October 19, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Darwin Debate Strategy: Declare Victory

The easiest way to win a debate is to simply disallow your opponent, and then declare victory by forfeit.  Is that what supporters of Darwin are doing to their critics?

  1. The winner is: Darwin:  PhysOrg reported favorably on a book by Mano Singham (Case Western Reserve University) that declares victory against creationism and intelligent design: e.g., “The Dover case, says Singham, also brings the curtain down on the long history of religious groups trying to breach the wall between church and state.”  Neither Singham nor PhysOrg allowed the other side time to rebut this and other claims.  No, despite the fact that the Discovery Institute wrote a detailed rebuttal to this conception of what happened at Dover, and has repeatedly answered such claims on its Evolution News and Views web page, the title states as a matter of fact, “Science wins fight over evolution in schools, says Case Western Reserve University author.”  The article gives him the victory lap at the end, too: “For now the battle between religion and Darwin has been won by science, says Singham.”
  2. Inherit the Wind won’t die:  Despite numerous misrepresentations of the Scopes Trial, the play Inherit the Wind still makes the rounds.  It’s playing in London.  Celeste Biever mushed over the play in New Scientist and reflected on its bittersweet lessons about how science trumps religion, but how sad it is that so many well-meaning people can’t let go of their faith.  In her article Biever recounted an event from the Dover trial that never happened.  She claimed Michael Behe said astrology would count as science and the courtroom erupted in laughter.  Behe has answered this claim with clarification that Biever was misunderstanding his statement and that the laughter was at a different time about a different matter (check Uncommon Descent archives).  Of course, his side of the story was not allowed into the article.
  3. Selective book reviews:  Lawrence D. Hurst reviewed two pro-evolution books for Nature.1  His article shows a photo of Dawkins proudly holding a copy of his book The Greatest Show on Earth.  To Hurst, the only controversy between the pugilistic Richard Dawkins and the gentlemanly Carl Zimmer was which approach is most likely to be effective in smashing creationists over the head.  “So which is the better strategy for explaining the difference between fact and fantasy: that of the quiet American or that of the British Rottweiler?  Zimmer makes the facts palatable but Dawkins reminds us that some people persist in their beliefs even if they are profoundly contradicted by observation and logic,” Hurst declared.  Sounds like he supports the Dawkins approach.

It has been a fairly well-known phenomenon that a faceless army of anti-I.D. editors scours Wikipedia daily to maintain their lies about intelligent design supporters.  This is true for other controversial figures like Rush Limbaugh, too.  Some I.D. scientists have corrected factual errors on pages about themselves, only to find their corrections overwritten almost immediately with the same lies.  Wikipedia maintains no method of accountability for editors and no method for targets of these lies to get them corrected.  Because of this, no one should consider Wikipedia a reliable source for information – particularly on controversial topics like evolution and intelligent design.

1.  Lawrence D. Hurst, “Showcasing the evidence for evolution,” Nature 461, 596 (1 October 2009) | doi:10.1038/461596a.

The Darwinists are not above telling outright lies in pushing their views in the media.  “Our enterprise has established facts and we should have the confidence to say so.  Evolution is one such fact,” says Hurst, conveniently equivocating over the word evolution.  Celeste Biever lies about Behe but calls Darwin “the man who has contributed more than any other to our understanding of where humanity came from” (a majority might give that honor to Jesus Christ).  Singham repeatedly portrays critics of Darwin as violating separation of church and state.  These three examples of Darwin debating tactics (e.g., one-sided presentations) are riddled with simplistic either-or fallacies, glittering generalities, outright lies and half-truths.  In a real debate they could not get away with it.  They do what is typical of leftists and radicals: shut the other side up, and declare victory.  Wasn’t that tactic famously displayed in certain totalitarian dystopias over the last century?  We report both sides and give you original sources so that you can judge for yourself.  In other words, we respect your freedom and the dignity of your individual intellect.

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