ID Moving On in Fighting the Culture War

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A reflection on the ID movement

So where is the ID movement going now in this post-Dover, post-Kansas world?

Well, it seems to me that they are giving up on trying to seriously sell ID as science. Instead, they are forging full-steam ahead with their cultural “war of the worldviews” agenda, pitting materialism and atheism (as represented by science) against religious belief (as represented by their particular flavor of fundamentalist Christianity.)

Let’s take a quick look at what they are up to:

1. Jonathan Wells’ new Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. As Burt Humburg points out in his review of Chapter 1, “Wars and Rumors”,

Wells uses such dramatic quotations and general martial language because the struggle between “intelligent design” and science is very much a culture war, at least to him and other creationists. In order to advance his thesis, Wells has to convey the idea that “Darwinism” pits itself against traditional Christianity: to allow pupils to learn it is to give them up to atheism, decadence, liberalism and to lose the culture war.

Just a year or so ago Wells was supposedly working on a book that would show that genetics is not in fact what drives development, but instead he has now relegated himself to defending “traditional Christianity” against the attacks of Godless science by writing a popularized rehash of creationist arguments and claims.

2. William Dembski has sunk to working at a seminary which declares that ID is based on Biblical principles, to running a blog with culture warrior Denyse O’Leary, and to taking full credit for helping Ann Coulter with her terrible mishmash of criticisms of evolution in her equally terrible book “Godless” (a book on the cutting edge of the cultural and political worldview wars.)

3. Dr. D. James Kennedy’s upcoming show “Darwin’s Deadly Legacy: The Chilling Impact of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.” ‘Nuf said about this one.

4. The recent Intelligent Design DDD6 roadshow in Kansas, in which John Calvert et al hammered home the theme that teaching materialistic science and unguided evolution would lead children to atheism. See here for a succinct summary of this thesis.

5. The recent publication of the premier issue of the magazine Salvo. See here, and especially the Intro link. The Editorial Board is a Who’s Who from the Discovery Institute - Johnson, Dembski, Meyer, Beckwith, West, Nelson, Moreland, Richards and others. Despite their disclaimer that “Salvo does not advocate gratuitous violence in any form,” a militaristic theme runs throughout the magazine. Here’s a succinct summary of the real issues at stake, according to the Introduction by editor Richard Moselle:

America is involved in a massive culture war, the intensity of which increases daily. … There’s probably no aspect of comtemporary American life that’s not affected in some way by the deep cultural chasm that currently divides our country.

The division itself can be attributed to two competing worldviews. On the one hand, you have the Judeo-Christian tradition and its belief in absolute truth, this idea that the universe has a purpose and a destiny, that it’s governed by order and logic, and that it is humans - creatures especially blessed with the capacity to discern and choose - who bear the burdon of locating this purpose and letting it dictate the manner in which they live their lives.

Opposed to this perspective is that of the naturalist, the conviction that the material world, which emerged on its own by chance and without reason, represents the only reality in existence - one that’s driven entirely by the struggle to survive and is subject to no real order apart from that struggle. According to this worldview, truth is relative, and the only absolute, though even it is culturally constricted and so is not in any way binding, is the decided “evil” of imposing your version of truth on someone else. …

The worldview that so clearly has things right, the one that makes the most sense logically and that has the most evidence on its side - the worldview that actually works - is also the one losing the fight for the public imagination. Through trickery and deceit, myths and misinformation, naturalism is gradually supplanting Judeo-Christianity (or what might be called super-naturalism) as the dominant American ideology, thereby unleashing all manner of cultural madness.

Well there you have it, I think: the real issues at hand. The enemy is the philosophy of naturalism, which is winning the public imagination through “trickery and deceit, myths and misinformation,… thereby unleashing all manner of cultural madness.” The remedy, of course, is the “the worldview that actually works” - Judeo-Christian supernaturalism.

Notice that there is nothing new here since the Wedge document was written a decade ago:

Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.

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.

However, the tactics have changed. Actually developing an alternative science of Intelligent Design has failed miserably - they haven’t really even tried. Legislating design via laws, state science standards or local school policies has failed. At this point, the new tactic seems to be escalate the divisive culture war.

This post was stimulated by a conversation I had with a reporter yesterday who, after I made the points described here, asked me “So is this good for science?”

My answer was “Yes, sort of, but really, no”

On the one hand, it would be a relief if these direct attacks on science and public science education would quiet down. No one really needs to take the time any more to seriously address “complex specified information”, “irreducible complexity,” or any of the other unworkable psuedoscience concepts offered by ID.

But really, the culture war approach, while more honest, is also more dangerous. The ID advocates will continue talking to their target audiences as if design were true and evolution were false, and as if believing in design and rejecting evolution is the only position compatible with their religious beliefs - and their target audiences will be glad to uncritically accept this. By dropping the pretenses about the purely scientific aspects of ID, ID advocates will in fact be able to mobilize their target audiences much more effectively. As the Salvo quote implies, the battle here is for the “public imagination” about these worldview issues. Separating ID from the cultural issues in order to attack science and education hasn’t worked, so now it’s time to abandon that tactic and go all out in arousing people to join up for the “us against them” war of the worldviews battle.

