From The Science of Evolution

The Anti-Scientific Agenda of “Intelligent Design”

by Ardea Skybreak

Revolution #011, August 14, 2005, posted at

George W. Bush—who has claimed, contrary to the vast majority of scientists today, that “the jury is still out” on evolution—was asked on August 1 about the teaching of “intelligent design” in schools. He answered, “You’re asking me whether or not people should be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.” In effect, this was a public endorsement from the U.S. president of the teaching of the religious and anti-evolutionary “intelligent design” theory in public schools. As Ardea Skybreak deeply analyzed and exposed in an important series (The Science of Evolution) in this newspaper, “intelligent design” is another variant of totally anti-scientific “creationism” pushed by religious fundamentalists.

In the following excerpt, Skybreak speaks to the wrong and unscientific methods behind “intelligent design.” The entire Science of Evolution series is available online at


From “Part 7f: Summation: A Question of Methods, A Question of Struggle”

The basic methods which the IDCs (Intelligent Design Creationists) use to investigate the world and try to get at the truth of things are actually quite wrong and unscientific. For instance, whenever they run into a complex process which science can’t yet fully explain or understand, they immediately jump to the conclusion (no doubt based on their preconceived religious assumptions) that some kind of conscious intelligence “designed” at least those aspects of life’s features or processes which we can’t yet fully explain. And they stick to this completely unscientific reasoning and approach despite the fact that a great deal of accumulated scientific evidence about the actual workings of natural processes (including known evolutionary processes) provide ample reason to expect that still incomplete human knowledge about natural processes and mechanisms will keep growing into more complete knowledge of those same processes. But it is important to realize that actual scientific understanding (and advances made on the basis of that understanding) will continue to expand only if we continue to apply systematic methods of materialist scientific analysis to the exploration of the natural world and refuse to get diverted or paralyzed by side-trips into imagined supernatural worlds as a supposed alternative basis for understanding the workings and features of this natural world.

In many ways the Intelligent Design Creationists are really not all that different from the traditional Biblical literalist “scientific Creationists” who claim to find “evidence” of God and divine creation in every supposed “gap” in the fossil record (or gap in human knowledge more generally) and who are prone to switching their attention to some other alleged “gaps” as soon as science can finally account for something which had not previously been known or understood. There’s no end to that game, and these are not the methods through which genuine scientific understanding actually advances.

The IDCs share with all other creationists the essential belief that science—the scientific investigation of natural processes and mechanisms which involve no supernatural powers—is “not sufficient” to explain all the features of life or how they came to be the way they are. But, in addition to this, some of the IDCs actually want to change the whole way science is done. They want modern science to incorporate the existence of God (or at least the possibility of the existence of God) into its basic tool kit. This is why they argue for “theistic science” (which means god-based science). They actually believe science would be better done that way, whereas the vast majority of scientists are convinced that if theistic beliefs and principles became part of the day-to-day operations of science, science itself would go down the tubes—as indeed it would. So here, in broadly sketched outline, we see two opposing camps lining up in what is already becoming a key battle in the “culture wars”—two very opposing outlooks and methods for how to both understand, and seek to transform, existing material reality. Only one of these basic methods and approaches (the methods of “naturalistic” science, also known as “materialist” science) expresses real confidence in humanity’s ability to increasingly understand and ever more consciously transform reality on its own, without recourse to an imagined supernatural world. The other approach (undertaking so-called “theistic science”) would from the start define limits beyond which human scientific investigation could not proceed, and would ultimately surrender human initiative to understand (and transform) material reality and instead wait (and wait) for divine revelation.