The Wedge Strategy: The Next Generation

According to a deposition by Foundation for Thought and Ethics founder Jon A. Buell, Dr. Michael Behe is listed as a co-author of the 2005 edition of Pandas, entitled Design of Life. Behe, of course, denied this on Tuesday, but said he “might be in the future.” The FTE publicity materials should probably be corrected, then.

Unlike the defense counsel, Judge Jones thought the text of the new edition to be “highly relevant” to the case.

Like a moving target, the language in Design of Life will ‘evolve’ from the 1993 and 1987 Pandas incarnations, which dropped the term creationism in favor of ID. Both books explore the gaps in the fossil record, which the theory claims are not just gaps in the record, but actual gaps or “transitional links.”

The new edition omits the terms intelligent design and intelligent agency and replaces them both with “sudden emergence,” meaning that “various forms of life began abruptly [with] features already intact: fish [suddenly emerging with] fins and scales, birds with feathers” and, as the new edition adds, “mammals with fur and mammary glands.”

So, Rothschild inquired, will we “be back in a few years for the sudden emergence trial?”

Judge Jones responded: “Not on my docket.”

Submitted by Amy Laura Cahn, Community Education Organizer

10 thoughts on “The Wedge Strategy: The Next Generation

  1. Could this comment be construed as grounds for appeal if the school board loses?

    It doesn’t sound like the kind of thing a judge should say midway through a trial (because it seems to show a bias towards the defendants.)

  2. Is “sudden emergence” now going to be the new fall back position of the creationists? Verrrry interesting, as Arte Johnson would say. Is ID becoming tarnished? The new name avoids that tricky point of whether “designer” should be capitalized and seemingly disconnects the argument from Behe’s God. But the only thing new is the name. Saltationism and its hopeful monsters by another name, but it’s still creationism and miracles. No doubt they will try to sneak this past the First Amendment at some point.

  3. “Sudden emergence” sounds like a deliberate attempt to confuse creationism with Gould and Eldredge’s “punctuated equilibrium.”

    Both posit long periods of stasis followed by rapid speciation, right? So why teach one and not the other?

    Prejudice! That’s why!

    (I hope people here realize I very well know the difference. I’m hypothesizing on what the strategy is for the religious right.)

  4. One of the ignorant essayists in Dembski’s “Uncommon Dissent” kept referring to Gould as a saltationist. He would roll over in his grave, if not jump out of it.

  5. I think the judge’s comment only indicates that he doesn’t want to go through such a tedious trial again.

  6. Apparently the ID proponents realized that they just MIGHT not win this battle, and wanted another ace up the sleeve in case they didn’t happen to get a Team Jesus judge.

    I’m watching this case very closely; To me this would be the difference between staying in my community or moving to another district that didn’t teach this line of bull, or home schooling my kids altogether.

  7. “Anonymous said…
    Is “sudden emergence” now going to be the new fall back position of the creationists?”

    nono it’s intelligent evolution!
    -just a layman

  8. The judge has broad discretion to comment on the trial, so long as he doesn’t communicate to the jury what he thinks the judgment should be. As this is a bench trial, nearly anything goes. If he thinks that one or both sides are wasting his time, he sure can say so.

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