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Appendicitis: Corrections to the Appendix of Why Intelligent Design Fails

by Casey Luskin

Why Intelligent Design Fails cover

Pictured above is the cover of Why Intelligent Design Fails, edited by Matt Young and Taner Edis.

Updates: To Gary Hurd's credit, he has issued a statement of errata regarding these errors at Also, please be sure to read an important correction made to this page, as well as a lesson to be learned by all. Dr. Hurd is to be commended for any efforts he is making to see to it that future editions of WIDF are error free! Below was the original critique:


In 2004, Matt Young and Taner Edis edited a volume critiquing intelligent design theory entitled Why Intelligent Design Fails (Rutgers University Press, 2004; herein "WIDF"). The Appendix, which list various "Organization and Websites" in the intelligent design movement (WIDF, pg. 197), was compiled by scientist Gary S. Hurd. This response is posted for informational purposes to help correct various inaccuracies readers will receive after reading Hurd's Appendix in WIDF.

I would like to note initially that overall, WIDF is one of the most comprehensive scientific critiques of ID put into print as-of-yet. Also, I would like to note that I e-mailed Dr. Hurd (using the address listed at "") in a friendly and cordial spirit, on June 2, 2005, 6 days before posting this article, hoping to have a friendly correspondence with him in the mutual hopes of notifying him about these inaccuracies. My primary hope in posting this short response is simply that these inaccuracies can be corrected in future editions of WIDF. Although Dr. Hurd did not reply to my e-mail as of the posting of this article (June 8, 2005), it is still hoped that these inaccuracies will be fixed in future editions of WIDF nonetheless.

All grey boxes contain quotes from Hurd's Appendix in WIDF.

1: Misinformation regarding the Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Club

Problem: Hurd's appendix lists the wrong URL. Explanation:
Hurd lists the web address of the UCSD IDEA Club as "" when in reality it has always been " If one goes to the URL listed by Hurd, one obtains a "404", page not found error. As the co-creator of the IDEA Club at UCSD website, I have to admit, it would be pretty cool if the site was hosted directly off the UCSD main server (and thus would have the URL given by Hurd). But since the IDEA Club was formed, UCSD student organization websites are hosted by the UCSD Academic Computing Services server (, and the UCSD IDEA Club has never had the URL given by Hurd. Thus our actual URL is "" Readers of WIDF should be aware of this mistake if they plan to visit this site.

A minor and less important note about this section is the quote Hurd provides to describe the IDEA Club at UCSD:

"The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Club birthed in May of 1999 after UC Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson came and lectured at UCSD. Known for his books critiquing Darwinian evolution, naturalistic thought, and his leadership in the 'Intelligent Design Movement,' Johnson was brought to UCSD Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ to speak on issues related to creation and evolution."

The segment which Hurd quotes is from the history section of the About the Club page from the UCSD IDEA Club website. I would expect an appendix listing organizations to explain about the purpose, activities, and leadership of an organization. This statement by Hurd tells the reader nothing about the fact that the IDEA Club is a student-founded, student-run club, and it does not tell readers about the mission statement of the club ( I would have expected the Hurd's appendix to contain something more along the lines of the approximate blurb from our main home page found in the following search engines descriptions of the IDEA Club (Google Internet Directory or the Yahoo! Directory): "A student-run club at UC San Diego which promotes the scientific theory that life was designed by an intelligence... Hopefully a more complete description of the IDEA Club at UCSD will help readers of WIDF better understand this site they are visiting.
2: Misinformation regarding the Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center (IDURC)

Problems: Hurd inaccurately describes the founding of IDURC; possibly mixes it up with another organization. Explanation:
Hurd begins his description of the Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center (IDURC) by stating:

"This web site was begun by a University of California, San Diego, student..."

Needing an Appendectomy?
This is an inaccurate statement, for I know for a fact that "Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center (IDURC)" was not founded by any students from UC San Diego. I happen to be a former UCSD student who founded the "IDEA Center." I'm not sure if the authors thought that I founded IDURC, but in fact, I did not found IDURC, nor have I ever had any affiliation with IDURC. If the authors did think this, no one affiliated with WIDF ever contacted me to verify if their statement was accurate. Additionally, from what the founders tell me, IDURC has never been managed by any student who ever attended UC San Diego.

