Dembski versus Europe

Logo130X120.jpgAfter lamenting the honorary degree bestowed on Judge Jones, Dembski has set his sights on the Council of Europe who recently released a working document

The theory of evolution is being attacked by religious fundamentalists who call for creationist theories to be taught in European schools alongside or even in place of it. From a scientific view point there is absolutely no doubt that evolution is a central theory for our understanding of the Universe and of life on Earth.

Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.

The Assembly calls on education authorities in member States to promote scientific knowledge and the teaching of evolution and to oppose firmly any attempts at teaching creationism as a scientific discipline.

Dembski was not amused:

Dembski wrote:

The Council of Europe may justly be renamed as “The European Council for the Advancement of Atheism.” To believe in a God who acts in the world (aka theism) henceforward constitutes “religious extremism.” It will be interesting to see at what point advocacy of ID is regarded in Europe as a “hate crime” against … science? … society? … humanity?

This just after the Discovery Institute were touting the ‘expansion’ of ID into Europe. What has gone wrong?

As a side note, the term religious terrorism was used in the statement but in a rather different context. And neither does the proposal mention that the advocacy of ID is seen as a hate crime as the document is about the dangers of creationism (which includes ID) in education.

Some creationist fundamentalists attack Darwinism and materialism by accusing them of being the “real ideological source of terrorism”. “Darwinism is the basis of several violent ideologies that brought disaster to the human race in the 20th century”. Is it necessary to point out that human beings did not await the publication in 1859 of Darwin’s work The Origin of Species to indulge in a large number of massacres? How many people have died in the name of religious wars? The use of religion, like the reference to social Darwinism by some dictatorial regimes, is insufficient and cannot in any way call into question the theory of evolution or religion.

Of course, Dembski may very well have been annoyed by such observations as:

  1. Creationism has many contradictory aspects. The “intelligent design” theory, which is the latest, more refined version of creationism, does not completely deny a degree of evolution. However, this school of thought has hardly provided any fuel for the scientific debate up to now9. Though more subtle in its presentation, the doctrine of intelligent design is no less dangerous.


Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.

Once at the forefront of the ID movement, Dembski et al, seem to have found his true calling into ridiculing those who are seen standing in the way of the Wedge Strategy. I can understand why it may hurt to see an honorary degree bestowed on Judge Jones whose outstanding and in depth ruling on Intelligent Design served to protect this country from the scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design being taught in public schools. Remember that only a few years ago, Dembski was appointed by Baylor to run a prestigious Center focusing on Intelligent Design issues. Had it not been for some ill-chosen words in an email, Dembski could have been leading the ID movement into the 21st Century. Similarly, Dembski had an opportunity to not only defend ID but also show the flaws with Darwinian theory during the now infamous Kitzmiller trial. One may wonder what the outcome would have been if Dembski had been given the opportunity to apply his revolutionary vise theory?

Instead, Dembski is now doomed to live in a “state of scientific purgatory” with global warming deniers, creationists and other ‘skeptics’ who seem to rely on ignorance rather than knowledge to further their positions. It continues to fascinate me how scientific ignorance and Intelligent Design appear to be correlated in so many more ways. In fact, I’d argue that there is a good opportunity for a ‘design inference’ here.

Shunned by the liberals, shunned by the conservatives, shunned by scientists and shunned by many theologian. It seems that most rational people have come to reject the appeal from ignorance, the vacuous rhetoric and the scientific vacuity of what will forever be known as “Intelligent Design”.

Intelligent Design, once seen as a hopeful development, has caused itself to self destruct. What remains is an empty shell of rhetoric, a lack of scientific relevance, and a theologically speaking unneccessarily risky and limited approach to religious thought.

Dembski wrote:

In my case my cards have been on the table, my career is ruined so (laughter) it doesn’t matter at this point but eh I say just what I want in this regard but it’s a real problem.

Dembski lecture at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003.