Dispatches from the Creation Wars

More Dissembling from ID Advocates

This is a repost of a comment I left on The Panda’s Thumb in a thread concerning Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost and the Leiter/VanDyke situation.

Joe Carter wrote:

“I donít really know since Iím not a defender of ID theory but a defender of the idea that the theory should be given a chance. If it doesnít work, then fine, weíll move on.”

There are three problems with this claim. First, it’s false. Anyone who goes to his blog archive labelled “intelligent design” can see that Joe IS a defender of ID.

Second, if there is no model to test and no means of testing if it there was one – and Joe has been challenged repeatedly to come up with one, and so have the leading ID advocates, and have all failed to do so – then it is pointless to claim that the theory should be “given a chance”. If it can’t be tested, it’s not a theory at all. And if it can’t be tested, there’s no way of determining if it “works” or not.

Third, I think scientists are more than happy to “give ID a chance”. All its proponents have to do is offer up a genuine model with explanatory power, derive testable hypotheses from it, and propose tests. Scientists will be glad to run the tests and see what happens. The problem, as noted above, is that there are none to run. When asked to provide a means of testing it, the only thing they can come up with is a test for evolution so they can use the false dichotomy (either evolution or ID) to argue for a god of the gaps solution.

Despite this complete lack of real science at its core, the ID advocates still insist on pushing ID into classrooms, where even one of their own, Bruce Gordon, admits it has no place being:

design-theoretic research has been hijacked as part of a larger cultural and political movement. In particular, the theory has been prematurely drawn into discussions of public science education where it has no business making an appearance without broad recognition from the scientific community that it is making a worthwhile contribution to our understanding of the natural world…

This also despite the fact that they claim over and over again that they don’t push legislation to get their views into classrooms. Here’s Phillip Johnson in an interview in 2001:

We definitely arent looking for some legislation to support our views, or anything like that. What our adversaries would like to say is – these people want to impose their views through the law – No, that’s what they do. We’re against that in principle and we dont need that.

And here is Bill Dembski claiming the same thing:

Instead of pressing their case by lobbying for fair treatment acts in state legislatures (i.e., acts that oblige public schools in a given state to teach both creation and evolution in their science curricula), design theorists are much more concerned with bringing about an intellectual revolution starting from the top down. Their method is debate and persuasion. They aim to convince the intellectual elite and let the school curricula take care of themselves.

Incredible that they don’t lobby for inclusion in school curricula because they’re “against that in principle”, yet they can always be found lobbying for and testifying for inclusion of ID in public school science classrooms in front of school boards, state legislatures, state boards of education and even at the federal level with the infamous (and mythical) Santorum amendment. But they don’t do that, remember – “that’s what they do”, says Phil Johnson. That’s what creationists do, says Bill Dembski. ID advocates don’t do that. And the fact that you see them doing that all over the country is apparently irrelevant.


  1. #1 raj
    April 13, 2004

    ID proponents want a chance to show it’s a viable theory? Fine. They should provide evidence for ID. It seems that they have been given more than a bit of an opportunity to provide such. All I have ever seen from IDers is their objections to evolution. That is not evidence for ID.

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