Desperation at the Centre for Intelligent Design

I’ve long been following the antics of Glasgow’s Centre for Intelligent Design (C4ID), the UK’s little brother to the Discotute, a setup which aims to push Intelligent Design creationism in the UK. Indeed, I find it rather amusing to be on their mailing list – I was invited to attend last year’s lecture by Stephen Meyer, one of the main men of the Discotute (and, I believe, a leading author of the Wedge Strategy which clearly states the Discotute’s aims). I did not attend the lecture, but did as a consequence read Meyer’s Signature in the Cell (for example No Signature in the Cell).

C4ID appears to be fairly small outfit, very largely run by Dr Alastair Noble, who’s PhD is in chemistry and who has been active in education (particularly through christian organisations). Other figures are the president (Norman Nevin, an emeritus professor in medical genetics who is on record preaching the literal truth of Genesis) and the vice-president (Dr David Galloway). All three are strongly religious.

After a series of communiques extolling their activities (e.g. their upcoming meeting, and their move to try and get a creationism pseudo-textbook adopted by schools), the latest is something of a mixed bag. Along with plans to recruit a recent PhD graduate to evangelise ID creationism to postgraduate students:

A major initiative to promote ID, formally and informally, among postgraduate students. This involves the appointment of a recent science PhD who will work across universities and colleges to promote the debate and provide support for students who find it hard to resist the peer pressure to shut down academic discussion of the subject.

To publish a book aimed at a lay audience:

A new, ground-breaking guide to Intelligent Design by Alastair Noble which is aimed at the layman and which will fill a gap in the range of available publications on the subject. This is part of our wider strategy to promote public debate of ID and its implications.

(Frankly, this isn’t the route to get ID creationism accepted – to do that one would need to do your actual research, to prove the existence of a designer etc, and get this stuff out there as science. Of course, as reheated creationism that isn’t exactly likely, so ID proponents have a strategy to try and confuse the lay public with silly arguments. And to try and insinuate their dubious texts into schools. It’ll be interesting to see what Noble comes up with – so far all C4ID have seemed to achieve is to import American ID creationist speakers and literature. It’s interesting to note in this context that Noble isn’t a biologist by training, and that his brief research career was in chemistry.)

To hold another meeting featuring Discotute ‘stars’ such as Douglas Axe (who is at the Biologic Institute, the flagship ID research institute that doesn’t actually seem to do much research) and others:

An autumn conference to be held in Malvern on September 28/29, 2012, which will focus on the science of ID with Dr Doug Axe (Biologic Institute, Seattle, USA) and the philosophical and religious implications with Prof John Lennox (Oxford). This is part of our long-term strategy to give the next generation of opinion formers confidence to explore all aspects of ID.

But things don’t seem so rosy in the C4ID playground, and they seem to be needing a bit of a cash injection:

Our capacity to promote Intelligent Design in the UK is significantly limited by our current financial resources. If you share our understanding that these issues are important and are willing to partner with us, we will be able to develop our plans and programs more quickly and have more impact.

Actually, I suspect that promoting ID creationism is rather more limited by the fact that it is complete tosh.

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