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Confused Darwinists Play Coroner with IDEA Center

Casey Luskin

[Author’s Note: This is a fun statement that I recently posted on the IDEA Center’s website. Since it discusses the latest Darwinist rhetorical trends regarding the entire ID movement, I thought readers of ENV would be interested in reading it as well. The original article is posted on the IDEA Center’s website, here.]

IDEA Center: “I feel happy, I feel happy”

“I feel fine … I think I’ll go for a walk … I feel happy, I feel happy” says a lively chap being dragged off as dead by a confused would-be coroner in Monty Python’s classic movie The Holy Grail. Like this coroner, Darwinists eagerly want ID to die, or at least they want to bury a movement that is very much alive. Also like this would-be coroner, it seems that in their eagerness to declare ID dead, the Darwinists are willing to use a club to try to make their claims of IDEA’s death a reality, at least in their own minds.

2009 is the bicentennial anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species, and Darwinists seem more obsessed than ever with death. In particular, they seem suspiciously over-eager to proclaim the alleged death of the intelligent design (ID) movement. The New York Times (an unashamedly pro-Darwin media outlet) recently tried to jump on the current cultural infatuation with vampires by publishing an article titled “Four Stakes in the Heart of Intelligent Design” (the article merely touts four lightweight books for the lay reader that critique ID). NCSE affiliates Nick Matzke and Kevin Padian also recently published an article in a scientific journal claiming that the “case for ID” has “collapsed,” gleefully asserting their hope that “no one with scientific or philosophical integrity is going to take [ID] seriously in future.”

The somewhat rough-and-tumble internet Darwinist choir, which tends to live in its own world, has also jumped on this bandwagon of declaring ID dead. In fact, they recently decided to play coroner over the IDEA Center. To give a couple examples, one internet Darwinist wrote a blog post eagerly calling IDEA “dead” (this internet Darwinist also had the maturity to call ID “stupidity” and William Dembski “either delusional or a bald-faced liar”). The internet Darwinists at PandasThumb apparently believe the conspiracy theories they read on these sorts of blogs, and proceeded to write their own amusing post rejoicing over an alleged “IDEA obituary.”

It’s hard to take these kinds of people seriously, not only because of their hyperbolic rhetoric and their obsession with the death of ID, but also because of all the exciting activity occurring presently at the IDEA Center! To say the least, we at the IDEA Center got a good laugh reading these IDEA Center death certificates fabricated by these highly imaginative internet Darwinists.

For example, one piece of evidence they cited to declare IDEA “dead” was their assertion that IDEA hasn’t published all of its “quarterly” issues of The Light Bulb. Perhaps that’s because our Light Bulb newsletter isn’t published quarterly, it’s published semi-annually (i.e. it comes out 2 times per year, not 4 times). As our newsletter page has long stated, “The IDEA Center publishes a semi-annual newsletter called, ‘The Light Bulb,'” and it lists both issues for 2008 (to see those issues, click here or here).

Another assertion was their claim that IDEA has no listserves–but members of the general public have been welcome to join our IDEA Center’s Member Listserve for years, and in fact our members listserve currently has over 1200 members hailing from over a dozen countries! Feel free to submit your request to join our IDEA Center Member’s listserve today!

The internet Darwinists’ main piece of evidence that IDEA is “dead” was their claim that our IDEA Club chapter locations page is out-of-date. It is out-of-date, and we’re actually working on revamping the entire page which is a long-term project requiring the production of new hyperlinked maps that we hope to complete in the coming months.

But IDEA Clubs are certainly not “dead.” In fact, the IDEA Center’s primary program is helping students to start extra-curricular IDEA Clubs on university and high school campuses around the United States and the world. In August of 2008, the IDEA Center hired its first full-time staff member, Mr. Brian Westad, as its new IDEA Club Director, to oversee the IDEA Club program.

Right now, as of January 2009, there are about a dozen IDEA Club chapters that are active or in-formation. In fact, since the Darwinists first started proclaiming the false death of IDEA, we’ve received over eight inquiries into starting new IDEA Clubs. Not only are rumor’s of IDEA’s death greatly exaggerated, but the more the internet Darwinists declare IDEA to be dead, the more IDEA seems to be growing. If you’re interested in learning more about starting an IDEA Club, please contact Brian at

Quite amusingly, these kinds of Darwinists seem to alternate between proclaiming the death of ID, and crying that the sky is falling because ID allegedly threatens to impose theocracy and destroy science, democracy, and free, modern civilization. You can’t destroy civilization if you’re dead, so which is it? Forgive us if we at the IDEA Center somehow doubt that these Darwinists actually believe what they are saying.

Regardless, it seems clear that these Darwinists wish not to see the contradictions in their own arguments, so our advice is this: if you need a coroner, don’t call the internet Darwinists because they’re not very good at assessing whether something is dead. After all, the Darwinists have been wrong before. In the volume Intelligent Design 101, Phillip Johnson tells the story of how Darwinists declared a false victory over their opponents during the 100th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species 50 years ago in 1959:

[A]s 1959 approached, evolutionary scientists thought that the mid-century would be an ideal time to hold a triumphant celebration. A professor at the University of Chicago organized the Darwin Centennial Celebration and landed the most prominent Darwinian speaker, Sir Julian Huxley to keynote the event.

Huxley was the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, the British naturalist who pushed for public debates in favor of Darwinism in the early years. Grandfather Huxley became known as “Darwin’s bulldog,” because of his spirited advocacy for Darwin’s theory. Grandson, Huxley was a prominent zoologist in his own right and one of the founders of what would later come to be called the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis, the modern version of Darwinism. He was also an international statesman, a founding father of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Huxley was also the would-be founder of a new religion of evolutionary humanism. He wrote a book called Religion Without Revelation (Harper, 1957) that attempted to found a religion upon the scientific way of thinking. Science replaced revelation as the source of knowledge, and humanity, rather than God, sat at the top of Huxley’s scala naturae.

This centennial was held at the University of Chicago on Thanksgiving weekend, 1959. It attracted so much press attention that it seemed to signify to the world, as intended, that Darwinism was triumphant everywhere. Huxley, in his keynote address, made it clear that this was a triumph in science and in religion. He said that there is now no room for a divinized father figure, an imaginary god who is really just a projection of our human father. Huxley was branding a new religion in which “[i]n the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer either need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created: it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and body. So did religion.” Essentially, then, one religion is replaced by another–triumphant evolutionary science explains everything.

At that point, many scientific authorities had the view that only a minor “mop-up” operation was necessary in the cultural war against theistic religion. Christianity, in particular, had been beaten. Science, the new religion, would replace it, with evolution as the creator.


Each of these events were said to make the case for the triumph of scientific materialism and Darwinism. That triumph fell apart, however, once people started scrutinizing the evidence.

(Phillip Johnson, “Bringing Balance to a Fiery Debate,” Intelligent Design 101: Leading Experts Explain the Key Issues, pgs. 24-26 (H. Wayne House, ed., Kregel, 2008).)

Of course anyone who knows their history of the evolution-debate knows what happened next: serious scientists rose up and started publicly questioning Darwinism, leading to the birth of the creation science movement in the 1960s, and later, the birth of the intelligent design movement in the 1980s and 1990s.

The IDEA Center doesn’t promote creation science, and intelligent design is of course very different from creationism, but it will be interesting to see how opposition to Darwin surges in the coming years now that Darwinists are using this current anniversary as another occasion to wrongly declare their opposition to be dead. Perhaps in another 50 years, future historians of evolution will be once-again writing that “That triumph fell apart, however, once people started scrutinizing the evidence.”


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.



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