Talk:Intelligent design

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Arbitration Committee Decisions on Pseudoscience

The Arbitration Committee has issued several principles which may be helpful to editors of this and other articles when dealing with subjects and categories related to "pseudoscience".

Four groups

Dave's lead[edit]

Since the RfC is now relatively old, and was over before it began anyway, let's make a new thread for dave souza's proposal (slightly edited by me):

Intelligent design is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents with the claim that it is "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins", but has been found to be pseudoscience.

Manul ~ talk 14:11, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

Update: Taking in Bish's astute concerns about syntax (which are certainly not shared by Bishzilla), this wording is probably better:

Intelligent design is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" but found to be pseudoscience.

I think "presented by proponents as" already implies that it's just a claim. Manul ~ talk 16:28, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

  • Support. This follows WP:EVALFRINGE's advice to first describe the idea clearly and objectively, then refer the reader to more accepted ideas. It describes the idea more clearly than before, and by bringing context to the proponents' words it also addresses some previous objections. Manul ~ talk 14:11, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Meh It's no better nor worse than the existing or Alt 1, above. Still better than Alt 2 though. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 14:20, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
My opinion is that it is inappropriate to start another vote tally while the RfC is taking place. TomS TDotO (talk) 15:09, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
"Meh" to that, too. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with doing this, but it does add to the overall chaos of the talk page. I'm not disagreeing with you, precisely, it's mostly just that the overall chaos level here is not too bad, and a little extra isn't very difficult to deal with. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 15:15, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • The RfC is already over due to crystalline precipitation and should be closed soon, and as I explained it was probably needless to begin with. It's better to propose this now while it's fresh rather than waiting 30 days for no reason. Manul ~ talk 15:26, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think this is slightly better than the current version. Guy (Help!) 15:57, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • OK except that the syntax isn't happy, with the two parallell clauses "presented by its proponents with the claim".. and "but has been found to be"... such different grammatical constructions. Quite itchy. I'm trying to figure some fix, but I'm just going out to dinner. Bishonen | talk 16:11, 24 January 2017 (UTC).
  • the purpose of an RfC is to get outside input. It has only just started and we will get more feedback with time. We should perhaps add this to the RfC. I would be happy to do that and notify those who have already responded (which are primarily those who watch this page already) Thoughts? Jytdog (talk) 16:34, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
No, it's much too late to amend the RfC. Please see the problems with the RfC I mentioned there. I think it would be best if you withdrew it (as the poster you can do that) or otherwise have someone WP:SNOW-close it as soon as possible. Manul ~ talk 17:21, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict)Constructive criticism (much better than 'meh') Both versions (including the version reworded to suit da Bish) look like they're begging for a [who?] tag. I'd say it looks better like this:

Intelligent design is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God; presented by its proponents as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins", but found to be pseudoscience by the scientific community.

MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 16:35, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Not bad (Bishified version). I think it's actually more informative than the current version. Never been terribly fond of the "ID is the view" formulation, but all other proposals to date have been worse on other fronts. Not fond of adding "by the scientific community", per Mr. Pants. Who or what else could possibly make that determination? The deluge of sources will quell any temptation of adding [who?]. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 17:23, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Who or what else could possibly make that determination? Atheists, skeptics, Universal Unitarians, politicians, the pharmaceutical industry, etc, etc... Hell, you can toss Satanists and The Devil in there, too. Having been a follower of creation/evolution debates (and having switched from being a young creationist to an adult rationalist), I can tell you with the utmost confidence that there is no shortage of groups who serve as the Big Bad in the myriad of creationist views. As to a deluge of sources quenching any POV editing, I might direct you to the Acupuncture article history which proves beyond any reasonable doubt that a deluge of citations does nothing to stop POV pushing editors. I've got at least a dozen more such pages on my watchlist, if one example isn't enough to satisfy you. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 18:48, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Point taken. It won't quell the temptation to start pointless debates; but I should hope they would be quickly stopped in Talk. I don't watch nearly as many pseudoscience/religion articles as you, but on the few I have watched over a few years, such as this one, Adam and Eve, etc, good sense and the mainstream science POV tend to prevail when POV pushing occurs. Adding "by the scientific community" seems redundant to me, just as "found impressionist by the painting community" would be, and I don't even see how it would deter the POV pushers. On this very page, we have some classical examples of "look, scientists don't agree on stuff" / "there are religious scientists" / "Einstein was religious" thrown around higgledy-piggledy in an attempt to undermine the notion of scientific consensus. Not sure you'd get less POV-pushing; just the same from a different angle. The current formulation also does not exclude the court verdicts -- although scientific matters are not really within the purview of courts, given the nature of ID it's fairly important. To be clear, I don't have very strong feelings about the addition. I just don't see the added value. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 19:25, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Adding "by the scientific community" seems redundant to me, just as "found impressionist by the painting community" would be Normally, I would agree, except in this case, there are (in addition to the numerous 'bad guys' posited by creationists) numerous groups involved. We have politicians, scientists, science journalists, judges and courts, and 'liberal' clergy, all of whom could be the ones responsible for labeling it pseudoscience. I understand where you're coming from, because to me, when I read it I mentally add " the scientific community" instinctively and without conscious thought. But -and here's where we get a bit subjective- I remember how I switched sides in this debate. I set out to prove to someone that evolution was problematic and anti-religious POVs were the only reason that creationism didn't get published. I started doing research, and if WP had existed then, I'd have checked it, first. The kicker for me was realizing just how much support evolution has in the scientific community, and from Christian scientists, no less. I'd been led to believe that a good chunk of scientists were creationists who simply didn't write about their beliefs due to peer pressure. When confronted with the fact that scientists are virtually unanimous in accepting the tenets of evolution and rejecting all forms of creationism, I had to admit to myself that evolution was true.
(And then it made me an atheist. So the creationists are right about that much.) I see an article like this as a way to help educate people who might be surrounded by misinformation. To that end, stating clearly things that are obvious to me or you can help, when they are things that aren't necessarily obvious to the reader. It certainly wasn't obvious to me, 20 years ago. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:40, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Fair enough. The addition certainly does no harm beyond the few bytes it occupies. I have never been on the other side of that fence (thanks for the sneak-peek at what the view is like from there!) so my opinions about how a creationist would react to such or such phrasing are not (must not be) very strong. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 21:56, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
ID is primarily an argument against evolutionary biology, using an old philosophical/theological argument for the existence of God, as if that were relevant and sufficient to defeat "Darwinism", without explicit mention of God, as if that were sufficient to make it non-religious and scientific, but only makes it pseudoscientific. TomS TDotO (talk) 18:35, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
I fully agree with this statement, but am confused as to why it is indented as an answer to my comment. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 19:25, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm confused, too. Sorry. TomS TDotO (talk) 02:23, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

The top of the page says that:

  1. This article is about a form of creationism, and
  2. Intelligent design is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God

By saying this, are we following the NPOV policy? Or are we asserting that opponents of ID are correct? (If it's the latter, then couldn't we at least say that Opponents of ID regard it as a form of creationism and/or Opponents of ID see it mainly as a creationist religious argument for the existence of God?

It wouldn't violate "undue weight" to attribute the views of opponents to opponents - provided we make darn sure that our readers know what percent of experts or other reliable sources endorse those views. --Uncle Ed (talk) 18:50, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Nope, due weight requires that we show the clear majority expert view, and don't recast reality from a fringe perspective. Calling that mainstream view "opponents" at the start simply attempts to give "equal validity" to pseudoscience. Even proponentsists present it as a religious argument for the existence of God in all but name, and their denial of creationism has no credence – even with their followers! . . dave souza, talk 19:10, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
WP:Neutral point of view says quite clearly: "Avoid stating facts as opinions." ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:17, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Meh seems largely the same result here as before "Of the options available in this thread, the status quo was strongly favoured. Discussion has now gone stale here and is continued in new threads down the page where further options have been presented. Samsara 20:16, 29 January 2017 (UTC)" For me, it doesn't seem worth saying yet again the things I feel wrong with these have been said before over & over... How about we just all agree we dislike the lead and that until something actually changes about the topic externally or we get some newer cites to work from we just put a longish hold on any rechewing this one over & over ? Markbassett (talk) 00:35, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Well, yours was the first comment in over two months, so I think we're taking the tact you recommend already. For the record, I can clearly see why, to a religious editor or to one who is completely agnostic on this issue, the current opening sentence appears POV-ish. the DI and others have worked very hard to get ID recognized as science. But at the end of the day, the current opening sentence is as accurate and brief a definition as we could possibly provide, with the possible exception of the previous opening sentence. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:12, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

