Christianity Knowledge Base
Advertisement
Part of a series of articles on
Intelligent design
MontreGousset001

A savonette-type pocket watch

Concepts

Irreducible complexity
Specified complexity
Fine-tuned universe
Intelligent designer
Theistic realism
Neo-creationism

Intelligent design
movement

Timeline
Discovery Institute
Center for Science and Culture
Wedge strategy
Intelligent design in politics
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District

Campaigns‎

Critical Analysis of Evolution
Teach the Controversy

Reactions

Jewish
Roman Catholic
Scientific organizations

Creationism
 v  d  e 

Teach the Controversy is the name of both a strategy and a campaign designed and led by the Discovery Institute[1][2] and other intelligent design (ID) advocates. The American Association for the Advancement of Science and other science and education professional organizations say that Teach the Controversy proponents seek to undermine the teaching of evolution[3][4] while promoting intelligent design,[5][6][7] and to advance an education policy for US public schools that introduces creationist explanations for the origin of life to public-school science curricula.[8][9] This criticism was supported by the ruling in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial.[9] Teach the Controversy proponents portray evolution as a "theory in crisis" with scientists criticizing evolution and that "fairness" and "equal time" requires educating students about the controversy. Opponents, comprised of the majority of the scientific community and science education organizations,[10] reply that any controversial aspects of evolution are a matter of religion and politics, not science.[3][11]

Intelligent design "holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."[12] Both the intelligent design movement (IDM) and the Teach the Controversy campaign are largely directed and funded by the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think tank[13] based in Seattle, Washington, USA. The overall goal of the movement is to "defeat [the] materialist world view" represented by the theory of evolution in favor of "a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions".[14]

In December 2005 a United States federal court ruled that a public school district requirement for science classes to teach that intelligent design is an alternative to evolution was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District (2005), United States District Judge John E. Jones III also ruled that "ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny, which we have now determined that it cannot withstand, by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID."[15]

Origin of phrase[]

The term "teach the controversy" originated with Gerald Graff, a professor of English and education at the University of Illinois at Chicago[16], as an admonition to teach that established knowledge is not simply given as a settled matter, but that it is created in a crucible of debate and controversy. To the chagrin of Graff, who describes himself as a liberal secularist,[17] the idea was later appropriated by Phillip E. Johnson, Discovery Institute program advisor and father of the ID movement. Discussing the 1999-2000 Kansas State Board of Education controversy over the teaching of intelligent design in public school classrooms, Johnson wrote "What educators in Kansas and elsewhere should be doing is to 'teach the controversy'." In his book Johnson proposed casting the conflicting points of view and agendas as a scholarly controversy. Johnson's usage differs somewhat from Graff's original concept. While Graff advocated that a comprehensive understanding of what are considered to be "established" concepts must include teaching the debates and conflicts by which they were established, Johnson appropriated the concept to cast doubt upon the very concept of established knowledge.[18]

The phrase was picked up by other Discovery Institute affiliates Stephen C. Meyer, David K. DeWolf, and Mark E. DeForrest in their 1999 article, Teaching the Controversy: Darwinism, Design and the Public School Science Curriculum [19] published by the Foundation for Thought and Ethics. The Foundation for Thought and Ethics also publishes the controversial pro-intelligent design biology textbook Of Pandas and People, suggested as an alternative to mainstream science and biology textbooks in the Critical Analysis of Evolution lesson plans proposed by Teach the Controversy proponents.

Overview[]

The Discovery Institute's strategy has been for the institute itself or groups acting on its behalf to lobby state and local boards of education, and local, state and federal policymakers to enact policies and/or laws, often in the form of textbook disclaimers and the language of state science standards, that undermine or remove evolutionary theory from the public school science classroom by portraying it as "controversial" and "in crisis;" a portrayal that is contradicted by the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community that there is no controversy, that evolution is one of the best supported theories in all of science, and that whatever controversy does exist is political and religious, not scientific.[20][21] Additionally, the Teach the Controversy strategy, which is consistent with the Wedge strategy, has included 'stacking' municipal, county and state school boards with intelligent design proponents.[22]

As the is the primary organizer and promoter of the Teach the Controversy campaign, the Discovery Institute has played a central role in nearly all intelligent design cases, often working behind the scenes to orchestrate, underwrite and support local campaigns and intelligent design groups such as the Intelligent Design Network.[23] It has provided support ranging from material assistance to federal, state and regionally elected representatives in the drafting of bills to the provision of support and advice to individual parents confronting their school boards. DI's goal is to move from battles over standards to curriculum writing and textbook adoption while undermining the central positions of evolution in biology and methodological naturalism in science. In order to make their proposals more palatable, the Institute and its supporters claim to advocate presenting evidence both for and against evolution, thus encouraging students to evaluate the evidence.

