Another View of Johnson

| 27 Comments

Phillip E. Johnson may believe six inconsistent things before breakfast, but we don’t have to follow his example – or trust his latest inconsistent pronouncement.

The Sacramento Bee recently ran an article featuring an interview with Phillip E. Johnson, the “godfather” of the “intelligent design” movement.

His main disappointment is that the issue hasn’t made more headway in the mainstream scientific community.

Johnson said his intent never was to use public school education as the forum for his ideas. In fact, he said he opposed the efforts by the “well-intentioned but foolish” school board in Dover, Pa., to require teachers to present intelligent design as a viable scientific theory.

Instead, he hoped to ignite a debate in universities and the higher echelon of scientific thinkers.

But Johnson said he takes comfort knowing he helped fuel the debate that has taken place so far. “Perhaps we’ve done as much as we can do in one generation.”

What has Johnson said and done in the past concerning this topic, though? Is it really the case that public K-12 school curricula were not an issue for Johnson at any point? What we can see from the record is that public education at the K-12 level has, in fact, been a particular hobby-horse of Johnson’s. I also went through all of Johnson’s “Wedge Updates” archived at “Access Research Network” to see what Johnson had to say about public education there.

(Continue reading… on The Austringer)

27 Comments

Is anyone aware of an instance where a school board considering “teaching the controversy” was educated about the specifics, the nitty gritty details, of an authentic controversial issue in evolutionary theory. Let them go through all the minutiae, arguments and evidence on both sides of one controversial issue. I can see stacks of reprints piled in front of bewildered school board members, the vacant look in their eyes listening to an evolutionary biologist describe some involved population genetics and population dynamics. I would think a dose of real controversy would put things into perspective.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

I would think a dose of real controversy would put things into perspective.

it sounds like an interesting experiment.

Why not give it a shot yourself and see what happens?

But Johnson said he takes comfort knowing he helped fuel the debate that has taken place so far. “Perhaps we’ve done as much as we can do in one generation.”

Bizarre.

Who’s “we”? And what does Phil think “they” did?

As for myself and my peers, “we” knew already that incompetent liars and hacks would have a better time hiding in the shadow of a Presidential administration led and staffed by incompetent liars and hacks.

The Discovery Institute had 6 years and a “popular” President supporting their shxt. Of course, that President’s “popularity” never really amounted to much even before it became impossible for the so-called “liberal” media to continue pretending that he was “popular.”

But now that the spotlight is shining on the lying hacks and incompetent script-reciting buffoons like Casey and Francisco and even more amateurish losers in the queue (e.g., the lying bozos in Cornell’s “IDEA Club”) and everyone can see these poor folks for the two legged cockroaches that they are, Phil’s “accomplishment” seems rather lame. And that’s putting it nicely.

You fellas are just jealous because you don’t have an Award for Liberty and Truth named after you.

His main disappointment is that the issue hasn’t made more headway in the mainstream scientific community.

Then Johnson should publicly direct his disappointment to Micheal Behe, whose few scientific contributions did nothing to support ID or any alternative to evolution. And to Jonathan Wells, who did nothing but rip off creationist misrepresentations of evolution, and provided no hint of, much less scientific support to, an alternative theory. And most of all to Stephen Meyer, who had to cheat to get a “peer-reviewed” paper published. And like the work of Behe, Wells, Dembski and Johnson himself, Meyer’s paper was nothing but a recycled argument from incredulity that only provided more evidence of how vacuous ID really is. And how IDers have to cheat to pretend that their word is scientific.

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Then Johnson should publicly direct his disappointment to Micheal Behe, whose few scientific contributions did nothing to support ID or any alternative to evolution.

Quite.

It seems clear that ID as a “scientific” proposal - i.e., as anything other than a synonym for “old-earth creationism” - is unravelling, even among its supporters. Or rather, it is becoming clearer and clearer that there was nothing there to unravel in the first place. On its own terms, ID is a failure.

So, anyone catch Dembski retracting his lies about kevin padian? if only good old Phil Johnson was half the mean mannish boy that Bill Quixote was, he too could bask in the glory of his acolytes for admitting that he is a liar! To get credit for admitting that you lied about something is beyond my ken.