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Anti-evolution legislation[edit]

The article Anti-evolution legislation was titled Academic freedom bills until this past December. There is currently a discussion at Talk:Anti-evolution legislation about whether the article should be moved back. You are invited to participate. (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 19:48, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Opening sentence[edit]

Apparently even minor copy edits get reverted on sight at this article. My edit was far from elegant, but the sentence as it stands is even farther from elegant. It's a cumbersome sentence. I split it into 2 sentences to improve readability a bit. Joefromrandb (talk) 02:58, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

That opening sentence has been so hotly debated, and with such regularity, that people here are extremely skittish about even the slightest change of wording. The current one is a minor alteration of the previous long-standing version obtained via a multi-part RfC which you can find in the archives if you care to waste your time. For this lead, DDDDDDB applies, rather than BRD :P Your addition of the abbreviation, OTOH, cannot possibly alter meaning, and is a clear commonsense improvement, so it's likely to stand on its own. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 05:00, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
I've seen it. I'm not out to change anything. The change I made did not alter the meaning of what was being said one iota. Joefromrandb (talk) 05:24, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps it could be argued that "an example of" is a minute departure from "found to be". I took another crack at it, this time retaining the original text almost word-for-word. Again, I have no objection to what's being said. I'm just trying to make it a bit easier to parse. Joefromrandb (talk) 05:34, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
I will support the RfC on that comma. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 06:46, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The text involved, without references, is:

Previous (20:24, 17 May 2017) Current (05:36, 20 May 2017)
Intelligent design is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" but found to be pseudoscience. Intelligent design (ID) is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God. Presented by its proponents as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins", it has been found to be pseudoscience.

The changes look good to me. Johnuniq (talk) 06:57, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

  • The change seems reasonable to me, but I am concerned about the comma and whether it should follow the close quotation mark in the second sentence of the new version, or be placed between the word origins and the close quotation mark... In line with usual practice for this and similar topics, I propose an RfC be prepared and advertised on the central messages, a minimum of 150 kB discussion at AN over the composition of a three admin panel to close the RfC, revert wars over the changes in the meantime, several blocks, and a three-month ArbCom case coming to the conclusion that it cannot mandate MOS changes and DS are already authorised. Newyorkbrad, at the risk of having to recuse and miss what will no doubt be one of the archetypes of pointless ArbCom cases, can you weigh in on the weighty matter of the lede sentence change and the vitally important topic of punctuation? Wow, I wish I could pretend there was no basis for my admittedly sarcastic comment, but I've been here too long... EdChem (talk) 07:07, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I also realized that "evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" appears twice in the first paragraph. Hopefully my use of a pronoun in place of this word-for-word antecedent that appears only two sentences before it isn't a major issue. Joefromrandb (talk) 14:09, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
(fast track attempt :) I see no problem with your changes. — PaleoNeonate — 14:19, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
  • The first sentence as it is now looks good to me, especially with the repetition of the "evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" taken care of. Bishonen | talk 14:43, 20 May 2017 (UTC).

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The second paragraph of the lede[edit]

