01 February, 2006

The Wedgie Awards

It's coming up on seven years now since the famous "Wedge Document", which set out the Discovery Institute's plan for the progression of the "intelligent design" movement, first came to light. PZ links to recently-published scans of the document, which he kindly makes available as a PDF. (Also don't miss his exciting cloak-and-dagger tale of how a humble mailroom employee brought this document to light.)

Seven years is more than enough leeway for us to judge them on their five-year goals. Let's see how they're doing!

The Wedge: Five Year Objectives
1. A major public debate between design theorists and Darwinists (by 2003)To date, the vast majority of biologists have refused to engage IDists in any public forum, and any engagement must be classified as 'minor'.0
2. Thirty published books on design and its cultural implications (sex, gender issues, medicine, law and religion)Err. This seems like the easiest thing for them to have achieved, but I actually don't think they've done this. The Discovery Institute only lists seven books supporting ID on their website. Makes me kind of sad for them.0
3. One hundred scientific, academic, and technical articles by our fellows.Um. If we're counting journal publications, I think the number is a paltry two or three, by the most charitable count.0
4. Significant coverage in national media:0.5
Cover story on major news magazine such as Time or NewsweekThey definitely got Time.0.25
PBS show such as Nova treating design theory fairlyI don't think they got any such coverage...0
Regular press coverage on developments in design theorySeems like this would have been a sure-fire win, except for the tiny problem that there haven't actually BEEN any developments in design theory.0
Favorable op-ed pieces and columns on the design movement by 3rd party mediaOh boy did they achieve this one.0.25!
5. Spiritual and cultural renewal:0.25
Mainline renewal movements begin to appropriate insights from design theory, and to repudiate theologies influenced by materialismLet's assume "appropriate insights" means "parrot our talking points" and give them this one. (You can tell I'd make a bad teacher because I am such a softie.)0.25
Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation & repudiate(s) DarwinismI don't think anyone has, oddly enough.0
Seminaries increasingly recognize & repudiate naturalistic presuppositionsI'm not really in a position to assess trends within seminaries, but judging by the one nearest me (Harvard Divinity School), I'm going to say no.0
Positive uptake in public opinion polls on issues such as sexuality, abortion and belief in GodI'm not really sure what a positive uptake on sexuality, abortion, and belief in God would be. I'd say it should be, respectively, "Yes, have some," "Safe, legal & rare," and "He still owes me five bucks." Anyway, I'm not seeing any positive influence from ID, here. No points for you!0
1.[sic] Ten states begin to rectify ideological imbalance in their science curricula & include design theoryUrgh. To date, two pathetic attempts have been made, one of which (Dover, PA) was quashed ruthlessly, and the other of which (Kansas) likely will be very shortly.0
2. Scientific achievements:It's almost too much even considering this.0.4
An active design movement in Israel, the UK and other influential countries outside the USPersonally, I think they should have focused on Paris, which, as we all know, is the influential place when it comes to design. Vous êtes fabuleux, ma chere!0
Ten CRSC Fellows teaching at major universitiesI guess we can't consider Lehigh to be a major university.0
Two universities where design theory has become the dominant viewPlenty of leeway here. We've at least got Kent Hovind's "Patriot Bible University" and Bob Jones University. Although the former isn't actually an accredited university, and the latter probably shouldn't be, they never required either...0.2
Design becomes a key concept in the social sciencesMmmm. Possibly "a key example of a very bad idea", but I don't think that's what they meant.0
Legal reform movements base legislative proposals on design theoryThe number of stupid state congressfolk trying to pass pro-ID legislation is legion.0.2
Total1.15 out of 7

What's most amazing about the Wedge Strategy is that they actually believed that they would be able to achieve any of these goals. This means they're fully convinced that they're actually doing good science, as opposed to something worthy of a bad science fiction movie.

(Man in white lab coat enters from right, moving with a quick, decisive gait.)

DOC: Susan, hurry! Recalibrate the interferators to delta-seven. The ions have become unstable!

SUSAN: Oh, no, Doctor! Will we survive?

DOC: (grimly) If I can manage to repress the nuclear charge and divert the flow
of energy towards the quantum flux-gate, we just might make it.


I'd add another .25 to the "major coverage in news media", because of the infuriatingly biased coverage the New York Times gave them last fall. That still only raises it to 1.4 out of 7. 

Posted by DearDarlingDidi

Depressingly high. That such a concept would be considered in a nation where the government and religion aren't supposed to be in cahoots, this is a sign of decline. 

Posted by Nikhil Mulani

Personally, I think they should have focused on Paris, which, as we all know, is the influential place when it comes to design. Vous ĂȘtes fabuleux, ma chere! 

Wow, that actually sounds like a great strategy for getting ID permanently shot down.  

Posted by Saheli

i now support ID. because of patterns i see in the natural world, i am convinced that the divine force is a total sex maniac. it's everywhere  and it's just too obvious to ignore. that's science. 

Posted by david

I think "stupid state" is a type of physics that will replace "solid state." It applies to all political areas where political consciousness ends at the voting box. And the physics involve lots of those subatomic particles called morons. 

Posted by hedgehog

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