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.
Nothing in science is "irrefutable". That's the nature of science. So, the science that supposedly debunked Behe (and I say supposedly because it is clear that if he had been thoroughly debunked he would not still be in the position he is in), and the belief that Dembksi's assumptions were false is irrefutable?
Behe's "Irreducably Comples" writings have been debunked countless times. Dembksi's arguments of probability are based upon faulty assumptions
I honestly do not think so, and based on what you said the nature of science is, I do not believe you think so either. Therefore, in answer to your original question to point to some of the science that is part of ID, I have done so. You simply do not believe it.,
...and that falls right in line with what I have been saying. If a person (through scientific method and their own objective reasoning) has a disposition (or call it faith) to believe it one theory or another, they will look at it from that perspective and...short of absolute, irrefutable fact to the contrary...they will seek to expand it. Same is true on the other side of the equation.
Elements of science and belief are equally used on both sides of this equation IMHO. I still believe that the objective reasoning arguements are stronger for ID...but that is my perspective, disposition and faith in the matter. You are perfectly free to believe otherwise.
The Uncertainty Principle operates even before we are conceived. I suppose God could have created a Universe with rules that allowed perfect prediction, but it seems She created a Universe that provides only for probabilities.
Its obvious that you don't read the posts but have a pre-fab answer
So I'll try to explain for the last time so even you can understand it
Fore knowledge is just the knowledge of an event before it occurs
IT IS NOT planning, interferring or controlling...its just KNOWING
Free will is....just that... free
free adj. fre·er, fre·est
Not imprisoned or enslaved; being at liberty.
Not controlled by obligation or the will of another: felt free to go.
Not subject to arbitrary interference
Not affected or restricted by a given condition or circumstance
Not subject to a given condition
Not subject to external restraint
Costing nothing; gratuitous: a free meal
Publicly supported: free education
Not taken up by scheduled activities
Unobstructed; clear: a free lane.
It won't just be a boon to libs and deadly to conservatives.
If one views our culture from a critical standpoint and forgets politics, it is a kind of return to the Dark Ages.
I am aghast at the ID movement. I am aghast that some conservatives embrace it as the Truth. Because of a Book.
Pre-ordained is to say he is making that decision for me, which is wrong, omniscience is not all-controlling knowledge of a matter does not automatically infer control over it.
As I replied to another fellow here, I know tomorrow the sun will rise, or tonight a metoer will wipe us out, or maybe the sun will be covered by clouds or even raining. Knowing all of these does that mean I have control over them if they happen?
You do not "know" these things as God does. You did not create them and you do not control them. You miss the point. God created man and when he created man he knew what they would do. That is the control. Man has no free will. Free-will would imply that he could change his destiny from that which God thought he knew.
Right. We are all programed robots who have no individual choice.
And all those warnings by God against "sin" are jokes because of course God is the one who programs us and causes all our words and actions.
This of course is a poison doctrine straight from the Devil who hates God and would do anything to smear Him.
No, because science can only deal with the natural.
Or is it specific aspects of ID that you object to?
Those too. For instance, the claim that "irreducibly complex" biochemical systems could not have evolved. That claim is simply false.
But my stongest objections to it are theological. The god of ID is an incompetent engineer, who is constantly coming up with new, flawed designs and then scrapping them.
It's also claiming that God is constantly performing "signs" in his tickering with life. That borders on blasphemy.
That is NOT the God of the Bible.
Until someone can explain how life just magically "began" out of nothing with the ability to duplicate itself, the average person (especially conservatives) will continue to believe that God has a hand in developing and overseeing life on earth, and everything in this universe.
I am of the belief that God created life on earth and continues to have a hand in its development.
Are you saying that God does NOT know what you will do tomorrow?
God created man with a Free will. He gave men the gift of life and the means with which to sustain it for a time on Earth.
The idea that he created sin is bogus. He no more created sin than the person that becomes a father does when he creates a kid, knowing full well the kid will sin. He created the life and gave the person Freedom. god even came to teach, just as any parent does. Each person is responsible for their own acts. The responsibility, or guilt for sin never extends beyond the individual that sins. That's what God holds. See Ezekiel 18 and John 9.
What a charming comment (/sarcasm)
Even if Intellegent design were TRUE and Darwinism false, I understand the Atuhor's point that the left will use conservatives belief in it to their political advantage.
You hit the nail on the head on why the creos are fearful of science and what science may find ...
I guess you can take the chance and find out after you die but then of course its too late then for a change of heart
Now, turn to the Buddha. He achieved enlightenment while seated, drowsing, ad a vine grew up to shade him from the Sun.
There's very little about God, or even gods, motivating Buddha to pursue enlightenment ~ on the other hand, we have hundreds of what are purported to be his sermons.
The two stories, Jonah, and the origins of Buddhism, fit together like Ying and Yang.
Do not be so hasty to dismiss this religion from the category of those with a legitimate origin.
uh, would a father sire a kid knowing he would grow up to be the BTK killer? God did.
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