Thursday, October 7, 2010

Damned by their own words

I have said a number of times that the best way for people to understand the paucity of the Creationist pseudo-science, be it Creationism or Intelligent Design, is not to try and silence Creationists, but to let them talk. They do much more damage to their own position than damn near anything I could possibly say.

Apparently Michael Zimmerman agrees with me. His latest post on the Huffington Post "Creationists Destroy Creationism with Their Own Words" is just poetry. The one that got me was the copy from the Centre for intelligent Design (CID), the low-rent British version of the Discovery Institute, who actually posted:

"In one sense, research work that supports ID is not the central issue. ID is
essentially an interpretation of the data that already exists. There is not much
point in gathering more information if you already have enough on which to base
your hypothesis."
Are they kidding? Here is my problem. A scientific theory is not just an idea. It is an explanation based on a great deal of information and study including experimentation, observation, and huge mounds of evidence. Unbelieveable amounts of time, energy, and manpower goes into each one. The CID is suggesting that a little re-interpretation of the existing data could arrive at an equally compelling explanation. I disagree! If the data resulted in more than one compelling explanation then the explanation would never reach the level of a Scientific Theory. The reason a hypothesis becomes a theory is because it is the most compelling, by an incredibly wide margin, explanation of the available evidence.

Do you see what I am trying to say? If there was an alternative scientific explanation then Evolution would not be the theory that it is today. It couldn't get there because an equally compelling explanation could not be dismissed. Based on my understanding of scientific methodology, the CID is wrong. If they want ID to be taken seriously as a scientific theory, they are going to have to do a great deal more than 're-interpret'.

And so I guess they are! What I find amusing is thinking back to the Dover trial and reading the transcripts of the cross-examination of Michael Behe and the basic definition of science and how in order for ID to be accepted as science the very definition of science would have to be changed. that change would open science to things like Astrology! In a second quote from the CID website, this one from a video of the Director (Please see my discussion of him in "So there is nothing religious about ID Part III") who said
" . . . criticise the "strident strain of science" that says the only acceptable
explanations are those depending on "physical and materialistic processes"
So let me get this straight, ID is science because we already have all the data we need, we just need to re-interpret it a little . . . yet at the same time we need to make a wholesale change in the very definition of science? Anyone else see Marie Antoinette in the room?

Two staff members of AnswersInGenesis make is pretty clear, as Michael quoted as well,
"The biblical creationist takes the Bible as the ultimate standard . . ."
I guess all doubt on the scientific viability and even the need to re-interpret based on existing data is gone. Everything is based on the ultimate standard! So I guess we need to crank up the presses, because the only text book needed is the Christian Bible. It's not only a book about God, it's a history book -- just history ended about 2000 years ago. It's also an Astronomy text, but then again any study of Astronomy was done well before the invention of a telescope, let alone a radio telescope. Any medical advances in the past 2000 years need to be tossed aside because the Bible is the ultimate medical authority as well! Now I think even Marie would be choking on her cake.

Michael's point, and one I agree with is that we are not trying to silence Creationists. We love listening to them and pointing out the many hilarious, erroneous, and sometimes completely idiotic things they say. My only point, and one that I think Michael agrees -- he can certainly correct me if I am putting words in his mouth -- is that we don't want to silence anyone, but we do want them to speak the truth and the truth is Intelligent Design is not science and keeping it out of the public school science classroom is not an issue of free speech, or even an effort to silence them -- it's an exercise in honesty and truth!

PS -- when you go to Michael's post, check out the comments as well.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Ted, I do agree with you! Nice job. In the United States, expecting that the US constitution be followed and that religious doctrines not be taught as science in public schools is not silencing anyone from speaking in other contexts. Good job with this post!