2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 15
Presentation Time: 11:30 AM


WISE, Donald U., Geosciences, Univ of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, dwise@geo.umass.edu

Recognition is long overdue by the scientific community that creationism/ intelligent design is a well-organized, very effective political movement attempting to strike at the very heart of Science itself. Traditional methods of polite debate need to be replaced with rough and tumble political rules. (1) Don't waste time defending your position. (2) Focus on a few weak points of the opposition. (3) KISS (Keep it simple, stupid). (4) Stick to irrefutable facts with obvious relation to evolution and close relationship to individual voters. (Yes, voters are our real audience.) (5) Relentlessly repeat a few critical soundbites. The courts have defined Creationism as religion so Science's past battles were commonly seen as attacks on sacred cows. Now ID has freed Science from these constraints by arguing very narrowly that intelligence exists in nature's designs but makes no mention of theological implications. Thus, Science need only show lack of intelligence in nature's designs, the human frame being a prime example. One's frame is certainly close enough to the individual voter and contains obvious design defects easily explained by evolution but embarrassing for IDers. (1) Our pelvis slopes forward for knuckle dragging like all the great apes. Only by an extremely sharp bend of our spine can we stand erect: an evolutionary artifact or a design weakness obvious to any first-year engineering student? (2) Our mouths have too many teeth: either the result of an evolutionarily flattened mammalian muzzle or a design plan that couldn't count accurately above twenty? (3) Our facial bones are squashed by an expanded brain case to produce a sinus drainage system that would embarrass the local plumber: evolution or just plain stupid design? Branding ID as Incompetent Design involves both humor and grit but avoids direct insult to the opposition, a mistake to be avoided in any political campaign. All the tools of political campaigns should be used: slogans, songs, bumper stickers (“Human skeletal errors: Incompetent Design or Evolution ?”), IDers will attempt to take us off-message with debates on origins of life, thermodynamics, etc., but instead we must continue to pound simple themes of obvious design failures. Science can win this battle only if we recognize this is not a Sunday school debating match but a deadly serious political contest.