For the love of our children and in deference to Beetlebrow's everywhere... Scientist and science fiction writer David Brin carries Intelligent Design creationism to its logical conclusion by showing the numerous âother alternativesâ to Darwinian evolution that creationists donât want you to know about, such as the designer of the Intelligent Designer, Panspermia, and others. http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v12n02_other_ID_theories.php "There is rich irony in how the present battle over Creationism v. Darwinism has taken shape, and especially the ways that this round differs from previous episodes. A clue to both the recent success â and the eventual collapse â of âIntelligent Designâ can be found in its name, and in the new tactics that are being used to support its incorporation into school curricula. In what must be taken as sincere flattery, these tactics appear to acknowledge just how deeply the inner lessons of science have pervaded modern culture. Intelligent Design (ID) pays tribute to its rival, by demanding to be recognized as a direct and âscientificâ competitor with the Theory of Evolution. Unlike the Creationists of 20 years ago, proponents of ID no longer refer to biblical passages. Instead, they invoke skepticism and cite alleged faulty evidence as reasons to teach students alternatives to evolution. True, they produce little or no evidence to support their own position. ID promoters barely try to undermine evolution as a vast and sophisticated model of the world, supported by millions of tested and interlocking facts. At the level that they are fighting, none of that matters. Their target is the millions of onlookers and voters, for whom the battle is as emotional and symbolic as it ever was. What has changed is the armory of symbols and ideas being used. Proponents of Intelligent Design now appeal to notions that are far more a part of the lexicon of science than religion, notably openness to criticism, fair play, and respect for the contingent nature of truth. These concepts proved successful in helping our civilization to thrive, not only in science, but markets, democracy and a myriad other modern processes. Indeed, they have been incorporated into the moral foundations held by average citizens, of all parties and creeds. Hence, the New Creationists have adapted and learned to base their arguments upon these same principles. One might paraphrase the new position, that has been expressed by President Bush and many others, as follows: What do evolutionists have to fear? Are they so worried about competition and criticism that they must censor what bright students are allowed to hear? Let all sides present their evidence and students will decide for themselves! One has to appreciate not only irony, but an implied tribute to the scientific enlightenment, when we realize that openness to criticism, fair play, and respect for the contingent nature of truth are now the main justifications set forward by those who still do not fully accept science. Some of those promoting a fundamentalist- religious agenda now appeal to principles they once fiercely resisted. (In fairness, some religions helped to promote these concepts.) Perhaps they find it a tactically useful maneuver. Itâs an impressive one. And it has allowed them to steal a march. While scientists and their supporters try to fight back with judicious reasoning and mountains of evidence, a certain fraction of the population perceives only smug professors, fighting to protect their turf â authority figures trying to squelch brave underdogs before they can compete. Image matters. And this self-portrayal â as champions of open debate, standing up to stodgy authorities â has worked well for the proponents of Intelligent Design (ID). For now. Yet, I believe they have made a mistake. By basing their offensive on core notions of fair play and completeness, ID promoters have employed a clever short-term tactic, but have incurred a long-term strategic liability. Because, their grand conceptual error is in believing that their incantation of Intelligent Design is the only alternative to Darwinian evolution. If students deserve to weigh ID against natural selection, then why not also expose them toâ¦ 1. Guided Evolution This is the deist compromise most commonly held by thousands â possibly millions â of working scientists who want to reconcile science and faith. Yes, the Earth is 4.6 billion years old and our earliest ancestors emerged from a stew of amino acids that also led to crabs, monkeys and slime molds who are all distant relatives. Still, a creative force may have been behind the Big Bang, and especially the selection of some finely tuned physical constants, whose narrow balance appears to make the evolution of life possible, maybe even inevitable. Likewise, such a force may have given frequent or occasional nudges of subtle guidance to evolution, all along, as part of a Divine Plan. There is one advantage â and drawback â to this notion (depending on your perspective): it is compatible with everything we see around us â all the evidence weâve accumulated â and it is utterly impossible to prove or disprove. Not only does this let many scientists continue both to pray and do research, but it has allowed the Catholic Church and many other religious organizations to accept (at long last) evolution as fact, with relatively good grace. 2. Intelligent Design of Intelligent Designers (IDOID) Most Judeo-Christian sects dislike speculating about possible origins of the Creator. But not all avoid the topic. Mormons, for example, hold that the God of this universe â who created humanity (or at least guided our evolution) â was once Himself a mortal being who was created by a previous God in a prior universe or context. One can imagine someone applying the very same logic that Intelligent Design promoters have used. There is no way that such a fantastic entity as God could have simply erupted out of nothing. Such order and magnificence could not possibly have self-organized out of chaos. Only intelligence can truly create order, especially order of such a supreme nature. Oh, certainly there are theological arguments that have been around since Augustine to try and quell such thoughts, arguing in favor of ex nihilio or timeless pre-existence, or threatening punishment for even asking the question. But thatâs the point! Any effort to raise these rebuttals will: 1. make this a matter of theology (something the ID people have strenuously avoided). 2. smack as an attempt to quash other ideas, flying against the very same principles of fair play and completeness that ID proponents have used to prop up this whole effort. IDOID will have to be let in, or the whole program must collapse under howling derision and accusations of hypocrisy.