Though Teach the Controversy is presented by its proponents as encouraging academic freedom, it, along with the Santorum Amendment, is viewed by many academics as a threat to academic freedom[24] and is rejected by the National Science Teachers Association[25], and the American Association for the Advancement of Science[3] The American Society for Clinical Investigation's Journal of Clinical Investigation describes the Teach the Controversy strategy and campaign as a "hoax" and that "the controversy is manufactured."[26]

Along with the objection that there is no scientific controversy to teach, another common objection is that the Teach the Controversy campaign and intelligent design arise out of a Christian fundamentalist and evangelistic movement that calls for broad social, academic and political changes. Intelligent design proponents believe their concepts and motives should be given independent consideration. Those critical of intelligent design see the two as intertwined and inseparable, citing the foundational documents of the movement such as the "Wedge Document" and statements made by intelligent design proponents to their constituents. The judge in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial considered testimony and evidence from both sides on the question of the motives of intelligent design proponents when he ruled that "ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents"[27] and "that ID is an interesting theological argument, but that it is not science."[28]

In the debate surrounding the linking of the motives of intelligent design proponents to their arguments, following the Kansas evolution hearings the chairman of the Kansas school board, Dr. Steve Abrams, cited in The New York Times as saying that though he's a creationist who believes that God created the universe 6,500 years ago, said he was able to keep the two separate:

"In my personal faith, yes, I am a creationist," ... "But that doesn't have anything to do with science. I can separate them."

Abrams agreed that:

"my personal views of Scripture have no room in the science classroom." [29]

Afterward, Lawrence Krauss, a Case Western Reserve University physicist and astronomer, in a New York Times essay said:

"A key concern should not be whether Dr. Abrams's religious views have a place in the classroom, but rather how someone whose religious views require a denial of essentially all modern scientific knowledge can be chairman of a state school board. ... As we work to improve the abysmal state of science education in our public schools, we will continue to do battle with those who feel that knowledge is a threat to religious faith ... we should remember that the battle is not against faith, but against ignorance."[30]

Shift in strategy: teaching intelligent design to teaching the controversy[]

Prior to the September 2005 start of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, prominent intelligent design proponents, gradually shifted to a "Teach the Controversy" strategy. They had realised that mandates requiring the teaching of intelligent design were unlikely to survive challenges based on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and that an unfavorable ruling having the effect of legally ruling intelligent design a form of religious creationism.

Thus, the Discovery Institute repositioned itself. It publicly abandoned advocating for any policies or laws that required the teaching of intelligent design in favor of a Teach the Controversy strategy.[31] Institute Fellows reasoned that once the "fact" that a controversy indeed exists had been established in the public's mind, then the reintroduction of intelligent design into public school criteria would be much less controversial later.[32]

The best illustration of this shift in strategy is comparing the Discovery Institute's guidebook Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula which concludes "school boards have the authority to permit, and even encourage, teaching about design theory as an alternative to Darwinian evolution"[33] to recent statements by Phillip E. Johnson, stating his intent was never to use public school education as the forum for his ideas and that he hoped to ignite and perpetuate a debate in universities and among the higher echelon of scientific thinkers.[34]

With the December 2005 ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, wherein Judge John E. Jones III concluded that intelligent design is not science and "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents",[35] intelligent design proponents were left with the Teach the Controversy strategy as the most likely method left to realize the goals stated in the wedge document. Thus, the Teach the Controversy strategy has become the primary thrust of the Discovery Institute in promoting its aims. Just as intelligent design is a stalking horse for the campaign against what its proponents claim is a materialist foundation in science that precludes God, Teach the Controversy has become a stalking horse for intelligent design. But the Dover ruling also characterized "teaching the controversy" as part of a religious ploy.[36]

By May 2006 the Discovery Institute, in a carefully calculated move,[1] sought to broaden the faltering "teach the controversy" strategy to include examples of other supposed legitimate scientific controversies. In Ohio and Michigan where school boards are again reviewing science curricula standards the Discovery Institute and its allies proposed lesson plans that included global warming, cloning and stem cell research as further examples of controversies that are akin to the alleged scientific controversy over evolution. All four topics are widely accepted by the majority of the scientific community as legitimate science. Members of the scientific community have responded to this tactic by pointing out that like evolution whatever controversy may exist over cloning and stem cell research has been largely social and political, while dissident viewpoints over global warming are often viewed as pseudoscience.[37][38] Richard B. Hoppe, holder of a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Minnesota, described the tactic in the following way:

"Like the attacks on evolution, the attack on climate science is driven by the sectarian conviction that “materialistic” science is untrustworthy and must be replaced1. As with intelligent design creationism, science-deniers’ so-called evidence takes the form of claims for the insufficiency of current scientific explanations rather than concrete, testable alternative hypotheses. As in the evolution debate, religious extremists use the clever strategy of denigrating the scientific consensus on causality (global warming is human-caused via pollution) by pretending it contrasts sharply with an alternative scientific theory that, properly-understood, is really just a more nuanced view that’s not really in opposition (current global warming is part of the earth’s natural cycle but is being exacerbated by pollution). This exaggerates the intensity of normal scientific debate in order to suggest there’s something wrong with climate science, and then uses this manufactured controversy to cloak the anti-science view and smuggle it into classrooms — sectarian religious evangelism masquerading as science."[37]

With the Dover ruling describing "teach the controversy" as part of the same religious ploy as presenting intelligent design as an alternative to evolution, intelligent design proponents have moved to a fallback position, teaching what they call the Critical Analysis of Evolution.[39] The Critical Analysis of Evolution strategy is viewed by Nick Matzke and other intelligent design critics as a means of teaching all the intelligent design arguments without using the intelligent design label.[40] Critical Analysis of Evolution continues the themes of the teach the controversy strategy, emphasizing what they say are the "criticisms" of evolutionary theory and "arguments against evolution," which continues to be portrayed as "a theory in crisis."

