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Dirty Politics: Soil Science Society of America and other Aggie Organizations Unwittingly Expose Political Opposition to ID

Casey Luskin

Is opposition to ID based upon science or politics?

Lisa Anderson recently reported that:

Every major scientific organization in the United States has issued a statement opposing intelligent design as non-scientific and denying any debate over the validity of evolution.

(Kansas school board approves changes to science standards)

Anderson is a well-established reporter, so it’s safe to assume her facts are correct. So, I could end this blog post right here and just say “enough said,” the answer to the question posed above is “YES!” Against what other theory do science organizations release condemning press edicts? This is completely political and unscientific behavior for these “scientific” organizations.

In particular, what business does the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, or Soil Science Society of America have in threshing ID? Why should groups like this get involved–why can’t organizations that have highly tenuous connections to ID just let the issue lie fallow? Read an exerpt from their collective statement against ID below:

Intelligent design is not a scientific discipline and should not be taught as part of the K-12 science curriculum. Intelligent design has neither the substantial research base, nor the testable hypotheses as a scientific discipline.

But it doesn’t take much dowsing with ID literature to know that it does make testable predictions and it does have a research base (see also Dembski’s 2003 ID FAQ).

But seriously, why do aggie science organizations care the slightest bit about ID? This opposition to ID is not scientific but has its roots in politics! What their edict didn’t tell you is that they actually issued their release at the political request of the AAAS, which planted this idea in their heads with its 2002 anti-ID edict:

“Therefore Be Further It Resolved, that AAAS encourages its affiliated societies to endorse this resolution and to communicate their support to appropriate parties at the federal, state and local levels of the government.”

(AAAS anti-ID press release)

It is clear that these agricultural organizations have have cropped all their ideas from their superiors at the AAAS who farmed out a mandate to issue anti-ID edicts. In fact, just like the AAAS edict, these subordinate edicts contain:

  • a famine of references or discussion of any scientific criticisms of intelligent design
  • a drought of references or quotations from any thing written by a single ID proponent to bolster their claims that ID has no research base and their claim that ID is not testable
  • instructions for philosophy courses, which these societies are apparently experts in, claiming that “The discussion of life’s spirituality is most appropriate for philosophy or religion classes.”
  • No explanation for why the peer reviewed published scientific research of ID proponents never address “spiritual questions” despite the edict’s contrary insinuations
  • Complete reliance upon other authorities:

    There are at least 70 resolutions from a broad array of scientific societies and institutions that are united on this matter. As early as 2002, the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) unanimously passed a resolution critical of teaching intelligent design in public schools. who also have produced a rich harvest of statements without discussion of the evidence. If they continue down this path of purely evidence-less political opposition, then these science organizations will reap what they sow! Science organizations will not be taken seriously when they make broad pronouncements against ID.

    The soil science edict also didn’t divulge that the agronomists who issued the edict probably didn’t speak for everyone down on the farm. More on this can be read on this here (the original poll is viewable here).

Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.