I’ve found a great article on the website of the CNRS (the national center of the scientific research if you prefer, it’s the first european organism of research). The article criticizes strongly the theory of ID. And… it’s just brilliant. Here is the article (it’s in french):
I’ve translated just two parts of the article. But read the whole article if you understand french because it’s interesting from the beginning till the end!!!
One part of the article:
The creationnists from the protestant fundamentalism are attached to a literal reading of the biblical genesis. Their speech about the world and his origin has been for a long time built against Science, which limited their respectability. Hence a changing of strategy.
The modern creationnists aren't opposed to Science anymore, but to the contrary they want to get their credibility near to a naive or misinformated audience claiming they are themselves scientists. So they have invented the term "scientific creationnism" in order to fight against science on its own field, to find and promote the scientific proofs of the litteral interpretation of the biblical genesis. Thus, the earth would be 6000 years old and the fossils would be explained by the deluge. Two centuries of geology and paleontology are completely reinterpreted and the evolutionnist biology is denied so that the bible is "scientifically proved".
In the US, they have since 25 years their research institutes that deliver PhD, their researchers who published in their papers, their museums. Science is therefore imitated in all its details. Parallel, they practice a silencious harassment on the educationnal american system that is largely decentralized. Here and there, at the mercy of the social compositions of the school boards, their efforts become apparent, often thwarted by the decisions of justice.
Another interesting part of the article:
As far as the technique of argumentation is concerned, this is always the same old motives. First, a work of epistemologic confusion consists in presenting the Darwin theory of evolution not as a scientific theory, but in turn as an "ideology", a "natural philosophy", finally a metaphysical position that will submit the "facts" to its imperious necessity. In return , the defenders of the "ID" will legitimate the fact that their own "metaphysical current open to rational discussions"(the word is from P. Johnson, one of the main actors of the movement) could also be the object of a "programm of researches" in which by the way some american members of the teaching profession are already involved (Charles Thaxton, Michael Behe...). Secondly, the adepts of this movement (William Dembski, Casey Luskin, Nancy Pearcey, John Wiester…) spend most of their time in an exaggerated criticism of the darwinism that imply precise strategies, non exclusive between themselves.
The strategies of the "intelligent design"
The first one strategy consists in asking bad questions or saying false objections, supported by analogical reasonings. This time, one does it to a nivel of detail that make the largest part of the people embarrassed: the apparent instruction forces the respect;at the same time send people to manipulation through lack of expertise. The process works out: the compasses of the journalists become crazy; they are caught in the trap or only deny timorously. The promoters of the ID make themselves invited in the universities to debate about it.
The second strategy consists in producing what we could call the "shift of scale". One isolates a detail of the Darwin theory of evolution or a mistake of popularization; one says sophisticated objections on the selected detail; in order to present them as major refutations of the whole theory. Lastly, the general strategy of communication, in particular the one promoted by P.Johnson, consists in practicing this exaggeration of the criticism by clarifying the least possible what could takes the place of what ones criticizes, in order to keep this apparent neutrality, apparently far from the religions, and above all of the traditionnal creationnism. Phillip Johnson says to the paper World his strategy: "the key consists rather in promoting some qualities of analysis than defending a preconceived position". Which allows at the same time to appear objective and above all to rook broadly.
The writer and journalist Louis Freedberg writes about P.Johnson:
"//[Phillip Johnson, Discovery Institute] avoids answering to precise questions, included what the intelligent creator could look like :"It could certainly be God, a surnatural creature, but in principle it could also be very intelligent aliens from the space who made the conception" he said...He won't say if he is creationnist or not. "I won't answer this question. It's like if you asked me if I have ever been a member of the communist party".
Indeed, P.Johnson wants to unite all the anti-darwin forces, he wants them to work together rather than to confront each other about their dogmatic positions: "if you try to promote a particular position that is too much detailed, you finish being on the defensive, divided and fighting between yourselves.(...). The notion of intelligent conception isn't a position, it's a metaphysical current open to rational discussions". To affirm oneself in favor of a chapel would ruin his enterprise of extension. So he works on the common denominator of all the religions:the criticism of darwinism and the sophistication of the argument in favor of an intelligence that is at the origin of the adequation form-function in the Nature. Nancy Pearcey, another promoter of the same movement, throws light on the strategy of communication of P. Johnson by quoting him:
"The most fundamental and significative of the affirmations of the darwinism is that life is the product of impersonal forces, that it's an accident. (...). It's a philosophy that catches out most of the American people. If the christians orientate the debate that way, we can't be marginalised".
