[2006/08/21] Darwinists Whack I.D. with Reckless Abandon
Darwinists Whack I.D. with Reckless Abandon 08/21/2006 For professionals assumed to be logical, factual, and devoted to reason, scientists and journalists can get pretty emotional, depending on the subject. One such subject that really rankles some of them is intelligent design. Here are some recent salvos from the war of the words:
Hotz shots: From the LA Times, Robert Lee Hotz wrote, “In the border war between science and faith, the doctrine of ‘intelligent design’ is a sly subterfuge – a marzipan confection of an idea presented in the shape of something more substantial.”
Rat Sass: From Current Biology 22 Aug 2006, Robert Hendrix wrote, “At the risk of sounding cynical, though, I would venture that most of the people pushing ID do not give a rat’s patootie about having a scientific discussion over evolution or considering what the data might tell us; they’re simply looking for a way to insert their own peculiar religious beliefs into public education.”
Me Scientist, You Dogmatist: John Tyler Bonner wrote in Nature (27 July 2006) a favorable book review of Brockman’s anti-ID anthology (05/09/2006), subtitled, “Destroying the argument that intelligent design has a scientific basis.” He ended by saying, “Intelligent Thought is a book for scientists; that is, for those who see evolutionary biology as a science. If you are a creationist you will be unmoved; there is no point in looking at the evidence.”
Keep On Whacking: John Derbyshire, on National Review, responding to an earlier article by George Gilder:
It’s a wearying business, arguing with Creationists.* Basically, it is a game of Whack-a-Mole. They make an argument, you whack it down. They make a second, you whack it down. They make a third, you whack it down. So they make the first argument again. This is why most biologists just can’t be bothered with Creationism at all, even for the fun of it. It isn’t actually any fun. Creationists just chase you round in circles. It’s boring..... *Amongst whom I include Intelligent Design proponents. The Kitzmiller case demonstrated, to courtroom standards of evidence, that I.D. is a species of Creationism. That’s good enough for me.
Casey Luskin and Joe Manzari wrote a three-part response to this article on Evolution News.
Derbyshire apparently assumed Science was the whacker and Creationism was the whackee, but omitted the possibility that mutual whacking was going on, with frustration at the obduracy coming from both sides. It seems odd, too, that scientists would be in the business of whacking enemies instead of holding rational discussions about the evidence. Some reporters attempt to give at least one quote to the other side even if they overwhelm it with counter-quotes and give a Darwinist the last word (example), but in many cases, especially in the science journals like Current Biology, scientists are allowed to state whatever they feel about the issue without fear of rejoinder and without having to back up their claims.
Sign on a bathroom hand dryer: “For a short speech about Intelligent Design by a Darwinist, push button.” These missives can be sloughed off with a chuckle by sophisticated Visigoths for the amusement of watching Darwin Party heralds who claim to be rational losing their cookies. Worthy of more thoughtful response are arguments by some evolutionists who really do try to seriously critique intelligent design without resorting to emotional tirades, especially when they have sufficient historical background about science, theology and history to do so intelligently (see next entry).