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New Report Exposes the False Facts Used by Chris Mooney in His War on Intelligent Design

SEATTLE – In his book The Republican War on Science, Chris Mooney declares war on intelligent design, calling it a “reactionary crusade” promoted by “[s]cience abusers.” Discovery Institute now responds to Mooney’s war on intelligent design (ID) by publishing a detailed report, “Whose War Is It, Anyway? Exposing Chris Mooney’s Attack on Intelligent Design,” documenting 14 major errors Mooney makes when writing about ID in his book. The report will be available online on Friday, Sept. 15.

“Why do so many people eagerly listen to a journalist with neither scientific nor legal training discuss a complex scientific and legal issue like intelligent design?” asks Casey Luskin, an attorney with a science background, working with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture (CSC).

Mooney writes: “Wherever uncertainty remains in the current evolutionary account—and as we have seen, uncertainty can never be fully dispelled in science—ID theorists swoop in and claim, “God must have done it.”

This blatant misrepresentation claims intelligent design as merely a negative argument against evolution or argument from ignorance which appeals to God. This is false. The theory of intelligent design simply states that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

Intelligent design theorists argue in favor of design theory based on the recognition of things like the digital information in DNA and the complex molecular machines found in cells. They do so because invariably we know from experience that complex systems possessing such features always arise from intelligent causes. So, intelligent design theory is not an argument based on what we don’t know, but rather an argument from what we do know.

Mooney also claims that “literature searches have failed to turn up scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals that explicitly present research that supports the ID hypothesis.” This is false. ID proponents have published a number of scientific publications supporting their arguments in peer-reviewed scientific venues. A complete list is available on Discovery Institute’s website and includes such pieces as:

  • Stephen Meyer, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 117(2004):213-239.\
  • Jonathan Wells, “Do Centrioles Generate a Polar Ejection Force?,” Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum 98 (2005): 37-62.
  • Michael J. Behe and David W. Snoke, “Simulating Evolution by Gene Duplication of Protein Features That Require Multiple Amino Acid Residues,” Protein Science, 13 (2004): 2651-2664.

Click here to download the entire report.

Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. The Institute is home to an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued.