Monday, October 4, 2010

So there is nothing religious about ID? Part IV

Recently the Discovery Institute held a little gathering at SMU. I and many others have already posted about it (here, here, and here). We've also heard from some SMU faculty who detailed a number of exceptions with how loose and fast the DI seems to play with science ("Big problems with Intelligent Design").

Well now we have heard from the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at SMU, Dr. Mark A. Chancey, with an opinion piece in SMU Daily "Religious studies professor examines Intelligent Design academically" probably had Casey Luskin all excited as he read the title -- but he would have been cringing after reading the text. The Chair doesn't address the scientific concerns, but he does explain why SMU is more than a little bit sensitive when it comes to ID. Of course this isn't the DI's first visit and each one seems to leave a typically slimy trail. He recognizes that ID isn't gaining much traction in the scientific community and gives a pretty good breakdown as to why:

  • Intelligent Design originated within certain religious circles
  • [ID] has credibility only within those same circles-mostly theologically conservative Christian groups that find aspects of evolutionary theory threatening
  • Few ID advocates hold full-time professorial positions in pertinent fields at mainstream colleges and universities
  • Many ID proponents with academic positions work at religious institutions devoted to promoting particular theological views
  • ID proponents have published very few articles in peer-reviewed journals
  • They have created their own in-house journals that they describe as "peer-reviewed." . . . universities do not consider a self-serving house organ as truly peer-reviewed; such venues are regarded as fake journals
  • IDers sometimes publish books-but most of these are with religious, not academic, presses
  • ID research is not rigorous, substantial or convincing enough to be published in genuine academic venues
  • Unable to publish their work in legitimate academic venues, they nonetheless present it as cutting-edge science
  • Unable to gain acceptance in the scientific community, they nonetheless claim to be gaining momentum
  • They deny or obscure the fact that ID is grounded in a particular religious worldview and yet regard it as a tool to promote socially and theologically conservative Christian positions.
His closing comment is something many have been asking, for years now:
"Many religious groups-Christian and other-do not regard evolutionary theory as a threat. For many people of faith, science and religion go hand in hand. When scholars criticize ID, they are not attacking religion. They are only asking ID proponents to be transparent in their agenda, accurate about their representations of scholarship, and willing to play by the same rules of peer review and quality control that legitimate scholars and scientists around the world follow every day."
How many times have the motives and tactics of the Discovery Institute been uncovered. Their lies and deceit cannot stand up to the light of day and here is one Chair of the Department of Religion who is not fooled!

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