Monday, December 05, 2005

New York Times Writes Obituary on Intelligent Design

The New York Times looks at intelligent design and finds that Intelligent Design Might Be Meeting Its Maker. They note how intelligent design was created as an attempt to unite creationists with academics and others who might fall for the idea that teaching both side of a controversy is a rational idea:

Intelligent design posits that the complexity of biological life is itself evidence of a higher being at work. As a political cause, the idea has gained currency, and for good reason. The movement was intended to be a “big tent” that would attract everyone from biblical creationists who regard the Book of Genesis as literal truth to academics who believe that secular universities are hostile to faith. The slogan, “Teach the controversy,” has simple appeal in a democracy.

The problem here is that teaching both sides of an idea is not always the sensible course. We would not grant academic acceptance to people who argue that the world is flat or that gravity does not exist. Science is established based upon rigorous research and is not a matter where differing opinions are valid if the opposing opinion is refuted by the scientific research. The New York Times notes how intelligent design has obtained limited academic interest:

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.

Even many religious institutions have rejected intelligent design:

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.

Those who argue against science and evolution often try to cast doubt on the idea that there are established truths in science. Donklephant, a centrist site, comments on this idea today in noting how it was neoconservatives such as Irving Kristol who have attempted to argue that there are different truths for different types of people. They link back to an article in the libertarian magazine Reason. Fortunately defense of science and evolution isn’t limited to the left blogoshere.


Blogger david.g said...

Contrary to the theme of the New York Times Obituary, there is a Theory of Intelligent Design which is supported by evidence which can be found at Intelligent Design Theory . It is interesting that such a theory has been ignored in the recent debate and court case. Then again the proponents of intelligent design may be unaware of it and think that it is just creationism!

9:26 PM  

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