Sir Toejam suggests:

Why not give it a shot yourself and see what happens?

My local school board has not seen fit to follow the “teach the controversy” suggestions of the DI institute.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

The most interesting debunking of Johnson the liar lawyer comes from a Christian– Denis Lamoureux: The Phillip Johnson Phenomenon: Are Evangelicals Inheriting The Wind?

Erasmus Wrote:

So, anyone catch Dembski retracting his lies about kevin padian? if only good old Phil Johnson was half the mean mannish boy that Bill Quixote was, he too could bask in the glory of his acolytes for admitting that he is a liar! To get credit for admitting that you lied about something is beyond my ken.

Eh, it’s better than never admitting to it. On the other hand, Dembski giveth even as he taketh away:

Bill D. Wrote:

In addition to getting certain facts wrong (not all of them: Padian in his letter above does not dispute that he singled out “young” “Asian” “fundamentalists” as supporters of ID), I also wish to apologize for engaging in an ad hominem against him (I called him a “bigot” and compared him to Archie Bunker). I’m not sure that “bigot” is any worse than “fundamentalist” (he apparently thinks “fundamentalist” is an appropriate designation for Christians who hold to ID). Moreover, Padian himself has not been averse to the ad hominem, comparing (see here) my good friend and colleague Jonathan Wells to “the talented Mr. Ripley” (a pathological murderer and impersonator portrayed by Matt Damon in the film by that name).

So Dembski’s sorry he called Padian a “bigot,” but Padian’s equally bad for using the term “fundamentalist” (uh, I seem to recall that many Christians call themselves fundamentalists, and proudly.)

And Padian’s still at fault for recognizing the existence of young fundamentalist Asians, even if he was doing so as part of the point that “[Dembski’s] audience — which I described accurately and did not criticize in any way — comes from a very different worldview than the one I addressed, and if scientists and educators want to reach that audience, they had better understand it and respect it, and not dismiss it.” Understanding and respect are racist, people!

And Padian’s at fault for comparing Wells to Ripley–even when all he did was charge Wells with lying by omission and used a scene from “The Talented Mr. Ripley” as an example of the latter. Wells is so reminiscent of Ripley, you see, that any reference to that movie would immediately lead people to think they’re the same person. Which would be terribly irresponsible.

So now you can say Count Worm Von DemStrauss has moved from apologetics to Indian giving, a case of the right hand letting the left hand know what it is doing. Now who advised against that?.…?

So Dembski’s sorry he called Padian a “bigot,” but Padian’s equally bad for using the term “fundamentalist” (uh, I seem to recall that many Christians call themselves fundamentalists, and proudly.)

And Padian’s still at fault for recognizing the existence of young fundamentalist Asians, even if he was doing so as part of the point that “[Dembski’s] audience — which I described accurately and did not criticize in any way — comes from a very different worldview than the one I addressed, and if scientists and educators want to reach that audience, they had better understand it and respect it, and not dismiss it.” Understanding and respect are racist, people!

And Padian’s at fault for comparing Wells to Ripley—even when all he did was charge Wells with lying by omission and used a scene from “The Talented Mr. Ripley” as an example of the latter. Wells is so reminiscent of Ripley, you see, that any reference to that movie would immediately lead people to think they’re the same person. Which would be terribly irresponsible.

Note the subtle equation of Dembski’s rank and unwarranted accusation with a bit of hyperbolic name-calling by Padian. “Oh yah, we’ve all used ad homs.” True, but we haven’t all gone off and made false accusations of racism and the like, now have we?

It’s the familiar double standard. They demand “more evidence” from us when they have produced none themselves. They fault us for having some unknowns, when they don’t even begin to posit known mechanisms, or known types of designers. Why should these execrable intellectual habits end at distortions of science, when they can serve to distort opponents as readily?

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

After a little digging around I found this. Could it be Billy’s ?

PS. You are gullible simpletons if you think I mean one word of this ‘apology’. I didn’t even want to think about it, let alone write it. Do you honestly believe I’m capable of even making a mistake. Please! I wrote this apology in good faith like I want to have all my teeth pulled. Consider yourself lucky I even lowered myself to point out my error in light of Padian’s much larger crimes.I have my honesty to consider you know. How are people going treat me if I really tell the truth!!!

