Wednesday, June 03, 2009
John Lynch has justly received notice of his post The Roots of ID from John Wilkins, PZ Myers and Richard B. Hoppe at The Panda's Thumb.
The Discovery Institute has offered a history of the design argument as evidence that Intelligent Design Creationism wasn't just fashioned as a Constitution-evading ploy after the Edwards v. Aguillard case. John correctly identifies this as a strawman. The opponents of ID have long pointed out that ID is nothing more than warmed-over William Paley who, in turn, was drawing on far older traditions. No one on our side has ever accused the DI of originality. What the cdesign proponentsists did after Edwards was to change the direction of the creationist movement, in the face of their legal defeats, to strip it of overt references to God to try to fly under the Constitutional radar. The design argument was well-suited to this ploy since it was intended to make a case for God from nature, separate and apart from revelation.
John dismantles the DI's claims and points out how closely tied the design argument is to Christian apologetics, further damaging its claim that ID is science and not religion.
Another thing to be pointed out is that the DI's article also clearly displays how disingenuously it treats evolutionary theory, which it frequently derides as "19th Century science." For example, Stephen Meyer, Program Director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, has said:
The issue is whether students will learn both sides of the real and growing scientific controversy about Darwinism, and whether a 19th century theory will be taught dogmatically to 21st century students.And in an unsigned article at the DI website, entitled "21st Century Science Coalition Pushes 19th Century Science," it's asserted:
While they [a group of 680 science faculty members from Texas colleges and universities and 870 industry scientists and graduate students in relevant fields] call themselves The 21st Century Science Coalition, Discovery Institute senior fellow John West says, “It should be dubbed the ‘19th Century Science Coalition’ because it wants to turn the clock back to the 19th century by suppressing recent scientific evidence challenging Darwinism from fields like biochemistry, bioinformatics, microbiology, and paleontology.” ...Of course, just because an idea is old doesn't mean it isn't 21st Century science. After all, the notion that the sun is at the center of our solar system is going on 500 years old but is still "cutting edge science" today. The difference between evolution and the design argument is that the former has generated massive amounts of supporting evidence since Darwin's day and continues to do so, while ID, even by its own count, has only generated a few desultory papers and books of highly dubious content of scientific evidence in favor of the design argument.
[A]ccording to Casey Luskin, Program Officer in Public Policy & Legal Affairs for Discovery Institute ... “No one is proposing to teach religion in biology classes in Texas. What supporters of the ‘strengths and weaknesses’ language want is for students to hear about the scientific -- not religious -- evidence for and against Darwinism.”
To call evolution 19th Century science when, at best, as revealed by the DI's own article, ID is merely millennia-old theology dressed up as science to deceive the unsophisticated, is the height of dishonesty.
But what else is new?
Funny, it seems to me that just about every issue of Science I read contains at least one article providing insight into evolution from investigations based in biochemistry, bioinformatics, microbiology, and paleontology (among others).