Title page for ETD etd-08172007-103614

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Kwasiborski, Victoria
URN etd-08172007-103614
Title From Wedge Strategy to Kitzmiller: Rhetorical Analysis of the Intelligent Design Argument Series
Degree Master of Science
Department Science and Technology Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Goodrum, Matthew R. Committee Chair
Allen, Barbara L. Committee Member
Reeves, Barbara J. Committee Member
Zwanziger, Lee L. Committee Member
  • Intelligent Design
  • Rhetoric
  • Diction
Date of Defense 2007-08-07
Availability unrestricted

Many scientific claims being made today are not based on established scientific principles. They are a result of motivating factors that include media, political influences, legal and social issues, economic pursuits, the experimental procedure itself, peer review, and, central to this thesis, the lack of science education of the public. Intelligent Design, a much discussed potential theory of biological origins is one of these claims. Intelligent Design offers an array of scientific and probabilistic arguments supporting the concept that an intelligent agency better accounts for certain aspects of the natural world. The response and reaction to this theory within the science, political, education and religious communities has been increasingly expressive. Some believe that Intelligent Design is a threat to Darwinian evolution, some argue that teaching ID as an evolutionary theory is "only fair." And all believe the stakes are high--to the victor goes the privilege of teaching their theory as biology in the public school classroom.

This study of Intelligent Design is not an extensive quantitative review of primary materials in the scientific debate, or qualitative reviews of sweeping breadth of religious-based theories. Rather, a quantitative content analysis with selected primary sources was conducted to acquire data to discover which arguments constitutes effective presentation of Intelligent Design, to whom they are presented, and which arguments are promulgated and which are not. The study analyses what rhetorical devices (such as use of selective word choices and framing techniques) are utilized, whether consciously or unconsciously, in the presentation of these arguments.

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