Number of Non-Religious Supporters of Intelligent Design has risen at least 400%!

The number of supporters of intelligent design who are not religious seems to be rising rapidly. I remember when there didn’t seem to be any. Now there is an organization/blog for such people. ICON-RIDS stands for “International Coalition of Non-Religious ID Scientists & Scholars”.

The blog has two contributors. Add that to one person I spoke to on a blog forum once (although it may have been one of the two people already mentioned, let’s assume it wasn’t) and someone mentioned in one of their blog entries, that brings the grand total to 4. That is a rise of 400%, and thus not to be scoffed at.


  • Ian

    There must be thousands of atheists who support creationism. Time after time on Wikipedia someone shows up who loudly proclaims their atheism and then start arguing in favour of ID or some other creationist idea. OTOH, there is this

  • Anonymous

    Hi Ian,Intelligent design is not necessarily a creationist idea though that is certianly the brush the media like to tar it with.If genuinely interested, take a look at “The Design Inference: Eliminating Change Through Small Probabilities” by W. A. Dembski (incidentally, that’s a monograph in the Cambridge Studies in Probability, Induction and Decision Theory series — not a theological or creationist publisher). Be warned — you will need to dust off your statistics and probability theory to follow the reasoning — I did and I have a more than passing familiarity with both.Of course, you could just dismiss it as another “creationist/anti-Darwin/etc” plot — your choice.– Ishmael

  • TomS

    Nit-picking: An increase from 1 to 4 is an increase of 3, or 300%.

  • James F. McGrath

    Ah, now I’ve done it. Presumably now my failure to find Dembski et. al. persuasive can be attributed to my mathematical ineptitude! I was, in fact, aiming to describe the increase from 0 to 4, but wouldn’t a 400% increase from zero still be zero?Perhaps I should best stick to religion and theology, and leave the statistics to others…

  • Eric Rowe

    Yeah, an increase from 0 to 4 is an increase of infinity percent, a far greater success rate than you are apparently willing to admit.But, honestly, even your bare numbers are an underestimation. Anthony Flew is no slouch in academia and has moved from an atheist position to a nonreligious acceptance of deistic ID.Of course, in all of this, we are using the term “nonreligious” gratuitously. Atheists hold their world view just as religiously as fundamentalists.

  • Qalmlea

    Sorry, Ishmael, but Dembski has been thoroughly debunked. I’ll limit myself to one link, on “no free lunch“, over at Good Math, Bad Math, and one quote:”[H]e’s devoted his skills to creating convincing mathematical arguments based on invalid premises. But he’s careful: he does his meticulous best to hide his assumptions under a flurry of mathematical jargon.”A search for Dembski at the link will provide several more debunkings of his “math.”

  • Anonymous

    Hi qalmlea,Thanks for the link! Some of the debate I’m familiar with but more references are always appreciated.Don’t quite agree that Dembski has been “debunked” — the input likelihoods are contested but the math is sound. But that’s a converstation for around the table over an adult beverage rather than the comment section of a blog. :-) Incidentally, division by 0 (as in ((4-0)/0) * 100) does not produce infinity, it is undefined. ;-) – Ishmael

  • Quixie

    This made me laugh out loud.I’m with Qalmlea on Dembski . . . but then I’m on the side of anyone whose name starts with a “Q”:DAlso . . . what’s an “adult” beverage? Does green tea count?paxÓ

  • George

    Another good refutation of Dembski’s major argument can be found here: one is especially persuasive as it is written by David Wolpert, co-author of the No Free Lunch theorem that Dembski mis-uses. I am also happy to personally discuss the issue in depth with you, Ishmael.It is rather more than the input likelihoods that are contested. The very applicability of Dembski’s definitions to a co-evolving landscape are contested.

  • Anonymous

    Quixie — the more people that drink green tea, the more Guinness there will be for me. :-) George — thanks for the additional reference — I was familiar with Dawkin’s critique of the initial likelihoods but will check this out as well. — Ishmael

  • Anonymous

    George — thanks for your offer of an indepth discussion!! If I had the week to dig back through Dembski’s book to refamiliarize myself with the details, I’d take you up on it. There seems to be a contrarian law of nature which states that the most interesting out-of-field discussions come up when one has the least time to devote to them. Thanks again for the Wolpert link — I’ll dig up his academic work as well to get the details.Debate in science is a good thing — one of my pet peeves (amoung many) is the curt dismissal of topics as “just another creationist|Darwinist rant” without engaging the ideas (and it happens too often on both sides of that issue).And finally, sincere regrets for abusing the comment box on “Exploring our Matrix” for unintended purposes.– Ishamel

  • Drew Tatusko

    The consistent issue is that the postulation of an intelligent designer is not necessary for the cosmos to exist. Not sure how folks like Dembski continue to make their assertions since their conclusions are by nature unnecessary give the structure of the universe.An understanding of the universe’s existence as a random quantum fluctuation has far more credibility than any idea that some entity would have had to light a match or something for such a bang to occur.Moreover, the idea of multiple universes is not just a thought experiment but data is gathering to verify that some aspects of the hypothesis might be true from a given understanding (the meat of which I could not begin to articulate).

