Update: December 30, 2006: Somehow it slipped past me that P.Z. Myers had already shredded the Hitchens piece. Sorry about that. By all means have a look at his eloquent demolition as well.

Here’s Peter Hitchens weighing in on the evolution/ID dispute, writing for The Mail on Sunday, which I gather is a British newspaper:

The large response to the item about ‘Intelligent Design’ only underlines the need for a proper debate about this interesting intellectual development, here in Britain. This might start with a bit more fairness and open-mindedness. I was, because I am not a scientist, very cautious about what I wrote here. I still am. I also didn’t give my own view on the controversy. This can be summarised in the words ‘I have no idea who is right… and nor have they’. Yet many of the responses from Darwinists were still actively hostile and angry, as if I had said a good deal more than I actually did.

Lovely. Another one of those, “I’m so much more open-minded and clear-thinking than you,” columns. It’s a familiar genre. Let me see if I can recreate Hitchens’ thought process:

Evolution vs. ID is big right now. I should really write a column about it. But I don’t know anything about biology. Worse, everyone knows I don’t know anything about biology. So if I write a column completely endorsing evolution, I’ll be open to the charge that I’m just parroting the opinions of a dogmatic, scientific establishment. Can’t have that. Have to look insightful, avant-garde, cutting-edge. But I certainly can’t endorse cretionism or ID. I mean, those guys are just nuts. Don’t want to be associated with them. How about if I just tell everyone to be open-minded and skeptical? That could work. No one really opposes open-mindedness, after all. Yeah, this is good. Get to stick my thumb in scientists’ eye without looking like a fool. Perfect!

Let us see how things play out. We consider the essay in full.

Let me deal with one aspect of their attack on Professor Michael Behe and others. There’s a great deal talked about how ‘ID’ is ‘pseudoscience’ and that there are no articles in support of ‘ID’ published in peer-reviewed journals. There’s also a lot about how the ‘overwhelming majority’ of scientists accept the Darwinist position.

Much of this is not, as it appears to be, objective argument. It is just subjective use of important-sounding phrases to discredit an unfashionable idea. First, this technique greatly exaggerates the claims made by ‘ID’. These are basically arguments about probability, which can’t be resolved, and mainly act by widening the area of doubt.

I guess Hitchens hasn’t read the decision in the Dover case. You know, the one where the claims of ID were laid out according to strict rules of evidence, and the Judge found that it was religion after all.

Hitchens tells us that these are arguments about probability, which can’t be resolved. Actually, Behe says very little about probability. His claim is simply that if a system is made of numerous, well-matched parts, and the removal of any one of its parts renders the system nonfunctional, then it is irreducibly complex and could not have evolved gradually via natural selection. This claim is simply wrong. There are a variety of ways such systems can evolve in principle, and there is ample evidence from actual complex biological systems to suggest how they evolved in practice.

The probability comes into it when you read William Dembski. His contribution is to argue that irreducible complexity is a special case of specified complexity. He claims that it is possible to carry out probability calculations that show it is highly unlikely that complex systems could evolve gradually. He has only ever attempted such a calculation for one complex system, the flagellum of E. coli. That calculation is readily exposed as a bad joke by anyone with a touch of mathematical training.

So the scientific claims of ID are easily assessed and found to be incorrect. Notice, incidentally, that ID claims about specified complexity or irreducible complexity are wrong regardless of the merits of Darwinian evolution. Evolution could be overturned tomorrow, but if that happens it will still be true that Dembski and Behe are wrong.

Of course, ID claims considerably more than that. ID is not merely the assertion that Darwinian evolution has gaps or that skepticism is required. It is also the assertion that only the action of an awesome, but unspecified, intelligence can account for biological complexity. As its practitioners proudly tell us, it is the leading edge of a wedge intended to overthrow materialism. It’s ambitions are to replace science as it has been practiced for centuries with an oxymoron known as “theistic science.” Somehow Hitchens overlooked that aspect of the subject.

