Ed Brayton posted Entry 1168 on June 24, 2005 01:06 PM.
Trackback URL: http://degas.fdisk.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1166

John West, associate director of the Discovery Institute's Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, the most prominent ID think tank in the world, is mad as hell and he's not gonna take it anymore. It seems that a state legislator in Utah has submitted a bill in that state to give equal time in state science classrooms to teaching "divine design" along with evolution - and that just will not do. West is quite verklempt about the whole thing:

While it's frustrating when critics of intelligent design mischaracterize what ID is about, it's even worse when people billing themselves as friends of ID do the same thing. As the term "intelligent design" has increasingly entered the public discourse, the number of people misusing the term to advance their own agendas by calling it "design" has increased. Take the recent proposal by a Utah legislator for something he calls "divine design," by which he clearly seems to mean creationism...

I'd like to give a clear message to those who are trying to hijaack the term design in order to promote something else: Stop!

And he quotes himself being quoted in a Salt Lake Tribune article on this bill:

"We get very upset when supposed friends are claiming far more than what the scholars are saying," says John West, associate director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in Seattle...

"We wish [Buttars] would get the name right and not propose something he doesn't understand," West says.

Let me join West in expressing my outrage at Buttars' presumptuous "hijacking" of the term "intelligent design". I mean, where on earth could Buttars have ever gotten the idea that ID had something to do with "divine design" or anything to do with notions of God and divinity at all? He clearly hasn't been listening to the Discovery Institute's scholars, but only to us evilutionists who are bent on distorting their true intent. Shame on him!

On the other hand, perhaps Buttars is not "hijacking" the phrase "intelligent design", and is instead simply relaying the plain meaning that the fellows of the Discovery Institute Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture have given to it over the past several years.

Maybe he got that idea from prominent ID scholar William Dembski who famously said:

The world is a mirror representing the divine life. The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory."

Or perhaps he got it from prominent ID scholar Nancy Pearsey, who says:

By providing evidence of God's work in nature, it (intelligent design) restores Christianity to the status of a genuine knowledge claim, giving us the means to reclaim a place at the table of public debate. Christians will then be in a position to challenge the fact/value dichotomy that has marginalized religion and morality by reducing them to irrational, subjective experience.

Or perhaps directly from Phillip Johnson, the man most responsible for putting ID on the intellectual map and the primary architect of the Wedge strategy itself:

The Intelligent Design movement starts with the recognition that "In the beginning was the Word," and "In the beginning God created." Establishing that point isn't enough, but it is absolutely essential to the rest of the gospel message.

And...

The objective [of the Wedge Strategy] is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to "'the truth" of the Bible and then "the question of sin" and finally "introduced to Jesus."

And...

Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.

Or perhaps Buttars simply looked to the Wedge document itself, which describes in vivid detail the aims of the very organization that West represents and on whose behalf he is writing:

Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.

See, the problem here for West is not that no one is listening to the ID scholars; the problem is that we are listening to them and their own words are in direct contradiction to the tactical marketing campaign that the DI is trying so desperately to run. It's the same catch-22 they've always been in. For legal purposes, they absolutely must separate ID from religion and they must pretend that ID is purely a scientific matter that deals with inferences of design, but the designer has nothing to do with God, it might just be an alien or something. But for fundraising purposes, they have to convince their followers that they are striking a blow against atheism and standing up for God - that's how you get the money flowing in.

So the fact is that they have had to keep up this silly charade for years now, where they pretend that ID has nothing to do with God and hope no one notices the enormous trail of writings and speeches and fundraising letters they've left behind that conclusively disprove that notion. And when someone does notice it, they accuse them of bias and ignorance, but they never bother addressing the evidence itself. So you'll pardon me for not taking West's feigned outrage seriously. Buttars is saying nothing different than what ID scholars have said a thousand times. The fact that it contradicts your current rhetorical and marketing strategy does not establish their ignorance, it establishes your duplicity.

Comment #36200

Posted by Hiero5ant on June 24, 2005 01:40 PM (e) (s)

I should point out that even arch-theocrat Antonin Scalia has no patience for this kind of duplicitous “no one here but us secular chickens” doubletalk from religionists. In the recent 10 commandments case during oral argument, the state tried this same rhetorical tactic, trying to deny that such monuments were intended to be an endorsement of religion, to which the Justice responded:

“You’re watering it down to say the only message is a secular message,” the justice said. “I can’t agree with you. ‘Our laws come from God.’ If you don’t believe it sends that message, you’re kidding yourself.”

Keep in mind Scalia is creationism’s champion on the Court. If we know that the DI’s claims of secular pupose are a lie, and Scalia knows the DI’s claims of secular pupose are a lie, you can bet that John West knows he’s lying.

I bet that burns him up inside.

It’s almost enough to make me wish Yahweh existed so the DI fellows could see him weeping in shame.

Comment #36203

Posted by a maine yankee on June 24, 2005 02:06 PM (e) (s)

Epicurus (c. 300 bce)

It’s better to go along with the stories about gods than give in to what rge natural philosophers call Fate. If there are gods there is some hope of appeasing them with a little worship; if not, we are ruled by something that no one can appease.

Moses Maimonides (1135-1204)

Not everything mentioned in the Torah concerning the Account of the Beginning is as the vulgar imagine, for if the matter were such, …the Sages would not have expatiated on its being kept secret … The correct thing to do is to refrain, if one lacks all knowledge of the sciences, from considerating those texts merely with the imagination.

Steven Weinberg (l977)

The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.

**********************************************************************

Could it be the the IDers need something to worship in light of pointlessness but they forget Maimonides’ warning?

Just wondering!

Comment #36204

Posted by lost in a red state on June 24, 2005 02:10 PM (e) (s)

Epicurus (c. 300 bce)

It’s better to go along with the stories about gods than give in to what rge natural philosophers call Fate. If there are gods there is some hope of appeasing them with a little worship; if not, we are ruled by something that no one can appease.

Moses Maimonides (1135-1204)

Not everything mentioned in the Torah concerning the Account of the Beginning is as the vulgar imagine, for if the matter were such, …the Sages would not have expatiated on its being kept secret … The correct thing to do is to refrain, if one lacks all knowledge of the sciences, from considerating those texts merely with the imagination.

Steven Weinberg (l977)

The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.

**********************************************************************

Could it be the the IDers need something to worship in light of pointlessness but they forget Maimonides’ warning?

Just wondering!

