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FAQ: Is Intelligent Design the same as Creationism?

No. There are a variety of crucial distinctions between intelligent design (ID) and creationism:

Firstly, creationism is always based upon some kind of religious text, such as trying to prove the Book of Genesis in the Bible. Intelligent design takes no stance on religious texts and makes its arguments using purely scientific and empirical data. ID makes no reliance upon religious texts in making its arguments. In fact, there are various pro-ID scientists who themselves are not religious, or have widely different religious viewpoints. Thus ID scientists are not unified around a religious viewpoint or religious text, but rather they unify around the claim that we can scientifically detect design in natural objects.

Secondly, creationism always postulates some kind of a supernatural or divine creator. Intelligent design does not try to speculate about the nature or identity of the designer because it recognizes that the scientific data alone cannot answer questions about whether the designer is supernatural. Thus ID attempts to limit its claims to what can be verified via the scientific data. That is a crucial distinction between ID and creationism, because creationism often goes beyond the scientific data and makes philosophical or religious claims about the identity of the designer. [More to come soon.]