The current director of IDURC is Tristan Abbey, who took over running IDURC from the original founders. Tristan is an undergraduate at Stanford. Apparently the student who designed the current GUI of the website was is a UCSD freshman (as of 2004-2005), but the connection goes no further than mere site design. Furthermore, Hurd couldn't be talking about this student because UCSD-student-designed version of the website came online in early 2005, long after Why Intelligent Design Fails was printed. Furthermore WIDF was printed while this current UCSD student was in high school. The site was not "begun" by a UCSD student.

IDURC is a great website and a growing organization which has been attracting increasing numbers of undergraduate contributors over the past few years. It deserves to be on any list of ID websites and organizations. However, it seems possible that Hurd may have confused IDURC with the "IDEA Center." Interestingly, the "Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center" is missing from Hurd's list of ID organizations and websites, and it would indeed be correct to state that the IDEA Center's website was begun by a student (formerly) at the University of California, at San Diego--me.

Hopefully more accurate statements about the origins of IDURC will avoid confusion between their excellent organization and other student-oriented ID organizations.
3: Misinformation regarding "Can Intelligent Design (ID) Be a Testable, Scientific Theory? Evolution vs. Design: Is the Universe a Cosmic Accident or Does it Display Intelligent Design? ("

Problem: Hurd states this site supports intelligent design from a young earth creationist perspective, when it is actually an "old earth" creationist website; site does not belong on a list of ID websites. Explanation:
Regarding, Hurd writes:

"These web pages, hosted by God and, illustrate the intelligent-design support among young earth creationists."

Hard-core Darwinist critics never miss a chance to highlight and expose supposed connections between intelligent design and young earth creationism. Apparently Darwinists are sometimes so excited to find and expose what they perceive as incriminating young earth creationism connections to intelligent design, that they negligently investigate these connections to find out if their dreams have actually come true. In this case, it's just a dream, and Hurd jumped the gun a little too quickly.

A quick review of reveals that it is an adamantly old earth creationist website, as is seen in the following staunchly anti-young-earth links plainly listed all over
  • The Literal Interpretation of the Genesis One Creation Account by Richard Deem
  • Day-Age Genesis One Interpretation by Richard Deem
  • Biblical Defense of Long Creation Days by Richard Deem
  • Biblical Evidence for Long Creation Days
  • The Genesis Flood: Why the Bible Says It Must be Local by Richard Deem
  • Psalms 104:9 - Does it refer to the Original Creation or the Flood? by Richard Deem
  • Is the Young-Earth Interpretation Biblically Sound? by Richard Deem
  • Appearance of Age - A Young Earth Heresy by Richard Deem
  • No Death Before the Fall - A Young Earth Heresy by Richard Deem
  • Genesis Clearly Teaches that the Days Were Not 24 Hours by Richard Deem
  • Does the Bible Say God Created the Universe in Six 24-Hour Days? by Richard Deem
  • The Literal Interpretation of the Genesis One Creation Account by Richard Deem
  • Scientific Evidence for the Age of the Universe
  • Rebuttal to "Ten Problems Against the Big Bang"
  • The Water Vapor Canopy Theory: Why the Bible (And Science) Says It is False by Richard Deem

  • Hurd lists this website as a "young-earth creationis[t]" website despite the fact that the site itself brazenly calls young earth creationism a "heresy." Christian heresy young earth creationism is not, but there is no doubt that the site's creator, Richard Deem would be very unsettled to learn that a book had published that his website supported young earth creationism.

    It is possible that this mistake arose because Hurd became confused when he saw talk of "literal" interpretations of Genesis on, and then assumed the site was pro-young earth creationism. If this is the case, then this shows a high level of unfamiliarity on the part of Dr. Hurd with the creationist movement. Old earth creationists, like young earth creationists, typically attempt to take Genesis literally. The difference is that when old earth creationists look at the literal meaning of the original Hebrew text, they argue that it allows for an old earth.

    Old earth creationists commonly argue that Genesis must be taken literally, in its original Hebrew. A lack of knowledge of this fact may have misled Hurd into thinking that was a young-earth creationist website. As it currently stands, there is not a single website in Hurd's appendix which supports intelligent design from a young-earth creationist viewpoint.

    Finally, as discussed further below, this website does simply does not belong on a list of ID websites, because it is clearly an old earth creationist website that simply just has one of its many sections devoted to ID. The IDEA Center has long-listed this website in our links page under our "Creationism Websites" section, which is separate from our ID websites section. Though the site covers many interesting topics, this surely is not an ID-website. It's an old earth creationist website with forays into many other subjects, including social issues like abortion, and the scientific debates over intelligent design and evolution. Please see the discussion below for more details.