We find nearly everything in that quote. First, the epistemologic confusion with a darwinism considered as a philosophy. The "impersonal" forces are a methodologic necessity of the sciences, not a philosophical bias. This stubbow and militant ignorance of the independance of sciences makes of this movement an anti-scientific force, we'll come to that later. In addition, the demagogy by the attentive listening of american people. Indeed, if the darwinism is a philosophy, one would nearly come to the point of voting to establish if it should be adopted collectively or not, if however the philosophical debates had something to do with a democratic vote. Irony apart, we see here that there's a real interest for the power, that is confirmed by the final appeal to the mobilization of the christians. The result is that the christians are destined to intervene as christians in the debates that are in the centre of the scientific methodologies. Beyond the default of secularity that that implies, it's an appeal to a new act of predation of the ideology against science. Because the repetition of the same discoursive elements through history (here the analogy of Paley), mobilized around the research of power, is the characteristic of ideology. (...)
Who are they and what are they working for?
Yet the apparent neutrality of P. Johnson doesn't prevent the real motivations of the other members of the movement to arise. Michael Denton, a long-time practicer of the educated desinformation has lately revealed why the Darwin theory of evolution disturbed him so much, by revealing his vision of the world that is utterly teleologic in a book (...). In his opuscule "Evolution by Design", Jonathan Wells exposes a comprehension of the transitions between species that is changed by successive creations (so it's really a creationnism) and affirms that the ultimate goal was to create a good environment so that the earth could welcome the human beings (so it's the strong version of the teleology, of a kind of biological anthropical principle):
"I express the conjecture according to which the human species was foreseen a long time before life on earth appeared, and the History of Life is the record of the realisation of this plan... The primitive organisms probably cobbled the road for the establishment of the stable ecosystems we know. A sterile planet had to become a garden... The first human baby probably was fed by a being very similar to himself, like a primate looking like a man. This creature in his turn had probably been fed by another one, intermediary between herself and a more primitive mammal. In other words, a plan anticipating the apparition of human beings had to include something like the succession of the preistoric forms that we find in the fossil record". (...)"Even if this process looks superficially like the Darwin notion of common lineage, the theory of ID is different by maintening that the predecessors don't need to be biological ancestors but only essential distributors of food and protection".
Jonathan Wells is a member of the "Discovery Institute" since 1996. During the 1970's, he was a member of the "Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church", church that works at the same time for the "unification" of the worldwide christianity and the "unification" of sciences. The sect institutes in particular in 1972 a serial of conferences entitled "International conferences for the unity of sciences" that receive the support of the spiritualist Nobel Prize winner John Eccles and of Ylia Prigogine. Wells was sure that the theory of evolution is false because in conflict with the believes of his sect, in particular the one that says that the human genre was specially created by God. Pushed by Moon, Wells went to the university of Yale and concentrated on everything that could contradict the theory of evolution. Later, at the beginning of the 1990's, he went to Berkeley and obtained diplomas in biology to improve his fight against the evolution theory. In "Why I went for a Second PhD", Jonathan Wells explains how he decided to dedicate his life to fight against the theory of evolution :
"II (the reverend Sun Myung Moon) often criticized the Darwin theory according to which human beings find their origin without the creative and finalized action of God...). The Father words, my studies and my prayers persuaded me to dedicate my life to the destruction of darwinism, like many of my unificationnist colleagues devoted their lives to the destruction of marxism. When the Father chosed me (with a dozen of qualified people from the seminar) to begin a programme of thesis in 1978, I was happy of this opportunity of getting ready for the fight".
Charles Thaxton, one of the initiators of ID, after his PhD in chemistry, wondered if life had realy started in a primitive soup. He remembered that the criticisms about the origins of life started to appear among the scientists (it was in fact discussions about the possibility of a reducing atmosphere like the famous experiment of Urey et Miller foresaw it)
"But I thought continually about the biblical verse that says "be victor of the evil by the good". I felt that the christians had to offer a positive alternative to the theory of evolution".
This alternative to the "evil" was the notion of ID, formalized in a book where DNA is interpreted like some "coded intelligence in a biological structure", implying necessarily then an "intelligent intervention".
So the main promoters of the ID current don't hide that the impulsions of the movement are clearly religious. But if they dissociate themselves from religions by pure strategy, they work yet in identified structures. Jonathan Wells and Phillip Johnson, are members of the "Center for the revival of Science and Culture" (CRSC), one branch of the "Discovery Institute", conservative Think Tank functioning thanks to private funds, established in Seattle. The CRSC, of which the programme of formation has been realized by P.Johnson himself, spreads the idea that science in general, and in particular the theory of evolution, are responsible for a "materialistic and atheistic philosophy" that would have "disastrous" cultural consequences on our societies and that therefore we should fight. The CRSC promotes a strategy of substitution of today's science by a science incorporating the notion of "intelligent design" and the supernatural causes. It rejects the idea -quite spread in the anglo-saxon world- according to which God would use the evolutive process as a mean of his creation. It says that science, on the contrary, by limiting itself to the natural explications of the physical world, would affirm explicitly the inexistence of God. According to J.Wells:
"The Darwin theory excludes the design and therefore excludes logically God. It's the source of his atheism".
