Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Steve Fuller at Uncommon Descent

We may have lost DaveScot at UD, but we’re gaining the routinely muddleheaded Steve Fuller, who will be guest blogging at Dembski’s Home for Wayward Sycophants. Fuller, you may recall, was the baffling expert witness offered up by the defense during the Dover trial who testified that while he thought ID was merely a fringe idea in science, it needed an “affirmative action” program of being taught to help it recruit new followers who might someday make it an actual theory.

That profoundly silly idea is one that I mocked with a good deal of enthusiasm in my speech about the Dover trial (see video here). He does not bother to set any limits on this position, but it logically applies to every fringe idea in science. It defends not only ID but Raelianism, flat earthism, hollow earthism, pyramidiocy, UFOlogy and every other crank pseudoscience. Instituting Fuller’s idea would make science classes a sad joke.

In his first post at UD, he makes transparently hollow arguments like this one, which is quite popular among the religious right (which he claims not to be a part of):

First, stripped of its current scientific scaffolding, Darwinism is a 19th century social theory that has been turned into a ‘general unified theory of everything’, and as such belongs in the same category as Marxism and Freudianism. The big difference is that Marxism and Freudianism – throughout their existence – have been contested (many would say decisively) by several alternative ways of organizing and interpreting the same body of data. In the case of Darwinism, this largely ended by 1950. However, it doesn’t mean that Darwinism has somehow turned into something other than a 19th century social theory. No, it’s simply a 19th century social theory with unusual clout. Indeed, Darwinism is really no different from Marxism and Freudianism in using its concepts as rhetorical devices for associating intuitively clear phenomena with rather deep and mysterious causes.

I submit to you that anyone writing such gibberish in a freshman philosophy class would justifiably be flunked for it; this dolt has a PhD in the subject. The only ones who have turned evolution into a grand theory of everything are those religious enemies of evolution who use absurd rhetoric about “worldviews” and who fancy themselves (and everyone else) as soldiers in a holy war between God and Satan. These are the people who use the term ‘evolution’ to mean all of modern science and every possible non-theistic inference anyone has ever derived from it.

To working scientists, evolution is no different from any other scientific theory. It is a testable, compelling explanation for a discrete (though very large) set of data. Evolution is no more naturalistic than any other theory in science, nor is it naturalistic in some qualitatively different way than any other theory in science. It does not explain, nor does it attempt to explain, “everything.” It explains only what it is intended to explain and it does so very successfully.

Fuller merely echoes the bombastic rhetoric of so many religious fundamentalists, who claim continually that Marxism, Freudianism and Darwinism are the three pillars of atheism with which they are locked in mortal combat. Most claim to have already defeated the first two and that all that is left to do is defeat the third one and heaven on earth (literally or figuratively) awaits. I take this as seriously as I do the interminable predictions of the imminent demise of evolution that have been uttered by Fuller’s fellow travelers for nearly a century and a half now.

Comments

  1. #1 Tulse
    December 31, 2008

    The good Professor Heddle is right: no one would claim that the fossil record would show evidence of modern species next to ancient extinct ones, as that would be insane, not to say non-scientific, and absolutely no one would use such as proof against evolution.

    Oh wait, we were talking about rabbits…sorry…

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