Surprise, surprise, surprise
As a political cause, the idea has gained currency, and for good reason. The movement was intended to be a "big tent" that would attract everyone from biblical creationists who regard the Book of Genesis as literal truth to academics who believe that secular universities are hostile to faith. The slogan, "Teach the controversy," has simple appeal in a democracy.Everyone else has been saying this for eons. Nice to see that even the sympathetic are dissatisfied.
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.
On college campuses, the movement's theorists are academic pariahs, publicly denounced by their own colleagues. Design proponents have published few papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
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.
"From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people don't come out very well in our world of scientific review," he said.
Not so, says John West of the Discovery Institute:
"The first stage is people ignore you. Then, when they can't ignore you, comes the hysteria. Then the idea that was so radical becomes accepted. I'd say we're in the hysteria phase."Sounds like yesterday's "Galileo claims."
You know where the term "hysteria" comes from? Ever wondered why it's called a hysterectomy when a uterus is removed? Once upon a time, people thought women's emotions lived in the uterus (hystera), and it floated all around the body. When the hystera hit the brain, women became hysterical.
Crazy, right? I bet that idea was first ignored, then came the hysteria, then it even became accepted. It was still wrong, and we know that because science isn't just a sociological process, it's also an empirical process. And, as j.d. reminds us, IDC doesn't have the empirical evidence.
"Nobody Home" by Pink Floyd from the album The Wall (1979, 3:24).