Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Discovery Institute on the defensive (again)

Ah nothing starts my morning than reading a press release by the Discovery Institute. This morning their dull-toothed piranha have taken aim at Mac Johnson, a writer and medical researcher in Cambridge, Mass., a regular contributor to HUMAN EVENTS [a Conservative website. His article "Intelligent Design and Other Dumb Ideas" drew what has to be a pretty automatic reaction from the DI. I think they must have a collection of Bots that do nothing but scan the Internet and put out the party line aimed at anything that hints at the long list of weaknesses in their pet idea. Their . . . rebuttal . . . is here.

Now before we launch into things I want to again clarify my position. I am not against Intelligent Design, I am against Intelligent Design being treated as science and being taught in a science class. My issues about Intelligent Design stem from this area. So I have no issue when someone wants to believe in Intelligent Design, but when you want to make it a part of the science curriculum -- that's when the warning bells go off. OK back to my morning reading.

I like Mr. Johnson's article. It's concise, addresses his points of view from the scientific, political, and theological points of view. Did DI address his issues? No, they built their usual bit of smoke and mirrors and preached the party line to the faithful.

They don't like his characterization of ID as a recent thing, one that has replaced creationism as a way of pushing God into the classroom. OK, now when Michael Behe gets up and says ID is in it's infancy as a reason why there is no scientific study under weigh must not count? When the Creationism text book "Of Panda's and People" clearly shows the words 'Intelligent Design" substituted where the word 'Creationism' used to be doesn't count? Before Phillip E. Johnson published his hilarious tautology "Darwin on Trial" had anyone outside of his immediate circle of sycophants ever heard the term? As usual to DI wants it both ways. They want to point to a long historical list where the Greeks inferred design in the days of Aristotle and Plato when anyone questions the pedigree of Intelligent Design. At the same time when questioned as to the hollowness of the Intelligent Design science underpinnings, they claim newness and infancy.

Let us not forget that inference doesn't mean reality. For example the DI loves to point to text books that compare the bacterial flagellum mechanism to a modern outboard motor and say "See even this authors sees the design." In reality he is making a comparison not inferring actual design. But it is fun to read.

Again they claim loudly that Intelligent Design has no relationship to Creationism, but in Iowa they are claiming that Professor Gonzales was discriminated against and denied tenure for religious reasons. They sure have a history of wanting things both ways.

Finally the one I love the most is their 700 scientists. Have you looked at the statement they supposedly signed? It doesn't mention Intelligent Design at all: "“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.” It's another example of wanting their cake and eating it too. Dissenting from Darwin is not the same thing as supporting Intelligent Design. Hell, in fact they aren't dissenting from Evolution, just the two main theories postulated by Charles Darwin. They completely fail to mention genetics, variations, mutation, drift, flow, and other aspects of the Modern Synthesis Theory of Evolution.

I do give DI points for consistency. They do know how to stick to their story. I love the humanistic touch about the professional price 'scientists like Gonzales and Sternberg paid for their support of Intelligent Design. [Richard Sternberg resigned after publishing an Intelligent Design paper in a peer-reviewed journal he was the editor of. After publication, the journal's publisher deeming the paper inappropriate for publication on the grounds that its subject matter represented a significant departure from the journal's normal content and stating that it did not meet the scientific standards of the journal. They also stated that Sternberg went outside the usual review procedures to allow Meyer's article to be published.] Now all together and let's feel sorry for two Intelligent Design advocates who failed to do their jobs and were held accountable.

OK, enough for this lovely morning. The attack dogs at the DI are not muted and anything that casts doubt and a negative view of Intelligent Design will undoubtedly draw their fire. Someday I hope to be on the receiving end of one such attack. It sounds like fun.

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