This approach is dangerous to American society because it’s Wedgey divisiveness, its self-righteousness (“the only worldview that works”) and its vilification of all other perspectives is antithetical to the fundamental need for our society to have room for a broad spectrum of cultural and religious perspectives. The approach these ID culture warriors are taking, if successful, would likely lead to the same type of destructive fragmentation that we see in other countries where religious fundamentalism is ascendent.

So how should we respond?

The problem here is that an easy way to respond would be to say, “OK, let’s duke it out - let’s get it on with this culture war.” But such a response would be wrong, and would let them win irrespective of further events. If they are allowed to make this a simple black-and-white God vs. no-God battle, they will have the public imagination on their side. If they are allowed to frame the issues and we respond within their framework, then we are forced to tacitly accept the underlying assumptions by which they make this an either-or issue in the first place.

So my suggestion is that we refuse to go to war. We have have done a good job at some levels of resisting their attempts to distort science and misuse science education, but we need to do an equally good job of resisting their attempts to distort religious, cultural and political issues. To do this effectively, we need to avoid their divisive approach and the polarization it produces. We can argue civilly and persuasively for tolerance and diversity in a secular society without acceding to their misrepesentations of such a position.

Let’s get these social and cultural issues out on the table and work on them. This is not about science and never has been. Perhaps now ID can just die away, and we can focus on the real issues.

143 Comments

Does anyone know who John West of the DI is? I just saw him on TV. Is attempting to accomplish what Dembski could not? Boy was he bashing the Thomas Moore Law Center is there really bad blood there? Why?

Has anyone looked at John West’s new book? I just saw him on TV and Oh boy was he bashing the Thomas Moore Law Center is there really bad blood there? Why is West mad I should think the law center was the one wronged?

So how do we refuse to go to war? I’d love to see a post on the specifics of doing that, because I think for scientists and sicence students, the natural tendency is to simply debate with others- because we believe we have the evidence on our side, so we aren’t afraid of getting into discussions about science, because if the evidence is there, it will prove us right, and if it isn’t there, then we’ll change our views accordingly.

What seems less natural is this idea of having to ‘frame’ an issue. People should look at the evidence and make up their own minds based on that, not based on how clever at spinning a topic somebody like ann coulter or william dembsky is. But of course, people aren’t logical and rational. they believe lies that they are told, even pretty flimsy ones, because many of them aren’t interested in thinking critically about issues like science.

So how can we frame the issue to get through to these people, without duking it out in a ‘war on science’ that we would lose because people are stupid and creationists are happy to play dirty? it seems like a tough ask, so where do you start?

Framing the issues is what it’s all about. That’s what the Republicans and the Bush administration has been done so successfully in the five years since 9/11. Challenge them on military strategy? The answer is 9/11. Challenge them on budget deficits? 9/11. Challenge them on tax cuts? 9/11. Challenge them on health policies? 9/11. The answer to everything has been couched in terms of 9/11, national security or Islamic terrorism. Bush’s brain, Karl Rove, has successfully kept Bush in office through framing every issue in terms of 9/11 and terrorism.

I don’t attribute anything like the same power to the DI and its acolytes—they lack the power of a White House bullhorn—but they do have a willing group of politically active people, America’s fundamentalists, who probably feel that with Bush they are tantalizingly close to the holy grail of national political power for which they’ve thirsted for more than forty years. And they’ll be damned if they’ll let that power slide beyond reach. But, if they frame the issue correctly, from their perspective that is, they’re money ahead in that in theory they’ll have all the Christians on their side and nothing but atheists and agnostics on other. Of course, that’s a false dichotomy, but falsity never stopped them before (except when they found themselves in court).

An awfully large number of Christians, mainstream denominations and the Roman Catholics, are not natural allies of the DI so whoever leads the opposition to the DI needs to be backed by both rational Christians and American secularists. The latter two groups still comprise a majority in this country, even if many strayed into Bush’s camp in 2004. So whoever does lead better not stake the flag on the back of secularists alone. If they do, we’ll lose.

leah j asked:

So how do we refuse to go to war?

You just sit back and watch them con the greater part of the population and watch the poll numbers for belief in the illusionary ID theory creep up.

Maybe they’ll self-destruct on their own. They seem to be running out of arguments. Almost everything I’ve seen these guys bring up can easily be answered by looking in up on talk origins.

For example, here’s the latest post on UncomDe: http://www.uncommondescent.com/inde[…]rchives/1518 Was Blyth the true scientist and Darwin merely a plagiarist and charlatan?