    For the sake of accuracy, hopefully readers will not be misled into thinking this site represents young earth creationist support for ID, and will also realize that as a whole, it isn't even a specifically ID site.
    4. Misinformation regarding "Evolution vs. Design: Is the Universe a Cosmic Accident or Does it Display Intelligent Design? ("

    Problems: This is an exact duplicate mirror-site from another site Hurd lists elsewhere in the Appendix; Hurd criticizes this site as if it represents the ID movement, when it clearly is not a mainstream ID website. Explanation:
    Hurd may not have realized this, but this site he lists is a precise mirror site to another site he lists, (discussed directly above in item 3). Thus this entry is entirely redundant in Hurd's list of "ID Organizations and Websites." To see this redundancy in action, if one goes to "" (the page Hurd lists, as discussed in item 3 of this page), one will be directed to the exact same page listed at "" (a separate page Hurd lists in his list of ID websites).

    However, it is puzzling why Hurd includes this site even once, much less twice, in his list of ID-websites. There are many intelligent design websites out there, but not all of them exist as organizations outside of the web, or have official affiliation with the major players of the ID movement. Thus, many intelligent design websites may not represent mainstream thought in intelligent design. (and its identical-twin mirror site, has an impressive amount of material related to intelligent design, but here are some important reasons why this site clearly doesn't belong on a list of ID websites:
  • In the "About Us" page, the site presents itself as having been inspired by Reasons to Believe, an old earth creationist organization which is not a part of the ID-movement. In fact, the contact page for Mr. Deem's website lists the surface-mailing address for as follows: Richard Deem
    c/o Reasons To Believe
    P.O. Box 5978
    Pasadena, CA 91117
    This is the very mailing address for Reasons to Believe! Even Hurd does not include Reasons to Believe in his list of ID websites, and that's because Reasons to Believe is an old earth creationist organization, whose non-ID-oriented primary goal is to "to communicate the uniquely factual basis for belief in the Bible as the wholly true Word of God and for personal faith in Jesus Christ." About Us, Reasons to Believe Website, and is not at all a part of the mainstream ID movement. Such intimate connections with a non-ID project as old earth creationism would indicate that this site does not belong on a list of ID organizations and websites.
  • The site simply does not seem ID-focused. Only one of the 10 apologetics categories of site-content deals with intelligent design--with the other categories being totally non ID-related ("Biblical Creation," "Bible Authenticity," "Christian Theology," "Christian Tribulation," "Christian Life Issues," "Abortion," and "God's love"). This non-ID content makes no attempt to connect the material back to intelligent design. Hurd may desire to associate ID back to such specifically Christian projects, but this site is a Christian creationist apologetics website which only devotes one of its many sections talking about ID. It doesn't belong on a list of ID organizations and websites, especially given its explicit connections to a non-ID organization, "Reasons to Believe."
  • The site's creator, Richard Deem, is a molecular biologist and has created most of the material on the site. However, this site is not a part of any off-the-internet organization. Such non-real-world affiliation wouldn't necessarily preclude it form inclusion in Hurd's list, which also includes, a pure website without any non-internet organization behind it. However, there is one major difference between Mr. Deem's website and hosts articles by many major public proponents of intelligent design, and seems to have a direct affiliation with such ID proponents as Jonathan Wells, Charles Thaxton, Phillip Johnson, William Dembski, and Walter L. Bradley, while on the writings are primarily those of Mr. Richard Deem. There are a few articles on Mr. Deem's website written by scientists, but there are no such prominent ID proponents who have any material hosted on Mr. Deem's website, and no major ID proponents are listed as affiliated with this site. Mr. Deem has created an impressive amount of material on his site. However, this site appears to have no non-internet existence, and seems to have no connections with any real-world organizations in the ID movement nor with any of the major players in the ID movement.
  • While there is no doubt Mr. Deem's website has one portion which contains an impressive amount of information about intelligent design, it is clear this site was generally inspired by old earth creationism, and that its interests go way beyond intelligent design and even origins questions, into issues dealing with Bible interpretation, theology, and various social issues which are completely unrelated to intelligent design.

