Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Intelligent Design-o-metrics Part Deux

Denyse O'Leary has a bizarre attempt at something almost recognizable as sarcasm over at UD (which lately stands for Usually Down.) She is bolstering Dembski's attempt to use snarkiness as a response to mockery. In this case he was being mocked on several fronts for his ID business conference. Oh, in case you just thought it was an ID conference aimed at business that invited Bill to speak, he set the record straight. Never missing an opportunity to toot his own horn, Dembski writes:

Steve Reuland is all breathless over a conference I'm putting together on intelligent design in business

So it is a conference that Dembski is putting together, and Dembski has invited Dembski. The universe makes sense.

Bill: you already show an appalling lack of business savvy: In business writing 101 you are taught: Always use we, never use I. This is also the norm in academic writing—where in a paper with a single author you typically read statements such as: we have demonstrated… (My thesis advisor taught me that.)

Writing like a distinguished theology professor, he adds:

Get used to it: ID is going every place that Darwinism has gotten its fetid little fingers.

Now, I know of WD's need for validation firsthand, from threats on the listserv he moderates (at least as of when I was banned), threats to the effect that if the little people don't start behaving the few actually important ID people will leave and start their own, super-private listserv. Because, that's how science is done: behind closed doors and without dissent.

Anyway, back to Denyse. She continued what is now a trend on UD, started by Dembski, to bash the Christians/Scientists at the American Scientific Affiliation. (With Dembski making what, in his mind, must be the most terrifying threat of all: to resign from the ASA. In an act of pure Christian Charity, he refrained from invoking the death sentence.) Denyse writes:

The ASA division continues to underperform. In retrospect, that was not a wise acquisition. It seems that no one cares much about scientists who claim to be religious but don't think the universe shows evidence of intelligent design.

No Denyse, that's not quite right, is it? All the ASA members I know have a position that I share, in fact the historic position of believing scientists: The universe does show evidence of intelligent design, but that interpretation is subjective—science can uncover the evidence (such as cosmological fine tuning), but science cannot prove the conclusion. It can, however, comfort believers.

The real reasons for UD's opposition to the ASA are twofold: 1) The ASA does not kowtow to the emperor; it refuses to unilaterally endorse ID as science and 2) The ASA criticizes YEC science which, in the ID community, is the unpardonable sin: an attack on the "big tent." The UDers attempt to obfuscate reason one, their petty anger over some ASA members questioning the scientific validity of ID (and, by extension, the scientific contributions of Wells and Dembski,) by pretending that the only reason they're upset with the ASA (a group of Christians) is that they criticize the YECs (another group of Christians.) Apart from the lack of concern for pot-kettle-blackness of biblical proportions, and apart from the fact that believers are supposed to criticize fellow believers (when appropriate,) an explanation as to what this all has to do in an allegedly scientific debate is conspicuously absent.


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