Damn, there was apparently a big inter-blog evolution-vs-creationism dustup and I pretty much missed it. Here are a few links:
So, here’s what I’ve been wanting to write about: The latest tactic creationists have been using to try to get their religion into science classes is called “intelligent design”. While old school creationists are upfront about how their theory is derived from their religious beliefs, the brave new herd hides behind a transparent, waxy film of scientific respectability. We don’t necessarily believe in biblical creation, they say, we just think that maybe, perhaps, some intelligent being is responsible for the existence of life on Earth in its present form. That’s not so unscientific, is it? Really, we’re nothing at all like those Genesis literalists. No religious motives here, just honest scientific critique.
Yeah, that’s the public line; I heard it argued by an “intelligent design” advocate on NPR just a few months ago. But it’s a lie, and the private line isn’t at all well-hidden. The main institutional proponent of “intelligent design” is the Discovery Institute, specifically their Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. Michael Behe (author of Darwin& #8217;s Black Box) is a senior fellow at the center; Phillip Johnson (author of Darwin on Trial, and described as the “patriarch of the ‘intelligent design’ movement”); see the list of fellows more “intelligent design” proponents.
A few years ago, the Center published an internal document that was somehow leaked in March 1999; it’s commonly referred to as “ the Wedge Project”. In it they outlines their strategy for nothing less than the overthrow of scientific materialism in favor of a theistic world model! I’m not exaggerating, read it for yourself:
Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.
“Intelligent design” is the wedge they plan to use to split open the tree of modern science:
The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a "wedge" that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy, the "thin edge of the wedge," was Phillip Johnson's critique of Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in Reason in the Balance and Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. Michael Behe's highly successful Darwin's Black Box followed Johnson's work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.
Scroll down to the section on “Five Year Objectives” to see what they were hoping to have in place by next year.
Most of this can be verified at Phillip Johnson’s home page, where he keeps an archive of articles. See “Is God Unconstitutional? The Established Religious Philosophy of America” for more of his critique of both evolution and naturalistic philosophy in general. Johnson openly admits the existence of a “Wedge” movement, and dates its origin back to 1992.