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Letter in Stanford Daily Defends ID

Stanford undergraduate Tristan Abbey has an excellent letter published in today's Stanford Daily entitled The myths surrounding intelligent design.

Abbey blazes past the ad hominems, motivation-mongering, and labels so commonly promulgated by Darwinists to get right to the core issue: there's legitimate scientific dissent from Darwinism, and students deserve to hear about it. Abbey's argument is so simple, and so compelling, that it makes clear-as-day why the efforts of Darwinists must focus so intensely upon making scientific dissent look "illegitimate."

The myths surrounding intelligent design

[read the whole story below!]

The Editorial Board rightly called for an "Intelligent debate of intelligent design" last week (Feb. 17). Framing the discussion as a face-off between reason and religion, however, propagates a misguided mythology that obscures, rather than clarifies, the controversy.

First, criticizing neo-Darwinism is not the same as promoting intelligent design. While microevolutionary mechanisms, such as the coupling of random mutations and natural selection, have clearly been demonstrated, they fail to explain macroevolutionary changes (e.g., morphological novelty). Neo-Darwinists argue there is no difference between the two kinds of evolution, but that claim is vigorously contested by many developmental biologists and paleontologists.

Second, creationism is not the same as intelligent design. Reasons to Believe, a creationist group which accepts that the earth is billions of years old, dismisses intelligent design as "not science." The Institute for Creation Research, which argues for a literal six-day interpretation of Genesis, similarly criticizes intelligent design for not being biblical.

Third, intelligent design theorists, by and large, do not support the mandating of intelligent design in public schools. The real story out of Wisconsin is not the hypothetical "ban on teaching intelligent design," but the critical approach to science adopted in 2004 by the town of Grantsburg and to which this "ban" is a reaction. Grantsburg's policy states: "Students shall be able to explain the scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory. This policy does not call for the teaching of Creationism or Intelligent Design." Who could argue with that?

Sadly, neo-Darwinists do argue with that by stereotyping critics of evolutionary theory as religious zealots, by reducing the debate to the simplistic but familiar terms of science vs. faith, and by persecuting researchers like the Smithsonian's Rick Sternberg for keeping an open mind. Pernicious caricatures notwithstanding, the signatories to the Scientific Dissent from Darwinism now stand at over 500 scientists, including several who earned their doctorates from Stanford. As science advances, why has this number continued to grow?

Tristan Abbey

Sophomore, History

The myths surrounding intelligent design