Re: Dover: Witnesses withdrawing

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Wed Oct 26 2005 - 08:39:04 EDT

Why did Warren Nord withdraw? Does anyone know? Was it simply that he no
longer wanted to associate himself with a losing case? Nord is a genuinely
independent thinker on this issue (and some others). I'm sorry that he
won't be testifying.

I think the judge's decision was justified. TDI had every opportunity to
make the best of this bad situation (they rightly see this as a very poor
test case for their ideas), and they pretty much cashed in their chips--I
don't know whether Mike Behe showed up on his own initiative, despite
efforts by TDI to gag their own people, or whether they actually wanted him
to be their sole representative--perhaps b/c his views deviate relatively
little from those of most scientists, since he accepts common descent, and
thus it would be more difficult to paint his version of ID as "creationism."
 As I've told my ID friends, their chickens (failing decisively to
dissociate themselves from garden variety creationism) are coming home to
roost in Harrisburg. If they had decided 10 years ago not to use "Pandas
and People" to promote their own views among the larger creationist
community, if they on their webpages expressly endorsed an old
earth/universe and made it clear that IDs accept common descent, if they
made it far clearer that their only gripe is with the scope of natural
selection (which is what Behe said in court last week), if they had advised
the creationists in Kansas to keep evolution and the big bang in the state
science standards (the first time around a few years ago), then I think
their ideas would be regarded as having a strong basis in scientific
literature and would not be easily dismissed as "creationism."

But they made other decisions, obviously motivated by politics--they need a
big tent to have political clout, so they paper over the falling plaster and
yell as loudly as possible about the evils of naturalism.

ID is not creationism, despite what Barbara Forrest and Robert Pennock say,
but it is far too hard to tell that it isn't. Throw in the specific
circumstances of the Dover case, in which two board members expressly wanted
to teach evolution and YEC on an equal basis before the superintendent (a
graduate of Gordon College in history, incidentally) persuaded them to
accept the compromise that is now being defended in court, and you have a
nightmare scenario for TDI. Frankly, I don't know what kind of scenario
they really expected to be able to get, sometime down the road, in order to
establish that ID can be taught along with evolution. My own view (as is
well known here) is that some ID ideas *can* be discussed in biology
classes, but the political strategy of TDI has made it almost impossible for
me to get that point across clearly, let alone persuasively. Many of the
IDs I know still believe that we are living in the last generation of the
dominance of evolution as the accepted explanation for the history of life
on earth; I don't know what this trial will do to their state of mind, but I
imagine that some cognitive dissonance may develop in some minds.

Received on Wed Oct 26 08:42:16 2005

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