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Invoking Jefferson on intelligent design doesn't cut it

July 20, 2009
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IT’S TIME for the intelligent-design folks to pack up their revival tent and leave town. But here is Stephen C. Meyer using every kind of phony rhetoric to pretend ID has validity (“Jefferson’s support for intelligent design,’’ Op-ed, July 15).

First, he invokes the support of Thomas Jefferson. This is using a celebrity to sell a product. Why didn’t he ask Pamela Anderson or Bono? Jefferson was speculating about life in the near total absence of data 200 years ago. His ruminations have no validity now.

Second, Meyer uses an analogy to claim that DNA has a code and only a designer could produce a code. I presume Meyer also believes that if his neighbor’s car won’t start, it must be for the same reason that his own car won’t start. DNA is not software; it is a molecule, and molecules form according to the opportunities and constraints of chemistry, not a designer.

Third, Meyer claims that because we know nothing about the origin of life, life must have been formed by a designer. Wrong on two counts. We have several good hypotheses about the origin of life, and even if we didn’t, there is no reason to fill the gaps in our understanding with a designer.

Intelligent design is nothing more than a Trojan horse for replacing science with religion. But it isn’t science, it’s fraud.

Owen Sholes
Worcester
The writer is associate professor of biology at Assumption College.

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