The CRSC even rejects the idea quite spread according to which science only deals with the physical world, while the spiritual sphere would apprehend the esthetic, moral and religious aspects. One could even criticize here this distribution of roles considering that the moral and esthetic aspects of our world aren't neither the concern of science, neither necessarily of the spiritual sphere, reducing to the maximum the field of action of spirituality. But the CRSC rejects this distribution for the reasons diametrically opposed:according to the CRSC, science, on the contrary, has to melt in the spiritual sphere, which extends to the maximum the field of action of this one.
By forcing the link between the Darwin theory of evolution and the atheism and by disqualifying the religions that recognize a proper field and limited to natural sciences, the CRSC hopes to operate a break, to generate a divorce between the ones who recognize the evolutive fact and those who are religious. It says we absolutly have to choose between being a atheistic supporter of Darwin evolution or a religious opposant, which isn't, in the US, an insignificant dichotomy. The CRSC wants to extend the ID to all the aspects of culture, in accordance with the appeal to the revival of science and culture indicated by its name, work whose aim is to "fill the gap spliting the creationnists from the evolutionnist theists". Thanks to the ID, the first ones don't have to cling anymore to a literal interpretation of the Bible to keep God in the discourse about our origins, and the second ones can quietly reject Darwin without risking the ridiculous, helped with the varnish of seriousness that confer some (so-called) new propositions. The members of the CRSC think that the revived science, incorporating the supernatural causes, has to look for and dictate what will be a "natural ethic", a "natural morale", and that this science will be able to discover which behaviors transgress the underlying aims of the intelligent design of the Mankind. So this science should discover which of our behaviors, our manners, our ethics are wanted by God. The function of conservative Think Tank takes then all his significance : abortion and homosexuality transgress the ID of God, in particular by modifications of the functions for why our forms had been initially created. Thanks to these diplomas of universities, the struggle against these "transgressions" adorns itself with a scientific alibi. By giving a so-called scientific seating to the "Good" and to the "Evil", the current of ID lead out onto a kind of religious scientism that, for european scientists, seems paradoxical and even scaring because they are, for the majority of them, used to preserve the neutrality of science by the respect of its necessary laic environment.
Some epistemologic confusions that are characteristic
The contortions of Johnson are very sophisticated and very hard to identify for the general public. That's the reason why we'll examine the epistemological confusions knowingly made by this jurist of profession. Phillip Johnson is known for the next equivalences:
materialism=ideology, the Darwin theory of evolution is materialist, so darwinism=ideology. All the argumentation of Johnson lies on a simple trick but that asks a solid scientific culture to be thwarted, culture that doesn't have a large part of the audience Johnson adresses himself to. By spliting science from the methodologic materialism that bases it and defines it, Johnson passes the materialism off as a bias "ideological" or "metaphysical" or "philosophical";and reproves as usurpers the scientists who are conscious of the materialist condition of science, like Richard Lewontin:
"Yet, supposing that a philosophical preference could validate a theory to which we are attached comes to definite science as a mean for basing one's prejudices. (...) The darwinism is based on a preliminary agreement in favor of materialism and not on a philosophically neutral evaluation of the proofs. Split the philosophy of science and you'll see that the proud edifice will collapse. When people will have understand that, the darwinism of Lewontin will just have to quit the studying programms, to go and mildew in the museum of the history of ideas near the marxism of Lewontin".
The ideological allusion is clear. A variant sets the equality:darwinism=metaphysics in the book of Phillip Johnson entitled "the darwinism in question. Science or metaphysics?". Then, more lately, P. Johnson has passed from the materialism as metaphysics to materialism as philosophy of the nature:
"If the naturalism is true, that is to say if the Nature is the only thing that exists, then something similar to the darwinism is necessarily true, even if we don't manage to prove it". "The darwinism is less a conclusion of observable facts that a deduction of the naturalist philosophy".
According to John Wiester, strong defender of the movement:
"the darwinism, it's some naturalist philosophy that claims to be some science".
Hence the position of Nancy R.Pearcey (another promoter of the movement, and author of :"The soul of science : chistian faith and natural philosophy»), that says a lot about the comprehension that the American people have about the rapports between religion and school:
"Consider these quotations:"You are an animal, like the worm" say some biology books, "evolution happens at random, without plan or aim" say others. But the american public schools are supposed to be neutral as far as religion is concerned, while these quotations are opposed to all the religions. In addition, these affirmations go way further than any empirical constatation, and are more philosophical than scientific".
