The York Dispacth has a story about the legal activity ongoing in Dover, PA with regards to the school board’s decision to mandate intelligent design theory.
What’s troubling is that so many media outlets continue to incorrectly define intelligent design theory. The Dispatch’s Heidi Bernhard-Bubb puts it this way:
intelligent design theory, which attributes the origin of life to an intelligent being. It counters the theory of evolution, which says that people evolved from less complex beings.
If reporters are going to use definitions that come from critics of intelligent design they should at least label them that way. This is the kind of definition given out by the NCSE or the ACLU, not by design proponents themselves. This is an incorrect definition put forth by critics so that they can easily knock it down.
Here is the accurate description of intelligent design:
The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.
Is intelligent design theory incompatible with evolution? Of course, it depends on what one means by the word “evolution.” If one simply means “change over time,” or even that living things are related by common ancestry, then there is no inherent conflict between evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory. However, the dominant theory of evolution today is neo-Darwinism, which contends that evolution is driven by natural selection acting on random mutations, a purposeless process that “has no specific direction or goal, including survival of a species.” (NABT Statement on Teaching Evolution). It is this specific claim made by neo-Darwinism that intelligent design theory directly challenges. But, many reporters don’t seem to want to take the time or effort to communicate that important bit of information.
How hard is it to get the facts straight? Not very when there are good resources such as our backgrounder on intelligent design. Please spread it around and share the information with people who need it.