Thursday, April 29, 2004

Yet Another ID Screed In his famously vicious review of Pierre de Chardin's book The Phenomenon of Man, Nobel laureate P.B. Medawar wrote:

Yet the greater part of it, I shall show, is nonsense, tricked out by a variety of metaphysical conceits, and its author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself. The Phenomenon of Man cannot be read without a feeling of suffocation, a gasping and flailing around for sense. There is an argument in it, to be sure - a feeble argument, abominably expressed - and this I shall expound in due course; but consider first the style, because it is the style that creates the illusion of content, and which is in some part the cause as well as merely the symptom of Teilhard's alarming apocalyptic seizures.

Chardin was not a creationist (just a terribly confused evolutionist), but Medawar's remarks apply wih equal force to almost any piece of modern creationist writing.

As an example, have a look at this embarrassing column from something called The Washington Dispatch. The Dispatch describes itself as “An objective source for social and political commentary”. Silly slogans like that are a sure sign you've arrived at a source of hard-core, right-wing baloney. (Think of Fox News as another example).

In this case the headline tells the tale: “Praying at the Alter of the Shaved Ape ”. Might as well stop right there. Nothing worth reading has ever followed a headline like that.

Happily, Ed Brayton has offered this magnificent refutation. It's worth slogging through the original article for the pleasure of seeing Ed's masterful take-down. You'll find yourself learning quite a bit about paleontology in the process.


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