He continues:

As I tried to say, ‘ID’ is unlike Darwinism in that is specifically doesn’t seek to offer a general theory of the origin of species. It is a sceptical current. It says ‘there is something in the Darwinist argument which requires re-examination in the light of knowledge we didn’t have until recently’. Here are a few questions. Since Darwinism is orthodoxy, on which many careers have been built and continue to prosper, is it likely that an attack which threatens that orthodoxy is going to be sympathetically treated by other scientists? That is specially so in Britain, where – as I understand – academics don’t have the security of tenure which people such as Behe have in the USA.

You might think that Hitchens would give us an example of one of those recently uncovered facts that is forcing us to reevaluate the Darwinist argument (whatever that is). But no! Instead he goes to an old chestnut. One of those arguments you can make when you know nothing about the subject but need to comment in a way that doesn’t make you look foolish. Note that he doesn’t actually acuse scientists of ruthlessly suppressing contrary ideas to protect a crumbling orthodoxy. He just throws it out there. You know, food for thought.

I don’t suppose he stops to consider the possibility that the reason so many careers have prospered on a foundation of evolution is that evolution actually produces results on a fairly regular basis. Of course not. No one ever looked insightful by arguing that scientists know what they’re doing.

There’s another point in this. Try as I may, struggling with selfish genes, alleles and the rest, I cannot find any Darwinist argument which doesn’t in the end rely on conjecture, backed up by the argument that it is the majority view.

That’s the first sentence of the next paragraph. If this were written by someone who knew what they were talking about, you would expect the next few sentences to give some examples of those Darwinist arguments that rely on conjecture and majoritarianism. But since this was actually written by a hack columnist, you might be able to guess what comes next:

Well, a majority cannot make a falsehood true, and all kinds of things have been the majority view, from the idea that blood didn’t circulate to the idea that iron ships would sink (and the idea that Anthony Blair was a refreshing and brilliant new feature in British politics). As for majority medical orthodoxies which have been totally mistaken, someone should write a book about them, as there have been so many.

What a guy! He can point out the foibles of those clueless, oppressive scientists, and still find time to throw in a gratuitous political slap. Punditry at its finest.

Unlike Darwinism, these ideas could be – and were – exploded by experiment and discovery. But Darwinism is all about events that happened when there was nobody there to witness them. And it is also about events which – if happening now – are happening too slowly for anyone to live long enough to see them. It is amazing how many supporters of this theory cannot see the difference between the micro-evolution of adaptation or alteration within species, and the far more ambitious developments of macro-evolution, in my view qualitatively different, which Darwinists believe in.

I’d feel cheated if Hitchens actually provided an example of one of those confused Darwinists who can’t tell the difference between adaptation within a species and large-scale macroevolution on the other. Don’t you kind of have the feeling at this point that the only evolutionary biologist Hitchens can actually name is Richard Dawkins? (Well, possibly Stephen Jay Gould as well.)

What evolutionary biologists do say is that there is no reason in principle why natural selection acting on random genetic variations, which can be observed to produce substantial change in relatively short periods of time, can not also produce very large changes when given millions of years in which to work. They go on to claim that there is ample evidence, culled from virtually every branch of the life sciences and paleontology, that what works in principle has actually happened in fact. And they further back up this claim by applying evolution-based reasoning to the problems they face in their lab, and being rewarded with progress on open questions. I guess Hitchens overlooked all that during his struggles with selfish genes and alleles.

The fossil record is full of gaps and highly ambiguous. Species appear and disappear suddenly, which I should have thought would upset the Darwinist position quite badly, but somehow doesn’t.

There he goes being all open-minded and clear-thinking again. Why can’t scientists be more like that?

Of course, most scientists find it significant that with tens of millions of fossils collected and dated, not one is out of place from an evolutionary standpoint. Those appearances and disappearances, the ones evolutionists are supposed to find disconcerting, occur in precisely the patterns suggested by other methods of reconstructing natural history. Zooming in a bit closer we find numerous transitional forms, all of them at just the right place in geological history and at just the right locations around the globe, documenting many of the major transitions that are said to have occurred. At times there are so many transitional forms, as with the evolution of mammals from reptiles, that it is impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. But I guess scientists are expected to ignore all that.

