The Summer 2006 issue of my alumni magazine On Wisconsin, lead with a story about evolution and intelligent design entitled Putting Faith in Science. The following Fall issue published a large number of Letters to the Editor in response. There were many letters in support of intelligent design, all of which quoted the same mischaracterizations of evolution, the same fake evidence provided by ID advocates, and the same claims of scientific dispute over evolution that Johnson, Behe, Dembski, and others have offered time and again and which have been thoroughly corrected, demonstrated and debunked ad nauseum. I was somewhat taken aback that so many graduates of such a fine science-oriented university as Wisconsin would so blithely consider ID as valid science. I was gratified to see, however, a letter in the current Winter issue that, again, strikes to the inherint error in these responses:
Perhaps the greatest fallacy in these letters is the repeated assertion that science cannot properly support the idea of evolution, and that scientists are at odds over the question of whether evolution occurred. The reality is this. The peer-reviewed scientific literature generates approximately 1.4 million papers every year, with many of them either providing new substance to the theory of evolution or relying on that theory to provide the context for important new discoveries.
The geological record, the fossil record, the record of change in the genome of every organism, every aspect of modern biology fits together to provide evolution as one of the most compelling and exciting facts ever uncovered by science. There remain robust debates in scientific circles about new mechanisms of evolution and continued efforts to fill in gaps in the records. However, the general idea that extant living organisms evolved over billions of years with shared ancestry was settled many decades ago. To suggest that there is a scientific controversy about whether evolution occurred is simply nonsense.
We do see Intelligent Design (and whatever it evolves into after the Dover decision) as a threat to science education. The future of science in this country depends on sensible people seeing through the ID charade.
This is an abbreviated version of the letter that appeared in the current issue of On Wisconsin. You can go here to see the full version (signed by forty-three professors, scientists and faculty from the UW system).