First I ever heard of Blyth and I’ve read some Loren Eiseley. So, I type in the name “Edward Blyth” with “talk origins” and I get this:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/pre[…]snatsel.html

Eiseley’s argument that Darwin had borrowed from Blyth based on of a similarity in terminology has been disproven, on the grounds that Darwin used the term before he could have read Blyth, and because Darwin had clearly developed some of the focal planks of his theory by that point, observations made in rebuttal by Beddall 1972 and 1973 and Schwartz 1974 to Eiseley’s claims 4 to 6 years before his literary executors reissued his earlier essays. See also Ospovat. The Eiseley view is repeated on the web at this site. Gould says something about this that is worth repeating, and I am indebted to a respondent named Seth Jackson for bringing it to my attention:

“The following kind of incident has occurred over and over again, ever since Darwin. An evolutionist, browsing through some pre-Darwinian tome in natural history, comes upon a description of natural selection. Aha, he says; I have found something important, a proof that Darwin wasn’t original. Perhaps I have even discovered a source of direct and nefarious pilfering by Darwin! In the most notorious of these claims, the great anthropologist and writer Loren Eiseley thought that he had detected such an anticipation in the writings of Edward Blyth. Eiseley laboriously worked through the evidence that Darwin had read (and used) Blyth’s work and, making a crucial etymological mistake along the way (Gould, 1987c), finally charged that Darwin may have pinched the central idea for his theory from Blyth. He published his case in a long article (Eiseley, 1959), later expanded by his executors into a posthumous volume entitled “Darwin and the Mysterious Mr. X” (1979).”

Yes, Blyth had discussed natural selection, but Eiseley didn’t realize — thus committing the usual and fateful error in this common line of argument — that all good biologists did so in the generations before Darwin. Natural selection ranked as a standard item in biological discourse — but with a crucial difference from Darwin’s version: the usual interpretation invoked natural selection as part of a larger argument for created permanency. Natural selection, in this negative formulation, acted only to preserve the type, constant and inviolate, by eliminating extreme variants and unfit individuals who threatened to degrade the essence of created form. Paley himself presents the following variant of this argument, doing so to refute (in later pages) a claim that modern species preserve the good designs winnowed from a much broader range of initial creations after natural selection had eliminated the less viable forms: “The hypothesis teaches, that every possible variety of being hath, at one time or other, found its way into existence (by what cause of in what manner is not said), and that those which were badly formed, perished” (Paley, 1803, pp. 70-71).

Darwin’s theory therefore cannot be equated with the simple claim that natural selection operates. Nearly all his colleagues and predecessors accepted this postulate. Darwin, in his characteristic and radical way, grasped that this standard mechanism for preserving the type could be inverted, and then converted into the primary cause of evolutionary change. Natural selection obviously lies at the center of Darwin’s theory, but we must recognize, as Darwin’s second key postulate, the claim that natural selection acts as the creative force of evolutionary change. The essence of Darwinism cannot reside in the mere observation that natural selection operates - for everyone had long accepted a negative role for natural selection in eliminating the unfit and preserving the type.” Gould, S. (2002). The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Page 137. The Gould 1987c reference is to An Urchin in the Storm, but no page reference is given.

Seems all you need to do in most cases is get people to check talk origins on every claim they hear from an ID avocate.

I think the idea that we don’t take them up on their offer is the best idea. Disprove them when they make claims, promote good science (and civilized discussion without name-calling), but don’t charge into the battle, because we’re letting the IDers set the stage, the rules, and the territory if we do. They want a culture war, and they’ve got no qualms about lying, decieving, or tearing America apart to win.

One thing to remember is that their tactic is this - it’s to remove the middle ground. They KNOW they’re not convincing any of us. They know they’re not convincing a good chunk of America. Their goal is to produce division and contention and hope more people end up on their side that the side of rationality and civility. We can refuse to give it to them and help minimize the tactic.

As for beyond that - that’s going to be more complex. Promoting good science, teamwork among the pro-science people, building alliances (I had read in The Humanist recently about a scientist that actually arranged pro-science events at local liberal churches), etc. are important. We don’t have to fight their WAR, but we do have to stay active.

Salvador Cordova and Edward Sisson appear on the Coral Ridge Hour. Why anybody would want to be associated with D. James Kennedy is beyond me. Icky yucky blech.

Does anybody know what Ted Haggart (unification church in colorodo springs) is up to?

this guy at one point (still does as far as i know) had regularly weekly phone calls with GW to discuss “policy”.

If you haven’t a clue who I’m talking about, this is the mega-church preacher Dawkins confronted in “root of all evil”

http://video.google.com/videoplay?d[…]il&hl=en

You don’t hear much about him on the blogs, and I wonder why that is.

I think Jack Krebs is right: “This is not about science and never has been. Perhaps now ID can just die away, and we can focus on the real issues.” The real issue is morality, not science. We can’t just tell people that science has nothing to say about morality and decency. It appears that evolution strongly encourages the development of good behaviour in social species such as humans, and we need to celebrate this and explain it to those who might think otherwise. To me, the destruction of the Nazi regime in WWII is an example of cultural evolution selecting against heartless social structures in favor of those with more kindness and charity, which is very good news indeed.

