Dinesh D’Souza On ID
2008.04.01 prev next
IN yesterday’s The Failure of “Intelligent Design” (don’t dare forget those quotes!) Dinesh D’Souza declares biological ID a failure. He makes it clear that he agrees with anthropic-physics ID, but not design-of-adaptation ID.
William Dembski has already spoken well on this article, but I’d like to add a few comments of my own.
[T]hese narrow-minded Christians opposed Copernicus and Galileo until they were forced to admit that they were wrong. It wasn’t the Bible that was mistaken; it was the foolish certainty of its interpreters that was exposed and discredited.
Today some Christians may be heading down the same path with their embrace of “intelligent design” or ID.
I should thank D’Souza, at least, for saying, “may be heading,” instead of “are heading.” But still, the essential arguments he makes here are that: (1) the scientific validity of ID should be evaluated by the religious motivations of the majority of its proponents, not by the scientific content of its arguments, and (2) when Christians (or groups that are predominantly Christian) oppose the assertions of a majority of scientists, they’re certain to be wrong. That’s an odd argument for a self-proclaimed Christian to be making, to say the least.
And by the way... what were the overwhelming majority of scientists teaching before Copernicus and Galileo??
Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled” provides horror stories to show that the case for ID as well as critiques of evolution from an ID perspective are routinely excluded or censored in the halls of academe.
Imagine that a group of advocates challenged Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity. Let’s say that this group, made up of a law professor, a couple of physicists, several journalists, as well as some divinity school graduates, flatly denies Einstein’s proposition that e=mc2.
The academic treatment of Darwin dissenters, as exposed in Expelled, sounds very similar to the conditions described by D’Souza in his fame-founding book, Illiberal Education. Mightn’t D’Souza be expected to recognize that such conditions have a profound chilling effect on the willingness of credentialed professionals to speak out in favor of ID, leaving only a brave few? Instead, he describes these few as if their small and motley nature is indicative of their incorrectness.
Unsurprisingly, D’Souza chooses Einstein’s least doubtful proposition, e = mc2, for his purported ID analogues to oppose. Do all of Einstein’s other propositions follow as a matter of logical necessity from e = mc2? Hardly. His relativity theory is a hodge-podge of claims, varying from confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt, to largely unconfirmed conjecture. And he was famously wrong in his prediction of a constant-sized, ageless universe. The take-home lesson is that ultra-famous theorists like Einstein and Darwin should not be made into enshrined fountains of unchallengable truth. Each assertion they made should be evaluated separately, and scientifically.
The problem with evolution is not that it is unscientific but that it is routinely taught in textbooks and in the classroom in an atheist way. ...
Most Christians don’t care whether the eye evolved by natural selection ...
Scientists, and science-minded people, do care whether the eye evolved by natural selection. It’s called scientific curiosity.
D’Souza can embrace anthropic-physics ID because it doesn’t conflict with Christianity’s uncedable claims of a singular, omniscient creator. But design-of-adaptation ID isn’t so neutral.
Sooner or later, if you’re a committed Christian you’re going to have to go against design-of-adaptation ID, as does D’Souza. Not only does it fail to point towards Christianity, in fact — despite valiant attempts by current ID leaders to avoid noticing so — it points sharply away from all moralistic religion.
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