Duty to speak out against intelligent design

April 5, 2007

[Note to SMU Physics students:  Glad to have you here!  While you’re here, stick around for a moment.  Check the blog’s list of articles on “intelligent design” or “evolution,” and you’ll see that the issue has moved a good deal since the flap at SMU.  Feel free to leave comments, too.  E.D.]

When sanity strikes public figures and public institutions, sometimes all one can do is sit back in wonder at how the universe runs.

Intelligent design advocates might begin to think that God (or the gods, or the little green men, as the Discovery Institute allows) has stacked the universe against them, at least in Texas. First, in 2003, with the Texas State Board of Education pregnant with 8 creationists among the 15 members, scientists in Texas applied quiet, gentle pressure and got some of the creationists to vote against requiring creationism in biology texts. Last week Lee Cullum, doyon of conservative commentators in Dallas society, alumnus of the late Dallas Herald and occasional opinion writer for the Dallas Morning News wrote a piece questioning whether intelligent design advocates had not overstepped propriety in their use of Southern Methodist University’s good neighborly intentions — a reversal of position for Cullum, and perhaps a bellwether for others with influence in the state. Plus, several of the faculty at SMU protested the pending intelligent design conference scheduled for the campus, though without endorsement from the university.

Discovery Institute spokesmen gave their usual demurrers, claiming that intelligent design advocates have First Amendment rights and accusing critics of being unfair and unholy, but never defending intelligent design itself.

So, I can imagine there were a lot of coffee-burned laps in Seattle (and at least one in Fort Worth) this morning when the Dallas Morning News‘ opinion section unfurled a hard stand against intelligent design, signed by a score of well-respected scientists of various faiths, from the SMU faculty.

They minced no words:

The organization behind the event, the Discovery Institute, is clear in its agenda: It states that what the SMU science faculty believes to be so useful (science) is a danger to conservative Christianity and should be replaced by its mystical world view.

We do not argue against the basic right to believe, worship and express oneself as one desires. [More, including the full text, below the fold.] Read the rest of this entry »

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