Real Estate Agents Against Evolution

Peter and Helen Evans, identified as real estate agents who “teach a philosophical approach to conservatism,” published a response to Evan Ratliff’s Wired article about the ID Movement. The column was published on Mullenax News, a far-right wing Web site that advertises itself as “Always Tough” and “Always Honest.” Pity the same can’t be said about its columnists.

The Evans’ column starts with a brief revisionist history of evolutionary theory, claiming that after the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species,

revolutionary scientists of the period seized upon its ideas to attack the monopoly of the religious establishment over the question of ‘the origin of everything.

No names or citations, of course, just those atheistic “revolutionary scientists.” Poor Asa Gray.

The most egregious falsehood in the Evans’ screed is the identification of (an amazingly distorted description of) evolutionary theory with “radical materialism” and with (what else?) Communism. They say

Essentially, this is the belief that, by chance mutation and “natural selection,” minerals evolved into plants; plants into animals; animals into humans and that human self-consciousness is merely the latest evolutionary spin off. Simple; no God required. If this concept rings a bell, it should. It is the same deterministic materialism which inspired Karl Marx and the whole, thoroughly-discredited Socialist movement and its horrific mutant offspring, Communism.

Have these people never heard of Trofim Lysenko? Lysenko’s bizarre Lamarckian biology was the antithesis of Darwinian evolution! But never mind, it’s all atheistic materialism to the Evans family. One should also mention that The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848, 11 years before Darwin’s Origin (1859). Do the Evanses think Marx had a time machine? And never mind that tens of thousands of scientists, including thousands of biologists, are theists of various persuasions; never mind that millions of Christians find no irreconcilable conflict between Bible and science. The false dichotomy posed by the Evans family is atheistic science or fundamentalist religion.

The most ironic statement in the Evans family’s column is this:

Scientific rigor demands proof of its testable hypotheses, but politics just demands numbers, expressed as votes, and by attracting the votes of school board members, Intelligent Design is making significant inroads into the schools, notably in Ohio.

This is (yet another) clear acknowledgement that ID is bereft of scientific content and must depend on misleading the scientifically illiterate in order to get itself insinuated into public education.

There’s a nice clear explanation of how ID is allegedly contributing to science:

Enter “Intelligent Design” or ID. Its proponents say that ID opens new ways of thinking about life, its origins and its development. It claims that the enormous complexity of the structures of life (think; eye, wing) couldn’t have evolved by the blind incremental ‘push’ of simpler forms from below, but rather, that evolution must be ‘pulled’ from above (or beyond) by an intelligence that precedes its physical manifestations.

New ways? Poor William Paley. He made essentially the same argument as modern IDists without the veneer of pseudo-sophisticated mathematics. ID offers no “new ways” of thinking; it is a throwback to pre-Enlightenment magical thinking. And what on earth does “the push of simpler forms from below” mean in the context of evolutionary theory? It’s nonsense.

The Evanses say

The established priesthood of self-styled ‘real’ scientists attempt to dismiss it by calling it names like “Creationism in a lab coat” and claiming that it doesn’t further our understanding of anything and that “it isn’t real science.”

That’s an insult to real scientists who actually wear lab coats. More commonly, ID is referred to as ‘Creationism in a cheap tuxedo.” The “lab coat” remark is particularly ludicrous, since not one IDist has published lab research focused on ID. That’s understandable, since the ID movement seems to be dominated by lawyers, philosophers, and rhetoricians.

ID differs from creationism mostly in having dropped virtually all of the testable (and empirically rejected) propositions “scientific” creationism offered – propositions concerning the age of the earth, for example. Having abandoned Young Earth Creationism’s explicit tenets, ID has no testable propositions but only negative arguments of the form ‘We can’t believe evolution can do this or that.’ Fortunately, the degree of belief of Intelligent Design Creationists does not constitute data.

Finally, the dumbest sentence in the Evans’ column is this:

Let’s be intellectually honest here.

There is no detectable intellectual honesty in the Evans’ column.