November 30, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

Darwinism: Struggle for Existence of a Controversial Theory

Darwin taught that the struggle for existence in nature produced the survival of the fittest.  A struggle between Darwinism and intelligent design (ID) seems to be producing media red in tooth and claw, as seen by the following recent stories.

  • Define the Opposition Out of Science:  Another University of Kansas professor is offering a class that will maintain that ID is pseudoscience, according to Lawrence Journal-World.  (For the other “ID as mythology” class, see the 11/29/2005 story.)  Anthropology professor John Hoopes will associate ID with belief in alien crop circles, ESP and pyramidology.  Brian Sandefur, an engineer at the university, said this is just an attempt to box ID into inappropriate areas; it’s about chemistry and molecular biology, he argues, so it belongs in science classes.
  • Sue Me, Sue You:  That the pro-evolution ACLU is quick to sue what they perceive as violations of separation of church and state is old news, but evolutionists are on the receiving end of church-state litigation this time.  According to Mercury News, and Associated Press (MSNBC), Larry and Jeanne Caldwell are suing two biologists and an official from the National Science Foundation for using $400,000 in federal funds for a pro-evolution website that promotes religious ideas.  In their suit, they claim that the Understanding Evolution website strays into religion, and is geared “to modify the beliefs of public school science students so they will be more willing to accept evolutionary theory as true.”  Casey Luskin in EvolutionNews diagnosed the AP article as infected with inaccuritis and false facts syndrome.
  • Voodoo Hex:  When the San Diego Union-Tribune called ID “Voodoo Science” the students at the IDEA Center fired back with evidence instead of pins.  So did Evolution News with links aplenty to denounce the ridicule.
  • Dark Ages Ahead:  Lord May of Oxford, in an outgoing address as president of the Royal Society, warned that science faces dangerous times ahead.  He claimed that fundamentalism from East and West is creating a “denial lobby” that is making it harder for scientists to deal with global problems like climate change; according to Lord May, their “response is to retreat from complexity and difficulty by embracing the darkness of fundamentalist unreason.”  The article did not make it clear if he meant by Eastern fundamentalism radical Islam, but there was no such delicate treatment of those on the other side of the globe.  The Western fundamentalists, he said, are the ones promoting creationism and intelligent design.  He claimed these have a “wider agenda which is to replace scientific materialism by something more based on faith.”  He called on scientists to become more active in speaking out against ID and other “threats” to “modern scientific values.”
  • What Controversy?  Russell Jacoby wrote in the LA Times that some controversies are not worth teaching about, like ID.  Tom Magnuson wrote for the Discovery Institute to correct Jacoby’s errors and defend the grand liberal tradition of engaging controversial issues.
  • Spectrum Narrows:  In USA Today, both the liberal Bob Beckelis and the conservative Cal Thomas agreed that ID should get a hearing, but for different reasons.  Interestingly, Beckelis, a liberal Democratic strategist, agreed that ID is a scientific concept and that the way scientists are attacking it as religion is wrong: “Not only are there still gaping holes in the evolutionary chain from single cells to man, the science crowd hasn’t come close to explaining why only man among all living things has a conscience, a moral framework and a free will,” he said, and later added, “…these scientists will say the overwhelming body of evidence supports evolution, and no other theory comes close.  Well, of course it doesn’t because no other theory has been studied seriously.  This crowd has a vested interest in proving Darwin correct, and anything else is dismissed out of hand.”  He thought the ID scientists had a strong case but have been denied a forum.
  • Fights Are Good for Sales:  Like vendors at the gladiatorial arena, merchants are finding a new market for niche products related to the evolution wars, reports KansasCity.com.  Books, videos, Darwin fish, bumper stickers and anything having to do with Darwinism or intelligent design are hot sellers.

Meanwhile, everyone waits to see what Judge Jones will decide in the Dover ID case, probably in early January.

We need an army of Diogenes disciples with updated baloney-detecting lanterns.  Notice how Lord May and his other Darwin Party insiders equate Big Science with materialism, and label anything else than that with the emotionally-charged labels fundamentalism and faith.  “Darkness of fundamentalist unreason”?  How’s that for a classic mudsling.  Come on, Lord May, just show us all that alleged evidence for the arrival of cellular machinery and human rationality by mindless, undirected processes, or else the shoe fits your own foot.  Robert Boyle, your eminent predecessor and founding father of the Royal Society, would be ashamed of you.
    The ones who can only come up with ridicule, fear-mongering and loaded words show themselves to be intellectually unarmed in the dark.  Keep the light on; when there’s enough light for everyone to see Emperor Charlie’s new clothes, he will go running embarrassed into the woods.

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