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

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Is It Really Intelligent Design that has the Great Derb Worried?

The Great Derb, John Derbyshire, has spoken. And again he's muddled things badly. This time he's got himself all in a twist over a response by Tom Bethell to his letter responding to a recent column by Bethell about last spring's ID debate at AEI. (whew!)

He still can't understand the obvious differences between creationism and intelligent design, continually conflating the two and looking like an ill-informed crank. And the meandering rantings don't help.

Derbyshire insists on equating intelligent design and creationism because a judge agrees. "Intelligent Design is creationism. This has been proved to courtroom standards of evidence." He would be well served to read Traipsing Into Evolution.

Even thoughtful Darwinists understand that ID and creationism are simply two different things. Leonard Susskind, hardly a creationist or IDist, writes in his book The Cosmic Landscape:

"On one side are the people who are convinced that the world must have been created or designed by an intelligent agent with a benevolent purpose. On the other side are the hard-nosed, scientific types who feel certain that the universe is the product of impersonal, disinterested laws of physics, mathematics, and probability--a world without a purpose, so to speak. By the first group, I don't mean the biblical literalists who believe the world was created six thousand years ago and are ready to fight about it. I am talking about thoughtful, intelligent people who look around at the world and have a hard time believing that it was just dumb luck that made the world so accommodating to human beings. I don't think these people are being stupid; they have a real point." (Page 6)
Likewise, J. Scott Turner, a pro-Darwin biology professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, recently wrote:
[I]ntelligent design ... is one of multiple emerging critiques of materialism in science and evolution. Unfortunately, many scientists fail to see this, preferring the gross caricature that ID is simply "stealth creationism."
Derbyshire goes on to try and make Discovery Institute out to be not only creationist, but an instigator in getting creationism into schools. He blathers on about consensus science being all that matters in education, which brought to mind Michael Crichton's interesting comment that consensus science "is an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks." Following that is some ranting about public education, tax dollars and homeschooling. Ultimately though, the Great Deb just looks foolish for having no clue what we advocate in regards to education policy. Our policy has been clear and consistent. We want to see students learn more about Darwinism (that consensus science he so adores), not less. By that we mean students should learn about the evidence that supports Darwinian evolution, as well as some of the evidence that challenges it. We don't favor mandating intelligent design, let alone creationism.

Turner explains that the

[r]eflexive hostility to ID is largely cut from that cloth: some ID critics are not so much worried about a hurtful climate as they are about a climate in which people are free to disagree with them.
Maybe that is what has the Great Derb worried.

Over at Uncommondescent.com William Dembski has reposted his own refutations of the Great Derb.