Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dissing ID

Opponents of ID have an array of weaponry at their disposal unrelated to scientific evidence. One of them is scorn spawned by intellectual arrogance. Two blog entries, one by Mike Gene of Telic Thoughts and the other by William Dembski from Uncommon Descent illustrate the point. Gene's blog is a humorous response to raging fulminations. From the source inspiring the Telic Thoughts blog:

"Scientists tend to get angry when confronted by what they see as the
gross distortion of truth promulgated by Intelligent Designers. This
has come across badly in 'balanced' debates in the media. As was the
case with arguments over the MMR vaccine, the scientist when provoked can unwittingly appear to be a fulminating zealot. By contrast, many of the proponents of Intelligent Design (ID)) have contrived to appear to be in favour of free speach. Aren't those scientists empurpled with rage and crying "nonsense" the very picture of a threatened Establishment? On this platform the evolutionary scientist rather than the ID enthusiast can be seen the less reasonable of the two."


This illustrates the rage approach that attempts to depict IDers as untruthful because they advocate a position that mainstreamers are unable to refute.

Dembski's blog, J. Scott Turner in the Chronicle of Higher Education- ID is asking the right questions! contains a comment in reaction to an attempt to belittle IDers. The italicized quote is followed by the comment in bold.

“Their intellectual pedigree might be suspect, their thinking might be wrong, but at least they are asking an interesting question: What is the meaning of design of the living world?”

I keep having to remind myself that it takes intellectual pedigree beyond reproach to believe in a theory of origins that like alchemy lacks causal specificity (sound familiar WD?). And of course only an Untermensch would doubt that unguided natural forces are capable of generating sequentially ordered and functional nucleic acids on prebiotic earth. Don’t even bother to ask if any genetic information, fortuitously acquired, would survive environmental damage occassioned by natural forces in the absence of genomic repair mechanisms. If you start taking such issues seriously your intellectual pedigree will be challenged. Keep the faith.

The dissing tactic masks the bluff and bluster behind the opposition's case.

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