Skip to comments.How Intelligent Design Hurts Conservatives (By making us look like crackpots)
Posted on 08/18/2005 5:17:34 PM PDT by curiosity
The appeal of "intelligent design" to the American right is obvious. For religious conservatives, the theory promises to uncover God's fingerprints on the building blocks of life. For conservative intellectuals in general, it offers hope that Darwinism will yet join Marxism and Freudianism in the dustbin of pseudoscience. And for politicians like George W. Bush, there's little to be lost in expressing a skepticism about evolution that's shared by millions.
In the long run, though, intelligent design will probably prove a political boon to liberals, and a poisoned chalice for conservatives. Like the evolution wars in the early part of the last century, the design debate offers liberals the opportunity to portray every scientific battle--today, stem-cell research, "therapeutic" cloning, and end-of-life issues; tomorrow, perhaps, large-scale genetic engineering--as a face-off between scientific rigor and religious fundamentalism. There's already a public perception, nurtured by the media and by scientists themselves, that conservatives oppose the "scientific" position on most bioethical issues. Once intelligent design runs out of steam, leaving its conservative defenders marooned in a dinner-theater version of Inherit the Wind, this liberal advantage is likely to swell considerably.
And intelligent design will run out of steam--a victim of its own grand ambitions. What began as a critique of Darwinian theory, pointing out aspects of biological life that modification-through-natural-selection has difficulty explaining, is now foolishly proposed as an alternative to Darwinism. On this front, intelligent design fails conspicuously--as even defenders like Rick Santorum are beginning to realize--because it can't offer a consistent, coherent, and testable story of how life developed. The "design inference" is a philosophical point, not a scientific theory: Even if the existence of a designer is a reasonable inference to draw from the complexity of, say, a bacterial flagellum, one would still need to explain how the flagellum moved from design to actuality.
And unless George W. Bush imposes intelligent design on American schools by fiat and orders the scientific establishment to recant its support for Darwin, intelligent design will eventually collapse--like other assaults on evolution that failed to offer an alternative--under the weight of its own overreaching.
If liberals play their cards right, this collapse could provide them with a powerful rhetorical bludgeon. Take the stem-cell debate, where the great questions are moral, not scientific--whether embryonic human life should be created and destroyed to prolong adult human life. Liberals might win that argument on the merits, but it's by no means a sure thing. The conservative embrace of intelligent design, however, reshapes the ideological battlefield. It helps liberals cast the debate as an argument about science, rather than morality, and paint their enemies as a collection of book-burning, Galileo-silencing fanatics.
This would be the liberal line of argument anyway, even without the controversy surrounding intelligent design. "The president is trapped between religion and science over stem cells," declared a Newsweek cover story last year; "Religion shouldn't undercut new science," the San Francisco Chronicle insisted; "Leadership in 'therapeutic cloning' has shifted abroad," the New York Times warned, because American scientists have been "hamstrung" by "religious opposition"--and so on and so forth. But liberalism's science-versus-religion rhetoric is only likely to grow more effective if conservatives continue to play into the stereotype by lining up to take potshots at Darwin.
Already, savvy liberal pundits are linking bioethics to the intelligent design debate. "In a world where Koreans are cloning dogs," Slate's Jacob Weisberg wrote last week, "can the U.S. afford--ethically or economically--to raise our children on fraudulent biology?" (Message: If you're for Darwin, you're automatically for unfettered cloning research.) Or again, this week's TNR makes the pretty-much-airtight "case against intelligent design"; last week, the magazine called opponents of embryo-destroying stem cell research "flat-earthers." The suggested parallel is obvious: "Science" is on the side of evolution and on the side of embryo-killing.
Maureen Dowd, in her inimitable way, summed up the liberal argument earlier this year:
Exploiting God for political ends has set off powerful, scary forces in America: a retreat on teaching evolution, most recently in Kansas; fights over sex education . . . a demonizing of gays; and a fear of stem cell research, which could lead to more of a "culture of life" than keeping one vegetative woman hooked up to a feeding tube.
Terri Schiavo, sex education, stem cell research--on any issue that remotely touches on science, a GOP that's obsessed with downing Darwin will be easily tagged as medieval, reactionary, theocratic. And this formula can be applied to every new bioethical dilemma that comes down the pike. Earlier this year, for instance, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued ethical guidelines for research cloning, which blessed the creation of human-animal "chimeras"--animals seeded with human cells. New York Times reporter Nicholas Wade, writing on the guidelines, declared that popular repugnance at the idea of such creatures is based on "the pre-Darwinian notion that species are fixed and penalties [for cross-breeding] are severe." In other words, if you're opposed to creating pig-men--carefully, of course, with safeguards in place (the NAS guidelines suggested that chimeric animals be forbidden from mating)--you're probably stuck back in the pre-Darwinian ooze with Bishop Wilberforce and William Jennings Bryan.
There's an odd reversal-of-roles at work here. In the past, it was often the right that tried to draw societal implications from Darwinism, and the left that stood against them. And for understandable reasons: When people draw political conclusions from Darwin's theory, they're nearly always inegalitarian conclusions. Hence social Darwinism, hence scientific racism, hence eugenics.
