Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Political Roots of Intelligent Design

Apparently, the only intelligently designed part of this "scientific theory" is the political and PR campaign pushing it.

Same old wine; new poll-driven bottle.

This actually has zero to do with actual biology or educational "freedom"; it's one front on the assault on modernism.

7 Thoughts:

Blogger Doug said...

Problems I have with this article, #1:

"As much philosophical worldview as scientific hypothesis, intelligent design challenges Darwin's theory of natural selection by arguing that some organisms are too complex to be explained by evolution alone, pointing to the possibility of supernatural influences."

ID is NOT a scientific hypothesis! The "as much" construction gives undue credit to this religio-political movement, which is untestable (and, no, macroevolution is not untestable, regardless of what ID-ers say -- we have the fossil record [find me a bird that's 500m years old, and I'll say, there's a major problem somewhere with neo-Darwinian theory] and molecular evidence [clocks, etc., which tend to agree with fossil-based phylogenies].

Sloppy reporting.

Sunday, August 21, 2005 2:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


"While mutual acceptance of evolution and the existence of God appeals instinctively to a faithful public, intelligent design is shunned as heresy in mainstream universities and science societies as untestable in laboratories."

One can believe in God and be an evolutionist, descriptively. Theodosius Dobzhansky, arguably the most important evolutionist of the 20th century, did. No problem. True, it requires a deistic conception of God, but, that's fine. I happen to think that evolution is one of many reasons not to believe that God exists, but that's one man's opinion on a metaphysical issue.

So, yet another false dichotomy, and one that supports (consciously or not) the "populist vs. pointy-headed intellectual" myth/PR campaign of the creationists.

In other moods -- or for other audiences -- IDers claim that they're scientific and point to scientists (Behe, etc.) that support them.

So this dichotomy is doubly false.

Sunday, August 21, 2005 2:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"These successes follow a path laid in a 1999 Discovery manifesto known as the Wedge Document, which sought 'nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies' in favor of a 'broadly theistic understanding of nature.'"

Exactly. I gotta run soon, but if someone can find this manifesto, post it, please!

Sunday, August 21, 2005 2:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"A watershed moment came with the adoption in 2001 of the No Child Left Behind Act, whose legislative history includes a passage that comes straight from the institute's talking points. 'Where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy,' was language that Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, tried to include."

No Luddite Left Behind.

Sunday, August 21, 2005 2:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


"'All ideas that achieve a sort of uniform acceptance ultimately fall apart whether it's in the sciences or philosophy or politics after a few people keep knocking away at it,'" he said. 'It's wise for society not to punish those people.'

You have got to be fucking kidding me. These motherfuckers are well-funded; I have a friend who is mid-career, has been published over and over, has been profiled in the NYT's Science Times, and can't find a fucking job now. She's a fine evolutionary biologist doing important work.

Jodi, who helped bring Dean down, is either a moron, or working with the fundys. Feculant reporting.

Sunday, August 21, 2005 2:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

I'm glad you posted this. I didn't realize that Intelligent Design was so moronic. Why feel threatened by the theory of evolution? I mean seriously, anyone who spends time learning about the natural world and 'science' has many, many reasons to suspect there may be some kind of higher power in the universe. The amazing complexity, the simple beauty of how so many things work is mind boggling. Why do 'god' and 'science' have to be mutually exclusive?
The ugly agenda behind the I/D movement is so typical of 'organized religion'.

Sunday, August 21, 2005 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, l/k: Actually, to be fair, ID is mostly about using the complexity and beauty (I'll ignore the subjectivity of such terms for now) of nature to argue for a diety who created it all.

Now, that same Creator must have designed things such that there must be tons of death -- which is a species of the problem of evil -- and he desinged organisms such as a type of wasp that lays its eggs in some unsuspecting caterpillar -- then, the eggs hatch, internally, and the caterpillar is, quite amazingly, eaten from the inside out, in such a manner as to prolong its life as as long as possible.

Is that the work of an Intelligent Designer? Maybe. But not a particularly kind one.

Anyway, one can accept evolution wholesale and maintain a Deistic view, and even adopt much of whichever religion's values you like -- many have done and do so -- but accepting design by some intelligence is essentially incompatible with evolutionary biology.

So, there is food for conflict in Darwin's "dangerous" idea -- although since humans are as cruel and kind after Darwin as they were before, I don't see the harm Darwinism has caused (and social Darwinism is not Darwinism) -- or, to grant even more, I don't see that Darwinism, however manipulated politically, caused anything worse than religions, which have also been manipulated politically and caused lots of death and harm, too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 3:43:00 PM  

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