I think the second paragraph of the lead section was rather hard to follow, especially for readers who don't already know what irreducible complexity and specified complexity are. I've attempted a copyedit, without changing the content. Since I've moved things around, the notes may not be best placed. (And note 12 seems to be defined somewhere lower down; I dunno if anything needs doing about that.) Altogether, please improve or revert or comment here, anybody who cares to. Bishonen | talk 14:39, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Bishonen - mmm, mis-stated IC there. That says "Both these arguments offer detailed assertions that certain features (biological and informational, respectively) are too complex to be the result of natural processes." SC is about "too complex", but IC is not. IC is about something that cannot be broken down into a simpler form. This is similar to the ancient positions of Georges Cuvier or Charles Pritchard e.g. see here. Irreducible complexity can be talked about as a real phenomenon -- that there is some smallest increment -- but it's a case of proving a negative, that we do not know how does not mean there isn't a way. Markbassett (talk) 00:39, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Mark's statement here. I've made some minor changes that reflect this, I believe. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:13, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
When reading the introduction, I wonder: is "detailed" appropriate there? I could be pedantic but I have the impression that "detailed" is there in attempt to make it sound impressive. If they went enough into the details, much of the arguments would self-defeat (topic coverage is obviously selective with dismissal of contradicting information). If others agree that "detailed" is misleading, possible alternatives: "many assertions", "various assertions", "a number of assertions", or just "assertions". I'm not necessarily suggesting "rehashed claims", but... — PaleoNeonate — 18:32, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Agreed and removed. There is already one "detailed" a few sentences after, let's not wear out the word. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 18:52, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, — PaleoNeonate — 19:45, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
"Detailed" is accurate; quite a lot has been written in support of these, and they are rather detailed arguments when made by the most educated creationists. That being said, I'm not opposed to removal as there's no need for this article to specify that they are detailed. (Do not take this as an endorsement of those arguments; they are crap and are easily refuted by far less detailed arguments.) ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:47, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
The fact that you, who are not in the least in danger of being thought of as a closet creationist, felt the need to include an aside to explain that detailed ≠ good, strikes me as exactly the reason why the word should be used carefully. For most people, more detail = better. Probably for the same reason the conjunction fallacy works. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 10:35, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
Notice that I didn't object to removing it. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:17, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
I did notice, don't worry. I just thought that it was worth emphasising why I'd personally go a nudge beyond "there is no need for 'detailed' here", and be generally wary of the way this word is used in similar situations. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 15:58, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree that it is a weasel word that lends credence to the claims. I was just pointing out that it technically accurate. And, of course, noting for anyone too lazy to check my contribs or user page that I'm not defending those claims. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:06, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
You're fine, you are now entitled to wear the official TINC seal Face-smile.svg. — PaleoNeonate — 00:21, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I am adding a note on Charles Pritchard to the history of Irreducible complexity. TomS TDotO (talk) 17:11, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

"Creationist religious"[edit]

The consensual opening statement has been, Intelligent design (ID) is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God. Someone removed the word "religious," which was promptly restored. I believe that word is grammatically redundant, specially since "creationist" links to Creationism is the religious belief that . . .

In the interest of semantics, can we remove the word "religious"? It would still appear 29 times in the article (excluding the citations) if I counted correctly. YoPienso (talk) 16:52, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

I have no objection to the removal or to reformulate so that it appears less redundant. A possible formulation: "Intelligent design (ID) is a religious argument for the existence of God. A form of creationism, it asserts that the world was created by a supernatural intelligent designer." Let's wait for a few more comments, though. Thanks, — PaleoNeonate — 17:02, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
The redundancy of "creationist religious" is a much better argument than the appeal to deism of the recent commit, which raises my hackles in ways that are too tedious to put into type. I really like your proposed formulation, and will support it if implemented. You'd need to alter " Presented by its proponents " into something like " ID is presented...", to avoid relying on "it" in two consecutive sentences. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 17:39, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

I agree.Apollo The Logician (talk) 18:58, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

