The ‘Darwinist Inquisition’ Starts Another Round

Here We Go Again
The ‘Darwinist Inquisition’ Starts Another Round

September 30, 2005

It’s happening again: another scientist, another academic institution, another attempt to stifle freedom of thought. The “Darwinist inquisition,” as a Discovery Institute press release calls it, is as predictable as it is relentless.

This time the setting is Iowa State University. One hundred twenty professors there have signed a statement denouncing the study of intelligent design and calling on all faculty members to reject it. The statement reads, in part, “We, the undersigned faculty members at Iowa State University, reject all attempts to represent Intelligent Design as a scientific endeavor. . . . Whether one believes in a creator or not, views regarding a supernatural creator are, by their very nature, claims of religious faith, and so not within the scope or abilities of science.”

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that this thing is getting out of control. To begin with, the reasoning of the Iowa State professors is, frankly, some of the weakest I’ve ever seen. They give three reasons for rejecting intelligent design. The first is what they call “the arbitrary selection of features claimed to be engineered by a designer”—which, even if that were true, would prove nothing. If certain features were chosen arbitrarily for study, how does that prove that no other features showed evidence of design? The number two reason given is “unverifiable conclusions about the wishes and desires of that designer.” That is a dubious claim; most serious intelligent design theorists have made very few conclusions about any such “wishes and desires.”

But the third reason is my favorite: They say it is “an abandonment by science of methodological naturalism.” Now this gets to the heart of the matter. The statement goes so far as to claim, “Methodological naturalism, the view that natural phenomena can be explained without reference to supernatural beings or events, is the foundation of the sciences.” I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a scientist, but I thought that the heart of the sciences was the study of natural phenomena to gather knowledge of the universe. I thought we were supposed to start without any foregone conclusions about the supernatural at all, that is, if we wanted to be truly scientific.

It seems to me that the intelligent design theorists aren’t the ones trying to inject religion and philosophy into the debate—the Darwinists are, starting out with predetermined conclusions.

But it gets even better than that. The Iowa State fracas started because one astronomy professor there, Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, has attracted attention with a book on intelligent design. It’s a little odd to accuse Gonzalez of being unscientific; he’s a widely published scientist whose work has made the cover of Scientific American. But that’s exactly what’s happening. And here’s the kicker: Gonzalez barely mentions intelligent design in the classroom. He wants to wait until the theory has more solid support among scientists. All he’s doing is researching and writing about it.

Now the lesson here for all of us is very clear: Don’t be intimidated when confronting school boards or biology teachers about teaching intelligent design. All we are asking is that science pursue all the evidence. That’s fair enough. But that’s what drives them into a frenzy, as we see in Iowa.

For further reading and information:

Spend a year studying with Chuck Colson: Learn how to identify, advocate, and apply biblical truth in every arena of life. Apply for the 2006 Centurions Program.

Lisa Livermore, “Intelligent design: Students ponder faith and science,” Des Moines Register,

14 September 2005

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Thought Police Try to Stifle Academic Freedom at Iowa State University, Says Discovery Institute,” press release, Discovery Institute,

1 September 2005

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Reid Forgrave, “A universal debate,” Des Moines Register,

31 August 2005

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Jamie Schuman, “120 Professors at Iowa State U. Sign Statement Criticizing Intelligent-Design Theory,” Chronicle of Higher Education. (Reprinted August 26 by “Uncommon Descent.”)

Lisa Livermore, “‘Intelligent design’ faces ISU opposition,” Des Moines Register,

26 August 2005

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Read the text of the ISU professors’ statement here.

Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, The Privileged Planet (Regnery, 2004). Read more about the book here. Order the DVD or VHS of documentary “The Privileged Planet”—a great resource for students!

BreakPoint Commentary No. 050525, “What’s the Big Secret?: Intelligent Design in Pennsylvania.”

Visit BreakPoint’s research page on intelligent design and evolution.

waynem

About waynem

As a Minnesota based photographer and artist I have been greatly influenced by the Upper Midwest. I focus my skills and energies on portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, architectural and fine art work. My best work comes from images first painted in my mind. I mull over a prospective image for weeks or months, seeing it from different angles and perspectives, then finally deciding what to capture. The result is images that deeply touch people's emotions and powerfully evoke memories and dreams. My images are used commercially by companies and organizations ranging from Financial Services firms, mom and pop Ice Cream shops and The Basilica of St Mary to communicate their shared vision and values. Book and magazine publishers have featured my images on their covers. My photographs also grace and enhance the decor of many fine homes.
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17 Responses to The ‘Darwinist Inquisition’ Starts Another Round

  1. notaRighty says:

    What is the evidence that can prove the theory?

  2. Wayne M says:

    By that if you mean what would prove evolution? It would of course be finding a real transition species. Of finding a nose that changes into an eye. Not just a beak that gets bigger or smaller.
    Whenever you talk evolution you need to be careful to distinguish between micro and macro.
    Macro is one species turning into another and then being able to reproduce as that new species.
    What you hear in most conversations is someone showing that there is micro evolution (of which every thinking person would agree) and all of a sudden they extrapolate and come to the logical conclusion that therefore there is macro evolution and the theory is true. Sorry, logic and science do not work that way.
    Remember Darwin himself believed that his theory would be destroyed if archeology did not find a transitional species within on generation of his life. Well, none have been found. Yes, lots of people say that some have been found but when you look at the details you find that what was found is not a transitional species.

