Sunday, October 11, 2015

Can we simply agree to disagree?

Short answer, No!  But you know me, I can't leave things with just a short answer.

Recently the DI posted on Facebook about their new film:

I responded to the post on Facebook:
"Let's see . . .One of Intelligent Design's proponents Michael Behe stated that no one was doing the work to support ID as an actual scientific theory. One of the founders of the modern Intelligent Design Movement, Phillip E. Johnson was disappointed that their scientists haven't been able to formulate a actual theory of Intelligent Design. One of the frequent claims is that Intelligent Design has nothing to do with religion, yet the only people who seem to support it support it for philosophical (religious) reasons. A twenty-minute video isn't going to fix that. If it is really science then do what the Chairman of the RELIGIOUS STUDIES at SMU said"
A few folks responded including one that said this:
"Just say you have a strong ideological objection to ID and be done."
He said a bit more, generally re-hashing the continual whine about imagined conspiracies of silence, but this was the part I wanted to discuss here.  Is addressing it in such a simple way reasonable?  I don't think so.  Here is the part of my response that addressed this:
"The reason I don't simply say that I have issues with ID and leave it at that is because it creates a false dichotomy. Agreeing to simply disagree gives the impression that ID is somehow equal to real science and that any disagreement is based on philosophical grounds. The difference is that after 150+ years of evolutionary study and the mountains of evidential support for evolution, Evolution is science. ID boils down to nothing but wishful thinking. The two are not equal sides of an argument."
Hopefully you see my point.  Simply agreeing to disagree implies that the two sides of the argument are equal and when they are not, it comes across as a victory for the weaker argument to at least be considered equal.  To me it falls into the same area as scientists who refuse to debate Intelligent Design proponents.  Even though ID proponents arguments get crushed by their own lack of evidence, the fact the debate happened is crowed about claiming some equality between their arguments and real science.  You can see the headlines "We are Valid because Real Scientists talk to us!", which certainly misrepresents the two arguments.

I've made the argument for a while that journalism constantly makes that same mistake, providing equal time to opposing arguments in an effort to appear unbiased.  But when the arguments are clearly not equal, granting equal time is a mistake and inflates the weaker argument.  When comparing Evolution with ID, Evolution is science and has evidential support and ID is pseudo-science and is a philosophical marketing scheme that benefit from people trying to appear fair by granting it equal standing.

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