Science Fiction author David Brin comments on the Intelligent Design situation, offering up a moving conclusion. He suggests that if we focus on the aspects of ID that differ from classic Creation Science, then we could highlight just how effective science has been at forcing the opposition to evolve.
“Indeed, are the Enlightenment forces missing an opportunity to strike a powerful public relations coup? Suppose we were to seem forthcoming by explicitly congratulating the ID crowd for this suite of concessions. It might be possible to drive a wedge into their movement, for a change, and/or permanently lock the concessions in place! At minimum, it could force the Discovery Institute to backpedal and choose. Either they withdraw the concessions having to do with the vastness of time, in order to protect their base, or they must sacrifice their most hardcore supporters, in order to seem modern. This is the kind of “have you stopped beating your wife?” dilemma that is used by their side all the time. What poetic justice to turn it around, exposing hypocrisy at its source.”
However, I must point out that ID proponents have often defended their “big tent” inclusion of young-earth creationists, and don’t seem likely to rebuff them. Moreover, ID proponents often say that they no longer challenge the age of the Earth, implying that they still believe in it, but know that they can’t win the battle while they still claim it. I want to get an ID proponent to say point-blank that the evidence for the age of the Earth is incontrovertible, and that they are working to convince their fellow tent-mates of this fact.(Reasons to Believe doesn’t, doesn’t count.) The IDists can be used as a bridge to the more fundamentalist creationists, you know.
Brin has caught onto an idea that has occurred to me as well, and I plan to use it in the near future.