I’ll bet that many young-earth creationists and proponents of intelligent design are kicking themselves for having been beaten to the punch by Dan Brown and having their own argument used against Christianity. If there is one feature that young-earth creationism and intelligent design have in common, it is that they must both posit a conspiracy to indoctrinate people and cover up the truth. That is the only way to explain why not only most people but most scientists in relevant areas of expertise cannot see the logic of their arguments. (Some atheists, of course, make a similar argument about religion).
It would make a great novel. Darwin left codes in The Origin of Species that show how he was involved in a secret society aimed at undermining the foundations of Christianity and morality. When a young biologist involved in the intelligent design movement is murdered, a coded message he left behind is a clue to the conspiracy he had uncovered. A Christian investigator is on the trail, with a skeptical agnostic side-kick who comes around to the truth by the end of the book. It would be a best-seller, and I almost wish I had the time to write it – I could use the money. But like The DaVinci Code, it would not merely be fiction, it would ride roughshod over the historical evidence.
It is perhaps quote-mining that most clearly shows the self-contradictory character of such conspiracy claims. Most if not all the major biologists in the world would have to be involved in the conspiracy, and yet supposedly these individuals also write things that show evolution to be a “theory in crisis” (when they are quoted selectively out of context, of course). Why doesn’t the secret society behind it all not eliminate such rogue elements that are supposedly disclosing the truth? One cannot have a conspiracy and at the same time claim that those involved in it acknowledge evolution to be problematic. You really have to pick one or the other and stick with it if you are to make a case that at least has an air of plausibility about it.
But perhaps Intelligent Design doesn’t need such selective quotes. Perhaps it just needs Mulder and Scully to come back and investigate things…