None of this will be new to our regular readers. Big chunks of it come from our earlier posts, but we’re putting it all into one convenient place — this post — so we’ll be able to link to it from now on. Besides, creationists are always recycling their oldies, so they shouldn’t mind if we do it too.
The Wedge Document (sometimes called the Wedge Strategy) was drafted in 1998. It’s the founding manifesto of the Discovery Institute — they’re described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia article which describes it: Wedge strategy. You can read the actual document at the NCSE website: The Wedge Document. Here’s a scan of the original: The Wedge. It’s a pdf document which begins with a graphic of Michelangelo’s God creating Adam.
The Wedge Document was never intended to be seen by the public, but it had been leaked and posted on the internet even before that catastrophic courtroom exposé. At some point the Discoveroids brazenly posted a 19-page pdf file at their website: The “Wedge Document”: “So What?” It’s difficult reading — quite painful, actually. They selectively go through the Wedge Document and attempt to spin it so that it doesn’t say what it clearly says. We wrote about that here: Discovery Institute: The Wedge Document, So What?, in which we described their defense as a primitive attempt at new-age apologetics.
In its original glory the Wedge Document is ten pages long, small print, so the best we can do here is summarize some of the main points. It starts with a long Introduction:
The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. … Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science.
Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. … Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.
“A broadly theistic understanding of nature.” Not very subtle, is it? Then the strategy is divided into three phases, with “Wedge Projects” listed for each phase, as follows:
Phase I. Scientific Research, Writing & Publicity:
• Individual Research Fellowship Program
• Paleontology Research program (Dr. Paul Chien et al.)
• Molecular Biology Research Program (Dr. Douglas Axe et al.)
Phase II. Publicity & Opinion-making
• Book Publicity
• Opinion-Maker Conferences
• Apologetics Seminars
• Teacher Training Program
• Op-ed Fellow
• PBS (or other TV) Co-production
• Publicity Materials / Publications
Phase III. Cultural Confrontation & Renewal
• Academic and Scientific Challenge Conferences
• Potential Legal Action for Teacher Training
• Research Fellowship Program: shift to social sciences and humanities
After that the Wedge Document sets forth its “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary” which says:
The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. … [The theory of intelligent design (ID)] promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.
You read that right. The Discoveroids constantly deny it, but their plan is to replace genuine science with creation science. It’s as simple as that. Then the Wedge Document describes their “Goals.” This is important enough that we’ll quote it all. Be sure to note that the second of their two “Governing Goals” contradicts all of their claims about the identity of their unnamed intelligent designer:
• To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
• To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.
Five Year Goals
• To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
• To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.
• To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.
Twenty Year Goals
• To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
• To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.
• To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.
The Wedge Document goes on to list numerous “Five Year Objectives.” Number 6 in that list is this: “Ten states begin to rectify ideological imbalance in their science curricula & include design theory.” You know what that’s all about. So far they’ve captured two states — Louisiana and Tennessee, which have both enacted so-called Academic Freedom bills.
Number 7 on their list of Five Year Objectives, titled “Scientific achievements,” is interesting enough that we’ll give it to you in full:
• An active design movement in Israel, the UK and other influential countries outside the US
• Ten CRSC Fellows teaching at major universities
• Two universities where design theory has become the dominant view
• Design becomes a key concept in the social sciences
• Legal reform movements base legislative proposals on design theory
None of those so-called scientific achievements involves any actual science, by the way. But you surely noticed that. You also noticed that the last item strongly suggests the implementation of a theocratic regime. Then they have a list of ten “Activities.” Take a look at number 6 on that list:
Alliance-building, recruitment of future scientists and leaders, and strategic partnerships with think tanks, social advocacy groups, educational organizations and institutions, churches, religious groups, foundations and media outlets
Ask yourself, dear reader: In the past century, what new and ultimately successful scientific theory, for example relativity, quantum mechanics, plate tectonics, and the Big Bang, despite initial resistance, went around alliance-building, recruiting social advocacy groups, and seeking the support of churches and media outlets?
There’s more to the Wedge Document. As we said at the beginning, we can only hit the highlights here. If you really want to understand this insidious movement you need to read it for yourself. Carefully. Then you’ll understand why the Discoveroids are potentially far more dangerous to our civilization than the typical, family-run creationist outfit that operates a bible-themed creationism museum along the side of a road in the middle of nowhere. And you’ll also understand why, when we began this blog, one of our first posts was Discovery Institute: Enemies of the Enlightenment.
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