[Published in Fortean Times, no. 156, April 2002, p. 56.]

Intelligent Design

Ecker's article is very sympathetic to Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe, William Dembski, and Philip Johnson, the leaders of a recent movement to make ID academically respectable. Unfortunately, she didn't get the whole story.

She presents the ID advocates as the underdog, combated by establishment science and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), but doesn't mention the role of the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture and the [at the] Discovery Institute, which is providing financing for ID which dwarfs the budget of the NCSE. (The NCSE operates on a shoe-string budget and relies heavily on volunteer activities.)

The Discovery Institute's "wedge strategy" (now widely available online) describes the group's ambition to replace "materialist science" with theistic science. Their strategy involves a great deal of political activity and propagandising, but apparently little in the way of doing actual science.

I would like to add to Ecker's reading list a few books which address some of the philosophical and scientific arguments of the ID movement in some detail: Robert Pennock's The Tower of Babel and Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics, and Kenneth Miller's Finding Darwin's God. There are also some excellent online resources which address the ID movement, including those at http://www.talkorigins.org/ and Wesley Elsberry's critiques of William Dembski's work at http://inia.cls.org/~welsberr/evobio/evc/ae/dembski_wa.html.

Phoenix, Arizona