Christianity Today has weighed in on the bloggingheads’ controversy involving the disappearing and reappearing discussion between John McWhorter and Michael Behe.
An online clearinghouse for intellectual debate has discovered the apparent boundary for its controversial conversations: Intelligent Design.
Bloggingheads.tv posted a video interview between journalist John McWhorter and Intelligent Design proponent Michael Behe in late August focused on the Lehigh University biochemistry professor’s 2007 book The Edge of Evolution. It was taken down the same day after the website received a barrage of online criticism for not asking tougher questions of Behe and for hosting him at all.
The video was re-posted later, but as Dr. Behe explains, the initial removal is indicative of a larger issue:
“Reposting the interview didn’t make everything better,” says Behe. “Yanking it down in the first place sent the strong message that this is a topic that can’t be discussed rationally; it is beyond the pale, and an interviewer like McWhorter risks his career if he does otherwise.”
Of course the interview was entirely rational, the reaction that it received was not; and that, folks is beyond the pale. The fallout:
The decision to repost the interview prompted notable scientists Carl Zimmer and Sean Carroll to publicly disassociate with the website because they believe Intelligent Design is not a serious scientific idea worthy of debate.
Some religion history experts noted the ironic adaptation of Fundamentalist techniques on the opposite side of the evolution debate. “Recently ‘the new atheists’ have been characterized, even in some of the mainstream media, as like fundamentalists in their dogmatism,” said George Marsden, a noted professor of American religious history at the University of Notre Dame. “Breaking relations with those who associate with your enemies sounds a lot like classic American fundamentalist ‘second-degree separation.’ “
Indeed it does.