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Future of Conservatism: Darwin or Design? [Human Events goes with ID]
Human Events ^ | 12 December 2005 | Casey Luskin

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

Thus when Krauthammer thrashes the Kansas State Board of Education for calling Neo-Darwinian evolution “undirected,” it seems that it is Kansas -- not Krauthammer -- who has been reading the actual textbooks.

Moreover, by preaching Darwinism, Krauthammer is courting the historical enemies of some of his own conservative causes. Krauthammer once argued that human beings should not be subjected to medical experimentation because of their inherent dignity: “Civilization hangs on the Kantian principle that human beings are to be treated as ends and not means.”4 About 10 years before Krauthammer penned those words, the American Eugenics Society changed its name to the euphemistic “Society for the Study of Social Biology.” This “new” field of sociobiology, has been heavily promoted by the prominent Harvard sociobiologist E.O. Wilson. In an article titled, “The consequences of Charles Darwin's ‘one long argument,’” Wilson writes in the latest issue of Harvard Magazine:

“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

This view of “scientific humanism” implies that our alleged undirected evolutionary origin makes us fundamentally undifferentiated from animals. Thus Wilson elsewhere explains that under Neo-Darwinism, “[m]orality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. … [E]thics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed on us by our genes to get us to cooperate.”6

There is no doubt that Darwinists can be extremely moral people. But E.O. Wilson’s brave new world seems very different from visions of religion and morality-friendly Darwinian sugerplums dancing about in Krauthammer’s head.

Incredibly, Krauthammer also suggests that teaching about intelligent design heaps “ridicule to religion.” It’s time for a reality check. Every major Western religion holds that life was designed by intelligence. The Dalai Lama recently affirmed that design is a philosophical truth in Buddhism. How could it possibly denigrate religion to suggest that design is scientifically correct?

At least George Will provides a more pragmatic critique. The largest float in Will’s parade of horribles is the fear that the debate over Darwin threatens to split a political coalition between social and fiscal conservatives. There is no need to accept Will’s false dichotomy. Fiscal conservatives need support from social conservatives at least as much as social conservatives need support from them. But in both cases, the focus should be human freedom, the common patrimony of Western civilization that is unintelligible under Wilson’s scientific humanism. If social conservatives were to have their way, support for Will’s fiscal causes would not suffer.

The debate over biological origins will only threaten conservative coalitions if critics like Will and Krauthammer force a split. But in doing so, they will weaken a coalition between conservatives and the public at large.

Poll data show that teaching the full range of scientific evidence, which both supports and challenges Neo-Darwinism, is an overwhelmingly popular political position. A 2001 Zogby poll found that more than 70% of American adults favor teaching the scientific controversy about Darwinism.7 This is consistent with other polls which show only about 10% of Americans believe that life is the result of purely “undirected” evolutionary processes.8 If George Will thinks that ultimate political ends should be used to force someone’s hand, then I call his bluff: design proponents are more than comfortable to lay our cards of scientific evidence (see "What Is Intelligent Design") and popular support out on the table.

But ultimately it’s not about the poll data, it’s about the scientific data. Regardless of whether critics like Krauthammer have informed themselves on this issue, and no matter how loudly critics like Will tout that “evolution is a fact,” there is still digital code in our cells and irreducibly complex rotary engines at the micromolecular level.

At the end of the day, the earth still turns, and the living cell shows evidence of design.

1 See Charles Krauthammer, “Phony Theory, False Conflict,” Washington Post, Friday, November 18, 2005, pg. A23.
2 See George Will, “Grand Old Spenders,” Washington Post, Thursday, November 17, 2005; Page A31.
3 Douglas Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology (1998, 3rd Ed., Sinauer Associates), pg. 5.
4 Quoted in Pammela Winnick “A Jealous God,” pg. 74; Charles Krauthammer “The Using of Baby Fae,” Time, Dec 3, 1984.
5 Edward O. Wilson, "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's ‘one long argument’" Harvard Magazine, Nov-December, 2005.
6 Michael Ruse and E. O. Wilson "The Evolution of Ethics" in Religion and the Natural Sciences, the Range of Engagement, (Harcourt Brace, 1993).
7 See
8 See Table 2.2 from Karl W. Giberson & Donald A Yerxa, Species of Origins America’s Search for a Creation Story (Rowman & Littlefield 2002) at page 54.

