When did ID "Jump the Shark"?

“Jumping the Shark” refers to a moment when something distinctly and irrevocably goes downhill. The origin of “jumping the shark” as a phrase goes back to an episode of the “Happy Days” TV show when the character of “Fonzie” actually performed that stunt. But “jumping the shark” works for more than TV shows. So here I want to open the floor for discussion of when “intelligent design” jumped the shark.

One could make a strong case for ID jumping the shark in the moment when someone in the 1980s (perhaps Charles Thaxton, academic editor of the 1989 Of Pandas and People?) decided to try to evade the Edwards v. Aguillard Supreme Court decision by whiting-out all the references to God and The Flood in good ol’ “creation science” antievolution arguments and calling the result “intelligent design”. A movement based on that kind of deception may well only have a downhill direction.

I’ll personally give the ID movement a modicum of credit for the apparent initial intent to make good on the notion of convincing the scientific community of their case. So, for me, ID jumped the shark on May 10th, 2000, when the Discovery Institute held a Congressional briefing pushing ID through the political process. Sure, there were smaller political actions taken before then, but I’ll write those off to basic opportunism. The Congressional briefing, though, took a lot of organization and a broad commitment among ID advocates to take the political route before actually delivering on the science.

OK, so now let’s hear your opinions on ID and when it “jumped the shark”.