Re: The Dover trial

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Mon Oct 03 2005 - 21:08:06 EDT

George Murphy wrote:

>> This is getting more and more confusing. Not teaching ID and yet we
>> hear how Dover did insist on teaching ID?
>> For instance Dembski observes that:
>> "Unfortunately, members of the Dover school board have, through their
>> actions, conflated ID with an apparent religious agenda."
> This is a rather amusing observation for those who have read Dembski's
> book _Intelligent Design_ (IVP, 1999). Chapter 1 is "Recognizing the
> Divine Finger" and contains a section titled "The Sign of the
> Resurrection." & his version of ID doesn't have a religious agenda?
> Shalom
> George

Perhaps these poor school board members were merely repeating what they
had been told? Basically Dembski seems to be blaming the Dover school
board for taking his claims and the claims of ID too seriously. The
problem the school board is facing that lacking much of a scientific
significance of ID, the underlying religious nature becomes even more
obvious. Of course, it did not hurt that the school board was almost
'giddy' about the prospects of teaching ID. Little did they seem to know
how poorly supported ID really was, scientifically speaking.

 I have read too many papers, websites or books where people (often
uncritically) accepted the claims of "ID being scientifically relevant".
And so the news and reputation spread ahead of ID being able to actually
live up to its reputation.

In my opinion, the Dover trial has allowed the reality of ID to catch up
with its reputation. What a shock this must have been.

In other words: ID, being scientifically vacuous, all it really has to
offer is some (imho bad) theology. I have warned various times about the
potential cost of giving one's supporters the impression that the case
for ID is scientifically stronger than it really is, and linking this
weak if not vacuous scientific concept with religious faith. Statements
which suggested that ID can scientifically prove intelligent design (and
the designer/Designer although with various disclaimers at various
times)... Which of course logically would mean that ID can also be
disproven and with it the concept of intelligent design. Imagine the
impact on those who were told that the bacterial flagellum was a hall
mark of Intelligent Design (what exactly does this have to say about the
intelligent designer I wonder who presents his strongest evidence in the
tail of a bacterium? A tail which seems to show much homology with the
injection mechanisms of such pleasures as the bubonic plague... but I
digress). Imagine the impact of the faithful to be told that science has
disproven these ID's claims. What a powerful weapon this could become in
the hands of those who oppose religious faith.

Too much is at stake here and the cost of people realizing that 'ID has
been disproven' or that 'ID is scientifically vacuous' may have some
deep impact on the faith of those who were told that ID actually
provided empirical, scientific evidence for it.
The cost of it on public policy is quickly becoming evident already.

For those interested in the Dover Trial there are some excellent
websites and some entertaining ones.

Trial Transcripts

Depositions of fact witnesses

Expert Reports

Campbell, Dembski and Meyer were withdrawn as witnesses

Dembski's expert reports

Daily Dispatches from Dover (NCSE)

The York Dispatch has some excellent articles on ID, and the Dover trial

Similarly the NCSE


The Discovery Institute
(Do not miss the gaffe by West and Crowther on Barbara Forrest. West
because of a failure to understand the concept of hearsay in legal
proceedings, Rob Crowther for linking to an 'interview' which as far as
I can tell is totally fictitious.)

York Dispatch
Dover timeline Dover timeline
Most scientists say design not science 'So-called controversy' deemed
social, not scientific
Professor grilled on religion
Intelligent design religious, he says
Meetings were like revivals
Received on Mon Oct 3 21:10:26 2005

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