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Darwin lobby’s article disowned by journal?: The real lessons


I commend to all DonaldM’s backgrounder on this news, which broke last night, about the journal Synthese disowning the attack on Christian scholar* Frank Beckwith published in its pages by one of Darwin’s familiar broomsticks .

If someone has to put a stopper in, Synthese might as well be first. It’s their journal, after all.

But let’s not lose sight of two critical facts:

First, the only real reason Synthese had to disown Forrest’s attack is that Beckwith is not an ID sympathizer, and Forrest had assumed he was. That is the substance of his rebuttal, and the true reason the journal had to act.

Forrest would likely have been free to publish any factual inaccuracy she pleased about an ID researcher, however impeccable, without comment or penalty.

Second, that’s one way you can tell that ID is a far more serious critique of materialism than Beckwith’s Thomism is ever going to be. Beckwith can go on to have a productive career as a philosopher who poses no threat to anyone while ”potentially evangelical” astronomer Martin Gaskell was denied a justly earned position on the basis of cackles heard from another of Darwin’s broomsticks overhead, from roughly the vicinity of Oakland, CA.

Note: Earlier this decade, Beckwith was the subject of unscholarly assaults during a Baylor tenure process, and I wrote about it here, here, and here. It seems clear in retrospect that the assaults stemmed more from his known pro-life stand than from his assumed association with ID, but the latter certainly did not help. Essentially, the man was considered sympathetic to ID because he acted like a philosopher addressing a philosophical issue, rather than swearing allegiance to a shrill lobby, a growing and costly blight on academic life.

Now, I am glad to say, he is free to work in peace. And the ID guys are free to matter.

And I know where the main story is.

*Earlier, I had written that he was a constitutional law scholar. Actually, he is in philosophy and church-state studies.


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