For the Rock Record: Geologists on Intelligent Design Creationism

For the Rock Record: Geologists on Intelligent Design Creationism

For the Rock Record: Geologists on Intelligent Design Creationism

For the Rock Record: Geologists on Intelligent Design Creationism


According to the idea of intelligent design, nature's complexity is the result of deliberate planning by a supernatural creative force. To date, most scientific arguments against this form of creationism have been made by evolutionary biologists. In this volume, a team of earth scientists reveals that the flaws of intelligent design are not limited to the biological sciences. Indeed, the geological sciences offer some of the best refutations of intelligent design arguements. For the Rock Record is dedicated to the proposition that the idea of intelligent design should be of serious concern to everyone. Editors Jill S. Schneiderman and Warren D. Allmon have gathered leading figures from the geological community with a wide range of viewpoints that go to the heart of the debate over what is and is not science. The purveyors of intelligent design theories and its kindred philosophies threaten the scientific literacy that our society needs by confusing faith and the practice of science. This collection offers a much-needed response.


Jill S. Schneiderman and Warren D. Allmon

I want everybody to be smart. As smart as they can be.
A world of ignorant people is too dangerous to live in.

Garson kanin (1912–1999), Born Yesterday

It seems so long ago. in the fall of 1982, we were both new graduate students in the same geology department, and all the talk was about a federal court case which just a year before had pitted young-Earth creationists against scientists (including one from our department), teachers, and clergy from many denominations. in his decision in that case, McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, U.S. District Court judge William R. Overton offered a detailed definition of science as distinct from religion. His argument seemed to us so clear and convincing we assigned it to the undergraduates in the lab sections we both taught in a course called the History of the Earth and of Life. the decision seemed destined to remove from the purview of science classrooms all discussion of the role of a divine creator in historical geology and evolutionary biology.

And yet in the fall of 2005 we found ourselves on the phone with each other, bemoaning yet another court case and worrying for the intellectual future of our field and our country. Once again we scientists had to defend our disciplines against incursions from realms that would deprive curious thinkers of the opportunity to use science to enrich their understanding of the natural world. This latest challenge, calling itself “intelligent design” (ID), seemed a particularly pernicious variant of the creationism we had hoped was banished a quarter-century before. Learning from the defeats of the 1980s, id wrapped itself even more tightly in the cloak of science and—publicly at least—steered clear of religion. and it seemed to be gaining ground. It was thus with enormous joy and relief that we learned in . . .

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