It's a phrase
proponents of Darwin's theory might do well to ponder as they crow over the
decision by a federal judge in Pennsylvania "permanently enjoining" the Dover
school district from mentioning the theory of intelligent design in science
Contrary to Judge John Jones' assertions, intelligent design is
not a religious-based idea, but instead an evidence-based scientific theory that
holds there are certain features of living systems and the universe that are
best explained by an intelligent cause. No legal decree can remove the digitally
coded information from DNA, nor molecular machines from cells. The facts of
biology cannot be overruled by a federal judge. Research on intelligent design
will continue to go forward, and the scientific evidence will win out in the
Still, Darwinists clearly won this latest skirmish in the evolution
wars. But at what cost?
Evolutionists used to style themselves the
champions of free speech and academic freedom against unthinking dogmatism. But
increasingly, they have become the new dogmatists, demanding judicially-imposed
censorship of dissent.
Now, Darwinists are trying to silence debate
through persecution. At Ohio State University, a graduate student's dissertation
is in limbo because he was openly critical of Darwin's theory. At George Mason
University, a biology professor lost her job after she mentioned intelligent
design in class. At the Smithsonian, an evolutionary biologist was harassed and
vilified for permitting an article favoring intelligent design to be published
in a peer-reviewed biology journal.
Those who think they can stop the
growing interest in intelligent design through court orders or intimidation are
deluding themselves. Americans don't like being told there are some ideas they
aren't permitted to investigate. Try to ban an idea, and you will generate even
more interest in it.
Efforts to mandate intelligent design are misguided,
but efforts to shut down discussion of a scientific idea through harassment and
judicial decrees hurt democratic pluralism. The more Darwinists resort to
censorship and persecution, the clearer it will become that they are championing
dogmatism, not science.
John G. West is associate director of
Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture, andassociate professor
of political science at Seattle Pacific University.