No scientists argued for the teaching and testing of evolution before the Kansas school board, which is considering making Darwin optional. Evolutionists boycotted the hearings, not wanting to dignify “intelligent design” with scientific opposition. Instead, a lawyer berated “intelligent design” advocates as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.
Bad strategy, writes William Saletan in Slate. Creationism has evolved into “intelligent design.” Scientists should challenge ID, not dismiss it as unworthy of argument.
Essentially, ID proponents are gambling that they can concede evolutionist earth science without conceding evolutionist life science. But they can’t. They already acknowledge microevolution — mutation and natural selection within a species. Once you accept conventional fossil dating and four billion years of life, the sequential kinship of species loses its implausibility. You can’t fall back on the Bible; you’ve already admitted it can’t always be taken literally. All you’re left with is an assortment of gaps in evolutionary theory — how did DNA emerge, what happened between this and that fossil — and the vague default assumption that an “intelligence” might fill in those gaps.
. . . (Evolutionists) prefer to dismiss ID proponents as dead-end Neanderthals. They complain, legitimately, that Calvert and Harris are trying to expand the definition of science beyond “natural explanations.” But have you read the definition (John) Calvert and (William) Harris propose? It would define science as a continuous process of “observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”
Don’t just sneer, writes Saletan. Use science to prove them wrong.