Monday, October 18, 2010

Intelligent Design Tolerance

Over on the Discovery Institute (DI) mis-information page casey luskin has taken up a common theme - 'Viewpoint Discrimination'. You can read it, but it really doesn't say much more than his normal rant. My question is does ID deserve tolerance?

SMU recently hosted a screening of 'Darwin's Dilemma', the same film luskin is whining about. I don't really care about the film, but something that happened at the end of the meeting at SMU:

"At the end of the presentation Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute thanked the “SMU administration” for hosting the event. That is just another lie. The SMU Administration had nothing to do with the seminar."(
This is the SAME tactic they used at the end of the original meeting at SMU in 1992.

Let me be clear, what SMU supports is Free Speech. At no point did the administration or faculty sponsor either of these events. They simply allow campus organizations, like the campus ministry, to use facilities as an exercise in free speech. I respect them for it. But what I do not respect is the DI trying to even imply that the administration had some hand in supporting the event.

The DI, and by connection their pet idea of Creationism/ID doesn't not suffer from 'viewpoint discrimination' nor does it deserve any sort of 'tolerance'. Remember the "How to respond to requests to debate Creationists" post and Professor Nicholas Gotelli's response to a request to 'sponsor' a debate on the campus of University of Vermont, his hilarious response!

This is not a discrimination issue of any kind. It's the DI trying to use their typical disreputable tactics to push their religious agenda. When the Cincinnati Zoo discontinued their business relationship with kennie ham's folly, the Creation 'Museum', it didn't stop the 'Museum' from selling tickets, it did prevent kennie from claiming a relationship with a scientific organization. That is the same tactic the DI tried with SMU at the end of each of the meetings there.

When an organization resorts to such tactics, anyone has to be careful in any sort of involvement -- it's not discrimination, but common sense. As Dr. Chancey, Chair of the Religious Studies Department at SMU recently said:
"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."
One of the things we have been asking for is such transparency -- but that's apparently not on the DI's agenda.

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