A quick question for Douglas Axe

Intelligent design proponent Douglas Axe says,

My recent book, Undeniable, makes the case not just that life is designed but also that this is obvious — you need no special training to see it. And yet, as with other obvious truths, some people prefer to deny this one than to fully embrace the attending implications.

For atheists to be in denial here isn’t surprising. Short of recanting, they have no option. [emphasis added]

Douglas Axe

Douglas Axe

But intelligent design proponents have said many, many times that ID, being a scientific rather than religious theory, does not identify the designer. According to Michael Behe,

Possible candidates for the role of designer include: the God of Christianity; an angel–fallen or not; Plato’s demi-urge; some mystical new age force; space aliens from Alpha Centauri; time travelers; or some utterly unknown intelligent being.

So here’s my question: if ID is agnostic to the nature of the designer, why can’t an atheist believe life is designed?

Axe says atheist have ‘no option’ but to recant their atheism if they believe life is designed. How come? Why can’t I see the evidence for design, conclude that it was ‘space aliens from Alpha Centauri’, and remain an atheist?

In direct contradiction of Axe’s claim that atheism and intelligent design are incompatible, David Klinghoffer says,

You need not have any position on God to doubt Darwin or to seriously entertain the thesis of intelligent design. Ask atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel, novelist Stephen King, or the late, great Tom Wolfe.

That, by the way, was in a post praising another atheist, Scott Adams, for believing in intelligent design.

So which is it, gentlemen? Are atheism and intelligent design compatible or not?


Stable links:

Behe M. 2003. The modern intelligent design hypothesis: breaking rules. pp. 276–90 in: Manson NA, editor. God and Design: the Teleological Argument and Modern Science. London: Routledge; 2003. Available at books.google.com/books?id=Zrg5Zdg6UBwC&lpg=PA276&ots=t7AvuUizRF&lr&pg=PA276


  1. rjdownard says

    Ah Matt, what you’re noticing here in the Axe-ian side of the the ID puzzle box is what might be colloquially described as “gobsmacking disingenuous hypocrisy.” Though certainly Axe is more than up to the task. Maybe another topic to thrash over when you’re on “Evolution Hour” on Jan 16th 🙂

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