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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Thinkquote of the day: The infamous "Wedge" document

One thing that absolutely fascinates me is conspirazoids - people who think that social, demographic, philosophical, political, economic, or you- name-whatever-kind-of-change must originate in a conspiracy. Now, I have never been a fan of conspiracy theories, for the simple reason that in my experience as a journalist, most people cannot keep secrets if their social importance would increase as a result of spilling the beans. Also, I do not have a conspiracy theory about conspirazoids. I just think that some people deal with anxieties over unwelcome change by assuming that a "vast rightwing conspiracy" or a "vast left-wing conspiracy" is behind it. And heaven knows, some people have a lot to be anxious about.

Anyway, many Darwinists have been flogging the "Wedge document" for years, allegedly setting out the intelligent design guys' plan to take over the world. John G. West of the evil Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture (the ID think tank) tells me,
The so-called "Wedge" document was simply an old fundraising proposal. As such, it wasn't a public document, and those who took it didnt have the right to release it. But the Darwinist's preoccupation with the document shows how little of substance they really have to focus on. Contrary to Darwinist claims, there was nothing "secret" about the proposal's explanation of the harmful consequences of the pseudo-science of scientific materialism. That same language had been used in all sorts of public documents. The effort by Darwinists like Barbara Forrest to portray this fundraising proposal as some sort of "secret strategy" is silly to the point of absurdity. Especially ridiculous was Forrest's painstaking effort in her book Creationism's Trojan Horse to try to determine whether this document really came from Discovery Institute. All she had to do was ask us and we would have verified it (we did to any reporter who asked). But she never did. She was too intent on her conspiracy-mongering.

Well, maybe she finds that sort of thing fun. My own take on the origin of the ID controversy is this: The intelligent design controversy is best understood as a conflict between materialist and non-materialist views of the origin and nature of the universe. Reputable scientists can be found on both sides. Because the two sides proceed from different assumptions, they do not agree, as Thomas Kuhn would say, on what would constitute a falsification of their premises. The controversy continues to grow because, while materialism is prevalent in academia and the media, it is widely discredited in the population at large, including the professional classes. No wonder the Darwinists prefer conspiramongering.

My other blog is the Mindful Hack, which keeps tabs on neuroscience and the mind.

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

My review of Francis Collins’ book The Language of God , my backgrounder about peer review issues, or the evolutionary biologist’s opinion that all students friendly to intelligent design should be flunked.

Lists of theoretical and applied scientists who doubt Darwin and of academic ID publications.

My U of Toronto talk on why there is an intelligent design controversy, or my talk on media coverage of the controversy at the University of Minnesota.

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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