November 16, 2005
An Opponent's Guide to Intelligent Design Advocacy Resources
Have you heard of the strange case of Richard Sternberg? NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty says its "probably the best-documented battle in the war between the vast majority of scientists and a tiny insurgency promoting intelligent design."
Sternberg, an opponent of intelligent design (ID), published a peer-reviewed article by Stephen Meyer, a proponent of ID, in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, an obscure scientific journal loosely affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. See Stephen Meyer, Intelligent Design: The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories. Instead of applauding Sternberg for his action, The Smithsonian was "furious," so much so that Sternberg filed a complaint to protect his job with the US Office of Special Counsel.
To make a long story short, Sternberg has not lost his job (yet) but the special counsel. James McVay, wrote to Sternberg that the Smithsonian worked with the National Center for Science Education -- a group that opposes intelligent design -- and outlined "a strategy to have you investigated and discredited." See US Office of Special Counsel Letter to Richard Sternberg (contains quotes from emails criticizing Sternberg's action, personal attacks on Sternberg, etc)
Too bad the Smithsonian did not follow the example of the American Museum of Natural History. In 2002 the Museum's official journal, Natural History, published a special report, Intelligent Design? which featured three proponents of ID. Each paper followed by a response from a proponent of evolution. Sternberg may want to consider applying for a job with the Museum.
Phillip E. Johnson Bibliography
A Sternberg-Inspired Intelligent Design Resource List
From what I can tell, there appears to be four essential ID advocacy websites and one ID blog.
- Access Research Network
- Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture
- The Intelligent Design Network
- International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID)
- Blog: Evolution News & Views (News Analysis of Media Coverage of the Debate Over Evolution
Politics, Religion, Law, But Not Science
According to Barbara Forrest in The Newest Evolution of Creationism: Intelligent Design is About Politics and Religion, not Science:
Launched by Phillip E. Johnson's book Darwin on Trial (1991), the intelligent-design movement crystallized in 1996 as the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture (CRSC), sponsored by the Discovery Institute, a conservative Seattle think tank. Johnson, a [retired UC Berkeley] law professor whose religious conversion catalyzed his anti-evolution efforts, assembled a group of supporters who promote design theory through their writings, financed by CRSC fellowships. According to an early mission statement, the CRSC seeks "nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its damning cultural legacies." The CRSC calls its strategy the "Wedge," because it wants to liberate science from "atheistic naturalism."
Since ID advocates have been unable to convince scientists that their theory has scientific merit, they are relying on political methods to get ID into school curriculums. NPR's Tara Boyle surveys the ID movement's progress in Teaching Evolution: A State-by-State Debate. Anticipating legal battles over the inclusion of ID in school curriculums, the movement published its legal strategy for winning judicial sanction in David DeWolf, Stephen Meyer and Mark Edward DePorrest, Teaching the Origins Controversy: Science, Or Religion, Or Speech? 2000 Utah L. Rev. 39 (Lexis link). For the legal progeny of the Scopes decision, see NPR's Timeline of the Scopes Trial.
But "if you live by politics, you can die by politics," and that, according to the Washington Post is the lesson of last week's Dover PA school board vote. All eight of the board's Republican incumbents were defeated and all of them supported a policy that required teaching ID as an alternative to evolution in ninth-grade biology classes.
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