Intelligent Design 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and beyond

@pnelson, can you help us out by explaining what versions of ID there are?

  1. ID 1.0 would be defined how? I suppose it relates to Behe, Dembski, and Meyers. How would you characterize this.

  2. ID 2.0 is what? I don’t have any good idea what ID 2.0. Can you clarify?

  3. ID 3.0. There has been a lot of discussion of ID 3.0, and I understand you don’t want to get into specifics. I understand it to be something like “Using a Design based-paradigm to go do science.”

  4. ID 4.0. Is there a 4.0 in the works too? What comes after 3.0?

I don’t know the origins of the numbering system. It’s a few years old, however – I think the ID version n talk started as an informal (staff-internal) convention at Discovery Institute, to keep track of who was being funded for what, with 3.0 being people engaged in design-motivated primary research.

I’ll ask around for a more formal answer, if one exists. May just be staff jargon which was co-opted for public presentations.

1 Like

Staff referred me to this video:

That’s all the info they had.

1 Like

That is a very helpful video for explaining ID 3.0, but not so much for explaining 1.0 or 2.0. It seems, however, that there is a very tenuous connection between ID and some of the specific projects. For example, what does the project the DI is funding in Tour’s group (approx. minute 54) have to do with ID?

I certainly commend DI for funding Tour on this project, and Rice University for allowing the grant, and I certainly think the DI should be acknowledged in Tour’s papers. But what does making nano-drills to kill cancer cells have to do with ID?


Well in a rather obvious way, they are intelligently designed.

But how that is relevant to the claims of the ID movement with respect to whether life on Earth is designed, not a damned thing.


Meyers (about minute 62):

I was having a conversation about this today about the different approaches to cancer research and you were contrasting this with the typical approach of what you call the combinatorial approach?

From Doug Axe:

Combinatorial chemistry has been popular for a long time and basically they don’t talk about it this way but the philosophy behind it reminds me of a theory you may have heard of where you start with just a random gamish then you throw it out cells and pull out something that works it’s very much a Darwinian sort of idea that instead of trying to figure out what would work you have chemists produce a mess basically that has millions of different chemical variants and then you filter the mess to see if any if anything in that mess is active and then you might do some variations on that mess.

Tour’s approach is very very different very much more a design inspired approach where instead of saying we don’t know what to do is we’re gonna try everything and see if anything works you actually build a machine that has the potential to do something here and then find a way to target the machine to the tumor cells which i think is what and one of our key concepts and design is specificity it in fact one definition of information is called specified complexity and what organic chemists do is they use their knowledge of the particular chemical properties and three-dimensional configurations of molecules to those atoms they were talking about to bind things with specificity so this is a rational design approach which is kind of cool it’s also employing a lot of knowledge of of the principles of nano machinery in order to build new nano machines.

This is the reasoning they present. Meyer’s goes on to expand on this substantially. So basically any rational design strategy to making drugs is “design-based” in their understanding, and it is set up in contrast with selection from large libraries.

There is a lot to comment on this, and it is really close to my expertise in drug development and high throughput screening. First though, I want to clarify if this really is the connection to ID the envision, and if they really are banking the credibility of ID on the effectiveness of rational design over selection from large libraries.


Will ID 3.0 finally be presenting some positive evidence for its “Design” case and not just the negative attacks on evolutionary theory? Or will it be more of the false dichotomy “Evolution can’t explain this to my satisfaction therefore Design”?


I’d like to know what counts as positive evidence. It seems they do provide them, but it comes off as “evolution can’t explain this to my satisfaction,” which I agree isn’t effective.

Thank you @pnelson for DI funding research. It will make a difference. My sister-in-law went into remission because of this drug. Brentuximab vedotin - Wikipedia I’m imagining what designed approaches without life-long side effects would do…!

1 Like

I don’t think that’s the point of ID 3.0.

It is worth considering @Pnelson’s thought experiment: What if ID had avoided public posturing and the culture wars, and instead just “done good scientific work from a design-perspective”?

If that included funding work like that in Tour’s group, I suspect that ID would not be in its current predicament in science. The Dover Trial would never have taken place. Of course, most biologists would still reject ID arguments, but perhaps it would be regarded as irreleveant–sort-of-kookiness, that might be helpful in that it is at least funded interesting scientific research and engaging the public in a clever way.

In taking that path, perhaps DI could have been a lot more like JTF. Many scientists don’t like their notion that religion is helpful to science; that’s kooky. At the same time, JTF funds groups like David Reich at Harvard to do excellent scientific work. So what exactly is the harm? Seems that would have been a much more desirable scenario than the post-Dover world ID currently finds itself within.

What do you think?


Your “engaging the public in a clever way” may be someone else’s “culture war.”

I’m not sure how you’d imagine they could engage the public cleverly and still be irrelevant. I tend toward optimism myself, but… :slight_smile:

1 Like

The point is that ID could have kept itself apart from culture wars any any sort. They didn’t, but they could have done so. If they had, what would have happened?

1 Like

Of course the huge question hanging in the air is why didn’t they? The ID-Creationist movement has spent millions of dollars on propaganda books, videos, the phony “Cornell” conference, etc. in the last 20+ years but not one cent on forming and testing any IDC hypotheses.


Why didn’t they do so? Well, that wasn’t what they wanted to do at the time. I don’t think ID 3.0 was even on the table at the time, and it is not clear if they could have established themselves without Dembski, Behe, and Meyers in the first place. We are dealing with a counterfactual, which is necessarily fictional. That doesn’t make the exercise useless…just suspend your disbelief.

1 Like

Why not? They continually demanded “Design” be considered scientifically yet they themselves couldn’t think of any science to do. The only reason I can think of is the IDC leaders knew they had nothing in the way of a scientific case so they went the propaganda / attack evolution route. I doubt very seriously anything has changed in the latest “3.0” version.


Can you please clarify how DI funded research of this drug?


How? I think we know that culture war was always, and still is, the only actual objective.


After reading the “Wedge” strategy, some might think that the cultural warriors invented the ID movement as a propaganda tool. After all, they are out to defeat “materialism”, so why use material science to support ID?


My point was life sometimes takes you where you do want to go and where you don’t intend. It’s worth thinking about a counter-factual but anything challenging a status quo may be seen as a culture war, whether it lands in court or not.

They didn’t. I wasn’t very clear. DI is funding cancer research. See below. I was noticing it as a targeted approach. The particular drug ltargeted specific cells - it had great results in the clinical trial she was in. She was weeks away from death before she began it and her only recurring issue from it is neuropathy. Chemo and stem cell transplants did not work and also had drastic personal and physical side effects, especially while under treatment.


If anyone is much in doubt about that, at about 40 minutes into that hour-and-a-half-of-my-life-I-will-never-get-back, Stephen Meyer chuckles about how an “atheist postdoc” was dumbfounded by something or other. Presumably that postdoc is now spending his time at tent revivals, speaking in tongues and anxiously awaiting Stephen Meyer’s book about how ID isn’t about god at all, The Return of The God Hypothesis.


I highly admire anyone who knows how to use hyphens correctly. IMO It is the most neglected punctuation mark.

Also that last sentence painted a vivid picture and I laughed.