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Discussion Questions for Stephen Meyer’s Article, “A Scientific History — and Philosophical Defense — of the Theory of Intelligent Design.”

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This article by Stephen Meyer is available for free download at

  1. Is intelligent design the same as creationism? Why or why not? (p. 2)
  2. What is the correct definition of the theory of intelligent design? (p. 2)
  3. What are the roots of the intelligent design argument in history? (pp. 2-3)
  4. What role did intelligent design play in the scientific revolution? (p. 3)
  5. How did Darwin’s theory of evolution seemingly lead to the downfall of the design argument? (pp. 4-5)
  6. Did all biologists during Darwin’s day accept his theory of blind and unguided evolution? When did Darwin’s theory become the consensus of the scientific community? (p. 5)
  7. What are the roots of the modern design argument in biology? (pp. 6-9)
  8. How was The Mystery of Life’s Origin (1984) an important milestone in the development of the modern design argument in biology? What was the book’s major argument? (pp. 9-11)
  9. What is the special mode of reasoning employed by historical sciences like evolution? How did Lyell and Darwin employ this type of reasoning in their work? (pp. 11-14)
  10. According to Meyer, does the theory of intelligent design follow the same kind of scientific reasoning adopted by Lyell and Darwin? Why or why not? Cite examples.
  11. Explain the argument for intelligent design in DNA? (pp. 14-17)
  12. What contribution to the intelligent design movement was made by Phillip Johnson’s book Darwin on Trial (1991)? (pp. 17-19)
  13. What contribution to the intelligent design movement was made by biochemist Michael Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box (1996)? (pp. 20-22)
  14. What contribution was made to the intelligent design movement by mathematician/philosopher William Dembski’s book The Design Inference (1998)? (pp. 23-25)
  15. What is the overall evidence for intelligent design in physics and astronomy? And what is the specific argument of the book The Privileged Planet (2004)? (pp. 25-26)
  16. Is intelligent design an argument from ignorance? (pp. 27-28)
  17. Is intelligent design an argument from analogy? Why or why not? (p. 28)
  18. Is intelligent design science? Why or why not? (pp. 28-29)
  19. Some people argue that intelligent design is simply “religion masquerading as science” because of the religious beliefs of intelligent design supporters or the implications of intelligent design for theism. What is Meyer’s response? Do you agree or disagree? Why? (p. 29)

These discussion questions are © 2009 by Discovery Institute; they may be freely downloaded, printed, and used for noncommercial purposes.

The Center for Science and Culture

Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture advances the understanding that human beings and nature are the result of intelligent design rather than a blind and undirected process. We seek long-term scientific and cultural change through cutting-edge scientific research and scholarship; education and training of young leaders; communication to the general public; and advocacy of academic freedom and free speech for scientists, teachers, and students.