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The Guardian Swallows Darwinian Myths About Academic Freedom Bills

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Today, the UK Guardian newspaper published a piece about academic freedom bills in Colorado, Missouri, Montana and Oklahoma. Readers will not be surprised to learn that the Guardian has seemingly bought into the common myth continuously recycled and promulgated by the NCSE and the Darwin lobby that the bills are “just creationism in disguise”, despite the fact that the bills do not protect the teaching of religious-based views (like creationism), nor even, for that matter, subjects which aren’t already part of the curriculum (like intelligent design). Although the Guardian apparently interviewed critics of the bills, including spokespersons from the NCSE, it seems that they failed to interview any individuals representing the other side. The article in the Guardian even opens with a picture from the Kentucky Creation Museum. Not sure what the relevance of that is. The Guardian also insists on defining intelligent design as the view that “modern life is too complex to have evolved by chance alone.” Of course, that isn’t what ID asserts, nor for that matter does any competent evolutionary biologist think that life even plausibly evolved by chance alone.

94 Replies to “The Guardian Swallows Darwinian Myths About Academic Freedom Bills

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    I live for the day when phrases like “Darwinism in disguise” will be common. I’ve been practicing my superiority dance in anticipation.

  2. 2
    JoeMorreale1187 says:

    It has to to be sent now that this continued misrepresentation of Intelligent Design is no longer excusable as ignorance but deliberately agenda driven by the secular media.

  3. 3
    Gregory says:

    One might get the impression from this OP that ‘creationism’ is actually dying out in the USA or that the IDM is playing a role of some kind in promoting the end of creationism. But the IDM is in bed with creationists and with the “religious conservatives” mentioned in the article.

    A prominent poster here at UD suggested approximately 35% of posters at UD are themselves ‘creationists.’

    Also, the article doesn’t mention ‘Darwin’ at all. The ‘myth,’ if one is to call it that, is a commonly held view by those who actually study the movements and the propagandists involved in the debates about academic freedom regarding evolution, creationism and intelligent design/Intelligent Design.

    In regard to defining Big-ID, it has come to the point where no single definition of it exists. Paul Harris’ Guardian definition is therefore ‘in the big tent/ballpark’ enough to qualify as legitimate in most peoples’ eyes. The IDM has had its time in the news enough to offer their definitions; most people, including devout religious scientists, have rejected those definitions as “highly sanitized creationist code.”

    Here’s one of the top science and religion organisations in world defining Big-ID (which they write as ‘intelligent design’) – ISSR, so as to protect people from ‘swallowing’ it. One might call it ‘child-proofing.’ Then again, Big-ID is not supposed to have anything to do with religion or the ‘supernatural’ even though opposing ‘naturalism’ is part of its on-going Wedge agenda, right? 😉

  4. 4
    Gregory says:

    Oops, forgot to add the ‘-‘.

    The ISSR statement 3 times refers to ‘intelligent-design.’

    This continues my policy of welcoming people to use their own particular language of choice, while at the same time promoting and explaining my chosen language, which in this case is supported in the literature and slightly adopted, i.e. that IDM-ID is best called (upper-case) Big-ID (cf. Owen Gingerich, Ted Davis, Stephen Barr, and Randy Isaac, et al. and sometimes also in UD messages themselves).

    Jeffrey Schloss, new senior scholar at BioLogos (which actually does openly oppose ‘creationism,’ bravo and it’s about time!) and co-author of the ISSR statement, seems not to be committed to distinguishing small-id from Big-ID, at least not in this ISSR statement.

  5. 5

    . . . approximately 35% of posters at UD are themselves ‘creationists.’

    Gee, if “creationist” is broadly enough defined, I’d expect the percentage posting here to be way higher than that — perhaps even approaching 100%.

  6. 6
    Gregory says:

    That’s a very good point, Eric.

    So, according to your own chosen language, do you consider yourself to be a ‘creationist’?

    A simple yes or no answer will do just fine.

    I do not consider myself to be a ‘creationist.’ That’s not a difficult admission to make.

  7. 7
    Robert Byers says:

    Its about teaching the truth.
    Who decides what is the truth in origin?
    Who decides what is not?
    If the schools censor one side then they are saying its not true since its about subjects saying they are about the truth.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    It is interesting to point out that ID uses the very same method of science to infer design that Darwin himself used to infer common ancestry (presently acting cause known to produce effect in question):

    Stephen Meyer – The Scientific Basis Of Intelligent Design
    https://vimeo.com/32148403

    But the bills, as far as I know, don’t even protect that simple inference (as benign as that inference may seem to be). The bills, as far as I know, just protects teachers from being persecuted by Darwinists,,,

    EXPELLED – Starring Ben Stein – Part 1 of 10 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIZAAh_6OXg

    Slaughter of Dissidents – Book
    “If folks liked Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” they will be blown away by “Slaughter of the Dissidents.” – Russ Miller
    http://www.amazon.com/Slaughte.....0981873405

    Origins – Slaughter of the Dissidents with Dr. Jerry Bergman – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6rzaM_BxBk

    ,,, the bills just protect teachers for teaching evidence against evolution without fear of reprisal. Why is it such a ‘sin’ in the atheistic mindset to teach children where the gaping holes in evolutionary theory are? Why are they so fearful that they must protect their ‘scientific’ theory, by threat, deception, and force? Why don’t they just let the evidence speak for itself?

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Related note:

    Film The Revisionaries Revises History of 2009 Texas State Board of Education Evolution Debate – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....0_56-08_00

    On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin shows how the film The Revisionaries revises history. Coming soon to PBS, The Revisionaries falsely suggests that intelligent design and creationism were required in the 2009 Texas Science Standards (TEKS) and pushed for by ignorant fundamentalist board members who ignored the advice of all qualified experts. Tune in as Casey exposes this misinformation and reviews the hard facts.

  10. 10

    Nice try, Gregory, but a simple “yes-no” will not suffice. That’s a tactic of someone who is trying to trip someone else up. We both know that the typical pejorative use of “creationist” in the media, in popular books, in evolutionary literature, refers to some kind of fundamental Biblical literalism. So I’m not going to give you the pleasure of a simple “yes” without defining terms and let you go off with whatever impression you may create in your own mind about what you think I meant.

    I could stop there, but in the interest of moving a discussion forward in some reasonable fashion I will go ahead and provide a few simplistic definitions to give you a better idea of where I stand.

    – Fundamental Biblical literalism, with all the trappings about a young Earth, creation in six 24-hour days, etc. No, I do not hold to this view.

    – Humans have only been around for about 6-10,000 years. No, I do not necessarily hold to this view (although I would say the record of human history is regularly wildly overblown by evolutionists and there are some intriguing counterarguments worth considering).

    – Evolution has no place and has played no role in the history of life on Earth. No, I do not hold to this view. There are some real and demonstrable processes at work that can be termed (with some definitional license) “evolution.”

    – Life was created by a transcendent being. No, I do not necessarily hold to this view. This kind of discussion typically gets quickly bogged down in what is meant by “transcendent.” I don’t think that the artifacts of biology themselves give any basis for determining whether a designer is “transcendent” or not. A designer may be, but that is not something I think biology can tell us.

    – There was one, and only one, designer of life. No, I do not necessarily hold to this view. Again, I do not think we have enough information yet to make that determination, if indeed it is ever possible at all.

    – Each life form we see today was initially created de-novo in the form we see it today. No, I do not hold to this view. However, I also reject the idea that there could not have been any creative intervention during the history of life (i.e., some would prefer that the watchmaker wind up the clock and then leave, never to act again).

    – The designer is the God of the Old Testament. No, I do not necessarily think this can be demonstrated. Logically, it could of course be true, but I do not think biology tells us this much.

    – Some intelligent agent infused additional information in life in order to produce new body plans, new families, classes, orders, and possibly new genera and some species, whether through front-loading or through direct creative intervention. Yes.

    – Some intelligent agent created initial Earth life. Yes.

    —–

    There are certain things we can ascertain from biology through scientific study itself. Those are the things I hold to; I am not looking to a sacred text (although there is much in the Bible that is consistent with what we have learned from studying biology).

    But that there was intelligent agency involved in biology? Absolutely.

    So, am I a “creationist?” 🙂

  11. 11
    Gregory says:

    “So, am I a ‘creationist’?” – Eric Anderson

    From #10, obviously the answer is: You either don’t personally know or won’t say clearly if you are or are not!

    I asked for you to say Yes or No in your own language and you proceeded to give a diversion and to evade the simple, basic question. That is a tell-tale non-admission for an IDist, Eric Anderson. I spoke clearly and directly, while you dodged clarity.

    “The designer is the God of the Old Testament. No, I do not necessarily think this can be demonstrated.” – Eric Anderson

    But do you personally believe that is the case, even if it can’t be (natural scientifically) ‘demonstrated’?

    You seemed in #5 to want to include yourself as a ‘creationist’ via your ‘approaching 100%’ claim. Now the claim is unclear.

  12. 12

    Isn’t this a fun semantic game, Gregory?

    I have no particular personal need to define myself as a “creationist” or not. Because I understand that it is just a semantic label and I am more interested in the underlying substance. Nor do I feel any need to pretend that there is only one true definition of the term that would then allow me to place myself within it or without it.

    I made two points quite clearly: (i) many possible definitions exist, (ii) if defined broadly enough many (probably most) people would fall within it. I have not claimed that one particular definition is correct and must be adhered to by all people ever using the word (notwithstanding your desire for such rigidity ).

    Since you appear to be hung up on labels and definitions, why don’t you give me a definition that you think is the true definition and then I’ll tell you whether I fall within it.

  13. 13
    Mung says:

    Gregory:

    But the IDM is in bed with creationists and with the “religious conservatives” mentioned in the article.

    I’m planning a visit to the DI. I’ll be on the lookout for those beds.

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    Gregory:

    I do not consider myself to be a ‘creationist.’ That’s not a difficult admission to make.

    Yet you are a Creationist. Go figure.

    I’m a New Creationist.

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    Gregory:

    I spoke clearly and directly, while you dodged clarity.

    LOL!!!

    On the contrary, Eric spoke clearly and directly because he defined his terms. You, on the other hand, spoke ambiguously and dishonestly because no one here knows what you mean when you say you are not a ‘creationist.’

  16. 16
    Gregory says:

    Eric,

    No, not a ‘semantic game.’ It rather reveals how some people don’t have a clue even what they believe and sometimes that they don’t stand for anything. And yet a very small and largely inconsequential American movement promotes Big-ID for a variety of oftentimes secret reasons.

    It is not ‘mere semantics’ but reveals the philosophical anthropology of the ignorant or deceitful.

    “many possible definitions exist” – Eric Anderson

    That relativism is erased by my direct question to you: according to your own chosen language, do you consider yourself to be a ‘creationist’?

    You’ve flip-flopped and diverted from giving a direct answer. Have you no personality? Have you no language of your own?

    It’s a rather simple question, asked in the English language. Yes or No? Are you, according to you, a ‘creationist’ or not? It is absurd that you feel you have to ask me to define whether or not you are a ‘creationist’ when free will exists in your own heart!!