Karen

I read Lamoureaux’s essay on Johnson with some interest. It’s clear to me that Lamoureaux would really like to approve of what Johnson is saying, but honesty prevents him from doing so with the wholehearted endorsement he wishes he could extend. To Lamoureaux, Johnson has made good points about (1) science being regarded (by a scientifically illiterate public) with near-religious awe, and (2) about how Design is so stone obvious in nature that one must be either blind or perverse to deny it.

But (says Lamoureaux), unfortunately, Johnson makes a couple of errors in getting these points across. For one thing, he uses to many ad hominem arguments, and his penchant for name-calling detracts from the purity of his message. And second, his knowledge of biology and paleontology is too limited, causing him to make the sort of factual errors that could easily be avoided with a little more intensive study (or vetting by a professional).

The article concludes that by being so divisive and so error-prone outside his specialty, Johnson is unnecessarily building a barrier between science and the evangelical church.

Lamoureaux has bent over backwards to give Johnson the benefit of the doubt as to look rather foolish. Assuming Johnson’s understanding of paleontology is so incredibly weak, despite the fact that Johnson is known to have been devoting himself full-time to these matters for over a decade now, is to imply that Johnson is a complete moron. *Of course* Johnson has all the facts. But if you extract all the scientific factual errors Johnson has carefully constructed, he has no evidence-based arguments remaining. He NEEDS those errors to make his claims sound plausible.

Similarly, without his demeaning personal attacks against those who disagree with him (both scientists and most Christians), he’d have no rhetorical weapons either. This terrible rhetoric is Johnson’s style; the factual errors are his substance. Lamoureaux wants Johnson to drop BOTH of these. And what would be left?

Lamoureaux complains that Johnson suffers from a lack of knowledge, but Johnson has made it perfectly clear he knows exactly what he’s saying. Johnson knows that a complete, honest presentation cannot possibly bring anyone to creationism. Creationism rests on, and is composed entirely of, falsehoods, distortions, misrepresentations, and intellectual slight of hand. His goal is to spread, reward, and reinforce ignorance, both to make it impermeable and to spur its victims to spread it more enthusiastically.

In short, Lamoureaux does not give Johnson anywhere near the respect and understanding Johnson has earned. Lamoureaux instead regards Johnson as a good Christian in need of minor correction and guidance. He just can’t find it in his heart to recognize that Johnson is a fully-informed, practiced and capable expert at what he does.

My local school board has not seen fit to follow the “teach the controversy” suggestions of the DI institute.

well, that’s good, but what you are talking about would still be a useful experiment, regardless of the philosophical leanings of your local school board.

in fact, being able to compare the responses between pseudo-religous leaning schoolboards and ones that aren’t would also be useful.

I still think it to be a worthwhile experiment, if you can find the time.

cheers

Instead of ID, the next thing on the horizon is Evolutionary Creation http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/3EvoCrBk.htm

From http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/3EvoCr.htm :

“Evolutionary creationists are first and foremost thoroughly committed and unapologetic creationists. They believe that the universe is a created reality that is absolutely dependent for its every moment of existence on the will and grace of the Creator. … Divine action in the creation of an individual human and the entire world is through subtle providential activity.”

God-of-the-gaps.

“Similarly, the plan and capacity for the universe and life, including humanity, to evolve 10-15 billion years after the Big Bang was ordained and loaded into the fabric of the cosmos at its inception.”

Frontloading.

It’s still both bad science and bad theology, for all of Lamoureux contortions.

My thoughts too Torbjörn and Flint points out the postmodernist politically correct hand wringing Lamoureaux goes to, to promote his “one true creationism” and probably promote his own books and try to cement a future berth on the good ship Templeton. Hoist on his own petard, and he doesn’t even realize it. Denial and Creationism are cut from the same fabric. Which is one reason why Johnson tries to shortcut his way to a Gap for the uneducated by the tried and true Goebelian method of “if you are going to lie make sure its a big one” why bother with the facts?The end justifies the means. Who among his swine heard are going to check. Lamoureaux who suffers from evangelical reality deprivation goes for the more subtle DoG behind the curtain …good old religious obscurantism. The tear in the cosmic fabric of his little world is best fixed by the usual method, copious quotes from his favorite private dreams of evangelical rationalization and questioning Johnson’s rhetoric, but not Johnson’s political motives,methods or ethics. In other words creationist polemic completely free of morals and facts, the usual stuff. I would ask Lamoureaux why did teeth evolve, inshalla? to test your faith? to eat creation?or to support Dentists, the same applies to brains and pastors.

