"You Win or You Die" - Unintentionally nourishing the ID rhetoricotrophs

**When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.**

~ Cersei Lannister, HBO's "Game of Thrones", Season 1, Episode 7

Bit of a dramatic quote, isn't it? But for some reason it entered my mind when I read what David Klinghoffer wrote about me and [my views](http://www.naontiotami.com/2011/11/why-scientists-are-feeding-the-rhetoricotrophic-beast-of-intelligent-design-and-why-they-need-to-stop/) on the dismissive rhetoric of the scientific community towards the intelligent design movement (which I maintain is understandable, given the history of ID and creationism), in his _Evolution News & Views_ post ["A Darwinist Worries about Darwinian Rhetoric"](http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/11/jack_scanlan_au053521.html).

You see, I didn't write the post for a pro-ID audience - it came about because I felt I had some helpful advice to give scientists and science communicators for when they are asked to comment on ID by the media (or in other public outlets). That's why I didn't justify or explain, for example, my opinion that the movement is largely motivated by religious sentiment: I was talking to a group of people who already have that point of view.

Obviously I wasn't thinking very clearly though, because I was writing about why ID proponents love to twist, distort and spin sentiment about themselves into energy for their day-to-day operations, yet forgot to consider how the post being written would appear to those very people. How legitimately foolish of me.

Everything is a rhetorical game to the Discovery Institute! And like the medieval-fantasy political game of thrones referenced in the above quote, when you play the game of rhetoric, you win or you die a (rhetorical) death. Much like gambling, the best way to win is not to play at all, especially when facing down masters like David Klinghoffer. I mean, look at what he wrote - he twisted a post about not giving the ID movement rhetorical nourishment into rhetorical nourishment.

But while I'm undeniably now locked into a PR pact with David - wherein everything I write is now open to dramatisation and being milked for points - I'd still like to focus on the issues that are at least vaguely objectively defensible.