    Otherwise, have you no knowledge or understanding of your own personal views?!

    This thread shows how duplicitous Big-IDists actually can be.

  17. 17
    Timaeus says:

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

    Gregory accuses Eric of not clearly answering his question. Yet Eric gave a very full answer to his question, breaking down the term “creationist” into various components, and giving a separate answer to each component, thus providing far more information, and far more clarity, than if he had answered simply “yes” or “no.” Gregory paid $1.00 for his coffee and got steak and eggs thrown in.

    Gregory, on the other hand, is notorious here for failing to answer questions. On almost every thread here on which he participates, he fails to answer a number of questions. The recent 400-comments monster discussion of the piece by Mr. Murray provides many examples of evasion by Gregory of countless questions and criticisms by several different commenters. Among the questions which Gregory has refused to answer in various discussions on this site (which I will here rephrase to help those missing the original contexts of the discussions) have been:

    1. Do you believe that the historical Adam and Eve not only existed, but were the *only* biological parents of every human being that has ever lived, so that all human fossil forms that have been found, or ever will be found, that are human, will have Adam and Eve, and no other more primitive hominids, as their ancestors?

    2. Do you believe, as Steve Fuller believes, that ID — meaning the detection of intelligent design in nature — can be “natural science” in the true sense?

    3. Do you believe, as Steve Fuller believes, in “univocal predication,” against Feser — that it is legitimate to speak of God as intelligently designing things?

    4. Which ID technical books have you read from cover to cover?

    5. How many days did you spend at Discovery?

    6. What was the program there?

    7. Which books or articles did you read during those days?

    8. Were you evaluated by Discovery staff at the end of the program for your knowledge of ID?

    9. What were the strengths and weaknesses of the program?

    10. What changes to the program would you recommend?

    I am sure that StephenB and Mung and many others can easily add to this list of unanswered questions.

    If Gregory is inclined to take this response as another example of my “rhetoric,” I cannot stop him. But in fact this response is exactly what it seems to be: not a rhetorical trick of any kind, but simply an honest protest against someone who constantly accuses people here of failing to answer his questions, when he himself fails to answer questions on a regular basis.

    The proper response to my charge is not “Another rhetorical flourish by Timaeus in the service of the political program of Big-ID!” The proper responses are:

    “1. I’ve been unreasonable to criticize Eric’s full reply and I drop my baseless charge that he has failed to answer my question. Any further answer to Eric that I make will engage the honestly-set-forth contents of his post.

    “2. I’ve been applying a double standard here all along, demanding absolute clarity from everyone else regarding every single question I ask, while I myself have answered many questions evasively and incompletely, and others not at all.

    “3. To make up for my past uncooperative behavior, here are my answers to the above questions which I never answered in their original context; and I invite all commenters here to submit similar lists of their unanswered questions to me, which I undertake to answer before posting anything new here.”

    Now if Gregory would respond in such a manner as I’ve suggested, respect for him would go way up in these here parts.

  18. 18
    Gregory says:

    No respect for an untenured PhD unoriginal like ‘Timaeus’ who feels he has to hide behind an on-line mask in order to be heard.

    A very simple question was asked. But Eric couldn’t or wouldn’t answer it. ‘Nuf said.

    Eric did not give an answer to my simple question. Can Timaeus not read English language? Does he wish to play devil’s advocate so far as to become that which he swore to oppose?

    It doesn’t matter how many ‘components’ the term ‘creationism’ can be broken into, just like it doesn’t matter how many ‘components’ ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ can be broken into. The question was a simple one. It was Eric who questioned the definition in #5, thus opening himself up to what he himself means. So far, he has failed entirely to represent him own position: Yes or No?

    What is it then, a ‘maybe’ according to Eric’s own personal definition? Iow, he simply doesn’t know. It would be progress even for him to admit that, if anything other than expressing confusion.

    Yes, Timaeus, you lob ‘protest’ at me quite regularly. But it is not ‘honest,’ not by far. Come out publically from your private puppet show and you’ll realise how speaking in your own real (.411) name influences how willing you are to deceive others for your own propagandist purposes. I don’t think you have the courage to show yourself and I will not be dragged down by your personal and evident fear.

    I asked an amazingly simple question to Eric Anderson: So, according to your own chosen language, do you consider yourself to be a ‘creationist’? How far will Timaeus and Eric go to avoid giving a direct simple answer to this question?

    Timaeus is not a ‘creationist,’ though he is quite obviously a marginal (unorthodox) Big-IDist (who flip-flop now calls himself simply a small-idist). What is Eric Anderson?

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Gregory, do YOU YOURSELF personally think God created the universe or not?

    If not, are these following people dreaded ‘creationists’ in your book for believing God created the universe?

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discover Cosmic Background Radiation

    “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”
    George Smoot – Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    “,,,the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world,,, the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’

  20. 20
    Gregory says:

    “Gregory, do YOU YOURSELF personally think God created the universe or not?” – BA77

    Yes.

    And this is exactly the most important question on the lips of literally every single student who attends the DI’s summer program. Evangelical Christians, the lot of them.

    Now ask yourself please how that changes my simple, direct, basic question to Eric Anderson. Why do you think he can’t or so far won’t answer his own question when it was asked in regard to his own personal language?

    According to Eric’s own chosen language, does he consider himself to be a ‘creationist’ or not?

    For that matter, BA77, do you consider yourself to be a ‘creationist’ or not?

    I made my position clear in #6.

  21. 21
    Mung says:

    Timaeus:

    I am sure that StephenB and Mung and many others can easily add to this list of unanswered questions.

    If the point of asking questions is to arrive at truth, I don’t much see the point.

  22. 22
    Mung says:

    I told you Gregory was a creationist, even though he claims to not be one.

    The next question is, does God hold in being the universe and all that is within it at every moment?

    So the Nazi guard, about to turn on the gas, continues to exist from one moment to the next only because God continues to uphold his being.

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    Yes, I consider the evidence overwhelming to an Old Earth Creationist (OEC) perspective and I believe I can defend that particular position quite well from the empirical evidence alone. But I’m in conflict about you for you stated in a earlier post:

    “I do not consider myself to be a ‘creationist.’”

    Yet, you just said that you believe God created the universe. Thus how does it follow, in the definition Eric used,,,

    “if “creationist” is broadly enough defined, I’d expect the percentage posting here to be way higher than that — perhaps even approaching 100%.”

    ,,that you are not a creationist? It would be mere semantic word play for you to deny you are a ‘creationist’ if broadly enough defined as Eric intended. ,,, I simply fail to see what all the huff is about that you keep getting all worked up about.

  24. 24
    Gregory says:

    The internet persona ‘Mung’ appears to be a kind of psychologically disturbed person that I wouldn’t want to hang around with.

    He hears ‘creation’ and immediately thinks ‘Nazis.’ Rather sick, not normal. Don’t send your children to listen at his lap!

    I am not a ‘creationist.’ Mung repeating to himself that I *am* a creationist because he says so is delusional on the Dawkins scale.

  25. 25
    Gregory says:

    BA77,

    You’re bringing this down to pretty much the lowest level possible.

    I’m a scholar and educator by profession, who is used to higher dialogue than this. And I’m not such an abrasive and condescending contrarian as ‘Timaeus’ as to thwart my possible promotion in the academic realm.

    Facts:
    1) You are a US citizen.
    2) Your understanding is limited to ‘creationist’ as a US citizen.
    3) I am not a US citizen.
    4) My understanding of ‘creationism’ is not limited to US definitions.
    5) NOT EVERY PERSON WHO BELIEVES GOD CREATED THE UNIVERSE IS A ‘CREATIONIST.’

    Please read #5 carefully, meditate on it, pray about, keep it in your educational cache.

    Thanks.

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    Gregory, how come this came to mind after your preceding post?

    Bill Clinton It Depends on what the meaning of the word is is
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4XT-l-_3y0

  27. 27
    Mung says:

    And Gregory persists in his hypocrisy.

    For it is he who is always quick to leap from “intelligent design” to the problem of evil. Apparently his “higher education” lacked training in being a perceptive reader and interpreter.

    Notice how he avoided the question, lol.

  28. 28
    Mung says:

    5) NOT EVERY PERSON WHO BELIEVES GOD CREATED THE UNIVERSE IS A ‘CREATIONIST.’

    BY DEFINITION, IF YOU BELIEVE GOD CREATED THE UNIVERSE, YOU ARE A CREATIONIST!!!!

  29. 29
    Gregory says:

    “BY DEFINITION, IF YOU BELIEVE GOD CREATED THE UNIVERSE, YOU ARE A CREATIONIST!!!!”

    Moron alert.

  30. 30
    Timaeus says:

    Gregory wrote:

    “I’m not … an abrasive and condescending contrarian”

    Everyone here will of course make his or her own private judgment on that, based on Gregory’s dialogical habits as we have seen them here. (A typical example of those habits is found in #29 above.)

    We may all be the best judges of our own intentions, but we are not usually the best judges of our own performance.

  31. 31
    Mung says:

    I am a moron Gregory, I just define moron the way I want to.

    moron – mung’s ontologically relativistic own narrative

  32. 32
    Gregory says:

    #31 So, Mung openly calls himself a moron. That’s probably not even worth noting.

    More importantly for the OP, does Eric Anderson openly call himself a ‘creationist’ or not? No lies please! We are still waiting to hear his direct answer to the simple question.

    Reality: there is little to no attempt by the IDM to oppose ‘creationism.’ Even if ‘Timaeus’ calls creationism ‘bad science.’ In fact, the IDM is openly supported by ‘creationists,’ even here at UD. Thus, both Eric and Timaeus, in so far as they are IDists, promote creationism. If only their mothers and fathers knew…

  33. 33
    Timaeus says:

    Mung, and All:

    I don’t have any idea what Gregory means by “creationist,” but I can explain my own usage of the term, so that people won’t be confused when I employ it.

    By “creationist” I do *not* mean “anyone who believes that the world was created by God.” That is a possible meaning of the word, and one which would include all Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Deists, as well as some others. But as I say, it is not how I employ the word.

    By “creationist” I mean someone whose understanding of biological and and geological and cosmic origins is guided by a literal or close-to-literal reading of Genesis 1-11, understood as “eyewitness history.” I would divide creationists into old-earth and young-earth, with the old-earth folks reading Genesis a little more flexibly and imaginatively. And I would understand the young-earth creationists (YECs) as rejecting “evolution” totally, and the old-earth creationists (OECs) as accepting some limited amount of evolution, within large groupings such as hoofed mammals, carnivores, birds of prey, fruit-bearing trees, etc. — maybe up to the level of “family” or even “order” in biological terms, but not beyond. Certainly classes, phyla and kingdoms would be created directly by God. And man, by a special act of creation, also would be a direct production of God, rather than a “hominid who got a promotion.”