Comment #36205

Posted by a maine yankee on June 24, 2005 02:13 PM (e) (s)

Sorry about the dupe (?)

Comment #36206

Posted by steve on June 24, 2005 02:26 PM (e) (s)

“I mean, shit,” West continued, in an alternate universe in which he suddenly told the truth, “do you know how much money we’ve spent on this thing? Eighteen years, millions of dollars, coming up with a pseudosecular argument. Dozens of careers spent to create a creationism with the god stuff hidden. And for what? So some rube can stumble in and pull back the curtain? This makes me madder than Dover.”

Comment #36208

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 24, 2005 02:39 PM (e) (s)

I trust I’m not the only one who finds that whole article quite funny, am I?

Comment #36210

Posted by steve on June 24, 2005 02:45 PM (e) (s)

I wouldn’t follow this stuff if I didn’t find it hilarious.

Comment #36211

Posted by Henry J on June 24, 2005 02:46 PM (e) (s)

Lemme see if I’m following this - one con artist invented a strategy, some other con artist copied it without permission and isn’t even using it properly. Did I miss anything?

H

Comment #36214

Posted by Bruce Thompson on June 24, 2005 02:55 PM (e) (s)

Dembski’s latest offering is now posted. He refers only to space aliens, never to g/God. He seems to be towing the DI line, avoiding the supernatural and sticking to natural causes. Though all his writings betray him as well as his new job. Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence

It’s just a matter of “replace all” in word perfect.

But consider next a thought experiment. Imagine that space travelers show up on Earth loaded
with unbelievably advanced technology. They tell us (in English) that they’ve had this
technology for hundreds of millions of years and give us solid evidence of this claim (perhaps by
pointing to some star cluster hundreds of millions of light years away whose arrangement
signifies a message that confirms the aliens’ claim). Moreover, they demonstrate to us that with
this technology they can, atom by atom and molecule by molecule, assemble the most complex
30
organisms. Suppose we have good reason to think that these aliens were here at key moments in
life’s history (e.g., at the origin of life, the origin of eukaryotes, and the origin of the animal
phyla in the Cambrian). Suppose, further, that in forming life from scratch the aliens would not
leave any trace (their technology is so advanced that they clean up after themselves perfectly —-
no garbage or any other signs of activity would be left behind). Suppose, finally, that none of the
facts of biology are different from what they are now. Should we now think that life at key
moments in its history was designed?
We now have all the independent knowledge we could ever want for the existence and attributes
of materially embodied designers capable of bringing about the complexity of life on earth. If, in
addition, our best probabilistic analysis of the biological systems in question tells us that they
exhibit high specified complexity and therefore that unguided material processes could not have
produced them with anything like a reasonable probability, would a design inference only now
be warranted? Would design, in that case, become a better explanation than materialistic
evolution simply because we now have independent knowledge of designers with the capacity to
produce biological systems?
This prospect, however, should raise a worry. The facts of biology, after all, have not changed,
and yet design would be a better explanation if we had independent knowledge of designers
capable of producing, say, the animal phyla of the Cambrian. Note that there’s no smoking gun
here (no direct evidence of alien involvement in the fossil record, for instance). All we know by
observation is that beings with the power to generate life exist and could have acted. Would it
help to know that the aliens really like building carbon-based life? But how could we know that?
Do we simply take their word for it? If design is a better explanation simply because we have
independent knowledge of technologically advanced space aliens, why should it not be a better
explanation absent such evidence? If conventional evolutionary theory is so poor an explanation
that it would cave the instant space aliens capable of generating living forms in all their
complexity could be independently attested, then why should it cease to be a poor explanation
absent those space aliens? The point to appreciate is that specified complexity can demonstrate
this poverty of explanation even now —- apart from space aliens and bizarre thought
experiments.

Comment #36215

Posted by Greg Peterson on June 24, 2005 02:59 PM (e) (s)

For pointless existence, it’s hard to beat biblical Christianity, in which one can only plausibly view oneself as a little meat puppet in a cosmic play, the end of which is already known to the audience and author (in God, one and the same); and the purpose of which is to magnify the glory of a being to whom nothing can be added and from whom nothing can be taken away. If the manifest absurdity of that proposition isn’t the very definition of pointless, then the word itself is pointless.

For my statement of purpose, I turn to the TV character, Angel:

“If there’s no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters… then all that matters is what we do … now, today. All I want to do is help … because people shouldn’t suffer as they do. If there isn’t any bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.”

I do not see that any idea within religion improves on this simple thought.

Comment #36216

Posted by Ash on June 24, 2005 02:59 PM (e) (s)

What’s hilarious to me is that the Institute is, in effect, arguing that something “divine” isn’t “intelligent.” They’re not saying it’s a subset, or one spectrum of thought. Instead, they’re completely disassocating themselves with it.

