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.
That's right. The individual can't make the choices since it was already decided what he would do BEFORE he was born.
You only THINK you are making choices. Actually, God decided those 'choices' for you BEFORE you were born.
You are merely taking sides based on gender, not on any other "principle." Your retort is as childish and it is off point.
I have asked for cogent discussion from "doodle" and have not gotten it. Instead I received what can only be described as willful obtuseness interspersed with ill conceived gobbledygook, and this gobbledygook she has used to literally heckle people on this thread. She in no way meaningfully response to post directed at her.
In any event, it is none of your business.
If you have a substantive point, please make it. Otherwise spare me your "refereeing." It is completely uncalled for and out of line. She is big girl.
Honestly. Talk about rude.
As for you personal opinion of me, I could really care less.
It's a bit worse than that. For an omniscient being, all of time is visible at once. There is no before and after. Existence is created at once, including its past, present and future.
Sounds a lot like the evo crowd here.
You're refering to Calvinism, which is completely wrong. It's a perversion that contradicts what God said in a major, fundamental way. There's no point to anything, especially teaching if you're responsible for nothing anyway. It's a story of puppets and a demented tyrant.
I think you are denying the obvious.
You have to go back and re-address what you mean by "evolution" ~ it's merely change, not progression toward more complexity.
Church group burns Harry Potter books, Shania Twain CDs
Town shrugs at event that brought it infamy
August 6, 2003
BY TAMARA AUDI
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Until this weekend, the small western Michigan town of Greenville had gained modest fame as home to the annual Danish Festival, the first Meijer Thrifty Acres and the world's largest refrigerator factory.
And, as far as anyone knew, it had nothing against the fictional British wizard Harry Potter or the Coneheads.
Which is why, when members of the town's Jesus Non-denominational Church gathered Sunday to burn an eclectic collection of books, CDs and videos, the people of Greenville seemed perplexed.
"What kind of an image are they setting in the community?" asked the Rev. Mark Shaw, senior pastor at Calvary Baptist, another local church. He dismissed the burning as a misguided publicity stunt.
Misguided, perhaps, but effective. The story shot across wire services and the Internet and by Monday afternoon, the friendly town whose Web site touts its summertime performances of the play "Thumbelina," was suddenly infamous for hosting an old-fashioned book-burning.
Disparate items were tossed into the Sunday bonfire: Harry Potter burned alongside copies of the Shania Twain album, "The Woman in Me." A copy of the Dan Aykroyd movie "Coneheads" was thrown into the flames with the Book of Mormon.
The items were connected by a line that only participants could see. None of the books, music or movies promoted God, church members said.
About 50 congregants gathered for the burning. A few said the fire was divinely inspired.
"This was definitely by the Holy Spirit," said Bonnie Conran, a church member.
The church's bishop, the Rev. T.D. Turner Sr., said in a news release that the congregation "will burn Harry Potter books and other witchcraft items to let the world know that there are true followers of Jesus Christ who will not call evil good.
"We at Jesus Non-denominational Church refuse to allow Satan to take the minds of our children," Turner said. "We will do all that is in us to stand and hold up a standard of righteousness and we will win."
"It's important for children to know that Harry Potter is witchcraft," Jill Turner, the bishop's wife, told the Daily News. "It really afflicts their minds."
The church is far from the first to burn copies of Harry Potter. The book has been burned for years by fundamentalist Christian groups.
In 2001, a church in New Mexico burned copies of the book along with Eminem CDs and copies of the movie "Snow White." The same year, a church in suburban Pittsburgh burned Potter books, too.
The burnings often sparked counter-protests from Potter fans and civil rights advocates.
Greenville took a more live-and-let-live approach.
"They can buy books and burn them as long as they choose to burn their own books," said Tara Conaway, director of the Flat River Community Library. "I won't tell them what to read as long as they don't tell me what to read."
The library, which serves Greenville, has copies of the Harry Potter series.
The Rev. Terry Jones, senior pastor of First Congregational Church of Greenville, agreed that members of the Jesus Non-denominational Church have the right to burn books. But he said the Bible has stood the test of time and "can stand on its own."
"We ought not be afraid of any other books or movies or anything of that nature," Jones said. "Harry Potter won't destroy the gospel."
Now, back to Greenville's regularly scheduled programming: The first chess club meet of the year is Aug. 28.
Contact TAMARA AUDI at 313-222-6582 or email@example.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
You seem to think Calvin's God of predestination is the same as Jesus. He is not. Your statement regarding denying the obvious is based on zilch.
Are you saying God does not know what you will be doing tomorrow?
In other words, if we all become athiests, we will be "accepted" by the Left and they won't call us ignorant rubes anymore.
Knowing what will happen is not the same as causing it. The individual's decisions made of Free will are the cause. God does not interfere, else there's no Free will.
Well of course! That explains it!
Christians really ARE the source of every evil in the world!
Archeology, a field that I have immense respect for, strikes me as a sort of "applied historical study" which is richly informed by Science, and in general, the "hard sciences."
Anthropology, a field that I have some real problems with almost seems to me to be a form of literature, a form of literary conjecture, or perhaps a "preliterate philology" of illiterate cultures (an awkward phrase and concept, I know.) One could say that is is a "Social Science" which is, of course, to say that it is not a science at all, at least from my point of view.
I have a lot of trouble with anthropology, but occasionally these people put out some interesting stuff. I am just not sure that we need a "science" called "anthropology to get these writings.