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A Case against "Intelligent Design"

"Proponents of intelligent design, with great gnashing of teeth and colorful language, have created a great deal of smoke," Steven B. Case explains [Link broken] in the Kansas City Star (September 12, 2006). Case, who is a research assistant professor at the University of Kansas and assistant director of its Center for Science Education, is in a good position to know: as the co-chair of the state science standards writing committee, he was at the center of the furor over the standards caused by a creationist majority on the state board of education. In November 2005, the board voted to adopt a set of state science standards that was rewritten, under the guidance of local "intelligent design" activists, to impugn the scientific status of evolution. Owing to the defeat of two creationist candidates in the August 2006 primary election, however, supporters of the integrity of evolution education are expected to form the majority on the state board of education, no matter who prevails in the November 2006 general election.

In his column, Case notes that despite the smoke emitted from the "intelligent design" movement, "One thing is clear: The scientific community has not embraced the explanation of design because it is quite clear that on the basis of the evidence, it is just wrong." More important, he adds, is the fact that "the smoke is hiding an attack on the religious faith and beliefs of many people. Framed as 'science' and using pseudoscientific language, teaching intelligent design camouflages an ugly underlying theology," arguing, "Intelligent design attempts to describe God in the very limited language of science, putting the understanding of God into a very small box. For most people of faith, God is far bigger then this very small box. Intelligent design proponents call those who believe in God and still find science a compelling explanation of the natural world, 'worse than atheists.' The manufactured choice of God or evolution advances an intolerant, anti-intellectual and very narrow religious view that is clearly not the position of most people of faith."