to the highest degree!

      1. If you aren’t joking, you are misrepresenting Darwin. I’ll ask you to post the ENTIRE DARWIN QUOTE about “absurdity” here — in context — and defend what you said about it.

        No, wait, I’ll do it for you:

        “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.”

        Now, make a convincing case from this that Darwin thought his theory was absurd.

  5. Caught your lectures on the QM2 (and bought the book!) We really enjoyed them and agree that we have a real problem emerging in UK. Thanks again Jerry for the wonderful and humorous talks on-board.

  6. Ms. Philips is the UK equivalent of our own Glenn Beck. I believe that in addition to being an evolution denier and anti-vaxer, Ms. Philips is a global warning denier.

  7. I wonder how it that she can reference Dawkins while being completely unaware of a book he wrote titled “The Selfish Gene”, which laid out an evolutionary explanation for altruism. That’s the very opposite of claiming that “such questions are unanswerable”.

  8. Oh brother.
    This is the quality of evolutionist opposition to I.D/
    Oh brother.
    I.D is not biblical creationism. my crowd. We are usually evangelical christians who believe the bible is the word of god. So no error.
    I.d is from god believers but never evangelicals.
    Most or all I.D folks don’t believe Genesis is true. No noah.
    They just see some God having a hand in much of earths workings.
    So they question Darwin and so on.
    Some are Jews. Not Evangelicals.

    by the way THANK YOU.
    Biblical creationism got a great deal of welcome publicity in the last few years because of the public attention and attack against the I.D folks.
    In trying to say they are us you gave us more credibility because these i.D folks sell books a plenty and this gets reviews a plenty and a compound effect of attention that we get a percentage of.
    The false uniting of us and i.D gave us a great gain and I.d very little problem.
    In fact they would say the incompetence or malice of saying they are Noah believers makes their point about the evolution crowds poor research, or poor form.
    Keep it under your hat.

    P.S. More attention for us YEC brings more money. Thanks for the museum

    1. I see Robert Byers is expressing his racism here too.

      But once again, Byers is totally blind to all the court cases that throws out his brand of nonsense and ruled that ID and creationism is the same set of fantasies and fiction of a bible that is not even great literature.

      Small minds like Byers and his false bravado is a combination of malicious and pathetic nonsense.

  9. Newenglandbob
    Racism? There is nothing racist in what i said. Please demonstrate where as the burden of proof is on the accuser. Otherwise its malice.
    The few court cases were poorly judged and its wishful thinking to think they will stop freedom of speech/ideas in the classroom.
    Its a simple equation that is going to come to America.
    If one can’t say God/Genesis is a option for origins then one can’t say it isn’t.
    the separation concept is about separation between both parties and not one party only from the other.
    Get ready, Get set,Get equal time.
    Don’t let Canada here beat you.

    1. You singled out Jews. Why is that? You didn’t say Catholics or Protestants or Muslims or Hindus etc. “Some are Jews. Not Evangelicals” Yep, racist.

      Anyway, The court cases were overwhelmingly judged correctly. Read the judgments. No one says you can’t SAY speak it. You just can’t ram it down other people’s throats in a classroom because it is supernatural nonsense with no evidence, no proof. It is not equal time at all, truth will always win out over your fantasies and lies and your attempts to control others. The court cases are prime example of freedom from YOUR type of tyranny.

  10. NewEnglandbob
    You explain your reasoning.
    The reason I said jews, and the context is clearly innocent anyways, was because the thread was saying I.d folks and YEC are the same.
    So by saying Jews i was showing they couldn’t be the same as the Jews were not christian. that was my clear point. The famous ones are Jews.
    Seeing racism here was IMPOSSIBLE..
    it might be slander.
    your logic there is also in the court stuff.

    as i said if you can say the bible is not true then you can say it is.
    Thats separation of state/church.
    the state is ramming down evolution and so its rejection of genesis the throats of the kids.

    no way around it. If you can’t say God/genesis is a option for origins then you can’t say its not a option.
    the separation concept is both ways.

    the answer is freedom of speech/thought on what everyone talks about everywhere else.

    1. You are wrong again. There are Jews who are young earth creationists. It is the OT that started that whole fiction, so why would you think that Jews can’t be creationists?

      Sorry, but you are wrong again. The state is not “ramming down evolution”. The state supports science which has evidence and logic and fossil proof and thousands of other pieces of proof and does not support genesis which has NO evidence, no proof and only a fictional account. Your illogical fantasies are not an option and ONLY jams religious faith in place or reality and evidence and logic.

      You can keep on spouting your nonsense here and it just shows everyone how you have no worthwhile argument. Half of your last comment is not even intelligible English.

      1. Robert is that rare combination of rampant stupidity with vitriolic racism. Usually his type are found wearing sheets and pointy hats

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