On Creationism, ID, DI, etc

The premises of a syllogism need not be themselves be established by syllogism. They may be axiomatic. Or they may be considered true to a given degree of certainty based on induction.

Free introductory philosophy lesson for you. My treat.



That comment wasn’t directed at you.

Until you can keep yourself from nasty, petty self-serving ad hominem attacks against academics who present evidence about ID that you don’t like, I have nothing further to say to you.

I would note, to the general audience (rather than to Eddie himself), that Eddie’s comments were particularly risible given his assiduous defense of Denton and his ilk – who have no scientific credibility or reputation to speak of. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.


According to Dembski (2006)

Other highlights include Michael Denton’s account of the transformation of his own views, from being a creationist, to being a Darwinist, to being a Darwin skeptic but not a creationist. According to Denton, “homologies” may be better explained by appeal to underlying Platonic forms. He believes that both adaptive and non-adaptive features of biology may be inherent in nature itself.

From @sfmatheson review of Denton’s Nature’s Destiny (2008)

This is a very serious mischaracterization of Denton’s work. Denton did attempt, in ETC, to undermine “Darwinian evolution” – unsuccessfully, as I will explain elsewhere. In Nature’s Destiny, his project is wholly different. Nature’s Destiny seeks to defend a law-based, teleological view of cosmic history in which the development of humanity is the ultimate goal. The view is non-Darwinian for sure, in the sense that such strong teleological conceptions are non-Darwinian by definition. But any claim that Nature’s Destiny does damage to modern evolutionary biology is a significant distortion. In fact, I would be most interested in a conversation with Michael Denton, both because I find his work intriguing and because I would be quite curious to hear his response to Timaeus’ triumphalistic pronouncements regarding his ideas. Specifically, I wonder if Denton believes that he has “shredded” the “Darwinian mechanism,” and whether he would acknowledge that many of the challenges he raised in his first book have failed completely in the face of vast amounts of data arising from completely new biological subdisciplines. (More on this in a future post on ETC.) My point is not that I think Denton is a fool, but that on the contrary I’m pretty sure he’d be embarrassed by the propagandistic ends toward which his ideas are being employed. (Perhaps there is a clue here regarding his divestiture from the Discovery Institute.)

Full disclosure: I have not actually read any books by Denton, but these quotes seem to be consistent with @Eddie general characterization of his position.


Huh. And just a few moments ago you were saying this is NOT what were were discussing, and that it was whether Michael Denton is a creationist. So I was going along with that.

Now you’re back to arguing against yourself.

1 Like

No, I don’t affirm premise 1; I don’t believe that anyone who disagrees with me is by virtue of that disagreement a “committed partisan”.

However, Ruse is a committed partisan, which I do not derive from your syllogism above, but from empirical experience, as I have been following his involvement in the ID debates for about 15 years now. Nonetheless, I would not argue from the fact that he is a committed partisan that any particular argument of his is wrong. A committed partisan might happen to draw correct conclusions on some points. I’m sure there are correct conclusions on many points in his SEP article. In fact, I already highlighted two correct conclusions of his in my previous post. And those two correct conclusions disagree with your own characterization of ID and creationism – a point which you seem anxious not to discuss.

My point is not that I think Denton is a fool, but that on the contrary I’m pretty sure he’d be embarrassed by the propagandistic ends toward which his ideas are being employed.

Interesting. I wonder if @sfmatheson has any thoughts on whether Denton’s actions over the ensuing 14 years have confirmed that. Has Denton dissociated himself from the DI in any way, or complained that they have misrepresented and misused his work?


I would note that in 2016, Denton wrote a book called Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis. This makes it appear that he has returned to somewhere closer to his earlier position.


Irrelevant. You offered for public consideration a syllogism. I pointed out that your first premise wasn’t established. If you didn’t want others here to comment on your post, you should have sent it privately to only the persons you wanted to get a response from.

Nothing would please me more than if you had nothing further to say to me.

Amusing that you can declare that Denton, with an MD, a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and many articles published on the genomics of retinal cancer, that he has no scientific credibility, when you yourself have no scientific accomplishments to speak of. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.



Those sentences are not compatible. ID and creationism can lack complete identity, but still have no significant differences. There are various positions that you would agree are creationism, but they are not completely identical, so being different does not exclude ID from being creationism.

It still remains that the vast, vast majority of ID proponents have the Abrahamic God as the designer, and the designing is done through supernatural means. That’s why we view it as creationism. Not only that, but the political and social movement is headed by creationists.

We are told over and over by ID proponents that the scientific method shouldn’t be used because it precludes the supernatural. Why would they say that?



Right. It’s always seemed to me that ID, as an argument, is merely a subset of creationism. The argument from design was ALWAYS a creationist argument; it just was one of multiple creationist arguments. When I first began to hear of ID, years ago, it was being touted as though it was a wholly new idea, and that seemed quite silly given that all it really was, it seemed, was a paring-down of standard creationism to place primary emphasis on one of the classic creationist arguments and to shroud the goddity-godder-god, sis-boom-bah parts of the thing by just being sly and not mentioning those.

But if somehow anyone had the notion that simply eliminating some, but not all, components of creationism made creationism into something else entirely, he’d still have to deal with the fact that ID proponents, when in particular argumentative situations, tend to go straight to OTHER classic creationist arguments. Just as you pointed out:


ID was born of the realization that YEC was just too ridiculous and easily disproven. They had to find new areas of science where they could cast doubt on natural processes. Out of this was born the idea to focus on structures that didn’t fossilize (e.g. bacterial flagella) or on genetics. In other words, they had to find new gaps where they could invoke God. ID has never been about gaining new knowledge. ID has always been about creating doubt and invoking God in its place.