Hate it for all of the people who believe in “divine” power. Apparently that’s just not smart. :)

~~~Ash

Comment #36218

Posted by steve on June 24, 2005 03:05 PM (e) (s)

Dumbski said:
But consider next a thought experiment. Imagine that space travelers show up on Earth loaded with unbelievably advanced technology…
If conventional evolutionary theory is so poor an explanation
that it would cave the instant space aliens capable of generating living forms in all their complexity could be independently attested, then why should it cease to be a poor explanation absent those space aliens?

Right now I have this methodological, naturalistic explanation for where my childhood christmas presents came from. They came from my parents. If Santa Claus lands, and claims responsibility, and demonstrates this phenomenal nanotechnology you speak of, I’ll reconsider. But absent that Santa Claus, I think my explanation’s pretty good. Dumbass.

Comment #36219

Posted by Dave Cerutti on June 24, 2005 03:14 PM (e) (s)

Ed, as I said before, quoting Paul Krugman,

Hell hath no fury like a scammer spoiled. The car shark caught stacking the deck. The used car salesman seen fiddling with the car’s odometer… they lash out at their intended victims, crying hypocrisy.

Comment #36220

Posted by Mike Walker on June 24, 2005 03:20 PM (e) (s)

Forget about space aliens. I’m sure that Oprah would find a spot on her schedule for the Lord Almighty should he decide to want to tell us in person how he created life on this planet.

Dembski’s little thought experiment is utterly useless. Imagine the same space aliens dropping by again and telling us, oh, we forgot to tell you… We also left a set of self-replicating nanobots on your planet that control your climate and weather patterns. Without them, Earth would be a barren ball of fire. Oh, and by the way, that theory of plate tectonics you keep talking about - ahem, sub-crustal mega-machines - just to keep things flowing smoothly, you understand.

But, of course, that would *never* happen…

Comment #36221

Posted by Greg Peterson on June 24, 2005 03:25 PM (e) (s)

I like what PZ said the other day, Steve, in a similar vein. I hope I’m not misquoting here, but the basic idea is that if a god were to come down with great displays of proof for his existence and power, that would probably change many people’s minds about the existence of a god, but it would do nothing to our acceptance of evolution, which has been confirmed by no less proofs than what this god purports to offer.

So even if Santa WERE real, the “naturalistic” explanation is STILL “pretty good”!

Comment #36222

Posted by Mike Walker on June 24, 2005 03:30 PM (e) (s)

When you get this…

The Intelligent Design movement starts with the recognition that “In the beginning was the Word,” and “In the beginning God created.” Establishing that point isn’t enough, but it is absolutely essential to the rest of the gospel message.

…from the godfather of ID himself, it’s game over for ID as a secular movement. John West may twist and squirm, but there is no avoiding the hypocrisy of his whinging.

Comment #36225

Posted by qetzal on June 24, 2005 03:36 PM (e) (s)

I was amazed at this quote, from page 1 of the document Bruce Thompson links above:

Dembski wrote:

It is not enough merely to believe that something is true; there also has to be something backing up that belief.

Except, of course, in the case of ID….

Comment #36226

Posted by steve on June 24, 2005 03:41 PM (e) (s)

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

Comment #36227

Posted by Flint on June 24, 2005 03:42 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #36228

Posted by steve on June 24, 2005 03:53 PM (e) (s)

Mom: “Little Billy, did you break the lamp?”

Billy: “Look, mom. Let’s say space aliens landed, and told you they broke the lamp, and demonstrated the necessary technology. You’d believe them, right? So if conventional Billy-broke-the-lamp theory is so poor an explanation that it would cave the instant space aliens capable of breaking lamps in all their shattering complexity could be independently attested, then why should it cease to be a poor explanation absent those space aliens?”

Mom: “Billy, that’s dumb, even for a five-year-old.”

Comment #36229

Posted by steve on June 24, 2005 03:56 PM (e) (s)

Flint, being a language policeman is a tough Roe to Ho.

Comment #36233

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 24, 2005 04:39 PM (e) (s)

Maybe someone should write Dembski and ask him when (and why) he switched from “Jesus-did-it-all” to “spacemen-did-it-all”?

I know, he’d never reply. But it would annoy him, which is still worthwhile in and of itself…

Comment #36234

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 24, 2005 04:44 PM (e) (s)

Maybe someone should write Dembski and ask him when (and why) he switched from “Jesus-did-it-all” to “spacemen-did-it-all”?

I know, he’d never reply. But it would annoy him, which is still worthwhile in and of itself…

Comment #36236

Posted by Paul on June 24, 2005 05:06 PM (e) (s)

I have a few question for anyone who knows.

So when Creationists lump the Big Bang and in with evolution, is that a false premise?
Couldn’t panspermia be a possibility for either model of origins?

Miller’s experiments proved it wasn’t necessary for panspermia or a designer for life to begin on this earth (at least to me.) Did anyone catch the round-table discussion of origins on Coast to Coast AM last night, they had “all” 4 models of origins there, except evolution (unless I missed the speaker somehow.) Remember though that this is also the show that has Sylvia Brown, people who belive Nostrodamus meant New York, and just about any whacko with a conspiracy theory.

Comment #36237

Posted by H. Humbert on June 24, 2005 05:12 PM (e) (s)

Can any tell me or point me to some links that explain how the “Wedge Strategy” document surfaced, who (if known) leaked it, and what the public reaction was of those who had signed it? Silence or outright denial? Thanks in advance.

(Basically I want to know if the document could ever be entered as evidence in a court of law.)

Comment #36238

Posted by Albion on June 24, 2005 05:16 PM (e) (s)

He isn’t on about space aliens again, is he? How does he think space aliens could have created life on Earth unless they were a fundamentally different animal from a carbon-based lifeform? Does he have any explanation at all about how these space aliens might themselves have originated, or is that somehow not relevant?

Comment #36240

Posted by Mike Walker on June 24, 2005 05:32 PM (e) (s)

I don’t think anyone knows who leaked the document, but it’s a fact that the DI has, at the very least, not repudiated its contents.

If it was a fraud, the DI would have been shouting that from the rooftops for the past several years - it’s not like they’re reluctant to point out other so-called “fraudulent claims” when they arise. That speaks volumes to me.

If it came down to it, if any of the erstwhile DI fellows ever makes it to the witness stand in a court of law, I doubt they would risk perjuring themselves by denying the document’s authenticity.

However, I’m sure they have plenty of doublespeak reserved for whenever that day does eventually come to explain the document away.

Comment #36241

Posted by Chip Poirot on June 24, 2005 05:34 PM (e) (s)

Well, here’s an even more fun thought experiment: Suppose space aliens show up and…

Where then does that leave Biblical fundamentalism, or even any other milder claim that the bible (or any other religious book for that matter) has any claim on anyone? In point of fact, such an event would be devastating to all systems of religious thought-but especially to Christianity.