    By this definition, I’m not a creationist, because I (a) give no authority to Genesis 1-11 to pronounce on actual physical origins — I don’t read it as that kind of literature; (b) I have no theological objection to “evolution” provided that the process is understood as planned, programmed, or somehow guided or led by God. It seems to me that the circumstantial evidence for evolutionary change is very strong and that evolution cannot simply be dismissed. So I’m content to work within a tentatively evolutionary understanding, as long as evolution is not insisted upon as a dogma, rather than the best current inference from the data.

    Within that evolutionary understanding, I most strongly identify with people like Behe, Sternberg, and Denton, who understand evolution in relation to intelligent design.

    Does that make me an “evolutionist”? If “evolutionist” means: “opposed to the doctrine of creation,” then certainly not! If “evolutionist” means “someone who thinks that some sort of evolutionary process has occurred,” then I’m an evolutionist. But I also believe that everything was created — so that would make me a “creationist” in Mung’s sense.

    Indeed, I could even be called a “theistic evolutionist” or “evolutionary creationist,” but I avoid those terms, because they have unfortunately been co-opted by people with certain agendas, scientific and theological, that I disagree with. Just as I can no longer use the word “gay” to mean what it almost universally meant 50 years ago, when I was growing up, because such a usage would now be seriously misleading, so I can no longer call myself a “theistic evolutionist” without being associated, in the public mind, with a group of public figures whose views (with about half a dozen exceptions I can think of) are repugnant to me.

  34. 34
    Kantian Naturalist says:

    Surely, if one believes that the God of the Bible created the universe, then one is a creationist. But one can be a creationist without believing that.

    For example, Plato was a creationist, if we’re to take Timaeus as Plato’s own views (sometimes a dicey proposition with Plato). So were ancient Greek philosophers before him (Anaxagoras, Empedocles) and after (Epictetus and other Stoics). They count as creationists just because they held that cosmic order is the result of some intelligent agent actively organized it.

    The Epicureans don’t count as creationists because they held that cosmic order is the result of chance and necessity operating on atoms as they fall through the infinite void. And the Aristotelians don’t count as creationists because, although the Unmoved Mover is the cause of cosmic order, it does so by virtue of being the final cause of that order — it draws all things to itself by being thought thinking itself.

    So, here’s a proposal: we could distinguish between “rational creationists,” “empirical creationists,” and “religious creationists,” as follows:

    Rational creationists hold that a priori rational principles show (or strongly indicate) that cosmic order is the result of some intelligent agent.

    Empirical creationists hold that the preponderance of empirical evidence strongly indicates that cosmic order is the result of some intelligent agent.

    Religious creationists hold that revelation shows that cosmic order is the result of a being that deserves to be called ‘God.’

    Now, one could hold more than one of these views. (Aquinas might have held all three.) And I’ve phrased them in terms of cosmic order, but of course there are other dimensions of order to consider: the biological order and the moral order, in particular. (Also, I would not want to dismiss non-Abrahamic forms of religious creationism. Hinduism, for example, would count as religious creationism by these criteria.)

  35. 35
    Gregory says:

    Why else has Timaeus even entered this thread if not other than simply to try to argue with me because I’ve asked a simple question to Eric Anderson?

    So what if Timaeus is not a ‘creationist’. He does not actively assert himself to publically differ with fellow IDists at UD who are creationists. So his fence-sitting views are a non-issue here.

    The term ‘creationism’ was offered by the OP. It is not up to me to now define it for you happy-clappy trappers!

    The point of contention here is Eric Anderson’s absurd claim in #5.

    My point in #3 of course still remains.

    Timaeus in his metal-heart of heart knows about the mind numbing creationists who promote Big-ID. Yet he doesn’t bother to disabuse them of their ‘moron’ approach. This is because of his marginal IDist agenda.

    What is really new here?

    Timaeus says: “I’m not a creationist.”

    But more importantly, because of the waffling so far: What does Eric Anderson say?

    As for “co-opted by people with certain agendas,” obviously Timaeus wants ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ to be imaginatively excluded from such ideological committments. His delusion is demonstrated by the mask that he requires himself to wear, avoiding humanity in the public sphere.

  36. 36

    Gregory, Gregory, Gregory:

    You’re jumping up and down and protesting so loudly you can’t hear yourself.

    Simple Logic 101 question:

    Is it required that a word in the English language have only one, unalterable definition?

    (a) If so, please explain on what basis you take this position.

    (b) If not, please explain why you are so worked up over the fact that I have pointed out that different definitions of “creationist” exist.

    If you choose (b), then please also pause for a moment before you shoot off your next reply and ask yourself on what basis I should be required to have, and adhere to, a single personal definition of the word.

    Look, the only way two people can communicate is to make sure we are talking about the same thing. I believe that the word “creationist” may have multiple (and somewhat ambiguous) meanings. It appears that you think it must have some kind of single, specific meaning. I have given you several examples of possible definitions. It is therefore perfectly reasonable for me to ask you what you mean by the word. If you do so, I will gladly tell you whether it applies to me or not. Pretty simple.

  37. 37
    Gregory says:

    Eric, Eric, Eric:

    Are you so self-fragmented that you hold no definition of anything? The issue is not that there are multiple definitions of ‘creationist’, it is that you seem to hold no definition for yourself. And that is why you have so far refused to categorise yourself and why you brought up the topic in the first place. Anyone can see this in #5.

    A simple question that a school kid could answer (but Eric so far cannot): according to your own chosen language, do you consider yourself to be a ‘creationist’?

    Do you actually not see how this caters to your own personal thoughts by openly asking you to state them by answering this question?

    Forty times, gotta ask the same simple question.

    Define ‘man’ however you want. Are you not still a ‘man,’ Eric? Define ‘creationist’ however you want, cowboy. Are you or are you not, according to your own definition, a ‘creationist’?

    I have expressed myself clearly and unequivocally on this topic already. The burden is on you; answer or dodge yet again.

  38. 38
    StephenB says:

    Gregory’s idea of disclosing his ideas about God, design, and evolution is to tell everyone what he is *not*. By his account, he is not a TE, or an atheist, or an ID proponent, or a YEC, or and OEC. If you ask him what he *is*, however, he heads for the tall grass. His idea of rational dialogue is to scrutinize without submitting to scrutiny. His idea of holding others accountable is to falsely accuse them of wearing the same protective mask that he wears.

    It appears that Gregory is trying to camouflage his intellectual timidity by posing as a bold interrogator. To be sure, this is a dubious strategy for someone who cannot formulate a meaningful question. Clearly, it makes no sense to ask if Eric is a “Creationist” without first defining “Creationism.” After being reminded of this glaring omission, Gregory invites Eric provide his own definition, as if the answerer was responsible for making the questioners incomprehensible inquiry comprehensible. It doesn’t get any better than that.

    This takes me back to last week when Gregory asked if ID proponents have “developed a theory for humanly-designed artifacts,” leaving it to the poor reader to decide which aspect of design is being alluded to. To help him along, I provided a list of twelve possible ways that a reader might interpret his unintelligible formulation, asking him to simply pick the one that came closest to the idea he was trying to express. In typical fashion, he fled the scene. Audacity should be made of sterner stuff.

  39. 39
    Timaeus says:

    Gregory wrote:

    “Why else has Timaeus even entered this thread if not other than simply to try to argue with me because I’ve asked a simple question to Eric Anderson?”

    No, I have no desire to argue with Gregory; he is welcome to ask Eric any question that he likes, and to badger Eric for an answer as long as he likes. My point was not that he should not have asked his question, or even that he does not deserve an answer. My point was that it shows incredible chutzpah (and anyone who writes G-d should know what “chutzpah” means) for Gregory to feign righteous indignation that someone is evasive or will not answer reasonably put questions, when Gregory himself is one of the worst offenders on the internet in that regard.

  40. 40

    Gregory @37:

    Let’s try this one last time to see if it sinks in.

    I have already made clear that I do not have a single definition of “creationist” that I have personally adopted and adhere to. Rather, I recognize (what should be obvious fact to anyone, I should think) that different definitions are possible. You have not provided any valid reason for why I should adhere to a single definition, and I feel no obligation to satisfy your rather illogical position on this point.

    The issue is not that there are multiple definitions of ‘creationist’, it is that you seem to hold no definition for yourself.

    No. You are wrong. That is precisely the issue. It is quite evident to any rational person that there are multiple definitions. I am aware of them. And I am not foolish enough to stubbornly pick one and only one definition and eschew all others.

    You asked me if I was a ‘creationist’ and insisted on a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. You have not provided any definition yourself and have not provided any rational reason why I must adopt and adhere to a particular definition. As a result, it is evident that you have no interest in the substance, but are interested in a semantic game.

    Keep on playing if you like, but the discussion won’t hold my interest much longer.

  41. 41
    Mung says:

    Hey Eric, did you chose your language?

    Maybe in Korean you are a creationist but in Tagalog you are not.

    http://www.tagalog-dictionary......reationist

  42. 42
    Timaeus says:

    Regarding Gregory’s complaint in #37:

    Yes, Eric *could* answer the question:

    “according to your own chosen language, do you consider yourself to be a ‘creationist’?”

    On the other hand, Gregory *could* respond to Eric’s suggested resolution:

    “It is therefore perfectly reasonable for me to ask you what you mean by the word. If you do so, I will gladly tell you whether it applies to me or not.”

    If Gregory’s goal is to find out whether or not Eric accepts a particular understanding of “creationism,” Gregory can obtain that information by going along with Eric’s suggested route of conversation. So why not go along? Is it sheer conversational stubbornness?

    Or is it that Gregory is not at all interested in what *beliefs* Eric has, but only in what *label* Eric applies to those beliefs? If that’s what Gregory is trying to find out, the most obvious response is “Who cares?” Why be obsessive about labels, if you know all you need to know about the substance?

    It is as if Gregory raised the question of favorite breakfast dishes, and Eric, viewing three unlabelled photographs, indicated, by pointing to the photos and saying, “hate, hate, love!”, that he preferred pancakes to waffles or French toast, and Gregory insistently demanded, before serving Eric, to know whether Eric would call pancakes “flapjacks.” What difference does it make? Gregory would still know not to serve Eric French toast or waffles, but to serve him the pancakes, flapjacks, or whatever else they are known as in various parts of the world.

    The obsession with labels is typical of Gregory’s writing. In one of the most amazing examples of “theater of the absurd” on record, he kept posters on this site going for a preposterously long time on the question whether or not BioLogos should have a capital L in the middle of the word. And he has a dozen times or more wrangled with various people here about whether they are “Big-ID” or “small-id,” insisting that they answer with one of those choices, even when they indicate that they think the distinction confusing or useless. He has argued (wrongly) that any word ending in “ism” implies an ideology, and his posts often digress into endless lists of Gregory-constructed words ending in “ism.” He wants to talk all the time about labels — what people call themselves, what they call the positions of other people, etc. The rest of us want to talk about the substance of the positions.

    Eric has given a lengthy explanation of his position. I know pretty much what he thinks about creation and evolution from what he wrote. Armed with such knowledge, I consider the question whether he would call his position “creationist” as a useless inquiry after inessential information.

