Searching news.google.com for “intelligent design” I happened across a recent article by a favorite author of mine, Jerry Pournelle. Click here for his biography on Wikipedia. Jerry has written a lot of science fiction, and I quite enjoyed some of it, but that’s not the writing of his that I liked the most. It was his many years of computer technology columns, Chaos Manor, in Byte Magazine that I most enjoyed. I also thoroughly enjoyed his many articles and short stories in Analog Science Fiction and Science Fact Magazine . I’ve read almost every issue of that cover to cover since I first discovered it in the school library in the 7th grade. I still subscribe to it today almost 40 years later. Jerry holds advanced degrees in psychology, statistics, engineering, and political science, including two PhDs. Jerry was also an infamous flame artist in the early days (1970’s) of the internet when it was still a military/university network called DarpaNet (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) which you probably won’t find connected with Pournelle in many places.
Men’s News Daily, OP/ED
I don’t usually get into the “Intelligent Design” argument, because I don’t have a lot to add to it; but once in a while poseurs like Professor Richard Dawkins jump into the fray with such outrageous aplomb that I feel compelled to answer. See here for his latest.
Dawkins uses a simple method of argument: proof by repeated assertion, plus entirely ignoring what the other side says: instead he will tell you what he wants you to believe they said (if he bothers with the other side’s arguments at all). Then he asserts that anyone who believes that nonsense is an idiot not worth your attention, and all his opponents are ignorant buffoons at best, and more likely mendacious scam artists. To say he has no respect for the other side of the argument is a simple understatement of fact. Yet, for all that, the arguments don’t go away, which causes despair for Mr. Dawkins, Professor at Oxford University and usually considered the definitive spokesperson for the modern Darwinist position.
Example of Dawkins arguments:
“Intelligent design ‘theorists’ (a misnomer, for they have no theory) often use the alien scenario to distance themselves from old-style creationists: “For all we know, the designer might be an alien from outer space.” This attempt to fend off accusations of unconstitutionally importing religion into science classes is lame and disingenuous. All the leading intelligent design spokesmen are devout, and, when talking to the faithful, they drop the science-fiction fig leaf and expose themselves as the fundamentalist creationists they truly are.”
This statement is typical of Dawkins. It is also egregiously wrong. Begin with the last sentence: that only fundamentalist creationists assert the possibility of evolution influenced by aliens from outer space. This was in fact an hypothesis put forth by the late Sir Fred Hoyle in his book Evolution from Space ; and let me assure you that far from being a fundamentalist creationist, Sir Fred had a pretty sophisticated theory of how evolution might be influenced by extra terrestrials who were neither gods nor superbeings. Sir Fred’s theories would and did horrify fundamentalists.