Which is why however useful intelligent design may be as a rhetorical ploy, liberals eager to claim the mantle of science in the bioethics battle should beware. The left often thinks of modern science as a child of liberalism, but if anything, the reverse is true. And what scientific thought helped to forge--the belief that all human beings are equal--scientific thought can undermine as well. Conservatives may be wrong about evolution, but they aren't necessarily wrong about the dangers of using Darwin, or the National Academy of Sciences, as a guide to political and moral order.
What about the section immediately following "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."? You know, that little piece that explains the how's and why's ~ to wit: "The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters."
Looks pretty much like a formless, void and dark "soup" of some kind ~ maybe even a "deep soup".
Could be all sorts of things come out of that ~ maybe the Universe itself.
at least the ID people are looking and asking the questions . . .
That's not true. You've been sold a bill of goods by people who collect millions of dollars from donors who are fervent believers in creationism and are willing to push their belief with their money.
Look up the "Discovery Institute". Their money comes from the moonies, and a large donor that thinks the US Constitution needs to be replaced by a Christian theocracy. No joke.
Anything can be sold with enough money. Even junk science.
I agree. Intelligent Design may not be science (does anyone claim it IS science), but that doesn't make it wrong. There are many versions of intelligenct design, many of which are not inconsistent with evolutionary theories.
By the way, where are we in providing examples of inter-species evolution?
"The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters."
Dig deeper the verb "was" is not the correct verb, should be "became", was not created that way "formless and void".
Isaiah 45:18 is second witness for it not being created in vain.
I personally don't care if believing in the Lord my Savior makes me look silly to a bunch of heathen immoral liberals. They have their own afterlife to contend with, I have mine.
Yes, and that's preciesely the problem. If it was merely a philosophical outlook, then there would be nothing wrong with it.
Random mutation, natural selection and heritability all require life as a prerequisite. Life itself could not have evolved through Darwinian processes.
Accepting Jesus as Lord has nothing to do with it. Rejecting the evidence He left us in His creation is what makes you a crackpot.
There is no conflict between Christianity and evolution.
I should hope not!
Evolution itself suffers from the same mix. Most every scientist believes in evolution (slow change) and the process of natural selection within species. We see evidence of it within species all the time. However, the theory of evolution that living organisms and systems evolved from simplicity to complexity over millions/billions of years is not axiomatic. In fact, it is problematic. Again, serious scientists don't doubt the fact that evolution within species has and does occur. Many things about Darwin's original work and the work of scientists building and expanding upon his original theses has expanded our understanding of how things and systems work. However, there are reasonable, bright, sincere, brilliant, competent and serious scientists that question the idea that the theory of evolution explains the origin of species from a root specie or cell or whatever.
Of course, though, you have double the religious fervor of the most strident and dogmatic fundamentalist organization visited upon you if you should ever point this out to the cultic evolutionists. Their entire identity and paradigm of existence is threatened by reasoned questioning and debate regarding the fundamental problems the Darwin theory has had and that has been pointed out for at least the forty plus years of serious literature I have read.
A couple of almost throwaway lines Bush uttered has caused an earthquake. It smacks of a transparent insecurity inherent in people who have their faith in flawed scientific theory and flawed social theory.
To all the hullabaloo, I say "good". It's about time we start back up a debate about the origin of species. There may be flaws in the curriculum as being proposed in Kansas. I don't know, I haven't read it myself. However, I am willing to bet money it isn't nearly as flawed as the hogwash being proported by the cult who have their faith in the God of evolution.
It's not believing in the Lord that makes one look stupid, it's trashing science with fake posts in support of creationism/ID/YE.
You are right; however, only as long as it stays on the fringe and out of sight/out of mind, if it becomes a big issue we will be burned by it.
Look what happened in Kansas the 1st time they tried this §¶ back in 1999, the Democrats ran against the Republican school board members on a pro-evolution platform and won. It was only this year that the Republicans regained control and apparently they haven't learned.
So if this mythology posing as science doesn't fly in Kansas it's certainly not going fly in the rest of the country.
How many blue states do you think we will turn with this BS? You can most certainly forget about ever getting Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire or Wisconsin back to our side.
Meanwhile we will probably end up losing Colorado & Nevada and possibly Florida and Ohio.
Yes, and they make up something like 0.0001% of all scientists. Get real.
Someone showed that there are more biologists named "Steve" than there are scientists from all disciplines who question evolution.
In both cases Panspermia's advocates say there's simply not enough evidence to demonstrate that life could originate on Earth given that it is so small and inconsequential, or that the mutations necessary for evolution can occur in such a limited environment as is available on Earth.
There are, of course, variations on those points of view.
Panspermia happens to be consistent with the traditional view which has God bringing life to Earth from other sources. It is not, however, consistent with the geocentrism inherent in current evolutionary theories which require that everything take place on Earth. Further, it is not consistent with the traditionalist viewpoint that Earth was created only a few thousand years ago.
Presumably, someday, we'll understand enough about life to figure out how it works.
You must be new to these threads ...
St Augustine of Hippo could see the problem with it.
(Actually that's a problem with the CreatioID community - like their founder Ellen G White, they are revolutionary believers, not traditionalists)