That’s the set-up. Now for the big closing:

All I ask is that people keep thinking about this, don’t get frightened of doing so, and don’t try to frighten others into orthodoxy, or to misrepresent opponents’ positions.

Thinking about evolution is good, but actually learning something about the subject is better. If Hitchens had tried that approach he might have avoided all those misrepresentations of his own.

Comments

  1. #1 Frustrated
    December 30, 2006

    You know, straight creationism was easier do deal with by stating that the theory of evolution and the god hypothesis are equally good at explaining biodiversity, the fossil record, etc., but that only evolution was science because the god hypothesis lacks predictive power. I.e., it is untestable and therefore immune to scientific critique.

    ID throws a kink in things by pretending to have greater explanatory power than the theory of evolution, but it has no greater predictive power than straight creationism. It sucks that so many people will be further confused for generations to come. Yeah for ID – keeping us in the dark ages just a little longer!

  2. #2 Angry Lab Rat
    December 30, 2006

    Yet another example of non-scientists failing to trust the word of those who actually understand and have spent their entire lives studying evolution! Being a biologist myself, I am particularly disgusted.

    For my full opinion on this, please visit my blog post on this subject:

    http://angrylabrat.blogspot.com/2006/12/clueless-conservatives-and-evolution.html

  3. #3 Elijah
    December 30, 2006

    It always amazes me how people who are ignorant feel they are qualified to have an opinion – and be right – without even bothering to learn the basics. It’s such a shame that idiocy of this magnitude is even allowed into print. The pity is that no follow up rebuttal will be printed in response, and thousands of people will read it, and believe that it has merit.

  4. #4 Miguel Garcia-Blanco
    December 30, 2006

    Peter Hitchens uses innuendo and logical fallacies so naturally, you would think he was a politician. Oh wait, he was! ;)

  5. #5 Roger
    December 30, 2006

    I get peeved at artciles by people like Hitchens because you don’t have to be a scientist to find the problems in Intelligent Design. All you have to do is look at the presuppositions behind their arguements and the facts. It’s not difficult, though some people seem to find it impossible

  6. #6 Dan S.
    December 30, 2006

    Hmm. Well, a quick pass through the analogizer, and . . .

    The large response to the item about ‘Intelligent Falling’ only underlines the need for a proper debate about this interesting intellectual development, here in Britain. This might start with a bit more fairness and open-mindedness. I was, because I am not a scientist, very cautious about what I wrote here. I still am. I also didn’t give my own view on the controversy. This can be summarised in the words ‘I have no idea who is right… and nor have they’. Yet many of the responses from Newtonists were still actively hostile and angry, as if I had said a good deal more than I actually did.

    One more time . . .

    The large response to the item about ‘Geocentrism’ only underlines the need for a proper debate about this interesting intellectual development, here in Britain. This might start with a bit more fairness and open-mindedness. I was, because I am not a scientist, very cautious about what I wrote here. I still am. I also didn’t give my own view on the controversy. This can be summarised in the words ‘I have no idea who is right… and nor have they’. Yet many of the responses from Galileists were still actively hostile and angry, as if I had said a good deal more than I actually did.

  7. #7 mark
    December 30, 2006

    Sometimes what the ignorant experts say can be quite entertaining. I was given an audio tape of a Creationist’s lecture and, besides offering the fact that no one has ever seen a bat with only one wing as proof evolution is false, the speaker talked about geology. He started by saying there are 3 basic types of rocks: sedimentary, metamorphic, and ignatius (as in Mr. Loyola). If that’s the first thing someone can say about geology, you know you can learn more by reading Edgar Rice Burroughs.

  8. #8 bmkmd
    December 30, 2006

    I’m not sure we want to go where this set of comments is going. For logical reasons and for political/PR reasons.

