Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Sometimes the dishonesty is so breathtaking, so audacious, so bald-faced that, after the mind-numbing first wave of disbelief wears off, a grudging admiration sets in for the cojones it takes to say it with a straight face. The Discovery Institute has never lacked for brazen dissemblers but this may be a high point in even its career.
The example comes from one of the usual suspects, The Christian Post, a regular water carrier for the DI. The article, "Pro-Evolution Book Says Science and God Compatible," by Katherine T. Phan, "reports on" (i.e. "parrots") the DI's complaints about the new National Academy of Sciences booklet, Science, Evolution, and Creationism (available for free download at the NAS site or here). Most of it is the usual guff but then there was this:
The [Discovery Institute] and other supporters [of ID] also criticized NAS for failing to address challenges to the theory of evolution and for instead "rehashing" the same arguments.Never mind that the vast majority of the "challenges to the theory of evolution" are simply warmed over "creation science" dreck recycled with only label changes made by the "cdesign proponentsists" in charge of Of Pandas and People, even the stuff the IDeologists didn't directly steal from the young-Earth creationists was old when Darwin published the Origin.
As Edward J. Larson pointed out in his book, Evolution (p. 19-20), Georges Cuvier was arguing against evolution (then called "transmutation"), in the 1790s, based on the "irreducible complexity" of the traits of organisms. The only "new" thing that Michael Behe did was to take Cuvier's already disproven argument from the macro world of the interdependency of bone and teeth and eyes and move it to the micro world of blood cascades, flagellum and the like. The only positive "evidence" that has been offered on ID's behalf is an analogy to human artifacts, such as the claim that DNA is like a computer program. In other words, they can do no better than William Paley's watch analogy that Kant was demolishing even before Paley uttered it. Far from being new arguments, ID is barely reheated Natural Theology.
If the NAS's recitations seem familiar, it is only because they are well-tested refutations of the decrepit arguments the Intelligent Design Creationists have excavated from the past.