After updating the lead, another redundancy issue shows up: "Educators, philosophers, and the scientific community have demonstrated that ID is a religious argument, a form of creationism which lacks empirical support and offers no testable or tenable hypotheses." — PaleoNeonate — 19:20, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
What about only keeping "Intelligent design (ID) is a religious argument for the existence of God." and dropping the second or third sentence? It would then immediately be followed by the above. I will revert my change for now until we have a better solution. — PaleoNeonate — 19:23, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Or we could simply remove the first instance of "creationist" and wikilink the second instance... — PaleoNeonate — 19:25, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Dropping the second or third sentence is a big no-no for me. Each brings something new and specific to the table. Dropping the first instance of "creationist" and wikilinking the second, however, seems quite reasonable to me. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 20:00, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
This change was applied. The text flow seems nice to me so far... — PaleoNeonate — 20:21, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. Meanwhile I just thought of another option. ID is also called "intelligent design creationism" (IDC) by a truckload of sources; Boudry, Forrest,... Why not go "Intelligent design creationism (IDC), or intelligent design (ID) for short, is a religious blah blah blah"? A possible objection is that ID advocates would definitely not refer to it as such, since totally not being creationism in a lab coat prop is ID's schtick. Don't know if that should matter -- ID advocates refer to ID as a lot of things that just don't fly -- but there may be a guideline about that type of stuff that I just don't know, so I'd be prudent about doing that. To be clear I'm not advocating the change right now -- I'm happy with the current version -- but mostly wondering aloud why it wasn't done before and if there's a policy-based reason for that that I'm missing. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 20:26, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Maybe common name? It's not always the best indicator, but I get far more search results for "ID" + "Intelligent design" than for "IDC" + "Intelligent design creationism" (2,690,000 vs 1,620). But I think that mentioning both in the lead is not the same as renaming the article, which is mostly what common name is about... — PaleoNeonate — 20:37, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Ah, close enough. IDC is quite a mouthful, and I won't argue that it's popular. Yes technically that policy is about titles and not leads, but on a lead as contentious as this one has been, and will keep on being, I certainly don't want to introduce anything in it that would open the way for endless ratiocinations and lawyering. The current version is solid, let's stick with that. I'll rest my case, and myself as well because it's getting fairly late in my timezone. Thanks. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 20:58, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
After reading the lead again, I also like its current state. Thank you for your comments and good night, — PaleoNeonate · 21:05, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Although this change perhaps plays down the central point that ID is creationism relabelled, it reduces redundancy and I think it reads better. In the context of these changes, the first paragraph seemed overlong and rather complex, so I've split it into two sections, each of which has a different focus: first the definition, and second the proponents. Think that improves readability. . . dave souza, talk 16:18, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

I have reviewed your changes and find no problem with them. I don't think that we downplay it by not having it in the first sentence personally, since it's still in the first paragraph. Quoting Numbers (which you just added) also helps matters. Thanks, —PaleoNeonate· 18:16, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes; nice job! I've just eliminated the redundant "a religious argument" from the clinching sentence for further streamlining. YoPienso (talk) 18:56, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
YoPienso - removing the "religious" and leaving "creationist" seems appropriate as a directly literal description and partisan identification, as well as a phrasing that has been done here before for whatever that is worth. ID does hold that an external intelligence made things, which is literally "creation", and theologists and philosophers have labeled it as a branch of creationism so cites could be found. Folks accepting any of it also seem to get called that as a partisan labeling even if not literally true, as they seem to call NCSE or Dawkins Darwinists. In contrast, 'religious' is harder to show evidence for as it is not what is commonly considered religion -- not literally stated from scripture, using prayers, have elements of ritual or religious law or temples or gotten recognition by governments (even in England where Druid, Witch, Star Wars or Pastafarian serve) as a tax-exempt church, nor has it been claimed as a precept of churches to any significant extent. It could be in the sense of metaphorically for a fiercely held belief be called a 'religious' belief similar to saying Darwinism is a religion, or it could be referring to motivations behind ID rather than ID itself, but both of those seem not the COMMON understanding here so it would be confusing unless more detail were added. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 03:16, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments, Mark. I think the general reader who hasn't engaged in endless pages of talk but simply consults Wikipedia to find out what ID is will find the current wording perfectly clear.
As you know, ID is an attempt by creationists to couch creationism in scientific terms. It is thus religious. YoPienso (talk) 05:20, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

This is a theory not an argument![edit]

This thread has gotten off topic. Please see WP:NOTFORUM. The original discussion ended with a fairly clear consensus that we will not refer to ID as a theory. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 20:47, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

There is a clear difference between an argument and a theory. No source calls it an argument.Apollo The Logician (talk) 18:55, 31 May 2017 (UTC) Apollo The Logician (talk) 18:55, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

