Wednesday, February 22, 2006


A Simple, Compelling Argument

Our dear friend, Casey Luskin, has posted a news item on the Discovery Institute's Evolution News and Views blog -- that fearless defender of accuracy in media located up in rain-soaked Seattle. Luskin's piece calls attention to a letter by Stanford undergraduate Tristan Abbey in yesterday's Stanford Daily entitled The myths surrounding intelligent design. Luskin writes:

Abbey blazes past the ad hominems, motivation-mongering, and labels so commonly promulgated by Darwinists to get right to the core issue: there's legitimate scientific dissent from Darwinism, and students deserve to hear about it. Abbey's argument is so simple, and so compelling, that it makes clear-as-day why the efforts of Darwinists must focus so intensely upon making scientific dissent look "illegitimate."
In her letter to the Stanford Daily Abbey writes that "creationism is not the same as intelligent design." And, she cites as examples Reasons to Believe, a creationist group which accepts that the earth is billions of years old, and dismisses intelligent design as “not science.”

Abbey, obviously a good student, also dutifully compares and contrasts the views of The Institute for Creation Research, which argues for a literal six-day interpretation of Genesis, and she says, similarly criticizes intelligent design for not being biblical.

Abbey is deeply saddened by the caricature painted of intelligent design by cynical neo-Darwinists who stereotype critics of evolutionary theory as religious zealots, and thus reduce the debate to the simplistic but familiar terms of science vs. faith.

Red State Rabble has, from time to time, been accused of bias against both creationism and intelligent design, so rather than offer yet another neo-Darwinist caricature of intelligent design, we'll let the ID theorists speak for themselves.

The 1989 edition of the ID textbook, Of Pandas and People was written by Percival David and Dean Kenyon and edited by Charles Thaxton. Both Thaxton and Kenyon are fellows at the Discovery Institute. What better place to see how intelligent design theorists themselves define intelligent design?

Of Pandas and People informs us that "[i]ntelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact — fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Pandas 1989, 1st edition, pp. 99-100) [emphasis added]

An early draft, written in 1987, says, "[c]reation means that various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent Creator with their distinctive features already intact—fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Pandas 1987, creationist version, FTE 4996-4997, pp. 2-14, 2-15) [emphasis added]

So, we needn't rely on the dubious stereotyping of neo-Darwinsts such as RSR to come to the conclusion that for the ID theorists themselves creationism and intelligent design are one and the same. Now that's a simple, compelling argument.

Abbey may be forgiven because she is young and impressionable, but she also asserts that "intelligent design theorists, by and large, do not support the mandating of intelligent design in public schools." Doesn't the production of an intelligent design textbook such as Of Pandas and People, directed as it is toward high school students, suggest, even to those less cynical than RSR, that we might not want to take that assertion at face values, either?

Read more about the history Of Pandas and People here and here.


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