  43. 43
    Mung says:

    I like the title of Part Three in Denyse O’Leary’s By Design or by Chance?

    In the Beginning, There Was… Creationism!

  44. 44
    Mung says:

    He has argued (wrongly) that any word ending in “ism” implies an ideology…

    I really had to bite my tongue here.

  45. 45
    sagebrush gardener says:

    Please don’t feed the troll.

    http://www.ozpolitic.com/album.....ll_002.jpg

  46. 46
    William J Murray says:

    According to Merriam-Webster, creationism is:

    The belief that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing.

    Out of nothing?

  47. 47
    Mung says:

    That’s one definition of creationism.

    But as KN pointed out (#34), correctly, there are versions of creationism that do not require creation out of nothing by God.

    Here’s my definition:

    creationism – the belief that the universe is not the cause of its own origin and/or the cause of its own continued existence

    creationist – a person who believes that the universe is not the cause of its own origin and/or the cause of its own continued existence

    So what’s the point of all this?

    If someone (Gregory, for example) says, “I am not a creationist,” they have said nothing meaningful. They are speaking nonsense.

    Let’s not confuse nonsense with rational discussion.

  48. 48
    Timaeus says:

    Mung:

    re #44:

    Your remark is (by design, I presume) enigmatic. Why bother making it, when you know in advance that no one here but yourself will understand it?

    re #47:

    If Gregory said “I am not a creationist,” he would of course not be using the definition of creationist that you have set forth. He would be using a definition closer to the one I myself use, the one set forth in 33 above. But while I more or less agree with Gregory over the *meaning* of creationism, I don’t share his *contempt* for creationism.

    I of course disagree with much of the *contents* of creationism (its mechanical reading of Genesis, for example), but I have a respect, which Gregory does not have, for its *motivation*. Conversely, with most forms of TE, I can agree with some of the *contents* (God uses evolution as a means), but have little respect for the *motivation* (which is to get the living God of the Bible as far out of the picture of the origins as possible, out of deference to the scientific consensus, before which most TEs cower).

    Just as a *sociological* point, Mung, your definition of “creationism,” though logically sound, is not the prevailing definition within American religious discourse. When most people in America hear the word “creationism” they hear *much more* than your minimalist definition implies. They understand a commitment to a certain way of reading Genesis. I don’t know whether or not you are an American, but in any case, I’ll just caution you that if you say in America that you are a “creationist” — and fail to define the term — they will assume that you take Genesis more or less literally, perhaps allowing for an old earth but certainly not for macroevolution or the evolution of man, and that you believe that Genesis rather than scientific investigation is the authority when it comes to explaining origins. You don’t have to like the prevailing definition, but that is the sociological reality.

    That is why Eugenie Scott and the NCSE and all the foes of ID go out of their way to portray ID as “creationist.” They know that readers and listeners will understand far more than “believe that the world is not its own cause”; they know that the readers and listeners will understand ID people to be Bible-thumpers. The idea is to get educated suburban people to think of ID people as backwoods hicks, so that they won’t read Behe and Dembski and Meyer and discover that none of their arguments even mention the Bible, but rest on scientific data.

    Again, you don’t have to accept the prevailing definition for your own usage, but, to use my previous example, you can call yourself “gay,” meaning “light-hearted, cheery” — the original and correct meaning to people of my generation — and how do you think people will understand you today? If you use a word in public, it isn’t enough to know what *you* mean by the word; you need to know how the people you are talking to will understand the word; otherwise, no communication of thought is achieved. So I’ll adjust to your meaning of “creationism” when I’m reading your posts in our in-house discussion here, but in the outside world, use “creationism” at your own peril!

  49. 49
    Mung says:

    Timaeus:

    That is why Eugenie Scott and the NCSE and all the foes of ID go out of their way to portray ID as “creationist.”

    And if people embraced the appellation rather than running from it (I’m not one of those creationists!) it would take all the sting out of the NCSE’s attempts to divide and marginalize.

    Don’t you think?

    p.s. think words that end in ism that have nothing to do with ideology.

  50. 50
    Timaeus says:

    Mung:

    You wrote:

    “think words that end in ism that have nothing to do with ideology”

    rheumatism, for starters.

    Then embolism, criticism, pointillism (a technical approach in art), schism, prism …

    Had enough?

    Also, though Gregory, as a sociologist, might be incapable of recognizing the distinction, there is a difference between “ideology” and “philosophy.” So you have Platonism, Aristotelianism, Cartesianism, Spinozism, etc. — which are all philosophies, not ideologies. (Fascism, feminism, communism, capitalism, etc. are ideologies — though “capitalism” isn’t an ideology when it refers merely to the technical description of how an economic system works.)

    Then there religious practices, such as quietism.

    All of this would enough to make any normal person yield the point. But Gregory is not a normal person. Gregory is “light years ahead of” everyone else on the planet when it comes to the meaning of words. He therefore will not accept correction. So when you show him counter-instances that falsify his claim, he flies into a rage, or changes the topic, or goes silent.

    Hope this clarifies.

  51. 51
    Timaeus says:

    Mung:

    Embracing the appellation rather than running from it won’t work. You forget the complete dishonesty of the mainstream media, which aid and abet the Darwinists, and have it in for ID. Imagine an interview:

    New Republic: So, Michael Behe, are you a creationist?

    Behe: Well, being a Roman Catholic, I accept the Creeds and I believe that the world is God’s creation. In that sense, I suppose all Catholics and all Christians and even all monotheists are “creationists,” and I’m a creationist, too. But I don’t embrace Biblical literalism, if that’s what you mean.”

    A week later, commenter on Panda’s Thumb:

    “Behe admitted that he was a creationist.”

    A month later, on the Huffington Post:

    “I’m a creationist, too,” Behe said in a recent interview in The New Republic.

    Six weeks later, on Jeffrey Shallit’s website, headline of column:

    “‘I’m a creationist,’ Says Behe”.

    Etc.

    We live in a world of sound bites; most news organizations present truth in sound bites, and most people listening or reading aren’t energetic enough to look beyond the sound bites. That is why the tactic of labelling people works so well. There’s no time to qualify a statement in a sound bite. The NCSE people are shrewd and have learned how to manipulate this system to their advantage. And the culture-war Darwinists who live on Wikipedia, Pharyngula, etc. have no interest in cautioning people to look beyond the sound bites.

    Sensibly, ID leaders have decided not to invite such manipulations, and therefore don’t speak of “creationism” in any of their technical writings, and sharply distinguish ID from creationism in articles on the Discovery site, etc.

    If the population of the USA comprised 300 million academics who were used to debating about the meaning of words, such defensive tactics would not be necessary. Mike Behe could call himself a creationist, and a reporter would give him lots of time to explain what that meant to him, and people quoting the discussion would always include the qualification, and people who heard part of the discussion while driving their car would automatically ask themselves “In what sense does he mean ‘creationism’?” But America isn’t like that. America contains a million atheist intellectuals and journalists who would willfully manipulate the truth, and millions more people with small attention spans who absorb truth only through the use of catchwords, shibboleths, slogans, cliches, etc. The latter group is easily manipulated by the former. So your advice would be fine for a society of philosophers. It might have been fine in the early days of America, when the country was being built by statesman with a high degree of literacy and acquaintance with the latest science and philosophy of Europe. But it’s bad advice for today. ID people have to avoid the label “creationism” until such time as social and linguistic change remove the fundamentalist associations of the word.

  52. 52
    Mung says:

    Timeaus:

    Why does Behe need to qualify what he means? That entirely misses the point.

    New Republic: So, Michael Behe, are you a creationist?

    Behe: Yes.

    If everyone claims to be a creationist, it is hardly effect as a label to divide and conquer.

    At some point the questioner then is forced to ask a more penetrating question because “creationist” on it’s own becomes Gregoryized (meaningless).

    They want people to RUN from the title. I say EMBRACE it.

    New Republic: So, Michael Behe, are you a creationist?

    Behe: Of course! Aren’t you?

  53. 53
    Timaeus says:

    Mung:

    I don’t want to sound sharp or impatient, but you aren’t thinking clearly, or else you are replying to me too quickly without thinking about the implications of what you are saying.

    It does not seem to occur to you, for example, that Mike Behe himself might *share* the definition of “creationism” that Eugenie Scott employs, and might *want* the world to know that he is not a “creationist.” In other words, for Mike Behe, it might be that “believing in creation” is not the same as being a “creationist.” If that is the case, there is no reason why he should EMBRACE creationism.

    Your policy of “EMBRACE creationism” is based on the assumption that others define the word as you do. But I’ve just told you — and I’ve been studying this phenomenon for about 45 years now — that most Americans involved in these culture wars DON’T define “creationism” as you do. And you are not going to change the working definition of a word that has been ingrained in the American folk-mind since the time of the Scopes trial, 80 years ago, and especially since the publication of *The Genesis Flood* in 1960. Usage is against you. You have about as much chance of getting all the participants to start using the word “creationism” differently as you do of getting everyone in America to go back to using the word “gay” in the original sense.

    Linguistic usage is not always governed by logic or etymology or anything sensible. It is often governed by accidents, ignorance, and cultural politics. I wish it were otherwise. I wish “creationism” meant what you wish it to mean. But it doesn’t.

    I’m not going harp on this any more. If you use “creationism” in your own way here, I can adjust, and understand your meaning. But if you use it in that way in the outside world, you will be misunderstood. And if you tell the outside world that ID folks are “creationists” you will be undoing years of public relations work by the people at Discovery, and (if kairosfocus will allow this language), you will piss off a good number of people — including the ID leaders — by rolling the stone of Sisyphus back down the hill when they were just about over the top with it. So I beg you to keep your private definition among close friends, and not use it in broader public contexts.

  54. 54
    Mung says:

    Timaeus:

    If that is the case, there is no reason why he should EMBRACE creationism.

    I did not say Behe should embrace “creationism,” however you’re using that term.

    Your policy of “EMBRACE creationism” is based on the assumption that others define the word as you do.

    No, it isn’t.

    I am talking about how to make the word “creationist” useless as a pejorative term to those who would attempt to use it for propaganda, well-poisoning or ad hominem purposes.

    You do this by including more classes of persons within the coverage of the term thus making it ineffective for distinguishing any particular group among that larger class.

    I’m sorry if this is too subtle, but I really don’t think it’s that difficult a concept to grasp.

    Consequently, you allow the propagandists to make fools of themselves. At some point some idiot claims Behe believes in a 6000 year old earth and rejects common descent because he’s a “creationist.” Then they get exposed as liars as well, making their efforts even less effective.

  55. 55
    Mung says:

    You have about as much chance of getting all the participants to start using the word “creationism” differently as you do of getting everyone in America to go back to using the word “gay” in the original sense.

    Oh. So it is possible to change the meanings of words in the popular mindset?

    Though you’re still missing my point. I’m not talking about changing the meaning of the word. I’m talking about broadening the understanding so that more people understand it has more than one meaning and that to call someone a creationist is really to say very little at all about what they actually believe.

