I checked out a few of the blogs by the usual suspects this morning, and noticed that the creationists are largely silent (so far, give ’em time) on the Dover documentary from last night…with one exception. The Discovery Institute’s Media Complaints Division is wound up over it. They have an eight-point “rebuttal” of the documentary that consists of many picked nits and regurgitated whines, and I thought about taking them on point by point, but then decided it wasn’t worth it. For one thing, it’s written by Casey Luskin, the DI’s small mammal mascot, who is something of an incompetent pipsqueak, so it’s hardly worth flicking him around any more. Most importantly, it misses the point of the program entirely.
If you’ve seen it, think back. What was the story it told? It has two parts.
First, it made the case that Intelligent Design is not science. This is the part that I liked best; scientists came on, schooled the court on the basics of evolutionary biology, and showed them what science is, by empirical example. The documentary supplemented that with lovely animations and diagrams that illustrated the points well. Then they showed that the witnesses for Intelligent Design failed to even come close to the standards of good science, and were in fact trying to rewrite the meaning of science to sneak their doctrines into the classroom.
Second, it showed that Intelligent Design is religion in disguise. The proponents of the changes in Dover, Bonsell and Buckingham, were young earth creationists with a patent religious agenda. The book, Of Pandas and People, which was written by people associated with the Discovery Institute and which was promoted by the DI, was rooted in creationism and got a face lift in response to court decisions that ruled against creationism. And the Discovery Institute itself was founded with a sectarian religious purpose (the first words in the Wedge document are “The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.”)
These are the premises that were tested in the court case, and these were the ideas illustrated in the documentary. The Discovery Institute “rebuttal” doesn’t even touch these issues; their objections don’t address the thrust of the court decision, which was accurately portrayed. The story is very simple, and this is all we need to say: Intelligent Design is not science, and Intelligent Design is a religious idea. That’s the message, and that’s the decision of a major court case, and that’s what the scientists have been saying for years. And now, in the desperate gasp of the creationists, they’ve failed to even touch these conclusions.