Intelligent Design?

While the latest incarnation of intelligent design (ID) is relatively new, the "Theory" of intelligent design is little more than a repackaging of creationism, a thinly disguised attempt to teach the creation myth of Christianity as science. The creationist movement failed to achieve their goals but they haven't given up the first time around. This time, they argue ID using the language of science while describing evolution in the language of religion. But using the language of science to describe ID does not make it science. Where are the peer-reviewed scientific papers that give even the smallest shred of evidence for ID? There are none despite the potential Nobel prizes awaiting anyone who can offer genuine scientific evidence contradicting evolution or supporting ID. Lots of science talk but no real science.

Instead of actual scientific papers, there are articles in newspapers and magazines, on the internet, and letters to editors across the country in an attempt to mislead those unfamiliar with scientific inquiry into believing that evolution and ID are theories with equal standing. They further muddy the waters by creating their own controversy. Articles are published that misrepresent the work of real scientists. When rebuttals are written, instead of dealing with the essential content, the neo-creationists cite the rebuttal as evidence of a scientific "controversy" and demand that both sides should be taught in our children's science classrooms.

These ID advocates accuse teachers who teach evolution of pushing evolutionist dogma upon impressionable young minds. Look behind the wizard's curtain and you see that what the neo-creationists truly seek is access to these impressionable young minds of our public school children. It's so much easier to convert 'em while they're young.

Neo-creationists attack the theory of evolution from several angles. Because evolutionary processes take place over extremely long spans of time, scientists are hard pressed to observe evolution in action. Changes within species due to environmental pressures have been and continue to be observed but the transition from one species to a new species has not. Creationists use this as "scientific" evidence to discount the theory of evolution and somehow this makes ID science. Many even go so far as to refuse to accept observable natural selection. And yet they claim their movement is intellectual rather than religious. Critical thinkers can easily see through the words to the facts behind them. The ID movement is a concerted effort by many on the religious right once again to force their beliefs into public school science curricula.

With semantic sleight of hand, the neo-creationists are attempting to control the ID debate. They use the label "evolutionist" and "evolutionism" to define evolution as just another belief system. Such labels have vaguely negative connotations and ID proponents use them with scorn. Remember how the political right brilliantly turned the term "Liberal" into a pejorative? They are at it again by painting their ID adversaries as the fanatics they are themselves.

Does that mean that everyone who leans toward acceptance of ID is a fanatic? No, of course not; people with strong religious convictions have a hard time when science challenges their beliefs. People experience a huge internal struggle to come to terms with evidence that contradicts what they believe. Many, including some intelligent and educated individuals, try to make sense of the troublesome scientific facts in the context of their religious understanding of the universe. These people are easily swayed by the pseudoscience of ID and allows them to think they can reconcile their beliefs with actual science. The fanatical leaders of the ID movement hold tight to their beliefs and are not giving up without a fight.

Scientific reality has clashed with religion ever since there was science. Galileo was persecuted by the Inquisition in Rome during the 1600s for daring to suggest that the Earth rotated around the sun and not the reverse. It took 350 years for the church to accept, albeit grudgingly and without admitting they were wrong, the cosmological facts we all now take for granted.

The neo-creationists want to regain the kind of power the church exercised over the people in centuries past. The ID movement is only a part of the overall effort to control the actions and beliefs of everyone. They want religion to be a major player in government and the George W. Bush administration is all in favor. They want to control who sits on the Supreme Court. They want to decide who is allowed to marry. They want government to subsidize church-sponsored primary and secondary schools. They want to make criminals of women who want to make reproductive decisions concerning their own bodies.

Our society is fighting a war of ideologies. Fundamentalist religious fanatics send airplanes into buildings, attack embassies, bomb subways, and behead innocents. They also bomb women's health clinics and shoot doctors who perform abortions. These fanatics, aided and abetted by our President, want to run our government and control our children's education. Truly we are in a war of ideologies and I am not giving up without a fight.

August 03, 2006