So does anyone here think that “intelligent design is very much a hypothesis which simply states that design is the set theoretic complement of chance and regularity”? Does that sound like a claim from an evolutionist or an IDist?

the destruction of the Nazi regime in WWII is an example of cultural evolution selecting against heartless social structures in favor of those with more kindness and charity

The destruction of the Nazi regime is an example of a country with greater capacity for military production defeating a country with lesser capacity, as well as the loser making strategic errors due in part by being run by a megalomaniac. The U.S. didn’t enter the war until it was attacked; it didn’t do so because of “heartless social structures”, which were largely unknown to the U.S. population. And even if the U.S. had entered the war to defeat “heartless social structures”, that wouldn’t have demonstrated “cultural evolution selecting against” them; England, with all of its “kindness and charity”, was not able to defeat the Nazis by itself.

The bottom line is, this is the worst sort of pseudo-scientific just-so-story babble.

Also, how about “the ID hypothesis has many flaws and short comings but to argue that this is not a scientific hypothesis is like saying that young earth creationism is a priori unscientific”? Does that sound like an evolutionist position?

The destruction of the Nazi regime is an example of a country with greater capacity for military production defeating a country with lesser capacity, as well as the loser making strategic errors due in part by being run by a megalomaniac.

True, but both countries were run by megalomaniacs: the only difference is that Stalin had better allies.

Bob

True, but both countries were run by megalomaniacs: the only difference is that Stalin had better allies.

Yeah, that makes the absurdity of James A’s fairy tale even clearer.

This never was IMHO a scientific debate but rather cultural and by extention political. Now they are dropping the science angle and being honest about it. Fighting this is unavoidable, so what should the rules of engagement be? 1. Show their premise to be false. Science is not theology. Nor is it an either or choice, if one accepts modern science based on the evidence that does not automatically make one an atheist. Ask them why there are so many Christians that do accept evolution without loosing faith in their God? 2. Continue to show their potiential audience that ID is not science but theology. 3. Be polite and respectful towards them, no insults or personal attacks. We don’t need to make them look silly or out of touch with reality, they do that without our help. 4. When they do look silly and out of touch with reality we should point it out: blaming Darwin for Nazi genocide is like blaming the Wright brothers for 9/11. That’s my two cents worth.

Science is not a search for THE TRUTH,. It isn’t about finding the most rational or logical explanation for the phenomena observed in nature. It isn’t a fair and openminded debate where all points of view are equally valid and presented to a neutral audience who then can choose which “theory” works best for them and is to be taught in public school science classes, and it is not a comittment to a philosophy of materialism where nothing exists other than matter in motion under the blind and uncaring forces of nature for no apparrent purpose. Science is a methodology where questions are asked about the universe or some part of it the answers to which come from experiments and observations. These experiments and observations have to be done in such a way that the results are repeatable (others doing the same observations and experiments under the same conditions will come up with the same results), publishable and peer reviewable (your peers are your competitors). If this sounds like a long tedious process where gains are made by millimeters over decades that’s because it is. Science isn’t something you believe in, it is something that you do. Usually for a living. Science produces technology and some understanding of the workings of the universe and what we must do to thrive in it. This technology provides good high paying jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurship. You can’t count on manna from heaven by sheer belief alone. If the culture warriors are convinced that science is evil and materialistic then the challenge is for them to rid themselves of all the fruits of technology in their lives and go back to the hunter-gatherer state that would follow. The progress of science won’t stop by gutting it’s education in public schools, it will only stop in America. Somewhere in China and India educators and parents are reading about the efforts of the Discovery Institute and its allies and they are smiling. Intelligent design is not a scientific alternative to evolution, it is a metaphysical alternative to science.

I notice that they (according to the quotes provided) also equate supernaturalism with “Judeo-Christianity”.

So my suggestion is that we refuse to go to war… but we need to do an equally good job of resisting their attempts to distort religious, cultural and political issues. To do this effectively, we need to avoid their divisive approach and the polarization it produces. We can argue civilly and persuasively for tolerance and diversity in a secular society without acceding to their misrepresentations of such a position.

Hi, long-time lurker here. If you mean to suggest that we should not engage in this culture war, I disagree. To the extent that we are a part of this culture, this society, we are responsible for how it manifests, and thus have an obligation to be involved in shaping what it becomes. If your meaning is simply that we should not engage it on their terms, I agree, but I would argue that what we need to do is re-frame the issue and argue it proactively. To re-frame it would alter and expand the audience who hears it.

One thing I would love to see happen - and you can bet it never will - is that classes which teach students to think critically and logically, and to be able to identify non-sequiturs be introduced into the high school curriculum. They might then, just possibly, be less easily swayed by the weapons of fear and misinformation that barrage us now.

I wonder how many of those elected officials who argue in favor of “critical analysis” of evolution would be willing to pony up the money it would take for high schools to teach students to evaluate arguments and to think critically?

And why shouldn’t parents lobby their PTA’s and BoE’s to thus alter the curriculum? Seems to me that if the DI and far right is arguing that America is being lied to, misled and fed a diet of misinformation by the “liberals” (whether in the context of evolution, global warming, same-sex marriage, or violence on tv), they would be behind a push in public education to teach students how to read polls, and to recognize rhetoric from fact and so on.

