This isn't really, and never has been a debate about science. It's about religion and philosophy.` What is Intelligent Design? I could tell you myself, but why don’t I let its main proponents tell you first? Unfortunately, they tend to contradict themselves. For example, they will usually state publically that Intelligent Design has nothing to do with Christianity, as in this statement by one of the main proponents of ID:
- Phillip E. Johnson, "Witnesses for the Prosecution", World Magazine 1996
Intelligent design is a strictly scientific theory devoid of religious commitments. Whereas the creator underlying scientific creationism conforms to a strict, literalist interpretation of the Bible, the designer underlying intelligent design need not even be a deity.` In fact, he has also said just the opposite:
—William Dembski, The Design Revolution , 2003
Thus, in its relation to Christianity, intelligent design should be viewed as a ground-clearing operation that gets rid of the intellectual rubbish that for generations has kept Christianity from receiving serious consideration.` He even tells us why that is:
—William Dembski, “Intelligent Design’s Contribution to the Debate over Evolution: A Reply to Henry Morris,” 2005
Intelligent Design opens the whole possibility of us being created in the image of a benevolent God … The job of apologetics is to clear the ground, to clear obstacles that prevent people from coming to the knowledge of Christ … And if there’s anything that I think has blocked the growth of Christ as the free reign of the Spirit and people accepting the Scripture and Jesus Christ, it is the Darwinian naturalistic view.` And how should this be accomplished? Another main proponent tells us in an interview:
—William Dembski, National Religious Broadcasters convention, February 6, 2000
The objective is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to ‘the truth’ of the Bible and then ‘the question of sin’ and finally ‘introduced to Jesus.’` And why hide their religious intentions?
—Phillip Johnson, “Missionary Man,” Church & State magazine, 1999
` Clearly, it's a religiously motivated plan to gain converts. And what about the supposedly scientific part? Both Johnson and Dembski have much to say. Here is a small sampling:
So the question is: "How to win?" That’s when I began to develop what you now see full-fledged in the "wedge" strategy: "Stick with the most important thing" —the mechanism and the building up of information. Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate because you do not want to raise the so-called Bible-science dichotomy. Phrase the argument in such a way that you can get it heard in the secular academy and in a way that tends to unify the religious dissenters. That means concentrating on, "Do you need a Creator to do the creating, or can nature do it on its own?" and refusing to get sidetracked onto other issues, which people are always trying to do.
-- Philip Johnson, "Berkeley's Radical", Touchstone Magazine, 2002
Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.
--Phillip Johnson, "Let's be Intelligent About Darwin", Christianity.Ca, February 6, 2004
Because of ID’s outstanding success at gaining a cultural hearing, the scientific research part of ID is now lagging behind.` Right, because they’re not exactly practicing science. Paul Nelson explains:
—William Dembski, “Research and Progress in Intelligent Design,” 2002 conference on Intelligent Design
We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’—but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.` On top of this, the notion that Intelligent Design is not creationism has also been covered up in pro-ID popular literature:
—Dr. Paul Nelson, “The Measure of Design,” Touchstone magazine, 2004
` As discovered in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial, a major ID publication was indeed discovered to be Creationist in content. You see, in 1983, there was a draft of a book called Creation Biology; in 1986 it was called Biology and Creation, in early 1987 it was Biology and Origins, and later on that year there were two more drafts of the same book, both entitled Of Pandas and People.
` What does that tell you about this supposedly ID-but-not-Creationism book?
` In Biology and Creation, the definition of the word ‘creation’ was as follows;
Creation means that the various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent creator with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc.` After the Supreme Court had ruled creation science out of public school science classrooms, the second draft entitled Of Pandas and People was altered in a distinctive way: The editor, Charles Thaxton, deleted all evidence of the words ‘creation’, ‘creation science’, and ‘creationist’ and in their stead wrote of ‘Intelligent Design’. Observe:
Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, wings, etc.
