IGNORANCE ISN’T CONSERVATIVE. Stupidity isn’t conservative. So why is Intelligent Design (ID) considered conservative? It isn’t even particularly Christian, although some denominations believe otherwise. For example, The Clergy Letter Project has a strong, pro-evolution statement signed by over 11,000 Christian clergymen. There is also this list of Statements from Religious Organizations that accept (or at least don’t dispute) evolution.
Obviously, acceptance of ID isn’t bedrock Christian doctrine; it’s a denominational issue. Some Christians reject ID, others embrace it. Christian denominations that embrace ID are not alone in doing this.
Among those who are fervent believers in ID are many — perhaps most — Muslims. See: Why Muslims Should Support Intelligent Design, By Mustafa Akyol. It’s not only Muslims. There are also the Raelians, a sect based entirely on ID. And the Hare Krishnas. Their website has this article: The Intelligent Designer. There is also the Unification Church, founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. One of Moon’s followers, Jonathan Wells, is a leading intellectual in the ID movement and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute.
On the other hand, there are prominent conservatives who regard ID as junk science. Some examples:
Let’s be clear. Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud. It is a self-enclosed, tautological “theory” whose only holding is that when there are gaps in some area of scientific knowledge — in this case, evolution — they are to be filled by God. It is a “theory” that admits that evolution and natural selection explain such things as the development of drug resistance in bacteria and other such evolutionary changes within species but also says that every once in a while God steps into this world of constant and accumulating change and says, “I think I’ll make me a lemur today.”
Grand Old Spenders, by George F. Will, writing after the decision in Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Area School District et al.:
The storm-tossed and rudderless Republican Party should particularly ponder the vote last week in Dover, Pa., where all eight members of the school board seeking reelection were defeated. This expressed the community’s wholesome exasperation with the board’s campaign to insinuate religion, in the guise of “intelligent design” theory, into high school biology classes, beginning with a required proclamation that evolution “is not a fact.”
But it is. And President Bush’s straddle on that subject — “both sides” should be taught — although intended to be anodyne, probably was inflammatory, emboldening social conservatives. Dover’s insurrection occurred as Kansas’s Board of Education, which is controlled by the kind of conservatives who make conservatism repulsive to temperate people, voted 6 to 4 to redefine science.
The decision by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III to bar the teaching of “intelligent design” in the Dover, Pennsylvania public school district on grounds it is a thinly veiled effort to introduce a religious view of the world’s origins is welcome for at least two reasons.
First, it exposes the sham attempt to take through the back door what proponents have no chance of getting through the front door. Judge Jones rebuked advocates of “intelligent design,” saying they repeatedly lied about their true intentions. He noted many of them had said publicly that their intent was to introduce into the schools a biblical account of creation. Judge Jones properly wondered how people who claim to have such strong religious convictions could lie, thus violating prohibitions in the Book they proclaim as their source of truth and standard for living.
So let’s get our terms straight. ID isn’t conservative doctrine. It’s a concept common to many religious sects, and among Christians it’s a matter of denominational dispute.
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