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Arguments against the validity of intelligent design?

  1. May 13, 2007 #1
    What are the best arguments against the validity of intelligent design?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 13, 2007 #2
    that question presumes that intelligent design has validity.
  4. May 13, 2007 #3
    I will not claim that my argument is the best, just something that makes sense to me: the hypothesis of a designer for the natural world implies something that is outside of nature, which puts the claim outside the realm of what is verifiable, which makes it equivalent to a superstition.
  5. May 14, 2007 #4
    Of course intelligent design is a possibility.

    Not necessarily, it could be a designer in (as opposed to 'of') the natural world, like humans are part of nature, yet they are intelligent and design things.
  6. May 14, 2007 #5
    No it cannot because if the intelligent designer is natural then it would itself need to be designed by other designers. This hypothesis repeatedly implies designers of the designers, unless it leaves the natural world. At that point of course, it becomes superstition. Either way you look at it, the idea of a ready-made intelligent designer is incoherent and really not serious.
  7. May 14, 2007 #6
    I would think it is a superstition to assume there is nothing beyond the natural world. It's certainly not a rational proposition.

    The best argument against Intelligent Design is actually far more mundane: as scientific theory, it does not quality; as philosophy, it's an interpreation of Christian theology not supported by most Christians*; as practical knowledge, it's completely unpractical.

    ID is just a silly fad.

    (*the Catholic Church does not endorse it)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2007
  8. May 14, 2007 #7
    Interesting take. I suppose it depends on how you differentiate between natural and supernatural.
  9. May 14, 2007 #8
    I said "beyond nature". Supernatural means "above nature". It's not the same thing.

    You can't claim something doesn't exist just because you can't perceive it with your senses.
  10. May 14, 2007 #9
    It doesn't exist subjectively. One may go through life without ever knowing that certain things exist or not.
  11. May 14, 2007 #10
    Alright, I will simply use "not natural" in this thread from this point on. Other adjectives are ill-defined and unnecessary. So to rephrase, I suppose it depends on how you differentiate between natural and not natural.

    Then it's lucky I didn't do that.
  12. May 14, 2007 #11
    It doesnt have to be other designers, it could design itself. Intelligences that we can observe in nature (humans for example) do this aswell. They change their lifes, their bodies, their environment, etc. with their intellect.
  13. May 14, 2007 #12
    Intelligent Design Advocate: "Your telling me that you would rather believe that all these complex structures in the universe arose from nothing, from no one?"

    Rational Being: In the face of all the collapsed galaxies that have occured at staggering spatial and temporal distances from our small corner of the universe, how can you believe that an anthropomorphic "grey white beard" god did all that? Why would he do it?

    Intellgient Design Advocate: "We don't claim to understand how God works, we are not meant to understand how God works, but his presense is evidenced by splendous creation.

    Rational Being: "Then certainly, according to your own reasoning, this splendid and powerful God of yours must have a creator, since he is too awesome not to have been designed".

    IDA : "But God always has been, and always will be."

    RB : Isn't that a double standard? Why can't we say that the universe always has been and always will be?

    IDA : *Loops back and repeats the first thing he said*
  14. May 14, 2007 #13
    Thats not an argument against the validity of intelligent design. It would be, if science were the one and only path to absolute truth. Only then one can say that that which is outside of science, equals being outside of reality. But this isnt so.

    The idea that life/universe was created, can be completely dissociated from any biblical texts, and probably has existed far longer than christianity has. Besides, a grudge against religion is not really a proper argument against an idea. Otherwise, one could say that the reference of israel in the bible is an argument that israel doesnt exist.

    U could argue that religion has a rather negative influence on society, but still this doesnt argue against the validity intelligent design. Clusterbombs are intelligently designed yet create much suffering.
  15. May 14, 2007 #14
    Actually this is usually the other way around. Whenever any intelligent design advocate says that intelligence has always been/is timeless/etc., the RB often have a problem with that, because apparently, it is only rational to believe that intelligence and consciousness can arise out of randomness. And it is only rational to believe that randomness can exist forever/be timeless.

    Also please everyone, try to avoid talk about christianity and god, because its not allowed on this forum. Lets just leave it at the fact that intelligence does not equal god. Humans are intelligent and from this fact we can accept that intelligence is simply a part of the natural world.
  16. May 14, 2007 #15


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    That doesn't automatically make it a scientifically valid possibility, and I think that was Smurf's point. You are looking at the issue backwards: to be a theory, the idea needs valid scientific arguments for it, not just the lack of arguments against it.

    Now you didn't use the word "theory" in your post, but this is "PhysicsForums" and science is also the criteria by which ID proponents say the idea should be judged. It would, for example, be perfectly valid for ID proponents to claim it as a pure religious belief...
    Last edited: May 14, 2007
  17. May 14, 2007 #16
    I was just want to re-emphasize Pit2's point that ID is, as a philosophical concept (and this is the philosophy forum), completely separate from religion, as well as from the politics going on in the states right now.
  18. May 14, 2007 #17


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    Doesn't philosophy at least have to be based on logic?

    In any case, I.D. is not a philosophical idea it is a repackaged religious idea masquerading as science. If Pit2 really want's to examine the validity of the concept of a "god" itself, he shouldn't have used "intelligent design" as the label.

    The general idea of a creator-god has no basis whatsoever in philosophy or science. It isn't logical and there is no scientific evidence to support it. It is pure religious faith.
    Last edited: May 14, 2007
  19. May 14, 2007 #18


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    Could you define "science" and it's domain of applicability for us?

    How could an idea about the origin and evolution of species not be within the domain of science?
    Last edited: May 14, 2007
  20. May 14, 2007 #19
    But the topic isnt about ID being a valid scientific theory. The topic would be 2 posts long if it were:

    ME: hey guys, is ID a scientific theory?
    Other: No, it cant be falsified.

    Such a 'discussion' leaves open fully the question of whether ID is true. So the idea here was to bring up arguments against the validity of ID as an actual aspect of reality.

    Surely all the "ID is rubbish" arguments in the last decade or so havent been entirely baseless?

    There are many philosophical ideas that arent scientific theories. Of course i welcome any science brought forth for or against ID, but other rational arguments are welcome too.
  21. May 14, 2007 #20
    Are there any logical arguments against ID?

    Is there something inherently illogical about the existence and influence of intelligence in the natural world?
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