This would then remove any claim that the space aliens have to being “worshipped” as “divine”. I can see no way any space alien would have any possible moral claim on humans. Now they might be able to make an argument that they know a few things about health practices or have a few ideas about how to deal with world hunger-but we would be under no obligation to adopt their solutions.

The irony is amazing. Evolution at least leaves open the possibility that a divine being subtly manipulates the process in ways we do not understand. If such a being does exist, it perhaps makes a claim to being worshipped.

But the “space aliens” did it is the triumph of the crasses, crudest most vulgar materialism possible.

And personally, I think we should go with this. We should tie ID to the the theory that space aliens made it and offer fundamentalists a choice: the devil they know (evil Darwinists) or the Devil they don’t (people who want to teach their kids they were made by space aliens).

Comment #36242

Posted by Mike Walker on June 24, 2005 05:43 PM (e) (s)

He isn’t on about space aliens again, is he? How does he think space aliens could have created life on Earth unless they were a fundamentally different animal from a carbon-based lifeform? Does he have any explanation at all about how these space aliens might themselves have originated, or is that somehow not relevant?

Actually, considering we only one example of a template for life to go on, it is entirely possible that there is an alien lifeform out there that when we look at it, we will go “Doh! How simple, it’s obvious how it evolved.”

That’s why the prospect of discovering life on Mars or Europa is so fascinating - we *may* have a second template for life to compare ours with (assuming we didn’t, er, cross-pollinate).

But the real point is that Dembski’s analogy is useless since you can apply the same reasoning to anything and everything (nothwithstanding that many people do just that :-)

After all, the denizens of the planet Magrathea didn’t stop at just building people…

Comment #36244

Posted by Mike Walker on June 24, 2005 05:45 PM (e) (s)

And personally, I think we should go with this. We should tie ID to the the theory that space aliens made it and offer fundamentalists a choice: the devil they know (evil Darwinists) or the Devil they don’t (people who want to teach their kids they were made by space aliens).

I’m sure the Raelians would be very happy.

Comment #36248

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2005 06:18 PM (e) (s)

Dembski’s latest offering is now posted. He refers only to space aliens, never to g/God.

Um, does he explain how the space aliens are able to use non-materialistic or supernaturalistic methods?

And if they don’t, then what’s the point to all DI’s bitching and moaning about science’s “unfair limit of naturaliswm/materialism”?

Like I’ve always said, IDers are their own worst enemies. Their stragey was fatally flawed right from the start, since it requires, of a bunch of religious fanatics, that they remain absolutely silent about the one thing they care most about in the world.

They can’t do it. They don’t WANT to do it. And if the DI-ites seriously thought they WOULD do it, then the IDers are even more deluded and naive than I thought.

Comment #36249

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2005 06:21 PM (e) (s)

I don’t think anyone knows who leaked the document, but it’s a fact that the DI has, at the very least, not repudiated its contents.

If it was a fraud, the DI would have been shouting that from the rooftops for the past several years - it’s not like they’re reluctant to point out other so-called “fraudulent claims” when they arise. That speaks volumes to me.

If it came down to it, if any of the erstwhile DI fellows ever makes it to the witness stand in a court of law, I doubt they would risk perjuring themselves by denying the document’s authenticity.

However, I’m sure they have plenty of doublespeak reserved for whenever that day does eventually come to explain the document away.

From my website:

In all of its court documents and arguments, the Discovery Institute goes to great lengths to claim that it is only interested in science, and has no ulterior religious motives, aims or purpose, and emphatically is NOT out to advance any religious opinions. A quick review of published statements made by DI members, however, shows this to be at best mere legal evasion and sophistry, and at worst a deliberate lie.

In 1999, an internal Discovery Institute document was leaked to the Internet by an internal source. The document outlined the Discovery Institute’s longterm plan to, as it states, produce a “broadly theistic understanding of nature” (Discovery institute, The Wedge Document, 1999), and its tactic of using the evolution “controversy” as a “wedge” to do this. The authenticity of the “Wedge Document”, as it quickly became known, was later admitted by the Discovery Institute.

The very first sentence of the Wedge Document makes plain the underlying religious aim of the Discovery Institute and its anti-evolution campaign: “The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western Civilization was built.” (Wedge Document) The Discovery Institute, like other fundamentalist Christians, refers to the rejection of this religious idea as “the philosophy of materialism” or “naturalism” or sometimes “darwinism” (all are phrases which have long been the fundie code words for “atheism”), and explicitly states that this materialistic atheism is the direct result of science: “This cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science. Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment. This materialistic conception of reality eventually infected virtually every area of our culture, from politics and economics to literature and art.” (Wedge Document) Thus, as the Discovery Institute’s basic complaint can be summed up as “science is atheistic”. Under the heading “Governing Goals”, the Discovery Institute lists, “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.” (Wedge Document, 1999)

The goal of Discovery Institute’s “intelligent design theory”, then, is to replace “materialism” with … . well … they are very careful in court and in legislation to NOT name their replacement. However, since “materialism” and “naturalism” have long been the fundie code word for “atheism”, and since nothing but a god or deity is capable of using any NON-“materialistic” or SUPER-“naturalistic” mechanism or process, it seems pretty certain that what Discovery Institute wants is to introduce theism into science and to force science to bow before its religious opinions. As the Wedge Document puts it, “Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.”

The Discovery Institute, after a long silence, has attempted to deflect concerns about the Wedge Document in a web article (”The Wedge Document; So what?”, Discovery Institute website, March 1, 2004). Their “response” is fraught with deception and evasion.

The Institute first tries to downplay the significance of the document, by dismissing it as a mere “early fundraising proposal”. Even a cursory reading of the document, however, demonstrates this claim to be nonsense. Nowhere in the entire document is there any appeal for funds, nor any mention of fundraising. What IS mentioned, however, are things such as “The Wedge Strategy”, “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary”, “Governing Goals”, “Five Year Goals”, “Twenty Year Goals”, and “The Wedge Strategy Progress Summary”. The document also lists a number of steps to be taken to advance the ID agenda —- every one of which Discovery Institute subsequently carried out (or attempted to). The DI’s claim that the Wedge Document is just a “fundraising proposal” and not actually a planning document outlining the goals of the Institute and the steps it plans to take in order to reach those goals, is laughable and not worthy of any serious consideration.