Cited source: Numbers p. 373 says "Although the religious roots of the design argument go back centuries, its contemporary incarnation dates from the 1980s". . . . dave souza, talk 16:26, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
ID does not make any useful predictions and cannot be used to model the state of biodiversity. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:10, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Whether it is correct or can make predictions has no relevance to whether it is a theory.Apollo The Logician (talk) 20:13, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
That is completely false. Please read Scientific theory. And do not try to argue that this is not a "scientific" theory but a more abstract theory; it explicitly and obviously pretends to be a scientific theory. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 14:46, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
User:MjolnirPants (and Apollo The Logician) - theories are explanatory, not necessarily predictive -- for example Natural selection is an explanatory framework, it does not predict future events. Markbassett (talk) 03:53, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Scientists would have no reason to investigate natural selection if they thought it only worked yesterday and will not apply in the future. In some pedantic sense unrelated to the real world, predictions about the future are impossible because evidence only says what happened in the past. However, I'm still going to look both ways before crossing the road. Johnuniq (talk) 05:22, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Also see Prediction#Prediction_in_science. In the case of evolution (and the converging sciences involved), it is common to predict where and at which depth a particular yet-undiscovered transitional fossil is likely to be found, for instance. This is also the case for live species in adaptive radiations. We attempt to predict which influenza strain is likely to be epidemic for the next season for vaccines to be ready on time, etc. The more accurate scientific theories are, the more effective they are at making predictions (other factors are important too of course, like the availability of the evidence). Gravity waves were predicted by theoretical physics before they were confirmed too (so is the case of so many discoveries in physics)... —PaleoNeonate - 05:45, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
It clearly is not a scientific theory, although it would like to pass as such, which is probably why we also must specify that it is pseudoscience. Although we could use theory colloquially, it may perhaps give undue weight to those arguments (or statements of faith)... — PaleoNeonate — 19:12, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
theory is not synonymous with scientific theory. There such a thing as a nonscientific theory.Apollo The Logician (talk) 20:13, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Well yes my above post also acknowledges that, but consider this quote: "Presented by its proponents as 'an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins'"... Wikipedia cannot present it as such, however. Avoiding the word theory in this context (other than in direct quotes like that one) appears justified to me, to avoid any confusion. — PaleoNeonate — 20:25, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Given that its not being a scientific theory is kind of a central point about ID, also using the word 'theory' in its colloquial acception is about as smart a move as storing hydrochloric acid in a water bottle, and storing that bottle next to real water bottles. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 20:41, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Intelligent design is presented as a philosophical theory as well. Either way how about another word like idea? Because I hope we can all agree it is not an argument.Apollo The Logician (talk) 08:59, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
The masterminds of Intelligent Design are fully aware of the differences between the colloquial "theory," and "scientific theory," and are fully aware of laypeople's confusion and conflation of the two terms, hence the deliberate decision to append "theory" to Intelligent Design in order to deliberately deceive people into assuming that Intelligent Design is somehow, someway scientific.--Mr Fink (talk) 20:46, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, there are historical theories, artistic theories, legal theories, etc. Intelligent Design is not a theory. ID does not, for example, define or describe the central terms that it uses. It does not distinguish between what happens and what does not happen (is it possible under ID that humans would have eyes like octopuses or flies or potatoes - of course, those could be designed). In brief, ID does not have any prospect or interest in answering the 6Ws, 5 Whys, Means, motive, and opportunity. TomS TDotO (talk) 20:55, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Please read thisApollo The Logician (talk) 09:01, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Which says " the term "theory" refers to "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment" Theroadislong (talk) 09:05, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
You missed the part before it "In modern science".Apollo The Logician (talk) 09:09, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
The proponents of ID "theory" claim that it would be part of modern science. Tgeorgescu (talk) 11:00, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
That is both irrelevant to whether or not it is a theory and incorrect. See William Paley's watchmaker analogy for example. That is not claimed to be scientific evidence.Apollo The Logician (talk) 11:35, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
William Paley's watchmaker analogy is not a theory either, it's an argument. Theroadislong (talk) 11:40, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I know never claimed it was a theory. I claimed it was a philosophical argument which has been used to justify a belief in intelligent design. Therefore ID is not necessarily presented as a scientific theory.Apollo The Logician (talk) 12:16, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
ID refers to a relatively recent movement (1980s+), to which Paley was a precursor. The third paragraph of the lead deals precisely with the distinction between ID specifically and theological precursors. This waste of time seems to stem from your wanting to substitute any vague notion of deism or 'things having been designed by an intelligence' for any instance of "intelligent design". That doesn't work. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 12:47, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
You are confused. This is not the Intelligent design movement article..Apollo The Logician (talk) 12:57, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
This is about the concept, the phrase, and the argumentations which are tied to this specific movement. Paley was not an ID advocate. ID didn't exist as such. That ID advocates mention Paley does not change that ID's bread and butter is passing off as a scientific theory. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 13:13, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Paley was not an ID advocate? You must just have escaped from a mental asylum or something.Apollo The Logician (talk) 13:17, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I confess I missed his latest treaty on irreducible complexity. It may be because my mental asylum does not afford me good access to up-to-date scholarship. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 13:20, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Apollo, I strongly suggest you refrain from making personal attacks. Furthermore, I strongly suggest you find even one reliable source which claims that ID is a non-scientific theory. Otherwise, we will summarize what the reliable sources say: that ID is a line of argument, not a theory. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 14:49, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

