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ISSUE 121 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/16/2007

Creationists trash students

By April Wright
Variety Editor

Friday, November 16, 2007

The intelligent design (ID) movement has never been scrupulous, honest or productive. The movement, which posits that life is too complex to have evolved and must have been designed, has lied about their motives from day one.

The movement has produced no research, just a whole lot of easily debunked mumbo jumbo. They've engaged in ridiculous mudslinging and blamed science for every possible evil. However, they've always picked on someone their own size. Until last month, that is.

The best way to explain the situation is to start at the beginning. Most of us are familiar with ID. Most of us watched its attempt to break into our high school science classes. The movement staunchly insists that they are a scientific movement, that they have no idea who the designer is and that they have no relation to any religion.

They're liars, of course. The promotion of ID is an attempt to place biblical, seven day creationism in public school science curriculum. One of the leading ID textbooks, "Of Pandas And People," was a creationist book in which an editor erased all biblical references, replacing them with references to "the designer."

Well, they didn't do so well and published the book containing sentences such as "evolutionists think the former is correct, design proponentsists [sic] accept the latter view." Well, I never would have guessed that they replaced creationists with "design proponents!" What a successful cover up of their theological bent!

And then there is the "Wedge Document." Issued by the Discovery Institute, which happens to be the largest ID think tank in the world, the "Wedge Document" outlines a strategy to launch a public relations movement to replace hard science with the Bible.

Is anyone else noticing any inconsistencies? The Discovery Institute, which claims to adhere to ID, which in turn claims to not know the identity of the designer, wants to replace science with the Bible. Courts across the country noticed that too and ruled that ID is repackaged creationism that can't be taught in schools.

In the face of being ejected from schools and having no scientific research to support their viewpoint, the Discovery Institute has taken to blogging absolute garbage science on Every word on that site is either fabricated, is horribly out-of-context or is completely misinterpreted. I've come to expect it. That's just how they roll.

But something caught my eye the other day: the Discovery Institute has been trolling college newspapers looking for students to mock on their website.

That's rich. This highly scientific movement has apparently run out of research to conduct and has begun to pick on students. Well, that's not entirely true. Bill Dembski, a prominent member of the ID community, has actively discouraged ID supporters from pursuing research on the topic, despite having attempted to formulate mathematical proofs on the topic. I guess it was too hard for him.

A couple weeks back, the Arizona Daily Wildcat (an independent publication published at the University of Arizona) columnist Taylor Kessinger published an opinion piece saying that ID isn't science and that schools have no responsibility to fund it. After all, we don't fund astrology in public education, do we?

The very same day, Anika Smith, a blogger with the Discovery Institute, posted a rebuttal. Smith slanders Kessinger as a "dogmatic Darwinist," accuses him of using nothing but Wikipedia to do his research and asserts that Kessinger is irrational.

I struggle with this whole situation. On the one hand, it's pretty disgusting. The Discovery Institute's tactics have never been clean or scientific. Any article they write reeks of persecution complexes and snide arrogance, but in the past they've focused the attack on scientists and other professionals rather than seeking out students as targets.

And that's fine. Arguments keep science vital. Our dissatisfaction with current theories drives us to continue accruing evidence and data. A critique that more or less amounts to "Yeah, well, you're a doodyhead," accomplishes nothing. It is mudslinging designed to hurt someone's feelings rather than hurting someone's argument. But given the deception and dishonesty they've dished out before, it seems that this style of argument is par for the course.

On the other hand, Smith's insipid little rant is the closest thing to a white flag scientists will ever get from the ID crowd. They aren't doing research and they aren't winning court cases. So they sit behind their computers and attack the great enemy: college students writing opinion pieces for the school papers.

It's tempting to become outraged by the way Smith slandered a student for having an opinion different than hers, but really anyone with any interest in science should be proud that the ID movement is so starved for relevance that they've taken to attacking college students. ID is in its death throes. It's just unfortunate that Kessinger had to bear the brunt of their last grasps at publicity.

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