Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

Evolution News and Views

Attempts to Marginalize ID as Religion Abound

It's no secret that critics of intelligent design desperately want to link design theory with religion. The critics know how guilt-by-association will make it much easier to simply ignore and marginalize the actual arguments. A recent AP article in the Hawk Eye about the treatment of Guillermo Gonzalez at Iowa State University highlights two common variants of this guilt-by-religion fallacy.

Gonzalez is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and co-author of book, The Privileged Planet. The AP article highlighted how Gonzalez has been treated with hostility by fellow Iowa State University professors since he became involved with intelligent design. The article presents a good example of the fallacy of characterizing intelligent design as merely religious.

Fallacy #1 - Scientists Fighting Religion?
The article quoted Lawrence Krauss, a long time critic of intelligent design, as saying, "It's a cop--out to say design theory is not religious." Apparently Krauss considers intelligent design to be religious, with the clear implication being that intelligent design is not science. As the article puts it, "Krauss and others acknowledge professors have a right to their personal beliefs." Clearly, Krauss considers intelligent design to be religious.

Interestingly, at the end of the article Krauss is again quoted, this time saying:

"The standard reaction of scientists on stuff like this that goes over the edge is to roll your eyes and ignore it," Krauss said. "And that's an unfortunate reaction, however, because in the public domain you have to go out and fight those ideas."

Now Krauss wants scientists to go out and fight the ideas of intelligent design? Scientists are evidently to fight against the ideas that Krauss early said were religious. Not only that, according to Krauss it would be a "cop-out" for anybody to deny that the ideas are religious. I thought the critics of ID want religion to stay out of science, and scientists to out of religion?

Fallacy #2 - Personal Views for ID proponents, not Darwinists

Because the critics of intelligent design work overtime to try and slander design theory as being merely the product of religious advocates, many people, including the media, become one sided in their focus on religion.

In the AP article about Gonzales, the author was careful to point out that Gonzalez "identifies himself only as a Protestant," making the personal religious viewpoint of the design theorist apparently relevant. However, the same author made no mention of Lawrence Krauss's religious identification. Anti-religious views of leading Darwinists have been well-documented, but are typically ignored by the media, courts, and of course, the Darwinists.

This double standard subtly stacks the deck against intelligent design by only paying attention to the personal religious views of intelligent design friends while completely ignoring the religious views of intelligent design foes.

Refuting the Fallacies:
One need go no further than the rest of the article for a solid refutation of both fallacies.

The AP article reports Gonzalez's observation that "Darwinism does not mandate followers to adopt atheism; just as intelligent design doesn't require a belief in God."

The debate about intelligent design should focus on the merits of the arguments, on the science at issue, not on the personal religious views of various adherents. But then, that would make the task much more difficult for the critics of ID.