Further to that question, we have previously discussed a video of a Denton lecture that was posted by the DI. So if he ever had any hard feelings over his work being misused, those seem to have been papered over.

I also made the following comment on the video that remains relevant to the present discussion:

At 29:37, Denton quotes Nick Lane as saying without particular characteristics of the oxygen molecule “we could never have accumulated oxygen in the atmosphere or crawled out of the ocean.” Denton then sheepishly adds “Forgive me, he is an evolutionist.”

If, as has been repeatedly asserted, Denton is an evolutionist who accepts common descent, for exactly what is he asking his audience’s forgiveness there?


I’m fully aware of that. But they have to be established somehow. You have not established your premise by any means at all. I suggested a way you could establish your first premise by the use of another syllogism. If you can establish it in some other way, you are welcome to do so. Let us know when you have.

Which is not the case here.

Which is not the case here, since in matters of word meaning, the induction must be based on a balanced study of usage, not on a few cherry-picked cases of usage from very recent and quite obviously partisan sources.

I move now to reply to your other post:

Your problem is that you aren’t patient enough to work through things stepwise. Let’s work on each proposition, one at a time:

A. If you are trying to prove that all ID proponents are creationists, there are only two ways, in principle, that you could do it:

1-- Empirically. You could list every ID proponent in the world, and one by one, show that each was a creationist.

2-- Theoretically. You could provide a clear, unambiguous definition of ID, and a clear, unambiguous definition of creationism, and show that anyone who holds to ID must, by the internal logic of the ID position, also be a creationist.

Note that you have never done either of these.

Method 1 is slow and inefficient, so I don’t recommend using it. Method 2 is much more efficient. But it requires discipline: one has to provide very precise definitions; further, those definitions have to be socially credible, i.e., they have to be definitions which most people would accept, not private, idiosyncratic, or “pet” definitions peculiar to yourself. In this particular case, the definition of creationism should come from longstanding general usage, while the definition of “intelligent design theory” should come from the people who invented the term.

B. If you are trying to prove that Denton is a creationist, there are only two ways you could do it:

1-- Empirically. List the core affirmations of Denton’s thought, and compare them with the core affirmations of creationism, and prove that there is a match;

2-- Theoretically. Prove that anyone who holds ideas such as Denton’s must logically end up affirming creationism as well, whether he originally intended to defend creationism or not.

Note once more that you have done neither of these two things. But if you wanted to do the second, the following syllogism would work:

Premise 1: ID theory by its nature is creationist.
Premise 2: Denton is an ID theorist.
Conclusion: Denton is a creationist.

But if you hope to convince anyone by it, you need to establish the first premise. And you haven’t done that.

So in sum, whether you are trying to prove that all ID theorists are by creationists, or whether you are trying to prove that Denton is a creationist, you have failed to provide your proof.

And you never will provide a proof, unless you are willing to offer a definition of “creationism” which meets the criteria I already outlined in previous posts.

I don’t see any that are on genomics. Do you not know the difference between genomics and genetics?

Are any of them groundbreaking? Aren’t they all just descriptive?

What I find amusing is that @Eddie and other ID promoters tout people like Denton and Behe as great thinkers about evolution, when their actual scientific careers (before transferring to IDcreationist pseudoscience) reveal zero significant intellectual insights or significant publications in their previous fields.


Yes, I understand and agree, but you aren’t following the context. Ruse said they have significant differences. Faizal Ali believes that the differences, if any, are insignificant. I was merely pointing out the disagreement between Faizal and Ruse, since Faizal was tossing Ruse in my face as an authority. I was not making any comment on whether the differences were significant or insignificant. I do happen to believe that the differences are significant, but I was not arguing for that in my response to Faizal. I was merely pointing out that the very authority Faizal was citing to prove to me that I was wrong, disagreed with Faizal about the degree of difference between ID and creationism. It was merely a tactical observation on my part, and it was a side-comment in relation to our overall discussion.

Dropping the side point and coming back to the main point, note that your fellow-atheist John Harshman agrees with me that Denton, who endorses molecules-to-man, miracle-free evolution, is not a creationist. Would you agree that Denton, holding such a view, is not a creationist?

You’re missing my attempt at humor. The article I was referring to so mysteriously is the article I have already drawn to Faizal’s attention at least twice before, and he’s already aware of it. I was just “ribbing” him, figuring he would get the reference.

It’s the same article I’ve already posted on this site, and you’ve probably already seen it, but I’ll give the link again:

On the Use of the Term "Creationism" in Popular Debate in the Past Century or So.

I’ve provided a clear, unambiguous definition of creationism. Please pay attention.

It can be demonstrated that every ID proponent meets that definition, but that requires an understanding of, or at the bare minimum an interest in. the theory of evolution and the scientific evidence that supports it. If that excludes you, that’s too bad.

1 Like

Not if you’ve actually read the book. I concede, however, that the title could give the wrong impression. I suspect it was chosen (it’s generally publishers, not authors, who have the final say on titles) because the first book had a popular following and the “sequel” feel of the title might help generate more sales. In any case, those who have read the book (like me) know that in the book Denton affirms naturalistic evolution (as he did in Nature’s Destiny), and further, that in referring back to his first book, he explains that in the first book, he had not meant to cast doubt on common descent, but only on the credibility of the Darwinian mechanism. So both the first and third books should have had “Darwinian Evolution” instead of just “Evolution” in their titles, to make clear that he was not doubting the process but only challenging the mechanism. But from a sales point of view, “Darwinian Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” is too academic-sounding, and much less punchy and attractive, to the average lay reader. And publishers are concerned about sales. Anyhow, in terms of contents, the bottom line is that Denton has affirmed naturalistic, molecules to man evolution since 1998. Hence, he is not a creationist.