` In other words, Creationism and Intelligent Design are explicitly defined as the same thing, and one term simply took up the role of the other.
` Speaking of Dover, pro-ID school board member William Buckingham said on local Fox News a week after the June 14, 2004 school board meeting; “My opinion, it’s okay to teach Darwin, but you have to balance it with something else such as creationism.”
` Both local papers reported that he had said that his reason to ‘balance’ Darwin’s theory with creationism was because; “Two thousand years ago, someone died on a cross. Can’t someone take a stand for him?”
` If that doesn’t sounds like a religious motivation specifically to get creationism into the science classroom, fundamentalist Christianity must not be a religion.
` And how did this all begin? Conveniently, I have read a story in Seattle Weekly last February called Discovery’s Creation. A Seattle Think Tank launched the modern Intelligent Design Movement with a simple memo. The idea has evolved into a media sensation. And the cause has mutated beyond rational control.
` I had paraphrased this article in my HFBGN thusly:
` In late January of 1999, a memo was found in a downtown human resource office by a man named Matt Duss. It read: TOP SECRET NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION. Its title: The Wedge.
` And what is The Wedge? ‘Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its damning cultural legacies.’ The plan? Replace ‘materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God’, and ‘defeat scientific materialism’ with a new scientific paradigm ‘consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.’
` Though the DI was not well-known then, says former Discovery fellow, Phillip Gold, then it is now the most popular resource for their new kind of non-science science. “Considering that they did it with very few people, very little money and no established power base, it’s far and away the most successful campaign of its kind I’ve ever seen.’
` Originally, the first director was Stephen Meyer, who teaches at Whitworth College in Spokane, which states its mission as ‘to provide its diverse student body an education of the mind and heart, equipping its graduates to honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity.’ “Whitwoth’s community of teacher-scholars is committed to rigorous and open intellectual inquiry and to the integration of Christian faith and learning.
` At the now-called Center for Science and Culture, seven fellows hold advanced degrees in biological sciences. ‘Thirteen profess philosophy/theology’ at Biola College in L.A., Messiah College in Gratham, PA, and Wheaton College in Wheaton Ill.
` “With such a roster, very little of the center’s research into the weakness of Darwinism has been of the experimental, lab-oriented, peer-reviewed kind.’ They say it ‘is only part of the larger mission to open the scientific discourse to evidence and viewpoints that have been suppressed, even persecuted, by the Darwinian establishment.”
` “In parallel with a mission of training the media to take it seriously, the Center for Science and Culture from the beginning had been looking for local school districts and state boards of education that might be sympathetic to the campaign. It struck gold near home in 1999.”
` Roger DeHart, a Skagit County high school science teacher, had been teaching students from a non-science book called Of Pandas and People for nearly ten years. [Yes, the one that was once called Creation Biology!] He was in trouble now, and the DI came to his aid. Hart quit to witness for the DI as a harassed high school teacher.
` As they spread from state to state, they stopped being so adamant about teaching ID… instead, they wanted students to know that there is a controversy, and dropped Renewal from their Center’s name.
` In Kitzmiller vs. Dover, Lehigh University biochemist Michael J Behe was cross-examined by Eric Rothschild and discovered:
* That no peer-reviewed scientific journal has published research supportive of intelligent design’s claims.
* That Behe’s own book was not, as he had claimed, peer-reviewed.
* That Behe himself criticizes the science presented as supporting intelligent design in instructional material created for that purpose (!).
* That Intelligent Design seems plausible and reasonable to inquirers in direct proportion to their belief or nonbelief in God.
* That the basic arguments for evidence of purposeful design in nature are essentially the same as those adduced by the Christian apologist Rev. William Paley (1745-1805) in his 1802 Natural Theology: or Evidences of the Ecistence and Attributes of the Petty, Collected from the Appearances of Nature, were he sums up his observations of the complexity of life in the ringing words, “The marks of design are too strong to be got over – that designer must have been a person. That person is GOD.’