The burden of responding to the well-organized curricular challenges of intelligent design proponents has been disruptive and divisive in the effected communities. In pursuing the goal of establishing intelligent design at the expense of evolution in public school science, intelligent design groups have threatened and isolated high school science teachers, school board members and parents who opposed their efforts.[41][42][43][44][45][46] The campaigns run by intelligent design groups place teachers in the difficult position of arguing against their employers while the legal challenges to local school districts are costly, diverting funding away from education and into court battles. For example, as a result of Dover trial, the Dover Area School District was forced to pay $1,000,011 in legal fees and damages for pursuing a policy of teaching the controversy.[47]

Four days after the six-week Dover trial concluded, all eight of the Dover school board members who were up for reelection were voted out of office. Televangelist Pat Robertson in turn told the citizens of Dover, "If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city." Robertson said if they have future problems in Dover, "I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them." [48]

Critics, like Wesley R. Elsberry, say the Discovery Institute has cynically manufactured much of the political and religious controversy to further its agenda, pointing to statements of prominent proponents like Johnson:

"Whether educational authorities allow the schools to teach about the controversy or not, public recognition that there is something seriously wrong with Darwinian orthodoxy is going to keep on growing. While the educators stonewall, our job is to continue building the community of people who understand the difference between a science that tests its theories against the evidence, and a pseudoscience that protects its key doctrines by imposing philosophical rules and erecting legal barriers to freedom of thought.[49]

To the absence of actual scientific controversy over the validity of evolutionary theory, Johnson said:

"If the science educators continue to pretend that there is no controversy to teach, perhaps the television networks and the newspapers will take over the responsibility of informing the public."[50]

And to the resistance of science educators over portraying evolution as controversial or disputed, Johnson said:

"If the public school educators will not "teach the controversy," our informal network can do the job for them. In time, the educators will be running to catch up."[51]

Elsberry and others allege that statements like Johnson's are proof that the alleged scientific controversy intelligent design proponents seek to have taught is a product of the institute's members and staff. In the Dover trial's ruling the judge wrote that intelligent design proponents had misrepresented the scientific status of evolution.[52]

According to published reports, the nonprofit Discovery Institute received grants and gifts totaling $4.1 million for 2003 from 22 foundations. Of these, two-thirds had primarily religious missions.[53] The institute spends more than $1 million a year for research, polls, lobbying and media pieces that support intelligent design and their Teach the Controversy campaign[54] and is employing the same Washington, D.C. public relations firm that promoted the Contract with America. [55]

Political action[]

The Discovery Institute aggressively promotes its Teach the Controversy campaign and intelligent design to the public, education officials and public policymakers. Its efforts are largely aimed at conservative Christian policymakers, where it is cast as a counterbalance to the liberal influences of "atheistic scientists" and "Dogmatic Darwinists." As a measure of their success in this effort, on 1 August 2005, during a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, President Bush said that he believes schools should discuss intelligent design alongside evolution when teaching students about the origin of life. Bush, a conservative Christian, declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life, but advocated the Teach the Controversy approach - "I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought... you're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes." Christian conservatives, a substantial part of Bush's voting base, have been central in promoting the Teach the Controversy campaign.

In some state battles, the ties of Teach the Controversy and intelligent design proponents to the Discovery Institute's political and social activities have been made public resulting in their efforts being temporarily thwarted. The Discovery Institute takes the view that all publicity is good and that no defeat is real. The Institute has shown a willingness to back off, even to not advocate for the inclusion of ID, to ensure that all science teachers are required to portray evolution as a "theory in crisis." The Institute's strategy is to move, relentlessly, from standards battles, to curriculum writing, to textbook adoption, and back again doing whatever it takes to undermine the central position of evolution in biology. Critics of this strategy and the movement contend that the intelligent design controversy diverts much time, effort and tax money away from the actual education of children.

