You know the Intelligent Design Movement is in a bad way when Senator Rick Santorum is running away from it like Brave Sir Robin in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and when – put down your drinks – Rush Limbaugh says that ID proponents are being disingenuous.
Other signs of trouble include Tom Bethell’s major point of defense:
“The best-known advocates of intelligent design have not attempted to advance their cause through state coercion in the schools.”
We can dispense with that argument with four words: Of Pandas and People. This book was “the first place where the phrase ‘intelligent design’ appeared in its present use” according to Pandas organizer Jon Buell – and Pandas, the first ID book, was a textbook explicitly aimed at ninth-grade biology students in public schools! (Just look at the history of where the book has been pushed, starting with Alabama and Texas, 1989-1990.) If we really wanted to pile it on, we could point out that Pandas was coauthored by Michael Behe, the most prominent scientist in the ID movement, and Stephen C. Meyer, the director of the Discovery Institute’s Center
for the Renewal of Science and Culture.
Over on the blog of the Discovery Institute
Media Complaints Division Judge Complaints Division, John West seems annoyed that Judge Jones didn’t pay any attention to the Discovery Institute’s list of allegedly peer-somethinged publications. West shouldn’t be criticizing the judge, however – West’s problem is that Behe and Minnich didn’t think to mention this list when they had the chance, during testimony at trial. When asked, Behe & Minnich mentioned only a few scientific publications they thought relevant – e.g., Behe & Snoke 2004, which on cross Behe admitted didn’t mention ID, and didn’t block evolution under biologically realistic conditions – but these either didn’t mention ID, or were in philosophy journals, or were review articles and not actual research. Minnich admitted that his sole publication on ID, a book chapter, coauthored by Stephen C. Meyer, was not rigorously reviewed in the same way as an actual journal article. Other DI fellows could have also could have mentioned the list as much as they liked – but unfortunately, they decided to back out of the case just before their scheduled depositions.
Or perhaps Behe & Minnich, being actual scientists, realized how vulnerable this list is to cross-examination. The court is not the same audience as some fawning blogger or clueless journalist new to the issue. For example, imagine the glint in the lawyer’s eye while asking questions like these: “Now, does ‘peer-edited’ mean the same thing as ‘peer-reviewed’?” “Is ‘peer-edited’ a standard term in academia?” “Is Rivista di Biologia a well-respected biology journal?” “One of these publications listed here is a book chapter in Mere Creation written by Kurt Wise. Could you tell us who Kurt Wise is, and what he argues for in this ‘intelligent design’ publication?”
Leaving aside the hypotheticals, given the testimony he heard at trial, does West really expect Judge Jones to ignore the testimony of the leading scientists of the ID movement which he directly observed, and instead favor amicus briefs, not subject to cross-examination, and authored by organizations whose mendacity was exposed repeatedly both during trial and in numerous pre-trial machinations? (e.g., FTE’s motions, or the DI’s interference with the expert witnesses.)
As I mentioned before, the IDists really don’t get it.