Materialism, for those that haven't heard the term, is the philosophy that the natural world around us has only a material aspect; there are no non-material causes present in the physical world. Novella here refers to the opposing side as anti-materialists, although I prefer the term Dualism: the belief in non-material causes in the natural world.
Intelligent Design proponents, creationists in disguise, have been trying to drive their ideological, religious wedge wherever they perceive a weak spot in scientific theory. The materialist philosophy in neuroscience is one of those perceived weak spots.
Novella does a great job of pointing out why it isn't a weak spot, and then goes on to comment on the general strategy of ID:
But the anti-materialists (really anti-naturalists) want to resurrect this fight, and since they cannot win it in the arena of science they want to fight it in the arena of public opinion and then the legal and academic realms.
Materialism and philosophy of the mind are fascinating subjects, and there will be posts to come about them, but in this post I wanted to talk about ID strategy.
I just can't understand why creationists and Intelligent Design proponents refuse to see their strategies as deceptive and flawed. They've been swatted down by courts frequently; their approach is fundamentally flawed in regards to science. So they appeal to public opinion with selective circumstantial "evidence." They hide religious ideology under a rug: the nameless Designer. I find the idea - trying to slip a deity into our science classrooms under the cover of night - extremely discomforting. Why are the Ken Hams and Kent Hovinds of the world so ready to deceive in the name of their faith, when confronted with the reality of their own bad science?