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Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design Paperback – May 16, 2007
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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"Science educators can benefit greatly by understanding creationists' motivations and strategies. These are thoroughly documented in Creationism's Trojan Horse"--SCIENCE
"This is the definitive work on modern creationism, an exhaustively detailed and compelling exposure of the attempt--by the well-known process in nature called by biologists "aggressive mimicry"--to corrupt science in the service of sectarian religion. In the process, the book explores the larger and seemingly endless struggle between religion-based tribal values and science-based universal values."--Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor, Emeritus, Harvard University
"Creationism's Trojan Horse documents the disturbing movement to sneak religious dogma back into science education, driven by the vague fear that Americans can't handle the truth. Educators, scientists, and politicians would do well to understand this movement and its tactics, and this book is a superb and timely analysis."--Steven Pinker, Johnston Professor, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate
"Intelligent Design 'theory' (ID) has been well described as Creationism in a cheap Tuxedo. One if its luminaries, we are told, has 'angrily denied that ID is stealth creationism.' He is right. There's no stealth about it. It is Creationism. Unfortunately, ID 'theorists' have a streetwise political professionalism to outweigh the amateurishness of their science, and we therefore cannot ignore them. Barbara Forrest and Paul Gross meticulously document their pretensions, destroy their arguments, and expose their true motivation. An excellent and sadly necessary book."--Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene
About the Author
Barbara Forrest is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of History and Political Science at Southeastern Louisiana University. She was a key witness for the prosecution in the recent highly publicized trial in Pennsylvania, where the judge banned the teaching of Intelligent Design in science classrooms. Paul R. Gross is University Professor of Life Sciences Emeritus at the University of Virginia.
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They note, "By 1997, [Philip] Johnson was talking publicly about the Wedge strategy in his book Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds... calling on the familiar metaphor of a splitting wedge employed to widen a small crack, which can then split a huge log... Johnson's 1998 book Objections Sustained is dedicated to 'the members of the Wedge, present and future.' One of his recent books is The Wedge of Truth..." (Pg. 22)
About the Michael Polanyi Center at Baylor University, they observe, "This undertaking has not, however, been altogether successful. The Polanyi Center as a self-contained research unit has been dissolved. [William] Dembski and [Bruce] Gordon can no longer act autonomously, as they once did... the MPC's demise as an independent research center was not a result of the objections of Baylor faculty, although a majority did indeed fear its effect on Baylor's reputation as a research university and implored President Sloan to dissolve it... Dembski was relieved of his duties as director of the Polanyi Center in October 2000." (Pg. 207-208)
They state, "Dembski sees an amalgam of intelligent design 'theory,' ... and his fervent evangelicalism... 'Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.' ... Statements such as these... betray the disingenuousness of Dembski's ... statement that 'design has no prior commitment to supernaturalism.'" (Pg. 260-261)
They point out, "other CRSC fellows make an explicit connection between their religiosity and their work for the Wedge. Jonathan Well's religious life ... has dictated his zealous anti-Darwinism. Wells... [who is] a devout member of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, obtained a Ph.D. in biology---AFTER earning a theology degree---IN ORDER to attack evolution. He explains... '[Moon's] words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism... When Father [Moon] chose me... I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.'" (Pg. 263)
This book---which is absolutely FILLED with interesting "background" information about ID and its proponents---will be "must reading" for anyone concerned with the ID/Creationism/Evolution controversies.
Two chapters (written by Paul Gross, I believe) are dedicated to handling the scientific claims of ID proponents including Michael Behe, William Dembski and Jonathan Wells. If that is your primary interest, another book which deals with these claims at more length might be more appropriate and relevant for you. But this brief treatment is necessary for understanding the rest of the wedge movement. The reader needs to know that Intelligent Design is scientifically vacant in order to accept the claims of the rest of the book. The ideas put forward by ID authors, such as Behe's irreducible complexity and Dembski's complex specified information are seriously flawed. ID authors have not successfully addressed criticism of these ideas, and have not backed up their claims to science with peer-reviewed research publications.
In the remainder of the book, Forrest and Gross thoroughly document the ID movement from its beginning to the time of publication. I read the 2007 paperback edition from Oxford University Press, which includes an additional chapter on the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial of 2005. They discuss the "Wedge Document" stating ID motivations and goals and ties it to other statements of those motivations and goals. Every claim is documented, with over seventy pages of notes plus an index.
The conclusions of the book, which are fully justified by reference to sources, mostly to statements of wedge proponents themselves, include:
The motivation and goals of the intelligent design movement are religious.
Their funding sources are religious (almost exclusively Christian).
"Scientific" claims of ID lack serious scientific backing, such as via peer-reviewed research.
ID proponents consider the "Intelligent Designer" to be the Christian God, and consider ID to be intrinsically linked to their Christianity. When they address primarily religious audiences (as they frequently do) they are open about this linkage.
The ID movement has spent much more effort on PR and lobbying to school boards and politicians than on doing science.
ID political activity is tied to the Religious Right.
The "scientific" claims of ID are identical to claims made by earlier Creationists.
The ID textbook "Of Pandas and People," which was at the core of the Dover confrontation, started as a book about "creationism," and was cut-and-paste changed to be about intelligent design after the 1987 Edwards v. Aguillard verdict outlawing the teaching of creationism in public schools. Statements about "intelligent design" in the book are nearly identical to claims made in early drafts about "creationism."
ID catch phrases like "teach both sides" and "teach the controversy" and "academic freedom" are identical to claims made by earlier creationists.
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