Monday, December 10, 2007
Brandon Keim at Wired magazine's blog is having his mind changed by those things the IDers find so inconvenient ... the facts. Originally of the opinion that it "sound[ed] like Gonzalez was not, as the university insisted, judged solely on the content of his astronomical scholarship," Keim is now saying:
As I learn more about the case, I'm inclined to believe the University's side. Gonzalez's grant record was absolutely awful; the Mid-Iowa News reported that over six years, he secured just $22,661 in external research grants. His colleagues averaged $1.3 million over the same time. The Discovery Institute says Gonzalez was persecuted, but it seems they're just using his case to push intelligent design -- legally designated as religion -- as science.One of the things that appears to have influenced Keim was a quote supposedly from William Dembski (supplied by Bruce Harmon of Iowa State's physics and astronomy department) that I don't believe I've ever heard before:
This may seem unfair and mean-spirited, but let’s admit that our aim, as proponents of intelligent design, is to beat naturalistic evolution, and the scientific materialism that undergirds it, back to the Stone Age. Our opponents, therefore, are merely returning the favor.Good ol' Wild Bill ... ever the Dale Carnegie dropout.
How, then, do we effectively handle the attacks and abuse that increasingly are being sent our way? A sports analogy, for me, captures the essential insight. Consider an athletic contest between two teams. For definiteness, let’s say soccer. The other team is abusing your team, especially your star players. They’re constantly talking trash, constantly trying to trip you up. When the referee isn’t looking, expect a knee in the groin or an elbow in the eye. In response, you’ve got three options: (1) respond in kind; (2) complain to the referee; (3) score. The first two options are dead-ends. The third is supremely satisfying and moves the ID program forward. Some recent notable “scores” for the ID movement have been the PBS broadcast of Unlocking the Mystery of Life, the decision by the Ohio board of education to permit weaknesses and criticisms of evolutionary theory to be taught, and the publication of The Privileged Planet by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards.
The sentence before the first paragraph does make for a change, though not crucial, in its meaning:
In contrast to the respectful review of Darwinism: Science or Philosophy? a decade ago, we now face an academic and scientific world that is increasingly hostile to intelligent design and that seeks to crush it rather than engage it as a serious intellectual project. This may seem unfair and mean-spirited, but let’s admit that our aim, as proponents of intelligent design, is to beat naturalistic evolution, and the scientific materialism that undergirds it, back to the Stone Age. Our opponents, therefore, are merely returning the favor.