Theory and Society

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 515-546

First online:

The critique of intelligent design: Epicurus, Marx, Darwin, and Freud and the materialist defense of science

  • Brett ClarkAffiliated withMonthly Review Foundation Email author 
  • , John Bellamy FosterAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of Oregon
  • , Richard YorkAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of Oregon

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


A new version of the age-old controversy between religion and science has been launched by today’s intelligent design movement. Although ostensibly concerned simply with combating Darwinism, this new creationism seeks to drive a “wedge” into the materialist view of the world, originating with the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus and manifested in modern times by Darwin, Marx, and Freud. Intelligent design proponents thus can be seen as challenging not only natural and physical science but social science as well. In this article, we attempt to explain the long history of this controversy, stretching over millennia, and to defend science (especially social science) against the criticisms of intelligent design proponents – by defending science’s materialist roots.