Intelligent design “explosion” reported in Science, vol 309, p47, 1 July 2005.

Eugenie Scott, director of the USA National Centre for Science Education (NCSE) has publicly apologised to Larry Caldwell, a lawyer whom she had accused of being a creationist. In an article in the magazine of the California Academy of Sciences, Scott claimed that Caldwell had recommended two creationist books to his local school board and that a scientist had accused him of a gross misunderstanding of science. Caldwell commenced a lawsuit for libel against Scott and the NCSE. As a result, Scott wrote a letter, which was published in the magazine, acknowledging that Caldwell did not recommend the creationist books and the comment about gross misunderstanding of science referred to someone else. The magazine also removed an online link to Scott’s original article.

This is not the only time NCSE has claimed that Caldwell is a creationist, but Caldwell insists he believes in Intelligent Design and is not a creationist. NCSE is keeping a record of “evolution related flare-ups” in the USA education systems and in the first half of 2005 they recorded 71 in 33 states. Scott describes this as “an absolute explosion” compared with the annual average of between 50 and 60.

Since then President George Bush has entered the debate. During an interview reported in ScienceNOW and The Washington Post, 2 Aug 2005, Bush was asked whether Intelligent Design should be taught in schools. He replied; “Both sides ought to be properly taught. Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought.” He went on to add: “You’re asking me whether people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.”

In Australia, David Wroe, Canberra, in The Age, August 11, 2005 reports that “intelligent design” has won the qualified backing of Education Minister Brendan Nelson, who says it should be taught in schools alongside evolution if that is the wish of parents. Intelligent design, which is damned by critics as a front for biblical Creationism, argues that life on Earth is too complex to have evolved purely through Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Dr Nelson said yesterday he had met Campus Crusade for Christ, the Australian advocates of intelligent design, or ID, and watched their DVD presentation, called Unlocking the Mystery of Life.

Editorial Comment: The legal skirmish between Scott and Caldwell reminds us that the Intelligent Design movement is not Christian Creationist based. The difference is that Intelligent Design advocates are only interested in the design, and don’t want to admit to a designer. Christian creationists recognise and teach design in order to make known who the Designer is: Jesus Christ! If President Bush got his way, and evolution was “properly taught” it should involve explaining that whilst natural selection and mutations are observed facts, they cannot account for the origin of life from non-life or produce the extra genetic information needed to change simple life forms into complex life forms.

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