October 24, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

Intelligent Design War Rages

Because of the high-profile Intelligent Design trial in Dover, Pennsylvania, the news media and scientific societies are all discussing Darwin vs Design with fervor.

  • Surprise, Surprise:  AP reports that the Dover school board did not expect the uproar when it drafted its policy allowing alternatives to Darwinism to be heard; see LiveScience.comMSNBC News also carried the story.
  • Alas, Poor York:  the York Dispatch printed another article about Michael Behe’s testimony at the trial, and the debate that ensued.  It followed with another story Oct 21 about the defense witness lineup.
  • Czech Cache:  The first European Intelligent Design Conference was announced by PR Newswire, based on information from the Discovery Institute.  It began Oct. 21 in Prague and is called Darwin and Design; the Discovery Institute wrote about it, and the Prague Post interviewed one of the speakers, Dr. Charles Thaxton.
  • Official Condemnation:  The American Association for the Advancement of Science printed remarks by fellow John Staver denouncing ID with “strong concern” about the Kansas school board decision to allow criticisms of Darwinism.
  • Battle of the Books:  Alan Boyle on MSNBC News talked about the book wars for and against evolution, and suggested that Michael Behe has probably made a million in royalties for his popular book, Darwin’s Black Box.  He thought that lay books that fit public opposition to evolutionism are likely to sell better than serious works on science, and quoted an author who tells science writers to emphasize the scientific process and the practical applications of evolutionary theory.
  • His Two Pence:  Current Biology 10/25/2005 interviewed Russell Foster (Imperial College, UK) who said, “I think the science community should be very proactive over this issue and take every opportunity to explain why Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory and that it has no place in the teaching of biology.”
  • His Two Pounds:  Nigel Williams, also writing in the 10/25 Current Biology, weighed in hard against I.D. in the lead editorial.  He thought it odd that so many creationists and political conservatives are using the movie March of the Penguins as evidence of design, but ended with a reference to the “major new exhibition on Charles Darwin at the American Museum of Natural History in New York next month are expecting controversy and tackle the issue of intelligent design head-on.”  The museum directors are baffled by ID’s prominence, but don’t see any debate worth their time, because, to them, “Darwin is so fundamental to modern science.”
  • Outmatched Armies?  Over 7000 scientists signed an online petition stating intelligent design is not science, reported PRNewsWire.  Organizer R. Joe Brandon, an archaeologist, wanted to show up the Discovery Institute’s list of 400 scientists who question evolution and support intelligent design.  (Don’t make any inferences from Brandon’s website name, ShovelBums.org.)  Casey Luskin of EvolutionNews was not particularly impressed by the appeal to authority, arguing they were attacking a straw man version of ID.
  • Doctors’ Orders:  The 17,000-member Christian Medical Association issued a statement decrying the “scientific inquisition” against intelligent design, according to Christian Communication Network.  CMA Director Dr. Gene Rudd pointed to a survey of over a thousand doctors that found 76% believe in God, 59% believe in some kind of afterlife, and 55% said their faith influences how they practice medicine.  The statement also referred to historical scientists whose breakthroughs were “consistent with their religious faith and belief in the God who ordered the universe.”
  • Scare Tactics:  Brad Harrub of Apologetics Press wrote an editorial criticizing how the Darwinists are trying to “plot, dictate, threaten and scare” to keep their control over science education.
  • Down Under and Below the Belt:  Aussie blogger Stephen Jones discussed the underhanded tactics of the anti-ID crowd in his country.
  • Hypocrites:  George Neumayr on American Spectator called the ACLU lawsuit a Kangaroo Court, writing, “No sooner had the Darwinists ended their 80th anniversary celebrations of the Scopes trial than they turned their attention to conducting censorship trials of their own.”
  • Morning Gory:  Donald Hoffman on Morning Call Online defended ID and claimed the plaintiffs in the Dover trial are over-reacting and making much ado about nothing.
  • Big Target:  Patriot News reporter Bill Sulon wrote about how the Dover policy would be difficult to defend, according to district solicitor Stephen Russell, because it would be perceived as initiated for religious reasons.
  • Tech Stress:  TopTechNews said “Tension mounts on intelligent design.”
  • Students Demand Free Speech:  the Berkeley of the 21st century?  The Cornell IDEA Club responded to university president Hunter Rawlings’ tirade against ID Oct. 21.  He spent two thirds of his State of the University Address attacking intelligent design, with what they felt was a “blatant disregard for the facts” and speaking in an “unscrupulous, unknowledgeable manner.”  They called for free and open exchange of ideas.
  • And more…  Access Research Network writer Denyse O’Leary keeps abreast of additional columns and articles of note about the ID controversy.

This sampling can be considered representative of rhetoric that surely is making small-town newspapers all over the country.

Something is strangely missing in all these reports.  No Darwinists seem to be defending any evidence that humans have bacteria ancestors.  It seems to be all about power.  (Social Constructivists, don’t get any ideas.)  The ACLU may silence a Behe, but if intelligent design is built into the fabric of the universe, 7,000 Darwinists cannot fight it any more than they can stop a glacier.  Same advice still applies: watch for flying baloney, keep away from the heat, know history, re-read If by Kipling, have a deep and abiding respect for brute facts, and fear not the wroth of the people of froth.

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