[2006/04/21] The Politics of Darwinism: Dictate, Slander, Block
The Politics of Darwinism: Dictate, Slander, Block 04/21/2006 In a state of panic over the rise of intelligent design and creationism, most scientific societies supporting Darwinism are doing what their opponents feel is doomed to fail: avoiding, at all costs, a fair and intellectual debate about the evidence. Instead, many pro-Darwin forces issue prepared statements, misrepresent their opponents, and use legal maneuvering to try to head them off at the pass. What they cannot ignore, however, is that large majorities in the public sector oppose the Darwin-only policy in education. That means the public also has become a target of abuse. This was obvious 17 months ago with the notorious National Geographic Nov. 2004 cover story, “Was Darwin Wrong?” answered inside with a paternal foot-stomp in bold 250-point type, NO (see 10/24/2004, 02/15/2005). Here are some recent examples in that same tactical style that treats the majority public as hopelessly backward peasants who, in this state of siege, need stern military discipline:
Royal Edict: The Royal Society announced in a press release an official “statement on evolution, creationism and intelligent design.” The upshot: evolution is well-established and an essential part of science education; criticism of evolution is criticism of science; you can believe in a creator as long as you don’t call it science; bacterial resistance demonstrates evolution; creationism is religion and intelligent design is disguised creationism; debate is good in science but undermining students’ confidence in science by distorting evidence is not (and that is what creationists do, by implication); and evolution is an essential part of the rise of a scientific understanding of the world, whereas anything else is based on faith. (No new weapons, in other words; just more of the same from the NCSE armory.)
Hear Ye, Hear Ye: In addition, the Royal Society published a podcast from Professor Steve Jones. Its title left no room for doubt about the contents: “Why Creationism is Wrong and Evolution is Right.” Prime arguments: (1) science is about disbelief, but religion is about faith; (2) while it is true that a majority in the public distrusts evolution, why do no biologists agree? and, oddly, (3) “creationism does more harm to religion than it does to science.” Randy Boswell reported on these two Royal Society statements on Canada.com, titling his article, “Academic Worry Grows Over ‘Intelligent Design.’”
Sound the Alarm: In another of a series of anti-ID attack pieces with not an inch granted the opposition, PLoS Biology warned about “Scientific Illiteracy and the Partisan Takeover of Biology.” Liza Gross associated intelligent design with doubts about stem cell research, doubts about global warming, and doubts about science in general. Her equation is simple: intelligent design = scientific illiteracy. Reporting the thoughts and advise of John D. Miller, she quoted his advice: “Scientists need to become involved in partisan politics and to oppose candidates who reject evolution or attack scientific research” – implying that the two go hand in hand. No intelligent design supporter was given two words, but NCSE Director Eugenie Scott got a big sidebar, complete with big, smiling picture of her. The end of Liza Gross’ article included the obligatory disclaimer, “The author has declared that no competing interests exist.”
Hold Your Fire: A Parley! A conservative group at Cornell, Sounding the Trumpet, announced rather joyfully that Cornell is going to offer a class on intelligent design this summer. World Net Daily seemed to share this optimistic news, and so did the campus IDEA club. William Dembski, however, interviewed by Agape Press, sees a Trojan Horse. The teacher, Allen MacNeill, once called Dembski a “bald-faced liar,” and Cornell president Hunter Rawlings sternly denounced ID last year (see ARN reprint of IDEA Club response). Dembski is certain the class will have a strong pro-Darwinist bias. His take on Cornell’s strategy: “the academic mainstream ... is hunkering down, stonewalling, [and] wanting to say there’s nothing of merit here, we’ve got to shut this down – and if we’re going to teach a course on it, it’s purely to debunk it.”
And, In This Corner... ?: Evolution News is waiting for Science magazine to let Michael Behe respond, since last week’s claim that “irreducible complexity” had a Darwinian explanation (04/06/2006) effectively admitted that the concept was scientific. They seem to know that it will be a long wait. For the expected silence, Discovery Institute provided a stack of reading material on the irreducible complexity argument.
