The Standard Dilemma
I often comment at this blog that scientists wishing to challenge ID face a dilemma. If you try to ignore the subject you get accused of being bigoted and closed-minded. But if you engage the subject you risk elevating ID to respectability.
William Dembski, kissing up to the boss no doubt, has linked to this piece by Al Mohler. The subject is the recent cover story on ID in The New Republic:
What's going on at The New Republic? The current issue of the magazine features two broadside attacks on the movement known as Intelligent Design [ID], and the magazine's online edition adds a third. The articles are filled with rhetoric, vitriol and urgency. Clearly, panic is setting in in some quarters -- and that panic is over evolution.
This is a twist on the standard dilemma: If you engage ID you get accused of panicking. That's quite a debate tactic:
CREATIONIST: Evolution is atheistic nonsense. It's part of a scientific controversy to rob your children of their souls. The scientific evidence is on the side of biblical literalism.
EVOLUTIONIST: That's not true, and here's 13,000+ words explaining in great detail why that isn't true.
CREATIONIST: You see! The evolutionists are panicking!
Mohler never gets around to saying very much. Though his essay is fairly long, it's composed entirely of the usual taunting and silliness. He certainly never responds to any of the arguments actually made in the articles in question.
So instead of providing any further reply to him, let me take this opportunity to thank The New Republic for the excellent articles by Jerry Coyne and Leon Wieseltier that appeared in their most recent issue. I have been very critical of the left-leaning press for not paying attention to this issue. I think everyone on my side of this is grateful that TNR not only addressed the issue, but provided enough space to really say something of substance about it.