That is how I would reframe the issue.

That having been said, I tip my hat to you and everyone else here who is acively involved in pushing back against the lies and misinformation by the religious right and their fellow travelers.

Hi Tim, and others who have commented.

I agree heartily with Tim that we need to proactively engage the cultural issues, but not as if we were “at war”, and I agree we should work to frame things in our way rather than working in their framework. I also think that our framework shouldn’t be equally black-and-white and divisive (because seeing things as black-and-white and divisive is part of their framework.)

A few weeks ago there was a great Doonesbury strip where a reporter was questioning Bush, and at one point said in exasperation, “The ‘debate’ you’re willing to have is always between options of your own choosing.”

This applies to us: we need to decide what we think the issues are and present our case about those issues, putting their positions as we see them into our persepctive. We also need to address our concerns to the middle of the spectrum - people who are not yet polarized.

In fact, one of the key issues needs to be polarization and divisiveness itself. Things are usually not black-and-white, and we owe it to others, both as fellow citizens and fellow human beings, to try to understand the complexity and ambiguity of issues together without trying to force anyone into a definitive “our side or heir side” conclusion.

“In fact, one of the key issues needs to be polarization and divisiveness itself. Things are usually not black-and-white, and we owe it to others, both as fellow citizens and fellow human beings, to try to understand the complexity and ambiguity of issues together without trying to force anyone into a definitive “our side or heir side” conclusion.”

I agree. However, politicians don’t stay in power this way. They stay in power by convincing people to fear something and then telling them who is to blame (the other side). Ignorance and knee-jerk reactions in their constituents are how those in power stay in power. Ah, imagine a world where leaders lead with knowledge and wisdom, and intellectual discussion is used to develop ideas and determine policy…

Jack wrote: In fact, one of the key issues needs to be polarization and divisiveness itself. Things are usually not black-and-white, and we owe it to others, both as fellow citizens and fellow human beings, to try to understand the complexity and ambiguity of issues together without trying to force anyone into a definitive “our side or heir side” conclusion.

You’re right about divisiveness and polarization, in my opinion. People are being trained to think that it’s quite alright to demonize and objectify those they disagree with. A recent visit to a conservative blog offered tee-shirts emblazoned with a big yellow smiley face and the slogan “Imagine No Liberals”. How can that be any more acceptable than the same shirt saying something like “Imagine No Jews”, or “Imagine No Koreans”?

However, while it is evident, to anyone who take a moment to look and think, that all issues are complex and can’t and shouldn’t be boiled down to sound-bites, talking points, and false dichotomies, the Right’s response to it being pointed out that there is complexity is that we are victims of woolly thinking and practitioners of hand-wringing.

So, from where I sit, getting people to acknowledge complexity is an ends, not a means. The question is by means do people come to ask questions, to understand that there may be more to an issue than what is being flogged and blogged?

Again, all that I can think of - and this is a neutral approach - is to get people to start discussing what constitutes an argument, what constitutes a fallacy? How does rhetoric work to obscure an absence of facts and so on? It’s not hard to imagine that such a conversation as that could take place between any two people (at the water cooler, around drinks or coffee), regardless of their political or religious p.o.v. And if we care what young people are being taught - and I think most people do (either because they are parents or partisans or both) - then there’s an incentive to include them in such a discussion. Ultimately, as I said above, we need to make critical thinking a part of the curriculum for public schools.

That’s a nice roundup of ID activities, Jack, but you forgot to mention the Discovery Institute’s secret research program. Paul Nelson said so.

The war against science isn’t currently being fought in colleges or even high schools. Take a look at Jimmy Carter’s recent book, “Our Endangerd Values”. In there he describes the transformation of the Southern Baptist conference from a socially liberal organization (ie flat flexible ecumenical structure, relatively tolerant, advocate for equality, focused on doing good works for the community) to a harshly conservative one (ie highly rigid authoritarian structure, totally intolerant, advocate for the subserviance of women, focused on doing good for the church).

The culture wars are being fought (and won) in the churches. Note the shrinking memberships of the “main stream” Protestant and Catholic churches. How does one fight in this kind of war?

My wife was recently talking with a friend of hers, a high school student. The family is fundamentalist Xian, and we’ve known them for a couple of years. The kid recently discovered that my wife is not a church-going Xian, and has rather strong feelings against fundamentalism. The kid responded incredulously, “But, how can that be? You’re so nice!”

My suggestion? Do what Christ did for the Christians, what Ghandi did for India, and MLK Jr. did for Blacks. Become active in your community. Do good works. Get involved. Be kind, tolerant, and charitible. Show by your deeds that your world view is successful and valuable. Lead with your works. Then, follow with your words about how your world view leads you to do good things. Stand up mildly but firmly for tolerance and understanding.

Will this work against committed trolls on fundamentalist blogs? No. But it may make a difference in your community.