  • Hurd's claims that the site, "is a good example of the success that the intelligent-design creationists have had glossing over basic differences between what they say and what they mean." Hurd does not explain this comment, so it is difficult to know exactly what Hurd means. Furthermore, his allegation that intelligent design is creationism is simply a rhetorical tactic which has been addressed and refuted by numerous writings of ID proponents. For one small example, see our FAQ Is intelligent design just creationism (or creationism "in disguise")?>. Regardless, Deem's website is specifically devoted to old earth creationism, in the spirit of Hugh Ross and his old earth creationist organization, Reasons to Believe, and thus it is wrong to state that this site is an example of anything coming from organizations representing the mainstream ID movement. The relevance of this site as a representative of mainstream intelligent design thought in the actual ID movement is highly doubtful. To reiterate, there are many intelligent design websites out there, but not all of them exist as organizations outside of the web, or have official affiliation with the major players of the ID movement.

    To hold up as necessarily representative of thought of the mainstream ID movement, only to then tear it down, is to criticize only a straw man. Neither nor its duplicate-mirror site, belong in Hurd's Appendix of ID "Organizations and Web Sites."

    Hopefully readers will realize that there are many sites out there that deal with intelligent design. Some of them-even, have some very good information about ID on them. However, readers should realize that if they want information from the mainstream ID movement, they should consult websites which represent organizations or prominent individuals in the ID movement. Readers who are interested in such sites might want to consider some of the following websites (in alphabetical order):
  • [Access Research Network]
  • Center for Science and Culture
  • [Writings of William Dembski]
  • [Parent organization for IDEA Clubs]
  • [Blog of Prominent ID Proponents]
  • [Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center]
  • Intelligent Design Network
  • [International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design]
  • Conclusion:

    Dr. Hurd's appendix in WIDF contains a number of simply inaccurate statements about the ID organizations and websites it lists. Furthermore, it misconstrues 2 of its listed websites as if these organizations represent creationist, specifically young earth creationist, support for the ID movement. While these "2" websites are inflated, because they are actually just duplicate examples of a single site and its mirror, these sites clearly are NOT representative of mainstream ID thought and seem devoted to many specifically non-ID projects.

    To repeat what I stated at the beginning, I e-mailed Dr. Hurd on June 2, 2005, 6 days before posting this article hoping to have a friendly correspondence with him in the mutual hopes of notifying him about these inaccuracies so that they can be corrected in future editions of WIDF. Although Dr. Hurd did not reply to my private e-mail, it is still hoped that these inaccurate statements will be fixed in any future editions of WIDF so that readers can obtain accurate information.


    Addendum added 6/28/05: An Important Correction and a Lesson to be Shared for All:

    Previously this page stated that Richard Deem, the creator of was a layperson. That was a mistake, I would like to apologize to Mr. Deem for this mistake as I have now learned that Mr. Deem is a scientist employed in molecular biology research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and has both a B.S. and M.S. in biological sciences. (See his Background at I sincerely apologize to Mr. Deem for this error.

    I had originally contacted Mr. Deem on May 31st, 2005 regarding how I was planning to describe his website on this page. I thus contacted him 8 days before posting this arrticle. When I hadn't heard from him for over a week, I went forward and posted my material here. While Mr. Deem did not get a chance to review the e-mail and reply to me until June 28th, 2005, I changed this page immediately when he notified me of the error regarding his academic background and qualifications as a scientist.

    This presents a lesson for all of us: Whenever you are trying to describe an organization, website, or person on the internet, make every effort to contact them personally so that you make sure you get your facts straight. I made a strong effort to contact Mr. Deem before posting this material, and for whatever reason it took about a month to get the facts straightened out. But this just demonstrates how easy it is to check one's facts--all that is necessary is to send the people your'e going to be talking about a short e-mail!

    People on "both sides" of this debate need not fear contact with the other side. Yet I have found that upon 2 occasions, Darwinists who have talked about IDEA Clubs or IDEA Center in books have published numerous errors about our organization (and others) without having ever contacted us personally to verify their facts. Without commenting on what this says about their level of scholarship in these instances, I'd like to just make one point clear: we're nice people and we don't bite! If you want to talk about the IDEA Center, send us an e-mail at (or send me an e-mail personally at Indeed, I have been ignored by Gary Hurd since I posted this, as he never responded to my June 2, 2005 e-mail where I contacted him (before posting this page) asking him if he would like to dialogue over some problems with his appendix.

    In conclusion, I sincerely hope that Darwinists will end their strategy of pretending we don't exist on a personal level but constantly attacking us on a public level. It only leads to misrepresentation, and misunderstanding, and I sincerely hope that is not their goal.