ID is defined as "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." There are two important features of this. (1) It does not offer an explanation, it only claims that there is an explanation. (2) It is framed as a negative, that there is something amiss with the scientific explanation. In order to be taken as a theory, it has to offer an explanation. As things stand, it is not even a expository essay, but merely a complaint about evolutionary biology. There is no "certain feature" for which it even attempts to say "'what happens so that things turn out as they do", and no one is interested in exploring that question. Nor, when or where, or who are the intelligent causes. The literature is exclusively devoted to what they think is wrong with evolutionary biology, never do they show any interest in describing how a design can result in a product. TomS TDotO (talk) 16:01, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
ID is an argument in the specific philosophical or theological sense, so I've linked that term in the opening paragraph. That makes it clear it's not one of the other usages in Argument (disambiguation), including Argument Clinic. . . dave souza, talk 16:26, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
No it isn´t! Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 21:38, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
TomS TDotO - you've misquoted, the line is perhaps a proponent descriptive rather than definition but reads
  • "The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."
Other definitions of ID include as
  • " the theory that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by a designing intelligence"
  • " the theory that life, or the universe, cannot have arisen by chance and was designed and created by some intelligent entity."
  • " the idea that the world is so complicated that it cannot have developed by chance, and must have been made by God or some other intelligent being"
We are seeing that Theory is also multiply defined and a POV evaluation here, demonstrated by Apollo The Logician and the others above. Even when it's not just word games, opinions vary on whether ID suits whichever definition of Theory, depending on which definition of ID and of Theory one starts with. Markbassett (talk) 03:35, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't understand how I've misquoted anyone. Please help me so that I do not make the same mistake again.
Anyway, most of the "definitions" of ID are presented as what ID is not. It is generally recognized as a flaw in a definition to be stated as a negative. If X is not properly defined, then one cannot claim anything about X - not that it is a theory nor that it is anything else.
Moreover, all of the statements about ID fail as proper descriptions or definitions because they depend on undefined terms. Ignotum per ignotius. Once again, if X is not properly defined, etc.
Moreover, even if we were to grant that ID is properly defined, there are some criteria for a theory. For example, that a theory offers an explanation, "why this, rather than something else". ISTM that "created or designed by some intelligence" would equally apply to any conceivable situation. "The Earth in a nearly elliptical orbit of the Sun", yes God could be responsible. But equally so, "The Earth is in orbit about the Moon" or "The Earth's orbit is s discontinuous curve" or whatever, are possibilities for action by "some intelligent entities".
But I think that I am straying beyond the proper bounds of discussion in Wikipedia, even in "Talk". I think that I should be citing some authority, rather than making an argument. Perhaps the authorities cited in the main body of this article make these points. TomS TDotO (talk) 04:34, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
TomS TDotO (here as this is direct response to you asking me) (1) The misquote is that it's a partial of the line from (you might not have had the full item or context). Particularly the missing phrase "holds that" casts this more as a descriptive discussion or results than as a definition. Discussion of the line as a definition may simply be moot if it was not a definition. (2) The three definitions I show ~are~ given as definitions from authoritative RS. For WP:V sense I don't think TALK should dispute that they are definitions. Your statements about 'most of the "definitions"' defining by negatives are not so for any of those, so perhaps you are referring to informal polemic or strawmen false definitions from opponents? (3) It's not solely about it is commonly defined with the word "theory", it's more widely that definitions around "ID" and "theory" _vary_. Even when one ignores the partisan framing instances. Even with just a few here none of them are really close to each other. Is it "certain features" or life or the universe or just the world ? Cheers Markbassett (talk) 04:23, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

