Why scientists are feeding the rhetoricotrophic beast of intelligent design, and why they need to stop

It seems like some unknown – but clearly mysterious – phenomenon is linking my mind with others’, because the day after I mused on Twitter about the way the intelligent design movement capitalises on the dismissive attitude of the scientific community towards people who argue against evolutionary theory, the Discovery Institute’s Casey Luskin wrote a blog post doing exactly that – “The Uncivil Style of Intelligent Design Critics”. Well, either a mystical force is sharing the thoughts of bloggers around the world, or Casey Luskin reads my tweets. It can’t be a coincidence, because we know, thanks to the valiant efforts of the aforementioned ID movement, that things rarely happen by chance1.

While Casey’s writing must have been a product of either the global consciousness of Gaia, our souls intertwining in a cosmic dance, or the mingling of our chakras due to simultaneous reiki treatment for a nagging sense of self-doubt, my thoughts on the matter were a product of a longtime fascination with the way the academic and science communication communities deal with the efforts of the ID movement to undermine evolution education and the public acceptance of evolutionary biology, and the way the ID movement responds to those efforts. It’s an interesting topic.

My most recent insight can be summarised in a single (albeit long) sentence: the ID movement is successfully exploiting the attitude and language of a post-anti-creationism scientific community, which – after years of fighting classical (young-earth) creationism – has resorted to language that could be construed as dogmatic and strident. But this might need a little more fleshing out.

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  1. I know this is a misrepresentation of their views, but humour, people, humour.