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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thinkquote of the day: Conspirazoids explain intelligent design for you

A friend draws my attention to Jeffrey Koperski's interesting reflections on the academics who made their careers out of critiquing intelligent design ideas. In "Intelligent Design and the End of Science" in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, he comments on Barbara Forrest's essay Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics :

This book is not designed to engage the opposing side, but rather to put down an insidious movement.

Just how insidious is shown in Barbara Forrest’s historical overview. With a tone like that of an investigative reporter, Forrest quotes from an “internal CRSC [Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture] document, titled ‘The Wedge Strategy,’ that surfaced from an anonymous source in March, 1999” (3). According to this document, the ultimate goal of the
Wedge is to overthrow the naturalistic hegemony and replace it with something a bit more friendly to theists. And like all good revolutionary movements, Forrest sees this one as having a clear plan. Among other things, "CRSC creationists have taken the time and trouble to acquire legitimate degrees, providing them a degree of cover both while they are students and after they join university faculties" (38), which implies that people join the ID movement and only then decide to get their doctorates as a means for advancing their sinister Wedge Strategy. Just like modern terrorists, their M. O. is to "blend more smoothly into the academic population" (39). There is no biographical information to support these claims, but shadowy figures like these are just the kind of extremists who would do something like that. Forrest's goal is to reveal the "deep" motives behind ID, all in a what-they-don't-want-you-to-know tone.

Of course, Forrest's career depends on portraying the ID guys and their ideas this way, which is all very well for her. But those who ask no critical questions do themselves no favors. They may just as well believe that the ID guys are space aliens, for all the predictive value they'll get.

If you want to understand why the intelligent design controversy cannot go away, read By Design or by Chance?.

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