The Difference Between Creationism and Intelligent Design




Creationism supports the Biblically-based concept that God created the earth and all the other planets in the universe over a period of six days. Even though some creationists do not support the fact that Adam and Eve were the first human beings to be created, all creationists agree with the proposal that all species of plants and animals were produced by the Creator in their current form (Ayala, 2008). The theory of intelligent design, on the other hand, supports the notion that the universe, as well as all animal and plant species on earth, emerged as a result of the evolutionary process. Intelligent design theorists assert that it is not practical to assume that life on earth developed through the random actions of a divine being (Ayala, 2008). They also claim that the very features of different plants and animal species prove that they came to exist as a result of scientifically-directed intelligent cause.

The Differences Between Creationism and Intelligent Design

          There have been claims made by independent sources that there is not much difference between the theories of creationism and intelligent design as both support the notion that the intelligent cause behind the creation of the universe is inspired by a Divine Being (Pigliucci, 2005). This, however, is inaccurate. While the proponents of creationism believe that the world is less than eight thousand years old, the supporters of the intelligent design theory believe that the world is millions of years old (Ayala, 2008). Creationists also believe that God created the universe and all its life forms from nothing.

There are proponents of the intelligent design theory who support the notion that there is a supreme being that inspired the process of evolution. However, their interpretation of this Supreme Being differs from the creationists’ definition of God as the Creator and owner of all life. Creationists do not believe that God used an evolutionary process to create human beings. They reject Charles Darwin’s assertions that man originated from the lower primates (Fuller, 2008). William Paley, who encouraged public discussion on the theory of intelligent design, affirmed that the Bible could not be said to be the foremost authority on the original appearance of life on earth (Ayala, 2008).

He proposed the theory that life only emerged after an extensive process of evolution which happened over centuries. This process may have been inspired by a Supreme Being (Ayala, 2008). Another difference between creationism and intelligent design has to do with the reasoning methods used by the proponents of both theories. Creationists base their beliefs on the Bible which is a sacred text, while the proponents of intelligent design stress that only science can prove how life originally began on earth (Pigliucci, 2005).

While creationists support the theory that there is a definite Creator who formed the universe and the different life forms on earth, the proponents of the intelligent design theory have observed that scientific design may not adequately explain various aspects of life on earth, and so merely endeavor to speculate about the subject. Essentially, intelligence design theorists tend to limit their assertions on the origin of life to only those aspects that can be scientifically verified. Creationists, though, do not base their claims on scientific findings, but religious doctrine that provides definite explanations about the process of creation.


          The main difference between creationists and the proponents of the intelligence design theory lies in the role of a Supreme Being in the creation of life. Creationists assert that God formed the universe and all life on earth as dictated by the Bible, while the proponents of intelligent design affirm that a Supreme Being may have inspired the lengthy process of evolution in which plant and animal species slowly developed due to intelligent cause.


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4 Responses

  1. bshand

    November 15, 2019 10:36 am

    Intelligent design proponents still don’t have evidence to back up any claim that an intelligence is behind evolution or creation.

    • Anthony

      April 29, 2020 9:08 pm

      The author sets up a contrived opposition between creationists and intelligent design thinkers along clear polemical lines, a political position, which it may be. Evolution is a theory, natural selection is an established biological process. We witness transformative changes as creatures mature from one stage of life to another, but it is in the DNA isn’t it? No one has ever witnessed one creature die out thereby becoming a different creature. For example though there are numerous examples of ancient hominids found in the fossil record to date, I like the metaphor of the many streams of hominid DNA into the pool of humanity as we have it, against the “family tree” model with rising branches refining and refining to the lofty human perfection we meet in the person of the contemporary scientist reaching for the sun of enlightenment. Evolving into what? From what? It’s hubris. Consciousness I believe (there is that word) is not immaterial, consciousness is fundamental to existence. It’s not an argument. It’s an ethos, a way of life that honors the Originator and the being we are so blessed to enjoy and burdened to endure.There is evidence for that.

  2. Itajara

    September 13, 2021 4:55 pm

    Anthony – it seems to me you don’t know what a theory is. The strongest kind of statement a scientist can make is to call something a theory or a law. A law is just a bunch of consistent observations, that doesn’t attempt to say why those observations follow whatever numeric trend they have. We scientists are a very, very conservative crew. Not politically conservative- conservative with our claims.. we pride ourselves in our ability to minimize the horseshit that we believe, so we can see the world a tiny bit more clearly than laypeople.

    Consciousness isn’t a real thing. Its a made-up word that social scientists used to replace “soul” with when they wanted to sound smart like the quantum physics and relativity bigwigs 100 years ago. Before then, it just meant “awake”. First-person-ness with a particular qualitative “what it feels like to be…” is called qualia.

    PS: those changes are largely in the DNA, but there is alot more going on. RNA, concentrations of hormones, existing structural trends. Like look at dictyostelium discoideum (slime molds) and you will notice how complex it gets just for some freakin social amoeba.

  3. Itajara

    September 13, 2021 5:03 pm

    Bshand, I believe, is correct in that statement. Unless of course its “the Bible says so” or “I had a dream I spoke to God, and believe it was real.” At the same time, there is no reason to think the universe wasn’t created. The question, then, is what created the Creator. If you can’t answer that with actual evidence, then it would be easier to go back to “a big bang happened for unknown reasons. Why was there any asymmetry? Once you get a little randomness happening (or asymmetry), then you can just ride the Mexican Hat Potential to expansion and beyond.


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