Intelligent Design Colloquium

Written by Krissy Chapman. Media by Kat Kelley.

The Greenville Religion and Science Society (GRASS) sponsored a colloquium this past Wednesday, May 1, with author and noted speaker, Dr. Jack Collins. Dr. Collins, author of Science and Faith: Friends or Foes?, presented the topic “Is Intelligent Design Bad Theology?” to Greenville College students and faculty.

photo (3) (2)
Photo: Krissy Chapman

Dr. Collins is a professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He went to MIT for his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science and Systems Engineering, as well as Faith Lutheran Seminary for his M.Div., and the University of Liverpool for a Ph.D. in Hebrew linguistics. In addition to his many years of study, Dr. Collins has authored numerous books studying the creation story in Genesis.

Intelligent Design is a commonly accepted theory in the faith community used to explain the role of God in creation and human existence. The belief has come under scrutiny though, due to its resemblance to “God of the gaps” theology. Dr. Collins began the colloquium by defining the controversial belief, which often becomes a catch-all term for creation arguments that pull from literal interpretations of the Genesis account, varying to degrees of theistic evolution. What is Intelligent Design then, you ask? A basic definition given by Stephen Meyer, scholar and advocate of ID, would go something like this: “a theory about life’s origins that challenges strictly materialistic theories of the origin of the world.” ID accepts some forms of evolutionary theory, but also points to complex systems and gaps in the evolutionary record as evidence that a higher being must have intervened during the process of creation.

To illustrate the appeal of Intelligent Design, Dr. Collins proposed the instance of a person walking alongside a mountain. If that person were to discover a watch along the path, it would be fair to infer that a hypothetical watchmaker must have designed the watch, rather than the watch evolving from the force of time or in some other manner. In this light, the theory of an Intelligent Designer becomes much more accessible.

photo (4) (2)
Photo: Krissy Chapman

Collins is careful to point out the flaws that come with a belief in ID. The theory lends itself to propose “God created this, because it is ‘design,’ while God is not responsible for that, because it is not ‘design.’” He also cautions against appealing to areas of ignorance for assertions in God, and resting faith on an absence in knowledge.

What we do know is that the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and the origin of man (and what we call reason and will) remain a mystery. In a quote by Michael Heller, “science gives us knowledge; religion gives us meaning,” Collins invites us to determine for ourselves which creation scheme best accounts for natural observations. “There is no reason to suppose that God has not left traces of his craftsmanship,” says Collins.
The objective of GRASS is to stimulate meaningful and gracious conversation on issues relating to faith and science. “Is Intelligent Design Bad Theology?” provided a thought provoking discussion on this current scientific and theological debate.


  1. It is interesting to note that while “Intelligent Design is a commonly accepted theory in the faith community” it has almost no acceptance in the scientific community. Yet ID advocates swear until they’re blue in the face that ID is a scientific idea not a religious one. On that point it is interesting to note that it was being presented by a seminary professor, not a working scientist.

    Whilst ID may be a religious “theory”, it does not meet the definition of a “scientific theory”, in that it presents no explanation of observable phenomena (let alone a testable one), but rather is simply the assertion 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.”

  2. I hesitate to invest much time writing to a creationist site. However, I do recommend reading:

    Mark Perakh
    2003 “Unintelligent Design” New York: Prometheus Press

    Matt Young, Taner Edis (Editors),
    2005 “Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism” (paperback) Rutgers University Press

    Barbara Carroll Forrest, Paul R. Gross
    2004 “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design” Oxford University Press

  3. :i have a very strong evidence for design in nature

    a) we know that a self replicate robot that made from dna need a designer

    b) the cat is a self replicate robot

    a+b= the cat need a designer

    ?plus: if a self replicate car cant evolve into an airplan, how can a bacteria can evolve into human

    about the similarity in 2 animal argument: a 2 cars of honda can look very similar to each other. but this is because they made by the same designer- honda company

    check this site

    what you think? yours


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here