Not Yet Dead

 Posted by on 15 November 2007 at 7:53 am  Uncategorized
Nov 152007

Intelligent Design wasn’t killed by the Dover court decision, but its advocates do seem to be changing tactics according to this (two-page) Ars Technica article:

The Dover trial was the latest in a long line of court cases involving the teaching of evolution, but it was exceptional in that it was the first case that tested the legality of teaching Intelligent Design in a science class. The decision at Dover determined that ID was unscientific and fundamentally religious. Tonight, the PBS show NOVA will will take a look at the trial in a show that includes dramatized reenactments of courtroom scenes.

Not surprisingly, the organized ID movement has not been pleased with the Dover decision and has disparaged it at every opportunity (they’re not fond of the NOVA special, either). Regardless of their opinion, however, the court’s ruling was decisive, and no court cases regarding ID have made it to the trial stage since; Dover has become an effective threat to both hasten legal settlements and changes of policy.

That’s not to say that the Discovery Institute and other ID proponents have packed up and called it a day; instead, they seem to simply be changing tactics. Recent developments indicate that the next wave of anti-evolution agitation will take a two-pronged approach. The first will be to try to foster doubt regarding evolution during high school education, while the second aims to explicitly carve a space for ID proponents at the college level by pressuring for their inclusion as a form of academic freedom. We’ll take a brief look at both of these developments.

The article links to a speech by Don McLeroy, an advocate of Intelligent Design and the chairman of the Texas State Board of Education. Here’s a small tidbit:

But what is the main target of intelligent design? What’s the main target? Is it the chemical origin of life? Research? Well, it’s not, certainly, origin of life spontaneously arose chemically is not supported by the Bible. It’s not supported by the evidence, so maybe that is the target. But, in fact, it’s the lack of evidence of chemical origin of life and the incredible complexity of life itself that played the major role in Antony Flew, that famous British philosopher that just said that he had to abandon his atheism. So it’s very powerful, the origin of life, but that is not the main target of the intelligent design movement. Oh, it’s neo-Darwinism. Neo-Darwinism is another description term for just evolution, common descent that talks about genetic variability so it gets it more precise. And is that the target? It’s not supported by evidence, it’s not Biblical, so that must be the target of intelligent design, but really it’s not the main target either.

Actually, in intelligent design we are focused on a on a bigger target, and in the words of Phillip Johnson “the target is metaphysical naturalism, materialism or just plain old naturalism. The idea that nature is all there is.” Modern science today is totally based on naturalism, and all of intelligent design’s arguments against evolution and chemical origin of life it is the naturalistic base that is the target. And this is a quote from Phillip Johnson: “The important aspect of Darwinian evolution is it’s naturalistic claim that life is the result of purposeless, unintelligent material causes. When Darwinian evolution and intelligent design stand in a complete antithesis. Intelligent design requires the designing influence to account for the complexity of life where Darwinian theory of common descent claims that life spontaneously arose.”

Now I would like to talk a little bit about the big tent. Why is intelligent design the big tent? It’s because we’re all lined up against the fact that naturalism, that nature is all there is. Whether you’re a progressive creationist, recent creationist, young earth, old earth, it’s all in the tent of intelligent design.

In other words, the target of Intelligent Design is not just evolution, but the very metaphysics that makes science and technology possible — not to mention respect for rights and secular government.

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