The Nature of the Controversy

Although there is no scientific controversy about creationism within biology, since the truth of evolution has long been firmly established by a wide range of evidence, there is certainly a conflict in the sense that biology must deal with the regular attacks from without. In this sense, however, the scientific "controversy" goes well beyond evolutionary biology. Creationism calls into question not only the conclusions of biology, but also of many other specific sciences. More significant still is that the new intelligent-design creationism also calls into question scientific methodology itself, and claims that science is little more than a naturalistic religious dogma. Going beyond the classic "creation-science" that simply proposed that the content of evolutionary science was wrong, the new creationists' call for a "theistic science" is far more radical in that it would replace not only the content but also the methodological foundations of science.

Scientists have defended the truth of evolutionary theory from the attacks of creation-science on the merits and must continue to do so. Creationism is not just mistaken, but is mistaken in a way that is potentially dangerous. Creationists' with-us-or-against-us arguments and their accompanying take-no-prisoners rhetoric is polarizing and divisive, and introducing their viewpoint into the school curriculum would be an educational disaster.

The new attacks are against science as a way of knowing and here the defense must be taken up on the philosophical side. The truth of nature and the nature of truth; these are the issues. It would be wrong to allow such matters to be decided simply by appeal to political power. They must be resolved rather by the power of the evidence.