Intelligent Design on the Ropes?

Intelligent Design may not be making the headway its press would suggest. Some choice quotes from a New York Times article:

Behind the headlines, however, intelligent design as a field of inquiry is failing to gain the traction its supporters had hoped for. It has gained little support among the academics who should have been its natural allies. And if the intelligent design proponents lose the case in Dover, there could be serious consequences for the movement’s credibility.

The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research.
“They never came in,” said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned.

While intelligent design has hit obstacles among scientists, it has also failed to find a warm embrace at many evangelical Christian colleges. Even at conservative schools, scholars and theologians who were initially excited about intelligent design say they have come to find its arguments unconvincing. They, too, have been greatly swayed by the scientists at their own institutions and elsewhere who have examined intelligent design and found it insufficiently substantiated in comparison to evolution.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Perhaps the downfall of religion as we know it? Maybe a little bit radical, but think about it. Religion will eventually die out, if trends continue. Values are changing, things are not the same as they were when my parents were kids. It will take some time, but sooner or later, we’ll all realize how silly this whole thing is. Wait, there are tons of religious sects and all of them claim legitimacy? Something smells fishy…

  • Sorry to bore you, Clark. 🙂

    The part of the story that interests me is that while the intellectual elite can dismiss intelligent design, it does resonate with some people. People like the President:

    President Bush said Monday he believes schools should discuss “intelligent design” alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life.

    During a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life. But he said students should learn about both theories, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported.

    “I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,” Bush said. “You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.”

  • Naw, you’re not boring me. I think the whole issue is very interesting. But sounding out the death knell of religion? Hardly.

    My real problem is with how the issue is framed. I dislike the characterization of evolution as “scientific” and ID as…well, not scientific. Though both rely upon scientific tenets, school boards would be well suited to view them as historical theories. Neither is observable. Neither can be reproduced. Both are debates about our origins, events that have already occurred. It is impossible to determine for sure which is accurate, so we should be more willing to entertain alternate theories.

  • I think you are giving way too much credit to intelligent design. There is little science at all behind the theory. At the point where we allow a ‘scientific’ theory into the classrooms because a number of people agree with it, then anything goes.

    Academic freedom is swell, and even important–but teachers do have an obligation to not present two theories side by side as equally valid when they are clearly not.

    As for the death of religion, probably not. Interesting why religion has such a stronger hold on American society than European.

  • I was simply stating that eventually, this whole thing will finish eroding. It’s easy to only look at the near future, I’m talking maybe a couple thousand years down the road. All I’m saying is it could happen. (and I believe it will)

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