"Intelligent Design"

Shapiro, Fred Fred.Shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Oct 28 12:39:21 UTC 2007

Below is a section of the Wikipedia article on "Intelligent Design," which adds to the information in OED for the modern usage:

Prior to the publication of the book Of Pandas and People in 1989, the words "intelligent design" had been used on several occasions as a descriptive phrase in contexts that are unrelated to the modern use of the term. The phrase "intelligent design" can be found in an 1847 issue of Scientific American, in an 1850 book by Patrick Edward Dove,[49] and even in a 1861 letter of Charles Darwin.[50] The words are also used in an address to the 1873 annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science by Paleyite botanist George James Allman:

    No physical hypothesis founded on any indisputable fact has yet explained the origin of the primordial protoplasm, and, above all, of its marvellous properties, which render evolution possible — in heredity and in adaptability, for these properties are the cause and not the effect of evolution. For the cause of this cause we have sought in vain among the physical forces which surround us, until we are at last compelled to rest upon an independent volition, a far-seeing intelligent design.[51]

The phrase can be found again in Humanism, a 1903 book by one of the founders of classical pragmatism, F.C.S. Schiller: "It will not be possible to rule out the supposition that the process of evolution may be guided by an intelligent design." A derivative of the phrase appears in the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967) in the article on the Teleological argument for the existence of God : "Stated most succinctly, the argument runs: The world exhibits teleological order (design, adaptation). Therefore, it was produced by an intelligent designer." The phrases "intelligent design" and "intelligently designed" were used in a 1979 book Chance or Design? by James Horigan[52] and the phrase "intelligent design" was used in a 1982 speech by Sir Fred Hoyle in his promotion of panspermia.[53]

The modern use of the words "intelligent design", as a term intended to describe a field of inquiry, began after the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Edwards v. Aguillard (1987), ruled that creationism is unconstitutional in public school science curricula. A Discovery Institute report says that Charles Thaxton, editor of Of Pandas and People, had picked the phrase up from a NASA scientist, and thought "That's just what I need, it's a good engineering term."[54] In drafts of the book over one hundred uses of the root word "creation", such as "creationism" and "creation science", were changed, almost without exception, to intelligent design.[16] In June 1988 Thaxton held a conference titled Sources of Information Content in DNA in Tacoma, Washington,[44] and in December decided to use the label "intelligent design" for his new creationist movement.[55] Stephen C. Meyer was at the conference, and later recalled that "the term came up".[45] The book Of Pandas !
 and People was published in 1989, and is considered to be the first intelligent design book,[56][23] as well as the first place where the phrase "intelligent design" appeared in its present use.[57]

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                                      Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and        YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press
Yale Law School                                     ISBN 0300107986
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu                   http://quotationdictionary.com

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