The Discovery Institute (DI) is at it, whining and complaining when someone says anything about Intelligent Design (ID) that might be critical, this time the target is the NY Times. George Johnson wrote a piece for the NY Times Science section that briefly mentioned ID in "The Widening World of Hand-Picked Truths" and, of course, since it mentioned ID, the DI, in the guise of one of their rabid attack Chihuahuas--davey 'klingy' klinghoffer, had a typical knee jerk reaction to it. Here's what George said:
"Like creationists with their “intelligent design,” the followers of these causes come armed with their own personal science, assembled through Internet searches that inevitably turn up the contortions of special interest groups. "It's easy to see why klingy is upset, I mean how on-target do you have to be before you make him, and his masters, nervous. How many times can they deny ID = Creationism? How often does the DI claim to be doing science, yet show no evidence of actually doing it? Sounds like a definition of 'personal science' to me. And if the DI isn't an example of a Special Interest Group, I don't know what would be then, and list all their tactics, like 'Teach the Controversy', is a good example of their contortions! "Is It "Delusional" to Think Darwinism Is on the Ropes?" is the post and Klingy has a lot to say, as usual, but I want to concentrate on this part of his comment:
"Now, as I've point out before, Johnson like many mainstream science journalists is woefully uninformed about ID -- as the confused conflation of intelligent design with creationism demonstrates."Yes, he's stated over and over again that Intelligent Design is not Creationism. Does anyone buy that? Let's concentrate on the NY Times. Their coverage of Modern Intelligent Design goes back to the mid-90's. Let's take a look at what I think is the first article in the NY Times on the modern ID Movement: "Christians and Scientists; New Light for Creationism". Here's a few quotes, the underlining is mine:
"Since his [Phillip E. Johnson] conversion to evangelical Christianity at the age of 37, Mr. Johnson has written three books attacking evolution. He says he is aiming to challenge not merely the secularism of universities but of an entire culture that he says rests on the scientific assumption of ''naturalism'' -- the idea that the natural world has no supernatural supervision."While it's easy to see Johnson hasn't changed his tune since then, but I still have one issue with comments like this. Science doesn't make an assumption of naturalism, it's more of a constraint. Think it through, how does one develop, test, and then put to use supernatural explanations? While Johnson will never admit it, you cannot. Therefore science focusing on natural explanations is the only direction it can go. Science does not address the supernatural because it cannot. Supernatural explanations are pretty much useless, whether you are talking about a deity, a ghost, or other para-psychological 'phenomena'. Here's another quote from that article:
"Another ally of Mr. Johnson is Michael Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University who contends that the molecular machinery of cells is so complex and interdependent that this is proof of purposeful design. Mr. Behe's book, ''Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution,'' was chosen as 1997 Book of the Year by the evangelical monthly Christianity Today. "The NY Times has been covering Creationism and Intelligent Design for years and the two have been linked consistently, not by outsiders, but by ID proponents own words and actions. It does go back much further than Johnson, the daddy rabbit of the DI. Here's one from 1864:
"RELIGION AND CHEMISTRY, OR PROOFS OF GOD'S PLAN IN THE ATMOSPHERE AND ITS ELEMENTS." the last paragraph includes:
" . . .in which the scientific information is of the latest character, to the arguments from special adaptation, and the general plan, as furnishing unquestionable proof of intelligent design. With some cautionary remarks on the necessary limits of scientific and religious thought . . ."So it seems no matter how far back you, the concept of ID is religious. The modern movement of ID grew out of Creationism and never strayed far from its roots. You really can't tell them apart, so much so that a simple cut and paste was used to change a Creationism text into an Intelligent Design text, or does klingy think we have forgotten 'cdesign proponentsists' and 'Of Pandas and People' so quickly. What if the Evangelical audience that supports ID suddenly transferred their support elsewhere, you would be saying "What Discovery Institute?"
Sorry klingy, your complaints don't add up. As for the rest of your whine, is it delusional to think 'Darwinism' is on the ropes? In a word, yes.
Aside from disagreeing to his pejorative use of the word 'Darwinism', what support does he have that the Theory of Evolution is on the ropes? None. Oh, he occasionally points to the DI's list of 700, although now I think they are over 800. Gee, how long have been collecting signatures? 5 years, 10 years. I have to check. Oh, 2001, so 14 years, and they finally got passed 800 and only a small percentage of them actually work in biology-related fields (about 25% according to a 2001 NY Times article and as of 2007 the biology-related signatories represented .01% of working biologists, not 10%, or 1%, not even 1/10th of 1%, but 1/100th of 1%). I wonder why klingy doesn't bring up the 6900+ signatures of scientists who support Evolution, over 65% are in biology-related fields. In 2005 those signatures were collected over a 4-day period . . . 4 days! I guess I can see why klingy tends to forget about that.
So what support does klingy offer that Evolution is endangered? Do we suddenly see Evolution not being referenced in PubMed? Ah, poor klingy, PubMed references Evolution only about 415,274 times. Now I am sure many of those aren't addressing biological evolution, so I adjust the search parameter to 'biological evolution' and the number dropped all the way down to 64,801 for that specific phrase. Just for fun, how does 'Intelligent Design' stack up? Klingy might be impressed, 187 references, but it looks like many of those aren't saying nice things about it. Sure, evolution is on the ropes, really? Can't tell that from working scientists.
Do we find colleges no longer teaching Evolution? Other than places like Falwell's Lament, aka Liberty University, only evangelical schools seem to teach Creationism/ID, and even most of those at least pay some lip service to evolution. Why is that? Search for yourself, they are in a significant minority. So . . . if ID is not Creationism, why are only a very few non-secular schools teach it? At most non-secular and secular schools, Creationism might be mentioned in a historical context, but when it comes to real science, it's barely a footnote. So it doesn't look like it's on the ropes in higher education either, in spite of all the efforts of the DI to destroy science education.
Do we find any scientific arguments against evolution? Nope, only philosophical ones, mainly motivated by religious beliefs. Poor klingy! I mentioned once, but let me expand a bit, if ID is not Creationism, why are the only people who seem to take ID seriously are Evangelical Christians? Yup, while there are a few exceptions, like klingy, the clear majority are Christians of the Evangelical variety. So, scientifically, there doesn't seem to be much of a problem with Evolution.
Another question, who hosts ID 'conferences'? Universities? Colleges? Scientific organizations? No. It's Christian groups, churches, and school ministries. Other than self publishing in their own journals and publishing groups, where do ID proponents publish? Scientific journals? Science Presses? No, they publish mostly in the religious imprints or popular publishers whose requirement of support is damn near zero. Where are ID books, like anything written by Stephen C. Meyer, found in libraries and bookstores? The non-fiction or science section? No, Christian Fiction is where I see them. Does anyone other than the DI think Evolution is on the ropes? I think 'delusional' is a pretty way to express it. I'm sure there are others, but this one works for me.
OK, I know we'll be posting on this topic over and over again, since the number of times folks like klingy and little casey luskin claims the two are unrelated seems to be to closest we will ever get to infinity, I just don't want anyone to fall for their claims. ID = Creationism, no matter what the ID marketing department says.