Thursday, May 17, 2007

Politically correct evolution

The privileged proposition

I should have been paying more attention. Evolution is not only the preferred theory among scientists for the explication of life's interconnectedness here on earth, it is also politically correct. How had I missed that?

This intelligence came to me by way of a letter of AFT On Campus, a publication of the American Federation of Teachers. The May/June 2007 issue published an irate missive from one Glenn Michael of Vancouver, Washington.
But campuses are not so open minded as they like to project. There is a body of politically correct material that seems to be sacred and cannot be challenged—it has already been determined. One example is intelligent design versus evolution, where there are many scholars and arguments in support of the former. The bottom line is that campuses have created a climate where it is difficult for the average student of faith to feel comfortable in responding to the challenges to their faith.
Mr. Michael says there are “many scholars” who endorse intelligent design. Most of us know the punch line to this claim. Take a look at any list purporting to demonstrate that intelligent design enjoys significant scholarly support. After you've winnowed out the engineers who are pretending to be scientists and the actual scientists whose fields are quite distinct from the life sciences, you're left with ... who, exactly? Behe? Wells? These icons of intelligent design have actual credentials in the biological sciences but are known almost exclusively for their polemical writing, not their research.

In short, there are essentially no research scientists in the biological sciences who think intelligent design is a viable theory. The evolution skeptics in the ranks of qualified researchers form a tiny percentage of the whole. Furthermore, within that tiny number it is unfair to count people like Kurt Wise, who trained under Stephen J. Gould, as a scholar in favor of intelligent design. Wise is not a friend to ID; he is, rather, a young-earth creationist.

If Mr. Michael still wants to think that “many scholars” are lined up behind intelligent design, he should take a look at the gently mocking response of Project Steve. Even when limiting the signatories to scientists possessing some form of "Steve" in their names, the National Center for Science Education easily outstrips the creationists and IDists in the length of its list of evolution endorsers. And check out the Project Steve FAQs, where you can find links to rival lists of creationists and IDists. Good luck finding scholars with any relevant qualifications. The pickings are slim indeed.


PlatoisDerrida said...


I regret the pedantry you display here by holding Mr. Michael to the establishment's definition of "many." As a mathematician, you are surely familiar with the practice of counting in bases other than 10. Perhaps Mr Michael counts in base many. It goes something like this: "1, 2, 3, many, many-1, many-2, many-3, lots."


*Idea of base many on loan from Pratchett.

Lifewish said...

The bottom line is that campuses have created a climate where it is difficult for the average student of faith to feel comfortable in responding to the challenges to their faith.

But... but... I thought ID wasn't about proving God?

Anonymous said...

If evolutionists want to end the arguments all they need do is, get their brilliant heads together and assemble a 'simple' living cell. This should be possible, because today they certainly have a very great amount of knowledge about the contents of the so-called 'simple' cell.

After all, shouldn't all the combined Intelligence of all the worlds scientist be able the do what chance encounters with random chemicals, without a set of instructions, accomplished about 4 billion years ago, 'according to the evolutionists,' and having no intelligence at all available to help them along in their quest to become a living entity. Surely the evolutionists scientists of today should be able to make us a 'simple' cell.

If it weren't so pitiful it would be humorous, that intelligent people have swallowed the evolution mythology.

Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so. It would pay for these people to do a thorough examination of all the evidence CONTRARY to evolution that is readily available: Try The evolutionists should honestly examine the SUPPOSED evidence 'FOR' evolution for THEMSELVES.

Build us a cell, from scratch, with the required raw material, that is with NO cell material, just the 'raw' stuff, and the argument is over. But if the scientists are unsuccessful, perhaps they should try Mother Earth's recipe, you know, the one they claim worked the first time about 4 billion years ago, so they say. All they need to do is to gather all the chemicals that we know are essential for life, pour them into a large clay pot and stir vigorously for a few billion years, and Walla, LIFE!

Oh, you don't believe the 'original' Mother Earth recipe will work? You are NOT alone, Neither do I, and MILLIONS of others!

Kristjan Wager said...

Wow, a creationist twit. They are rare these days.

PlatoisDerrida said...


The animosity you direct towards arguments other than yours is unmistakable. Therefore, I doubt you are seriously interested in opening a conversation. However, on the off chance that you possess the intellectual curiosity that you accuse those who accept evolution of lacking, let me pose this question. I have reviewed and find most of the material unsound. Which of the many arguments found there do you find most convincing?



Zeno said...

We'll get back to you, Anonymous, right after the 4 billion year experiment. Please hold your breath while waiting for the results.

I see that PiD is trying to take you seriously, but he is young and has not lost patience with creationist cretins to the degree that I have. Still, I do have my kindlier side, so let me reduce your ignorance: "Walla" is half of a city in Washington State and "Voilà" is a French word that you don't know how to spell.

PlatoisDerrida said...


Thanks for catching the erroneous spelling of "VoilĂ ." In my innocent earnestness, I overlooked it. Perhaps we should also remark on Anonymous's use of quotation marks?