I came across a credulous (or scientifically illiterate) article in The American Spectator (a conservative journal I’d never heard of before): Intelligent Design at the University Club. It’s by a journalist I’d never heard of before, Tom Bethell. It seems that Bethell attended a lecture by Stephen Meyer and organised by Socrates in the City, at which Meyer repeated his bizarre and unscientific proposition that DNA indicates that a creator designer must have initiated life on earth (see my review of Signature in the Cell). In my view it’s illustrative of the shortcomings of ID creationists. Bethell appears to have interviewed Meyer after his talk, the result being a farrago of pro-ID tosh, including this outline of the dear old Centre for Intelligent Design:
Internationally, ID is also growing. There’s a new Centre for Intelligent Design in London (C4ID). Affiliated with it is Norman Nevin, one of the leading geneticists in the UK. A number of full professors of science within the British system are also affiliated. The Centre has teamed up with Discovery Institute for various events.
Oh, a number of full professors of science are on board? Not enough to make an impact on the literature, I guess. And while Norman Nevin is an emeritus Professor of medical genetics, he apparently delivers sermons espousing Young Earth Creationism. Of course, a general pattern in proponents of Intelligent Design proponents is that they are either (a) have no biological research experience (if indeed they have any qualification in science) or (b) hold strongly religious beliefs, or sometimes both. It’s quite clear that those qualities are entirely appropriate in pushing a re-branded form of creationism masquerading as science. And the triumvirate running C4ID clearly fall into that description. Nice to see that the C4ID, which is independent from the Discotute, has indeed teamed up with them for several events. But of course, C4ID isn’t based in London at all. But its output is almost all reheated Discotute material.
What are Bethell’s qualifications to push Intelligent Design creationism? Let’s look at Wikipedia for some clues.
Tom Bethell (born July 17, 1940) is a journalist who writes mainly on economic and scientific issues, and is known for his support of the market economy, political conservatism, and fringe science. He says that neither evolution nor intelligent design is falsifiable.
Bit of a flag there – “writes mainly on economic and scientific issues” – “support of [...] fringe science” – “says that neither evolution nor intelligent design is falsifiable”. According to Wikipedia he’s an HIV denialist. Whatever. His grasp of science seems shaky.