Perkins on Creationism

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council — which, again, has nothing to do with either families or research — recently sent an email to his followers ranting against public schools, saying, “Leftists don’t want a single American child to escape their thought control.” And he delivers this amusing line:

Today’s science classes often feature big-government political propaganda, taking time and focus away from true science. Not to mention attacks on the Bible and arrogant censoring of any theories like intelligent design that challenge their Darwinism.

Of course, “intelligent design” isn’t a theory at all. It’s just a repackaging of old-fashioned creationism. To use my favorite Biblical metaphor, they took the old wine of creationism and poured it into a new skin, putting the label “intelligent design theory” on it. But theories are testable explanations for a set of data and ID is neither testable nor does it explain anything.

Intelligent design is nothing more than an old “god of the gaps” argument: Evolution can’t explain (fill in the blank), therefore God must have done it. But all of their claims about what can’t be explained by evolution have been debunked long ago. And what little research people like Michael Behe have done has actually shown the exact opposite of what they claim. This has no place at all in science classrooms.

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  • John Pieret

    “intelligent design” isn’t a theory at all.

    Of couse it is! It is a fine statement of the theory first espoused by that great scientist, P.T. Barnum!

  • tsig

    ID, the idea that since people make watches god must have made the universe.

  • exdrone

    Perkins’ idea has the virtue of being economical. If what you choose to call science is based solely on ideology and does not have to rely on facts and peer review, then you could save a lot of money. You could fire scientists, defund research organizations, eliminate university science departments and never have to update textbooks.

  • busterggi

    I always think of Norman Bates when I see Perkins name. I don’t know why, Norman was much saner.

  • yoav

    According to Michael Behe during his testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover then

    ID doesn’t fit the commonly used definition of what is a scientific theory

    Q: Okay. And I said, “Intelligent design does meet that?” And you said, “It’s well substantiated, yes.” And I said, “Let’s be clear here, I’m asking — looking at the definition of a scientific theory in its entirety, is it your position that intelligent design is a scientific theory?” And you said, going down to line 23, “I think one can argue these a variety of ways. For purposes of an answer to the — relatively brief answer to the question, I will say that I don’t think it falls under this.” And I asked you, “What about this definition; what is it in this definition that ID can’t satisfy to be called a scientific theory under these terms?” And you answer, “Well, implicit in this definition it seems to me that there would be an agreed upon way to decide something was well substantiated. And although I do think that intelligent design is well substantiated, I think there’s not — I can’t point to external — an external community that would agree that it was well substantiated.”

    A: Yes.

    Q: So for those reasons you said it’s not — doesn’t meet the National Academy of Sciences definition.

    A: I think this text makes clear what I just said a minute or two ago, that I’m of several minds on this question. I started off saying one thing and changing my mind and then I explicitly said, “I think one can argue these things a variety of ways. For purposes of a relatively brief answer to the question, I’ll say this.” But I think if I were going to give a more complete answer, I would go into a lot more issues about this.

    So I disagree that that’s what I said — or that’s what I intended to say.

    Q: In any event, in your expert report, and in your testimony over the last two days, you used a looser definition of “theory,” correct?

    A: I think I used a broader definition, which is more reflective of how the word is actually used in the scientific community.

    Q: But the way you define scientific theory, you said it’s just based on your own experience; it’s not a dictionary definition, it’s not one issued by a scientific organization.

    A: It is based on my experience of how the word is used in the scientific community.

    Q: And as you said, your definition is a lot broader than the NAS definition?

    A: That’s right, intentionally broader to encompass the way that the word is used in the scientific community.

    and if you accept Behe’s own extended definition, which would include ID as a legitimate scientific theory then astrology should be considered one as well.

    Q: And using your definition, intelligent design is a scientific theory, correct?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Under that same definition astrology is a scientific theory under your definition, correct?

    A: Under my definition, a scientific theory is a proposed explanation which focuses or points to physical, observable data and logical inferences. There are many things throughout the history of science which we now think to be incorrect which nonetheless would fit that — which would fit that definition. Yes, astrology is in fact one, and so is the ether theory of the propagation of light, and many other — many other theories as well.

  • iknklast

    intentionally broader to encompass the way that the word is used in the scientific community

    Only if you let Behe define scientific community. The way he’s using it is the vernacular way, not the scientific way. But do facts really matter when you’ve got the Bible?

  • John Pieret


    An internet, a very palpable internet!

  • d.c.wilson

    Astrology actually fits the scientific definition of a theory better than ID. At least astrology makes predictions that can be tested, even if the results of the testing aren’t any better than blind guessing.

    ID isn’t even good theology. After being forced to concede that evolution explains 99% of the biological forms found in the world, Behe is reduced to insisting God made the baterial flagellum. That’s not very impressive for an omnipotent being.

  • petemoulton

    ID was never even meant to be science. The Discovery Institute is merely a PR firm designed to look and sound sciencey enough to fool the rubes, and sneak their Old Earth Creationism around the edge of the Establishment Clause and into public school curricula through the back door. They laid out their plan of attack in their own “Wedge Document:”

    All they’ve done is create an elaborate cargo cult.