Skip to comments.Future of Conservatism: Darwin or Design? [Human Events goes with ID]
Posted on 12/12/2005 8:01:43 AM PST by PatrickHenry
Occasionally a social issue becomes so ubiquitous that almost everyone wants to talk about it -- even well-meaning but uninformed pundits. For example, Charles Krauthammer preaches that religious conservatives should stop being so darn, well, religious, and should accept his whitewashed version of religion-friendly Darwinism.1 George Will prophesies that disagreements over Darwin could destroy the future of conservatism.2 Both agree that intelligent design is not science.
It is not evident that either of these critics has read much by the design theorists they rebuke. They appear to have gotten most of their information about intelligent design from other critics of the theory, scholars bent on not only distorting the main arguments of intelligent design but also sometimes seeking to deny the academic freedom of design theorists.
In 2001, Iowa State University astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez’s research on galactic habitable zones appeared on the cover of Scientific American. Dr. Gonzalez’s research demonstrates that our universe, galaxy, and solar system were intelligently designed for advanced life. Although Gonzalez does not teach intelligent design in his classes, he nevertheless believes that “[t]he methods [of intelligent design] are scientific, and they don't start with a religious assumption.” But a faculty adviser to the campus atheist club circulated a petition condemning Gonzalez’s scientific views as merely “religious faith.” Attacks such as these should be familiar to the conservative minorities on many university campuses; however, the response to intelligent design has shifted from mere private intolerance to public witch hunts. Gonzalez is up for tenure next year and clearly is being targeted because of his scientific views.
The University of Idaho, in Moscow, Idaho, is home to Scott Minnich, a soft-spoken microbiologist who runs a lab studying the bacterial flagellum, a microscopic rotary engine that he and other scientists believe was intelligently designed -- see "What Is Intelligent Design.") Earlier this year Dr. Minnich testified in favor of intelligent design at the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial over the teaching of intelligent design. Apparently threatened by Dr. Minnich’s views, the university president, Tim White, issued an edict proclaiming that “teaching of views that differ from evolution ... is inappropriate in our life, earth, and physical science courses or curricula.” As Gonzaga University law professor David DeWolf asked in an editorial, “Which Moscow is this?” It’s the Moscow where Minnich’s career advancement is in now jeopardized because of his scientific views.
Scientists like Gonzalez and Minnich deserve not only to be understood, but also their cause should be defended. Conservative champions of intellectual freedom should be horrified by the witch hunts of academics seeking to limit academic freedom to investigate or objectively teach intelligent design. Krauthammer’s and Will’s attacks only add fuel to the fire.
By calling evolution “brilliant,” “elegant,” and “divine,” Krauthammer’s defense of Darwin is grounded in emotional arguments and the mirage that a Neo-Darwinism that is thoroughly friendly towards Western theism. While there is no denying the possibility of belief in God and Darwinism, the descriptions of evolution offered by top Darwinists differ greatly from Krauthammer’s sanitized version. For example, Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins explains that “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” In addition, Krauthammer’s understanding is in direct opposition to the portrayal of evolution in biology textbooks. Says Douglas Futuyma in the textbook Evolutionary Biology:
“By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous.”3
“Evolution in a pure Darwinian world has no goal or purpose: the exclusive driving force is random mutations sorted out by natural selection from one generation to the next. … However elevated in power over the rest of life, however exalted in self-image, we were descended from animals by the same blind force that created those animals. …”5
Mr. Luskin is an attorney and published scientist working with the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Wash.
I would not take this as an indication of where Human Events stands. They run several syndicated columnists.
True. And the Discovery Institute likes to place ID-oriented columns and op ed pieces everywhere it can. I guess only a Human Events editorial will tell us where they stand. So my title for this thread is, perhaps, a bit misleading. Still, the article highlights the division within the Republican party. My hope is that the party doesn't take any official stand for ID (and against science).
If in order for a theory to be correct, its proponents must march in lockstep in their beliefs and interpretations, I would invite the ID proponents to remove the beam from their own eye.
Shrug. These differences of opinion are chickenfeed compared to the differing interpretations of quantum mechanics.
The Discovery Institute blew their chance to be a player by dropping out of the Dover trial. If you don't have an argument that can be presented under oath, you don't have an argument.
Put me down in the former monkey group.
There ought to be room for both points of view in a country that espouses religious freedom.
Wouldn't be surprising. I used to believe "evolution" to be a "scientific fact" until I looked into it myself.
ID has nothing to do with religion, unless you are willing to admit that a lot of people committed perjury at Dover.
Casey Luskin is DI's publicity flak. He's somewhat of a figure of fun over on Panda's Thumb.
American Spectator seems to be lining up on the ID side also. Conservatives in general can line up on either side of the issue, since they tend to be more open-minded, and ID is not part of the conservative orthodoxy. Liberals however must be evolutionists since it is part of their orthodoxy.
And "gay marriage" isn't an "important issue" either.
But the problem is that supporting gay marriage has cost the Dems severely. And if Republicans support ID, it will cost them too.
ID is a wedge issue, not in the way that the Discovery Institute intended (to wedge God into science classes, and from there into the rest of public schools). Instead it will become a political wedge, splitting up the Republican base. When schools do indeed "teach the controversy", ID has been documented to lose, thus there isn't even any gain for religious conservatives for the cost of spliting up the party.
A little experience around ID posts on FR should tell any Republican that this is not a good issue to bring up. There are more important things religious conservatives should concentrate on, such as the war against Christmas, and abortion. ID is a damaging distraction.
I don't see the scandal in having both groups pursue their theories. The same ignorance, that slaughtered any point of view rather than the earth is flat, is at work here with these embarassing witch hunts.
It will be, if articles like this continue. And I will leave the conservative base over it. I refuse to support scientific lies, and that's what ID is.
It will be, if articles like this continue. And I will leave the conservative base over it. I refuse to support scientific lies, and that's what ID is.
Ah, another mote. Why do creationists use science terminology? That seems decidedly sinful. Another beam.
That's because you relied on a few religious sources rather than scientific sources. Religion and science are two entirely different ways of looking at the universe. The Catholic church understands that, and they have chosen not to confront science, after their disaster of Galileo. Todays' crop of IDers haven't yet discovered how badly they are shooting themselves in the foot over this. But they will.
later read/maybe pingout.
You shouldn't rely on mental telepathy for your information. It's not very reliable, or scientific.
No clairvoyance required. I've seen your conclusion, so I know your sources.
Now that the cat is out of the bag on the illusion of morality and ethics, how do we avoid the inevitable nihilism described above? I don't see how. Any variation from it seems to reveal an inconsistency in position.
Given that, I will ask the question I asked a while ago. Why do the atheist/evos care what is taught? Or care about anything for that matter? In that world view, all is vanity and anything that seems to matter is nothing more than "an illusion fobbed on us by our genes to get us to cooperate".
Your first mistake is assuming that atheists and evolution proponents are one-and-the-same. Since you can't get that straight, I think it's a waste of time to comment on the rest.
My advice: Stay and fight for scientific truth. We need the help. Just hold your nose if you have to.
Publications and self-serving politicians have been pandering to the uneducated forever. ID is just the latest example.
No, he's not arguing that the Religiosity of the Conservative Movement should be dropped. He's argued that being taken in by the ID/Creationist whack-jobs will send the Conservative movement so far out into the 'Area-51/Build-a-Burger/Awaiting the Mothership/Scientology/Screwy Louie Nation of Islam' fringe that normal people will either leave or distance themselves from these psychotic Evil infiltrators, thus destroying the Conservative Movement.............Something I've been pounding the table about since I decided to take a stand against these drooling idjits.
As for myself, I'd prefer to stay and fight and NOT let these moronic/ignorant/clowns take over this valuable website.
BTW, remind me never to subscribe to HUMAN EVENTS for giving this clown any forum at all to spew his ignorance.
Because we live in this world and wish to be happy and effective and prosperous in it, and for this purpose, teaching scientific truth as best we understand it is MUCH better than teaching somebody's superstition.
Missed that whole "Theory" part in "Theory of Evolution", eh?
The Republican agenda makers need to understand that when religion takes on science, religion always loses. Always has. Always will.
Karl Rove and his minions need to stay away from this subject like the plague. It is a waste of time, a waste of political capital, and will only empower the Democrats.
The Republicans have done many things right for the last 15 years. I stay with them because they have been right. If Republicans take up the ID fight, they will be wrong. It goes against my craw to support people when they're dead wrong.
I used to believe that antievolutionists might be advancing some valid and valuable criticisms, until I took several antievolution tomes and spent several weeks in a good academic library chasing out the footnotes. (Francis Hitchings The Neck of the Giraffe, Duane Gish's Evolution? The Fossils Say No and Henry Morris' Scientific Creationism, as well as a number of other antievolution works caught up by incestuous footnoting.) The level of dishonesty, and the universal toleration of it within the antievolution movement, was, and remains, shocking.
The only gay thing that is important is lesbians (and only if both chicks are hawt). Tee-hee :)
My post is directed primarily at those who are both atheist and hold to the theory of evolution. I am guessing that the atheist/creation intersection is rather small and can be ignored. That leaves the theist/evolution intersection.
Whether atheist/evo or theist/evo, my question still applies. The only difference between the two will be the manner of gymanastics performed to answer the question.
And you missed the scientific definition of the word "theory".
Evolution is a fact, because it has been demonstrated in many many ways to have acually occured. But evolution is also a theory, in that it is a description of why species change over time.
Gravity is also a scientific "theory" too. And also a fact. My daughter took "Music theory" classes in college. You want to tell me that music is not a "fact"?
ID is very much compatible with the views of those who espouse an almighty Creator. If it is merely a scientific squabble then it should be all the more simple to allow both points of view within a politically conservative tent.
