September 27, 2005

The New Creationism


From CNN: 'Intelligent design' debate back in court.

"Intelligent design" is a religious theory that was inserted in a school district's curriculum with no concern for whether it had scientific underpinnings, a lawyer told a federal judge Monday as a landmark trial got under way. ...

But in his opening statement, the school district's attorney defended Dover's policy of requiring ninth-grade students to hear a brief statement about intelligent design before biology classes on evolution.

"This case is about free inquiry in education, not about a religious agenda," argued Patrick Gillen of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. ... The center, which lobbies for what it sees as the religious freedom of Christians, is defending the school district....

Intelligent design, a concept some scholars have advanced over the past 15 years, holds that Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection cannot fully explain the origin of life or the emergence of highly complex life forms. It implies that life on Earth was the product of an unidentified intelligent force.

From the Ayn Rand Institute: The Bait and Switch of "Intelligent Design" by Keith Lockitch.

Its advertising to the contrary notwithstanding, "intelligent design" is inherently a quest for the supernatural. Only one "candidate for the role of designer" need apply. [Leading proponent William] Dembski himself -- even while trying to deny this implication -- concedes that "if there is design in biology and cosmology, then that design could not be the work of an evolved intelligence." It must, he admits, be that of a "transcendent intelligence" to whom he euphemistically refers as "the big G."

The supposedly nonreligious theory of "intelligent design" is nothing more than a crusade to peddle religion by giving it the veneer of science -- to pretend, as one commentator put it, that "faith in God is something that holds up under the microscope."

The insistence of "intelligent design" advocates that they are "agnostic regarding the source of design" is a bait-and-switch. They dangle out the groundless possibility of a "designer" who is susceptible of scientific study -- in order to hide their real agenda of promoting faith in the supernatural.

UPDATE -- Oct. 2: On Oct. 25, The University of Southern California Objectivist Club will host a lecture by the author of the above editorial, Dr. Keith Lockitch, titled "Creationism in Camouflage: The "Intelligent Design" Deception" (details here). Lockitch has also updated the editorial to include a reference to the current court case:

Eighty years after the famous Scopes "Monkey" Trial, the anti-evolution forces have regrouped. Today, the battle in Dover, Pennsylvania, is over the teaching of "intelligent design," the view that life is so complex it must be the product of a "higher intelligence." The central issue under debate is whether "intelligent design" is, in fact, a genuine scientific theory or merely a disguised form of religious advocacy -- creationism in camouflage.

Posted by Forkum at September 27, 2005 05:35 PM