Still creationism after all these years: Understanding and counteracting intelligent design

  • Forrest B
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Despite denials by proponents of intelligent design (ID) that ID is creationism, critical analysis by scientists and scholars, as well as statements by the proponents of ID themselves, has established beyond any doubt ID's true identity as neo-creationism. Despite de-emphasizing elements of earlier creationism such as belief in a young earth and "flood geology," ID bears marks of its descent from "creation science" and is defined by its leading proponents in overtly religious, and specifically Christian, terms. These facts enabled the plaintiffs in the first ID legal case, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005), to win a decisive victory over the Dover, PA, school board, which had required that a pro-ID statement be read to biology students at Dover High School. Kitzmiller was also a defeat for ID proponents at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture (CSC). Yet, although the CSC continues efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution even in the wake of this defeat, their tactics are increasingly stale and transparent. Their current strategy, disguising pro-ID policy proposals with code language to avoid using the term "intelligent design," is yet another tactic used by earlier creationists after consistent legal defeats. Moreover, the ID movement's continued execution of their agenda has enabled ID critics to compile an ever-lengthening list of further congruencies between ID and creation science. Such powerful evidence of ID's identity as neo-creationism, combined with modest but promising demographic changes in the United States, suggest that increased public support for teaching evolution is possible through effective outreach to the relevant demographic groups. Scientists must take advantage of this opportunity to cultivate such support and to counteract ID by engaging in pro-science activism, making use of the many resources available to support their efforts.

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  • Barbara Forrest

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