Science versus science or religion versus religion

On various ID activists show a certain lack of logic. For instance, Bruce Chapman who argues that:

Chapman wrote:

“Evolution Sunday is the height of hypocrisy,” says Bruce Chapman, president of Discovery Institute the nation’s leading think tank researching scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution. “Why do Darwinists think it is not okay for people to criticize Darwin on religious grounds, but it is just fine to defend him on religious grounds?

“Sunday marks the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin and to celebrate 400 ministers have announced they will deliver pro-evolution sermons in conjunction with “Evolution Sunday.”

“Our view is not that pastors should speak out against evolution, but that the Darwinists are hypocrites for claiming–falsely–that opposition to Darwinism is merely faith based, and then turning around and trying to make the case that Darwinism itself is faith based,” added Chapman.

The issue is not whether or not Darwinian theory is faith based, it obviously isn’t but whether or not Darwinian theory necessarily conflicts with religious faith. A small but important distinction often overlooked by ID activists who have insisted on portraying Darwinian theory as necessarily anti-religious.

Read for instance the Mercury News which gets the issue correct

Also Sunday, ministers of more than 400 churches are scheduled to preach on the compatibility of evolution and religion.

Seems that the DI is threatened by science and religion exposing the flaws in the arguments of Intelligent Design activists. This Darwin Day Website provides links to the many events.

Here we find the original announcement, too bad the DI forgot to link to it

On 12 February 2006 hundreds of Christian churches from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.

If your church would like to join this national event, please send a note to We welcome your participation.

To examine some of the sermons members of The Clergy Letter Project have delivered on this topic and to view some of the resources they have found useful, click here.

441 Congregations from 49 states and the District of Columbia are participating as of 9 February 2006

Rather than objecting, the DI should embrace the effort to improve people’s understanding of evolutionary theory and the claims that evolutionary theory is incompatible with religious faith. I guess, teaching the controversy is a one way street…

West’s comments are even ‘better’:

West wrote:

“This isn’t science versus religion, it’s science versus science,” added West. “It’s a standard part of science to raise evidence critical of an existing scientific theory or paradigm. That’s what good science is about—analyzing evidence and asking tough questions. Scientists have a duty to raise critical questions about existing scientific theories.”

Asking critical questions about science is indeed scientific but if that is all that ID has to offer than ID is clearly scientifically vacuous. In addition, scientists continuously raise critical questions about evolutionary theory but rather than ID activists, they do not let their ignorance lead to a design inference.

Is the Discovery Institute abandoning Intelligent Design in favor of critcisms of evolutionary theory? It seems inevitable since ID has been shown to be scientifically vacuous.

What does worry me is that so far, the criticisms raised by the Discovery Institute, are mostly strawmen, based on an incomplete portrayal of facts. Since DI seems to be in favor of teaching the controversy, they should surely encourage the efforts by sites like Pandasthumb to expose the major flaws in said criticisms?

Is Intelligent Design on the way out as Elizabeth Pennesi seems to imply?

For some observers, the board’s swift capitulation was further proof that the ID movement has crested. Although the specifics of the cases were different, “the very decisive win in Dover meant [the California board] knew they had no chance of winning this,” says philosopher of science Robert Pennock of Michigan State University, East Lansing, an expert witness in Dover. “ID is on its way out,” agrees evolutionary biologist Joel Cracraft of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, who has been active in defending evolution. “[Creationists] will be avoiding that term.”

Indeed, the leaders of the ID movement prefer a more subtle approach to undermine the teaching of evolution: Urge schools to teach the “controversy” over evolution.

Surely seems to be that way. And that’s a good think for science and for religion. Let’s pray that this shift in approach truly is caused by a desire to improve scientific theory rather than to introduce creationism. Time will surely tell. The Dover decision surely seems to have had a major impact on the Wedge…