Media, Journals Alarmed at Rise of Intelligent Design Movement
The number of articles in the news about the Intelligent Design (ID) Movement is rising, partly because of the upcoming hearings before the Kansas school board. National Geographic news asked, “Does ‘Intelligent Design’ Threaten the Definition of Science?” in an April 27 article, but at least author John Roach got the definition of ID correct, said John West on the EvolutionNews blog. MSNBC News, on the other hand, portrayed ID as a religious movement and quoted pro-evolution attorney Pedro Irigonegaray exclaiming, “I feel like I’m in a time warp here. To debate evolution is similar to debating whether the Earth is round. It is an absurd proposition.” The source of this story appears to be Reuters news service. In addition, NPR Science Friday also presented another one-sided view of the debate.
Science magazine this week joined Nature (see 04/27 entry) in alerting the research community about the rise of ID. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee reported1 updated the earlier story posted on ScienceNow (see 04/21 entry) about the pro-evolution strategy in Kansas. The plan is to argue that ID will hurt the economy:
Last week more than 100 people opposed to making ID part of the science curriculum held a meeting in a liberal church here to test a new rallying cry: A high-quality science education means more jobs and a stronger economy. By attracting business, civic, and religious leaders, supporters hope to erode ID’s traditional base and stave off changes that they believe will make Kansas an undesirable location for high-tech companies, academics, and other knowledge-based workers. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)
Science also printed a letter to the editor called “A cry for help from Kansas.”2 Eric Reynolds appealed to fellow readers to wake up to the possibility that what is happening in Kansas could soon come to their states. Claiming that “the very foundation of science in the United States is at risk,” he said, “What a shame it would be if unqualified politicians succeed in undoing centuries of scientific progress in both the public’s perception of science and its continuing advancement.” There must be heretics among the ranks of Science readers, however; the prior week, there were four letters to the editor about ID: two for, and two against.
Part of the anti-ID strategy appears to distance evolution from atheism. Bhattacharjee’s article shows Steve Case making his case from a pulpit, with the caption, “Steve Case and other Kansas scientists hope to make religious leaders allies in the debate over intelligent design.” Twice it is noted that their allies are liberal churches. The religious image may just be a cloak, however. The pro-ID website KansasScience2005 found a letter posted by the anti-ID group Kansas Citizens for Science that said:
My strategy at this point is the same as it was in 1999: notify the national and local media about what’s going on and portray them in the harshest light possible, as political opportunists, evangelical activists, ignoramuses, breakers of rules, unprincipled bullies, etc.
There may no way to head off another science standards debacle, but we can sure make them look like asses as they do what they do.
The letter was from Liz Craig, said to be a spokesperson for Kansas Citizens for Science. John West on EvolutionNews wonders “whether journalists in the national news media will be credulous enough to allow themselves to be manipulated by Ms. Craig and her colleagues.” Mark Hartwig commented on Access Research Network that her “loose lips” gives occasion for ID supporters to shout, like teens catching someone in the act, “B-u-u-u-sted!”
1Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, “Kansas Gears Up for Another Battle Over Teaching Evolution,” Science, Vol 308, Issue 5722, 627, 29 April 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5722.627].
2Eric Reynolds, “A Cry for Help from Kansas,” Science, Vol 308, Issue 5722, 631, 29 April 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5722.631b].
It is really quite amusing to see the paranoia of the Darwin Party hacks. You know they are on the wrong side of history when they have to resort to fear mongering, faulty analogies, non-sequiturs and straw man arguments. We offer them a secret weapon that is sure to demolish ID in one fell swoop like a nuclear bomb, without all the guerrilla warfare. It is called scientific evidence. Show the world evidence that undirected natural processes could indeed build the most efficient molecular machines and programmed guidance and control mechanisms known to man. Build a better irreducibly complex mousetrap without appeal to design, and the worldview will beat a path to your door.