    1) It is very difficult to use the argument that creationist/ID people can’t criticize and comment on evolutionary biology without knowing about evolution as understood by the scientific community, i.e. as it is. That would limit us in criticising creationism/ID without believing in Jesus. I know, I know, they are dressed in sheep’s clothing, pretending to have a scientific discussion, not a religious-science discussion.

    2) But the majority of people, even well educated people, still are confused about the science of it. We need to keep our cool (I keep telling myself that). When they hear us angered and derissive of confused and not-confused questioners of evolution we need something more substantial than what sounds to naive listeners as arrogance, and unpatriotic limitations on free speech.

    If it’s going to be real science vs. pseudo science, we do just fine when there is time and interest in learning about evolution. But the hidden religion vs. science, covered in science’s clothing, requires some grace and compassion for the people digging in their heels against questioning their religion. Derision and sarcasm hurt more than they help the situation. There’s plenty of room left to be firm, angry, positive in teaching real science not bible science (There. See. It is so easy to slip into derision and sarcasm.) So …in teaching evidence based science, testable science, open to criticism science.

    What do you think?

  9. #9 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 30, 2006

    It is very difficult to use the argument that creationist/ID people can’t criticize and comment on evolutionary biology without knowing about evolution as understood by the scientific community, i.e. as it is. That would limit us in criticising creationism/ID without believing in Jesus.

    What do you think?

    I highlighted a couple words which should clue you in to where I think you made a mistake.

  10. #10 Jonathan Vos Post
    December 30, 2006

    I thought there were 3 basic types of rocks: sentimental, meromorphic, and ingenious.

    Professional writers write for money. They DON’T have to know what they’re talking about to get paid. It’s Entertainment. Does Rush Limbaugh have to understand Mathematical Economics?

    The world is utterly dominated by people who: (1) don’t know science or math; (2) don’t know that they don’t know; (3) don’t have a methodology or discipline to allow themselves to learn science or math; (4) don’t know that they don’t have a methodology or discipline.

    It is wise to distinguish ignorance from stupidity. Ignorance can be cured: we call that Education.

    “Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.”
    [Friedrich von Schiller; see also Isaac Asimov]

  11. #11 Les Lane
    December 30, 2006

    This might start with a bit more fairness and open-mindedness.

    More to the point this might start with a little less ignorance.

  12. #12 QrazyQat
    December 30, 2006

    Professional writers write for money. They DON’T have to know what they’re talking about to get paid.

    For pro writers on a deadline, it can actually help to not know what they’re talking about. Informed comment takes time, and often tends toward nuance; neither is popular in popular entertainment.

  13. #13 ZacharySmith
    December 30, 2006

    Hitchens tries to play the outsider card (“Well, I’m no expert, but if we could all just keep an open mind…”) yet trots out old ID and Creationist gems like the “Darwinist” epithet and the “Were You There?” argument (just to mention a couple).

    This guy is either really stupid or incredibly dishonest, or both.

  14. #14 mark
    December 30, 2006

    Professional writers write for money. They DON’T have to know what they’re talking about to get paid. It’s Entertainment.

    But if their work appears in a medium that purports to be providing insight or knowledge, it’s not really entertainment (or else it has been mislabeled) and the publisher is at fault for using incompetent sources. This may not be the case if the material is labeled as someone’s opinion, as appears to be the case with Hitchens’ piece. Unfortunately, numerous articles have been presented as if they are truly presenting accurate information when in fact they are not.

  15. #15 Interrobang
    December 30, 2006

    I’m a professional writer and I certainly do have to know what I’m talking about when I’m writing something. If I didn’t, my butt would be fired. I think you mean pundits don’t have to know what they’re talking about. In fact, for political pundits, it seems like the more often they’re wrong, the more money they make.

  16. #16 GalapagosPete
    December 31, 2006

    “What evolutionary biologists do say is that there is no reason in principle why natural selection acting on random genetic variations, which can be observed to produce substantial change in relatively short periods of time, can also produce very large changes when given millions of years in which to work.”