burredbrain Wrote:

Instead of ID, the next thing on the horizon is Evolutionary Creation http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/3EvoCrBk.htm

If by “on the horizon” you mean promoted by anti-science activists as an alternative to evolution, I say “not a chance.”

Whether one calls it “Evolutionary Creation” or “Theistic Evolution,” it is the exact opposite of what the scammers - “scientific” creationists and IDers - want. When they’re not Dawkins-bashing, IDers will even admit that ECs/TEs, not atheists, are their chief opponents. At least 3 of them, Miller, Pennock and Haught, testified against ID at Dover.

YECs and IDers may have very different reasons for disliking EC/TE. For the former, it simply doesn’t accommodate their “revisionist prehistory.” For the latter, it defeats the purpose of their “big tent” strategy by calling attention to the very inconvenient fact that most major religions have long reconciled evolution, common descent and an old earth.

What Frank J said.

Frank J is right on the money. TE certainly seems to gather some very hostile attention from ID acolytes and creationists. In fact, ARN’s own ID FAQ has a section that mentions TE, denouncing it as a no different to “atheistic” evolution. Very odd for a site promoting a supposedly non-religious “theory”.

The problem is, for the True Creationist ™, evolution did not happen. Attempts to say it happened but initial front-loading predetermined it, or it happens but is guided every mutation of the way, or it happens but only because it occurs in a universe Designed to make it unavoidable, are pathetic equivocations. They are misguided attempts to reconcile Truth with the misinterpretations of reality fallible and atheistic scientists have stumbled into. They are wrong. The ONLY human ancestor was the clay of Eden. Period.

And so it’s easy to dismiss the atheists. They are simply evil, corrupted by the devil and beyond reach. But atheists don’t even try to distort True Faith, they ignore it. The real enemy is anyone who might divide the flock by showing that one can worship Jesus Christ, pray and hear the answers, even hate queers and equal rights, and STILL accept evolution. These people are the true battleground where Satan has his foot in the door, but God is still barring it from opening completely.

And make no mistake. God works directly, giving us His Perfect Unambiguous Word. But Satan works through devious misdirection, tricking us into thinking the scientific method has merit by controlling test results, validating predictions, and otherwise preying on the minds of those too clever for their own good. How many times have Satan’s victims discovered they were misled, and had to recast their theories? It happens continuously; Satan can’t keep his lies straight. And yet they still can’t realize it’s a trick. What does it take?

Flint: that is a depressingly accurate assessment of how many YECs think. What they don’t realise is that their account is a theological travesty as much as it is a scientific travesty. Same for ID, really (as the Lamoureaux article points out very capably).

Flint Wrote:

The problem is, for the True Creationist â„¢, evolution did not happen.

That may be true for the rank and file, but creationist leaders, especially of the ID variety, seem to know that evolution did happen, meaning that old earth, common decent are true, and Darwinian evolution is the proximate, if not necessarily ultimate, cause.

All of their increasingly vague allusions to what happened instead are only to placate the masses whom they think can’t handle the truth.

ah_mini Wrote:

In fact, ARN’s own ID FAQ has a section that mentions TE, denouncing it as a no different to “atheistic” evolution. Very odd for a site promoting a supposedly non-religious “theory”.

But not odd at all given that this topic began with the words “Phillip E. Johnson may believe six inconsistent things before breakfast..”

Note: I prefer to say that Johnson and other ID leaders promote six inconsistent things before breakfast. Their beliefs are consistent in that they think it’s OK to do so. They know that the wishful thinkers in the audience will overlook, or make excuses for, the the inconsistencies.

Flint, John and Frank are very acute. No FBI profiler could have done better.

PS. The guy’s home page says he spells Lamoureux. Really. DS.

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This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on May 14, 2006 4:57 PM.

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