Pre-Emptive Strike: Remember Frazier Mountain High School? the little rural school with its little elective “Philosophy of Design” class that earned international attention when sued and forced to recant? (see 01/25/2006 story). Well, now that a local church is planning to rent the town hall this Sunday and show the film Icons of Evolution, the Mountain Enterprise local newspaper published a three-page, multifaceted attack on intelligent design, discounting the credibility of the teacher highlighted in the film and the Darwinism-discrediting facts presented by Dr. Jonathan Wells. In a semblance of balanced reporting, they have also kept a list of their running news stories on the episode, mostly overtly or covertly biased against intelligent design (such as posting teacher Sharon Lemburg’s initial outline for her elective course, which was never approved or even voted on, and had no bearing on the class). Whether this pre-emptive strike will accomplish the desired result in this largely religious and conservative community remains to be seen.
Wind Talkers: Alan Leshner is so keen on the war correspondence, he must be hearing things. According to Evolution News, he heard “code language” when Oklahoma proposed criticisms of Darwinism in a new Academic Freedom Act. To the president of the AAAS, “exposing students to all sides of the scientific debate about evolution” is really “code language” for promoting a “narrow religious agenda.” A blog by Lawrence Selden responds in plain English.
Quarantine the ID Flu: A press release from the Hunter Valley, NZ Scoop warned that 2,800 Australian students are at risk of being infected with the ID that is “infiltrating” science classes. An education spokesperson “called on federal and state education ministers to withhold public funding until these schools agreed to quarantine science teaching from religious dogma.” Unless students are “isolated” from this “myth,” there will be appalling consequences: “They are at risk of becoming unemployable in many important areas of the economy where scientific method is essential.”
Battle Tactics Unveiled: Writing in American Enterprise, Joe Manzari and Seth Cooper discussed the tactics of the ACLU to intimidate school boards with lawsuits.
For the most part, critics of Darwinism and proponents of intelligent design have had to use the non-mainstream media to get their message out. Some recent salvos:
Jews for ID: David Klinghoffer wrote an ID-friendly article for Jews in the Jerusalem Post.
Getting the Darwinists’ Goat: Ted Byfield gave his thoughts on “Rebutting Darwinists” in two editorials on World Net Daily.
Truth or Talk: True.origin tries to keep a running set of scientific responses to Talk.Origins, one of the pro-Darwinist blogs often cited as authoritative by evolutionists.
Lone Rangers: Individuals can always write letters to the editor (if they will print them). Here’s one by Jonathan Bartlett printed by Tulsa Today answering Alan Leshner’s attacks against the Oklahoma bill.
Some Isolated Fair Fights: ID the Future keeps tabs on the isolated instances of open debates between evolutionists and ID proponents.
Bias and Anti-Bias: When the mainstream media won’t retract their misrepresentations, Evolution News does it for them.
How will this all turn out? Nobody knows, but the lines are clearly drawn. The tactics of both parties sometimes reveal more than the statements themselves.
One of the most intriguing, dynamic and fateful cultural debates in recent history is taking place before our eyes. No one can afford to be uninformed. The Darwinists are attempting to corral all non-materialists into a funny farm labeled “faith” and deny them any voice in matters of science, truth, reality or history, while their opposition are calling their bluff and demanding accountability for 150 years of misdirection and deceit. Who’s right? Well, look at the Darwin Party’s behavior. If their case were so strong, they could state it before a crowd of educated, reasonable people, and easily trounce their opponents. Since they cannot, and have failed to do so for over a century, all they can do is shore up their castle walls with the same recycled fluff, surround it with a moat of fear tactics, catapult out media bombs of misrepresentations, drug the populace with hallucinations, and desperately cry for reinforcements from the ACLU secret police. Inside the castle, where the undecided can’t see the enemy, they decorate King Charles’s coffin, as he lies in state, telling the peasants that here lies the Great Leader Who Saved Science. Now, what does this tell you? If you need responses to Steve Jones and the other Royalist propaganda, well, keep reading, and reading, and reading. We’ve got over five years of antidotes, and unlike the Darwinist Press, you get to hear the very best on both sides make their case. The next article is a good place to start.