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“Rube-Bait”: Kevin Williamson vs. David Klinghoffer: Round 3

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Kevin Williamson

Mirroring other conflicts in some ways:

In replying to me, Williamson ignored all the scientists I pointed to, quite apart from our friend and colleague Michael Behe, who question Darwinism or affirm design. But “Where are the ID scientists?” is basically the challenge that Williamson issued in the first place. Did he not read what I wrote in response before replying to me? More likely, rather than admit he was mistaken in characterizing intelligent design, there is a kind of self-induced blindness going on.

David Klinghoffer

This is about ego, not science. Of course, an allergy to conceding error is not unique to ID opponents, but as I said, it is typical of them.

Update: For more on the exchange, by Wesley Smith and Michael Behe, see also:

This all adds up, I suppose, to a virtual symposium on mulish prejudice and ignorance.David Klingoffer, “Self-Induced Blindness: Round 3 with Kevin Williamson” at Evolution News and Science Today:

Williamson lives in a time when people don’t need to know correct facts so much as correct positions. Klinghoffer mentions the Covington High School story. The astonishing thing about it is, from the perspective of say, how media might have behaved decades ago, very little conventional verification was done until much later. Notice, I didn’t say “very little fact-checking”; I mean something much more basic and less polarizing thanthat. I mean seeing all of a video or doing a routine records check.

Popular Darwinism thrives in that atmosphere because even to raise problems with a Cool theory. however serious the problems, brands one as unCool. You are never supposed to have problems with a Cool theory. Let’s hope the spread of the attitude doesn’t continue to the sciences.

See also: “Rube-Bait”: Kevin Williamson vs. David Klinghoffer: Round 2


Intelligent design as “rube-bait” and David Klinghoffer’s response Klinghoffer offers his vid, The Information Enigma by way of rebuttal. But rebuttal almost misses the point. Today’s Darwinism is a snipe on Twitter, a swipe in passing, a slogan on a whiteboard, a well-practiced rant – not something it would make sense to ask anyone to support with reference to facts or coherent ideas. Williamson’s got that right. No arguing with fashion.

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J. Scott Turner a professor of biology and physiology at State University of New York (College of Environmental Science & Forestry) in Syracuse, New York, was a committed Darwinist till, ironically, the Dover (read: Scopes II) trial in Dover, PA, caused him to rethink some of his assumptions. That’s ironic because, as we all know (because it’s what we’ve been told,) Dover was the final nail in the coffin of misguided ID movement. Turner, “explains the impact that media coverage of the Dover trial had on him, the smears directed at ID proponents, the trite attacks on “creationism” that seemed to have been preserved in vinegar from the Scopes Monkey Trial eighty years before. Turner met Stephen Meyer and other advocates of intelligent design. He was startled to find that they were quite a different crowd from what you’d imagine based on press coverage and published comments from Darwin defenders.” https://evolutionnews.org/2018/03/how-scott-turner-evolved/ While not an ID proponent himself, Dover caused him reconsider some of Darwinism’s dys-teleological claims. That rethink resulted in his 2017 book, Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something “Alive” and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It. Perry Marshall in his review, at Amazon, explains what Turner’s book is all about:
Rock-star biologist Carl Woese lamented at how reductionist thinking reduced biology to “become a science of lesser importance, for it had nothing fundamental to tell us about the world.” He described how biology has become shackled by the confines of reductionist physics. He hoped that it will “press forward once more as a fundamental science.” Enter J. Scott Turner, whose deep work with termites (and many other things) lead him to conclude: “This Darwinian dog don’t hunt.” He, like Noble, is a physiologist, and as such acknowledges that it’s manifestly incoherent to claim that hands only *appear* to have the purpose of grasping, and that hearts only *appear* to have the purpose of [pumping], and wings only *appear* to have the purpose of flying. This dogma of purpose being mere illusion has been used for decades to shame scientists into thinking that IF they think there is purpose in nature, then they really are not scientists after all. Turner finally came to the conclusion that this is nothing but an arbitrary piece of philosophical dogma, and worse, it sucks the true power out of the science of biology. I could not agree more. The purposefulness of living things is apparent to any six year old. It is manifest at every level at which you study life. So as in Mao’s China, it takes a great deal of “re-education” for people to unlearn the obvious. After all, how is a Darwinist who says nature only *appears* to be purposeful, being any more honest than a Creationist who says nature only *appears* to be billions of years old.
In other words, if it appears to be purposeful and designed it’s logically possible that it really is purposeful and designed. Indeed, not only is it logical, it’s common sense. john_a_designer
Perhaps we should use their tactics and attack them for being willfully ignorant materialists whose position requires more faith than YEC. ET
The problem with critics like Williamson is that don’t engage the argument because they don’t even attempt to understand it. He demonstrates his ignorance when he conflates ID with religion and creationism. While there are creationist who are ID’ists not all ID’ists are creationists-- because ID is not creationism. For example, is the following quote from a creationist or someone who has a religionist agenda?
"It is important to emphasize at the outset that the argument presented here is entirely consistent with the basic naturalistic assumption of modern science - that the cosmos is a seamless unity which can be comprehended ultimately in its entirety by human reason and in which all phenomena, including life and evolution and the origin of man, are ultimately explicable in terms of natural processes. This is an assumption which is entirely opposed to that of the so-called "special creationist school". According to special creationism, living organisms are not natural forms, whose origin and design were built into the laws of nature from the beginning, but rather contingent forms analogous in essence to human artifacts, the result of a series of supernatural acts, involving the suspension of natural law. Contrary to the creationist position, the whole argument presented here is critically dependent on the presumption of the unbroken continuity of the organic world - that is, on the reality of organic evolution and on the presumption that all living organisms on earth are natural forms in the profoundest sense of the word, no less natural than salt crystals, atoms, waterfalls, or galaxies."
Can you guess who said it? Michael Denton. BTW Denton along with Michael Behe accepts common descent. However, they both argue very persuasively, if you bother to read their books, that the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection (NS + RV) is insufficient to explain evolutionary change. My point very simply is there have been people in involved with the modern ID movement from the very beginning who are not creationists and who are actually agnostic when it comes to religion. So what then is ID? Here is my basic argument for ID: Mindlessness does not create mind. Purposelessness does not create purpose. The burden of proof is on those who claim otherwise. Materialism in its crudest and crassest form denies there is any plan a purpose to the “natural” world.” However, it is self-evidently true that the natural world in full of things which we know have purpose. We can demonstrate this easily by asking a series of very simple questions. For example: what is the purpose of the sun? Of light and heat… of gravity? What is the purpose of air? What is the purpose of water? What is the purpose of rocks and minerals… of plants and vegetation? Of photosynthesis? Don’t tell me that these things don’t have any purpose. We wouldn’t exist if these things didn’t exist. Of course, the list doesn’t end there. You can ask questions about yourself, your own existence. For example, what is the purpose of your heart? What’s the purpose of your blood? …of your veins and arteries? …of your lungs? …of your hands? …of your feet? …of your arms… your legs? …of your eyes? …your ears? (The list is unending.) The natural world is full of purpose. Not only is it obvious, we are hardwired to perceive and believe that it does have purpose. We wouldn’t have science if we didn’t believe this. Only a cynical fool would believe otherwise. Here is a short, very well done video featuring Michael Denton which makes the same basic argument from a cosmological and human evolution point of view that make the same basic argument that I’m making here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an98jVCyApo john_a_designer
Table pounding 101, Dean- Lawyer's Creed: When you have the facts on your side, you pound the facts. When you have the Law on your side, you pound the Law. When you have neither, you pound the table. :D ET

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