13 February 2006

As far as media coverage and attracting the invaluable ire of one’s opponents is concerned,Evolution Sunday was a success, ranking national publicity and a deliciously-juvenile rebuttal from the staff of Intelligent Design headquarters, the Discovery Institute. In a statement titled, “On Evolution Sunday, It’s Give Me That Old Time Darwinist Religion,” the Discovery Institute objected to Evolution Sunday’s theme of arguing for the compatibility of religion and evolution, and accused the approximately 450 churches participating in the event of hypocrisy, for trying to make a “faith-based case” for “Darwinism.” “‘Why do Darwinists think it is not okay for people to criticize Darwin on religious grounds, but it is just fine to defend him on religious grounds?’” the statement asked. That this is rather a simplified version of the Evolution Sunday argument — individual sermons aside, the event was officially intended not to make a divine case for evolution, but merely to argue there’s room enough for both science and God — is probably to be expected, and for a project that’s driven by churches, it’s a moot point. But it’s a good question to keep in mind for when debates ranging from Intelligent Design to environmentalism to poverty rise to the level of legislation or lawsuits, such as in the California lawsuit over federal funds being used to publicize pro-evolution religious statements or scriptures.