Science Bashes I.D.
The Intelligent Design movement took another lashing by the journal Science,1 in the form of three book reviews by Steve Olson, a Washington DC area science writer. Olsen reviewed one pro-ID book, Darwin, Design and Public Education by John Angus Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer, and two anti-ID books, God, the Devil and Darwin by Niall Shanks, and Creationism’s Trojan Horse by Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross. A flavor of Olson’s rhetoric: “Shanks… deftly skewers the scientific pretensions of intelligent design creationists. He is particularly effective in demolishing the claims of creationist William Dembski….” Olson calls the faithful to holy war:
Resistance to the teaching of evolution is not going to fade away. On the contrary, creationism appears again to be in a period of ascendancy. Science educators must try to understand and come to terms with the viewpoints and passions of those who feel threatened by the teaching of evolution in public schools. They also must be well informed to continue to resist the inclusion of religiously motivated ideas in science curricula.
1Steve Olson, “Evolution and Creationism: Shapes of a Wedge,” Science Vol 304, Issue 5672, 825-826, 7 May 2004, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1097382].
Saddam Hussein talked tough when he had the power to torture any opponent, but when he met his match, he cowered in a hole. Evolutionists are such cowards. If you thought for a moment they were interested in the truth, then why don’t they invite Dembski to review the anti-ID books? It’s always loyal D.P. (Darwin Party) comrades who get to pummel the straw men when reviewing pro-ID books, and cheer their champions when reviewing anti-ID books. Science, when touching on these subjects, is the Al Jazeera of Charlie worship. It broadcasts the weaknesses of its enemies, but hides the genocides of its imams. It rallies jihad against anyone who questions their sacred dogmas or threatens their pantheistic worldview.
Dembski can take care of himself. The master swordsman in The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design (IVP, 2004) and previous books, he deftly parries the “skewering” that Shanks and Olson bluff about, and doesn’t need our help, nor do Meyer and the other ID leaders. Their arguments are weightier and better stated than our few responses here.
Olson launches the usual stereotypes. It gets so tiring when they won’t listen. All the usual tactics, the usual fear-mongering, the usual loaded words, the usual hidden agendas, the usual guilt by association rhetoric must be swept aside when looking for any argument of merit. Strangely, Olson accuses ID of being aligned with radical deconstructionists. What? If anyone is removed from the demands of evidence, it is the Darwinists, whose flexible just-so storytelling method of science can explain away any problem.
Olson faintly admires Campbell’s “fine rhetorical flourish” and “the sophistication of those opposed to the teaching of evolution,” but only in the sense of watching a good actor, not admiring the substance of his arguments. But he cannot help but admit that “The volume’s legal, pedagogical, and social arguments–in contrast to much of its scientific discussion–are nuanced and informed.” How to respond to this artful rhetoric, he asks, which he fears will “play well with legislators and school board members”?
Scientists face a dilemma in deciding how to respond to anti-evolutionists. Demonstrating the scientific errors committed by creationists requires a thorough familiarity with their claims. But studying intelligent design hypotheses can be frustrating because they seem so obviously inspired by nonscientific considerations. When rebutted, intelligent design theorists tend to ignore the objections, claim that all will be revealed in the future [sic; Dembski’s detailed response has been in print three months now, with years of responses by all ID leaders in print, on tape, on film, on radio, and on the web], or rework their arguments to draw the same conclusions in a slightly different way [Darwinists, of course, never do this]. Essentially, the worldviews of scientists and intelligent design theorists fail to intersect. Scientists seek to explain the natural world, whereas creationists seek to find unexplainable mysteries in the natural world. Sometimes, scientists may be tempted simply to ignore the entire affair.
Stop right there. This is so lame and so hypocritical. It has all the flavor of the Pharisees discussing among themselves how to respond to Jesus’ clever “render unto Caesar” answer – “if we say this, he’ll say that, if we say that, he’ll say this, but if we say nothing, the people will stone us. I wish he would just go away.”
Not feeling that “science” (read: the priesthood of Darwin) is yet threatened, Olson is just annoyed at these pesky neighborhood brats, the “creationists” that keep coming back and disturbing his tea, not listening to them trying to warn him his house is on fire. He’s right about the worldview differences; trouble is, he equates (that is, equivocates) “science” with naturalistic philosophy. “Scientists seek to explain the natural world,” he claims (as if creationists and design theorists do not, forgetting that Kepler, Newton, Maxwell and so many other great scientists were design theorists), but he means they restrict themselves to natural causes (chance and necessity) and rule out, a priori, intelligent causes. The claim that “creationists seek to find unexplainable mysteries in the natural world” is a bald lie cloaked in loaded words. Intelligent causes are the only explanation for coded messaging and complex specified information. That is no mystery. It is already a practical truth in forensics, cryptography, archeology and SETI. That lie is only superseded by this one: “Advocates of intelligent design have produced no evidence that anything other than naturally occurring mechanisms is responsible for the empirically observed world.” Anybody home? Watch this film… again.
Since we know Olson is already cheering for Shanks, it is a bit surprising to see him worried that his Goliath is ignoring the sling. He asserts without elaboration that Shanks has skewered Dembski’s law of “conservation of information,” but then sees his champion’s forehead unprotected: “However, Shanks offers relatively little advice about how to respond to the demand that science educators ‘teach the controversy.’ In fact, by focusing on the more extreme social ambitions of creationists, he sometimes overlooks their less divisive and therefore stronger arguments.” He must have read something that bothered him.
Most of Olson’s bluff consists of unmasking the hidden agenda of creationists, as if the D.P. motives are pure as the new fallen snow. He delights in Forrest and Gross holding up all the evidence of subversive religious public relations activity by the ID conspirators. What if they’re onto something? We’d like to hear more about those ”less divisive and therefore stronger arguments.” After all, they don’t want to conquer the D.P. regime with weapons of mass destruction; they just want to teach the controversy, to get the scientific evidence out into the open marketplace of ideas for discussion. They want to show the captives, who have heard only the party line about the usual icons (Haeckel’s embryos, melanism, the origin of life, the Cambrian explosion–items which Olson lists), the rest of the story: the facts admitted in the scientific journals but carefully filtered for mass consumption. Olson can’t allow that: he knows exactly what will happen:
According to polls (which are themselves controversial in this area), relatively few people in the United States believe that God played no role in the evolution of human beings from other life forms. Fortunately, many Americans are adept at recognizing a material and a nonmaterial dimension to life, and usually they succeed in keeping the two domains separate. But when individuals are forced to choose, such as through a ballot initiative, science [read: the Darwin Party line] almost invariably suffers.
Since the pigs at the Darwinian Animal Farm control the media and train the dogs, you have to attend the private councils with the other animals to know what’s really going on. Don’t despair over the power of the regime. Since the incessant news about molecular motors, biological codes and sudden appearance of complex organisms is screaming in their ears, it will only be a matter of time before their Dagon falls over face-first toward the ark of evidence.