by Denyse O'Leary
I expect ID to grow in scope in the next decade, and to become international, but that is not mainly because of the merits of ID. I do think ID has some merits, but right now the main engine of its acceptance is the problems of Darwinism.
Darwinism, as currently believed and practiced by a great many people, is a vulgar superstition.
Darwin's useful idea in biology (which may or may not describe how most speciation occurs) has morphed into a farrago of nonsense promoted by zealots, comprising opinions on everything from cosmic black holes to religious belief. Opinions that, in their entirety, are shared by few. The more people come to know of them, the more legitimate objections to Darwinism will arise.
Thomas Huxley, Darwin's bulldog, warned that something like this might occur:
History warns us... that it is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions; and, as matters now stand, it is hardly rash to anticipate that, in another twenty years, the new generation, educated under the influences of the present day, will be in danger of accepting the main doctrines of the "Origin of Species," with as little reflection, and it may be with as little justification, as so many of our contemporaries, twenty years ago, rejected them.
–Thomas Huxley on –Thomas Huxley on Darwin's theory
Huxley didn't know the half of it because he probably did not anticipate the extent to which Darwinism would become part of many people's self-concept and entitlements, and therefore defended in the way any doctrine that confers status and rights is defended - ruthlessly.
But, over time, rebellions happen. Years ago, a wise clergyman stickhandling a fearful religious row told me, "Many doctrines are never doubted until someone tries too hard to defend them."
In that respect, the Darwinists' habit of persecution of ID advocates combined with their demands that school systems and museums promote Darwinism helps the IDists immeasurably. The need to stomp all over dissenters and force doctrines down skeptical throats does not spring from overflowing confidence. And nowadays, it is not hard to locate credible reasons for thinking either that Darwin was wrong or that we can't be sure he was right.
Lastly, ours is the age of information, and information theory is much more favorable to ID than 19th century materialist theory could ever be. Information theorists have little to lose in a top down universe. Thus, I am not surprised by the comfort with ID that many software engineers have expressed to me. In that, they echo a physicist:
It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: "In the beginning was the Word."
– physicist Anton Zeilinger, University of Vienna
Well, the next ten years will tell.
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Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain (Harper 2007).
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