Political battles involving the Discovery Institute[]

  • 2000 Congressional briefing: In 2000, the leading ID proponents operating through the Discovery Institute held a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., to promote ID to lawmakers. Sen. Rick Santorum was and continues to be one of ID's most vocal supporters. One result of this briefing was that Sen. Santorum inserted pro-ID language into the No Child Left Behind bill calling for students to be taught why evolution "generates so much continuing controversy," an assertion heavily promoted by the Discovery Institute.
  • 2001 Santorum Amendment: As a result of the 2000 Congressional briefing, the Discovery Institute drafted and lobbied for the Santorum Amendment to the No Child Left Behind education act. The amendment encouraged the "teach the controversy" approach to evolution education. The amendment was passed by the U.S. Senate, but was left out of the final version of the Act, and remains only in highly modified form in the conference report, where it does not carry the weight of law. The conference report language is commonly touted by the Discovery Institute as model language for bills and curricula. The Discovery Institute lobbies states, counties, and municipalities, and offers them legal analysis and Institute-developed curricula and text books they proclaim meet constitutional criteria established by the courts in previous creationism/evolution First Amendment cases.
  • 2002 Ohio Board of Education: The Discovery Institute proposed a model lesson plan that featured intelligent design prominently in its curricula. It was adopted in part in October 2002, with the Board's advising that the science standards do "not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design." Still, this has been touted by the Discovery Institute as a significant victory.
  • 2004 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District: Eleven parents of students in the school district in Dover, Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, sued the Dover Area School District over a statement that the school board required to be read aloud in ninth-grade science classes when evolution was taught endorsing intelligent design as an alternative to evolution. The plaintiffs successfully argued that intelligent design is a form of creationism, and that the school board policy thus violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In December, 2005 United States federal court judge John E. Jones III ruled that intelligent design is not science and is essentially religious in nature.

Origin of the campaign[]

Intelligent design movement[]

Main article: Intelligent design movement

The Intelligent Design movement, which began in the early 1990s, is an organized campaign promoting a religious agenda that calls for broad social, academic and political changes. These changes center around increasing the role of intelligent design in the public sphere, primarily in the United States. The overall goal of the movement is "to defeat materialism" and the "materialist world view" as represented by evolution, and replace it with "a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."[56][57]The movement's hub is the Discovery Institute and its Center for Science and Culture (CSC). The CSC counts the leading ID advocates and authors among its fellows or officers, including the movement's founder Phillip E. Johnson, Michael Behe, William A. Dembski, Stephen C. Meyer and Jonathan Wells.

The movement consists primarily of a public relations campaign meant to sway the opinion of the public and that of the popular media, and an aggressive lobbying campaign, directed at policymakers and the educational community, which seeks to undermine public support for teaching evolution while cultivating support for what the movement terms "intelligent design theory." Its near-term goal is greatly undermining or eliminating altogether the teaching of evolution in public school science, and with the long-term goal of "renewing" American culture by shaping public policy to reflect conservative Christian values. Intelligent design is central and necessary for this agenda as described by the Discovery Institute: "Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."

The ID movement grew out of a creationist tradition that argues against evolutionary theory from a religious (usually Evangelical Christian and Fundamentalist Christian) standpoint, and the 1987 US Supreme Court decision Edwards v. Aguillard which prohibits the teaching of creationism in public school science classrooms. Although ID advocates often claim that they are only arguing for the existence of a "designer," who may or may not be God, all the leading advocates do believe that the designer is God, and frequently accompany their allegedly scientific arguments with discussion of religious issues, especially when addressing religious audiences. In front of other audiences, they downplay the religious aspects of their agenda.

The Wedge strategy[]

Main article: Wedge strategy

The "Wedge strategy" is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Institute. Informally known as the "Wedge Document," it was a fund raising tool used by the Discovery Institute to raise money for its subsidiary, the Center for Science and Culture, (then at the time called the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture (CRSC)), which was charged with promoting DI's science and education agenda. As stated in the Wedge Document,[58] the strategy is designed to defeat "Darwinism" and to promote an idea of science "consonant with Christian and theistic convictions." The ultimate goal of the Wedge strategy is to "renew" American culture by shaping public policy to reflect conservative Christian values.

The strategy outlines a public relations campaign, of which teaching the controversy is part, meant to sway the opinion of the public, popular media, charitable funding agencies, and the scientific community in order that they should effect an "overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies". Wedge advocates have stated they hope to reinstate a "broadly theistic understanding of nature" to replace materialism. Phillip Johnson, the architect of the strategy, invokes the metaphor of a wood-splitting wedge to illustrate his goal of splitting apart the concepts of science and naturalism. A fundamental part of the Wedge strategy is the rejection of naturalism as unnecessary to science. Though the alternative to naturalism is supernaturalism, ID proponents avoid this word when speaking to mainstream audiences, substituting euphemisms like "non-natural" or skirting the issue altogether. Critics of the campaign characterize this as a semantic subterfuge made in the hope that it will enable ID proponents to skirt the First Amendment prohibition against promoting religion in public schools.

According to critics of the intelligent design movement, the Wedge document, more than any other document issued by the Discovery Institute, betrays the Institute's and intelligent design's political rather than scientific purpose.

