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The Vise Strategy: Squeezing the Truth out of Darwinists


The recent hearings conducted by the school board in Kansas (May 5-7, 2005) made it clear that what needs to happen is not for our side to be interrogated by Clarence Darrow manqués (like Pedro Irigonegaray, the attorney for the other side in Kansas) but for our side to get to interrogate the Darwinists. As I pointed out on this blog (May 6, 2005, “Kansas Hearings: Scopes in Reverse? –Yes and No”), Darwinists have a long record of evading critical scrutiny, a problem that goes right back to the original Scopes Trial.

Darwin in a Vise

In the Scopes Trial, Clarence Darrow (cf. Pedro Irigonegaray) got to interrogate the evolution critics, but William Jennings Bryan (cf. Kansas attorney John Calvert for our side) did not get to interrogate the evolutionists. It is a little known fact that William Jennings Bryan agreed to be interrogated by Clarence Darrow only if Bryan could in turn interrogate Darrow on Darrow’s views of evolution. Darrow agreed, but then right after interrogating Bryan directed the judge to find Scopes guilty, thereby closing the evidence and thus preventing Bryan from interrogating Darrow (for the details about this ploy, see Edward Sisson’s essay in my book Uncommon Dissent).

Thus, in a crucial way, the Kansas hearings repeat the pattern set by the Scopes Trial, which has been repeated many times since, namely, evolutionists escaped critical scrutiny by not having to undergo cross-examination. In this case, they accomplished the feat by boycotting the hearings. I therefore await the day when the hearings are not voluntary but involve subpoenas that compel evolutionists to be deposed and interrogated at length on their views. There are ways for this to happen, and the wheels are in motion (e.g., Congressional hearings over the teaching of biology in federally funded high schools for military kids). For such hearings to have the desired effect, however, will require that evolutionists be asked the right questions.

What I propose, then, is a strategy for interrogating the Darwinists to, as it were, squeeze the truth out of them. For a glimpse of what I have in mind, see the examination of Eugenie Scott by Robert George before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (go here).

Darwin in a Vise -- alternate

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[...] Well, there you have it. It’s all very well for Bill to create a Dawkins persona (Freud could explain) and write those silly books under its name, but I do think that this particular joke - like Bill’s notorious head-in-a-vise Charlie doll and the “fartfest”, may have gotten a trifle out of hand at this point. [...] O’Leary remains skeptical: Does Richard Dawkins really exist? | Uncommon Descent
[...] Reg: You’re right. We could sit around here all day talking, rehashing Paley, fantasizing about putting Darwinists on trial, It’s not going to change one scientist’s mind! [...] Ooblog » Blog Archive » Monty Dembski’s Life of Brian
Unfortunately, I'm having trouble finding the entry where I saw it before I registered... so I'll just post it here. The problem with "obviated design" such is argued using Mt. Rushmore as an example, is that there was a time when geological formations were attributed to design, flood geology, and other "intelligent" factors... this was all because we had no other explanation at the time. Now, however, we know such theories to be ridiculous. Geological formations, even the most amazing, are caused by geological and environmental factors over long periods of time. My question is this: Given that this is a useful analogy for the issues at hand... the notion that we cannot yet fully explain all aspects of evolution... does that make ID right? Does it make evolution wrong? Or does it simply mean that like geology once was... evolution is still a young science? Will ID, like flood geology and catastrophism... one day look like a ridiculously short-sighted error in judgement? The point being that from a logical stand point, evolution's alleged inability to explain certain phenomenae... says nothing whatsoever about the positive or negative veracity of its established claims. Until ID can muster scientific evidence that can be recognized as scientific without changing the definition of science (a laughable sidestep, I should add, and one that will end up making Kansas look immensely foolish no matter what happens), it should not be taught in science classrooms. Well, not unless they're going to start teaching Vampire biology or including Shangri-La in geography class... I mean really, if scientific explanations are no longer required to be "natural" or "empirical"... why not? I expect that this comment will disappear shortly, I will, as such, post it on my blog as well, along with any deletion information, so that people will be sure to take note of deep irony apparent in accusing "Darwinists" of refusing scrutiny... then deleting all challenging comments from your blog. Rebeckle
No, I don't agree that the best strategy for proponents of intelligent design is a negative rhetoric of challenging Darwinian scientists to demonstrate their case. Certainly, negative argumentation has it's place in science. But ultimately a scientific theory requires some positive content. So if "intelligent design theory" is going to become a real scientific theory, it will have to explain exactly when, where, and how the intelligent designer created living beings with specified complexity. For example, when, where, and how exactly did the intelligent designer create bacterial flagella? Such a positive theory would be testable and falsifiable. Scientists could go into their laboratories to devise experiments to test such a theory. But, as I have argued in my book DARWINIAN CONSERVATISM, proponents of intelligent design have preferrred to employ a purely negative rhetoric. "Design" is inferred negatively by the elimination of "necessity" and "chance." This won't do if intelligent design is to become a mature science. Arnhart
[...] [...] Uncommon Descent » My New Darwinalia® Product Line
Intelligent Design Theorist Removes Link to Critic (Me) Four days ago, I posted about Intelligent Design theorist William Dembski's blog post calling for bringing evolutionists before a government panel so the truth could be squeezed out of them (Borrowing a Page From Lysenko, Intelligent Design Theorist D... The Importance of...
I always thought it was funny how one of the main lines of evidence used to "prove" evolution at the time of Scopes was the infamous half-man / half-ape Piltdown fossil (which was admitted to be a hoax in the 1950's). If they knew then what we know now, my goodness, how history would have looked upon Scopes differently. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned... Art
That is exactly right Bill. The other side dreads being put under critical scrutiny. They know their theory will not be seen favorably once it is examined by the standards of real science. Phil Johnson was right, we need "Darwin on Trial". He foreswaw what must be done. scordova

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