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.
No. "Intelligent design" is the claim that certain things, like bacterial flagella or the blood clotting mechanism are too complex to have evolved through Darwinian processes. In other words, it is anti-Darwinian.
It is not to be confused with the philosophical belief that God designed the universe so that intelligent life would evolve. Nor is it to be confused with the belief that God designed through the use of natural processes, like mutation and natural selection.
It is actually the assertion that man's orgin required SUPERNATURAL intervention, and further, that this can be scientifically demonstrated.
It is, of course, pure garbage.
A lot of people think it does.
Your problem, with your crackpot theory, is that you don't realize how many scientists have said there MUST be some form of intelligent design. Some of them ex-atheists, some from Hindu and Buddhist faiths, and even some among what's termed "new agers." So many from so many different walks of life, the majority of which are NOT Christians, have said the same thing based on the scientific evidence.
Add another billionth to the fraction to get in the ballpark. The universe of the Big Bang with inflation is so much bigger than the Hubble volume that the Hubble volume could be overlooked as nothing more than a grain of sand in the entire earth. The universe can look flat when such a microscopic portion is looked at by itself.
Who cares what they think? They already call conservative crackpots.
What does this writer want? Popularity? Geez.
Sorry, but I'll take my chances looking like a crackpot. Calling people like Michael Denton and Michael Behe "crackpots" basically makes anybody doing such namecalling look like an idiot in my book.
Do they drive German cars? Or Japanese cars? Or even 55 Chevys, or mega-hp pickups?
They must understand what design is, and how much work goes in achieving it.
If one of our Mars rovers discovers a city on Mars are scientists going to assume that the rocks "evolved" into the buildings, or will they see that an intelligent design took place?
I'd bet on the latter.
Most people think both ID and evolution should be taught and debated in school. So this whole argument is bogus.
Nope. What makes you a crackpot is disbelieving the scientific evidence for evolution. And yes, you can believe in all three things: God, evolution, and the Bible.
Do your own legwork. References are there is you want to find them. Looking might open your mind a little, in fact.
We do, and looking at the redundant kludged together trash that we can already see in DNA, we know that only a halfwit godling could have designed that.
I believe in God.
I believe that if God had designed life, rather than letting it happen at random, he would have done a much better job.
I do not believe in an incompetent God.
You are wrong. ID says the laws of physics are insufficient to govern the world. Science has not found that to be the case, even in the very least. The proponents of ID are charlitan preachers, not scientists.
Darwin himself considered evolution to be opposed to Christianity and the Bible;
"I had gradually come by this time (i.e. 1836 to 1839) to see the Old Testament, from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rain-bow as a sign, &c., &c., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian....
....Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true."
Stop waiting---it's been done.
The ultimate promise of bioscience is perfect health in perpetual youth. Even if it's not overtly acknowledged, that is always whispering just beneath the surface. You don't think "the public" will care about that??
Oh yeah this is good for conservatism, another smartass with half a loaf making stupid statements to support fallacious claims. ID'rs for the most part do not seek to replace the ToE with ID, most accept evolution small e as fact. For this author to misunderstand this renders him incapable of opining on what is or isn't good for "conservatives".
His implying that opposing the state ordered death of Teri Schiavo and opposing spending school time discussing the different methods of putting a prophylactic on a banana somehow plays into the hands of the lunatic left is itself lunacy.
"ID as it is typically presented has no religious overtones, though you'll usually find that those pushing it are trying to secretly push a religious agenda."
And what kind of agenda are the evos pushing????
No, actually they are not. The only difference is that the ID'ers are getting more press since they have organized and started making noises like scientists (despite the absolute non-scientific nature of ID).
Yeah, just skip Genesis and anything else you don't agree with.
The terms "micro-evolution" and "macro-evolution" are pure inventions of the creationists. No such distinction exists in science. There is ONLY "evolution".
That's not the sense in which the term "intelligent design" is commonly used today, unfortunately. It has come to mean the assertion that life cannot have evolved in through Darwinian processes, and further, that this can be scientifically demonstrated.
Which is really a shame, because it is perfectly reasonable to hold to a philosophical view that the universe was intelligently designed, that all its laws and constants were set "just right" so as to allow for the volution of man. There's nothing in this view offensive to modern science. Now, however, thanks to crackpots like Behe, there is really no good label for this perfectly respectable philosophical view.
If they think that, they are ignorant of both theology and science.
ID and creationism are worse theology than they are science.
Not at all. Genesis is one of the richest books in the Bible, and no, it does not conflict with evolution.