Even the Discovery Institute’s denial that the Wedge Document sets out a religious agenda confirms that it has a religious agenda. “We think the materialist world-view that has dominated Western intellectual life since the 19th century is false and we want to refute it. We further want to reverse the influence of such materialistic thinking on our culture. (Discovery Institute, “The Wedge Document; So What?”, 2004)

Not only is the DI’s dismissal of the Wedge Document as a “fundraising proposal” dishonest and plainly untrue, it is also completely irrelevant. It makes no difference whether the Wedge Document is a strategy guide, a fundraising proposal, or a memo for the Institute’s janitor. What DOES matter (and what the Discovery Institute’s “response” fails utterly to acknowledge or defend) is that the Wedge Document clearly, unequivocably and unmistakably declares, in print, that the “governing goal” of the Institute is to advance their religious beliefs, that “intelligent design theory” is the primary method they have chosen through which to pursue that goal, and that they have an articulated pre—planned 20-year strategy to use ID “theory” as a method of advancing their religious goals. Despite all the DI’s arm-waving, the Wedge Document demonstrates with crystal clarity that the sole and only aim of the Institute is to use “intelligent design theory” as a means of advancing religion — exactly what the US Constitution says they CANNOT do. And when they claim that ID “theory” has no religious aims or purpose, the Wedge Document demonstrates that they are flat-out lying to us.

Comment #36251

Posted by Mike Walker on June 24, 2005 06:24 PM (e) (s)

The authenticity of the “Wedge Document”, as it quickly became known, was later admitted by the Discovery Institute.

Do you have the source for this admission? Other sites I have looked at are a little more cagey about what the DI has actually admitted.

Comment #36252

Posted by steve on June 24, 2005 06:25 PM (e) (s)

I remember a period where they refused to comment on their exposed Wedge. Did they ever try to deny it?

Comment #36255

Posted by Mike Walker on June 24, 2005 06:27 PM (e) (s)

Oops - sorry, scratch my last comment - I didn’t read the rest of your post. I see that the doublespeak has already been well rehearsed!

Comment #36260

Posted by Paul Flocken on June 24, 2005 07:08 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #36261

Posted by Paul Flocken on June 24, 2005 07:10 PM (e) (s)

Comment #36211
Posted by Henry J on June 24, 2005 02:46 PM

Lemme see if I’m following this - one con artist invented a strategy, some other con artist copied it without permission and isn’t even using it properly. Did I miss anything?
H

I believe you left out the most important point. Please permit me to add…

…and the first con artist has the GALL to be mad about it.

;)
Paul

Comment #36262

Posted by Paul Flocken on June 24, 2005 07:12 PM (e) (s)

Craps, my first double post.

Comment #36264

Posted by snaxalotl on June 24, 2005 07:27 PM (e) (s)

steve’s illustration of billy and the lamp is so perfect I don’t like to add to the discussion but I will anyway. The argument Dembski finds so persuasive is a clone of another argument which christians often find very impressive but others find excruciatingly lame: “after denying god for years just because it’s not very plausible, imagine confronting god after you die and it turns out to be true after all. imagine what an idiot you’ll feel like. imagine how you won’t be able to cope with being in that situation“.

Comment #36265

Posted by Dave Thomas on June 24, 2005 07:41 PM (e) (s)

Discovery Institute Owns Up to ‘Wedge’

Discovery.org has certainly confessed that the Wedge document is real. Their whiny response is called

The “Wedge Document”: “So What?”
By: Staff
Discovery Institute
March 1, 2004

It’s on Discovery’s site here, which points to the PDF file with the good stuff.

Comment #36267

Posted by Bruce Thompson on June 24, 2005 07:49 PM (e) (s)

The good Rev Dr asks: Um, does he explain how the space aliens are able to use non-materialistic or supernaturalistic methods?

No, space aliens work only through natural materialistic methods.

And if they don’t, then what’s the point to all DI’s bitching and moaning about science’s “unfair limit of naturalism/materialism”?

I think Dembski is concerned that the arriving space aliens might claim theirs is the privileged planet. We on the other hand are just a weekend experiment. By arguing against naturalistic causes any arriving space aliens no matter how technologically advanced and even if they are the designer, can’t claim to be any better than us. There’s still the designers designer.

Comment #36268

Posted by Bruce Thompson on June 24, 2005 07:51 PM (e) (s)

The good Rev Dr asks: Um, does he explain how the space aliens are able to use non-materialistic or supernaturalistic methods?

No, space aliens work only through natural materialistic methods.

And if they don’t, then what’s the point to all DI’s bitching and moaning about science’s “unfair limit of naturalism/materialism”?

I think Dembski is concerned that the arriving space aliens might claim theirs is the privileged planet. We on the other hand are just a weekend experiment. By arguing against naturalistic causes any arriving space aliens no matter how technologically advanced and even if they are the designer, can’t claim to be any better than us. There’s still the designers designer.

Comment #36269

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2005 07:59 PM (e) (s)

I remember a period where they refused to comment on their exposed Wedge. Did they ever try to deny it?

I don’t recall any prominent IDers or DI-ers trying to deny it — they mostly just shut up about it, in apparent hopes that no one would notice it.

I *do*, however, recall lots of the brainless minions, on various email lists, declaring that the Wedge Document was an atheist evolutionist fake that was planted just to discredit the ID movement. I’m pretty sure, ID morality and conscience being what it is, that none of them subsequently lost any sleep when all their excuses and arm-waving and finger-pointing turned out to be a crock of cow-crap, and the DI-ers fessed up that the Wedge Document was indeed real after all … .

Comment #36272

Posted by Jaime Headden on June 24, 2005 08:11 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #36273

Posted by steve on June 24, 2005 08:14 PM (e) (s)

Snaxalotl, thanks for the compliment. Dembski’s argument is so bad he’s probably already regretting it.

btw, “snaxalot” I get, but what’s the “l” for?

Comment #36274

Posted by Albion on June 24, 2005 08:40 PM (e) (s)

My favorite part of this entire piece is this: “If design is a better explanation simply because we have independent knowledge of technologically advanced space aliens, why should it not be a better explanation absent such evidence? If conventional evolutionary theory is so poor an explanation that it would cave the instant space aliens capable of generating living forms in all their complexity could be independently attested, then why should it cease to be a poor explanation absent those space aliens?”

In other words, if design is a better explanation in the setting of the presence of a known designer, it’d be a much better explanation in the setting of the complete absence of same.

Whatever…

Comment #36276

Posted by Hiero5ant on June 24, 2005 08:50 PM (e) (s)

Absolutely forehead-smacking.

“Assume that evolution is wrong. Clearly, in such a scenario, evolution would be wrong. Therefore, if evolution is right, evolution is probably wrong.”

Comment #36278

Posted by Hiero5ant on June 24, 2005 08:54 PM (e) (s)

… or, to put it even more bluntly, “ID is not a fallacious argument because its conlcusion is true.”

I mean, really. This is Gastrich-level apologetics.

