|The divine comedy|
The Wedge Strategy is a strategy described within the Discovery Institute publication known as the Wedge Document. The wedge document outlines their goal to bring the "controversy" over "evolution" versus "intelligent design" into the public arena, in a way politically contrived to get less informed members of the public to side with the idea of "teach both sides" (one side being "science", the other religion). It is the smoking gun that demonstrates that "intelligent design" is "creationism" in a thin disguise. The full text of the document can be found at Text of The Wedge Strategy.
Because of the nature of this document, some have claimed that it must be a hoax; this is most definitely not the case. The Discovery Institute has not only acknowledged authorship of the document, but has also defended its content. A scan of the original document is also available in PDF format. The introduction to this document also appeared on their website in 1996, as archived by archive.org.
It is in the context of our concern about the world-view implications of certain scientific theories that our wedge strategy must be understood. Far from attacking science (as has been claimed), we are instead challenging scientific materialism — the simplistic philosophy or world-view that claims that all of reality can be reduced to, or derived from, matter and energy alone. We believe that this is a defense of sound science.
Teach the controversy
One part of the Discovery Institute's strategy is the slogan "teach the controversy". It deliberately tries to make opponents look like they are against teaching "all" of science to students. This, of course, only works with people who don't understand the issue.
Dr. Barbara Forrest, of the NCSE, has described creationists' wedge strategy as a "Trojan horse," likening it to a computer virus. She says "A Trojan horse is a proposal to 'teach the controversy' about evolution that appears to have some useful or benign purpose (e.g., to promote critical thinking), but really masks the plan to teach intelligent design creationism." And "In this case, the Trojan horse and the public school system become the Discovery Institute's entry vehicle for teaching a religious belief in the public school science class."
She continues to add, "Remember the ID creationists' main goal: to disguise their creationism so that users of the system (parents and children) and federal judges do not realize what the ID movement is up to."
The Wedge Document clearly shows that the Discovery Institute intended ID to further their religious ideals. Some selected excerpts from the Wedge Document follow:
We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.
Alongside a focus on influential opinion-makers, we also seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Christians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidences that support the faith, as well as to "popularize" our ideas in the broader culture.
GOALS: To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God. To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
- Text of The Wedge Strategy
- Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, an article on the movie.
- Expelled: Leader's Guide, a point-by-point refutation of the movie's producers' so-called "Leader's Guide".
- "Wedge documents" have leaked from various astroturf campaigns, especially anti-environmental and denialist efforts by industries opposed to regulation. The most notorious of these are probably the 1969 Brown and Williamson tobacco memo containing the infamous phrase "doubt is our product", and the global warming memo authored by Frank Luntz that was leaked in the early 2000s.
- Disproving Intelligent Design
- God of the gaps
- Irreducible complexity
- Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
- Teach the Controversy
- Discovery's Creation: A Seattle think tank launched the modern intelligent-design movement with a simple memo. The idea has evolved into a media sensation. And the cause has mutated beyond rational control by Roger Downey (Mon., Oct 9 2006 at 12:00AM) Seattle Weekly. (archive)
- The "Wedge Document": "So What?" Discovery Institute
- The Wedge Center for Renewal of Science & Culture, Discovery Institute (archived copy from July 10, 2012).
- Center for Renewal of Science & Culture (archived copy from December 2, 1996).
- Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse (Barbara Forrest) National Center for Science Education (YouTube)