Science Rebranding Intelligent Design
posted by June 4 at 13:42 PMon
The New York Times has a good story today about the newest rebranding efforts of the intelligent design proponents at Seattle’s very own Discovery Institute.
Laura Beil goes over a few of the good old catchphrases—creationism to creation science to intelligent design—but it’s useful to remember that there are also nitty-gritty PR tactics under those larger umbrella strategies. As newly favored phrases like “strengths and weaknesses” [of the theory of evolution] and “academic freedom” are being phased in (with the help of mass culture and new media propaganda in movie theaters and on YouTube), many others have been or are being phased out: “equal time for creation science” (this was dropped after the Supreme Court called bullshit on it in Edwards v. Aguillard; “intelligent design” appeared soon thereafter), “abrupt appearance theory,” “critical analysis of evolution,” “teach the controversy,” etc. Others are being retracted so you’ll only hear them in creation-friendly audiences: “Evolution is a theory in crisis,” “evolution is just or only a theory,” “evolutionist,” etc.
Intelligent design is a legal strategy wrapped in a robustly funded public relations campaign. (In terms of content, it’s still dependent on the tired old God-of-the-gaps reasoning of 18th-century philosopher William Paley, who died before Charles Darwin had been born.) Sound, innovative ideas don’t need that kind of arsenal to succeed in the public sphere.