Thursday, May 10, 2007


Remember that great New Yorker cartoon of a few years back that lampoons Manhattanites self-absorbed sense of their relative place in world geography? The one where 9th Ave. looms large, the Hudson River and Jersey are reduced to narrow strips, and the rest of the country occupies a largely undifferentiated rectangle bordered by the Pacific, Mexico, and Canada?

The Discovery Institute's Casey Luskin has now tried his hand at producing graphical information. Like Manhattan in that New Yorker cartoon, intelligent design occupies a lot of real estate. The lad's navel gazing has produced an unintentional graphical parody of intelligent design's place in the universe.

While Luskin, and Discovery, nearly gained entry to the Karl Rove Hall of Fame by ham-handedly spinning the results of a poll of MDs to make it look like a majority oppose evolution when in fact 63 percent say they agree more with the evolution than with intelligent design, Luskin now complains that Wikipedia is reporting inaccurate information in its entry on intelligent design.

According to Luskin, one inaccuracy in the Wiki entry includes a paragraph on a 2005 Harris survey that reported 10 percent of the population say they believe in intelligent design.

Now the results, as you can see for yourself, if you wish, of that Harris poll did indeed find that 22 percent of respondents believe in evolution, 64 percent in creationism, and 10 percent in intelligent design.

The Harris findings and the accurate Wiki reporting of them, like so many of the other pesky facts buzzing about Luskin's face, don't fit into Luskin's Fantasy Island vision of intelligent design. So he just swats those facts away so he can keep focused on his vision of ID which includes:
a broad spectrum of beliefs. It includes those who accept common descent and support a form of intelligently guided evolution. It also includes those who believe that an intelligent agent designed life-forms separate from other species in something close to their present form. ID doesn’t require special creation by any means, but special creationists do share with other intelligent design proponents the view that the complexity of life arose via intelligence, and not an unguided / random process like natural selection acting upon mutation.
In truth, there are not five people in the United States who "accept common descent and support a form of intelligently guided evolution." There are many theistic evolutionists, those who believe God set things in motion and then either stepped back to watch, or simply lost interest, but Luskin and Discovery consider them traitors to the cause.

If you've ever attended a school board meeting or other public event where creationists defend their views, you will rarely, if ever, hear anyone advocate intelligent design.

Most of those who oppose evolution at these events do so from an unashamedly young earth creationist point of view. They want the Bible taught. They want Adam and Eve. They want the flood. They want prayer to start the day. They want the Ten Commandments posted in the classroom and books out of the library. They don't want talk about condoms in sex education classes -- as a matter of fact, they don't want to talk about sex education in sex education classes. They're very clear about all of this.

Some will support, tepidly, efforts to write ID into the curriculum because even they understand that ID is nothing more than a ruse to get religion back into the schools.


When Discovery brought the barnstorming brotherhood of bible college biologists to Kansas for the science hearings in 2005, I listened as proscience attorney Pedro Irigonegaray asked each one in turn if they believed in common descent. Prying any answer at all from them was like pulling teeth. In the end, only Michael Behe, alone among the best Discovery has to offer, would admit to even entertaining the notion of common descent.


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