Friday, August 19, 2005

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.


At 4:22 PM, Blogger john said...

Comments on NR piece at

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see where you all have been claiming that Demski is "arrogant". Bahahahahahahaha! It's nothing compared to the arrogant bluster and misrepresentations of little tyrants like Dawkins and Dennet!

Who you saps think ya kiddin?

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Bob Davis said...

I think the TNR articles are missing the whole point of the ID movement. I believe they are engaged in an honest and trustworthy debate about the merits of ALL the various alternate theories of evolution, and are only starting with creationism and ID. Soon, mark my words, the Discovery Institute will be talking about newer theories, like the "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" alternate theory of evolution and then where will TNR be? They will be sad on that day, I can assure you.

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At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Martin J Sallberg said...

There is no real controversy of whether or not evolution happened. Creationism is nonsense. However, the theory that evolution was/is driven by differential reproductive success has fatal flaws too. Let us not dig down into binary sandbox wars between two viewpoints. There are better theories of evolution on the topic page "Evolution" at Pure science Wiki,


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