Intelligent Design and Memes

The holy war against evolution has escalated again, with attempts by creationists to construe an explanatory statement accompanying a federal law on education as evidence that the US government approves the teaching of intelligent design theory alongside Darwinian evolution.1 Obviously, intelligent design should not be taught as a science, anymore than, say, phrenology should be. But this raises a public relations issue: The desperate fruits of prohibition are too well known; look what happens

Steve Bunk
Jul 7, 2002

The holy war against evolution has escalated again, with attempts by creationists to construe an explanatory statement accompanying a federal law on education as evidence that the US government approves the teaching of intelligent design theory alongside Darwinian evolution.1 Obviously, intelligent design should not be taught as a science, anymore than, say, phrenology should be. But this raises a public relations issue: The desperate fruits of prohibition are too well known; look what happens when you just say no.

If intelligent design is influential enough to justify more than cursory instruction in it, why not teach it as a focus within the theory of memes? Since 1976, when Oxford University's Richard Dawkins introduced this cultural information concept,2 it has exerted a major impact on sociobiology. Memes can be many things, including stories, inventions, or methods that people learn from one another by imitation. Like genes, their repeated copying...

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