    Should that be, “…cannot also produce…”?

    Great blog! Also enjoy your stuff over at CSICOP.
    http://www.csicop.org/intelligentdesignwatch/rosenhouse.html for those few who may not know.

  17. #17 Gaia sighs...
    December 31, 2006

    “What evolutionary biologists do say is that there is no reason in principle why natural selection acting on random genetic variations, which can be observed to produce substantial change in relatively short periods of time, {can} also produce very large changes when given millions of years in which to work. They go on to claim that there is ample evidence, culled from virtually every branch of the life sciences and paleontology, that what works in principle has actually happened in fact.

    Hmm. Don’t you mean “cannot”?

  18. #18 Emanuel Goldstein
    December 31, 2006

    Look Jason, why don’t you just come out for a ban on all discussions contrary to mainstream views and put an end to this hooha?

    Thats what the atheists really want to do.

    Thats what they have always done with they got power.

    You just don’t have the guts to admit it.

  19. #19 Emanuel Goldstein
    December 31, 2006

    By the way, your witnesses at Dover, Pennock and Forrest, are philosophers, not scientists.

    And if you think a legal decision can, by fiat, decide an issue like this why not just declare this a police state and be done with it?

    Its what you want, go for it!

  20. #20 Dan S.
    December 31, 2006

    “Posted by: Emanuel Goldstein | December 31, 2006 04:35 AM/04:37″

    I think somebody’s talking, but all I hear is a sheep-like bleating . . .

  21. #21 LuisGarcia
    December 31, 2006

    Not sure if anyone else who has commented is from the UK, so I’d like to clarify a couple of things for you all.

    “The Mail on Sunday, which I gather is a British newspaper:” – Nope, it’s a bile filled rag, and a shocking waste of trees.

    Peter Hitchens is the closest thing we have over here to Ann Coulter. Knee jerk describes him in more ways than one.

    “This guy is either really stupid or incredibly dishonest, or both.” – option 3.

    Anyway, now that the ad hominems are out of the way, if you’re struggling to find IDiocy to post about, please turn your attention our way. Since Dover, you lovely Americans seem to have been exporting the whole caboodle our way. We now have the people at http://www.truthinscience.org.uk/site/ trying to get the same stuff taught in our schools. Meanwhile just today this http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2524442.html news is out. Luckily, there are some sane voices over here, some of whom are quoted at the end of that second article.

  22. #22 Miguel Garcia-Blanco
    December 31, 2006

    Emanuel Goldstein:

    Look Jason, why don’t you just come out for a ban on all discussions contrary to mainstream views and put an end to this hooha? Thats what the atheists really want to do.

    Excuse me while I push your ban-all-discussion straw man aside. I certainly won’t speak for all atheists, but as far as I’m concerned, in a science lesson children should be taught science, not pseudoscience or religious dogma that pretends to be scientific. So what this atheist really wants to do is to have children learn about the magnificent wonders of the natural world without the risk of being conned by sophistry-wielding charlatans!

    By the way, your witnesses at Dover…

    Jason was on trial?? (My boldface)

    And if you think a legal decision can, by fiat, decide an issue like this why not just declare this a police state and be done with it?

    Yes, of course. Why didn’t I see this before! Either we have religious nonsense taught as a legitimate alternative to science in schools, OR we have a police state. Perish the thought that science be taught in school and religion in church!

  23. #23 leftbanker
    December 31, 2006

    Hitchens is wrong so often and on so many different topics that I think he was just trying to hit for the cycle with this ridiculous essay. How does he keep getting work?

  24. #24 Caledonian
    December 31, 2006

    Nobody ever went broke appealing to the least common denominator, that’s how.

  25. #25 SLC
    December 31, 2006

    Re Emanuel Goldstein

    With regard to Mr. Goldstein, never have I heard anyone speak so knowledgably from such a vast fund of ignorance.

