The Spectacle Blog

Re: The Evolutionary Credo

By on 10.12.05 | 5:56PM

Anderson's fundamental error is here:

This is the anti-evolution disclaimer the Dover teachers were ordered to read to their ninth-grade classes before they could teach evolution: "Because Darwin's Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. . . . Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. . . . Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view." In a letter to the school superintendent explaining their refusal, the teachers at one point became especially emphatic: "INTELLIGENT DESIGN," they wrote, caps lock on, "IS NOT SCIENCE. INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT BIOLOGY. INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT AN ACCEPTED SCIENTIFIC THEORY."

The teachers are right; the school board... is simply wrong. [Last set of ellipses mine; others his.]

Why does Anderson think these two statements are mutually exclusive? They are not. ID is indeed "an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view" (though actually, it's not Darwin but his successors who object to it). And it is indeed not science, since the god-in-the-gaps theory is not a testable hypothesis. ID is, rather, metaphysics. It's fine to argue that IDers are fundamentally dishonest in presenting a metaphysical theory as a scientific theory, but only if you know what you're talking about. Anderson doesn't.

Truth be told, I don't think very highly of ID as metaphysics, either, but I think even less highly of the reductive atheism that certain neo-Darwinists are fond of. Richard Dawkins, a brilliant geneticist, is basically stark raving mad on metaphysical questions. His response to the priest molestation scandals was to write that raising a child Catholic is itself child abuse. That such tripe should generate a backlash is hardly surprising.

Send to Kindle

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article

More Articles From John Tabin