Push for Intelligent Design From Christian Right

RECEIVED Fri., Aug. 8, 2003

Dear editors:
    Last week's letters by Erick Kittelson and Shawn Pendley ["Postmarks," Aug. 8] demonstrate how easily the lay public can be confused by the creation/evolution debate. Both men give reasonable-sounding objections, but both seem unclear how science works.
    Evolution is only scientific "dogma" in the same way that geometry is mathematical "dogma." It works. It's the solution the best evidence supports. In science, there's nothing invalid about challenging the prevailing theory and presenting an alternative theory. However, your alternative theory, to be accepted, must do a better job of explaining the problem – biodiversity, in this case – than the current one. Simply pointing out shortcomings in the current theory isn't enough; yes, there'll be shortcomings, gaps in knowledge to be filled in. However, the mistake that creationists/I.D.-ers make is in thinking all they have to do is discredit evolution and, presto, their beliefs are proved by default. It isn't that easy. If evolution were overthrown tomorrow, they would still have to establish a testable theory of creation that successfully resists falsification. However, creationists prefer to discuss evolution's "scientific flaws" without presenting anything better. Behe, Wells, and Dembski have all been rebutted.
    I find it arrogant and hypocritical of creationists to claim science practices "dogma" in the same way religion does, whenever prevailing theories contravene their beliefs. I've presented, for example, massive documentation supporting macroevolution (www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc) to creationists who state categorically there is none. Typically, they refuse to read it, stubbornly insisting all such evidence is a hoax and a lie. Who's being dogmatic?
    It's also ironic Mr. Pendley accused science of "creatively exploiting linguistic ambiguities," then went on to dress creationism up in hifalutin terms like "process structuralism" and "design inference." A rose is a rose, sir.
    Like it or not, the push for I.D. in school curricula is coming from the Christian Right, and it is part of a broader theocratic agenda. Visit www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html to read the "conspiracy" in their own words.
Martin Wagner
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