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Intelligent design and young-Earth creationism; investigating nested hierarchies of philosophy and belief



Intelligent design and young-Earth creationism; investigating nested hierarchies of philosophy and belief



Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 35(6): 609



The question as to what differentiates young-Earth creationism (YEC) from Intelligent Design (ID) has resulted in inaccurate and confusing terminology within the scientific, philosophical, and popular literature. It is recognized from the literature of both YEC and ID sources that the two positions define themselves differently, have different goals, and employ different standards of method. Furthermore, each considers itself distinguishable from the other, and the two are in broad agreement concerning the nature of the distinction: the level of authority (if any) given to the Bible in model construction. Previous attempts to classify Design-based positions on origins suffer from three major shortcomings: a strict science/non-science demarcation, the use of single, ambiguous classification criteria, and assumptions of theological uniformity among differing teleological positions. Presented here is a nested hierarchy of design, a multiple-character classification system that brings much-needed resolution to this problem. This system classifies various theological positions according to the strength of claims regarding the reality, detectability, source, method, and timing of design, and results in a robust classification of numerous positions. This system avoids the philosophical and theological pitfalls of previous methods, and allows for a clearer understanding of each position based on specific design claims utilized by each position. According to this nested hierarchy, ID is classified as a philosophically minimalistic position, asserting that real design exists in nature and is empirically detectable by the methods of science. It includes design perspectives as different as alien design, some forms of theistic evolution, and YEC. YEC can be recognized as a subset of Intelligent Design that narrows the definition of design to include a particular design agent (God), biological discontinuity, and timeframe of design in six days approximately 6,000 years ago, based on certain Biblical parameters. The term "special creationism" can likewise be restricted to include old-Earth creationism and YEC, which agree on the reality, source, and general method of design, but differ with regard to timeframe.

Accession: 019216927

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