  56. 56
    Timaeus says:

    Mung:

    I already explained why your approach will not work:

    “But I’ve just told you — and I’ve been studying this phenomenon for about 45 years now — that most Americans involved in these culture wars DON’T define “creationism” as you do. And you are not going to change the working definition of a word that has been ingrained in the American folk-mind since the time of the Scopes trial, 80 years ago, and especially since the publication of *The Genesis Flood* in 1960. Usage is against you. You have about as much chance of getting all the participants to start using the word “creationism” differently as you do of getting everyone in America to go back to using the word “gay” in the original sense.”

    It would take years of hard work by scores of writers in influential places (and most ID proponents have no position in the influential journals, publishing houses, TV show production, etc., and none of them to my knowledge are leading novelists or playwrights etc.) to achieve the broadening of the term that you wish to see — if it can be done at all. And I think my analogy with “gay” is pretty close regarding the difficulty of the task. Do you think that you and your allies for linguistic change could accomplish the same thing with the word “gay”?

    If so, try it, as a field test. Then get back to me, after your efforts have reversed the trend of the last 45 years, and “gay” once more can be used to mean “light-hearted, cheery, playful, bouncy” without people snickering. If you can accomplish that, then I will believe you can accomplish the other, and I’ll join hands with you in trying to do so. Until then, I think you are seeing pink elephants and mermaids. And now I’m signing off.

  57. 57
    Timaeus says:

    “I’m talking about broadening the understanding so that more people understand it has more than one meaning and that to call someone a creationist is really to say very little at all about what they actually believe.”

    I’ve understood perfectly well all along that you are talking about broadening the meaning of the word rather than simply changing the meaning. But as long as the two meanings exist side by side in American culture, the YEC meaning will overwhelm the other meaning, as “homosexual” has overwhelmed the other meaning of “gay.” Behe will *never* be able to call himself a “creationist” without adding a footnote every single time he does so, because the predominant meaning is so well-established that it will always be just below the surface in his listeners’ mind unless he actively dispels it. And it is a pointless waste of energy on the part of Behe, Meyer, etc. to have to qualify “creationist” every time they use it, to protect themselves from misunderstanding. It’s smarter — more efficient, more practical — for them simply not to call themselves creationists in the first place.

    TE Ken Miller believes entirely in “creationism” in your sense, but he does not want to be called “creationist,” nor is he pushing to rehabilitate the word “creationist” with a wider meaning; that’s because he, after 15 years of combat, understands the ground-level situation in the culture wars. I’m saying that you do not.

    Why do you think that so many political parties in the free world that used to describe themselves as “socialist” now define themselves as “social democratic” (or some other euphemism)? Why don’t they take your advice, and spend years, and millions of advertising dollars, trying to rehabilitate the term “socialist” so that it no longer entails odious associations of authoritarian state control and hints of Soviet and Chinese communism? I’ll tell you why. Because it would be good money thrown after bad. Politicians instinctively know what will “sell” in their cultures and what won’t, and they know that “socialism” doesn’t sell (at least in English-speaking democracies), and that “social democrat” does.

    Basically, you are advising the ID movement to swim upstream, against overwhelming linguistic usage, when there are other routes to the destination which will allow it to swim downstream, in harmony with linguistic usage. Your advice is impractical. I therefore reject it, and I hope everyone else in the ID movement will reject it.

    My firm rebuttal here is nothing personal; I just think you have a faulty “read” on this culture, and an unrealistic estimation of the possibilities of short-run or even medium-run change in how the vast majority of Americans hear the word “creationism.”

  58. 58
    StephenB says:

    Mung @55,

    In our “Frequently Raised But Weak Arguments Against Intelligent Design,” we take up this issue in Questions 5 and 6. I would invite you to read it. Meanwhile, I will make a couple of comments that are not found in that section
    In a philosophical/theological context, “Creationism” refers to the belief or argument that God created the universe “ex-nilio.” When one is arguing philosophically or theologically for God as creator against the atheistic idea that the universe can create itself, Creationism means what you have indicated.

    In a scientific context, however, Creationism refers to the faith-based methodology of “Creation Science” as opposed to the empirically based methodology of “Intelligent Design” So when the subject of evolution or OOL is on the table, it is the second definition that counts. Creationism (Creation Science) = Bible first; Intelligent Design = Observation first.
    Our enemies seek to discredit ID’s scientific design inference by characterizing it as a religious presupposition. The tactic is to blur the distinction by distorting word meanings. You will find anti-ID websites, for example, that use the phrase ID/Creationism. Accordingly, they will lie and say “ID is Creationism in a cheap tuxedo.” I am sure that you have heard that phrase. The one response we cannot make is, “You bet it is. We couldn’t be prouder. That monkey suit fits us like a glove.” On the contrary, we have to confront the misrepresentation for what it is and make the critical distinctions.

  59. 59
    StephenB says:

    Since the paragraphs @58 are jumbled, I repeat them here with the proper punctuation so they are easier to read:

    In our “Frequently Raised But Weak Arguments Against Intelligent Design,” we take up this issue in Questions 5 and 6. I would invite you to read it. Meanwhile, I will make a couple of comments that are not found in that section

    In a philosophical/theological context, “Creationism” refers to the belief or argument that God created the universe “ex-nilio.” When one is arguing philosophically or theologically for God as creator against the atheistic idea that the universe can create itself, Creationism means what you have indicated.

    In a scientific context, however, Creationism refers to the faith-based methodology of “Creation Science” as opposed to the empirically based methodology of “Intelligent Design” So when the subject of evolution or OOL is on the table, it is the second definition that counts. Creationism (Creation Science) = Bible first; Intelligent Design = Observation first.

    Our enemies seek to discredit ID’s scientific design inference by characterizing it as a religious presupposition. The tactic is to blur the distinction by distorting word meanings. You will find anti-ID websites, for example, that use the phrase ID/Creationism. Accordingly, they will lie and say “ID is Creationism in a cheap tuxedo.” I am sure that you have heard that phrase. The one response we cannot make is, “You bet it is. We couldn’t be prouder. That monkey suit fits us like a glove.” On the contrary, we have to confront the misrepresentation for what it is and make the critical distinctions.

  60. 60
    Mung says:

    Timaeus:

    I’ve understood perfectly well all along that you are talking about broadening the meaning of the word rather than simply changing the meaning.

    You’ll have to explain for me how one can “broaden” the meaning of a word without “changing” it’s meaning.

    Not only did I specifically state that I was not trying to change the meaning of the word ‘creationist,’ but I also explicitly stated that my interest was to make more people aware of it’s multiple existing meanings.

    That’s a far cry from trying to ‘broaden’ the meaning of the word.

    Please revisit Eric’s post @10.

    See also:

    Versions of what we call the “creationist” option were widely favored by the major thinkers of classical antiquity, including Plato, whose ideas on the subject prepared the ground for Aristotle’s celebrated teleology. But Aristotle aligned himself with the anti-creationist lobby, whose most militant members—the atomists—sought to show how a world just like ours would form inevitably by sheer accident, given only the infinity of space and matter. This stimulating study explores seven major thinkers and philosophical movements enmeshed in the debate: Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, the atomists, Aristotle, and the Stoics.

    Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity

  61. 61
    Mung says:

    SB,

    Thanks for your comments. I’m well aware of the terminological wars. I was arguing on the net back when we used newsgroups and newsreaders.

    I’ve also chastised Gregory for failing to recognize that words derive their meanings from context.

    But you seem to be agreeing with my point that the word has more than the narrow meaning that Gregory and Timaeus are trying to force it into and that I am not therefore attempting to ‘change’ or ‘broaden’ it’s meaning.

    I’m suggesting a way to dull it’s pejorative ‘sting.’

    Pretty much all atheists already believe we’re all creationists because we believe in God. Do you really think they make the distinction that Gregory and Timaeus are trying to make?

    They feel they can call Behe a ‘creationist’ because technically he does in fact fit at least one definition of the word. Then they rely on the ambiguity in meaning for the smear. “I’m not a creationist” just isn’t believable.

    So we lose, because we’re seen as the liars. My strategy is to turn them into the liars, then they lose. Feel free to accept or reject my recommendation.

    When I write software I believe that I am in fact creating something. If I was of the sort to do so I would copyright my creations. Creating things is what intelligent agents do. If I take the time to “design” my software I am in fact creating a design.

    Pardon me for having the temerity to mention the obvious, lol.

  62. 62
    StephenB says:

    Mung, I think I understand your strategy and I can applaud the attempt to preserve the meaning of a word when sophists seek to change it in order to create confusion. On this matter, though, I agree with Timaeus.

    You pointed out that words derive their meaning “from context.” I agree with you as well, *in that context.* When a word (“creationism) is used to accuse someone of something, and if that accusation is tinged with a specific meaning, then one must respond to the meaning implied in the accusation. *That is the context.*

    When someone says, “ID is ‘creationism’ in a cheap tuxedo,” and when design haters use terms like ID/creationism, the contextual meaning of the operative word is “Creation Science,” or faith-based methodology.

    ID people have to respond to that contextual meaning and say, simply, “No, that isn’t true. ID is empirically based; it is not faith based.” Time permitting, one might offer a footnote and say, “by the way, did you know that the word ‘Creationist’ can also refer to God’s ‘ex nilio’ creation. Indeed, one could go on at that point and dramatize the extent to which anti-ID partisans try to alternate the two meanings in order to create confusion. However, I don’t think the discussion should begin with that approach. It is a question of setting communicative priorities.

    Returning to Timaeus’ example, let’s say someone says, “Mung, I just found out that you are gay. Why don’t you come out of the closet and stop hiding your true orientation.” Do you seriously believe that you can take control of the situation by saying, “Who’s hiding? You bet I’m gay, and I am proud of it. I am the most cheerful, jolly, and carefree person you ever met.”

  63. 63
    Gregory says:

    I’m willing to accept Eric Anderson’s statement as they farthest we can go on this topic: “I have no particular personal need to define myself as a “creationist” or not.”

    At least Eric has shown some reflexivity to express himself, even if it wasn’t with a clear Yes or No answer. I can respect that ‘creationist’ is a difficult label for him as it is for many in the ‘little-big tent’ of the IDM.

    It seems correct, neverthess, that I can stand safely behind my claim to him: “You either don’t personally know or won’t say clearly if you are or are not [a creationist]”…according to Eric’s own definition and not to mine. Call that a semantic game if you want; I was able to answer the question directly.

    I’m not a ‘creationist’ and don’t think ‘creationism’ is a socially responsible or psychologically healthy position for believers in the Abrahamic faiths. This of course says nothing against believing in ‘Creation,’ which is part of the faith. Mung and BA77 in #22 & #23 are not in tune with how most people define the term ‘creationist,’ just as Timaeus has reminded them.

    Kantian Naturalist chimed in: “Surely, if one believes that the God of the Bible created the universe, then one is a creationist. But one can be a creationist without believing that.”

    I think KN’s got it backwards.

