Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Intelligent Design: one of the worst ideas of recent decades (Discovery Magazine)

Creationism, and it's little brother, Intelligent Design have offered some fun moments over the years. Remember how the Creation Museum was listed among the Worlds my Craptastic Tourist Attractions? Although 'attraction' might not be the best word to use. How about Michael Behe's hilarious testimony during the Dover Trial and William Dembski's response to his critics -- any of them. Little science but plenty to laugh at over the years.

Well Discovery Magazine is celebrating it's 30th anniversary in it's Oct 2010 edition. In it they are listing some of the biggest blunders of recent years -- including, as I am sure you guessed, Intelligent Design. What they have to say contains one small error (as reported by the NCSE) but the rest is spot on:

"Not satisfied with the biblical God who created the world in six days, creationists developed a "science" that aims to explain the supernatural force behind the whole shebang: intelligent design. Because we cannot reverse-engineer things like the human eye, they say, it follows that all must be designed by a higher being. (The human knee presumably came together during a moment of distraction.) This tactic had some success easing intelligent design/creationism into American public-school science lessons. But in 2005 a jury prohibited its teaching in the schools of Dover, Pennsylvania, delivering a stinging rebuke."
The error is tiny. The Dover trial wasn't decided by a jury, but a Judge in a bench trial. We should also never forget that Creation Science also crashed and burned well before 2005. You can take a look at:
  • Epperson v. Arkansas - 1968 -a case that invalidated an Arkansas statute that prohibited the teaching of human evolution in the public schools.
  • Daniel v. Waters - 1975 - struck down Tennessee's law regarding the teaching of "equal time" of evolution and creationism in public school science classes.
  • Hendren v. Campbell - 1977 - ruled that the young-earth creationist textbook Biology: A Search For Order In Complexity, published by the Creation Research Society and promoted through the Institute for Creation Research, could not be used in Indiana public schools.
  • McLean v. Arkansas - 1982 - mandated the teaching of "creation science" in Arkansas public schools, was unconstitutional.
  • Edwards v. Aguillard - 1987 - ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools, along with evolution, was unconstitutional because the law was specifically intended to advance a particular religion.
Remember that is was Edwards v. Aguillard that drove the changes that brought about Intelligent Design. This was part of the evidence during the Dover Trial that showed the time line of when the Creationist text "Of Pandas and People" went from Creationism to Intelligent Design with some screwed up cutting and pasting. 'cdesign proponentsists' anyone?

I'm sure someone from the DI will have something to say, after all they attacked a grandmother from making a quilt that called ID a myth, so I expect them to be further up in arms over the Discovery Magazine's article. Shall we start a pool on which shill will voice their unsupported opinion first?

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