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Critique: "Icons of Evolution"

Discovery Institute fellow Jonathan Wells is a major purveyor of misleading, inaccurate, and incorrect statements about evolution. His book Icons of Evolution (2000) is notorious for its distortions and false claims about evolution.

Here are resources to help you understand and respond to the misleading claims made by Wells, especially in Icons.

Hurst v. Newman

On January 10, 2006, Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a lawsuit on behalf of eleven parents against the school board, superintendent, and a teacher in the El Tejon School District in Lebec, California.

Forrest's Testimony: "Creationism" and "ID"

Here are the now-famous word-count charts used by Barbara Forrest in her testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover. These charts showed that the words "creation" and "creationist" were systematically changed to "intelligent design" and "design proponent" in the drafts for the book Of Pandas and People, in the aftermath of the 1987 Supreme Court case Edwards v. Aguillard .

Click the images for an enlarged view:

The "Pandas" Drafts

An excerpt from Nicholas Matzke's article Design on Trial: How NCSE Helped Win the Kitzmiller Case. Reports of the National Center for Science Education 26(1-2), 37-44.

(Some HTML links have been added, otherwise the text is original.)

Padian's Expert Testimony

Kevin Padian's testimony and slides in the Kitzmiller case

The expert witness testimony given by paleontologist Kevin Padian was a highlight of the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial. His testimony and the slides he showed to the court are now available here, via the links at the bottom of his page.

Farewell to the Santorum Amendment?

Title: 
Farewell to the Santorum Amendment?
Author(s): 
Glenn Branch
Issue: 
1–2

Despite the claims of creationists and other ideological opponents of evolution, the so-called Santorum Amendment - which, by singling out evolution as uniquely "controversial", was apparently intended to discourage evolution education - was not included in the No Child Left Behind Act, passed by Congress in late 2001 and signed into law by President Bush in early 2002. Although the Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Conference contains a brief and not as objectionable mention of evolution, the Joint Explanatory Statement is not part of the law as enacted.

Year: 
2002
Date: 
January–April
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

What Design Looks Like

Title: 
What Design Looks Like
Author(s): 
Mark Isaak
Issue: 
5–6
You know, people think it must all be very easy, creating.
They think you just have to move on the face of the waters and
wave your hands a bit. It’s not like that at all. —Terry Pratchett, Eric


Year: 
2003
Date: 
September–December
About the Author(s): 
Mark Isaak
c/o NCSE
PO Box 9477
Berkeley, CA 94709-0477
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Eight Challenges for Intelligent Design Advocates

Title: 
Eight Challenges for Intelligent Design Advocates
Author(s): 
Wesley Elsberry, Texas A&M University, and Jeffrey Shallit, University of Waterloo
Issue: 
5–6
Thus far, "intelligent design" advocates have produced many popular books, but essentially no scientific research. (See, for example, Gilchrist 1997; Forrest 2001.) Future success for the movement depends critically on some genuine achievements. In this article, we provide some challenges for intelligent design advocates, particularly William Dembski.

1 Publish a mathematically rigorous definition of CSI

Year: 
2003
Date: 
September–December
About the Author(s): 
Wesley Elsberry
c/o NCSE
PO Box 9477
Berkeley CA 94709-0477

Jeffrey Shallit
Department of Computer Science
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
Canada

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

The Wedge Document

(Note - This is the text of the Discovery Institute's "Wedge Document," prepared in 1998. It lays out "the Wedge strategy" by which the newly-formed Center for Renewal of Science and Culture would promote "intelligent design" creationism.)

THE WEDGE

CENTER FOR THE RENEWAL OF SCIENCE & CULTURE

INTRODUCTION

Review: Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds

Year: 
1997
Title: 
Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds
Issue: 
6
Those who have read Phillip Johnson's Darwin on Trial (1991) and Reason in the Balance (1995) will immediately recognize the argument as well as the rhetoric in his latest book. Johnson again brings up the Cambrian explosion and other features of the fossil record that he says biologists can't explain, but he opposes evolutionary theory primarily by way of an attack on scientific naturalism. He speaks of how the young need protection against "indoctrination" (p 10) from "the ruling naturalists" (p 22) who make students memorize "naturalistic doctrine" (p 34).
Author(s): 
Phillip E Johnson
Date: 
November–December
1997. Downer's Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 131 p.
Page(s): 
36–38

References

Barbero Y. Interview With Phillip E Johnson. California Committees of Correspondence Newsletter 1993.
Berm T. Evolution and the Myth of Creationism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990.
Pennock RT. Naturalism, evidence and creationism: The Case of Philip Johnson. Biology & Philosophy 1996; 11(4): 561.

Reviewer: 
Robert T. Pennock
About the Author(s): 
Robert T Pennock
Dept of Philosophy, The University of Texas at Austin.
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

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