ID is an argument for the theory is that an intelligent being created the universe. To use your example, the theory of a creator explains the earth's orbit. TFD (talk) 04:57, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Explains in what sense? Would knowing that a creator made everything explain the path or speed of Earth's orbit? Does ID explain which of Venus and Mars has the larger orbital period? Johnuniq (talk) 05:33, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
You are confusing the efficient and the final cause. Physics would describe the speed of Earth's orbit, while religion would explain why the rules exist: because they are the best of possible rules in the best of all possible worlds. TFD (talk) 06:09, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
You are agreeing that ID explains nothing about orbits—that is another example of why ID is not a theory because it explains nothing about anything. ID is a claim that certain things cannot be explained by theories and that therefore a creator must be responsible. ID does not identify any properties of such a creator other than the obvious point that the creator would operate outside all theories devised by humans. Johnuniq (talk) 07:22, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────You mean explains nothing about orbits that is measurable. You assume in your statement a postivist perspective. medieval theories of physics do not explain anything about orbits as far as you are concerned yet are considered theories anyway. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ‎The Four Deuces (talkcontribs) 14:20, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

  • TFD actually has a very good point. The fact that we have no way to to extrapolate predictions from the postulate "A creator made and controls the universe" isn't a logical failing preventing it from being a theory, but a practical one preventing it from being a useful theory. It is conceivable that we could discover, measure, observe and eventually dissect a god, and from that produce a model which could make useful predictions. So it's arguable that "A creator made and controls the universe" is a theory, in a very strict logic-only sense. This is the same sense in which any hypothesis or postulate of any sort could be said to be a theory. (Admittedly, the resultant model would be the theory, but theories and their axioms are routinely held to be the same thing, so I don't see any use to quibbling over that point.) It would not hold up for even the briefest moment in practice, but in theory (pun intended, thank you) it is a theory. But one cannot say that a negative statement, by itself can be a theory, because it does not actually even attempt to explain something. One cannot produce a prediction from a negative statement, one can only produce further negative statements.
All of that being said, we actually aren't discussing any changes to this page, so I suggest taking this discussion to user talk if it is to continue. You all are welcome to use my talk page if you don't want to clutter up your own. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:56, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
You are right about WP:NOTFORUM, thank you for reminding us. This conversation is indeed overdue at this point for this article talk page; I think that we have reached a consensus to not use the word theory to describe ID in the article. —PaleoNeonate - 18:48, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
May I please, just this once, note that Brexit will inevitably be the best possible Brexit, in the best of all possible worlds. It would not, however, imply the Brexit is intelligently designed. . . dave souza, talk 19:19, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Dear god, the geek factor in that reference and the ironic meta-ness of linking to Candide instead of Leibniz just gave me a massive nerdgasm. Good job. Now excuse me while I bask in the afterglow. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:40, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────To get back to the discussion point, a theory explains something. Postivists say that unless a theory is falsifiable it is meaningless, therefore not a theory at all. Whether or not that is true, ID does not explain anything. It argues from a theory that that there is design in nature to a theory that there is a designer. Historically this was called the "argument from design." Creationism otoh is a theory. What connects it to ID is that some creationists use irreducible complexity in support of their theory. TFD (talk) 00:27, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

TFD -- explanatory is what a theory does all right, but ID is also said to explain or "best explains" some things. The falsifiability seems a bit disputed too where Evolution has also been/is said as not falsifiable, and falsifiability has been notably criticized. But I'm not seeing how you got Creationism is a theory out of those. I would say 'Just follow the cites', but in this case as I said earlier in this TALK, the cites seem not agree. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 04:57, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
What does it explain? TFD (talk) 05:38, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.