Wedging Creationism into the Academy

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In Academe magazine (which I’m sure everyone has on their coffee table), there’s a new article out by Barbara Forrest and Glenn Branch:

Wedging Creationism into the Academy.

Kind of an all-around smack-down on the ID movement, the Wedge, etc. Most readers here will be familiar with the information presented therein, but it combines a lot of diverse sources into a single (and brief) document. So it’s a good reference. And if you know someone who’s not familiar with the ID movement, it’s a good introduction.

4 Comments

Academe Wrote:

Calling themselves “the Wedge,” adherents of the movement are avidly pursuing a twenty-year plan to convince the public that intelligent design is “an accepted alternative in the sciences” and to promote “the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.”

If they would just change that to “an accepted alternative to the sciences”, it might be pretty accurate.

The Wedge deserves an evolutionary “wedgie” for an uplifting experience.

Forrest and Branch Wrote:

Learning from the repeated failures of young-earth creationism, subscribers to intelligent design—who include a handful of young-earth creationists—seek to distance themselves from the public image of creationism as a sectarian and retrogressive pseudoscience. They thus take no official stand on the age of the earth, common descent, and the possibility of macroevolution.

It’s impossible to put everything into such a brief article, but it’s worth mentioning that ID was born not just of the legal failures of creationism, but of the scientific failure of all of its mutually contradictory variants. Otherwise IDers would be all to happy to take an official stand on “what happened and when,” and just leave out the designer’s identity. But even though there is no official stand, IDers have let on enough that, despite “big tent” motivated allusions to the contrary, there is at least an ID “default” position of old earth and common descent, if not “macroevolution.” Also, by “position” or “stand” I mean the message that they want to convey, not necessarily what they privately believe. To me the case gets stronger each day that at least most major ID players accept evolution, “macro” and all, in private.

… was born not just of the legal failures of creationism, but of the scientific failure of all of its mutually contradictory variants. Otherwise IDers would be all to happy to take an official stand on “what happened and when,” and just leave out the designer’s identity.

I think it’s more due to the political divisions within their own ranks. The ID movement depends critically on the political support of YECs, who are by far the majority of creationists. If the ID movement endosed an old Earth, they’d lose the bulk of their constituency. If they adopted a young Earth, they’d lose a part of their constituency, but more importantly, they’d also doom themselves in court, since that would automatically identify them with the creationists of old who’ve already lost.

I don’t think scientific failures are of any real concern to the ID movement.

But even though there is no official stand, IDers have let on enough that, despite “big tent” motivated allusions to the contrary, there is at least an ID “default” position of old earth and common descent, if not “macroevolution.”

I would say without hesitation that the vast majority of ID advocates reject common descent. The only prominent one I can think of who does not is Michael Behe, and even he’s wishy-washy about it. As for the age of the Earth, I think most leading proponents accept an old Earth, but the “rank and file” are YECs. Phillip Johnson, amusingly enough, can’t figure out if the Earth is old or young. See these previous posts:

Phillip Johnson’s Bold Stand.

Phillip Johnson’s Bold Stand, Redux.

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on January 20, 2005 1:19 PM.

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