Monday, August 24, 2009
Fooling With the Bible
Stultorum infinitus est numerus. (Ecc. 1:15)
But The Sensuous Curmudgeon has already gone over the letter in detail and there is no need for me to repeat that. I actually saw the letter early this morning and might have beat the Curmudgeon to it (as I'm learning, not an easy task) but I got interested in the fact that the letter writer, although he proclaims that "credible scientific minds are ... producing evidences where Intelligent Design must be considered by necessity," not only trotted out such standard ID fare as "irreducible complexity" and the Cambrian "explosion" but included this:
Dating of materials recovered from the Mt. Saint Helen's volcano in the 1980s return carbon dating of thousands of years..
But not long ago no lesser an ID light (and who could be lesser?) than Casey Luskin was chiding a local school board that it would amount to "confusing students [to include] discussion of intelligent design with material that promoted young earth creationism as fact." And the Discovery Institute has long protested that only young-Earth creationism is banned by the Supreme Court case of Edwards v. Aguillard and, therefore, ID is not.
On the other hand, we've known for a long time that IDeologists try to maintain a "big tent," as explained by Phillip Johnson:
I have consistently said that I take no position on the age of the earth, and that I regard the issue as not ripe for debate yet. I have also rejected all suggestions that I should denounce the YECs ...
While not quite as undirected as evolution, this may indicate just how contingent my posts here really are. In looking for a reference to the "agnostic," I found this article by William Dembski, where I noted the following ambiguity. Dembski makes this plea for "understanding":
In place of [Stephen Jay] Gould's [Non-Overlapping Magisteria] design theorists advocate a very different principle of interdisciplinary dialogue, namely, COMA: Completely Open Magisteria. It is not the business of magisteria to assert authority by drawing disciplinary boundaries.
In other words, to Dembski and the IDers, a "dialogue" consists of being able to call yourself and your beliefs whatever you want while saying "We don't need no steenkin' rules!"
And they wonder why they don't get no respect in academic circles ... or any other place that values even minimal honesty.
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Dembski goes on to say, "Within the culture of rational discourse, authority derives from one source and one source alone -- excellence." I wonder if "excellence" is a code word when used in this context?
No doubt ... and he probably captured it exactly in his acronym.
Actually, the problem is not that the "age of the earth" issue is not yet ripe for debate; the problem is that the expiry date for debate passed long ago.
I also got a kick out of the acronym. Are these guys really so clueless that they have no idea how ridiculous that acronym makes them look?
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