Skip navigation

About IDEA Center

News & Events

Membership

Resources

IDEA Student Clubs

Search

Contact Us

Home


Resources

Corrections and Comments to statements made about the IDEA Center in Creationism's Trojan Horse

by IDEA Center staff

Creationism's Trojan Horse cover

Pictured above is the cover of Creationism's Trojan Horse by Barbarra Forrest and Paul R. Gross.

Introduction
In January of 2004, Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross released a book critiquing the intelligent design movement entitled, Creationism's Trojan Horse. This 300 page Oxford University Press book critiqued many aspects of the intelligent design movement, which it repeatedly and almost solely referred to as the "wedge movement." The IDEA Center was mentioned for about 2 paragraphs and the purpose of this document is merely to correct various factual errors contained in Creationism's Trojan Horse regarding the IDEA Center. The IDEA Center is NOT trying to allege that the author's did anything wrong. We are simply seeking to correct information about our organization.

In correcting these factual errors, the IDEA Center does not allege that there was or was not sloppy scholarship nor purposeful misrepresentation on the part of the authors, Paul R. Gross or Barbara Forrest. We are merely trying to correct factual errors that exist in the book about our organization, whatever reason there is for their origin.

The following is the exact text about the IDEA Center: The Wedge has already acquired two groups of college followers, the Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center (IDURC) and the Intelligent Design and Evolutionary [1] Awareness (IDEA) Club. ...

The IDEA Club was begun by students at UC-San Diego, but since the graduation of its student founders, it is now known as the IDEA Center [2] and is affiliated with the Tacoma, Washington, Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary [3], a graduate school that teaches that "God created ex-nihilo and formed the universe in the six literal days as described in Genesis I." [4] IDEA Club founder Casey Luskin is an IDEA Center administrator. The IDEA Center's advisory board consists of Wedge members Phillip Johnson, William Dembski, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, Jay Wesley Richards, Mark Hartwig, and Francis Beckwith [5]; Dennis Wagner, executive director of Access Research Network; and young-earth creationist John Baumgardner, all of whom also serve as the speakers bureau.

The purpose of the center is to spread ID at high schools and universities by starting campus chapters: "The IDEA Center itself grew out of the IDEA Club at UC San Diego and there is now also a new chapter at Vanderbilt University [where all the student officers are science majors and the faculty advisor is a professor of microbiology and immunology]. ... We aim to help other students to do the same at their own schools-whether public, private, high school, college, secular, or religious." According to the IDEA Center, chapters exist at the University of Texas-Dallas, California State University-Sacramento, Long Beach (California) City College, UC-San Diego (the original chapter), the University of Hawaii-Hilo[6], Pulaski Academy in Arkansas (pre-kindergarten through grade 12), and South Lehigh High School in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, (which is only a few miles from Bethlehem, where Michael Behe works and resides)[7]. Chapters were being planned at the University of San Francisco (Paul Chien's university)[8] and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire[9]. An "off-campus" chapter exists in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

(Creationism's Trojan Horse, pg. 301-302)
1. Factual Error: Name of the IDEA Club:
This error is quite minor and is probably a mere editing error, as the "IDEA" name is said to stand for "Intelligent Design and Evolutionary Awareness" when in reality it stands for "Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness." To the knowledge of the IDEA Center the word "Evolutionary" has never been in our name nor in the name of any IDEA Club.

2. Factual Error: Status of the IDEA Club after the IDEA Center started:
The text reads: The IDEA Club was begun by students at UC-San Diego, but since the graduation of its student founders, it is now known as the IDEA Center ... The IDEA Club at UCSD is not "now known as the IDEA Center." The IDEA Club at UCSD never ceased to exist or changed its status as a recognized student organization on the campus of UC San Diego once the IDEA Center started. After student founders of the IDEA Club at UCSD graduated, new student leaders took over and ran the club and have continued to do so as of the writing of this document. The original student founders of the IDEA Club at UCSD did their own thing and founded the IDEA Center separate from the IDEA Club. The IDEA Club at UCSD itself did not change or become "known as the IDEA Center" once the Center was started.

3. Factual Error: Affiliation with Faith Seminary:
On page 301, the text reads: the IDEA Center ... is affiliated with the Tacoma, Washington, Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary Additionally, in a section not cited in the large excerpt above, Creationism's Trojan Horse on page 168 states: With the graduation of its student founders, IDEA [Club at UCSD] has matured into the IDEA center, affiliated with a young-earth Lutheran seminary." The IDEA Center was at one time affiliated with Faith Seminary. The reasons for our affiliation have nothing to do with their religious connections. The reasons were purely practical: the original founders of the IDEA Center desired to start a non-profit organization, however we wanted to initially exist under the umbrella of some pre-existing non-profit organization.

Before the formation of the IDEA Center, the Center's desired to intiate the Center under a pre-existing non-profit intelligent design organization. After speaking with various intelligent design organizations, it was determined that though they supported what we did, available resources did not make it practicable for us to officialy affiliate with any ID groups. However, the IDEA Center's co-founders did have a close personal connection to some of the administrators at Faith Seminary, a non-profit Lutheran Seminary that exists in both Tacoma, Washington, and has a satellite campus in Southern California. We briefly affiliated with them with the understanding that the relationship was merely to "help get us off the ground" until we were ready to become an autonomous non-profit, with the ultimate goal of becoming an autonomous 501(c)(3) organization.

