Forrest reviews Darwin, Design, and Public Education

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Barbara Forrest, a philosopher at Southeastern Louisiana University and co-author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse, reviews Darwin, Design, and Public Education, an ID anthology that was published as part of Michigan State University’s “Rhetoric and Public Affairs” series.

Her extensive review is available for free at RedNova.com, which is nice because the original publication of the review, in the journal Integrative and Comparative Biology, requires a subscription. You should get the pdf from the journal if you want the authoritative text, since it looks like the RedNova text was scraped from the pdf and therefore has a few conversion errors.

A representative quote of Forrest’s review:

Recycling substitutes for novelty in this intelligent design creationist offering.

DDPE is not a new book but rather an anthology consisting largely of warmed-over essays from a 1998 issue of Michigan State University Press’s journal, Rhetoric and Public Affairs. Neither of the book’s editors is a scientist. John Angus Campbell, who also serves on the journal’s editorial board, is a rhetorician. Stephen C. Meyer is a philosopher who serves as director of the Center for Science and Culture (CSC), the creationist subsidiary of the Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank in Seattle. Campbell is a longtime CSC fellow. Although a Discovery Institute-owned website (www.darwinanddesign.com) falsely advertises DDPE as a “peer-reviewed science book,” it was published as part of MSU Press’s Rhetoric and Public Affairs Series. Despite a Discovery Institute press release announcing that the book “features new scientific arguments for design based on evidence in paleontology and comparative anatomy,” it offers no new scientific arguments and cannot be reviewed as a science book since intelligent design (ID) science is nonexistent.Forrest on DDPE

There is one humdinger of an error in Darwin, Design, and Public Education that seems to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the book was not peer-reviewed on the science (it may have been peer-reviewed on the rhetoric – the rhetoric in DDPE is first-rate). I may prevail upon Wes to post that a little later.

13 Comments

D’ya suppose this typo, “Comparing the publication of DOPE to Darwin’s “uphill battle…” in paragraph 4 of Forrest’s review, is a subliminal indication of her opinion of the piece?

Obviously, “piece” in the preceding should have been “book.” Sorry

And “paragraph 4” should have been “paragraph 3.” Geez Louize!

Intelligent design (ID) science is non-existent. Not a very surprising conclusion. The Gap nature of ID arguments makes ID irrelevant to science (this is also known as the “vacuity of intelligent design”). It’s one thing for ID proponents to criticize Neo-Darwinian hypotheses, it’s another to present their own hypothesis in a manner which allows it to be tested against other hypotheses as well as against known data. However, for ID to present a hypothesis it needs to deal with such issues as mechanisms, pathways, means, motives etc. As Dembski has made clear though ID does not deal in such pathetic level of detail [1]

[1]”You’re asking me to play a game: ‘Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.’ ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories.” Dembski on ISCID Forum

“Intelligent Design (1996-1996): ‘Not Even Pathetic’”

– Dembski’s Epitaph

We should all be grateful for the knowledgeable level headed analysis from Barbara Forrest. Between this review, her article last month in (I’ve forgotten which journal), and Creationism’s Trojan Horse, her work in support of evolution is exemplary. Would that we all could write so well and with such knowledge. This is not to leave out Paul Gross, her frequent co-author, whose influence is undoubtedly meaningful if less prominent. Care to wager how few years will pass before Dr. Forrest moves from Southeastern Louisiana to a more prominent university?

ID is not a mechanistic theory

A scientific theory that purports to explain how something (in the case of life on earth, a whole hell of a lot of things) came to exist has to be mechanistic unless it’s pure supernatural garbage.

So Dembski has admitted that “ID theory” is pure supernatural garbage.

As frequent commenter “steve” pointed out, if you step back from the trolls and take a deep breath, these “ID theory” peddlers and their arguments are truly hilarious.

Dr. Forrest was interviewed recently for Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s Air America radio show, Ring of Fire , which he does with Mike Papantonio. The interview will air on Saturday, February 12, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time and will be rebroadcast on Sunday, Feb. 13 at the same time. Remember the time zone.

Russell Wrote:

Dr. Forrest was interviewed recently for Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s Air America radio show, Ring of Fire , which he does with Mike Papantonio. The interview will air on Saturday, February 12, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time

Darwin Day!

If anyone wants the original PDF, e-mail me, removing the spam block from my address.

If anyone wants the original PDF, e-mail me, removing the spam block from my address.

each of the criticisms in this review stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the study of rhetoric. this misunderstanding is encapsulated in forrests’ claim that “science, however, does not consist of “arguments against” anything.”

this is very much a kind of ‘two cultures’ phenomenon which i don’t have time or space to get in to but it is a tremendous problem for people - like myself - who study rhetorics of science.

the point of this book, whose rhetoric contributors i know personally, is not to provide ‘new science’ to the debate but rather to provide in one volume 1) a set of research papers from supporters of ID and 2) a set of studies which attempt to identify how - rhetorically - supporters of ID go about making claims and arguments about their work. in any event, i’d be interested to hear from others who have come across this book.

jmccw says that Barbara forest’s criticism of DDPE stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of rhetoric. He says,

this misunderstanding is encapsulated in forrests’ claim that “science, however, does not consist of “arguments against” anything.”

Then he says DDPE does two things, first it presents:

1) a set of research papers from supporters of ID

Supporters of ID don’t do research. What is there to research? ID frames no hypotheses that can be tested experimentally.

And second:

2) a set of studies which attempt to identify how - rhetorically - supporters of ID go about making claims and arguments about their work.

Yes indeed, rhetorically. Here is the central problem IDer’s have. They make no positive statements about their work. If they did they would have to defend their claims. They don’t want to do that because they can’t. So they just attack evolution. Barbara Forest is right, they make arguments against, not for anything.

The late Stephen Jay Gould answered it best. Explaining how creationists argue their case, Gould said this in a speech at Caltech in 1985:

Debate is an art form. It is about the winning of arguments. It is not about the discovery of truth. There are certain rules and procedures to debate that really have nothing to do with establishing fact – which they are very good at. Some of those rules are: never say anything positive about your own position because it can be attacked, but chip away at what appear to be the weaknesses in your opponent’s position. They are good at that. I don’t think I could beat the creationists at debate. I can tie them. But in courtrooms they are terrible, because in courtrooms you cannot give speeches. In a courtroom you have to answer direct questions about the positive status of your belief. We destroyed them in Arkansas. On the second day of the two-week trial, we had our victory party! (Caltech Lecture, 1985).

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on February 9, 2005 8:45 AM.

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