Criticisms[]

The theory of evolution is accepted by the vast majority of biologists and by the scientific community in general (in such overwhelming numbers that some claim the theory of evolution to be a scientific consensus). Over 70 scientific societies, institutions and other professional groups representing tens of thousands individual scientists have issued policy statements supporting evolution education and opposing intelligent design. Such controversies as do exist concern the details of the mechanisms of evolution, not the validity of the over-arching theory of evolution. In the absence of an actual professional controversy between groups of experts on evolution, critics say intelligent design proponents have merely renamed the conflict that already existed between biologists and creationists, and that the controversy to which intelligent design proponents refer is political in nature and thus, by definition, outside of the realm of science and scientific educational curricula. Critics contend that intelligent design proponents ignore this point by continuing to make the claim of a "scientific controversy."

For example the National Association of Biology Teachers in a statement endorsing evolution as noncontroversial quoted Theodosius Dobzhansky "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." and went on to state that the quote "accurately reflects the central, unifying role of evolution in biology. The theory of evolution provides a framework that explains both the history of life and the ongoing adaptation of organisms to environmental challenges and changes." They emphasized that "Scientists have firmly established evolution as an important natural process" and that "The selection of topics covered in a biology curriculum should accurately reflect the principles of biological science. Teaching biology in an effective and scientifically honest manner requires that evolution be taught in a standards-based instructional framework with effective classroom discussions and laboratory experiences."[59].

Prominent evolutionary biologists such as Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne have proposed various 'controversies' that are worth teaching, instead of intelligent design.[60] Dawkins compares teaching intelligent design in schools to teaching flat earthism: perfectly fine in a history class but not in science. "If you give the idea that there are two schools of thought within science, one that says the earth is round and one that says the earth is flat, you are misleading children."[61]

Tufts philosopher Daniel C. Dennett, author of Darwin's Dangerous Idea, describes how they generate a sense of controversy: "The proponents of intelligent design use an ingenious ploy that works something like this: First you misuse or misdescribe some scientist's work. Then you get an angry rebuttal. Then, instead of dealing forthrightly with the charges leveled, you cite the rebuttal as evidence that there is a 'controversy' to teach."[32] Such a controversy is then self-fulfilling and self-sustaining, though completely without any legitimate basis in the academic world.

Critics of the Teach the Controversy movement and strategy can also be found outside of the scientific community. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State described the approach of the movement's proponents as "a disarming subterfuge designed to undermine solid evidence that all living things share a common ancestry."

"The movement is a veneer over a certain theological message. Every one of these groups is now actively engaged in trying to undercut sound science education by criticizing evolution," said Lynn. "It is all based on their religious ideology. Even the people who don't specifically mention religion are hard-pressed with a straight face to say who the intelligent designer is if it's not God."[62]

The Discovery Institute[]

According to critics of the Discovery Institute's efforts through the Teach the Controversy campaign and the intelligent design movement, the Wedge strategy betrays the Institute's political rather than scientific and educational purpose. The Discovery Institute and its Center for Science and Culture (CSC) has an overarching conservative Christian social and political agenda that seeks to redefine both law and science and how they are conducted, with the stated goal of a religious "renewal" of American culture.

Critics also allege that the Discovery Institute has a long-standing record of misrepresenting research, law and its own policy and agenda and that of others:

  • In announcing the Teach the Controversy strategy in 2002, the Discovery Institute’s Stephen C. Meyer[63] presented an annotated bibliography of 44 peer-reviewed scientific articles that were said to raise significant challenges to key tenets of what was referred to as "Darwinian evolution."[64] In response to this claim the National Center for Science Education, an organization that works in collaboration with National Academy of Sciences, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the National Science Teachers Association that support the teaching of evolution in public schools[65], contacted the authors of the papers listed and twenty-six scientists, representing thirty-four of the papers, responded. None of the authors considered that their research provided evidence against evolution.[66]
  • The Discovery Institute, following the policies outlined by Phillip E. Johnson, obfuscates its agenda. Opposed to the public statements to the contrary made by the Discovery Institute, Johnson has admitted that the goal of intelligent design movement is to cast creationism as a scientific concept:
  • "Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools."[67]
  • "This isn't really, and never has been a debate about science. It's about religion and philosophy."[68]
  • "If we understand our own times, we will know that we should affirm the reality of God by challenging the domination of materialism and naturalism in the world of the mind. With the assistance of many friends I have developed a strategy for doing this....We call our strategy the "wedge."[69]
  • "The objective (of the Wedge strategy) is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to 'the truth' of the Bible and then 'the question of sin' and finally 'introduced to Jesus.'"[70]
  • "So the question is: "How to win?" That’s when I began to develop what you now see full-fledged in the "wedge" strategy: "Stick with the most important thing" —the mechanism and the building up of information. Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate because you do not want to raise the so-called Bible-science dichotomy. Phrase the argument in such a way that you can get it heard in the secular academy and in a way that tends to unify the religious dissenters. That means concentrating on, "Do you need a Creator to do the creating, or can nature do it on its own?" and refusing to get sidetracked onto other issues, which people are always trying to do."[71]
  • Instead of producing original scientific data to support ID’s claims, the Discovery Institute has promoted ID politically to the public, education officials and public policymakers through its Teach the Controversy campaign.

