"Intelligent Design"

Over the last few weeks, I have been doing some reading on the so-called "theory" of "Intelligent Design." In the coming days and weeks, I'd like to share with you what I've learned from my reading.

As a first post on this subject, I'd like to pen some initial impressions of mine. I am thoroughly flabbergasted that there is even a controversy about the origins of life in the United Frickin' States, arguably the most scientifically advanced country on the face of this planet. Me, I come from a far less advanced country, where religion plays a huge role in everyday life. And yet, even there, the predominance of science in questions about the origins of life is never disputed. How could this be, I've asked myself on more than one occasion. I don't have an answer to that, but this much is clear to me. ID is creationism cleverly disguised as science by the Discovery Institute and other peddlers of this junk science. Just because you call yourselves an "Institute," you don't automatically become scientists and your claims science. That would be akin to yours truly forming the DL Institute for Beer Research, ascribing the "creation" of beer to an "intelligent" cause (like, say, the Flying Spaghetti Monster), demanding equal time with the theory of fermentation, and then suggesting that we "teach the controversy."

Of course, these are very generic statements about ID. In my future posts, I will present solid scientific discussions regarding ID. As a researcher (though not in biology), I have some idea about what constitutes science, what "theory" means, and what a hypothesis is. Allow me to quote Douglas J. Futuyma, author of the widely-used text Evolutionary Biology (via Talk.Origins):

In everyday speech, "theory" often means a hypothesis or even a mere speculation. But in science, "theory" means "a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed." as the Oxford English Dictionary defines it.

Everytime I hear someone flippantly say, "Evolution is just a theory," I can't quite decide whether to laugh at the claim or let loose a can of whoop-ass and bitch-slappin'. Sorry, but "theory" has a very specific meaning in science. By the way, the same goes for, "Teach the controversy." Ya hear that, George? There is no fucking controversy in the scientific community!

My goal is to expose some of the myths and falsities perpetrated by the right wing. Please let me know, via the comments, if there are any specific aspects of this issue of interest to you and I'll try to highlight those.

(Updated to quote Futuyma.)

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