An Evolving Battleground


Dan S. over at has recently been writing on the rising profile of Intelligent Design (ID) and its impact on secularists and scientists around the world. Intelligent Design's premise is simple: something or someone created the Earth, the Universe, and everything in between. ID advocates have high ambitions; at the very least, their goal is to put Intelligent Design on equal footing with the theory of evolution, from high school science classrooms to university research labs.

While its deductive (and intuitive) logic is vastly superior to evolution, which stands weakly upon inductive reasoning and circumstantial evidence, Intelligent Design faces a Herculean task of turning back decades of secular brainwashing. And while creationism may be ipso facto intelligent design, Intelligent Design is not the same thing as creationism. ID is frequently mocked because it's confused with Creationism, just as Catholicism is mocked because it's confused with Christianity. For believers, the question is, will Intelligent Design ultimately ally itself with a Biblical worldview, or does it have an altogether different agenda?

Back in 1512, when the famed Italian artist Michelangelo finished his masterwork on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel — highlighted by The Creation of Adam (see image above) — Biblical creationism was the origin science in the Western world. The father of modern science, Sir Isaac Newton (himself a creationist), would not be born for another 130 years. Modern science prided itself on testing its theories under real world conditions (empiricism). This new philosophical climate would lay the groundwork for English naturalist Charles Darwin, who, after developing evolutionary theory in the mid-19th century, himself admitted it had failed to live up to the scientific method. 150 years later, that hasn't changed. Nonetheless, evolution holds enormous philosophical appeal for natural man, as it gives him license to break God's rules. Darwin's contemporary and ally, English philosopher Herbert Spencer — whose ideas helped shape modern secular ideology — once commented, "For myself, finding that there is no positive evidence of evolution...I adopt the hypothesis until better instructed."

In the 20th century, secularism has managed to separate religion, particularly Christianity, from public relevance. Christianity, by and large, has acquiesced, which is why many in the Christian arena have lauded Intelligent Design's organized, scientist-supported efforts. There are some caveats to keep in mind in spite of such promise. Many ID advocates remain evolutionists (of some form or another), just as many confused Christians remain evolutionists — the key difference being, ID doesn't require the God of the Bible to be the Creator, just some kind of Maker. However, things are so bad in schools today, this is hailed as progress.

It is also interesting to see the convergence of Intelligent Design's increasing popularity with the rise of ecumenical/New Age Christianity. Both play fast and loose with matters of doctrine and theology. Since ID is a scientific theory, should this matter? Perhaps not, but it does mean Intelligent Design can be used by people to seek alternative spiritual paths. Most religions of the world already have some kind of divine origin explanation. Because of its philosophical shallowness, ID could fit in very well with a one world religion concept.

Because evolution has behind it the full weight of the established secular religion, it has a distinct advantage over Intelligent Design when it comes to appealing to sinful man. Nonetheless, ID is likely to gain traction at a popular level, for the Last Days will see people who have a form of godliness but deny its power (cf. 2 Timothy 3:5). Therein lies Intelligent Design's great attraction: it's almost like the real thing (creationism), but not enough to really upend man's solipsistic view of himself. We see the same kind of substitutionary spirit in Christian churches today.

Creation science is real and not an oxymoron, but ID advocates are just as likely to ghettoize it as they are to combat evolution. Science is not the enemy of Christianity — our proud natures are. Although secularists and academics like to talk about the "battle of ideas," the real battle is always spiritual (cf. Ephesians 6:12).

For further information on Intelligent Design, see's ID page. Also, Answers in Genesis responded to the Intelligent Design Movement in an article originally published in 2002.