[photo of Eugenie Scott from www.ExpelledTheMovie.com serving as one of the Class Officers of The Big Science Academy. She will have a starring role in the best pro-ID movie yet.]
ID is a lineal descendent of William Paley’s Argument from Design (Paley 1803,)
intelligent Design has perplexed me beyond measure
Charles Darwin, 1861
but Matzke didn’t get the memo:
“intelligent design” as such originated in the 1989 ID textbook Of Pandas and People
Matzke’s claim symbolizes the common misconception that goes something like this: “ID was primarily a ruse to get biblical creation taught in public schools after the creationists lost Edwards vs Aguillard 1987“.
This misconception is also articulated by Ed Brayton in The Anti-Evolution Movement: Phase 4. It shows how Darwinists myopically define the ID debate as merely being a war over what’s taught in public schools:
[at a talk] I began by describing what I characterized as the first three phases of an anti-evolution movement that began about 30 seconds after Darwin published On the Origin of Species. Those phases represented the evolving legal and political strategies used to oppose evolution and to diminish its acceptance and influence. Phase one, which lasted until 1968, was simply to ban the teaching of evolution; Epperson v Arkansas brought that phase to an end by overturning such laws as unconstitutional. Phase two was the “dual model” approach, laws requiring equal time for “creation science” and “evolution science”; Edwards v Aguillard brought that phase to an end in 1987 by overturning such laws. Phase three, of course, was to relabel creation science as “intelligent design” and try to sneak it past the courts; Kitzmiller v Dover, though only a district court ruling, may well have brought phrase three to an end.
[note: the original essay I was going to pick on was Crowther’s Lies on Origin of Intelligent Design, but this essay was a better target.]
I will show that Brayton is wrong to think the ID debate was about public schools, and of all things I will show he is wrong because of a superbly researched peer-reviewed paper by Eugenie Scott, published in the Annual Reviews of Anthropology, 1997.
But first, it is only fair to concede that biblical creationism and ID do indeed arrive on at least one common conclusion, namely, that there is design in life. But does arriving at the same conclusion imply there is only one means of reasoning to arrive at the same end? Is there only one road that leads to Rome?
If two roads lead to the same destination, does that mean the two roads must be the same road? Darwinists think that because ID and biblical creationism arrive at comparable conclusions with respect to the question of intelligent agency in the design of life, that ID must therefore be identical to biblical creation. But this line of reasoning by the Darwinists is as illogical as saying that any road that leads to Rome must be the same road, that if one arrives in Rome, he can only have gotten there through one route. So if Brayton insinuates ID = creationism because they have comparable conclusions, or that ID = creationism because the evidence leads to inferring design, he is being illogical.
But even granting (only for the sake of argument) that ID = creationism, the claim that ID was created primarily to inject creationism into public schools is indefensible because ID was not aimed at the public schools, but rather the UNIVERSITIES. No critic I’ve debated has been able to get around that difficulty, and it will be more difficult in light of Eugenie Scott’s superb peer-reviewed research on the matter.
But before examining Scott’s work, what have ID proponents themselves said?
I feel that the essential argument has to be carried on at the higher level, at the university level, and it’s interesting you see that the people that come from the NCSE side are always trying to say this is just an issue in the high schools
NCSE Special Interview
Now, regarding the naming of the intelligent design movement: Ask yourself whether the following line of reasoning is logical:
the adoption of the name “intelligent design” implies the ideas are primarily developed for getting creationism into public schools
Of course such a line of reasoning is illogical (such is life with Darwinism). Darwinists might object by saying, “but the naming of ID literature coincided with Edward vs. Aguillard”. But even if the name were adopted to help creationism get into public schools, it still cannot be argued that the original and subsequent development of ID literature was primarily for the public schools, especially in light of other evidence.
I will argue that even if nefarious motives are assumed, the claim that this body of literature was developed to be injected into public schools will fail for this simple reason: ID literature was primarily developed and aimed at the universities, not public schools.
Let us also, for the sake of argument, suppose that creationists were eager to join forces with non-creationists under the big tent of opposition to Darwinism. Let us suppose that for this alliance of anti-Darwinists to unite together, it was desirable to adopt the ancient phrase “intelligent design” (which even Darwin used) and shed any supposed identity with the idea of “biblical creation”. Let us even for the sake of argument suppose the adoption of the ancient phrase “intelligent design” was hastened by the events of Edwards vs Aguillard. Can it then be claimed that the body of arguments that constitute “intelligent design” was merely a fabrication to get “biblical creation” into the public schools as opposed to the design argument into universities? Absolutely not.
The failure of the claim is evidenced by the writings of Eugenie Scott in a peer-reviewed journal, Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 1997. 26:263-89. Scott understood the nuances better than most ID proponents in the blogsphere today. In a candid moment, long before Dover, Eugenie Scott tells it like it is (with some qualifications).
