Thursday, April 26, 2007


Strawman vs. Design

Zachary Moore has now completed his articles about his attendance at the SMU version of the Discovery Institute's off-off-Broadway roadshow, Darwin vs. Design. With Jason Rosenhouse's detailed report on the Knoxville opener and the tale of six SMU students who went to protest, there is now a very good record of these outings showing just how short the IDeologists are on science and how long they are on slick.

Zachary confirms what I've long thought:

... I think I understand more fully why the Intelligent Design advocates insist on using "Darwinism" when criticizing evolutionary theory. On the one hand, painting the theory as the singular creation of a lone person, while ignoring the continued discovery of confirmatory evidence and scientific development that has occurred since Darwin is an obvious rhetorical strategy. On the other hand, I think it's clear that Meyer and Behe aren't really opposed to evolution per se -- just the idea that evolutionary theory is completely naturalistic. ... What Meyer & Co. mean when they use the word, "Darwinism," is really a stand-in term for Materialism, which is incorrect, but at least makes their use of the term more understandable.
As Zachary noted, the ID argument is a philosophical, not a scientific one. They want to open up the methodological naturalism of science, not because that would, in any way, improve the workings of science but simply because they want to claim the mantle for their religious views. This is confirmed by the Discovery Institute's reaction to the recent statements about Pope Benedict's position on evolution. Calling science the only "public knowledge," Jay Richards goes on to complain that presently "Darwinism works as ‘science’ (narrowly defined) but theological types [only] get to talk about God as long as they call it philosophy and promise not to make trouble for the Darwinists."

In short, they want to make their sectarian religious beliefs "official" knowledge for all public policy purposes. They want to do away with science, as we presently understand it, and return to the age of "Natural Philosophy" where there is no difference between science and philosophy and, more importantly to them, no significant difference between "Natural Philosophy" and "Natural Theology."

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