` This kind of thing happened more than once during the trial: In the end, Judge Jones couldn’t find enough legal difference between ID and other versions of creationism that have been banned unequivocantly by the Supreme Court since 1968 to let it go. It is creationism trying to look like something it isn’t – science.
` And let’s keep that in mind, Jones forcefully wrote it off Dec 20, 05 – ‘in the hope that it may prevent the obvious waste of judicial and other resources which would be occasioned by a subsequent trial.’
` That’s the very short and long of it.
` Addendum: it is evident that my friend Anonymous Dawn advocates the claims of Michael Behe. Besides being well-known for distorting scientific facts and misrepresenting the opinions of scientists, he is also known to tell falsities about his own work in order to make it look more attractive.
` According to this quarter’s Skeptic magazine article ‘The Dover Decision’:
On the stand, Behe tried to establish that his book [Darwin’s Black Box] had been subjected to peer review, one of the bedrock processes of vetting the credibility of scientific writings. He testified that his book had undergone even more thorough review than a normal journal article would have because of the controversial nature of the subject. He specifically named Dr. Michael Atchison of the University of Pennsylvania as one of the book’s reviewers.` The irony! Now, how anyone can trust people who lie so much about their motives – never mind what they make up about scientists and their findings – eludes me.
` But NCSE’s Matzke remembered an article written by Atchison in which he stated that he had not reviewed the book at all but had only held a ten minute phone conversation with the book’s editor over the general content. When the plaintiff’s attorney introduced this article during cross-examination, it was clearly a blow to Behe’s claim that the book had “received much more scrutiny and much more review before publication than the great majority of scientific journal articles.”
` The cross examination of Behe also undermined the credibility of his testimony in several other ways. One of Behe’s central claims has been that there is no serious scientific work or progress on how complex biochemical systems like the flagellum, the blood-clotting cascade, and the immune system could have evolved, and he testified as much. Plaintiffs’ attorneys, in a Perry Mason-like flourish, pointedly dropped dozens of peer-reviewed books and journal articles about the evolution of such systems in front of him; Behe admitted that he had read virtually none of them.
` They also questioned him about a paper he had written in 2004, widely regarded by creationists as a peer-reviewed pro-ID paper. That cross examination established that, despite the fact that he and his co-author had essentially rigged the parameters of their evolution simulation to make evolution as unlikely as possible, biochemical systems requiring multiple unselected mutations – the very type of system he claims could not have evolved in a stepwise fashion – could evolve in a relatively short period of time.
` This is not to say that there are not legitimate biologists who are Christians, of course. It's just that they do not allow their religion to interfere with their work.
` Generally, Christian biologists agree that there is no reason to ignore evolution (especially since modern biology centers around it) and that natural selection must be the way that God chose to allow different forms of life to unfold. Even Whitworth professor Dr. Lee Anne Chaney states that Intelligent Design is not useful in science:
As a Christian, part of my belief system is that God is ultimately responsible. But as a biologist, I need to look at the evidence. Scientifically speaking, I don’t think intelligent design is very helpful because it does not provide things that are refutable — there is no way in the world you can show it’s not true. Drawing inferences about the deity does not seem to me to be the function of science because it’s very subjective.` As you have probably noticed, I have not yet even begun to get into the distortions of Darwin's theory, findings and opinions of modern scientists, and other misinformation about science that is constantly being churned out by the ID movement.
` I will have to some time, of course. For now, it is enough for me to establish that Intelligent Design and Creationism are one and the same, and that the Wedge movement behind it is all is a thinly diguised political deception meant to gain converts.
` The very fact that people are trying to push creationism and fundamentalistic Christianity into a completely different realm, the science class, just goes to show you how amazingly out of hand it's gotten.
` Could somebody tell me that isn't a self-righteous missionary plan meant to violate people's constitutional rights? Or, furthermore, can someone tell me how anyone can respect what is going on?