Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Published in the Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 53, n. 2, p. 319-323.


The question of what differentiates young-Earth creationism (YEC) from Intelligent Design (ID) has resulted in inaccurate and confusing terminology, and hinders both understanding and dialogue. Though both YEC and ID groups have drawn distinctions between themselves, previous attempts to classify design-based positions on origins have been unable to adequately resolve their relationships. The Nested Hierarchy of Design, a multiple-character classification system, categorizes teleological positions according to the strength of claims regarding the reality, detectability, source, method, and timing of design, and results in an accurate and robust classification of numerous positions. This method avoids the philosophical and theological pitfalls of previous methods and enables construction of accurate definitions for a suite of teleological positions. The incorporation of the Nested Hierarchy of Design in classroom discussion could 1) better represent the suite of opinions among students, 2) clarify the many teleological positions, and 3) help to reduce tensions between educators, students, and the public.