Introduction to ID, warts and all

A review of A Biblical Point of View on Intelligent Design by Kerby Anderson
Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR, 2008

reviewed by Emmett L. Williams

Cover of ‘A biblical point of view on Intelligent Design’ by Kerby Anderson

This book by the national director of Probe Ministries and host of the nationally syndicated radio talk show, Point of View, attempts to be an introduction to the scientific, biblical and educational aspects of intelligent design.

The modern, politically correct view of origins is that the development of all nature is a result of molecules-to-man evolution. The foundation for such an idea is rooted in the philosophies of naturalism and Darwinism with the total elimination of intelligent design and creation by supernatural means. Unfortunately Darwinism and naturalism have become a religion whose devotees censor any hint of design, yet they feel free to speak authoritatively on any subject of human endeavor from an evolutionary view point.

In this book the standard proofs for evolution are examined and found wanting. Some examples are the fossil record with its myriad “missing links”, chemical evolution (abiogenesis), ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny and the continual use of fraudulent “evidence” supporting that theory, the peppered moths as an example of natural selection, the variation in Darwin’s finches, and mutations supposedly causing improvement in fruit flies.

The meaning of intelligent design (ID) is introduced. When viewing the natural order and complexity a person can conclude reasonably that this is evidence for a master plan or intelligent designer as opposed to the origin of the world being a result of brute natural processes occurring by chance. William Dembski’s use of the terminology “specified complexity” is illustrated by designated seating in a cinema (an obvious input of planning and information):

“… when the precise seating arrangement at the cinema corresponds to seats people have been assigned on their ticket stubs we begin to doubt whether these events occurred by chance” (p. 56).

Various arguments for design are suggested such as the genetic code (pp. 58–63). The useful design of supposed “junk DNA” is explained. So-called examples of bad design are countered in a scriptural manner by the Fall of Man (Genesis 3) initiating degeneration processes in the cosmos. The accelerating deterioration would cause defective features to form in a decaying created order.

Teleological evidences from astronomy to microbiology are outlined from the framework of intelligent design. Michael Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity in living systems argues against chance step-by-step formation and operation of such organisms.

Anderson makes the surprising statement,

“… finding evidence for intelligent design does not necessarily require a belief in the supernatural (although for most people it does)” (p. 86).

However, the origin of design can only be adequately explained by a supernatural, creative God who was there in the beginning.

Various theistic viewpoints on origins are briefly explored in the chapter on “Origins and the Bible” with a plea for “ … humility and civility on all sides” (p. 128). But it would take too much space to properly address this subject here.

Two chapters are devoted to “Is Intelligent Design Science?” and “Should Intelligent Design Be Taught in Schools?” The ID movement is trying to accomplish what many creationists have struggled with for decades, i.e. creation should be offered as an option to evolution in the government school classroom. The naturalistic power structure coupled with a cooperative judicial system and generally liberal media will have none of it. ID advocates thus suffer the identical fate as biblical creationists. No matter if ID proponents say that their theories do not imply supernaturalism, this approach unfortunately is not convincing to “the natural man”. They will not have the Creator rule over them.

I disagree with some statements made by individuals that Anderson quotes with approval. One is that the creation account in Genesis is only poetry, whereas an objective grammatical-historical analysis of the text shows that it is a literal account of God’s creative activity. Another is that naturalism and creationism can be combined comfortably under the big tent of ID. This introduction to ID, however, is well-written and easily readable. If you wish to know more about intelligent design and some of the goals of the movement, this book is a good place to start.

Posted on homepage: 8 October 2010

Helpful Resources

Discovery of Design
by Donald DeYoung & Derrik Hobbs
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