The problem is the MSM only shows the crackpots. They will NEVER show the reasoned person who says "god did it this way" or "this is how nature works but the hand of god is there somewhere."
They will only show the wacko who says the BAAAAAHBLE said creation was a week ago tuesday and there never were dinosaaaaaauze.
If it was not evolution, the left would use the abnormal fact that conservatives believe in monogamy, they would use as abnormal that conservatives believe in democracy and are against communism. They just need a whipping post for conservatives.
So where is Noah's nuclear powered ship?
Give it up . . . the rabid Darwinists - liberal or "conservative" - will always fight any idea that could mean man is not the center of the universe and end-all-be-all of our big-bang/primodial-soup-generated existence.
God forgive us.
He's also not alone. Many other conservatives are against this intelligent design nonsense. George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Jonah Goldberg, even the President's sceince advisor.
Soitainly! It's just Natural Selection
Life definitely could not have evolved through Darwinian processes, that should be self evident. The diversity of life is another story.
If ID has no religious overtones, they will find this creation story as good as any other. But, don't wait up for that to happen!
People did not always live on the surface of the earth. At one time people and animals lived underneath the earth with Kaang, the Great Master and Lord of All Life. In this place people and animals lived together peacefully. They understood each other. No one ever wanted for anything and it was always light even though there wasn't any sun. During this time of bliss Kaang began to plan the wonders he would put in the world above.
First Kaang created a wondrous tree, with branches stretching over the entire country. At the base of the tree he dug a hole that reached all the way down into the world where the people and animals lived. After he had finished furnishing the world as he pleased he led the first man up the hole. He sat down on the edge of the hole and soon the first woman came up out of it. Soon all the people were gathered at the foot of the tree, awed by the world they had just entered. Next, Kaang began helping the animals climb out of the hole. In their eagerness some of the animals found a way to climb up through the tree's roots and come out of the branches. They continued racing out of the world beneath until all of the animals were out.
Kaang gathered all the people and animals about him. He instructed them to live together peacefully. Then he turned to the men and women and warned them not to build any fires or a great evil would befall them. They gave their word and Kaang left to where he could watch his world secretly.
As evening approached the sun began to sink beneath the horizon. The people and animals stood watching this phenomenon, but when the sun disappeared fear entered the hearts of the people. They could no longer see each other as they lacked the eyes of the animals which were capable of seeing in the dark. They lacked the warm fur of the animals also and soon grew cold. In desperation one man suggested that they build a fire to keep warm. Forgetting Kaang's warning they disobeyed him. They soon grew warm and were once again able to see each other.
However the fire frightened the animals. They fled to the caves and mountains and ever since the people broke Kaang's command people have not been able to communicate with animals. Now fear has replaced the seat friendship once held between the two groups.
It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble.
The "bleeding edge of science" is more commonly known as "The Fringe" (UFOs, ESP, Crypto-zoology, Cold Fusion) - it finds acorns rarer than a blind pig
Noah's ark did not require nuclear, it was directed by the Heavenly Hand.
Oh just for what it is worth I am not one of those who think this whole earth was flooded during Noah's flood, might have been but right now I rather doubt it.
The flooding of this earth happened before man was created in the flesh as told by Jeremiah, talking about the sottish children!
So maybe your version is wrong and theirs is correct?
GOD created life in the form of complex biological organisms - animals of all sorts and humans - not some soup for us to "evolve" from. Read Genesis again.
That said, the process of "natural selection" obviously works within the "kind" (see Genesis again). Darwin took a valid, provable scientific theory and intentionally and deceitfully applied it in much too broad a scenario. What a crock of crap macro-evolution is!
That's right. Their claim is that the laws of physics are insufficient to govern the world. They ignore what God said about the matter:
Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you." He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
Funny, I read the Bible as saying the Earth "brought forth" life (Gen 1:11). Sounds just like life emerging from soup.
That said, the process of "natural selection" obviously works within the "kind" (see Genesis again).
Please define "kind," and please cite for me a Bible verse that says one "kind" cannot evolve into another "kind."
It's amazing what a little seed money from The Reverend Moon has accomplished (George Soros should take lessons)
Note that the use of the term "must account" sounds like they are not quite sure yet. :-)
When you fear your opponent's hyperbole, you've lost before you entered into battle. Hint, most of us on the ID side are not "anti-science".
Most of those who are ignorant about science somehow managed to arrive there having gone through the standard fare of science instruction, ToE included, anything & everything resembling ID excluded. How or why do you think that has happened?