  • BobC

    Who is the Designer?

  • Human Ape

    The first comment said “There must be thousands of atheists who support creationism.”Of course the creator of creationism is God, and of course the designer of Intelligent Design creationism is God. Anyone who denies it’s God is a liar. So how is it possible for a real atheist to accept an idea that requires a god?It’s bad enough creationists deny the proven beyond any doubt fact of evolution, just so they can justify their idiotic god-did-it beliefs. Why do some of these believers in magic have to lie about atheists? It’s just plain stupid to say an atheist could believe in god-did-it. Whoever said there’s atheists who support creationism and/or ID creationism is just plain nuts. I have never in my life heard anything more stupid and more dishonest than “There must be thousands of atheists who support creationism.”

  • George

    bob- I believe Ian was being facetious. There are a few self-proclaimed ‘atheists’ who support Intelligent Design, but they can be counted on one hand. According to Dembski and Behe and some others of their ilk, ID is equally comfortable with the idea of intelligent alien designers as with a designer deity, the former of which some atheists (Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, for instance) could be comfortable with. These few atheists are just unfortunate enough to have swallowed the bait- because of course, everyone really knows that the designer is God, much as it is insisted to the contrary.

  • Human Ape

    Oh. It was just a joke. I’m the one who is stupid. Never mind!

  • TomS

    Drew said…”The consistent issue is that the postulation of an intelligent designer is not necessary for the cosmos to exist.”And the existence of an intelligent designer is not sufficient for the cosmos to exist.Unless there is something known about the motive, opportunity, and means. Which ID makes a point of excluding.

  • James F. McGrath

    I think the post on this blog that generated the most heated reaction (including mention on one of the main ID blogs) was one in which I criticized ID as not science because science would not exclude in advance the possibility of saying something about the designer. It is a part of the wedge strategy, and nothing more.’ Scientists would want to see where the investigation can take them – assuming what is being investigated can indeed be researched using scientific methods. The irony is that the ID proponents who argue in this way say, on the one hand, ‘Science can talk about a designer’, while on the other hand they say ‘We can’t say anything about the designer.’

  • Anonymous

    Hi James,A good point but I want to insert one observation — if one follows Dembski’s argument (yes, I know their are arguments about the initial likelihoods and the appropriateness of the probability model), one comes to the “design inference” which asserts the necessity of a designer. IOW, it is inferred that the process is far too unlikely to have occurred without the “designer.” That far, mathematical reasoning (whether based on questionable assumptions and underlying probability model is another discussion) can take you but no further into the characterization of what form a “designer” might take.Rather like in hypothesis testing where I can give you a good estimate under certain distributional assertions as to whether some measurement is likely to have occurred soley due to chance variation or not. If not, I cannot give you any suggestions as to what process lies behind the measurement (have you made a Nobel Prize winning discovery, was your instrument aadly out of calibration, did you pick the measurement out of thin air to support your theory, etc) except to go back to the lab and do more research.If that’s the distinction the ID people are making as to why they can’t discuss the form of the “designer” then I think it’s pretty reasonable.– Ishmael

  • becky estep

    Intelligent design can include the idea of religion, but not necessarily. It sides with the idea that there is some unknown authority which created things we can not explain.The thing to snicker about is how IGNORANT it is for this topic not to be researched and discussed to the same depth of evolution. I think some scientists are simply afraid to see what they may find. Why should we be narrow minded to the extent that we assume only evolution can be right..After all, he thought a cell was simple…dead wrong

  • James F. McGrath

    You might wish to read around on this blog before making the assumptions that you do. I have spent a lot of time examining both young earth creationism and intelligent design, having been a young earth creationist earlier in my life. And so my dissatisfaction with Intelligent Design is a result of careful examination of it, not dismissal or lack of familiarity. I suspect that if you examine it carefully, and examine the evidence for mainstream science equally carefully, you will reach a similar conclusion.