Here’s an interesting article by Casey Luskin in Evolution News & Views on the origin of the term “intelligent design”:
Critics of intelligent design often allege that the term was invented by lawyers to get around the 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Edwards v. Aguillard which struck down the teaching of creationism because it referred to a “supernatural creator.” This is plainly wrong, and it can’t hurt to explain, not for the first time, why it is wrong.
We crowdsourced this question at Uncommon Descent in November 2012:
Last Saturday, March 31, 2012, we offered a contest, “Who invented the phrase intelligent design?” [with a meaning that means something at least somewhat like the post-1970s usage.] Friends had traced it back to one of Darwin’s letters (1861), and later uses were duly noted. But we reasonably believed it was older than that. So we offered a free copy of Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science to (1) the first reader who can located a use of the term prior to 1861. And (2) any subsequent reader who can locate an even earlier use.
It was most revealing.
jcweaver at 47, 1766: “Reimarus’s Defense of Natural Religion” in The Monthly Review or Literary Journal v. 34, 1766 p370.
The Internet is a powerful tool. Crowdsourcing can work. But it isn’t the Internet that keeps us free; it’s vigilance.
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