Hopefully it willl make a difference in one girls life.

Of course, this war is about science aswell, but not only science. This is in deed a war of worldviews, and “not going to war” is exacly what allowed ID to grow and gain the publicity it has now. If you think you can change people’s hearts and minds by poiting out to religious people who accept Darwinism, you are going to have a rude awakening, Jack.

Sure, many people are skepical of Darwinism for religious reasons, but not everyone falls into the group. It’s safe to say that most people are naturally skeptical of claims that unguided forces had the ability to generate the jaw-dropping complexity present in biological life forms.

Therefore, one prediction can be made: The design hypothesis will never go away since it’s the natural conclusion we make based on simple observation. What proponents of unguided evolution want us to accept is totally against logic and reason. You are free to believe in that, but don’t be surprised if most people don’t.

“What proponents of unguided evolution want us to accept is totally against logic and reason.”

Sez you.

What’s your area of expertise again? You know, the one that enables you point out that all the scientists in the world who accept evolution are wrong and you are right because… um, because? (Hint - religious apologetics don’t count.)

“The design hypothesis will never go away since it’s the natural conclusion we make based on simple observation.”

Could you give an example of a naturally occurring organism which shows ANY proof of design? And why? (Hint - the flagellum don’t count).

“conclusion we make based on simple observation.”

SIMPLE observation would suggest the entire universe revolves around the earth. Is that a good example of logic and reason for ya?

Is he describing Uncommon Descent?

:-/

Sure, many people are skepical of Darwinism for religious reasons, but not everyone falls into the group. It’s safe to say that most people are naturally skeptical of claims that unguided forces had the ability to generate the jaw-dropping complexity present in biological life forms.

you miss the larger issue when focusing on the narrow:

most people simply can’t grasp the concept of “billions of years” to begin with.

natural, since we only live for a century at best.

just because someone can’t wrap their ignorance around a particular concept, doesn’t invalidate the concept.

that’s why we rely on that little thing called “evidence” in order to counter any pre-existing biases.

Otherwise, I’m absolutely sure everybody would still think we live on a flat earth where the celestial bodies revolve around us in a fixed shell of a “sky”.

Just to clarify, my comment 123334 was in response to the dude with the russian-like name and not Mats. Looks like one troll went bye-bye.

James A Wrote:

We can’t just tell people that science has nothing to say about morality and decency.

Science doesn’t have anything to say about morality and decency… pretty much by definition, really.

If we decide to make things otherwise, the IDers have won in redefining science.

James A Wrote:

It appears that evolution strongly encourages the development of good behaviour in social species such as humans, and we need to celebrate this and explain it to those who might think otherwise.

Whatever you’re concluding from this is a philosophical perspective and is not science.

It also sounds likely to me to be a terrible philosophical perspective, since evolutionary processes are by nature wholly amoral and reward those and only those practices which contribute to the propagation of genetic material.

Keith Douglas Wrote:

I notice that they (according to the quotes provided) also equate supernaturalism with “Judeo-Christianity”.

There are no other religious perspectives which are considered valid in America today. This, I think, is actually a big part of the problem.

Recovering Troll writes Well, WTF IS good enough? I looked at their forums, they ARE full of atheist rants.

Depends on what you consider an atheistic rant. If people are posting things like “aren’t those fundies stupid, they really think there is a God!” well, that’s an atheist rant.

But the vast majority of comments go more like “C’mon guys, lets not teach religion in a science class”, which is hardly rantish, not-unreasonable public policy, and isn’t even particularly insulting to religion.

Though admittedly, it’s often taken that way by reflexively religious types, who, when it comes to any perceived slight to the faith, are so thin-skinned you see their bones when they walk in front of the sun.

Michael Suttkus wrote From now on, we shall leash all the scientists in electroshock collars and if any of them dares say a single thing that isn’t utterly scientific, we shall run 2 gazillion volts through their necks! That will teach those miserable scientists!

You know, I’d almost be OK with that, so long as part of the deal we get the same treatment for religious leaders, who would get zapped whenever they talk about science.

Or politicians, who would be shocked when they… well.. actually pretty much all the time

stevaroni Wrote:
Michael Suttkus Wrote:

From now on, we shall leash all the scientists in electroshock collars and if any of them dares say a single thing that isn’t utterly scientific, we shall run 2 gazillion volts through their necks! That will teach those miserable scientists!

You know, I’d almost be OK with that, so long as part of the deal we get the same treatment for religious leaders, who would get zapped whenever they talk about science.

Oooo, another atheist anti-religion rant! This forum is just full of atheist rants! :-)

Seriously, though, I’m pretty sure this is what they’re thinking of when they blither about atheistic rants. You’re not mindlessly kowtowing to religion, it’s sorta negative about it… clearly it’s an atheist rant.

Personally, I’ve long felt Congress should have electrodes in their seats, with every home having free access to C-Span and a local button to express their grievances to their representatives with. I know *I* would use it. :-)

And Darth Robot said thats not GOOD ENOUGH!

It aint.

