Living in an Alternate Reality

Sometimes one wonders what version of reality intelligent design creationists live in. The most recent stimulus for that question is a post by Bill Dembski on Uncommon Descent. The post pitches an apologetics conferences to be held at Hickory Baptist Church in North Carolina. Dembski tells us the speakers will include such intellectual luminaries as James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Dinesh D’Souza, Lee Strobel, and, of course, Dembski.

In the post Dembski claims that

It’s nice to be in such distinguished company as indicated in this press release. I’ll certainly make my usual ID arguments. But I’ll also be pointing out that our opponents, the materialists and their cronies, are now battling principally for political rather than intellectual control. Indeed, the materialists have lost the intellectual battle.

Well, for openers, if that’s what Dembski takes to be “distinguished company” then he’s welcome to them.

More interesting, though, is Dembski’s list of how he thinks “materialists have lost the intellectual battle.” He provides a list of areas in which he thinks that’s occurred. Every one of them is a non sequitur:

**Remember how computers were going to become more intelligent than us and that we would be luck if they deigned to keep us as pets?

**Remember how humans were the third chimpanzee, only to find that some dogs and birds are smarter than chimps at various tasks?

**Remember how it was only a matter of time before the Miller-Urey experiment could be extended to explain the origin of life? (For the sheer hopelessness of OOL research, see my forthcoming book with Jonathan Wells, due out next month – How to Be an Intellectually Fulfilled Atheist (Or Not).)

The list of vapid materialist promises that show no sign of ever being fulfilled keeps growing and growing. But losing the intellectual battle no longer matters to materialists.

Notice anything? No evolution. No irreducible complexity. No mousetraps, CSI, SC, or Explanatory Filters. Why? Well, look below at Nick Matzke’s posts on the immune system and on the bacterial flagellum for two examples. The evolutionary origin of the poster child of ID and cover illustration for Dembski’s No Free Lunch and his blog, the bacterial flagellum, is closer to a full explanation in purely materialistic terms now than it was just 5 years ago. ID creationism lost the “intellectual battle” 150 years ago; it’s been fighting a rear-guard action every since, defending a smaller and smaller territory.

The ultimate self-parodying irony, though, is in the last two sentences of the post:

We’ve made a good case. What we need now are good legal and political strategies.

This from a Fellow of the Disco ‘Tute, whose sole and only tactics for 10 years have been political. I frankly cannot understand how a man with two (count ‘em, two!) Ph.D.s can be so unreflective, so unaware of self, so utterly blind to the reality of his own movement. It truly passeth all understanding.

Edited 9/22 to correct immune system link.