Mr. Luskin is an attorney and published scientist working with the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Wash.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevolist; humanevents; moralabsolutes; mythology; pseudoscience
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To: RussP
"Don't bother replying. If you do, please understand that I have no time to reply to your pedantic nonsense"

Apparently you have no time for serious threats to your world view either

381 posted on 12/12/2005 5:50:49 PM PST by b_sharp (Science adjusts theories to fit evidence, creationism distorts evidence to fit the Bible.)
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To: editor-surveyor
Evidently you missed the word "IF" at the beginning of that sentence. Clearly I don't believe that's the case.

Look again at the post I was answering. He was insinuating that the diversity of opinion among educated people was a sign of weakness. I was pointing out that the diversity is even stronger among the superstitious.

382 posted on 12/12/2005 5:53:38 PM PST by Physicist
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To: aNYCguy
I'll join the rest of this forum in attempting to spell this out for you: Making the claim that something will NOT be observed is NOT sufficient to make a scientific theory falsifiable.

I wouldn't go so far. There are a few "impossible observations" that serve as criteria for evolution; the theory predicts that precambrian rabbit fossils will never be observed, for one.

The problem here lies in the alleged falsification criteria hinging upon the claim that ID can only occur if evolution is impossible, which is itself a strange and unsupported assertion. If it is true that ID cannot occur if common descent can occur, then there are observations that, if made, would falsify ID, however thus far there's no logical argument for postulating that the possibility of common descent occuring makes ID impossible.
383 posted on 12/12/2005 5:54:25 PM PST by Dimensio ( <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: jwalsh07; Right Wing Professor
"Altruism means acting for the other." RWP

"No it doesn't. You destroy the meaning of the word by omitting the word selfless which is well, Orwellian." Jwalsh07

Acting for the *other* is the definition of selfless.

As an aside, I am against any act that is *selfless*. That's another issue. :)
384 posted on 12/12/2005 5:54:42 PM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: longshadow
More than you ever dreamed of knowing: Time Cube (Wikipedia article).
385 posted on 12/12/2005 5:55:12 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, common scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: b_sharp
"Morality can be an evolutionary advantage or disadvantage and if only the force of natural selection were in play, it should have been selected out long ago. Why?

I'll guess that you agree that morality or immorality if you will can be both advantageous or disadvantageous. That would seem self evident. So the why must be directed at should morality have been selected out. I can offer you any number of examples along the line of the strong sacrificing themselves for the weak in opposition to natural selection.

We are still social animals, which is the reason it was selected for in the first place.

You assert that morality was selected for. Presumably you have some proof other than sociobiologic hypotheses or evolutionary psychobabble?

Take a look at kin selection.

Why? You'll have to expand on this, I don't follow.

Certainly. Winnowing of the gene pool by immoral acts of man. Expanding the gene pool by moral acts of man providing and caring for those who would be naturally selected out. Unintelligent design and intelligent design.

Not if you consider the reason morals were selected for in the first place.

:-} I like you sharp but you're gonna have to back up these kinds of assertions and you'll have to do better than "reciprocal altruism".

386 posted on 12/12/2005 5:56:16 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: CarolinaGuitarman
Acting for the *other* is the definition of selfless.

Really? You have just sent untold lawyers to the poor house. Now that may not be a bad thing but it certainly puts the kabosh on your definition of altruism.

387 posted on 12/12/2005 5:58:17 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: jwalsh07
"Really? You have just sent untold lawyers to the poor house. Now that may not be a bad thing but it certainly puts the kibosh on your definition of altruism."

How? Altruism is a selfless philosophy. Acting for the *other* is selfless, and the epitome of altruism. Please explain my error.
388 posted on 12/12/2005 6:00:54 PM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: CarolinaGuitarman

Lawyers act for another, the other if you will. Acting for the other does not assert non reciprocity, so to speak. The lawyer acts for the other for one third of the proceeds in personal injury cases. An altruistic act? Certainly not. So when you leave out the word selfless you destroy the meaning of the word altruism.

389 posted on 12/12/2005 6:05:38 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: CarolinaGuitarman

I'm out for now but I always come back, be it for good or not so good, depending on your vantage point. Adios.

390 posted on 12/12/2005 6:06:57 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: All
Future of Conservatism: Darwin or Design?

The future of political conservatism will not be impacted by this, either way, nor should it be.

391 posted on 12/12/2005 6:07:54 PM PST by NewLand (Posting against liberalism since the 20th century!)
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To: PatrickHenry
More than you ever dreamed of knowing: Time Cube (Wikipedia article).

