The non-epistemology of intelligent design: its implications for public policy

Synthese 178 (2):331 - 379 (2011)
Intelligent design creationism (ID) is a religious belief requiring a supernatural creator's interventions in the natural order. ID thus brings with it, as does supernatural theism by its nature, intractable epistemological difficulties. Despite these difficulties and despite ID's defeat in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District (2005), ID creationists' continuing efforts to promote the teaching of ID in public school science classrooms threaten both science education and the separation of church and state guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. I examine the ID movement's failure to provide either a methodology or a functional epistemology to support their supernaturalism, a deficiency that consequently leaves them without epistemic support for their creationist claims. My examination focuses primarily on ID supporter Francis Beckwith, whose published defenses of teaching ID, as well as his other relevant publications concerning education, law, and public policy, have been largely exempt from critical scrutiny. Beckwith's work exhibits the epistemological deficiencies of the supernaturally grounded views of his ID associates and of supernaturalists in general. I preface my examination of Beckwith's arguments with (1) philosopher of science Susan Haack's clarification of the established naturalistic methodology and epistemology of science and (2) discussions of the views of Beckwith's ID associates Phillip Johnson and William Dembski. Finally, I critique the religious exclusionism that Beckwith shares with his ID associates and the implications of his exclusionism for public policy
Keywords Beckwith  Intelligent design  Creationism  Epistemology  Law  Public policy  Supernaturalism  Naturalism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/41477278
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
David Hume (2009/2004). An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), The Monist. Oxford University Press 112.
Robert Audi (2002). Religious Commitment and Secular Reason. Philosophical Quarterly 52 (206):134-137.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

197 ( #9,195 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #84,767 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.