Do scientists think more about sex or ID? That was an Enter Laughing question at Evolution News and Science Today but it prompts reflection on why some people in science seem driven around the bend by the idea of design in nature. And others alter their message to avoid confronting the questions:
First, if the critics are right to say ID is “dead,” why devote so much time to it? Evolution News reported in 2014 that an article in the journal Nature admitted that scientists self-censor criticisms of neo-Darwinism to avoid lending credence to ID. As Laland et al. (2014) conceded: “Perhaps haunted by the spectre of intelligent design, evolutionary biologists wish to show a united front to those hostile to science.” In 2017 we observed how Laland followed his own advice, refusing to admit in a report published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution that the 2016 Royal Society meeting included strong critiques of the neo-Darwinian paradigm. Clearly, ID arguments are potent, and evolutionary biologists are aware of this — which is why they admit they don’t like to acknowledge problems in the evolutionary consensus.
Second, intelligent design’s supposed negative impact is hyped beyond reason. The notion that “financing of research” in the U.S. is being hurt by ID is laughable. ID research gets exactly zero dollars from the Federal Government. From other sources, the amount of money available to fund ID research, though not trivial, is minuscule compared to the amount of money available for evolutionary science. No evolutionary scientist has any right to complain.
Third, it’s a shame that “20 percent of their time and brain power” is going to ID because the trend in thought is now running toward government-backed censorship.Evolution News, “Scientist Admits Biologists Are Obsessed with Intelligent Design” at Evolution News and Science Today
Ah yes. Mutterings about the need for censorship. When we don’t have a reasonable response to a troubling topic, first, we self-censor. Then we censor anyone who raises it. Sure, guys. That’ll work.
The questions are still there but only for those capable of addressing them.