Shock! It pernicious, it creeps! Horror!

Posted: December 5, 2006 in Intelligent Design, Theo/Philo


Thank you ‘New Scientist’ for demonstrating with such timeliness and in such an apt manner the points I made in my previous post ‘Be Afraid!’This week in the section of New Scientist called ironically ‘Upfront’ is a little piece entitled ‘Creationism creep’.In this we see the deliberate confusing of ID with Creationism, we also see the use of language presumably designed to elicit a sense of threat and produce in the reader negative associations.

Michael Zimmerman –professor of liberal arts and sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis regarding intelligent design (although he calls it creationism, its clear from earlier in the article he’s talking ID) he says:

“It s spreading worldwide and has made significant inroads in the UK .The best way to overcome this pernicious situation is for religious leaders and scientists to come together to discus how religion and science can be compatible-how they use different methodologies to help people understand the world and the human condition,”

I like the ‘pernicious spreading’ thing, which has made ‘significant inroads’, language reminiscent of some ghastly pathology, unstoppable and dangerous.

I guess if those trying to maintain the status quo can’t muster sufficient arguments to convince people that Naturalistic neo-Darwinism is the way it was and is, and then another tactic is to demonise those opposing you, just look at the way the Discovery institute has been treated.
Demonising the opposition has the effect of adding nothing to the debate, it says nothing at all about the arguments afoot, there’s no refutation of ideas put forward, no data shared.
Associating ID with an organisation (two are mentioned in this article, the Discovery Institute and the UK basedTruth in Science’) is always a good move, with the potential for organisations to make errors such as financial,theoretical and personal all of which can be used. It’s the stuff of every self respecting courtroom drama –discredit the witnesses, look for bias, are their character flaws?

Their testimony maybe accurate but who’s going to believe a witness with history? Maybe the logic is: if the organisation can be shown to be at fault then so must the idea. That of course is, as Spock says, “illogical captain”.

Michael Zimmerman calls for the leaders of religious groups and scientists to get together. Why, because he wants them to talk methodologies. The assumption is, that ID and creationism are the same and, therefore, as all are theistic, so all are creationists, but this simplistic view ignores the heterogeneous mix of beliefs held by those subscribing to ID,not all are theistic for instance.It also ignores the differences between creationists and ID. I won’t deny that ID has a strong affiliation with theistic belief, but it’s not confined by it. As I understand it, intelligent design has one ambition; which is to ascribe design as a possible first cause and subsequent cause’s in the natural world. This ambition opens welcoming doors to many of, differing theistic beliefs and of none,to look at the arguments.

To describe ID as stated previously, as a bunch of PhDs who are closet right-wing Christian fundies with a hidden agenda of take over and slap down to the wayward, is easy to do and an effective way of avoiding dialog.

Here is a snippet from the Design Institutes FAQ:

‘ Is Discovery Institute a religious organization?

Discovery Institute is a secular think tank, and its Board members and Fellows represent a variety of religious traditions, including mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, and agnostic. Until recently the Chairman of Discovery’s Board of Directors was former Congressman John Miller, who is Jewish. Although it is not a religious organization, the Institute has a long record of supporting religious liberty and the legitimate role of faith-based institutions in a pluralistic society. In fact, it sponsored a program for several years for college students to teach them the importance of religious liberty and the separation of church and state.

Any endeavour has metaphysical implications, science born out of the implications of a Christian worldview included.
Rather than get scientists and religious leaders together I think greater good (if might
Use the word ‘good’) would come from Scientists knowing the limits of the data and where the dividing line is between science and scientism.

  1. Different methodologies? This guy does not have a clue. I’ll utilize the same ones he does to illustrate that encoding nucleic acids do not and likely cannot result from a stochastic, selection process that takes place in prebiotic conditions.

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