Re: Dover: Witnesses withdrawing

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Wed Oct 26 2005 - 10:57:36 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ted Davis" <>
To: <>; <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 8:39 AM
Subject: Re: Dover: Witnesses withdrawing

> 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.

ID as a putative scientific theory - the type of thing presented at its best
by Behe & Dembski - would be a very minor player if it were not for the
rhetoric about the evils of "naturalism" and the Wedge strategy. It got
more visibility & a larger voice by throwing in its lot with the like of
Johnson but now, as Ted says, the chickies are coming home to roost. Those
who take the sword will perish with the sword.

George Murphy
Department of Mixed Metaphors
Received on Wed Oct 26 11:00:00 2005

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