From the news out of Kansas and the heated rhetoric of Pat Robertson, our favorite televangelist scumbag (since Jimmy Swaggart’s retirement, that is), you would think that the Intelligent Design movement is rolling across the heartland, ready to storm the ramparts of higher education and destroy American science. Or, for those who have a different view, bravely standing up for revealed truth against the militant atheists who claim we’re descended from apes, reforming America as a Christian nation. In either event, you’d be wrong. The New York Times reports that all the Intelligent Design hubbub is a collapsing under its own goofy, unscientific weight.
Behind the headlines, however, intelligent design as a field of inquiry is failing to gain the traction its supporters had hoped for. It has gained little support among the academics who should have been its natural allies. And if the intelligent design proponents lose the case in Dover, there could be serious consequences for the movement’s credibility.
On college campuses, the movement’s theorists are academic pariahs, publicly denounced by their own colleagues. Design proponents have published few papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Well, duh. The scientific evidence against Intelligent Design is overwhelming. The majority of scientists have always been against
creationism Intelligent Design. So what? The real news is that Intelligent Design is so inherently unscientific that even the true believers are backing away slowly while speaking softly and watching for any sudden movements from this Crazy Uncle Eddie of “science.”
While intelligent design has hit obstacles among scientists, it has also failed to find a warm embrace at many evangelical Christian colleges. Even at conservative schools, scholars and theologians who were initially excited about intelligent design say they have come to find its arguments unconvincing. They, too, have been greatly swayed by the scientists at their own institutions and elsewhere who have examined intelligent design and found it insufficiently substantiated in comparison to evolution.
When evangelicals won’t even teach it, there may be a problem with the theory. I think Derek Davis, director of the J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at that bastion of secularism that
expelled students suspended one fraternity, one student, and disciplined the others for posing in Playboy, Baylor University, said it best.
“I teach at the largest Baptist university in the world. I’m a religious person. And my basic perspective is intelligent design doesn’t belong in science class.”
Mr. Davis noted that the advocates of intelligent design claim they are not talking about God or religion. “But they are, and everybody knows they are,” Mr. Davis said. “I just think we ought to quit playing games. It’s a religious worldview that’s being advanced.”
Not only is the only higher educational institution that teaches Intelligent Design a seminary, there’s a trial going on in Dover, Pa. to determine whether teaching Intelligent Design is teaching religion. (World’s Shortest Amicus Brief: Your honor, Intelligent design is warmed-over creationism; the pig’s got nice shiny lipstick on him, but he’s still a pig. Respectfully, Nick Sarwark)
Since the Intelligent Design folks are likely to lose in Dover (we’ve already been through this with the Scopes Monkey Trial), they’re already working the spin machine about how the outcome of the court case is unimportant to the science; probably the only point where I agree with them.
Now, with a decision due in four or five weeks, design proponents like Mr. West of Discovery said the Dover trial was a “sideshow” – one that will have little bearing on the controversy.
“The future of intelligent design, as far as I’m concerned, has very little to do with the outcome of the Dover case,” Mr. West said. “The future of intelligent design is tied up with academic endeavors. It rises or falls on the science.“
Previously on Hammer of Truth:
Rethinking My Views on Intelligent Design