Paul Krugman’s op-ed piece in today’s New York Times makes an interesting point; lumping the ID movement in with a host of other political attempts to discredit objective research. I’ve certainly always felt that ID is part of the greater attack on science that is taking place in this country, and Krugman indeed mentions climate science as another field suffering in this way. But it is also interesting how this approach fits into a larger political strategy of dealing with truth.
Referring to Irving Kristol, the former editor of The Public Interest, Krugman writes
Back in 1978 Mr. Kristol urged corporations to make “philanthropic contributions to scholars and institutions who are likely to advocate preservation of a strong private sector.” That was delicately worded, but the clear implication was that corporations that didn’t like the results of academic research, however valid, should support people willing to say something more to their liking.
That this is precisely what is going in with ID is underappreciated by the public, who are struggling to deal with an issue for which they are technically unprepared and who are in desperate need of guidance in the face of the stream of lies and distortions. More surprisingly, I think the politics guiding ID is also underappreciated by many academics, some of them even scientists.
I have had several conversations with academics who are frustrated about the ID movement because they just can’t understand why the people at the Discovery Institute can’t see that their arguments make no sense and don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny. These people are educated enough to see at a glance that ID is not science and should be ignored, but they haven’t looked into it enough to see that the ID movement, at its heart, is a political one, for which science is an enemy, not a tool. And if there are scientists who don’t realize that this is the real agenda, then we’ve got an incredible amount of work to do if we are to help the public understand how they are being played with.