By presenting the Darwin theory of evolution not as a scientific theory but as a naturalist philosophy or an ideology, they improve their strategy:
1.A scientific theory can be teached in the science lessons of schools, but not a philosophy; therefore one's legitimates the suppression of the Darwin theory of evolution from the lessons of sciences or the demand of weighing up a naturalist philosophy with a spiritual one, or with x other philosophies.
2. They lend credence to the idea that another "metaphysical proposition" than the "natural philosophy" such as theirs can also be debated rationnally and be the object of a programme of research.
Johnson wants to ignore the real status of materialism in sciences and clearly confounds philosophy, metaphysical proposition, ideology, paradigm and theory. He identifies the roles of the paradigm and of the theory in sciences to the one of ideology or of a philosophy that would submit science to their needs. There are, in fact, big differences of nivels and of roles. First, philosophy and ideology lie outside sciences because they have their own aims and means. Ideology submits science to his vital objective of justifying a power, whatever the "cost" is. Paradigm and theory are on the contrary some elements of the science in construction, in a certain way some parts of its building up, even if the reasons why we work inside a paradigm aren't always rationnally justified. One's knows in general why one's work on a theory. One's knows less why one's work in a paradigm. Because the paradigm is the totality of the concrete solutions belonging to a disciplinary matrix. This matrix is the whole of the values, the techniques and of the propositions considered as being valid by a scientific community belonging to a discipline at a given moment. The paradigm is the whole of the solutions of enigma to which the members of a same discipline refer to. J.Wells is strategicly more clever than P.Johnson, because he tries to read some facts by the light of two theories that are so-called in competition (now called theories, now called paradigms) and to see which one of the two is the more coherent (even if technically Wells is unskilled).
Johnson has cleverly inverted the rapports between science and philosophy by subordinating the first one to the second one. Because, in fact, outside the sciences, the methodological materialism doesn't impose on anybody any philosophy, any metaphysical option or ideology. To function, science isn't subordinated to any metaphysical materialism. Besides, some scientifics are irreproachable in their job and have chosen some metaphysical options incompatible with a philosophical materialism for their private life. Moreover, certain philosophers can be inspired by some constraints inherent in the methodological materialism of sciences to comfort a philosophical materialism; but that has nothing to do with science in its functioning.
Finalement, à travers cette inversion et l’intoxication générale produites par Johnson, on comprend l’importance et les enjeux d’une bonne clarification du rôle du matérialisme dans les sciences. Le matérialisme de la théorie darwinienne de l’évolution n’est pas spécifique à cette théorie : c’est le matérialisme de toute démarche scientifique.
Actually, through this inversion and the general intoxication produced by Johnson, we understand the importance and the interest of a good clarification of the role of materialism in sciences. The materialism of the Darwin theory of evolution is not specific to this theory: it's the materialism of every scientifical research.
The theory of "ID": tool of a theocratic will
Why is the movement of ID the concern of anti-science? One's can call anti-science every initiative of characterized scientific deception, of intellectual imposture in sciences (in the meaning of Sokal and Bricmont) or of operation of communication spreading confusion in the nature, the objectives and the field of legitimacy of science. These three reasons are present with different degrees when the methodological independance of sciences is canceled by the ideology. The movement of ID is anti-science for the next reasons:
1. The nature of science is distorted. This movement is affected of an epistemologic nullity:the theory of Darwin is presented now as a naturalist philosophy, now as an ideology, now as "only an hypothesis" or "only a theory", and in this last case it is in order to underline that it shouldn't be presented as "a fact", showing that way an utter incomprehension of the rapports between facts and theories.
2.The objectives of science are distorted. What the main people from this movement wrote show that their deep motivations and their objectives aren't scientific, but religious. Science is used to build some dogmas and to justify their intrusion in the social and political field, as part of the conservative think tanks. For that the actors of the movement claim their own programme of researches.
3. The field of legitimacy of science is distorted. This movement makes science go out of its role by enjoining it to dictate in the moral and political fields what is conformable to the ID. The independance of the methodologic rules intern to science vis-à-vis society is broken. If science takes the liberty of legislating in the moral and political fields, where only some moral determinings should act in principle, then, in return, science has to expect seeing itself dictate from outside what has to be found. Science put in service of ideology becomes an instrument of this one, legislate with it but at the expense of having been totally submitted to it beforewards. The examples are nnumerous. By searching to justify scientifically some laws of racial discrimination, the nazi anthropology tried to prove certain racial inferiorities. By searching a scientific support to the litteral interpretation of the biblical texts, creationnism comes to completely fabricating its datas.
Also, Maxfly, you should read the page 6 (http://www.cnrs.fr/cw/dossiers/dosevol/decouv/articles/chap1/lecointre6.html) because the guy refutes in that page a few arguments you had in one of your posts (you understand french, don’t you?).