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“”Evolutionists think the former is correct, cdesign proponentsists accept the latter view.
|—Of Pandas and People, 1987 version.|
A crucial piece of the defense (pro-intelligent design) was a book called Of Pandas and People which was marketed as a science textbook for middle and high school children. During the trial, previous copies of the book were subpoenaed for review. It was demonstrated that, whenever previous versions of the book had the terms "creationist" or "creationism" or some similar form, it had been replaced in almost all cases with the terms "design proponents" and "intelligent design" in later editions.
Example from the trial
Example of earlier creationist edition (emphasis added):
|"Creation means that the various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent creator with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc."|
Example of new Improved Intelligent Design edition (emphasis added):
|"Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, wings, etc."|
This evidence and things like the Wedge Document helped lead John E. Jones III to his verdict that intelligent design was the same as creationism and that the ID movement was a subversive attempt to inject creationism into the classroom.
Investigations subsequent to the case showed that, in one particular case, an editor had apparently copied and pasted "design proponents" over the word "creationists" but in doing so had pasted over only part of the latter, resulting in a weird neologism, "cdesign proponentsists". This typo has been mocked by some as the missing link between creationism and intelligent design, notably ironic considering creationists don't accept transitional forms. It's possibly this aspect alone that has promoted the meme to be as famous as it is. If they'd learned to use "Find and Replace" properly, then this wouldn't have happened.
A new meme
The story has now been promoted to "Internet legend" status, and one can now find versions of this story which claim:
- That every instance of the word "creationist" was changed to "Cdesign proponentsists". In fact only one word was changed in this way; the rest were "correctly" changed.
- That this particular error was noticed during the trial. It was not, in fact, noticed during the trial as this transcript shows.
The reality remains.
- NCSE - cdesign proponentists - tracking the instances of "creationist" to "cdesign proponentists" through versions.
- ↑ How the text changed to Cdesign proponentsists
- ↑ Missing link: “cdesign proponentsists”. Entry is recommended reading for its hilarity.
- ↑ To be fair, WYSIWYG word processors are very new back in 1987, and as such people may not have noticed that function back then. Touche, computer illiterates.
- ↑ Actually, it was noticed before the trial, but wasn't used. According to Gordy Slack's (2007) The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything: Evolution, Intelligent Design, and a School Board in Dover, PA, the lawyers for the plaintiffs were told of the "cdesign proponentsists" language, but decided not to use it at trial: "The plaintiff's attorneys, after much discussion, decided not to use that page as evidence [in the trial]. 'It would have rubbed salt into the wound, when the wound was a decapitation', says Matzke." (Slack 2007, p. 215, note 11)