Well, WTF IS good enough? I looked at their forums, they ARE full of atheist rants.

If you’re wondering what is “good enough”, may I submit that you have no business talking about either ID or evolution? When people are flat out saying “Link to some examples”, your saying “they ARE full of atheist rants” is sadly, sadly, lacking. You simply have no clue on what makes for evidence in a rhetorical argument, let alone a scientific or philosophical one.

atheist rants

But ID isn’t about religion. No siree Bob. It’s just them lying atheist darwinists who say it is.

(snicker) (giggle)

Recovering Troll has obviously had a relapse.

If atheists are such a weak minority, and the “creationists” (substitute Jews, blacks, fundies, whatever as needed depending on your argument)are everywhere, how come evolutionism is the only thing that can be taught in public schools and creationism is BANNED?

one, atheists is a rather broad term, the lack of religion is not a religion, nor is it easy to categorize such as a singular political or social entity, regardless of your meager attempts to do so.

two, nobody teaches “evolutionism” except in unification churches. Is that what you heard when you went to school? er, DID you go to school?

Do you not understand the difference between a scientific theory an a religious ideology? Perhaps you should read the Kitzmiller trial notes, that might help… a bit. Answer your own stupid ass question:

why did Jones rule that teaching ID was in violation of the establishment clause?

Do you understand why our Constitution even HAS an establishment clause? or didn’t they get that far at Redneck U.?

And someone said that Kansas Citizens for Science is full of atheist rants and go look at their forums.

I highly suggest you actually leave your church basement once in a while and get a clue as to WHY so many are adamantly opposed to religion in public schools, and in public life in general.

you could spend a half hour or so watching this, to see what motivates the people you erroneously group under the umbrella “atheist”:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?d[…]33&hl=en

Well, WTF IS good enough? I looked at their forums, they ARE full of atheist rants.

What the F… do they have to do with science?

nothing, and neither does ID or creationism. which is exactly why you see so many rants at the particular site you mention. again, regardless of your attempt to classify everyone who objects to the idiocy of “creationsism” as science, as atheists, they aren’t all as easy to label as you wish to think.

And what do Dawkins rants about religion have to do with science?

nothing, but they aren’t rants. Please WATCH THE VIDEO to get some idea of the connection between irrational religious movements and the practice of science in general. If after watching that, you still can’t see the connection, please seek professional help before posting again.

Hell, he is coming to Lawrence Kansas in October for a science lecture series to promote his new book.

Is it about his latest research on evolution?

Nope, its called the GOD DELUSION and its about how much he hates religion.

What the heck does that have to do with SCIENCE?

one last time, just to be clear…

WATCH THE VIDEO.

then go to the lecture and find out. maybe if you watch the video or (*horrors*) actually READ some of his books on evolutionary theory, you might gain insight, rather than just spew irrational nonsense.

good luck, as I doubt you actually are capable of rational thought and logic.

Michael-

Personally, I’ve long felt Congress should have electrodes in their seats, with every home having free access to C-Span and a local button to express their grievances to their representatives with. I know *I* would use it. :-)

you think you jest, but essentially, even getting to the point of running for a congressional seat has become such a nightmare these days, most folks who actually WOULD be qualified to run for office are simply afraid to do so. It’s kind of like they already see a pain-button attached to the seat, and perhaps rightly so.

to a lesser extent, I think we see a similar pattern happenig with secondary school educators. there is so much pressure on teachers these days, and so little tangible benefits, that many simply quit out of disgust, and most who would normally make great teachers see the results and decide not to even bother.

meh, just something to think about.

Some recovery.

Yeah, I saw the vidieo.

It is nothing more than an atheist rant against religion, and has little to do with science per se.

Yeah, the root of all evil.

And I bet you think the Protocols of the Elders of Zion gives all the facts on the Jews.

Dick, you’ve just repeated yourself.

When you feel able to accurately convey some of Dawkins’ points that you feel amounted to nothing more than “atheist rants against religion,” so that the rest of us here can follow what you’re saying–instead of just having to take your word for it–do come back.

Until then, you’re really just wasting our time–not that you probably care–as well as your own.

Stevie:

Dick, you’ve just repeated yourself.

To be clear, I’m not referencing your most-recent double post (which I’m willing to assume is the fault of our still-kludgy interface), but the repetition of claims-without-specifics as between your post further up the thread and your latest (two) post(s).

His mere statement that religion is the root of ALL evil is an expression of bigotry.

In some places its Jews, in other in blacks, around the US of A its “immigrants”.

To Dawkins its religion.

So I say…it ATHEISTS.

Athestis, who killed 100 million people in the twentieth century alone.

Atheists, who after they tell us there is no God to tell us what to do, want themselves to tell us what to do.

Yeah, I saw the vidieo.

How can folks tell? You say nothing specific and just spray generalities. Nothing there that would actually indicate you saw the video.

What is it about creationists? You ask for specific examples and they STILL refuse to do it. Are they that mentally deficient that they think they ARE being specific?