Johnson's statements validate the criticisms leveled by those who allege that the Discovery Institute and its allied organizations are merely stripping the obvious religious content from their anti-evolution assertions as a means of avoiding the legal restriction on establishment. They argue that ID is simply an attempt to put a patina of secularity on top of what is a fundamentally religious belief and agenda.

Given the history of the Discovery Institute as an organization committed to opposing any scientific theory inconsistent with "the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God",[72] many scientists regard the movement purely as a ploy to insert creationism into the science curriculum rather than as a serious attempt to discuss scientific evidence. In the words of Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Education:

" 'Teach the controversy' is a deliberately ambiguous phrase. It means 'pretend to students that scientists are arguing over whether evolution took place.' This is not happening. I mean you go to the scientific journals, you go to universities... and you ask the professors, is there an argument going on about whether living things had common ancestors? They'll look at you blankly. This is not a controversy."[73]

Though Teach the Controversy proponents cite the current public policy statements of the Discovery Institute as belying the criticisms that their strategy is a creationist ploy and decry critics as biased in failing to recognize that the intelligent design movement's Teach the Controversy strategy as really just a question of science with no religion involved, is itself belied by Discovery Institute's former published policy statements,[74] its "Wedge Document", and statements made to its constituency by its leadership, and in particular Phillip E. Johnson.

Writes Johnson in the foreward to Creation, Evolution, & Modern Science (2000) "The Intelligent Design movement starts with the recognition that "In the beginning was the Word," and "In the beginning God created." Establishing that point isn't enough, but it is absolutely essential to the rest of the gospel message." Johnson admits that intelligent design arguments are carefully formulated in secular terms and intentionally avoid positing the identity of the designer and that cultivating ambiguity by employing secular language in arguments which are carefully crafted to avoid overtones of theistic creationism is a necessary first step for ultimately reintroducing the Christian concept of God as the designer. "...The first thing that has to be done is to get the Bible out of the discussion. ...This is not to say that the biblical issues are unimportant; the point is rather that the time to address them will be after we have separated materialist prejudice from scientific fact."[75] This bolsters the claims of those critics who cite Johnson's admission that the ultimate goal of the campaign is getting "the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools."[67]

Amidst this political and religious controversy the clear, categorical and oft-repeated advice of established national and international scientific organizations remains that there is no scientific controversy over teaching evolution in public schools.

See also[]

  • Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
  • Discovery Institute
  • Center for Science and Culture
  • Intelligent design
  • Phillip E. Johnson
  • Darwin on Trial
  • Bruce Chapman
  • Wedge strategy
  • Howard Ahmanson, Jr
  • Santorum Amendment
  • Flying Spaghetti Monster

External links[]

Con[]

Neutral[]

Pro[]

