Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: August 17, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959216 | Print ISBN: 9781412959209 | Online ISBN: 9781412959216| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Intelligent Design in Public Discourse
William Keith & Julie Homchick
Depending on one's perspective, intelligent design (ID) can be viewed as either the intrusion of a religiously driven pseudoscience on the successful scientific project of evolutionary theory or as an alternative theory of origins that promotes pluralistic thought and education. The public debates have been played out in an astonishing number of venues, including movies, speaking events, textbooks, books, bumper stickers, court cases, museum exhibits, and media coverage of all of these. In this entry, we will try to outline the argumentative and discursive strategies used by both sides in the debate. The main positions and theories on each side of the debate are often captured in the terminology used, such as the idea of the watchmaker (an argument that the design of life is so complex it surely required a designer, parallel to a watchmaker), the concept of descent with modification (Charles Darwin's term for biological evolution), and irreducible ...