Comment #36279

Posted by Bruce Thompson on June 24, 2005 08:58 PM (e) (s)

Craps, my first double post.

Comment #36280

Posted by Virge on June 24, 2005 09:09 PM (e) (s)

Assume that time travel is possible and will be realized some time in the future. Assume that humans in the future will design and manufacture organisms in their labs and send them back in time. Then you don’t need to posit the existence of supernatural designers or space aliens.

If design is a better explanation simply because we have independent knowledge of time travel… ;)

(And yes, I had heard about Greenberger and Svozil’s recent work on temporal paradoxes.)

Comment #36282

Posted by steve on June 24, 2005 09:32 PM (e) (s)

This is going to be ID To Remember, like Jay Richards’s disproof of Special Relativity.

Comment #36284

Posted by qetzal on June 24, 2005 09:56 PM (e) (s)

steve, re: ‘snaxalotl’

Are you unfamiliar with the axolotl?

Comment #36285

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on June 24, 2005 10:06 PM (e) (s)

Steve - Look up “axolotl” in any dictionary. 40+ years ago, it was one of Mad magazine’s favorite words.

Rev. Dr. Lenny -

…since nothing but a god or deity is capable of using any NON-“materialistic” or SUPER-“naturalistic” mechanism or process…

Except for pixies, ghosts, witches, vampires, Buffy, leprechauns, Harry Potter, fairies, et alia, and assorted swords, rings, amulets, & related paraphernalia, as well as entities either forbidden or impossible to name.

You’re just jealous ‘cause you can’t do it…

Comment #36287

Posted by the pro from dover on June 24, 2005 10:14 PM (e) (s)

snaxalotl? oh steve!!! if you dont know what an axolotl is you may be sentenced to spend eternity as a perpetual larval form!

Comment #36288

Posted by steve on June 24, 2005 10:34 PM (e) (s)

Well, don’t know much bi-ol-ogy.

I’m a simple physics Bachelor’s.

I don’t hang out here for the biology, I hang out here because the ID people are like a running comedy show.

But I do like biology, evolution is one of the coolest ideas of all time. I urge people to read OTOOS, it’s stunning how he was able to see what was going on before genes, DNA, etc. It’s a testament to Darwin’s genius that 140 years later, a large percentage of people still don’t get it.

Comment #36294

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on June 24, 2005 11:53 PM (e) (s)

Oh those crazy IDers, what will they come out with next?

Comment #36306

Posted by Anton Mates on June 25, 2005 04:01 AM (e) (s)

If design is a better explanation simply because we have independent knowledge of technologically advanced space aliens…

It ain’t. Now we don’t have to pay attention to the rest of Bill’s blathering! Bliss.

(Honestly. I have independent knowledge of lots of people who could have carefully arranged the drifts of leaves in my gutter. Does that make design the best explanation for them? Sheesh.)

Comment #36307

Posted by Dene Bebbington on June 25, 2005 05:28 AM (e) (s)

I bet John West didn’t give Dembski a bollocking for mentioning the divine in the preface to his book “Intelligent Design”:

“Intelligent design is three things: a scientific research program that investigates the effects of intelligent design; an intellectual movement that challenges Darwinism and its naturalistic legacy; and a way of understanding divine action.”

Comment #36314

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2005 07:21 AM (e) (s)

I bet John West didn’t give Dembski a bollocking for mentioning the divine in the preface to his book “Intelligent Design”:

“Intelligent design is three things: a scientific research program that investigates the effects of intelligent design; an intellectual movement that challenges Darwinism and its naturalistic legacy; and a way of understanding divine action.”

Well, two out of three ain’t bad … . .

A few more public statements from Dembski and others:

Phillip Johnson, who talks much more openly than the others about the explicit anti-atheistic goals of “intelligent design theory”, specifically contrasts “scientific materialism” with “divine intervention”; “It is the alleged absence of divine intervention throughout the history of life — the strict materialism of the orthodox theory — that explains why a great many people, only some of whom are biblical fundamentalists, think that Darwinian evolution (beyond the micro level) is basically materialistic philosophy disguised as scientific fact.” (Johnson, “The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism”, First Things, November 1997, PP 22-25) “Science also has become identified with a philosophy known as materialism or scientific naturalism. This philosophy insists that nature is all there is, or at least the only thing about which we can have any knowledge. It follows that nature had to do its own creating, and that the means of creation must not have included any role for God… . The reason the theory of evolution is so controversial is that it is the main scientific prop for scientific naturalism. Students first learn that “evolution is a fact,” and then they gradually learn more and more about what that “fact” means. It means that all living things are the product of mindless material forces such as chemical laws, natural selection, and random variation. So God is totally out of the picture, and humans (like everything else) are the accidental product of a purposeless universe.” (Johnson, “The Church of Darwin”, Wall Street Journal, August 16, 1999). “For now we need to stick to the main point: In the beginning was the Word, and the ‘fear of God’- recognition of our dependence upon God-is still the beginning of wisdom. If materialist science can prove otherwise then so be it, but everything we are learning about the evidence suggests that we don’t need to worry. (Johnson, “How to Sink a Battleship; A Call to Separate Materialist Philosophy from Empriical Science”, address to the 1996 “Mere Creation Conference”) Johnson explicitly calls for “a better scientific theory, one genuinely based on unbiased empirical evidence and not on materialist philosophy” (Johnson, “How to Sink a Battleship). Johnson doesn’t tell us what this NON-materialistic philosophy might be that he wants to base science on, but it is crushingly clear from the rest of his statements that he, like every other IDer, wants to base science on his religious beliefs.

DI associate Michael Behe also makes the connection between fighting “scientific materialism” and “theistic understanding of nature” explicitly clear. “Darwinism is the most plausible unintelligent mechanism, yet it has tremendous difficulties and the evidence garnered so far points to its inability to do what its advocates claim for it. If unintelligent mechanisms can’t do the job, then that shifts the focus to intelligent agency. That’s as far as the argument against Darwinism takes us, but most people already have other reasons for believing in a personal God who just might act in history, and they will find the argument for intelligent design fits with what they already hold. With the argument arranged this way, evidence against Darwinism does count as evidence for an active God, just as valid negative advertising against the Democratic candidate will help the Republican, even though Vegetarian and One-World candidates are on the ballot, too. Life is either the result of exclusively unintelligent causes or it is not, and the evidence against the unintelligent production of life is clearly evidence for intelligent design.” (Behe, “The God of Science”, Weekly Standard, June 7, 1999, p. 35) “Naturalism is a philosophy which says that material things are all that there is. But philosophy is not science, and therefore excluding ideas which point to a creator, which point to God, is not allowed simply because in public schools in the United States one is not allowed to discriminate either for or against ideas which have religious implications.” (Behe, Speech at Calvary Chapel, March 6, 2002)

