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Intelligent Design is a philosophy that comments on the origins of species. It is often pitted against a naturalistic Theory of Evolution, and is even more often conflated with Christian Creationism. And if Intelligent Design may actually be Christian (it's not), ID proponents do not call their philosophy inherently Christian, therefore, their views are off-topic here.

We have the tag, and four questions tagged with it. The newest one certainly seems like general philosophy to me. Two others also seem that way as well. I've voted to close all three. The fourth was already closed as "not constructive" in 2011.

The only exception here should be Christian perspectives on Intelligent Design. Questions like "What has noted theologian said about it?" or "What has Christian denomination said about it?" would be on-topic.

This seems obvious to me, but it has not yet been discussed in meta. Comments?


The closest meta discussion I can find is this: Are questions on a Creationist explanation for scientific observation on topic here? This meta policy mandates that science is off-topic, but Christian use, discussion, and perspectives on any science is on-topic. How this relates to ID is that questions on the validity of any science the movement espouses is strictly off-topic, but descriptive questions about ID science that *self-identified, notable Christians proclaim is on-topic.

  • The thing I'm struggling with is that while these guys are associated with ID, they may also be associated with Creationism. So, Dembski, for example, may be on topic if he is a prominent Christian creationist. – Nathaniel is protesting Mar 1 '16 at 1:40
  • @Nathaniel That's the conflation issues I mentioned. Dembski may be a creationist, but ID proponents are not necessarily creationists. – 3961 Mar 1 '16 at 2:43
  • It's the same with deism: it's not enough to believe in a creator god, there had to be some acceptance of Jesus as the Christ to be in scope here. – curiousdannii Mar 1 '16 at 5:54
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    @curiousdannii Last I checked there were quite a number of sects and cults that are in scope here that don't accept Jesus as the Christ. Rather self identification as ‘Christian’, whatever that means to them, is what determines if they are in scope or not. I think the question becomes whether the holder of the views being asked about equate them with their ‘Christianity’ or not. – Caleb Mar 1 '16 at 8:11
  • @Caleb People disagree a lot about what it being the 'Christ' means, but I don't think there are any self-identifying followers of Jesus Christ who reject that Jesus is the Christ! Who are these Christians who think that? – curiousdannii Mar 1 '16 at 8:17
  • So, let's take something obviously outside of Christianity, like politics. If I ask, "How does X reconcile his political belief Y with his Christian theology?" where X = the Pope, John Calvin, or Mitt Romney, do we accept the question for all three X's? – Nathaniel is protesting Mar 1 '16 at 13:26
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    @Nathaniel I would for the Pope and John Calvin, but not Mitt Romney. Romney may profess Mormonism, a self-identified form of Christianity, but he is not a theologian of any kind. Instead, a question about Romney's politics should be directed at a theologian of his particular beliefs. Or generically at the LDS church, because they are organized enough to have generic statements about things. – 3961 Mar 1 '16 at 14:51
  • @curiousdannii For any group to be on-topic, they must self-identify as Christian. That's been the rule since before either of us were regulars. I think you know this. Are you trying to make some other point? – 3961 Mar 1 '16 at 14:53
  • @fredsbend I'm not really trying to make any point, just saying that self-identifying as Christian and calling Jesus the Christ are surely essentially synonymous. Sure technically it would be conceivable that a self-identified Christian would reject Jesus is the Christ, but no established group I've ever heard of does. – curiousdannii Mar 1 '16 at 15:00
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    @Nathaniel I think the question about political beliefs would be in scope here if X explicitly says those beliefs are grounded in X's Christian theology. If X doesn't personally make the connection between their faith and their politics, this probably isn't the place for discussing it. – Bruce Alderman Mar 1 '16 at 15:12
  • @BruceAlderman I agree. X must say their political idea is connected with their faith. We don't get many politics questions though, and this post is about ID, but a new meta post saying exactly that would get my upvote. – 3961 Mar 1 '16 at 15:15
  • So, then, if A and B are true, where A = Dembski is not a Christian theologian and B = Dembski does not connect ID with his Christianity, then questions about Dembski's ID beliefs are off topic here. I'm OK with that, but "A" seems hard to define and "B" may not actually be true. – Nathaniel is protesting Mar 1 '16 at 15:21
  • @Nathaniel Also, Bruce found that Dembski's site exists for the purpose of forwarding Christendom. Bruce's Comment This is less obvious to me now. However, the validity of the science is still off-topic. – 3961 Mar 1 '16 at 15:24
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Although it's true that ID proponents don't use Christian terminology in their scientific work, there should be little doubt that ID is a form of Christian creationism.

1) Every leading ID proponent is a fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture (formerly the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture). Although the Discovery Institute promotes itself as a "secular think tank", its mission statement indicates that its goal is to promote "the Judeo-Christian culture" over "the contemporary materialistic worldview".

2) The Discovery Institute's 1998 Wedge Document (pdf) explicitly states, "Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."

3) Following the 1987 Supreme Court case Edwards v. Aguillard which prohibited the teaching of creationism in public schools, the creationist textbook Of Pandas and People was modified to replace the word "creationists" with "design proponents". In one place, a sloppy cut-and-paste job resulted in the phrase "cdesign proponentsists".

4) Several leading ID proponents are also active in the "theistic science" movement, which aims to replace methodological naturalism as a tool of scientific invstigation. Discovery Institute fellow J.P. Moreland has written, "Theistic science is rooted in the idea that Christians ought to consult all they know — including theological beliefs — in forming and testing hypotheses, in explaining things in science, and in evaluating the plausibility of scientific theories. More specifically, theistic science expresses a commitment to the belief that God, conceived of as a personal agent with great power and intelligence, has through direct, primary causation and indirect, secondary causation created and designed the world for a purpose."

  • Thank you for illuminating some things. This helps a lot. – 3961 Mar 1 '16 at 16:49

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