Friday, December 26, 2008

MacNeil Documents the Death of IDEA Clubs

Allan MacNeil has done the legwork for us to show that the IDEA movement is essentially dead. For those of you who blinked and missed it, the IDEA clubs were the wave of the future for ID, so infamously noted by William Dembski in his rationalization of the Dover defeat:

"Even if ID is stifled among high school students (and with the Internet this is impossible), ID is of growing interest to college and graduate students. Three years ago, there was one Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center at the University of California-San Diego. Now there are thirty such centers at American colleges and universities, including UC Berkeley and Cornell. These centers are fiercely pro-ID."

Since them as MacNeil documents, these clubs are all but dead:

1) there are 39 IDEA Clubs listed, not 35 (as stated at the IDEA Club main website);

2) of the 39 listed IDEA Clubs, eight (21%) are located at high schools or community colleges;

3) four (17%) are located at religious institutions;

4) nine (23%) simply do not exist (i.e. have 404: File Not Found at their link); and

5) 18 (46%) have links that simply redirect to either a national IDEA Center press release or main website homepage.

These are the "intelligent design research centers" about which Dr. Dembski spoke so glowingly in his analysis of the effects of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board decision.

What can one conclude from this analysis? I conclude five things:

1) that the national IDEA Club website is essentially what is known online as a "shell site" (that is, a place-holder with no real content);

2) that the "movement" represented by the IDEA Club organization peaked in late 2005 or early 2006 (around the time of the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial);

3) since then (i.e. since Judge Jones issued his now-famous decision) it has died almost everywhere;

4) the majority of the output of the "intelligent design movement" consisted of press releases (and produced no empirical science of any kind); and

5) my conclusion in my critical review of Dr. Dembski's analysis of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board decision was essentially correct: he was (and probably still is) either delusional or a bald-faced liar.

So, why did I illustrate this post with a picture of a dodo? Because, like the "intelligent design" movement, the dodo was notorious for its stupidity and that fact that it is extinct.

This is exactly what would be expected for a movement that pretends to be scientific when it is just a political ploy to sneak religious materials into high school science classes. When students sincerely attempt to pursue the ideas in an intellectually robust way, they find there is nothing there.

Be sure to read the comments, especially Casey Luskin's predictable apologetics, as well as MacNeil's response, which closes with this home run:

As to your assertion that there is no empirical research in ID, there is only one institution doing ID research: the Biologic Institute in Remond and Seattle, WA. As I pointed out in another comment, there have been about a dozen research reports from the Biologic Institute on original empirical research since the institute's founding. That's approximately 1/100th of the output of the various departments and research institutes for ecology and evolution during the month of November, 2008. Furthermore, none of the research papers from the Biologic Institute support the conclusion that "intelligent design" is entailed by the research findings. They are only consistent with an assumption of design, but as many evolutionary biologists from Ernst Mayr on down have pointed out, design is clearly an emergent property of evolution by natural selection. Until an unambiguous example of an empirical finding of design that couldn't be the result of purely natural processes is published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, asserting that "intelligent design" is a legitimate explanation for natural processes is merely that: an assertion, without supporting evidence. Ergo, it is not science, it is politics, pure and simple.

Sadly, the creationists are well practiced at changing costumes, and now ID has become 'academic freedom'.

No comments: