What neo-Darwinists get wrong
Picture is courtesy of Overwhelming Evidence
An article titled "What neo-creationists get right" by Gordy Slack in The Scientist magazine says,
Two and a half years ago, in what is so far the "trial of this century," federal district judge John Jones III ruled that it was unconstitutional for a school board in Dover, PA to teach intelligent design (ID) theory in a public high school science class. The decision was stunning; the ID movement lost on every front. When Jones called the school board's efforts to introduce ID into the curriculum "staggering inanity," the anti-ID chorus roared its support. Jones declared the ID movement's science bogus, their tactics corrupt, and their religious motivations transparent. Intelligent design, Jones said, is the most recent species in the highly adaptive lineage known as American Creationism.
A few comments:
The correct terms are "scientific creationism" or "creation science" -- not "American Creationism."
Intelligent design was not actually taught in the Dover school district -- only Darwinism was actually taught.
I don't think that it is still regarded "so far as the 'trial of this century'." For example, none of the books about the trial have done terribly well.
It was "breathtaking inanity," not "staggering inanity."
Judge Jones overstepped his authority by issuing a judicial opinion on the scientific merits of intelligent design. He showed extreme judicial activism by arrogantly and presumptuously deciding perplexing questions that have baffled millions of people. We have theistic evolutionists, atheistic evolutionists, young-earth creationists, old-earth creationists, intelligent-designists, and what-have-you-ists. There are also combinations of these -- for example, ID-proponent Michael Behe believes in an old earth and common descent. The courts should declare the evolution controversy to be non-justiciable. A question is non-justiciable when there is "a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving the question." Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267 (2004)
The article continues,
The Dover trial seemed, for a brief moment, to be a wooden stake driven into the heart of creationism. But ID is once again back up and on the march. So far in 2008, legislators in Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan, and Missouri have tried to require that classrooms teach both "the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory," code for unteaching evolution. Similar legislation passed both houses of the Louisiana legislature this month and is coming perilously close to passing in Texas.
This guy makes the common mistakes of (1) equating ID and creationism and (2) assuming that creationism and "ID creationism" are the only criticisms of Darwinism. There are also several non-ID, non-creationist criticisms of Darwinism -- e.g., issues concerning co-evolution.
American creationism's resilience is tied mostly to its cultural and religious roots, in particular the Religious Right's conviction that scientific naturalism promotes cultural relativism. But in the debate over evolution, I also think creationists' doggedness has to do with the fact that they make a few worthy points. And as long as evolutionists like me reflexively react with ridicule and self-righteous rage, we may paradoxically be adding years to creationism's lifespan.
There we go with that "American creationism" again. Is this guy a Brit or what?
Regarding the statement "creationism's resilience is tied mostly to its cultural and religious roots" -- I strongly disagree. Most religious people accept heliocentrism because the evidence overwhelmingly supports it and probably would also accept evolution if it were also overwhelmingly supported by evidence. But evolution is not overwhelmingly supported by evidence.
"Ridicule and self-righteous rage" are not the biggest problems -- censorship is the biggest problem. I have experienced this censorship firsthand, e.g., I have been barred from discussing co-evolution on Panda's Thumb and the blog of the Florida Citizens for Science.
Panda's Thumb has related links and a discussion of the article.