This is the third in a series of short articles discussing the excellently written and superbly reasoned opinion, issued on 20 December 2005, by Judge John E. Jones III in the case of Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Area School District et al. (that link is to an unofficial text version of the opinion).
This post will deal with the limited issue of the Wedge Document. There’s more information in this Wikipedia article: Wedge strategy.
The immediately preceding article in this series is: Kitzmiller v. Dover: Who is the Intelligent Designer? Few will read this entire series in one sitting, so we’ll repeat the following introductory paragraphs:
No excerpts can substitute for the overpowering impression to be gained by reading the entire opinion, which we highly recommend. The court’s website with the 139 page opinion (pdf file) is here: TAMMY KITZMILLER, et al., Plaintiffs, v. DOVER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Defendants. There is also a Wikipedia article about the case, with a great deal of worthwhile background information.
We will be quoting extensively from the court’s opinion. To make this more readable, we won’t use the blockquote feature, which puts quoted material in italics (unless the court itself quotes something).
In order not to interrupt the narrative, where the judge’s opinion makes references to the trial transcript of witnesses’ testimony, we will replace such clutter with [transcript reference] or something similar. Text appearing in red was colored by us for emphasis. Sometimes we will define a term by placing the definition in brackets. With those obvious exceptions, everything following this paragraph is quoted from the court’s opinion:
What is the Wedge Document?
Dramatic evidence of ID’s [ID = Intelligent Design] religious nature and aspirations is found in what is referred to as the “Wedge Document.” The Wedge Document, developed by the Discovery Institute’s Center for Renewal of Science and Culture (hereinafter “CRSC”), represents from an institutional standpoint, the IDM’s [IDM = intelligent design movement] goals and objectives, much as writings from the Institute for Creation Research did for the earlier creation-science movement, as discussed in McLean. [transcript reference]; McLean, 529 F. Supp. at 1255.
The Wedge Document states in its “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary” that the IDM’s goal is to replace science as currently practiced with “theistic and Christian science.” [transcript reference]. As posited in the Wedge Document, the IDM’s “Governing Goals” are to “defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies” and “to replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.” Id. at 4. The CSRC expressly announces, in the Wedge Document, a program of Christian apologetics to promote ID.
A careful review of the Wedge Document’s goals and language throughout the document reveals cultural and religious goals, as opposed to scientific ones. [transcript reference]. ID aspires to change the ground rules of science to make room for religion, specifically, beliefs consonant with a particular version of Christianity.
The Discovery Institute, the think tank promoting ID whose CRSC developed the Wedge Document, acknowledges as “Governing Goals” to “defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies” and “replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.” [transcript reference]. In addition, and as previously noted, the Wedge Document states in its “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary” that the IDM’s goal is to replace science as currently practiced with “theistic and Christian science.” Id. at 6. The IDM accordingly seeks nothing less than a complete scientific revolution in which ID will supplant evolutionary theory. [reference to footnote 14.]
[Footnote 14 says:]
Further support for this proposition is found in the Wedge Strategy, which is composed of three phases: Phase I is scientific research, writing and publicity; Phase II is publicity and opinion-making; and Phase III is cultural confrontation and renewal. (P-140 at 3). In the “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary,” the Wedge Document explains that the social consequences of materialism have been “devastating” and that it is necessary to broaden the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of ID. “Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.” Id. at 6. Phase I of the Wedge Strategy is an essential component and directly references “scientific revolutions.” Phase II explains that alongside a focus on influential opinion-makers, “we also seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Christians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence that support the faith, as well as to ‘popularize’ our ideas in the broader culture.” Id. Finally, Phase III includes pursuing possible legal assistance “in response to resistance to the integration of design theory into public school science curricula.” Id. at 7.
[The next article in this series is: Kitzmiller v. Dover: The Role of The Discovery Institute]
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