Did Edwards vs. Aguillard Spawn Intelligent Design? No

Jonathan Witt

Harrisburg, PA — The plaintiffs in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial are arguing that intelligent design sprang up in the wake of the 1987 Supreme Court decision against creation science, and the National Center for Science Education’s Nick Matzke is repeating the talking point to reporters: “Intelligent design is just a new label for creationism,” Mr. Matzke noted. “It is just the latest legal strategy for creationism. It evolved in 1987 right after the Supreme Court ruled against creationism and said that that was unconstitutional.”
The assertion is demonstrably false. The idea of intelligent design reaches back to Socrates and Plato, and the term “intelligent design” as an alternative to blind evolution was used as early as 1897. More recently, discoveries in physics, astronomy, information theory, biochemistry, genetics, and related disciplines during the past several decades provided the impetus for scientists and philosophers of science to develop modern design theory. Many of the central ideas for the theory of intelligent design were already being articulated by scientists and philosophers of science by the early 1980s, well before the Edwards v. Aguillard decision.
Read the full essay here, beginning after the asteriks.

Jonathan Witt

Executive Editor, Discovery Institute Press and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Jonathan Witt, PhD, is Executive Editor of Discovery Institute Press and a senior fellow and senior project manager with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. His latest book is Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design (DI Press, 2018) written with Finnish bioengineer Matti Leisola. Witt has also authored co-authored Intelligent Design Uncensored, A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature, and The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot. Witt is the lead writer and associate producer for Poverty, Inc., winner of the $100,000 Templeton Freedom Award and recipient of over 50 international film festival honors.

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