    In this case, ‘creationism’ finds a parallel with ‘intelligent designism/Intelligent Designism,’ the latter which is not a word on most peoples’ tongues. But if one fills forward the meaning and thinks ahead to what it will (and in some cases already does) mean, then it gives one pause for thought. Where does ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ conceptually not belong; what are its ideological limits?

    ‘Creationism’ is the ideological over-reaching of ‘Creation’ into realms in which it doesn’t belong, which in the case of ‘creation science’ overlaps with the ideology of ‘scientism,’ i.e. ‘creationist scientism’. ‘Creationists’ are ideologues that think they can ‘scientifically prove’ the Biblical narrative. ‘Theistic evolutionism’ is also an ideology, that (attempts to) combine(s) ‘science and theology’ into a single operative term/concept duo.

    The problem here is that proponents of Big-ID by fiat will not (yet) accept any coherent content to the term ‘IDism,’ because they think they haven’t (yet) gone too far with Big-ID. In some cases of course they haven’t, which is why the IDM leaders are walking such a fine PR line between Big-ID and small-id. In other cases, however, as with those who contend that *everything is designed/Designed* and that it can be *scientifically proven* (these two points are kept together), the term ‘IDism’ makes good sense to describe that ideological position.

    Of course, if one holds a pejorative or entirely negative definition of ‘ideology’ (cleaned or filtered of Marx, Adorno, Horkheimer, et al.) as not simply the organising and systematising of ideas, but rather as political distortion or ‘false consciousness,’ as Timaeus seems to define it, then they can easily get confused and just plain emotional about the suggestion that they’ve swallowed an ideology and not merely a scientific theory or a philosophy. I’m used to speaking professionally about ‘ideology’ enough that any anger or irritation ascribed to me when do so is simply misplaced or loose lips.

    I gather there’s either a difference in age or political views or both between Mung and Timaeus, such that Timaeus is more conservative (it’s not gonna change!) and old-school (let’s keep it as it was and just return to pre-Enlightenment classics). As for me, I accept both Mung’s obvious desire for a new term, for neology – in this case it seems to me that ‘neo-creationist’ would work better for his cause (and he used something like this in #14) – and Timaeus’ claim that Mung’s attempted definition would not suit me or most people as a sociological observation. I’m assuming that Mung fits into the roughly 35% of ‘creationists’ according to Timaeus’ definition and mine, which is similar. Does Mung believe in a Young Earth or Flat Earth or heliocentrism too?

    “if you tell the outside world that ID folks are “creationists” you will be undoing years of public relations work by the people at Discovery.” – Timaeus

    Yes, that is part of the DI’s (attempted natural science-only) PR strategy.

    Timaeus, however, misrepresents me so often and puts words in my mouth out of his bad habits because he seems to realise better than most that I pose a unique challenge to the IDM and its Big-ID (half-pretending to be small-id) theories. And, of course, Timaeus is an IDist, according to his own words; i.e. he is a go-to-the-wall proponent of Big-ID, even if he is not a leading or even core theorist of it. I just think he’s got his priorities mixed up and couldn’t wrestle out of a paper bag based on his lack of committment to Big-ID as a ‘science-only’ enterprise. (E.g. #50 shows how outdated his thinking is and how politically-oriented – which is not surprising.) I’m as much a ‘philosopher’ (with a graduate degree in the field) as Timaeus, but I am clearly not an IDist.

    “I more or less agree with Gregory over the *meaning* of creationism, I don’t share his *contempt* for creationism.” – Timaeus

    “I am talking about how to make the word “creationist” useless as a pejorative term to those who would attempt to use it for propaganda, well-poisoning or ad hominem purposes.” – Mung

    You should definitely leave from the United States on the next ship, if it is your earnest life-long goal of re-educating people to consider themselves as ‘creationist’!

    I don’t have contempt for an ideology or for those who hold it, unless and until they are hurting people with it. As an ideology, creationism has damaged the credibility and ‘validity’ of countless Abrahamic believers in the United States alone. Creationists have distorted the educational system in that country in many ways. I am so relieved I was born in another country when it comes to that topic! And those who reject ‘creationism’ in the United States and elsewhere should applaud the efforts of BioLogos (and even yes, gasp, NCSE!) to talk some much-needed sense into ‘creationists,’ even if they reject BioLogos’ anti-ID and anti-IDism.

    ASA wrote: “We believe in creation!” But not in ‘creationism.’

    I do have respect for some of the motivations of creationists. Can people at UD really not see the elephant in the room that I am repeatedly promoting a science, philosophy, theology/worldview collaborative dialogue and reminding you folks that any ‘real theory’ of Big-ID simply must at one time or another go down this more holistic road if it is to gain credibility through honesty? It is possible to have respect for the theological voices in the creationism camp qua theology/worldview, even if I think they’ve got a twisted interpretation of science, philosophy and theology/worldview discourse collectively and in many demonstrated cases individually speaking.

    I don’t call all IDists as necessarily ‘creationists,’ even though a significant number of them (reflexively read: you folks at UD) are. That’s why I asked Eric the simply question about what he considers himself, after he jumped in #5. And one simply cannot in good faith ignore the ‘proof’ of the disastrous EDITING mistake of ‘cdesign proponentsists’ for the IDM. They’ve really got to get better editors than that on their payroll, don’t they! 😉 That is a powerfully indicative fact of history about the familial or ‘extended’ connection between ‘creationism’ and ‘intelligent design’ (Big-ID written as small-id) that is not going away!

    It might help the conversation to address this from StephenB:

    “In a philosophical/theological context, “Creationism” refers to the belief or argument that God created the universe “ex-nilio.” When one is arguing philosophically or theologically for God as creator against the atheistic idea that the universe can create itself, Creationism means what you have indicated.”

    Do you include ‘ideology’ within ‘philosophy/theology,’ StephenB? Or, how is ideology related to ‘creationism/Creationism’ in your view? Because to me, ‘creationism/Creationism’ is an ideology first and foremost. That is, as I understand it, also the Vatican Science Council and recent Popes’ position. Yet you seem to wish to suggest an alternative definition, that conflates “God created” with ‘creationism/Creationism’ as ideology. Can you please help to clear this up?

    “When I write software I believe that I am in fact creating something. If I was of the sort to do so I would copyright my creations. Creating things is what intelligent agents do. If I take the time to “design” my software I am in fact creating a design.” – Mung

    But that is of course *not* what so-called ‘scientific ID theory’ is about! Ding-dong the Big-ID smuggled into small-id garb to look like a lab-coat wearing non-ideologue!

  64. 64
    Mung says:

    SB,

    The two scenarios are not analogous. If they were using gay as a pejorative term, as a hidden subtext, spoken of a large group of people, they would be pilloried.

  65. 65
    Mung says:

    Gregory believes in BIG C Creation but he is not a little c creationist. So what is he, a Big C Creationist?

    When he says he is not a creationist according to his own personal definition of how he defines creationist as it applies to himself, who cares?

    Only Gregory has access to his own mind, and no one else, so we can’t peer in there and discern his meaning. We have to do it from context, and that’s why context is so important for discerning meaning.

    NEWS FLASH! The first thing that pops into the head of some perceived majority is not what determines the meaning of a word.

    If someone reads ‘x’ and reflexively thinks ‘y’ that is an error in hermeneutics. They need education.

    Or, you can go about trying to change the meaning of the word so that x always and only at all times and in all contexts can only mean y.

    And I’m the one accused of wanting to change the meaning of words. The irony. Stop. You’re killing me.

  66. 66
    Mung says:

    Gregory:

    Because to me, ‘creationism/Creationism’ is an ideology first and foremost.

    This no doubt explains a great deal. For most people the idea comes first, then the ideology.

  67. 67
    StephenB says:

    Gregory asks,

    Do you include ‘ideology’ within ‘philosophy/theology,’ StephenB? Or, how is ideology related to ‘creationism/Creationism’ in your view? Because to me, ‘creationism/Creationism’ is an ideology first and foremost. That is, as I understand it, also the Vatican Science Council and recent Popes’ position. Yet you seem to wish to suggest an alternative definition, that conflates “God created” with ‘creationism/Creationism’ as ideology. Can you please help to clear this up?

    I don’t know what your private term “creationism/Creationism” means, nor I am not clear on which specific positions taken by which popes and councils you are referring to or how their positions tie in with your question. Could you elaborate?

  68. 68
    StephenB says:

    Sorry for the double-negative typo. @67 should read, “I don’t know what your private term “creationism/Creationism” means, nor I am clear on which specific positions taken by which popes and councils you are referring to or how their positions tie in with your question. Could you elaborate?

  69. 69
    Gregory says:

    @68, sorry, I don’t have time to elaborate. If you got tripped up by my small-Big addition, it was simply meant to mirror your use of Big-C ‘Creationism’ from #58. I note you capitalised Big-ID also, but that can be for another thread.

    My question is what you do with ideology and do you not see ‘Creationism’ as an ideology? If not, why not? What I quoted from you doesn’t include mention of ideology. And combined with the next paragraphy just talks science and philosophy/theology without ideology. Why?

  70. 70
    Timaeus says:

    Mung (60):

    Regarding the words “change” and “broaden” you are merely being captious. “Change” can mean “substitute something new” and “broaden” is “broad” enough in meaning to include the idea of “making people aware of other possibilities that already exist” as well as “add a new possibility.” And I gave you plenty of words — several hundred, probably over a thousand, of context, context which I expect you to use if you are discussing in good faith. You know what I’m *driving at*, i.e., most Americans automatically think of “creationism” as connected with narrow Biblicism and literalism, and only a few would think of the meaning you want them to think of. And it usually takes a long time to make a major shift in language, and even when swifter changes in language take place, it’s never because the masses have been convinced to adopt academically or historically sounder usage. Side by side with the more common usage, your preferred usage will be crowded out of the cultural arena, even if you can get a few very educated people to follow you.

    Contra your remark to StephenB, I am certainly not trying to force a narrow usage of “creationism” upon you or anyone. I said already that I accepted your usage as legitimate and that in certain contexts it was understandable. Did you not catch that? But I am a realist about which meaning of “creationism” is now dominant and will remain dominant for the foreseeable future in the culture-war arena. On that question, you are a dreamer.

    As for Sedley’s book, it’s right in my academic area, and I’ve read it entirely through and with great care, even checking the Greek and Latin footnotes to see how literally Sedley renders the texts into English. Sedley chooses to use the word “creationist” in a certain way relevant to the study of ancient classical texts, and that is fine for a special study of that nature. But the classical authors were not addressing “what we call the creationist option” — not if “we” means most Americans on the street. They were addressing a more general notion of a creative intelligence behind the world. They had not read the Bible and did not have modern “creationism” in mind. The normal usage of “creationism” in the culture wars over evolution and design is inextricably bound up with the Bible. You can dislike that fact, but it remains a fact.

    And at that I will have to leave it.

