Monday, March 02, 2009

Intelligent Design Provocation: How To Respond?

So a Christian group on campus sponsored a showing of Ben Stein's pro-Intelligent Design polemic "No Intelligence Allowed" and sent around an e-mail asking for faculty or student group presence at the film and for a round-table afterward. The claim, and let's take it at face value, was to have an open discussion about the status of intelligent design and evolution for the campus community.

It seems like there were three options:

(1) Ignore it for political reasons -- after Dover, the air has come out of the ID balloon and engaging it only helps reinflate them by giving the false image of there actually being a debate.

(2) Dismiss it for intellectual reasons -- there hasn't been a live debate around this since the end of the 19th century and engaging gives a false impression that the question remains open.

(3) Engage it for discourse reasons -- it is public discourse, the offer was made in good faith, and there needs to be a voice in the conversation familiar with the science and with questions of scientific methodology.

I ignored it (to be honest because I've got too much else to do and it's just hard to get worked up over it anymore), but should I have?