Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Science & Issues & Society

They said it: NCSE endorses the “design is re-labelled creationism” slander

In the short term, a smear campaign can be very successful, and will poison the atmosphere, perhaps even poisoning the general public’s perception of your opponents. Usually, it works by using what may be called for convenience the trifecta fallacy, unfortunately — and as we shall shortly see — a now habitual pattern of all too many evolutionary materialism advocates when they deal with Intelligent Design. Specifically:

i: use a smelly red herring distractor to pull attention away from the real issues and arguments

ii: lead it away to a strawman caricature of the issues and arguments of the opponent

iii: soak it in inflammatory innuendos, guilt by invidious association or outright demonising attacks to the man (ad hominems) and ignite through snide or incendiary rhetoric.

The typical result of such an uncivil, disrespectful rhetorical tactic when used on a naive or trusting public is that it distracts attention, clouds, confuses, polarises and poisons the atmosphere for discussion. Especially when false accusations are used, it can seriously damage reputations and careers. So, the trifecta is at minimum a violation of duties of care and respect. At worst, it is a cynically calculated propagandistic deception that through clouding the atmosphere with a poisonous, polarising cloud, divides the public and points their attention to an imaginary threat elsewhere, so that an agenda that plainly cannot stand on its own merits can gain power in the community.

But what happens when the smear begins to unravel as more and more people begin to understand that you have failed to be fair or truthful, in the face of abundant evidence and opportunity to the contrary?

Let us see, by examining the NCSE-hosted (thus, again, endorsed) page for the ironically named New Mexico Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education. Excerpting:

Science deals with natural explanations for natural phenomena. Creationism or intelligent design, if allowed, would change this to promote supernatural explanations for natural phenomena — a contradiction in terms with regard to science. Intelligent design is also sterile as far as science is concerned. To be considered as real science, it must be able to explain and predict natural phenomena. Intelligent design proponents simply say that life is too complex to have arisen naturally. Therefore, an intelligent being (God) must have directly intervened whenever it chose to cause the diversity of the species. This explains everything and it explains nothing; it is not science.

The creationist groups attempt to masquerade their ideas as science simply by calling the concept “intelligent design theory”. No testable hypotheses or any form of scientific research has been presented to support their attempts to insert religion into science. Furthermore, it is suspected that the aim of these religiously motivated people is to redefine the meaning of science; if they were successful, science would become useless as a method for learning about the natural world. CESE decries the very usage of science terminology where there is no sound use of science. CESE also decries any political attempt to discredit the Theory of Evolution. Creationists present false statements concerning the validity of observed evidence for evolution such as: “there is no fossil evidence for evolution,” “it is impossible to obtain higher complexity systems from lower complexity systems,” etc. They call into question the motives and beliefs of scientists with claims such as, “if you believe in evolution, you are an atheist,” etc. They have even invented an imaginary scientific “controversy” to argue their agenda . . .

This needs to be exposed and corrected in steps, and it is worth the while to immediately pause and look at the Dissent from Darwin list to see that: yes, Virginia, there is a real controversy on scientific matters tied to Darwinism.  Also, let us list links to the series so far: background, and “They said it . . . ” 1, 2, 3.

So now, correcting in steps: Read More ›

They said it: NSTA’s radical redefinition of Science

We have all heard of the NCSE, but the National Science Teachers Association [of the US], NSTA, has proposed a new definition of the nature of science, in a declaration signed off by its Board of Directors, as long ago as July, 2000.  Excerpting: All those involved with science teaching and learning should have a common, accurate view of the nature of science. Science is characterized by the systematic gathering of information through various forms of direct and indirect observations and the testing of this information by methods including, but not limited to, experimentation. The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . . Read More ›