Re: On Gray, "Darwinism," and "design"

From: Robert Schneider <>
Date: Mon Feb 13 2006 - 08:16:11 EST


I see a paralell here between what the ID group have done and what Republicans/conservatives have done in American culture/politics. They have been successful by constructing a frame through which they have been able to determine and dominate the discussion, and they have drawn in their opponents to respond to them within their own frame. I.e., label some person or political program as "liberal" and they have already determined the course of the debate. Their frame is one that appeals emotionally and promises to drive away peoples' fears about science and meet their need to be reassured that there is a God (the designer) who has made all things including themselves and that we do not live in a meaningless, purposeless world.

Those of us who think the ID advocates are not accurately presenting the facts about evolution need to deconstruct their frame, show it to be inadequate for meeting needs and answering fears, and provide an alternative that both presents evolution in a positive light and brings creation and evolution together. A frame that assures people that God creates and evolution is good science. Mostly, we have to educate people about what science really is and what scientists really do, since public ignorance among Americans about these things is rampant. If we merely respond to their frame we remain trapped in it.

We also need to find a way to match their organization (Discovery Institute and other propaganda organs) with one of our own.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Bob Schneider
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Gregory Arago
  To: Ted Davis ; ;
  Sent: Sunday, February 12, 2006 9:19 PM
  Subject: Re: On Gray, "Darwinism," and "design"

  "[W]hy that specific name [Darwinism] being used for evolution"? is a great question! But what other names would the IDM isolate and attack if not Darwin's? Alternate views suggest that evolution cannot be 'reduced' to a single scientific figure (or discipline), even if a specific ideology of evolution is being called into question.

  "[F]or Hodge *as also for Gray*, the denial of design is atheism." - Ted Davis

  Is it as simple as to say that 'social (scientific) Darwinism' got a bad name and that 'natural (scientific) Darwinism' carried on un-phased? Darwin was not an atheist, though his non-teleological, deny special creation, apurposeful approach to evolution was a significant addition/alteration to the previous natural scientific tradition. The ID focus on 'design' at the cost of other relevant concepts still seems myopic to me, but then again even Darwin felt he got s omewhat trapped into certain metaphors.

  "[T]he real reason I am convinced is historical--namely, that Hodge had called it that [Darwinism] and identified it by that name as a theologically dangerous view of the world, equivalent to denying divine purpose in the creation." - Ted Davis

  From another tradition than Hodge's Darwinism, N. Danilevsky wrote Darwinism: Critical Investigation in 1885, which took quite a different approach to 'anti-design,' even questioning whether or not Darwin denied 'divine purpose in creation.' The subtleties, I agree with Ted, do seem sometimes lost in current-day polemics. Darwin's dependence on T. Malthus seems a significant issue, one that micro-biologists don't seem to want to remember or even to learn about for the first time.

  "It is the ID proponents who insist on labelling evolutionary theory as 'Darwinism' and on defining it as implying a purposeless and meaningless process that denies God." - Keith Miller

  Yes, and if so then why can this not be revealed to the American public? Is there no public relations vehicle capable of countering the IDM's rhetoric/propaganda? I ask this not to be pretentious, but to seek real possibilities and answers. Is it because the IDM promises sensationalist consequences in science (e.g. Dembski's 'revolution' chants) that ID dominates the news columns? Or perhaps a process has yet to be put in motion that would satisfactorily curtail such false labelling of evolution by God seekers who are concerned that evolution obscures their search?

  Darwin doesn't seem to be the one ready to stop anybody from putting a process in motion.

  G. Arago

  p.s. just now thought of a perhaps-useful modifier f or critics of ID who speak about the negative argument and gaps topic - why not call it the 'Don't Deny Design Movement' instead of the ID movement? This connects to Ted's contention: "[F]or Hodge *as also for Gray*, the denial of design is atheism."
Received on Mon Feb 13 08:16:22 2006

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