May 13, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

Heat and Light Emitted in Collisions of Darwin vs ID

Rhetoric over evolution is increasing in the media largely because of the school board debates in Kansas (see 04/29/2005 entry and previous Education links).  The largely pro-Darwin press seems to be giving a little more coverage to the ID side; the anti-Darwin alternative media are getting more bold about asserting their views.

  • MSNBC News says the Kansas hearings ended on a bitter note.  It gave approximately equal press to both sides, including attacks and counterattacks.
  • CNN host Lou Dobbs led a lively interchange between Michael Ruse, John Morris of ICR and Jonathan Wells and printed the entire transcript
  • NBC Nightline hosted a debate between Michael Ruse and William Dembski.
  • Bryan Leonard, PhD candidate, made a case for teaching the controversy in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Rob Crowther on calls it “one of the most compelling presentations of the entire Kansas Board of Education hearings on teaching evolution.”
  • Dr. Philip S. Skell, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, wrote an open letter to the Kansas school board encouraging them to teach the controversy on evolution.  The letter is posted on Discovery Institute News.
  • The Discovery Institute lambasted evolutionary scientists for failing to appear and answer criticisms.
  • John Gibson’s Big Story on Fox News May 6 included Eugenie Scott facing off with Stephen Meyer.  Gibson seemed to lean in the direction of Meyer’s intelligent design position, based on the harder questions he posed to Scott, who tried to justify the evolutionists’ decision to boycott the Kansas hearings.
  • World Magazine published a pro-ID report of the Kansas debate.
  • Agape press writer Jim Brown claims Darwinists are getting desperate to defend a faulty theory.
  • MSNBC News also posted a lengthy and lively interchange between creationist David Bump and cosmic evolutionist Neil deGrasse Tyson, after the latter compared Darwin with Einstein in an interview with science editor Alan Boyle (see MSNBC April 19).  Boyle received a hard-hitting critique from David Bump and printed it in its entirety, along with Tyson’s point-by-point responses.

Part of the reason Darwinism may be getting a harder run for its money, compared to the days of the Scopes Trial, is the internet: blogs and rapid dissemination of news and reader responses.

Tyson is a Darwin demagogue who cannot be trusted.  Look at the propaganda piece he pulled in the TV series Origins (see 09/29/2004 review), a Saganesque phantasmagoria of evolutionary imagery two-thirds animation and one-third irrelevant data.  There, as here in this interchange, he shows himself a bluffing ignoramus about history and biology, more interested in snappy sound bites than truth.  He repeats debunked ideas about Copernicus and Galileo, even when confronted about it.  Remarkably, he preaches Lamarckian ideas, even when confronted about that, too: he said, “Frequent use of organs or appendages, where that use contributes to one’s survival until reproductive years, will reinforce the existence and utility of that feature, as continuous variations of that feature get further tuned for survival.”  Can you trust someone that ignorant about evolutionary theory making TV specials about it?  Frequent use or disuse has nothing to do with natural selection; that’s basic high school Darwinese.  Unless a random mutation brings about some selective advantage, you can use your parts to the ultimate and none of the increased fitness will make it into the progeny.  Tyson also is a naive positivist, reiterating the canard that, despite a century and a half of evolutionary frauds, science has “built-in error correction” that eventually leads to progress.  OK, what will he think when science corrects the errors of Darwinism?  He also lies about Darwin’s theory of inheritance: “You are mistaken if you believe that Darwin’s ideas of inheritance were wrong,” he chides Bump.  What?  Pangenesis was out of style as soon as Darwin published it.
    Alan Boyle, pathetically, doesn’t seem to have enough baloney detecting skill to discern who’s right.  He just seems to be leaning on Tyson’s reputation as a prize-fighter for Darwin.  Bump landed some pretty solid blows, which Tyson tried to dodge with misdirection, hot air, audience baiting and arm-waving.  The Darwinists had better send this champ back to the corner and give him some remedial education before he embarrasses them further.
    All the articles listed above are worth reading.  It is a good sign when journalists stop printing outworn stereotypes from only one side, realizing they will get called on the carpet by readers.  It’s a good sign when the journals can no longer give ID a one-sided brush-off (compare 08/21/2003 with 04/27/2005).  The persistence of anti-Darwinists – some eminently qualified scientists and some informed laymen – no longer cowed into silence, is keeping editors on their toes.  Perhaps a few journalists are beginning to notice themselves the weakness of the ruling Darwin Party’s responses.  The most vocal Darwin advocates themselves are becoming cautious in their rhetoric (see 05/06/2005 entry).
    When ID reaches critical mass, the demise of Darwinism could be quick and relatively painless.  It might even start celebrations, like the fall of the Berlin wall.  It will become chic to ridicule Charlie and uncool to wear the Darwin Fish logo.  Editors will remark, “I never really did believe that stuff, anyway.”  The hard-core Darwinists will be forced to support their ideas with real empirical work (see 08/20/2003) instead of bluffing from a position of usurped authority and pilfered prestige (see 05/02/2003 commentary).  Like welfare queens put on a work-for-food program, accountability will be their undoing (see 12/22/2003 commentary).  The culture need not worry at the collapse of such a large institutionalized paradigm.  Good science with all its desirable fruits will prosper – yea, flourish – within the new Reformation (see 08/19/2003 commentary).

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