  3. notaRighty says:

    Prove the theory of intelligent design. What proof is there?

  4. Wayne M says:

    1. Read some of the books for yourself. The evidence is quite compelling.
    Here is a pretty good list.
    http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/rossuk/c-books.htm#intelligent_design
    2. I don’t have to prove it. Evolution is a theory with huge holes in it and we still teach it as if it is true and the only possibility. I am only requesting that our open minded education system would “Teach the controversy” and teach other options.
    Keep in mind, many of the Intelligent design people don’t believe in God or are not Christians. This is not a view of God per se. It is a view that it was not naturalistic evolution, a senseless purposeless process.

  5. notaRighty says:

    If you want to teach about the holes in evolution, okay, but why is that a reason to teach intelligent design, which cannot even be called a theory because you say it does not have to be proved? If so, then anything can be taught to students. Wiccan 101 anyone?

  6. Wayne M says:

    Im not sure your background, but mine is Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, engineering and computers. When you study the scientific method, (http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixE/AppendixE.html) you find out that for every scientific thought or problem there are 4 steps.
    1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
    2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
    3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
    4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.
    This next paragraph is incredibly iimportant
    “If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature (more on the concepts of hypothesis, model, theory and law below). If the experiments do not bear out the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified. What is key in the description of the scientific method just given is the predictive power (the ability to get more out of the theory than you put in; see Barrow, 1991) of the hypothesis or theory, as tested by experiment. It is often said in science that theories can never be proved, only disproved. There is always the possibility that a new observation or a new experiment will conflict with a long-standing theory.”
    Did you catch that? No theory can be proven, only disproven.
    So, in reality evolution doesn’t even cut the mustard as a theory. It has not been tested using the scientific method.
    On the other hand Intelligent design is significant based on statistics and probability with can and is being tested.

  7. notaRighty says:

    I have no idea how you come to your conclusions.
    Lets just forget about the whole thing.

  8. Wayne M says:

    I use reasoning and logic. Frankly I thought it was pretty darn clear. Anyone else want to comment on the arguments that I have used here?

  9. notaRighty says:

    Oh, the old ‘evolution cannot be proven’ mantra. False.
    The evidence for evolution is extensive and consistent.
    Intelligent design is based on folklore.

  10. Wayne M says:

    When you can not dispute the positions of an argument, just throw ad hominem attacks at the opponent. It will cloud the discussion.
    I know you have the brains to look at each point of the argument but you just refuse to. That is because it would throw your whole worldview into disarray.

  11. notARighty says:

    You have said there is no reason for giving any proof of intelligent design. All you have said it is ‘significant’ based on statistics and probability. Evolution has much more to back itself up then that. Speciation has been observed. The fossil record indicates changes to species as time goes on. Species have been observed undergoing genetic change, oftentimes rapid change, due to environmental and other forces. The vast majority of scientists (like 99.85%) subscribe to evolution. But because of religion, something that is based on faith, some say evolution is wrong, and can not be proven (um, that is why it is called a theory, right?), but something else that cannot be proven by the same standards (and they admit it can’t) is right.

  12. Wayne M says:

    I showed you tons of resources arguing for the side of Intelligent
    Design; If you are not open minded enough to read any of them then this conversation is worthless.
    I have studied evolution deeply. I know it flaws. I have looked into the cases of Speciation that you hear touted in the news. They are all based on speculation, and they all break down. Yes, all of them.
    You said “The vast majority of scientists (like 99.85%) subscribe to evolution.” Sorry, you are totally wrong on this. Among the experts, Darwinian evolution is basically dead (And they still teach it in schools). The current theory is call “Punctuated Equilibrium.” So why aren’t we hearing that the experts think evolution is dead? Because it is not about education, it is about brain washing.

  13. notARighty says:

    Well, you are more educated than I in the subject matter. I wonder about the brain washing part you mention, and am skeptical because of certain bias’ (if I may call it that) in your attitude, but I will accede to your knowledge. Thanks for the debate.

  14. Wayne M says:

    You are welcome. And, of course I have some biases and I have some blind spots but I encourage you to read the material. You may learn a thing or two. Your mind may get expanded a bit. Never know, you may become an intelligent desing proponent…lol

  15. notaRighty says:

    If anything, my mind is an example of non-intelligent design.

  16. Wayne M says:

    Oh contraire! Your mind is one of the best examples. Tell me what are the possibilities of a pile of gew in some scum pond changing into an organ that can think and reason and love? Keep in mind; the human brain is infinitely complex meaning that it is built up of infinite subsystems that all work together in (mostly) perfect harmony. All of the subsystems are also infinitely complex. Each one of these little subsystems would have taken billions of years to “evolve” to the system that it is. And the probability of each one evolving is almost infinity to 1. And then the problem is that each of these subsystems require all the other systems to be working at the same time in order to sustain the others.
    Do you see the problem here?
    So, any brain from the greatest genius to the most dense imbecile (no, I am not calling you am imbecile) is an amazing argument for design.

  17. notArighty says:

    Yep, that pond scum has evolved quite a bit. Whether by design or not.

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