  71. 71
    Timaeus says:

    Just a clarification re terminology: Gregory says that his usage of “ideology” is governed by his “professional” knowledge. Translation: He uses the term as sociologists (or at least, the sociologists that he favors) use it. Not all scholars are sociologists. Many political scientists, e.g., Allan Bloom, use the term differently. I follow Bloom in thinking of ideology as the political corruption of philosophy, the seizure of the language and conceptual apparatus of philosophy by interest groups representing part of the body politic rather than the whole. I can’t force Gregory to adopt my usage, but I want to explain it to others who are reading and want to be sure what I mean.

  72. 72
    StephenB says:

    Gregory

    @68, sorry, I don’t have time to elaborate. If you got tripped up by my small-Big addition, it was simply meant to mirror your use of Big-C ‘Creationism’ from #58. I note you capitalised Big-ID also, but that can be for another thread.

    You alluded to several popes and other official Catholic sources as distancing themselves from the ideology “creationism/Creationism,” That is not a small statement, so I was hoping that you might take the time to explain when and where these events happened. I realize that it takes more time to defend a proposition than to assert it, but such is the burden of rational discourse.

    My question is what you do with ideology and do you not see ‘Creationism’ as an ideology? If not, why not? What I quoted from you doesn’t include mention of ideology. And combined with the next paragraphy just talks science and philosophy/theology without ideology. Why?

    As a courtesy to you, I will put aside all the historical references to the term ideology, and limit the number of possible combinations and permutations to two sources, Wikipedia and the Dictionary.

    Here is what Wikipedia says about “ideology”

    “An ideology is a set of ideas that constitute one’s goals, expectations, and actions.

    An ideology is a comprehensive vision, a way of looking at things (compare worldview) as in several philosophical tendencies (see political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society (a “received consciousness” or product of socialization).

    Ideologies are systems of abstract thought applied to public matters and thus make this concept central to politics. Implicitly every political or economic tendency entails an ideology whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought.

    Here is what the dictionary says about “ideology.”

    1. A system of ideas and ideals, esp. one that forms the basis of economic or political policy: “the ideology of republicanism”.
    2. The ideas and manner of thinking of a group, social class, or individual: “a critique of bourgeois ideology”.

    Again, as a tribute to you, I have narrowed the number of definitions down to five. Now if you will be good enough to tell me which of those five definitions you would like me to use for analyzing “Creationism,” and if you will disclose which of my two definitions of Creationism you are alluding to, I will be happy to provide my perspective.

  73. 73
    StephenB says:

    Mung @64, In these unusual circumstances, I don’t sense any potential for a meeting of minds. The good news is that we have both had a good chance to make our case. So I think I will, with respect, withdraw and let the readers decide. Peace!

  74. 74
    Mung says:

    SB,

    Absolutely!

    As per my MO I am probably being too provocative. I do try to stimulate thought and debate, though my methods may leave something to be desired. 🙂

    No insult is meant to anyone (except Gregory). And Gregory, I’ll try to do better. I apologize. I would do well to emulate Timaeus in this regard.

  75. 75
    Mung says:

    Timaeus:

    You know what I’m *driving at*, i.e., most Americans automatically think of “creationism” as connected with narrow Biblicism and literalism, and only a few would think of the meaning you want them to think of.

    I do understand. I was letting you get under my collar. I felt you were misrepresenting my argument but I didn’t want to respond in a way so rude that it might cause an irreparable rift between us.

    I hope we can always disagree on some matters and yet remain cordial.

    Now, back into the ring!

    😉

  76. 76
    Mung says:

    p.s. I read some Aristotle today, lol.

  77. 77
    Mung says:

    p.p.s. I’ve actually read the book by Sedley as well, though without the same checking of sources. I have it right here.

    I just don’t have time to go to all the originals on every single subject that I discuss, so at some point I have to rely on others.

    I left young earth creationism. I left dispensationalism. I try to test my ideas and allow them to be changed when required. But the ideas can’t always come from reading the originals.

    When I feel it’s important I do try to obtain originals. I have many writings of evolutionist authors. If someone charges with quote mining I can often go to the originals.

  78. 78
    Mung says:

    I would not call Young Earth Creationism an ideology. I would call Biblical Literalism an ideology. Young Earth Creationism has it’s roots in Biblical Literalism, as does Dispensationalism. It is probably no coincidence that the two often go hand-in-hand.

  79. 79
    Mung says:

    I wonder, what does a Darwinian Myth taste like?

  80. 80
    Kantian Naturalist says:

    I also thought the Sedley book was excellent. I was deeply struck by his suggestion that Socrates is tacitly responding to Leucippus, and that Plato’s criticisms of Anaxagoras and Empedocles are motivated by a conviction that those views will lead to Democritean atomism and anti-theism, if left unchecked.

  81. 81
    Timaeus says:

    Mung:

    Regarding your comments in 75:

    Yes, let’s always keep our disagreements friendly ones. If I’ve ever given any impression of unfriendliness — as perhaps I do when I show irritation over comments of yours that seem elliptical and cryptic and I demand an explanation — chalk that up to my impatience rather than to any animus against you personally. And I assure you that I find many of your comments on these issues quite wise, and some of your remarks (when they aren’t too cryptic) quite funny.

    Regarding your comments in 64:

    The analogy holds, to this extent: both those who hate homosexuals, and those who march in Pride parades, mean the same thing by “gay”; and both Dawkins and Ken Ham (and the Dover trial judge, and countless others) mean the same thing by “creationism.” The fact that one side in each case uses the word positively, and the other pejoratively, doesn’t change the fact that there is a common usage which public speakers or writers can take for granted. And that was all I was trying to establish, not that it is right to use “creationism” pejoratively, but only that the term had acquired a generally accepted meaning. Way up above (#33), I set forth that meaning, in non-pejorative terms.

    Regarding your comments in 77:

    Thanks for the biographical background. And believe me, I sympathize with someone who has escaped from YEC or other fundamentalist background who says: “Why should the fundamentalists get to define “creationism”? Why should they have the ownership rights of an important Biblical teaching — that of “creation”? And I assure you, had I lived during the period when “creationism” was beginning to take on its current meaning (narrowly Biblicistic and literalist), I would have fought that usage tooth and nail, shoulder to shoulder with you, in hopes of preventing it from becoming the established meaning. But that battle was over before I was old enough to read. The fundamentalists had captured the word, and succeeded in getting even the opponents of fundamentalism to adopt their usage. And as the Dover Trial has demonstrated, even the legal establishment now accepts this meaning of “creationism.” The battle for the word has been lost — for now.

    Maybe the word will change meaning again some day. But when we communicate today, we have to take into account how people will hear our words today, not how they might hear them 20 years from now if we can work really hard and engineer a shift in usage. So we only have two choices: (1) Avoid the term “creationism” in selling ID to the general public; (2) Use the word “creationism,” but supplement it with footnotes, caveats, explanatory statements, etc.

    The problem with the second approach is that it wastes time and energy, and also that it puts the speaker on the defensive; before he can even begin to make his arguments, he feels he has to defend his language. It’s sort of like applying for a job, and having to start out every interview with, “I know I don’t have a college degree, but I’m really smart and experienced and honest and …” Having to constantly dispel a negative puts one on the wrong persuasive foot. “I’m a creationist — but please don’t jump to the wrong conclusion — I’m not one of THOSE creationists,” has a similar effect, in most contexts. You start out the game two touchdowns behind the other team, and even if your explanation of your language eventually satisfies the relevant persons, the most you have accomplished by it is to even the score — you’re no further ahead in your argument, and you’ve expended time and emotional energy.

    Of course, among smart, thoughtful people with open minds, your approach — challenging people to accept other meanings of the word — might work. But in the culture war over evolution and design, there is so much prejudice already, that certain “trigger words” can lose you your audience before you even have a chance to make your case.

    My approach is to say: “I believe that the world was not the product of blind natural laws and chance, but of an intelligent mind.” That way, I get in the *contents* of what you would like to call “creationism” without bringing in the negative *connotations* of the word — fulminating, jowly Southern preachers; barely literate hillbillies; Creation Museums; claims to have found the prow of Noah’s Ark; etc. — connotations which enable the foes of theistic religion to make mock of the idea of creation without ever addressing its contents.

    Best wishes.

  82. 82
    Timaeus says:

    Kantian:

    Agreed; Sedley’s is a very good book. It shows that the design versus chance debate is much older than Christianity, and that the idea of “intelligent design” is not intrinsically tied to acceptance of the Bible. It also shows massive learning in both primary and secondary literature. And Sedley is a scholar, not a polemicist. If only people like himself could have more effect on how the public debates are conducted. But the partisans aren’t going to take the time to read and digest a careful study like Sedley’s. It would force them to adopt nuanced positions, and partisans can’t live with nuanced positions. They have to demonize the other side, while pandering to their own devotees. Very sad.

  83. 83
    Optimus says:

    In general I find labels (e.g. “creationist”) to be a hinderance to substantive intellectual interchange. It’s far too easy to get bogged down in parsing out terminology at the expense of the core subject, namely, does the universe (incl. the life it houses) possess clear indicators of intelligent agency. For proof of that just look at virtually any post that someone like Gregory puts up. Solely “debates about words” (to borrow a phrase), no compelling logic or discussions of empirical data. Additionally, labels provide a handy excuse to ignore trenchant points contrary to one’s own viewpoint.
    Personally I don’t think I could pick a side in preceding discussion. It seems like yet another instance of idealism versus pragmatism. Ideally we should be able to explain to an intelligent adult person that affirming creation simply means acknowledgement that creative intelligence was responsible for the origin and nature of the cosmos. Practically, though, this can be daunting given the history of inordinately rancorous debates about creation and evolution. I certainly understand and sympathize with anyone who would prefer to skip that discussion altogether in favor of articulating the core ideas of the position (a la Timaeus @ 81).
    As a Christian person, I take the record of Scripture quite seriously. There are manifold evidences archaeological, documentary, and scientific that confirm so many of its particulars that it is overwhelming. I also feel that there are compelling exegetical reasons to view the account of Genesis 1-9 (creation through Noachian deluge) as describing actual history (not the least of which reasons include the fact that Jesus and his apostles invariably reference those events as actual history). At the same time, though, I do not think that the cosmos was created by God in six 24-hours days some 6000 years ago. There are clear textual reasons why this view is untenable (esp. Gen 1 w/ Gen. 2:4), and there are the demonstrations of science. Nor do I think that all biological organisms spontaneously “poofed” into being. Neither do I have any quarrel with observed microevolution. Does this make me an OEC? Maybe, but I really don’t care. I prefer following evidence to hiding behind labels.

  84. 84
    StephenB says:

    I am going to give Gregory the benefit of the doubt in the first part of his comment @72. While no official Church documents have ever excluded the notion of “Creationism,” it is true that what we know as “Creation Science” has been informally discouraged as being unscientific. Inasmuch as Gregory accepts my definition of “Creationism” as “Creation Science, I will accept the claim that recent popes have “distanced” themselves from it even though there are no encyclicals to that effect.

    What I would like for him to do, however, is settle on his definition of “ideology,” so that I can answer the main part of his question.

