Monday, April 14, 2008


Expert Testimony

There is a strange posting, entitled "'Expelled Exposed' -- Exposed," at the Discovery Institute's Ministry of Misinformation by uber-misinformer Bruce Chapman himself. In it, Chapman tries to conjure up a knock-down fight between Richard Dawkins and Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education over whether evolutionary theory is incompatible with "religion." Once again we are presented with an example of how the DI's claim that ID is all about the science is a lie.

More importantly, Chapman's claims are a piece with the recent interview where Mark Mathis, associate producer of Expelled, claimed that having "theistic evolutionists" like Ken Miller in the movie:

... would have confused the film unnecessarily. ... I think that when you look at this issue and this debate, that really there's, there's one side of the line or the other ... I don't think you can intellectually, honestly, honestly intellectually stand on a line that I don't think exists ...
Mathis actually went on to accuse Miller of not being really a Catholic:

... the form of Catholicism that Ken Miller accepts and practices is, is nowhere near the form of Catholicism that is followed by Catholics who are members of the Catholic church, who believe in Catholic doctrine.
Funny, Pope John Paul II didn't seem to think so. I guess that old question: "Is the Pope Catholic?" now has to be answered in the negative ... if some people are to be believed.

It's the same with Chapman. Richard Dawkins thinks its wrong to say that there is no incompatibility between evolutionary theory and religion and Eugenie Scott (herself an atheist) holds that there is no necessary incompatibility; not based her own experience or even that of Ken Miller or on John Paul, but on the such things as the many Statements from Religious Organizations accepting the science of evolution and The Clergy Letter Project, where over 11,000 Christian clergy have registered their agreement that "the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist" (a tad more than the DI's own "Dissent from Darwin" list of 700 or so "scientists").

Worse, Chapman "concludes" from the supposed fact that "Dawkins, backed by a parade of voluble atheist scientists who far outrank Scott" disagree with her, that it follows that Scott is being "coy" and "pussy footing." For some strange reason, the notion of an honest disagreement does not occur to Chapman.

The real question is why Chapman would play up the opinion of Richard Dawkins or any other atheist on a theological matter, especially when there are so many religious authorities who think evolution and religion are compatible. After all, Pope John Paul and 11,000 clergy must certainly "far outrank" a lobbyist and, not to put too fine a point on it, a political hack, like Chapman, along with everyone else in the DI put together.

The truth is that evolution is incompatible with the narrow and stunted religion of Chapman and his compatriots, not with religion in general, and it is the DI who is being coy. Having as their only argument for ID the false dichotomy that everything that can't be presently explained by science must be designed, I suppose they realize that they can do no more damage to their intellectual standing by adding another.

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