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Darwinism, Design and Public Education

Darwinism, Design and Public Education is a 2003 anthology, consisting largely of rewritten versions of essays from a 1998 issue of Michigan State University Press's journal, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, edited by intelligent design activists John Angus Campbell (who serves on the journal's editorial board) and Stephen C. Meyer, neither of whom are scientists.[1] The book is promoted as being a "peer-reviewed science book",[2] however in reviewing it Barbara Forrest notes that:[1]

Darwinism, Design and Public Education
Darwinism, Design and Public Education.jpg
EditorsJohn Angus Campbell
Stephen C. Meyer
CountryUnited States
SeriesRhetoric & Public Affairs
SubjectIntelligent design
PublisherMichigan State University Press
Publication date
December 2003
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
576.8/071 22
LC ClassQH362 .D37 2003

The book purports to address the question of "[s]hould public school science teachers be free to teach the controversies over biological origins" and promotes the Discovery Institute's "teach the controversy" political action plan, whilst claiming "not to advocate the theory of ID."[3] This denial is later undercut by claiming that an understanding of ID is needed "to understand Darwin's argument, to say nothing of the contemporary controversy that it continues to generate".[1]


Representation of intelligent designEdit

In his introduction, Campbell states:[3]

Only evolution in the classroom, insist Darwin's defenders.

No evolution in the classroom, cry creationists.

The debate over how best to teach evolution has devolved into an either-or argument that threatens science education in our schools. Both views reflect poor science, and if either side wins, students will lose.

As science, ID is an argument against the orthodox Darwinian claim that mindless forces—such as variation, inheritance, natural selection, and time—can account for the principal features of the biological world.

As a philosophy, ID is a critique of the prevailing philosophy of science that limits explanation to purely physical or material causes.

As a program for educational reform, ID is a public movement to make Darwinism—its evidence, philosophic presuppositions, and rhetorical tactics—a matter of informed, broad, and spirited public discussion.

Forrest rebuts these three assertions by pointing out that:[1]

Science, however, does not consist of "arguments against" anything. People who claim to have a scientific theory must actually do scientific work and produce original, empirical data; but at an October 2002 ID conference, CSC fellow William Dembski, ID's leading intellectual, admitted that while ID has made cultural inroads, it enjoys no scientific success. And in criticizing science's limitation to material, i.e., natural, explanations, Campbell reveals ID to be not a philosophy, but a religious belief that would explain natural phenomena by invoking the only alternative: the supernatural. Campbell, of course, cannot use that term without divulging ID's religious identity, which is the chief obstacle to the Wedge's plans for educational "reform." But the public discussion of "Darwinism" that Campbell seeks to advance toward such reform is nothing more than the usual creationist carping against evolution.

Peer reviewEdit

The Discovery Institute lists five chapters as "Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design,[4] although Mark Isaak of the Archive notes that "Anthologies and conference proceedings do not have well-defined peer review standards" and that "reviewers are themselves ardent supporters of intelligent design. The purpose of peer review is to expose errors, weaknesses, and significant omissions in fact and argument. That purpose is not served if the reviewers are uncritical".[5] The five papers are:

The first three are actually listed twice including once as "featured articles". Meyer's paper on the Cambrian explosion also contains much of the same material which went into another of the claimed peer-reviewed papers which was at the center of the Sternberg peer review controversy.[6]

See alsoEdit


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