In the 1990s, Philip E. Johnson, William Dembski and Micheael Behe moved to re-market creationism in the US under the new moniker of “intelligent design”. The movement, profiting from institutionalisation through the Discovery Institute, points backwards through history to the dim inferences of the medieval period (and, in fact, back to the Ancient Greeks), as well as to the early 20th century’s infamous Scopes Trial. Indeed, the “intelligent” designers succeeded to resuscitate the issue sufficiently that the sinister maneuver to bring ID into the classroom as an alternative to the theory of evolution has as recently as 2005 had to be struck down in American law courts (Kitzmiller vs The Dover School Board) for violating the separation of Church and State.
The UK has, at least in the recent past, been far more readily predisposed towards suspicion of religious dogmatisms, including creationism or Bible literalism. Perhaps this is a function of the great heritage of sceptical thinkers it has produced – David Hume, Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins, to sketch a very rough lineage. In general, creationists have failed to penetrate European intellectual culture. So it is with deep sadness that I learned of their attempts to undermine all that is still scientific in the curriculum of our poor, decrepid school system with their lamentable, bovinally-excremental babble.
The BBC’s Newsnight programme, armed with Paxman’s inimitable dry cynicism, broadcast an interview with an Intelligent Designer trying to sell his cheap and flimsy wares to the UK public. Gratifyingly, Professor Lewis Wolpert was on hand to make mincemeat of the quack.
I propose all right-thinking people make reference to this new form of virulent creationism by strategically placing inverted commas around “intelligent”; the doctrine is anything but that.