Recently, kairosfocus posted some thoughts on quoting materialists saying what they actually think when they talk to each other or what they assume are sympathetic audiences (“quote mining”), a practice they very much dislike. After all, when kairosfocus quotes them to people for whose ears the frank admissions were not intended, he is necessarily quoting them “out of context.” That the materialists mean it and that the rest of us might be best off to know that they mean it is beside the point, of course.
He has also asked why the Darwin vs. design debate has become so poisonous and polarized. A critical factor is the easy money tied up in Darwinism – well-paid lecture room mediocrities fronting unsubstantiated ideas to a captive audience until retirement.
Darwinists may not think they’re well-paid but if viewpoint productivity mattered, they wouldn’t be paid at all. And does anyone think they will not pull out all the stops to keep things that way? At this point, they haven’t any alternative except real science, which is hard work.
The thing is, it’s all not working as well for the Darwinists as it used to. Consider the recent apology and award to mathematician Granville Sewell or the vindication of Frank Beckwith and Martin Gaskell. The enforcement fringe of the Darwin lobby that went after them are becoming bad people to know, if we go by outcome.
Not everyone gets that, of course. Mark Oppenheimer’s New York Times story on the Frank Beckwith case, “Debate over Intelligent Design Ensnares a Journal” implies in its very title that intelligent design sympathizers had, in effect, caused the journal’s problem, presumably by existing: In fact, they had had nothing whatever to do with the problem. Beckwith was not a design sympathizer and they had not lobbied the journal to do him justice. The Darwin lobby had exclusively caused its own problems by the intemperate, mistaken attack on him and the subsequent campaign to defend the attack. The only remarkable part of the story was that – and perhaps it eventually had to happen – they were disbelieved. Yes, that’s right. For once, tub-thumping and threats of boycotts did not work. The Darwin lobbyists had to deal with what they had actually said and done.
Some thoughts from 2005 on the big picture capture the scene just before these sorts of things started to happen quite well; note the monotonous repetition of “talking points” rather than specific information:
If you ask ID’s critics the reason for their opposition, they will tell you. Says the Dover teachers’ union president, Sandy Bowser, “Intelligent design is not science.” According to a caption in a Washington Post front page article, intelligent design is “not science.” ID opponent and professor of physics and astronomy Lawrence Krauss goes on to explain that ID shouldn’t be part of a curriculum because it’s “not science.” In a Wired magazine article that disparages ID, microbiologist Carl Woese contributes the point that intelligent design “is not science.” Robert Pennock, a professor of philosophy who has been an active critic of intelligent design, elaborates that ID doesn’t “fall within the purview of science.” The lawyer suing the Dover school board contends that ID is “not science at all.” The American Federation of Teachers adds helpfully that “intelligent design does not belong in the science classroom because it is not science.” The National Science Teachers Association sheds a further bit of light, offering the view that “intelligent design is not
science.”OK, I think we’re seeing a pattern now. It may be safe to venture that, according to its detractors, intelligent design is “not science.” So why bring in the federal courts? Why not simply expose the logical and scientific fallacies of ID — which must be glaring indeed — and let it collapse of its own weaknesses?
For one thing, that is exactly what the Darwinists have been unable to do. The arguments put forth by the ID theorists — hammering home the fundamental, longstanding, unresolved flaws in Darwinism, and demonstrating affirmatively that life exhibits evidence of design — have not been refuted. Counterarguments fly as fast in this debate as the arguments, and neither side can claim victory. It is precisely because intelligent design relies exclusively on scientific methods, evidence, and reasoning that the Darwinist establishment is going bonkers.
– Dan Peterson, “What’s the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?”, American Spectator (12/22/2005)
Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.