This plan was implemented. In August of 2002, the IDEA Center formally broke all official ties with Faith Seminary when it incorporated as a non-profit public benefit corporation in the State of California. The IDEA Center filed paperwork which was processed by November of 2002, when the IDEA Center became officially registered as a non-profit public benefit corporation in the State of California. All this information is public record available through the Secretary of the State of California. Hopefully this will clear up any questions about our affiliation with Faith Seminary.

It should be noted that the book merely said that we were "affiliated" with Faith Seminary. "Affiliated" is a tough term to define, although Dictionary.com says that to be affiliated means "To adopt or accept as a member, subordinate associate, or branch." In that sense, we have had no affiliation since August of 2002. However, the IDEA Center has co-sponsored a few small events with Faith Seminary related to intelligent design theory. However, since August of 2002, there has been no formal affiliation between the IDEA Center and Faith Seminary. Such a formal affiliation would have been legally impossible since we incorporated in August of 2002.

All this being said, it is possible that it is our fault that we did not adequately describe our current affiliation with Faith Seminary on our website when the authors apparently accessed it to do this research (April 5, 2003). Our website is a fluid document and it is impossible to go back and see exactly what it stated on April 5, 2003. However, we don't deny that it is possible that our website had incorrect information on that date, which the authors Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross accepted as accurate. It is possible that the misstatements about our affiliation "Faith Seminary" were made in good faith on the part of the authors. As noted in the introduction above, our purpose here is not to make any allegations about scholarship, but merely to correct errors. It is factually incorrect to state or imply that the IDEA Center has had any formal affiliation with Faith Seminary since August of 2002.

4. Misleading Comment with Unknown Citation: Faith Seminary's Beliefs about the Age of the Earth:
On page 301, the text reads: the IDEA Center ... is affiliated with the Tacoma, Washington, Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, a graduate school that teaches that "God created ex-nihilo and formed the universe in the six literal days as described in Genesis I." Additionally, in a section not cited in the large excerpt above, Creationism's Trojan Horse on page 168 states: With the graduation of its student founders, IDEA [Club at UCSD] has matured into the IDEA center, affiliated with a young-earth Lutheran seminary." Without commenting on the author's motives behind making such a comment, one thing needs to be made clear: the IDEA Center did not seek affiliation because it was (or was not) an organization that adhered to a young-earth. In fact, at least half of the original co-founders of the IDEA Center were not even aware that Faith Seminary believed in a young-earth. Why the authors felt it necessary to comment that Faith Seminary believes in a young earth we do not know, and is beyond the scope of this discussion. However, our main point here is to clear up any misconceptions that might have resulted from that statement regarding the IDEA Center's position on the age of the earth.

The IDEA Center's website has always had since its very beginning in January of 2002, the following statement on its FAQ: Does IDEA take a position on the age of the earth?
The age of the earth is not an issue related to intelligent design theory, nor is it necessarily related to the validity of evolutionary theory, nor does this author believe it is even related to the validity of the Bible. For this reason, IDEA finds no reasons from its mission statement to make any statements about the age of the earth. This is an important question, however, and if you are struggling with it or are interested in learning more about this issue, we suggest you contact various authorities from various sides of the question, and come to your own conclusions. IDEA has resources which can provide information, and please feel free to contact us at "info@ideacenter.org" for help.
(IDEA Center FAQ)
Thus, the IDEA Center has always made it explicitly clear that the age of the earth is something that has nothing to do with our organization, so we make no statements about it. This adopted position has always been ultra-clear on our website, and we hope that there are no misconceptions about our position on the age of the earth from this point forward.

5. Factual Error: Francis Beckwith on IDEA Center Advisory Board
The book states that Francis Beckwith is on our Advisory Board. When the authors accessed our website in April of 2003, he was on our Advisory Board. However, as of August of 2003, Francis Beckwith is no longer on our Advisory Board.

6. Factual Error: IDEA Club at the University of Hawaii-Hilo:
The book states that there is an IDEA Club at the University of Hawaii-Hilo. While our website may have stated that there is such a club when the authors accessed it in April of 2003, at the time of the book's publication (January, 2004) there is not to our knowledge an IDEA Club at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, as is currently reflected on our website.

7. Misleading Comment: Geographical Closeness of Southern Lehigh High School Origins IDEA Club to Home of Michael Behe:
The book notes the close proximity of the Origins IDEA Club to the home of well known proponent of intelligent design, Michael Behe: According to the IDEA Center, chapters exist at ... and South Lehigh High School in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, (which is only a few miles from Bethlehem, where Michael Behe works and resides) We merely wish to clear up any misconceptions that there may be about the origins of this IDEA Club--Michael Behe had absolutely nothing to do with it. The club was formed by a high school student who, to our knowledge, did not know Michael Behe and had no affiliation with him in starting the club.

8. Misleading Comment: Paul Chien's Association with the IDEA Club at University of San Francisco:
Just to be clear, this statement seems to imply that Paul Chien is somehow associated with the desire to start an IDEA Club at the University of San Francisco. In fact, the club's sponsor would be Dr. Stephen Huxley of the business department, as has always been stated on our website (see Dr. Stephen Huxley Seeks Students to form IDEA Club at University of San Francisco). Dr. Chien would have no affiliation with the club.

9. Factual Error: Prospective IDEA Club at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire:
Though our website may have incorrectly stated this, there is no longer a prospective IDEA Club at the University of Wisconsin, Eau-Claire.