In 1989, shortly after the Edwards Supreme Court decision, Of Pandas and People, a supplemental textbook for high school biology, was published (Davis and Kenyon 1989). Its publication signified the increasing OEC [old earth creationist] influence in the neocreationist antievolution movement, and introduced the term Intelligent Design (ID). ID is promoted primarily by university-based antievolutionists who tend to be PCs [progressive creationists] rather than YECs. Dean Kenyon, for example, a tenured professor of biology at San Francisco State University, and Percival Davis, who teaches at a public college, Hillsborough Community College, in Tampa, Florida, advocate ID.
ID is a lineal descendent of William Paley’s Argument from Design (Paley 1803,)….
ID literature is more sophisticated than creation science literature, perhaps because it is (except for Of Pandas and People) usually directed more toward a university audience….
Antievolution at the University One of the leading exponents of ID is a University of California law professor, Phillip Johnson, who holds an endowed chair at Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley. Johnson appeared on the antievolutionist scene in 1991 with the publication of his book, Darwin on Trial (Johnson 1993). Because of Johnson’s academic credentials, and because he ignored arguments about the age of the earth and was even faintly contemptuous of YEC,….
Although Johnson is an evolution basher, his main concern is not really with whether scientific data do or do not support evolution, but with broader questions of purpose and meaning.
In the mid to late 1990s, university-based antievolutionism is a small but growing movement. For now, participants are dwarfed in both number and effectiveness by the more public efforts of organizations like the ICR, with its Back to Genesis road shows and media programs. YEC is still the most frequently-encountered antievolutionism that K-12 teachers have to cope with, but more and more it is being augmented by “arguments against evolution,” ID or other neocreationist positions. However, because a university-based antievolution movement has great potential to reach future decision-makers (who are being educated in universities today), this component of the movement may be highly influential in the future, even if it is small today. Future generations of college graduates may think that books like those of Johnson or Behe represent modern scientific scholarship on science and evolution.
Eugenie Scott, 1997
I’ll highlight key points:
1. ID was originally university-based and oriented
2. ID is a lineal descendent of William Paley’s Argument from Design (Paley 1803,) therefore Matzke is in a tough position arguing ID was somehow originated in 1989
3. the Edwards decision is only passingly mentioned
4. ID literature is more sophisticated than creation science literature (therefore it cannot be the same by definition!)
5. University-based anti-Darwinism was distinguished from the public school anti-Darwinism
6. ID literature was not constrained to Pandas and People, and in fact is a notable exception, contrary to what Matzke tries to insinuate!
7. The report was in 1997, when ID was a small movement! [but now it’s huge] 🙂
ID was originated and aimed at the university level from day one, not the public schools. If Ed wants to say creationisim was labeled ID to fool college students and faculty into thinking ID is science, let him say so (even though I would disagree). By that standard we “fooled” some of those that constitute the large numbers of pro-ID students in universities today, and even some faculty to boot. For that matter we got Yale Law School’s #1 alum (class of 1970), Ben Stein, to make a movie about them.
But for sure he is wrong to argue ID was primarily for public school consumption. It’s quite apparent that Pandas was a much diluted rendering of university-oriented ID literature, as evidenced even by Eugenie’s analysis.
Universities are where the ID action really is, and that’s why I’m in it. I’m in it for what’s happening in the universities (and really, the free markeplace of ideas), much less about the public schools. Genie realized that the ID movement in the universities was a distinct movement from the biblical creationist movement which supposedly besieges public schools.
ID has gained a foothold in the universities both among faculty, students, and even limited courses. It has done so fair and square without needing an act of congress or a supreme court decision. How does Genie feel about these developments? The readers may be surprised about Genie’s position on these matters (and the irony is not lost on Genie either):
Ironically, from the standpoint of evolution education, it is far preferable to have anti-evolutionary ideas expressed and debated at the university than in the local school board meeting
Anti-evolutionists Form, Fund Think Tank
Finally, the fact that Genie recognizes that “biblical creation” is not the same as ID is also underscored by the talk she will give to the Atheist Alliance, September 29, 2007, Who Pulled the Stake Out? The Resurgence of Young Earth Creationism:
In the last few years, the “intelligent design” creationists have been in the spotlight of the press and media, somewhat eclipsing the traditional “young earth” creationists. But the YECs have neither gone away nor diminished in influence: at NCSE, we are acutely aware that the larger and actually more influential creationist movement remains the one founded by Henry M. Morris. The opening of the new multi-million dollar Answers in Genesis museum only underscores this fact. A talk at the annual meeting of American Atheists International.
Eugenie correctly perceives that there are two distinct movements. But contrast her excellent understanding with Brayton’s simplistic views and his disdain regarding people who perceive things differently than he does:
the DI wants you to believe that there’s no connection at all between ID and creation science, that they are entirely different movements. Only someone truly deluded … would believe them.