Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Intelligent Design Background Information

A fairly recent movement in the creationist community is the development of “Intelligent Design” (ID). ID has been proposed by creationists as an explanation for the diversity of life that they insist does not involve evolution does not depend on the Bible nor does it depend on the existence of God. They have eliminated all references to the Bible as well as any direct references to any sort of God (or god) and try to present arguments against evolution which they claim are solely “scientific”. They claim that the identity of the “designer” (or “Designer”) is irrelevant. That designer may be God, but they insist that it may just as easily be something completely different such as an alien life form. They publicly say that their arguments are not intended to promote a belief in any form of God.

That’s not their honest intent, however.

An organization named the “Discovery Institute” (DI) is the primary research and political arm of the ID movement. One of the leaders of that organization is Dr. Phillip E. Johnson. Johnson is a former law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He has also written a number of anti-evolution books focusing on ID as the best alternative explanation for problems he sees with evolution.

Dr. Johnson wrote a sort of manifesto describing the goals and strategies of the ID movement. It was called The Wedge Document. The document is given that title because it outlines a strategy to create a public affairs program that would create an opening for the supernatural in the public discussion of science.

"In the document’s own words it “describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to ‘defeat [scientific] materialism’ represented by evolution, ‘reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions’ and to ‘affirm the reality of God.’ Its goal is to ‘renew’ American culture by shaping public policy to reflect conservative Christian, namely evangelical Protestant, values.[1]

“The wedge metaphor, attributed to Phillip E. Johnson, is that of a metal wedge splitting a log and represents using an aggressive public relations programme to create an opening for the supernatural in the public’s understanding of science.[2]

The Wedge Document was intended to be kept secret. However, in a true story that would be difficult to make up, a janitor discovered a copy of the document while cleaning the Discovery Institute offices, made his own copy and then distributed that to interested members of the scientific community. The DI has since confirmed that it is a valid document.

Of course phrases like “a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions” unmistakably demonstrates religious goals for ID. No one should really be fooled by any other statements that they might make.

[1], referenced on June 4, 2008
[2] Ibid.

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