Intellectually (or perhaps psychologically) it's strikingly similar to the way the left clings to the dogma of socialism, long after the old leftist arguments have been refuted. It's the same kind of stubbornness -- "I've got my Truthtm and I'm sticking to it, so take your lousy data and you know where you can stick it."
Just as a point of fact, all liberals are not automatically evolutionists. At least not according to a survey done by The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life:
These differences of opinion carry over into politics as well (see detailed tables on pp. 22-23). Nearly six-in-ten conservative Republicans believe that living things have always existed in their present form, while just 11% say that evolution occurred through natural processes. Among liberal Democrats, by contrast, only 29% hold the creationist position, while a plurality (44%) accepts the natural selection theory of evolution. (emphasis mine)
Are these views compatible with your personal religion?
Michael Denton, author of "Evolution, a Theory in Crisis, has written a new book, "Nature's Destiny," on intelligent Design. In it he says this:
"it is important to emphasize at the outset that the argument presented here is entirely consistent with the basic naturalistic assumption of modern science - that the cosmos is a seamless unity which can be comprehended ultimately in its entirety by human reason and in which all phenomena, including life and evolution and the origin of man, are ultimately explicable in terms of natural processes.
This is an assumption which is entirely opposed to that of the so-called "special creationist school". According to special creationism, living organisms are not natural forms, whose origin and design were built into the laws of nature from the beginning, but rather contingent forms analogous in essence to human artifacts, the result of a series of supernatural acts, involving the suspension of natural law.
Contrary to the creationist position, the whole argument presented here is critically dependent on the presumption of the unbroken continuity of the organic world - that is, on the reality of organic evolution and on the presumption that all living organisms on earth are natural forms in the profoundest sense of the word, no less natural than salt crystals, atoms, waterfalls, or galaxies."
Behe, the chief defence witness at Dover, has this to say about evolution:
I didn't intend to "dismiss" the fossil record--how could I "dismiss" it? In fact I mention it mostly to say that it can't tell us whether or not biochemical systems evolved by a Darwinian mechanism. My book concentrates entirely on Darwin's mechanism, and simply takes for granted common descent.
"Screwy Louie Nation of Islam"
I just snorted coffee through my nose.
I've always appreciated Charles Krauthammer's brilliant commentary, but I agree with Human Events on this one.
The Darwinists tell us that Darwinism has "nothing to do" with religion. That is misleading. Darwinism basically says, "go ahead and believe in God if you wish, but he is absolutely and completely irrelevant to any scientific understanding of the origin of man." Sorry, but that is a very profound anti-religious position whether the evolutionists are willing to admit it publicly or not.
The evolutionists claim that any notion of ID is "unscientific" and "outside the domain of science," then later they claim that ID has been thoroughly refuted by science. That's like a trial in which the judge stipulates a position a priori and prohibits any challenge to it, then later claims that such position was in fact proven. When the premise and the conclusion are the same, what is the value of the conclusion?
The notion that ID is inherently "unscientific" is patent nonsense, and I am frankly amazed at how many evolutionists are confused enough to believe it.
I had two "Current Problems in Evolution" seminars in grad school some years ago. Didn't realize it was such a popular subject. Guess I should consider myself lucky I got registered with so many people interested in the subject.
Since atheists, by definition, believe that mere humans wrote the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, and any number of other religious books, the evidence is that humans have an innate affinity for moral behavior.
Basic morality, at least with regard to theft, assault, fraud , lies, etc. is common throughout human cultures, regardless of any particular faith. Any claims that morality descends solely from the Judeo/Christian God is laughable.
A few of things:
First, happiness, effectiveness and prosperity only exist under the evolutionary illusion. They can be nothing more than natural selections. To assign meaning to them is erroneous.
Second, when you say MUCH better, what is the basis of that value judgement? Much better, how? Evolution is undirected - their is no ultimate goal or purpose. In fact, there is no such thing as "purpose". To suggest otherwise is to purposely forget what has been learned. We could teach students anything and, ultimately, it makes no difference.
If all humans died tomorrow, so what?
I refuse to support scientific lies, and that's what ID is.
I'll go you one better - ID is nothing more than a right-leaning PC. Both seek to re-define words and lower standards to avoid offending a certain group, both involve ignoring facts that don't conform to political dogma.
This PC is just as silly, and just as dangerous, as the original.
A requirement of a scientific idea is that it makes predictions which, if false, will discredit the idea. What experiment, or observation, could disprove ID? If there are none (and none have yet been proposed by the ID advocates), then it's not science.
Thanks for the ping!
The religious right was the religious left. Reagan brought the religious left to the right. I was a Conservative long before that and I will be a Conservative long after the religious jump back to the left.
That would be fine if both were scientific theories, not just theories in the vernacular, as ID is. ID needs to be pushed in the classroom as much as evolution needs to be preached in the Sunday sermon.