Thursday, February 10, 2005


Blogger Amitai Etzioni has weighed in with this delusional blog entry on the subject of evolution and ID. He is responding to a commenter to a previous blog entry of his:

According to the above comments, facts are based on “careful, controlled experiments.” But no fact about evolution is the result of an experiment. Need I say more?

The writer immediately retreats to rely on what the “vast majority of scientists” tell him. But evidence, as his previous line correctly points out, is not a democratic process. And by the way, the scientists that claim that they conducted experiments to prove their point? They didn’t.

This statement is preposterous even if Etzioni thinks that the term “experiment” must refer to a contrived situation in a laboratory. Spend five minutes browsing through the science periodicals in any university library and you will see how full of it Etzioni really is. His casual accusation of fraud against the entire scientific community really ought to be enough to have him dismissed from all serious consideration.

Etzioni prattles on a little longer, but P.Z. Myers has already undertaken the thankless task of responding.

But Etzioni was unimpressed with that blog entry. So he posted this amazing reply to Myers. We reproduce it here in its entirety:

I asked why not use the comparison between evolution and intelligent design, in science classes, to show students the difference between a theory supported by scientific facts and those that are not? When I was a student, granted a long time ago, we were told that there were those who BELIEVED in flat earth theory (which was promoted by the Church), and then we were asked to view ships coming in over the horizon. It was noted that if the earth was flat, the ships would look small but all of their parts would show. However, given the earth's curve, we first see the smokestacks, then the upper deck, and so on. Other observable data were provided. We thus learned not only that the earth was round but also that some theories, promoted by true believers, are without scientific merit. Why not accept the challenge in this case?

In responses on your blog, I was showered with abuse. I was called names and “damned,” and all kinds of ugly attributes were attached to my personality. Why? Is this a way to settle a scientific argument or any argument at all? I have encountered such responses before (especially when I called for the removal of guns from private hands), but only from people who did not have any other way of trying to get people like me to shut up and not to show that their emperor has no clothes. I believe evolution can do better. Right?

Like most ID-proponents, Etzioni immediately assumes the martyr pose as soon as he gets called on his ignorant and false statements.

Of course, the post Myers was responding to said nothing about comparing evolution to ID, so that students could see the difference between a theory supported by facts and one that is not. Myers was responding to a post that accused the entire scientific community of fraud, which made a blatantly false statement abut the evidential basis of evolution, and which went on to make other silly statements beyond that. Etzioni deserved every ounce of abuse Myers heaped upon him.


At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes its interesting how certain responses appear so often, such as this martyrs complex.

btw I was just reading some proposed science standards for kansas schools

It's old and has probably been covered before, but I've only just read it for the first time and I can't believe one of the explainations behind one of the proposals:

"Proponents argue the current definition limits scientific inquiry while promoting a philosophy of Naturalism (or Materialism). Naturalism
allows only natural or material causes to explain the nature and origin of natural phenomena. They view
this as a science stopper, given the many non-material aspects of the natural world such as biological
“information” and consciousness. When applied to the history of life, this definition eliminates the
possibility that some form of intelligence may have played a role, enshrines naturalistic evolution as a
dogma, and doesn’t allow students to “follow the evidence wherever it leads.” They argue the proposed
definition, recently adopted in Ohio, opens scientific inquiry while being religiously neutral."

At 10:10 PM, Blogger Niki said...

Etzioni bases everything he does in the scientific principles outlined by Georg Hegel in the Science of Logic. Etzioni's role is to establish false conflicts of "ideals" in order to present communitarian solutions.

My hypoththesis (co-authored with my then 18 yr old daughter) is that Etzionis' brand of political communitarianism is the synthesis in the Hegelian dialectic. I'm not a degreed academic, and even though all we did was email the link to Etzioni, the Comm Network, the ASA and hundreds of university political science and law schools, it remains undisputed since 12/03.

None of Etzioni's political "ideas" are backed up by anything more than what he uses to base his ID opinions upon, yet many of his ideas are U.S. foreign and domestic policy and law. He is, after all, "named among the top 100 intellectuals in America."

I've noticed several scientists on these topic threads saying Etzioni deserves to be ignored. In my humble opinion, his ideas are already far too ignored. His heavy influence on Bush and the Clintons is well worth exploring. He does not confine himself to one area.. he is, you know, the "everything expert" and the press began calling him the "guru of the communitarian movement" in 1991.

I really appreciate the biologists and other scientists who've recently brought his academic credibility into question. I've been studying Etzioni since 2000. The only other academics I've found who challenged his "fascist" ideas were on the Progressive Sociologist Network in 1995 when Etzioni was ASA president.

Niki Raapana
Anti-Communitarian League-USA


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