As Evolution News & Views reports:
Today on the Michael Medved show, arch-Darwinist Richard Dawkins, author of The Greatest Show on Earth, was asked point-blank by Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman why he wouldn’t debate Stephen Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell. His response? Weak sauce:
I have never come across any kind of creationism, whether you call it intelligent design or not, which has a serious scientific case to put.
The objection to having debates with people like that is that it gives them a kind of respectability. If a real scientist goes onto a debating platform with a creationist, it gives them a respectability, which I do not think your people have earned.
That’s too bad, because it would be a fascinating debate.
Unfortunately, too many people confuse “creationism” with intelligent design, as Dawkins does here. Thinking Christian sums up the issues well:
The difference between the two terms is straightforward. Creationism begins in Genesis and argues for certain conclusions based on a certain understanding of the Scriptures. It is known for its persistence in seeking scientific data that fits that interpretation of Genesis, and for finding creative but irregular interpretations to help in that search. As such it has gained an unsavory scientific reputation.
Intelligent Design has a completely different starting point in observations of nature, and in both empirical and philosophical interpretations of scientific data. It sees phenomena like the high information content in biological organisms, instances of apparent irreducible complexity, or fine-tuning of the cosmos for life, and argues that the best explanation for them is to be found in a designing intelligence.
The two overlap in rejecting any a priori insistence that nature is a closed system of physical cause and effect, acting strictly according to natural law or unguided chance. There is also an overlap among their supporters, in that virtually all creationists are theists (Christian, Jewish, or Islamic), and most (not all) ID supporters are too. Still, many creationists are uncomfortable with ID methods and conclusions, and many ID supporters similarly disagree with creationist approaches and conclusions.
In a word, the two are not the same. But opponents insist on blurring the distinction.
He’s right, I think, when he speculates that the reason for this constant misapprehension is a kind of “worldview blindness” that sees science as the sole standard of rationality, and everything else as nonsense – i.e., scientism. But scientism isn’t the result of any experiment, but a set of philosophical presuppositions about science. Thus, when it comes to determining what counts as “science,” or even what counts as “rational,” we’ll have to hash it out in the realm of philosophy.