Contra Derb on Ben Stein

by Steven F. Hayward

I’m going to have to wait to see Expelled before making a final judgment about agendas–hidden, shifty, or otherwise–but I have to say I continue to be troubled by the fervency of anti-ID commentary. I don’t have a dog in this fight–well, maybe a small poodle regarding the misuse of Darwinian concepts in social science and politics by the so-called “Progressives” 100 years ago, as we discussed in our panel together on this subject at AEI last spring. (See also Jonah’s book on this score–plug, plug. And–full disclosure–John West of the Discovery Institute was a housemate of mine in graduate school 20 years ago in Claremont.)

I can understand, in the abstract, why global warming alarmists decry us so-called “skeptics”–we are, after all, a roadblock to SAVING THE PLANET, fergodsakes! But what exactly is the real world threat from ID people in the academy? (Or elsewhere?) Is there a technical issue, like stem cell research, where the ID argument is relevant? Is ID really the scientific equivalent of Naziism or Communism, which should rightly be proscribed from a faculty and curriculum? I have to agree with Ben Stein in the trailer that people who are confident in their views should not feel threatened by heterodox views.

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