The first order of business in a discussion about Intelligent Design is a defining to terms. What exactly are we talking about when we mention Intelligent Design? And what is the difference between I.D. and Creationism?
Basically put, Intelligent Design is the theory that something intelligent had a hand in creating the universe. Often times this “something” is said to be God, but this is not essential to the theory. That “something” is not defined specifically. The mode by which that “something” created the universe is likewise not defined.
Creationism, on the other hand, does define both the “something” and the mode. The Something is God, specifically the God of the Bible; and the mode is that which is described in Genesis 1 – a literal six days in which God spoke everything into existence.
So to distinguish the two, one might say that Intelligent Design is the scientific arm of things, focusing on the scientific evidence for design and opposing the theory of evolution. Creationism on the other hand, is focused on the theological side of things, specifically how the Bible describes the event of creation.
If I may illustrate this by looking at the other side of the debate and contrasting the two, one might say that the theory of evolution is the scientific, whereas secular humanism is the philosophical side of things.
If I may illustrate this by looking at the other side of the debate and contrasting the two, one might say that the theory of evolution is the scientific, whereas Secular Humanism is the philosophical side of things. Someone may believe in Darwinism (the scientific model) without being a Secular Humanist (the philosophical model). Examples of this abound, including many of those who claim to be Christian Darwinists. Likewise, someone may believe in Intelligent Design without being a Creationist. Robert Jastrow is an agnostic who believes the universe was formed by design. He obviously has no religious agenda for believing such a theory. Not everybody who supports I.D. is Christian.