Audio and video[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Steven C. Meyer:"Forget intelligent design, they argued, with its theological implications. Just require teachers to discuss evidence that refutes Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, as well as what supports it." They called it "teach the controversy," and that's become the institute's rallying cry as a leader in the latest efforts to raise doubts about Darwin in school. Does Seattle group "teach controversy" or contribute to it? Linda Shaw. The Seattle Times, March 31, 2005.
  2. Small Group Wields Major Influence in Intelligent Design Debate ABC News, November 9 2005
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Some bills seek to discredit evolution by emphasizing so-called "flaws" in the theory of evolution or "disagreements" within the scientific community. Others insist that teachers have absolute freedom within their classrooms and cannot be disciplined for teaching non-scientific "alternatives" to evolution. A number of bills require that students be taught to "critically analyze" evolution or to understand "the controversy." But there is no significant controversy within the scientific community about the validity of the theory of evolution. The current controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution is not a scientific one." AAAS Statement on the Teaching of Evolution American Association for the Advancement of Science. February 16, 2006 (PDF file) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "AAAS" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "AAAS" defined multiple times with different content
  4. "In summary, the disclaimer singles out the theory of evolution for special treatment, misrepresents its status in the scientific community, causes students to doubt its validity without scientific justification, presents students with a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory, directs them to consult a creationist text as though it were a science resource, and instructs students to forgo scientific inquiry in the public school classroom and instead to seek out religious instruction elsewhere." Ruling - disclaimer, pg. 49 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
  5. "ID's home base is the Center for Science and Culture at Seattle's conservative Discovery Institute. Meyer directs the center; former Reagan adviser Bruce Chapman heads the larger institute, with input from the Christian supply-sider and former American Spectator owner George Gilder (also a Discovery senior fellow). From this perch, the ID crowd has pushed a "teach the controversy" approach to evolution that closely influenced the Ohio State Board of Education's recently proposed science standards, which would require students to learn how scientists "continue to investigate and critically analyze" aspects of Darwin's theory." Chris Mooney. The American Prospect. December 2, 2002 Survival of the Slickest: How anti-evolutionists are mutating their message
  6. Teaching Intelligent Design: What Happened When? by William A. Dembski"The clarion call of the intelligent design movement is to "teach the controversy." There is a very real controversy centering on how properly to account for biological complexity (cf. the ongoing events in Kansas), and it is a scientific controversy."
  7. Nick Matzke's analysis shows how teaching the controversy using the Critical Analysis of Evolution model lesson plan is a means of teaching all the intelligent design arguments without using the intelligent design label.No one here but us Critical Analysis-ists... Nick Matzke. The Panda's Thumb, July 11 2006
  8. "has the effect of implicitly bolstering alternative religious theories of origin by suggesting that evolution is a problematic theory even in the field of science." . . . The effect of Defendants’ actions in adopting the curriculum change was to impose a religious view of biological origins into the biology course, in violation of the Establishment Clause. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, Conclusion, page 134
  9. 9.0 9.1 "ID's backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID."Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, whether ID is science, page 89
  10. See: 1) List of scientific societies rejecting intelligent design 2) Kitzmiller v. Dover page 83. The Discovery Institute's Dissent From Darwin Petition has been signed by about 500 scientists. The AAAS, the largest association of scientists in the U.S., has 120,000 members, and firmly rejects intelligent design and denies that there is a legitimate scientific controversy. More than 70,000 Australian scientists and educators condemn teaching of intelligent design in school science classes. List of statements from scientific professional organizations on the status intelligent design and other forms of creationism.
  11. "That this controversy is one largely manufactured by the proponents of creationism and intelligent design may not matter, and as long as the controversy is taught in classes on current affairs, politics, or religion, and not in science classes, neither scientists nor citizens should be concerned." Intelligent Judging — Evolution in the Classroom and the Courtroom George J. Annas, New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 354:2277-2281 May 25, 2006
  12. Discovery Institute, Center for Science and Culture. Questions about Intelligent Design: What is the theory of intelligent design? "The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. "Questions About Intelligent Design
  13. Patricia O’Connell Killen, a religion professor at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma whose work centers around the regional religious identity of the Pacific Northwest, recently wrote that "religiously inspired think tanks such as the conservative evangelical Discovery Institute" are part of the "religious landscape" of that area. [1]
  14. The Wedge Document (PDF file), a 1999 Discovery Institute fundraising pamphlet. Cited in Handley P. Evolution or design debate heats up. The Times of Oman, 7 March 2005.
  15. Ruling, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, page 89
  16. "To Debate or Not to Debate Intelligent Design?" by Gerald Graff, Inside Higher Ed, September 28, 2005.
  17. To Debate or Not to Debate Intelligent Design? By Gerald Graff, Inside Higher Ed, September 28, 2005.
  18. The Crusade Against Evolution, Evan Ratliff, October 2004, Wired magazine
  19. Teaching the Controversy: Darwinism, Design and the Public School Science Curriculum David K. DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer, Mark E. DeForrest. Foundation for Thought and Ethics, October 1, 1999
  20. Turn out the lights, the "Teach the controversy" party’s over
  21. Such controversies as do exist concern the details of the mechanisms of evolution, not the validity of the over-arching theory of evolution, which is one of the best supported theories in all of science. See: National Academy of Sciences, 1999 Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, Second Edition
  22. Creationism in 2001: A State-by-State Report People For the American Way. (PDF file)
  23. Intelligent Design Network.org
