Sunday, June 19, 2005


A Split Between Intelligent Designers and Creationists?

Red State Rabble has long been fascinated by the internal tensions between the uptown intelligent design "theorists" grouped around the Discovery Institute in Seattle, on the one hand, and their country cousins in the young earth creationist camp, on the other.

These tensions have been most evident in Dover, Penn. where the school board has mandated the teaching of intelligent design and in Utah where State Senator Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan) is pushing legislation mandating the teaching of what he calls "divine design" in the public schools there. In each case, the Discovery Institute has opposed mandating the teaching of intelligent design in favor of their legal strategy of "teaching the controversy."

Discovery Institute is very sensitive to the legal strategy -- they fear an unfavorable court decision may upset their whole strategy. The longterm goals of both groups are the same, but Discovery wants to lay the goundwork carefully and play a waiting game until the courts have been pushed further to the right by appointments made by the Bush administration. The young earth creationists are full of fire following the last election and impatient with this long-term strategy. They want to push ahead immediately with a court challenge.

Discovery and the ID Network are running the show in Kansas, but Thomas More is in the driver's seat in Dover, and that case will most likely be decided first. As yet, the Kansas school board has not formally approved the "teach the controversy" approach. That won't come until August, and any lawsuit against the revisions will come after that.

It is interesting to note however, that the revisions made to the curriculum standards in Kansas also go beyond what Discovery and ID Network recommended and may make those revisions more vulnerable than ID proponents would like.

Now, Ed Brayton has a post up at Panda's Thumb reporting that "William Dembski, Stephen Meyer and John Campbell - have all been withdrawn as expert witnesses" in the Dover case, which is being led by the Thomas More Law Center, which describes itself as the "sword and shield for people of faith, providing legal representation without charge to defend and protect Christians and their religious beliefs in the public square."

The York Daily Record reports that William Dembski says the Thomas More Law Center, which is defending the school board, basically fired him because he wanted to have his own attorney present during the depositions.

We now have a very interesting legal situation shaping up, with the more impatient young earth creationists pushing for immediate adoption of intelligent design. The Discovery Institute is waiting in the wings chewing their fingernails and hoping that their carefully planned "wedge strategy" isn't dealt a fatal blow by their more impulsive creationist followers jumping out in front of the general's strategy.


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