Boy, it must frost your ass for you and your faithful mascot, Plato the Platy, to labor dilligently in obscurity in your basement laBORatory on your anti-Gravity machine whilst wackjobs like Gene Ray get this sort of publicity in Wikpedia, and is even invited to speak at academic institutions like MIT.

392 posted on 12/12/2005 6:09:05 PM PST by longshadow
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To: jwalsh07
"Lawyers act for another, the other if you will."

Altruism is acting for the other when acting for the other will hurt you. It's a self sacrifice. Lawyers are NOT self sacrificial.

"So when you leave out the word selfless you destroy the meaning of the word altruism."

But I have NOT left out the word *selfless*. I specifically said that altruism is a selfless act. Here is what I said,

"Altruism is a selfless philosophy. Acting for the *other* is selfless, and the epitome of altruism."

So where did I define altruism incorrectly?
393 posted on 12/12/2005 6:10:23 PM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: jwalsh07

"I'm out for now but I always come back, be it for good or not so good, depending on your vantage point. Adios."

Coming back is always good, or else I would be talking to myself. :)

394 posted on 12/12/2005 6:12:16 PM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: jwalsh07; b_sharp
I can offer you any number of examples along the line of the strong sacrificing themselves for the weak in opposition to natural selection.

Maybe you're just not expressing yourself clearly enough, but your statement as written is trivially incorrect.

First, you seem to think that "the strong sacrificing themselves for the weak" is some sort of contradiction to natural selection, and the reason for this seems to be the common misunderstanding of "survival of the fittest" as "survival of the *strongest*" (which it is not) at the *expsense* of the weak (which it is not).

Second, a mother animal sacrificing herself to save her children is certainly an example of "the strong sacrificing themselves for the weak", and yet not only is it hardly the "opposition to natural selection" you claim, it is actually a *classic* example of evolutionary "selfishness" -- protecting the perpetuation of one's genes.

Do you have any examples that aren't so vaguely overgeneralized as to be obviously fallacious?

Furthermore, make sure that any new examples you might offer don't fall under the evolutionary instinct of "kin selection". Note also that the instincts of kin selection also apply to sacrificing oneself for other members of a close-knit group, for a variety of reasons.

If you're looking for examples of counter-survival morality, you'd do best looking elsewhere than the variations on "protecting the tribe" which you've been unsuccessfully mining so far.

395 posted on 12/12/2005 6:12:36 PM PST by Ichneumon
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MNF placemark

396 posted on 12/12/2005 6:13:03 PM PST by dread78645 (Sorry Mr. Franklin, We couldn't keep it.)
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To: Stultis
Stultis, I like your tagline.

I haven't read Hitchings, Gish, or Morris. I have read other critics of evolutionary orthodoxy: Johnson, Wells, Behe, Cremo & Thompson, and Milton. So, it seems our Venn diagrams don't intersect. I found the authors that I read to be very knowledgeable. This is contrary to claim of some that these men are "ignorant." Nor do I have any reason to question their honesty. But thanks for the citations and opinion. It seems there is a "The Fossils Say No" and a "The Fossils Say Yes." Maybe that would be a good set to read sometime. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
397 posted on 12/12/2005 6:14:51 PM PST by ChessExpert (Democrats: Sore/Losermen 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012)
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To: Fester Chugabrew

Is the explaination any more than just "intelligence did it"?

398 posted on 12/12/2005 6:19:57 PM PST by bobdsmith
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To: Antonello; RussP
My theory says that pigs fly ... but only when no one is looking.

I call it Intelligent Aerodynampigs.

399 posted on 12/12/2005 6:22:35 PM PST by Gumlegs
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To: betty boop
[ Need I point out that every single "metaphysical naturalist" alive is a "closeted philosopher?" Who simultaneously claims for himself the "objectivity" of a scientist? ]

Evolution(and various iterations of it) carried back to the ultimate source would be the earth itself, wouldnt it?..

And would be responsible for the "Spontaneous Humanation"(I just made that up).. of our species on this planet.. Or am I missing something.?.

If so then the Spontaneous Humanation of awareness beyond consciousness that could invent a God let alone inventing philosophies that would deny that God looks like a Chinese Fire Drill to me..

Did I get myself all confused on this?.. Help?.. Its so confusing.. I'm having trouble dealing with the possibility I'm a parasite on a little blue planet using resources that are in fact my father.. its so cannibalistic..

(basically rhetorical screed displaying, "Who's yo Daddy")

400 posted on 12/12/2005 6:24:14 PM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole..)
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