Wedge strategies in politics generally involve using issues on which people have strong opinions in order to "own" them as part of a political base. In modern-day America, most of these are "social" issues with religious overtones, such as abortion and homosexuality. Other favorites include gun control, being "tough" on crime, and militarism.
They are phrased or argued in such a way that the opposing viewpoint, if there is one, can be easily labeled in a derogatory manner. Resulting examples would include being "soft on crime", "weakening America" (or, "emboldening our enemies"), "against family values", "coming to take your guns away", etc.
The wedge strategy and ID
The wedge strategy in terms of the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, refers to the plan by the Discovery Institute to re-brand Creationism in a scientific cloak. This plan was outlined in their wedge document.
One part of the Discovery Institutes'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.
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 evidence's 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.
We have the full document here.
The wedge strategy in action
The 2008 film Expelled is an excellent example of the wedge strategy in action.
- Irreducible complexity
- Disproving Intelligent Design
- God of the gaps
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