Dissecting the Rhetoric
Original: Where exactly can I find this controversy again?, Matt Brauer, posted on March 24, 2004 03:35 PM.
The battle-cry of the IDists, "teach the controversy!" strongly presupposes that there is a controversy worthy of teaching. It is true that there is a controversy in evolutionary biology, in the political sense. But this is not what legal scholars DeWolf (et al.) mean when they use the term. They would like to convince the majority of citizens (or the minority that sit on school boards) that this is an issue of fairness. According to the truism there are two sides to every coin, why not "teach the controversy" and let the students make reasoned opinions for themselves? Why not use "the controversy" to teach about the process of science?
The best reason not to teach the "origins controversy" is that it simply is nowhere to be found. Genuine scientific controversies -- the important and useful ones -- take up a huge volume of space in the scientific literature. Even the controversies sparked by wrong ideas can be tracked as they generate discussion among the members of the scientific community. If no-one is talking about it, it's not controversial.
A number of the contributors to the Panda's Thumb weblog review chapters from "intelligent design" advocate Jonathan Wells's 2006 book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. The book proved to be a farrago of quote mines, obfuscation, misleading rhetoric, and just plain false claims.
Alan Gishlick, Nick Matzke, and Wesley R. Elsberry critique the paper published by "intelligent design" advocate Stephen C. Meyer in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington in August, 2004. They conclude that Meyer's review paper presents an incomplete, misleading, and false impression of the biological evidence, and that his conclusion that "intelligent design" is supported because evolutionary alternatives are eliminated is illegitimate.
Mark Perakh evaluates William Dembski's presentation at the CSICOP conference in Burbank, CA on June 21st, 2002.
Steve Reuland (aka "theyeti") takes a humorous but well-referenced look at the inconsistencies of the Intelligent Design movement and its advocates.
Andrea Bottaro wrote a letter to TV station WNYE about their scheduling of the "intelligent design" propaganda film, Unlocking the Mystery of Life.
Andrea Bottaro responds to a criticism made by "intelligent design" advocate William A. Dembski about Bottaro's review of Unlocking the Mystery of Life.
Wesley R. Elsberry and Mark Perakh examine the invidious comparisons made by "intelligent design" advocates where they liken evolutionary biologists to Soviet and Nazi leaders. In particular, the bizarre misuse by ID advocates of the example of Trofim D. Lysenko, pseudoscientist extraordinaire, is examined.
Read the full article in PDF (off-site).