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 4, column 57, byte 350 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Folks, Christensen is just a sad little piss-ant who still thinks the burning-bag-of-shit-on-the-doorstep gag is funny. He’s popping up under several guises here lately and he is encouraged by troll-feeding.

PLEASE DON’T FEED THE TROLLS.

Arguing with an idiot is like wrestling a pig: you both end up covered in excrement, and the pig enjoys the activity.

He’s popping up under several guises here…

Which one’s Christiensen? Dick or Banned by KCFS? Or both?

[Comment deleted due to vulgarity]

So I say…it ATHEISTS.

That’s nice.

And what, again, does this have to do with ID? IDers, after all, keep telling us that ID doesn’t have anything to do with religion.

Or are they just lying to us when they say that … ?

Oh, and by the way, how many scientists did you say were involved with writing the revised Kansas science standards . … … ?

his approach is dangerous to American society because it’s Wedgey divisiveness, its self-righteousness (“the only worldview that works”) and its vilification of all other perspectives is antithetical to the fundamental need for our society to have room for a broad spectrum of cultural and religious perspectives. The approach these ID culture warriors are taking, if successful, would likely lead to the same type of destructive fragmentation that we see in other countries where religious fundamentalism is ascendent.

So how should we respond?

The problem here is that an easy way to respond would be to say, “OK, let’s duke it out - let’s get it on with this culture war.” But such a response would be wrong, and would let them win irrespective of further events. If they are allowed to make this a simple black-and-white God vs. no-God battle, they will have the public imagination on their side. If they are allowed to frame the issues and we respond within their framework, then we are forced to tacitly accept the underlying assumptions by which they make this an either-or issue in the first place.

So my suggestion is that we refuse to go to war. We have have done a good job at some levels of resisting their attempts to distort science and misuse science education, but we need to do an equally good job of resisting their attempts to distort religious, cultural and political issues. To do this effectively, we need to avoid their divisive approach and the polarization it produces. We can argue civilly and persuasively for tolerance and diversity in a secular society without acceding to their misrepesentations of such a position.

A concerted, funded PR campaign aimed at making them look as stupid as they are. A slew of Jokes about fundies on Leno and tv shows that show them as they are. But it won’t go to the root of the problem. They are the army recruited by banking and neocons to create a certain kind of society.

The culture war is already on I’m afraid.

These are random musings to be sure but I think it is not as simple as it seems. PR (Also short for its synonym “propoganda”) is paid for and serves a purpose. I don’t think the purpose is as simple as a fundy’s belief in a provincial god. They just aren’t that smart.

1. Dick (formerly Christensen at KCFS) and Banned at KCFS (who also posts as Ulyanov, JB, Emmanuel Goldstein and who knows who else) are different people (banned at KCFS etc. might be two people - I’m not sure.), but all are people who have been banned at KCFS and other sites for continual posting exactly the type of thing we see here.

Connor J is right about the wisdom of ignoring these folks.

2. A common consequence of responding to these fellows is that threads often deteriorate rapidly into extremely polarizid discussions as to which side has committed the largest number of atrocities. We are not going to go there.

A theme of this thread is working to avoid polarization. These folks are polarizers in the extreme.

And I bet you think the Protocols of the Elders of Zion gives all the facts on the Jews.

I don’t think so, because you know you would lose. In fact, anti-semitic atheists are, not surprisingly, a relative rarity. It helps to remember that the Protocols claim that Jews drink the blood of Christian children, and that the same people who promoted the Protocols also said that Bolshevism was a Jewish conspiracy.

His mere statement that religion is the root of ALL evil is an expression of bigotry.

It’s not a statement, it’s a question. And even if it were a statement, it wouldn’t be bigotry; it doesn’t even address the characteristics of people at all, but rather an institution, or a practice. It’s like saying, as Ayn Rand pretty much did, that altruism is the root of all evil; it may be wrong, but it isn’t “bigotry”.

Jack Krebs wrote:

“Connor J is right about the wisdom of ignoring these folks.

2. A common consequence of responding to these fellows is that threads often deteriorate rapidly into extremely polarizid discussions as to which side has committed the largest number of atrocities. We are not going to go there.”

I apologise if that’s how I came across (and apologies if THIS post is off topic).

My original point to him was not intended to be ‘who is meaner than who’, but rather that our human values (or lack of them) do not come from our religious beliefs (or lack of them) since history shows that ANYONE is capable of committing atrocities. They are not just limited to a particular type of belief or political system.

Sometimes it is difficult to judge when to engage people like Christensen & JB; whether to ignore them or is it better to correct them when they pop up. And when they come over with the same tired old baseless arguments without evidence to back it up, it’s easy to get an itchy trigger finger and respond out of reaction (and thereby losing the point that one was attempting to make). Admittedly I’m guilty there. Sorry about that. :-(

I appreciate you wanting to keep everything cool and keeping the thread on track.

mu

My previous post was a response to a troll post since deleted. But I suppose “mu” still applies. :-)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jack Krebs published on August 26, 2006 5:48 PM.

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