Science: September 2004 Archives

Stephen Meyer, long known to those who follow the Intelligent Design issue, has published a short review of the ID arguments in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and a lot of scientists are mad. I've tried to stay away from this general area too much, mostly because I don't know what I think about some key issues in the area. Still, I do have some thoughts on this, and I'll probably offend most everybody by the time I'm done, but I'm going to say what's on my mind anyway.

The scientific community seems to be scared. They're all upset that a peer-reviewed journal would publish a piece on Intelligent Design. I say it this way because that's what I think is going on. The statements quoted in the article don't seem to me to be the kind of statement you would make if you happen to think the paper that got published is merely not well-argued. They're the kind of statement you'd make if you think the paper that got published shouldn't have been published because you don't like the conclusion. That's not my main beef here, though.

One person quoted in the article calls ID "an evolved form of creationism that resulted from legal decisions in the 1980s ruling that creationism can't be taught in schools." This is complete ignorance. The term 'creationism' as it is normally used nowadays refers to a particular viewpoint that arose in the 20th century (or perhaps you could argue that it finds its initial stages in the late 19th), claiming in response to neo-Darwinian theories that science proves evolution to be fiction and instantaneous acts of God to be scientifically established fact. The argument form used in what they're now calling Intelligent Design goes back millenia, though, so this statement is just ignorant (or perhaps maliciously deceptive, but I'll be nice).

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