The most recent reincarnation of creationism is intelligent design (ID). Most ID advocates accept that the Earth is billions of years old and that some components of evolution have contributed to the diversity of life on the planet. However, their central tenet is that an intelligent agent designed life. Although ID advocates publicly state that the designer is unknown, it is inferred to be God (see wedge strategy below). ID advocates call their postition a scientific theory, but in fact it isn't because no scientific papers have been published to support it. ID doesn't even qualify as a scientific hypothesis. In Colorado, the Access Research Network in Colorado Springs supports ID.
A chief proponent of ID is Dr. Michael Behe, a biochemist in the Department of Biology at Lehigh University. He proposes that many biochemical processes (pathways) within cells are irreducibly complex; that is, if one were to remove any of the components the pathway would no longer function. Therefore, it isn't possible for the pathway to have arisen by step-wise evolutionary processes. He has detailed his position in a book, Darwin's Black Box. Dr. Behe does not seem to understand an important evolutionary mechanism for providing novel functions in life: descent with modification. This aspect of evolution states that new functions can be produced by using structures and genes that already exist, and that some structures that were once indispensable can become dispensable. A biochemical pathway may now be irreducibly complex, but it isn't necessarily true that it was in the past.
There are other supporters of ID, but most are not scientists, and many of the few that do have science degrees are not practicing scientists. One, Rev. Jonathan Wells, returned to school to obtain a Ph.D. solely to give himself "credibility" in the attack on evolution. There has been no research published by ID proponents in scientific journals; they publish only in books and ID magazines. ID, like young-Earth creationism, relies upon politics and not science for assaulting science education. Because ID can't win by using science, its proponents have decided to mount a political challenge using the wedge strategy, which has as its governing goals:
- To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
- To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God. (emphasis added)
A number of books have been published recently that expose the weaknesses of ID, including books by Robert Pennock, Michael Ruse, and Kenneth Miller. Another interesting article can be found at Action Bioscience's web site.
The book, Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism, coedited by Matt Young and Taner Edis, presents the scientific case against ID creationism. Other books that expose the weaknesses of ID creationism include those by Robert Pennock, Michael Ruse, and Kenneth Miller. Action Bioscience's web site presents a special report on ID creationism from the April 2002 issue of Natural History magazine.
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