Another DI associate, William Dembski, makes the connection between ID and Christian apologetics even more explicit: “Not only does intelligent design rid us of this ideology, which suffocates the human spirit, but, in my personal experience, I’ve found that it opens the path for people to come to Christ. Indeed, once materialism is no longer an option, Christianity again becomes an option. True, there are then also other options. But Christianity is more than able to hold its own once it is seen as a live option. The problem with materialism is that it rules out Christianity so completely that it is not even a live option. Thus, in its relation to Christianity, intelligent design should be viewed as a ground-clearing operation that gets rid of the intellectual rubbish that for generations has kept Christianity from receiving serious consideration.” (Dembski, “Intelligent Design’s Contribution to the Debate Over Evolution”, Designinference.com website, February 2005). Indeed, Dembski titled one of his books “Intelligent Design; the Bridge Between Science and Theology” (Dembski, 1999). In that book, Dembski makes the religious basis of ID “theory” explicit: “The conceptual soundings of the theory can in the end only be located in Christ.” (Dembski, 1999, p. 210). Other statements by Dembski make it clear that his designer cannot be anything other than God: “The fine-tuning of the universe, about which cosmologists make such a to-do, is both complex and specified and readily yields design. So too, Michael Behe’s irreducibly complex biochemical systems readily yield design. The complexity-specification criterion demonstrates that design pervades cosmology and biology. Moreover, it is a transcendent design, not reducible to the physical world. Indeed, no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life.” (Dembski, “The Act of Creation”, ARN website, Aug 1998)

Comment #36315

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2005 07:24 AM (e) (s)

Compare:

Imagine that space travelers show up on Earth loaded
with unbelievably advanced technology. They tell us (in English) that they’ve had this technology for hundreds of millions of years and give us solid evidence of this claim (perhaps by pointing to some star cluster hundreds of millions of light years away whose arrangement
signifies a message that confirms the aliens’ claim). Moreover, they demonstrate to us that with this technology they can, atom by atom and molecule by molecule, assemble the most complex organisms.

with this:

The complexity-specification criterion demonstrates that design pervades cosmology and biology. Moreover, it is a transcendent design, not reducible to the physical world. Indeed, no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life.” (Dembski, “The Act of Creation”, ARN website, Aug 1998)

Hey Bill, I know you’re out there. A question for you —- were you lying to us when you cliamed that the designer COULD be a space alien, or were you lying to us when you claimed that it COULD NOT be … .?

Make up your friggin mind, would you?

Comment #36318

Posted by Hiero5ant on June 25, 2005 07:39 AM (e) (s)

Hey Bill, I know you’re out there. A question for you —— were you lying to us when you cliamed that the designer COULD be a space alien, or were you lying to us when you claimed that it COULD NOT be … .?

Make up your friggin mind, would you?

Well (an I’m just spitballing here) they could have been noncorporeal space aliens, like the Bajoran prophets in the wormhole in Deep Space 9.

Comment #36319

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2005 07:40 AM (e) (s)

… since nothing but a god or deity is capable of using any NON-“materialistic” or SUPER-“naturalistic” mechanism or process …

Except for pixies, ghosts, witches, vampires, Buffy, leprechauns, Harry Potter, fairies, et alia, and assorted swords, rings, amulets, & related paraphernalia, as well as entities either forbidden or impossible to name.

You’re just jealous ‘cause you can’t do it …

Hey, if *I* had supernatural powers, Guinness would flow in our rivers, and everyone on earth (but me) would look like Jennifer Love Hewitt.

:>

Comment #36338

Posted by shiva on June 25, 2005 12:39 PM (e) (s)

Dembski’s gallimaufry is truly pathetic. Where are the space aliens? Unless Dembski can produce them on demand this argument should be trashed with the contempt it deserves. With arguments like these Bill D looks like he is sawing the branch he is seated on. In the unlikely event that Bill D’s space aliens land up here, I am sure scientists will be busy quizzing them about their methods and technology and will be busy conducting experiments. Bill D and the IDoC crowd will get ready to deny the latest evidence and petition the school boards to teach non-alien ID.

Comment #36358

Posted by Thomas Pace on June 25, 2005 01:37 PM (e) (s)

This is a hilarious story, as a native Utahn I thought I would give everyone some more insight into just how incompotent Senator Buttars is. Apparently while defending his stance on “divine design” he said that he figured evolution was ridiculous because: “We get different types of dogs and different types of cats, but you have never seen a ‘dat.” Well, there were several dozen letters to the editor about what an idiot Buttars is, and he hasn’t made any comments since on the subject. Mabye when there is such an idiot promoting ID in schools, it actually helps everyone else whose is trying to promote real science in the classroom.

Comment #36414

Posted by harold on June 25, 2005 05:59 PM (e) (s)

I’m not one who’s prone to wishful thinking, and I think that this may be the beginning of the end for Big Billy D.

He finally said something so transparently ridiculous that even the easily fooled will see through it.

He was saying, “I have several PhDs, and my equations show that the bacterial flagellum is too complex to have evolved”. That may fool a lot of people. But…

“You’d agree that space aliens did it if you saw space aliens and they told you so - so you have to agree that space aliens did it even if you DON’T see space aliens”. Nope, not gonna fly.

Personally, if space aliens told me that they created life on earth I’d be very, very skeptical. And it would be obvious that evolution still accounts for most of what we see. Unless they were lying space aliens (perhaps ID advocates banished from another planet for dishonesty), they’d have to mean that they had some limited but important role. But if they denied that life had evolved at all on earth, they’d just be intergalactic creationist con men.

Comment #36443

Posted by Thrifty Gene on June 25, 2005 10:18 PM (e) (s)

Unless they were lying space aliens (perhaps ID advocates banished from another planet for dishonesty), they’d have to mean that they had some limited but important role. But if they denied that life had evolved at all on earth, they’d just be intergalactic creationist con men.

Compare this with this and judge for yourself.

Comment #36445

Posted by steve on June 25, 2005 10:48 PM (e) (s)

“We get different types of dogs and different types of cats, but you have never seen a ‘dat.”

No, but we do have Cogs, so there.

Comment #36448

Posted by Arun Gupta on June 25, 2005 11:15 PM (e) (s)

If conventional evolutionary theory is so poor an explanation that it would cave the instant space aliens capable of generating living forms in all their complexity could be independently attested, then why should it cease to be a poor explanation absent those space aliens?

We’d still be asking, how did the space aliens originate, and the answer would still be evolution.

Comment #36449

Posted by steve on June 25, 2005 11:38 PM (e) (s)

