"Waterloo" delayed? Again?

Just about the most common words that come out of the mouths of “intelligent design” proponents are “We’re not creationists!”

Why, then, has everyone that has testified so far in Kansas Kangaroo Court (see roundups by the Red State Rabble and Pharyngula) conceded that they think that humans do not share common ancestry with apes, in opposition to the scientific consensus and in flagrant contradiction of the actual scientific evidence?

Red State Rabble reports for us this morning (May 7, 2005):

The Score Card So Far

During cross-examination, Science Coalition attorney Pedro Irigonegaray has forced each intelligent design witness to go on record about their opinion on the age of the earth, common descent, and whether human beings have evolved from pre-hominids.

So far, not one witness has said they believe the evidence supports a belief that all living things share a common ancestor or that they believe that human have evolved from pre-hominids.

Professional scientists who are monitoring the hearings commented that this position commits the witnesses to a belief in special creation for each plant and animal species now in existence.

If a mix of old-earth and young-earth special creationists is the best that Discovery Institute and the Kansas Intelligent Design Network can come up with to support “critical analysis of evolution,” they are going to get a lot less mileage out of these hearings than they hoped.

This is actually surprising to me. Based on the existence of Michael Behe, I inferred that there must be a few other people in the ID movement that kinda-sorta accepted the overwhelming evidence for the common descent of humans and apes. It’s been very hard to tell, because ID people are usually very reluctant to say what, exactly, their actual views are. But now we have all of these guys on the record.

After the first few hours on Day 1, most of the media seems to have concluded that the Kangaroo Court really was a creationist-inspired farce from start to finish, so they got their video clips and left. However, a few intrepid newspaper reporters sucked it up and sat through the tedium (“Evolution doesn’t work because [insert long-refuted dumb creationist argument]”), running out to file stories when creationist witnesses or creationist Board of Education members said something particularly revealing, such as the fact that many of the creationists had not even read the mainstream science standards draft they were criticizing. One creationist board member said, apparently in attempted self-defense, that she only skims over the technical stuff in the draft science standards.

The best short summary I’ve seen, from MSNBC:

“They’re creationists first and scientists second,” Robert Bowden, a Kansas State University plant pathologist, said after Friday’s hearing.

Leading IDist William Dembski seems rather rueful about the way the Kangaroo Court hearings are playing out (Why wasn’t he a witness, by the way? Afraid of cross-examination?). He just said on his blog:

“The hearings were intended to allow both evolutionists as well as critics of evolution to have their say, but the evolutionists decided to boycott the event, so only the critics of evolution are having their say. But there’s an added twist: given the way the hearings are set up, an evolutionist lawyer (Pedro Irigonegaray) gets to interrogate the evolution critics and an evolution critic lawyer (John Calvert) gets to interrogate the evolutionists. Yet given that the evolutionists are boycotting the event, only the evolution critics are being interrogated.”

William Dembski, 5/7/05

Everyone please get out their violins for the poor, oppressed critics of evolution. It is now the fault of the dogmatic Darwinist conspiracy that the Kansas Board of Education brought 20-some creationists to Kansas to testify in favor of the Intelligent Design Network’s 20-some pages of revisions to the state science standards.

I have recently decided that wishful thinking is probably a core feature of ID promoters. This applies widely to their whole approach to scientific evidence, but it also applies to their political goals. I think the IDists really thought that the Kansas evolution hearings really would be the Waterloo for evolution – finally those evil evolutionists would be exposed as frauds on national TV, evolution would be overturned, and cultural renewal would begin. Just last week, Dembski stated flat out, right there on his blog, “Kansas may well turn out to be the Waterloo for America’s evolution vendors.”

But now that it appears that yet another Waterloo for evolution isn’t going quite the way that Dembski hoped, he has changed his tune. We now have more wishful thinking about the future. From the conclusion of Dembski’s post today:

“I’m waiting for the day when the hearings are not voluntary but involve subpoenas in which evolutionists are deposed at length on their views. On that happy day, I can assure you they won’t come off looking well.”

William Dembski, 5/7/05

That’s when the evolutionists will have their Waterloo! As stated in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in various places: “They’ll be the first ones with their backs against the wall When the Revolution Comes…”

PS: The fact that the Discovery Institute Media Complaints Division is busy attempting to rebut journalists is another indication that they are not getting the result they wanted from these hearings.