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Friday, July 21, 2006

Intelligent Design Coming to Tampa

Having suffered a horrible legal defeat in Pennsylvania (Dover, Pa Decision and losing ground in their other test states (Ohio and Kansas), the Intelligent Design/Creationists are turning their attention elsewhere. My home state, Florida, is scheduled for a dog-and-pony show during September. In an announcement that would please WC Fields, the ID announces:

Save the Date!
Darwin or Design?
Resolving the Conflict
University of South Florida?s Sun Dome, Sept. 29th, 2006 at 7:00 p.m

Sponsored by Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity


Dr. Michael Behe
Biologist and author of Darwin?s Black Box

Dr. Jonathan Wells
Biochemist and author of Icons of Evolution

Dr. Tom Woodward
Author of Doubts About Darwin

I note several things about this 'conflict'. Many scientists have already noted that the 'conflict' is nothing more than an invented conflict and one without any real merit. Evolution is so firmly grounded in biological sciences, that its basic tenet (i.e. that organisms change over time) is not even debated by creationists/intelligent designers. Instead, these fundamentalist religion-based organizations have simply claimed their is some limit beyond which the normal mechanisms of evolution cannot act. The creationists call this barrier a 'baramin' (created kind) and the ID folk call it 'irreducible complexity'. Either way, the language is merely an attempt to exploit the natural uncertainties in science in order to discredit one of the most singularly unifying principles of modern science. Uncertainty in science should not be confused with a lack of consensus. The inability to explain each and every evolutionary pathway is not the sign of a dying science, but a sign that science is very healthy and full of vigor. ID/creationists take unlawful advantage of the uncertainties in science in order to reach the false conclusion that 'unknown' means 'unknowable and therefore questionable'. This is intellectually, socially and theologically dishonest of the ID/creationist groups.
The conservative Christian movement,the largest supporter of ID/creationism, is facing a crisis. The first is that the current presidential administration is a lame duck. If the ultra-conservatives and neocons hope to push through their theocratic agenda, time is limited. GW's younger brother is a lame duck governor and Florida is now prime fighting ground for conservatives. It's no wonder that the DISCO (Discovery Institute) is pulling out its big guns to try and sway political minds in the state to 'favor' their unscientific alternative to evolution.

Interestingly, the DISCO folks have offered to 'sell' scientific groups space at the meeting. Such action would give false legitimacy to their pseudoscientific political babble. Real science, i.e. 'sound science' would do well to largely ignore these political events. ID/creationism wants no part of real scientific discourse (avoiding research and peer-reviewed science) and therefore real science should want no part of the pseudoscience that is ID/creationism.


Joe Meert


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