Creationism piece no way to honor Darwin’s birthday
July 20, 2009
Letter to BOSTON GLOBE
SHAME ON you for publishing two creationist op-eds in two years from the Discovery Institute, a well-funded propaganda factory that aims to sow confusion about evolution. Virtually no scientist takes “intelligent design’’ seriously, and in the famous Dover, Pa., trial in 2005, a federal court ruled that it is religion in disguise.
The judge referred to the theory’s “breathtaking inanity,’’ which is a fine description of Stephen Meyer’s July 15 op-ed “Jefferson’s support for intelligent design.’’ Well, yes, Thomas Jefferson died 33 years before Darwin published “The Origin of Species.’’ And Meyer’s idea that the DNA code implies a code maker is just a rehash of the ancient “argument from design’’ - that an eye implies an eye maker, a heart implies a heart maker, and so on. Darwin demolished this argument 150 years ago.
In a year in which other serious publications are celebrating the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth and the sesquicentennial of “Origin,’’ the Globe sees fit to resurrect his long-buried opposition.
The advantage that traditional newspapers have over the Internet competition is quality control. If the Globe repeatedly gives its imprimatur to the latest nonsense from an anti-science lobbying organization, what’s the point of going to it for reliable, intelligent commentary?
Here is what some of the UD commenters had to say:
Virtually no scientist takes “intelligent design’’ seriously, and in the famous Dover, Pa., trial in 2005, a federal court ruled that it is religion in disguise.
I can’t help but wonder what Pinker et.al. would have had to say had Jones ruled that ID was science. Would they accept citations of the ruling as de facto evidence that ID is indeed science or would they pound their lecturns shouting that courts and judges do NOT get to decide what is or is not science?
Pinker continues to fume
And Meyer’s idea that the DNA code implies a code maker is just a rehash of the ancient “argument from design’’ - that an eye implies an eye maker, a heart implies a heart maker, and so on. Darwin demolished this argument 150 years ago.
Whenever words like “demolished” or “eviscerated” or “destroyed” are invoked to describe the state of ID arguments, its a sure sign that the critic has nothing of substance to offer. Pinker waving vigorously waving his hands as he shouts “DEMOLISHED! DEMOLISHED!” at the top of his lungs doesn’t exactly amount to any sort of compelling argument. So, Dr. Pinker, should you happen to read this blog, then I have a challenge for you: tell us how you know scientifically that the properties of Nature are such that any apparent design we observe in biological systems can not be actual design, even in principle? I’m not the least bit interested in your philosophical, metaphysical or theological opinion on the subject…only the science. Show me the scientific research studies that confirm this hypothesis and cite the relevant peer reviewed scientific journals where these studies were reported, because I would love to read them. I would also be most interested to hear how these finding might be falsified.
If you don’t have such scientific studies (hint to Dr. Pinker: you do NOT), then why on earth should anyone give a whit about your philosophical opinion on the subject? Do you really believe that your academic authority includes the right to dictate which philosophical worldview is acceptable for science and which isn’t? If you truly believe that, Dr. Pinker, by all means tell me from whence this authority of yours comes and who or what validates that authority such that the rest of us must yield to it.
In other words, Dr. Pinker, instead of writing snitty letters to the editor of a newspaper, why don’t you try laying out an actual argument to support your case using actual science, logic and reasoning. For an example of how to do that, I refer you to the original article by Dr. Stephen Meyer which you so vehemently attack.
Still, I have to wonder what Pinker bases his outrage on. Is it:
a. That the BG has published op-eds from the super-mega-evil Discovery Institute?
b. That it establishes a trend: TWO–COUNT ‘EM–TWO pro-ID op-eds IN AS MANY YEARS? Why, that’s ONE PER YEAR!! Beware the coming theocracy!!!
c. That the publication of the super-mega-despicably-evil op-ed from the SMDE Discovery Institute occurred so close to Our Lord’s 200th birthday? Was its publication merely an instance of bad timing? Would there have been a better time to publish it? Arbor Day, perhaps?
d. Or that it “sows confusion about evolution”? Apparently, this is Pinker’s job. After all, isn’t this the same Steve Pinker who published a NYT op-ed defending infanticide?