Hey Bill, say space aliens landed, and claimed they did the whole resurrection thing, wrote the bible, etc., and demonstrated the necessary technology…

Comment #36485

Posted by Lyford Rome on June 26, 2005 02:49 PM (e) (s)

Dembski wrote:

The facts of biology, after all, have not changed….

Perhaps it’s obvious, but I am pretty sure the discovery of an advanced technological life form from another solar system would constitute a biological fact that has changed….

And I love steve‘s preceding comment!

This whole “ID debate” has always struck me as on the level of something people usually get over themselves with during late nite dorm room substance enhanced philosophy 101 study sessions…..

Comment #36486

Posted by Lyford Rome on June 26, 2005 02:52 PM (e) (s)

Dembski wrote:

The facts of biology, after all, have not changed….

Perhaps it’s obvious, but I am pretty sure the discovery of an advanced technological life form from another solar system would constitute a biological fact that has changed….

And I love steve‘s preceding comment!

This whole “ID debate” has always struck me as on the level of something people usually get over themselves with during late nite dorm room substance enhanced philosophy 101 study sessions…..

Comment #36511

Posted by bcpmoon on June 27, 2005 04:55 AM (e) (s)

But Dembski is absolutely right: The actual visit from the designing space aliens does not matter, if

…in addition, our best probabilistic analysis of the biological systems in question tells us that they exhibit high specified complexity and therefore that unguided material processes could not have produced them with anything like a reasonable probability…

But unfortunately, we are at square one:
- The best probabilistic analyses are not quite good.
- Specified complexity? Discuss.
- Unguided material processes? Not in Evolution, sorry.
So we have straw men, non sequiturs and the works.
Of course, if you assume ID to be proven, then it really doesn´t matter, who the designer in fact is. But: ID has not been proven. (And, given the frenetic pace new results are published even as we speak, this could take some more days…)

Comment #36520

Posted by Lyford Rome on June 27, 2005 11:07 AM (e) (s)

And if I may be so bold as to follow up, and in apologies for the double post, - curse you Safari! - Dembski’s “argument” could also be presented thus, say 500 years ago - (though undoubtedly in Latin):

“Now all educated and thinking men accept the world as Designed and Created, and we have the unerring Word of God in testimony to this fact. But consider next a thought experiment. Imagine that over the next several hundred years, men of learning discover evidence that the apparent design in Nature can be explained by completely Natural Causes; that is, the material, formal and efficient causes arise from the interplay of Chance and Nature herself, giving the illusion of a Final Cause. They tell us that they’ve come to this conclusion after using a new technique of the Sciences and give us solid evidence of this claim (perhaps by pointing to some hundreds of millions of data points from multiple disciplines whose agreement strengthens these “scientist” claims). Moreover, they demonstrate to us that with technology they can, repeatedly, in experiment and observation, demonstrate the principles involved in this process… Suppose, finally, that the facts of biology and geology describe a reality at odds with the one depicted in Holy Scriptures, indeed even with the Four Causes of Natural Philosophy. Should we now think that life at key moments in its history was designed?”

Comment #36527

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 27, 2005 12:31 PM (e) (s)

The objective [of the Wedge Strategy] is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to “‘the truth” of the Bible and then “the question of sin” and finally “introduced to Jesus.”

They’re dreaming. They’ve got it all backwards. Fundies are attracted to Creationism because their pastors tell them that as Christians that’s what they’re supposed to think. The core audience of creationism is people who are already fundies.

People do NOT come to Christianity because ‘creationism is so compelling’. If anything, creationism turns away far more people from Christianity than it attracts. (A point that has been made by several more level-headed Christians.)

Comment #36589

Posted by Henry J on June 27, 2005 09:25 PM (e) (s)

Re “(A point that has been made by several more level-headed Christians.)”

Yeah, but are the level headed ones yelling loud enough to get heard?

Henry

Comment #36608

Posted by Fernmonkey on June 28, 2005 09:35 AM (e) (s)

It reminds me of an old argument for the existence of God (and I’m paraphrasing here): “If God is good, is it not better to believe in God than to not believe in God?”

Or: “You may not go to Heaven or Hell if you don’t believe in God, but IF there is a God, your chances of finding everlasting peace and life are greater, thus choose God.”

Ah yes, Pascal’s Wager. I loved Pterry’s take on that…

Comment #36624

Posted by Ric Frost on June 28, 2005 12:14 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #36658

Posted by Frank J on June 28, 2005 07:53 PM (e) (s)

John West, associate director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture wrote:

While it’s frustrating when critics of intelligent design mischaracterize what ID is about, it’s even worse when people billing themselves as friends of ID do the same thing.

John, you had your chance and blew it. A decade ago Michael Behe made it clear that the only promising ID model was strictly old earth and common descent, and sounded honest (to me at least) about his uncertainty that the designer was the Judeo-Christian God, or that caricature god of the creationists. Since then many IDers have made it a point to say “we’re not creationists.” OK, then why haven’t most IDers put their money where their mouths are by giving “equal time” to criticizing creationism - at least the YEC claims that they seem to know are absurd? Or at least emphasizing that Behe’s alternative origins model provides no comfort to YECs or OECs who deny common descent? You know why. You need the political support of the creationists, and there’s no way to do that without framing ID as an alternative to evolution. Yet most of you seem to know that it is not, but at best a complementary unscientific idea. You also seem to know that there’s no connection between your “evidence of design” and the “arguments against evolution” that you ripped off from the creationists. Except of course as a convenient bait-and-switch when the going gets tough. But you continue to pretend otherwise, so this is what you get. Enjoy!

Comment #36761

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on June 30, 2005 06:46 AM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

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Trackback: The Cheap Tuxedo unravels

Posted by Law Evolution Science and Junk Science on June 24, 2005 05:20 PM

Intelligent design has been called “creationism in a cheap tuxedo” John West of the Discovery Institute finds his tuxedo disintegrating. John, spend some money on one and dump that cheap one. He complains that people, for some reason or another

Trackback: Thou Shall Not Take The Name Of Intelligent Design In Vain

Posted by Abnormal Interests on June 24, 2005 09:58 PM

According to John West, Utah State Senator D. Chris Buttars has "hijacked" the word "design" as in "Intelligent Design" and turned it into, of all things, creationism by calling it "Divine Design" and wanting it to be part of Utah...

Trackback: I've got no excuse if I don't get my doctorate

Posted by Doing Things With Words on June 24, 2005 10:15 PM

Shorter Bill Dembski: if we're going to believe something once we have evidence, why shouldn't we believe it without evidence?