The Legacy of Darwin: An Overview
On October 31st, 2009, my friend and I attended the “Legacy of Darwin Intelligent Design Conference” in Castle Rock, Colorado. The event was sponsored by Shepherd Project Ministries, who did a great job hosting the event. The event was well organized, ran smoothly, and real people were picked out of the audience to ask questions of the speakers, albeit it was limited to only a few. Luckily, I was one of them. Despite all that this, I can say it was the scariest Halloween I have ever had. Why has it taken me five months to summarize the conference? Certainly I have been busy, but it also took time for me to review the pseudoscience of ID without wanting to simultaneously laugh and vomit.
The conference proclaimed that it would “equip attendees to understand the key issues and raise awareness of the growing body of scientific evidence supporting the contention that biological life on our world is at least partially the result of intelligent design.” At least that is what the flyer for non-Christians stated. The Christian version of the flyer stated it “will equip Christians to understand they key issues and be able to speak effectively into a culture that is foundering in a sea of meaninglessness that is Darwin’s most lasting legacy.” Yes, the “scientific evidence” was missing from the Christian flyer -- just as it was missing from the Saturday presentations of the Discovery Institute speakers. Perhaps the fact that no scientific theory or evidence for Intelligent Design was ever presented in the eight hours of talks is why the flyers boldly stated: “No scientific background is necessary!” [The less science you know, the better we’ll sound!]
The atmosphere of the conference was surreal and schizophrenic. The first speaker of the day was Dr. Behe, a Roman Catholic who accepts the fact all life on the planet, including man, descended from a common ancestor over millions of years. Yet stroll through the back room and you find a Master Books area touting the banner: “Your Evolution-Free Creation Education Destination.” On these tables you could see marvelous works; such as, “Dinosaurs by Design,” “Dinosaurs of Eden,” and “Global Warming: A Biblical Expose.” What the heck? Was the door really a time warp that transported people back two hundred years? Even Dr. Behe, and the Catholic Church, would consider these Christians wackjobs.
A sadistic teacher of introductory logical thinking could do not better than to force their students to sit through the “Legacy of Darwin.” Nearly every logical fallacy that has ever been conceived was used in promoting their pseudoscientific propaganda against legitimate science and its promoters. There were ad hominem attacks, straw men fallacies, slippery slope arguments, post hoc ... you name it, and it was used. The thousand member audience seemed oblivious to the countless errors and misdirection of the presenters, which is not surprising since my guess is that the majority were evangelical Christians. And what is faith if not a self-induced, non-invasive, lobotomy targeting the reasoning areas of the brain?
The complete absence of scientific evidence for Intelligent Design wasn’t the only thing missing from the conference. The most important question of all was never even asked. Who is the Intelligent Designer? And, I might add, why did he/she do such a crappy job? Any real scientist who truly had evidence that life was designed, and did not evolve, would immediately ask this question. But the Discovery Institute is interested in neither real science nor evidence. The reason they do not ask the ultimate question is that it would undermine their goal to sabotage the teaching of legitimate science in public schools. The moment the Intelligent Designer was identified by the Discovery Institute as the god of the bible, any hope of sneaking ID into public schools would evaporate. Promoting a religious belief in public schools violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Intelligent Design, being the white-washed son of the failed Creationist movement, cannot be taught in public schools now because it violates the Establishment Clause, as was made clear by Judge Jones in the Dover trail. Let’s hope future judges are as wise and knowledgeable as he is.