  85. 85
    Gregory says:

    “What I would like for him to do, however, is settle on his definition of “ideology,” so that I can answer the main part of his question.” – StephenB

    ‘Settle’ is a backwards, primitive term. We do not settle absolutely on definitions; we explore, discuss and correct, seek to improve. But you are obviously not a professional philosopher or communicator, StephenB, so your ‘settle’ demand is understandable.

    I loathe referring to ‘wikipedia’ or what StephenB casually calls “the dictionary” as authorities on topics that require deeper thought and careful expression. In university course syllabi, wikipedia is usually considered as an ‘unreliable’ source, though StephenB now refers to it as some kind of authority. StephenB is clearly not a scholar. Personally, I attain to a higher standard in quest for truth and competent communication than StephenB.

    But for the sake of untwisting his personal definition of ‘ideology,’ which he has shown already differs from Timaeus’ obviously distorted and cynical political dinosaur negative definition of ideology, let me offer now a brief definition (some of which I’ve already given here before):

    Ideology is a way of organising (cf. cataloguing, filing, structuring, making sense of) one’s ideas, whether around a particular concept (e.g. design or creation) or a system or school of thought. It can also be defined as a way of (academically) over-reaching one’s particular idea(s) into a field in which it/they do not belong (e.g. evolutionism or pragmatism).

    Will StephenB now address the question: Do you not see ‘Creationism’ as an ideology? If not, why not?
    Because to me, ‘creationism/Creationism’ is an ideology first and foremost (Mung’s kindergarten ding-dong aside).

    That is, as I understand it, also the Vatican Science Council’s and recent Popes’ position. Yet you seem to wish to suggest an alternative definition that conflates “God created” with ‘creationism/Creationism’ as ideology. Can you please help to clear this up?

    Thanks,
    Gr.

  86. 86
    Mung says:

    Gregory:

    Yet you seem to wish to suggest an alternative definition that conflates …

    God forbid that we should, and I quote, “not settle absolutely on definitions,” but rather “explore, discuss and correct, seek to improve.”

  87. 87
    Timaeus says:

    Re Gregory at 85:

    Just a question of clarification:

    Is Gregory claiming that any Pope, or any official Catholic document, has ever referred to “creationism” as an “ideology”?

    Or is Gregory merely identifying his own critique of creationism (as “ideology”) with some Vatican criticisms which do not actually employ the term “ideology”?

    If it’s the latter, Gregory has the scholarly duty to make clear that the Vatican has not actually used the term “ideology,” and that it might not endorse Gregory’s application of that term to “creationism.”

    It’s one thing to say: “The Roman church has some of the same criticisms of creationism as I do”; it’s another thing to continue with “And since I call creationism ‘ideology,’ the Roman Church would accept that label for it as well.”

  88. 88
    Gregory says:

    “I follow Bloom in thinking of ideology as the political corruption of philosophy, the seizure of the language and conceptual apparatus of philosophy by interest groups representing part of the body politic rather than the whole.” – Timaeus

    Big mistake. Outdated sophistry, showing how out of touch ‘Timaeus’ is with contemporary interdisciplinary scholarship. Is his definition of ‘ideology’ yet another candidate for Timaeus flip-flopping? Probably. 😉

    I thought you told UD that you were a theologian and religious studies PhD. Now you’re claiming to be a political scholar also?! Now you’re claiming relevance outside of the ‘little-big tent’ of Big-ID, with which you don’t actually agree with Big-ID leaders regarding its scientificity?! I guess wonders never cease.

    ““capitalism” isn’t an ideology when it refers merely to the technical description of how an economic system works.” – Timaeus

    RIGHT, timid North American, layman! Ha, ha, ha… 😉

    ““The worst error of all is to suppose that capitalism is simply an ‘economic system’.” – F. Braudel

    Should people at UD actually be patient with ‘Timaeus’ anymore when much wiser and accomplished scholars who are actually brave-enough to speak in their own name exist to trust and explore? The only thing that need make you trust ‘Timaeus’ is your shared ideology of Big-IDism. Yet there are better, more dignified and faithful paths to travel than that.

  89. 89
    Mung says:

    ZZZzzzzz……

  90. 90
    Timaeus says:

    Gregory above quotes Fernand Braudel — whose major work on capitalism, incidentally, I was taught by a specialist in economic history — as saying that capitalism is not merely an economic system. I agree. That is why I carefully qualified my remark, quoted by Gregory:

    ““capitalism” isn’t an ideology *when it refers merely to the technical description of how an economic system works*.”

    The qualification, between the asterisks, makes my statement correct. That is why I added it, knowing that Gregory would pounce on it otherwise. But of course he pounced on it anyway, because he didn’t read it carefully.

    Gregory calls my definition of ideology “sophistry” — showing that he has even less understanding of the meaning of “sophistry” than he does of “ideology.” I suggest reading the works of Plato to become familiar with the Sophists and Plato’s critique of them. But I don’t think Gregory likes reading anything written before McLuhan (or at most Weber), so that is not likely to happen.

    As for “contemporary interdisciplinary scholarship,” a good deal of it should be called “contemporary undisciplined scholarship,” since much of it is dilettantish rubbish, in which people who have not mastered even *one* field try to make grand pronouncements involving *several* fields. So I’m not too worried about the judgment of “interdisciplinary scholars.” But in any case, Allan Bloom, whose definition of ideology I was using, was intellectually head and shoulders above any recent scholar that Gregory has ever mentioned in his postings here. He had read more of the important books, and read them more carefully, and understood them more deeply, and was a better writer and teacher, than the gaggle of careerist academics whose writings Gregory deems important. But it’s nothing new that most academics can’t tell the difference between minor thinkers and great ones.

    Oh, and by the way, Gregory, I *do* have publications in academic books and journals in the field of political theory. And I’ve taught a number of the great political classics, though in settings you have not yet uncovered in your industrious (though destructively motivated) private researches on me.

    I wish you the best in your new position.

  91. 91
    Mung says:

    Let’s hope Gregory’s new position is accompanied by an extraction.

  92. 92
    Gregory says:

    “I *do* have publications in academic books and journals in the field of political theory.” – Timaeus

    Not since the 1990’s.

    Timaeus now seems to want to make up for his jilted and cynical definition of ‘ideology,’ following his political mentor Allan Bloom. I am not a political writer, but Timaeus has imputed politics to my basic sociological observations about the IDM. That is bad form!

    “ideology [is] the political corruption of philosophy” – Timaeus/Bloom

    Oh, sad and desperate heart!

    I did read Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind” and a few of his articles and found it disenchanting. Such is how I find Timaeus’ embrace of Big-ID.

    “As for “contemporary interdisciplinary scholarship,” a good deal of it should be called “contemporary undisciplined scholarship,” since much of it is dilettantish rubbish” – Timaeus

    That’s probably why you failed to get tenure, ‘Timaeus.’ And that’s also probably why you publish rarely and nowhere relevant (if you even do actually still publish). You attack and condescend upon just about everyone in the contemporary academy, as you probably likewise did with your previous colleagues.

    I’ve met many disciplined, decent, honest, dedicated and faithful scholars who produce (whatever the opposite of dilettantish rubish is) quality scholarship. I’m honoured to work with such men and women of rigour, faith and dignity and find it insulting that you would simply doubt them out of some dreadful habit. That you haven’t, aren’t or weren’t is no reason to try to litter the educational punch we’re all drinking.

    And your continued attempts to try to bully and discredit me (saying things like I can’t read or write a coherent sentence, even though I hold a PhD from a more highly rated university than yours!) simply because I’ve seen through your haughty IDM advocacy and repeatedly revealed your flip-flopping at UD is in the public record. It is unnecessarily rude.

    “in settings you have not yet uncovered” – Timaeus

    Internet age; I’ve uncovered what you have offered, ‘Timaeus’. Nothing yet to speak of regarding Big-ID. Nor will there likely be anything forthcoming except ID-sheltered locales, since you don’t defend its scientificity. That is the only thing that gives it argumentative life and which at the same time is squeezing life from it.

    Don’t think you can trick us into believing you publish about Big-ID in non-ID-sheltered peer-reviewed journals or books when you do not. At least try to speak honestly here at UD!

    “I wish you the best in your new position.” (Gollum, Gollum)

  93. 93
    Mung says:

    I’m honoured to work with such men and women of rigour, faith and dignity and find it insulting that you would simply doubt them out of some dreadful habit.

    Probably due to the mouthpiece. A mistake, I’m sure, to think that you speak for anyone but yourself.

  94. 94
    Timaeus says:

    Funny. Looking at my c.v., I see a publication in political theory dating from 2006. Maybe I was taught arithmetic badly, but I would have thought that was “since the 1990s.”

    I did not actually claim that *you personally* could not read or write a coherent sentence. You are probably referring to a sentence from the other column (*Congratulations to the New BioLogos*) in which I was referring to the general defects of the high school education given to *your generation*. It is of course always possible for an individual to escape the fate of his generation, and you may be one such individual. What I was responding to there was what I perceived to be an attack upon the educational philosophy and practice of my era, from the perspective of the educational philosophy and practice of a later era. You may be a talented reader and writer, Gregory — I’ll leave that decision to your audience — but the educational program your generation went through was greatly defective when it came to making sure that students had basic skills. That is why so many universities have had to institute entrance tests for writing skills, and remedial courses as a follow-up for those who fail them.

    *I never said that I had published anything about ID or evolution in an academic setting.* Nor did I imply that I had. So your “warning” to the readers here that I have no such publications is of no use. I have, however, published a great deal in the general area of *religion and science*, including an article from a couple of years ago that missed your net. I have also done a good deal of studying (courses, Ph.D. comprehensive exams, post-graduate reading) and a good deal of undergraduate teaching (none of which is noted on the internet) of the primary texts relevant to “religion and science discourse,” as you would put it. My *general* knowledge of the “religion and science” area is high, and that makes me a competent commenter on a number of issues that get raised in the creation-evolution-design debates.

    “I’ve met many disciplined, decent, honest, dedicated and faithful scholars who produce (whatever the opposite of dilettantish rubish is) quality scholarship.”

    So have I. Most of them are in the humanities. But they are in the minority in the modern university. And they have little control over the direction of the modern university.

    I would have guessed that you would not like Bloom’s *Closing of the American Mind*. (It is interesting that he started out in your discipline and then abandoned it for political philosophy, the true queen of the social sciences.) I would also guess that you didn’t like DeSouza’s *Illiberal Education* either. It was another excellent expose of the intellectual decay at the heart of the modern academy.

    In any case, I’ve made clear what definition of “ideology” that I’m using. And based on that definition, I would call most undergraduate departments on the “arts” side of the modern university highly ideological, i.e., they corrupt philosophy and scholarship and the curriculum in the service of a social-political agenda.

    As for your general paranoia that I am out to “bully and discredit” you, it’s all in your mind. Actually I would rather not focus on *you* at all, but on your *statements*. But every time I zero in on a crucial statement, and show that your argument or evidence for the statement is questionable, you exit the discussion, or else try to divert the discussion from *contents* to *motives*. It thus becomes impossible for us to have a truly scholarly or philosophical discussion. I wish it were otherwise.

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