So the media aren’t all bad…

Since I was just mean to the British press, here’s a compensatory accolade: here’s a nice, sharp editorial from James Randerson.

ID was itself designed as a Trojan horse for creationism, with its origins in the Discovery Institute, a thinktank in Seattle whose stated aim is “to replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God”.

Even a conservative judge in Dover, Pennsylvania, saw through the sham last year when he heard a case brought by parents who objected to ID being taught in their school. “Intelligent design is a religious view, a mere re-labelling of creationism, and not a scientific theory,” he wrote in his judgment.

Let’s be honest: despite its scientific-sounding frills and baubles, ID is pure religion. It is a reincarnation of an old idea that Darwin dispensed with and it has no place in a science class.


  1. Ginger Yellow says

    You can download the “debate” Randerson mentions from the Guardian website. I use scare quotes because it’s really only two speeches, one from Buggs and one from the education policy director of the British Humanist Association. To be honest it’s a bit of a let down. It’s very short, there were no questions from the floor, and because of the format the two sides didn’t really engage each other’s arguments. Buggs mostly uses the predictable arguments, not very well but not badly either, although I did laugh when he said that ID should be taught because it’s the intuitive belief of most children – which I suppose means that we should also teach flat earthism and invisible friendism. The humanist was pretty good, but he seemed to be assuming knowledge that the audience might have had – for instance he made the important point that ID is a scientific dead end, but didn’t explain why in any depth. In general he focused much more on the education policy side of the question than on the “Is ID science?” side, which perhaps isn’t surprising given his professional remit.

  2. says

    Over at UD in comment 49 of the thread Of Mice, Men, and Coelacanths ( bFast came to the conclusion:

    That thread is so lame. Dave Scot’s ignorance of molecular phylogenetics is beyond belief. But the commenters are just as bad. My comment, needless to say, was not posted.

    I actually ran a maximum parsimony program on the segment of DNA he claims overturns the tree of life. Uh, sorry Dave!

  3. Leon says

    Good for you, Mr. Randerson! It’s good to hear the press reporting accurately on the ID phenomenon. If it got more if the sort of press it deserves, its influence would be much more muted.

    A point that doesn’t get made very much in all this is that removing the overt religious references in something doesn’t make it scientific; it makes it nondemoninational. There’s a difference.

  4. says

    Leon, the article is actually by Dr Randerson ;) Although he may be a journalist now, he was once a practising scientist!

    James was a deputy news editor at New Scientist and did his PhD under my ex-supervisor, Laurence D. Hurst, who is Professor of Evolutionary Genetics at the University of Bath (UK).