  24. Intelligent Design: Teach the Controversy? Dann P. Siems, Assistant Professor Biology & Integrative Studies, Bemidji State University
  25. NSTA Position Statement: The Teaching of Evolution
  26. Defending science education against intelligent design: a call to action American Society for Clinical Investigation, Journal of Clinical Investigation. 116:1134-1138 (2006)
  27. Ruling, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, Case No. 04cv2688. December 20, 2005
  28. Ruling, Whether ID Is Science, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, Case No. 04cv2688. December 20, 2005
  29. Evolution’s Backers in Kansas Start Counterattack Ralph Blumenthal. The New York Times, August 1 2006.
  30. How to Make Sure Children Are Scientifically Illiterate Lawrence M. Krauss. The New York Times, August 15 2006.
  31. "In a country in which more than 50 percent of adults consistently tell pollsters that they believe God created humans in their present form within the past 10,000 years, however, there will undoubtedly be a fourth wave that will feature yet another strategy to promote creationism by questioning evolution. It looks as if this next wave will jettison the creationist and intelligent-design baggage and concentrate exclusively on a "teach the controversy" strategy." Intelligent Judging — Evolution in the Classroom and the Courtroom George J. Annas, New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 354:2277-2281 May 25, 2006
  32. 32.0 32.1 Show Me The Science Daniel C. Dennett. New York Times.
  33. Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook David K. DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer, Mark E. DeForrest 1999, Foundation for Thought and Ethics.
  34. Father of intelligent design by Kim Minugh, Sacramento Bee, May 11, 2006
  35. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, Conclusion (pages 136-138)
  36. "has the effect of implicitly bolstering alternative religious theories of origin by suggesting that evolution is a problematic theory even in the field of science." . . . The effect of Defendants’ actions in adopting the curriculum change was to impose a religious view of biological origins into the biology course, in violation of the Establishment Clause. Conclusion, Page 134 of 139
  37. 37.0 37.1 Ohio: Here We Go Again Richard B. Hoppe. The Panda's Thumb. July 6, 2006
  38. ID Legislation in Michigan Ed Brayton. Dispatches from the Culture Wars, June 7, 2006
  39. Critical Analysis of Evolution is Not the Same as Teaching Intelligent Design Casey Luskin. Intelligent Design The Future, July 11 2006.
  40. No one here but us Critical Analysis-ists... Nick Matzke. The Panda's Thumb, July 11 2006
  41. Testimony, Aralene Callahan Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District September 27, 2005
  42. Testimony, Julie Smith Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District September 28, 2005
  43. Defending science education against intelligent design: a call to action Journal of Clinical Investigation 116:1134-1138 (2006). American Society for Clinical Investigation.
  44. "Moreover, Board members and teachers opposing the curriculum change and its implementation have been confronted directly. First, Casey Brown testified that following her opposition to the curriculum change on October 18, 2004, Buckingham called her an atheist and Bonsell told her that she would go to hell. Second, Angie Yingling was coerced into voting for the curriculum change by Board members accusing her of being an atheist and un- Christian. In addition, both Bryan Rehm and Fred Callahan have been confronted in similarly hostile ways, as have teachers in the DASD."Ruling, conclusion: Effect of Board’s Actions on Plaintiffs, pg. 130 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
  45. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, Ruling, Pages 124-130
  46. In July 2006 a moderator of the blog of intelligent design proponent William A. Dembski, uncommondescent.com, endorsed bullying the children of the plaintiffs in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial and committing vandalism to drive them out of town and that he intends to publish their names on the Web to that end.[2][3][4][5]
  47. Dover gets a million-dollar bill Christina Kauffman. The York Dispatch, February 22, 2006
  48. Robertson: PA Voters Rejected God CBS News, November 11 2005
  49. The Pennsylvania Controversy Phillip E. Johnson, Phillip Johnson's Weekly Wedge Update. June 11, 2001
  50. Icons of Evolution exposed on CNN Phillip E. Johnson, Phillip Johnson's Weekly Wedge Update. May 2001
  51. Passing the Torch Phillip E. Johnson, Phillip Johnson's Weekly Wedge Update. April 9, 2002
  52. "ID proponents support their assertion that evolutionary theory cannot account for life’s complexity by pointing to real gaps in scientific knowledge, which indisputably exist in all scientific theories, but also by misrepresenting well-established scientific propositions." Ruling - whether ID is science, pg. 83 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
  53. Intelligent design group is just a religious front by Fred Barton, Lansing State Journal. September 11, 2005
  54. Battle on Teaching Evolution Sharpens By Peter Slevin Washington Post, March 14, 2005
  55. Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive By Jodi Wilgoren, New York Times, August 21, 2005
  56. The Discovery Institute's website
  57. Christian Science Trial exposes intelligent design as the religion it is Ronald Bailey. Reason magaizine, December 23 2005
  58. Wedge Document Discovery Institute (PDF file)
  59. Statement on Teaching Evolution National Association of Biology Teachers, 2004.
  60. One side can be wrong The Guardian. September 1 2005.
  61. The Evolution Wars Claudia Wallis. TIME magazine. August 15 2005.
  62. Battle on Teaching Evolution Sharpens Peter Slevin. Washington Post, March 14 2005.
  63. Meyer's Hopeless Monster Alan Gishlick, Nick Matzke, and Wesley R. Elsberry. TalkReason.org, 2005.
  64. Teach the Controversy Stephen C. Meyer. Cincinnati Enquirer, March 30 2002.
  65. About the NCSE National Science Teachers Association
  66. Analysis of the Discovery Institute's "Bibliography of Supplementary Resources for Ohio Science Instruction" National Center for Science Education (PDF file)
  67. 67.0 67.1 Let's Be Intelligent About Darwin Elizabeth Nickson. Christianity.ca, February, 2004.
  68. Witness For The Prosecution, Darwin on Trial author brings together anti-Darwin coalition to bring down evolution Joel Belz. World Magazine, Volume 11, Number 28, p. 18. November 30 1996.
  69. Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. Phillip E. Johnson. 1997. pp. 91-92
  70. Phillip E. Johnson. Quoted in Church and State Magazine, April 1999
  71. Berkeley’s Radical An Interview with Phillip E. Johnson Touchstone Magazine interview, June 2002.
  72. The "Wedge Document": So What? Discovery Insitute.
  73. "Creation Conflict in Schools" National Center for Science Education.
  74. What is The Center for the Renewal of Science & Culture All About?
    The Mission of The Center for Renewal of Science & Culture
  75. The Wedge Breaking the Modernist Monopoly on Science Phillip E. Johnson. ARN.org.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Advertisement