[Cross-posted at Folkbum and Daily Kos.]

Uber-conservative columnist Morton Kondracke, who apparently is a Democrat despite thinking the Republican Party is “not conservative enough,” recently penned this editorial (registration required, or use Bugmenot) eviscerating the Creationism-in-schools argument:

“Intelligent Design” (ID), the religious alternative to Darwinism, ought to be taught in schools — Sunday schools and high-school social studies or history classes.

But in biology classes? No way. … ID isn’t science. Its concepts can’t be independently verified. In essence, ID holds that living organisms are so complex that they couldn’t be the product of blind natural forces, but had to be the work of a Designer — or, at least, a designer.

The scientific problem is this: There is no way to locate actual evidence of a designer, be it small “d” or big “D.” Proponents of ID, including some sophisticated scientists, point to holes in Darwinian explanations for the development of life and say that only “intelligent design” can fill the gap. But that’s not proof of design.

It’s true that, as John West points out, the article is riddled with factual errors that make the ID people seem much more intelligent than they really are.  But I’ll take what I can get, particularly since Kondracke himself is an ID supporter, as he explains later in the article:

Personally, I think that high-school students … ought to be taught that no one knows for sure what caused life to originate on Earth or what caused the creation of the universe. I favor the religious view of this, but there’s a secular view that students should know about too.

But as to the “how” of biology — the science — schools should teach the best evidence available, which is evolutionary theory.

In reality, the evidence against intelligent design is an insurmountable vastitude.  Eloquent evolution scientist Stephen Jay Gould famously declared in 1999 that “The hard bony evidence for human evolution…surely exceeds our reliable documentation of Caesar’s life.”  In 1986, seventy-two Nobel laureates — including DNA discoverers Watson and Crick, H-bomb progenitor Hans Bethe, and two-time laureate Linus Pauling — signed an amicus brief that stated, in part, “The evolutionary history of organisms has been as extensively tested and as thoroughly corroborated as any biological concept.”  Geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky argued in 1973 that “evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry.”

As evidence that evolutionists are slowly winning the battle over creationism, Kondracke notes that ID advocates have launched “a retreat from old-line creationism”, no longer arguing that the world was created in 4004 B.C., for instance.  However, he cites the disturbing statistic, collected just last year, that only 13 percent of Americans believe in non-divinely-assisted Darwinian evolution.

And so the debate continues between those who choose to view the world for what it is and those who discount facts as fictions.  But if Kondracke’s column is any indication, it is possible that those of us in the reality-based community (to borrow from the great DHinMI) are inching closer to a victory on this particularly vexing issue.

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