Re: [asa] Atheist finds God thru Behe's books....

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Thu Oct 15 2009 - 07:47:00 EDT

Heya Merv,

I'm all for being charitable. But I'm also for being frank, and for avoiding
what I think is a very common mistake of being charitable to the point of
blindness or naivete. Sometimes people are dishonest (let's call it
'politically savvy'). Sometimes a proclaimed goal isn't the real goal. That
should come as no surprise to anyone in this discussion, since ID proponents
are routinely accused of "really meaning" other than what they say. To give
the common example: Behe, Dembski and others say that ID merely infers
design, and doesn't/can't identify the designer? Nonsense! It's the
Christian God - maybe even the YEC God - and they know it! ID is merely
religion, stealth creationism! Etc, etc. So I don't think I'm breaking any
particular taboo by pointing out the elephant in the room and noting that,
no, this is not entirely or even mostly about science. Just like "true
science" wasn't the real issue with Lysenkoism, or with various other
events/disputes in history.

I want to stress again - I said this was utterly apart from any
considerations about teaching ID in school, and I meant it. I refer again to
the NABT event, and particularly one line of argument Eugenie Scott
supposedly used to convince the NABT to back off on their position (namely,
political maneuvering). I refer to the repeated use of the metric of "how
many Americans believe in evolution", of the expressed importance of getting
Americans to believe in evolution. I could go on with examples, but again, I
find it very difficult to believe no one else notices that 'science
education' so often boils down to 'belief [again, not understanding of, but
proclaimed belief] in evolution' - and how this in turn illustrates that
concern for "true science" isn't exactly central here. To illustrate this in
another way: Does anyone really believe that the 'What the bleep do we
know?' movie had as its goal nothing more than an honest promotion of "true
science", as opposed to more mystical and metaphysical ideas? I think the
cases are, in many important ways, very similar.

Notice I'm not making any reference here to ID's treatment or legality in
schools. And no, I don't think this is about a fight in the name of "true
science". That's precisely my point - I think "true science" in this case is
largely a bluff, a rallying cry in the service of other goals. All I'm doing
is calling attention to that. I think all anyone has to do is notice this
wildly disproportionate focus on 'getting people to believe evolution'
(Notice that this isn't limited to what's taught in classrooms,
incidentally) to realize how empty the 'we just think science education is
important!' claim is. And again, I say this as a TE, as someone who thinks
evolution is one more tool God uses. It's not as if evolution (not to
mention other science) hasn't been promoted and used in the past for other
purposes - it should come as no surprise that it's taking place once more.

> I think your (and Cameron's) characterization of everyone else's
> motivations (i.e. Eugenie Scott in particular) is being uncharitable. I
> can imagine her responding that it isn't her that chose to have this
> insanely intense focus on evolution to the exclusion of all else. It was
> the politically active creationists. And because of *their* intense attack,
> she and others will rise to defend what she sees as sound science precisely
> at the point of that attack: evolution. In other words, this could reduce
> to a case of the "he started it first!" epithet being thrown back & forth.
> If people were lobbying legislatures to try to prevent gravity from being
> taught in physics classes, then gravity would become the new "litmus test"
> that the NCSE and there would be insanely disproportionate focus on that.
> Having said all this, though --I actually do agree with you that both
> "sides" are off center on this one because of the stark tension between them
> in their unscientific dance with each other. They are whirling around,
> unwilling to let go because each perceives that if they let go, their
> nemesis will suddenly triumph at the expense of "true science". These dance
> partners definitely need to be broken up. I don't know Eugene Scott that
> well, but I doubt that she is really "anti-religious", though I don't doubt
> she is anti-ID which is probably what has your ire up --and maybe rightly
> so. A fair and impartial hearing for ID may have been an unfortunate
> casualty in the cross-fire between political creationism and political
> evolution defenders.
> --Merv

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Received on Thu Oct 15 07:47:18 2009

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