Evolution Icon Evolution
Intelligent Design Icon Intelligent Design

In the Darwin Debate, How Long Before the Tide Turns in Favor of Intelligent Design?


.hA student emails me to ask how long it will be before the “tide turns from Darwinism to ID.” He follows the debate over intelligent design and is aware that the Darwin lobby’s rhetoric typically fails to address ID’s actual arguments (which are scientific in nature), instead focusing on personal attacks or trying to claim ID is religion. This student feels it is obvious that ID has the upper hand in the argument, but wonders when the majority opinion will also recognize this.

I agree that in the long-term, the position of the anti-ID lobby is simply not sustainable. You can’t keep claiming forever that ID is just “religion” or “politics” when the ID camp is producing legitimate science, and even non-ID scientists keep making discoveries that confirm the predictions of ID. Or I suppose you can keep claiming whatever you want, but it will become increasingly difficult to get people to believe you.

What are my reasons for optimism? One of the strongest signs is that in head-to-head debates over ID and Darwinism, the ID proponent generally wins hands down. In that respect, we’ve had many key intellectual victories in recent years, including:

I could list many more successes, as well as ways that we could be hoping for more and doing more, but the point is this: ID has had plenty of intellectual “wins” of late, and the future is bright. The problem is that much of the public isn’t hearing about these wins for ID.

For the time being, ID critics control the microphone. They generally determine what students hear in the classroom, what the public reads in the media, and what scientists read in the journals. They can often prevent the public, students, and scientists from hearing the facts about ID. This has a major impact on the way many people perceive this debate because they can’t make a fair evaluation when they are only hearing one side of the issue, dominated by spin and caricature. This is one of the biggest obstacles facing ID.

That’s why a lot of our energy in the ID movement is devoted to “getting the word out,” broadcasting the facts and correcting misinformation from our critics. ID blogs like Uncommon Descent and Evolution News & Views do a great job of this (if we do say so ourselves). There are other good sources out there as well.

The Summer Seminar on ID, organized by Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, has now graduated some 250 students, many of whom are going on to get PhDs and seed the next generation of scientists. There’s a lot to look forward to.

Don’t expect a revolution overnight. We are in this for the long haul, recognizing that it can take time for the truth to slip past the checkpoints that the Darwin lobby sets up to keep the public uninformed. In the end, though, I’m optimistic because the fundamentals of ID — the science underlying the inference to design in nature — are sound. The truth will win out, though it may tarry in doing so. Or to put it another way, the tide of ID is already well on its way in. We need to focus on telling people about it.

Image credit: Kristofer Williams/Flickr.

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.



scienceThe Positive Case for Design