  26. #26 entlord
    December 31, 2006

    For the professional pundit, to know what you are talking about will get you fired. Instead you need to cater to the fears and prejudices of people who will buy pills, herbs and creams for baldness, impotency, obesity, and flatulence and will pay good money for home business schemes so you can work 30 minutes a day and earn a kazillion dollars a year or can buy a Beverly Hills mansion for $1 and get change back or else will buy some sort of contraption from a fourth rate hasbeen movie or tv personage which will flatten your abs or increase your bust or bicep size or make you look like Mr. Atlas if you put the machine in a corner and stare at it for 30 minutes a week.

    The last thing this audience wants is the truth: they are bald, fat, impotent, and gaseous and prone to wishful thinking and will make a third rate sports announcer a billionaire so long as he says anything except the truth.

  27. #27 GalapagosPete
    January 1, 2007

    Emanuel,

    As an atheist, and speaking for myself, just keep it out of the science classes in the public schools. Personally, I wouldn’t even mind if there was a comparative religion class, provided it was a real one, but as science? Nope.

  28. #28 Christopher
    January 1, 2007

    I’m somewhat… bemused and amused at the fact that he outright admits he has no earthly idea what he’s talking about, but still feels the need to advise people who do know what they’re doing.

    I’ll bet he must annoy service people:

    Auto Mechanic: Yeah, your battery just ran out of juice. replace it and you’ll be good

    Hitchens: I admit I never took shop class, but I suspect the problem might be a squid on the manifold. Where is your fishing rid?

    Auto Mechanic: I don’t see how that could possibly be the problem. Are you insane?

    Hitchens: Now see here! I suggest you treat me with a bit more respect, lest I find a mechanic with a proper fishing liscence!

    Not only that, he says he can’t figure out punctuated equilibrium, even though it was written about by Stephen Jay Gould, who was basically the most famous evolutionary scientist in the last 20 or 30 years.

    This whole “I openly admit I have no understanding of the issues involved and have no plans to learn anything, but you should listen to my opinions anyway” attitude is just baffling. Is it a Brittish thing?

  29. #29 MarkP
    January 1, 2007

    Goldstein wrote: Look Jason, why don’t you just come out for a ban on all discussions contrary to mainstream views and put an end to this hooha?

    Thats what the atheists really want to do.

    Atheists want to ban nonmainstream views? Like atheism?

  30. #30 Jim Collins
    January 1, 2007

    Recognizing Irreducable complexity when one sees it is another name for logical thinking. The evolutionists that reject the work of Behe are merely mesmerized and possibly can’t help themselves. Prozac may help their condition. Clearly, they are having truble with clear thinking.

  31. #31 Djur
    January 1, 2007

    Jim Collins: Uh, you know Prozac is an antidepressant and not an antipsychotic, right? And wouldn’t actually have anything to do with being “mesmerized” or not thinking clearly?

    Seriously, if you IDiots are going to try and pull the high and mighty “talking over your head” trip, please ensure that you have the basic level of cognition necessary.

  32. #32 MarkP
    January 1, 2007

    So the argument for irreducible complexity is now the equivalent of the argument for pornography: I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.

  33. #33 Fred
    January 2, 2007

    I’ve written this before, but there’s always more ID folks who come here, so…

    According to Dembski, Behe, and the rest of the major ID folks:

    1) ID can never tell us how it was done. (And they’re not looking.)
    2) ID can never tell us when it was done. (And they’re not looking.)
    3) ID can never tell us who did it. (Though they’re looking every Sunday.)

    So what exactly CAN we learn? And what exactly should be taught in school if ID were allowed? How will you answer the students’ questions?

    And won’t the teachers’ eyes get tired from winking every time after they say that the designer isn’t necessarily God?

  34. #34 James
    January 2, 2007

    The problem with arguing with creationists is that it is like arguing with a six year old. There is so much that you would have to explain to get them up to a level to even understand what you are arguing that most legitimate scientists lose patience.

    Morons will always prefer the easy answer and no answer is easier than god. If you can’t wrap your mind around 4.5 billion years of evidence, just condense all of earth’s lifespan to 6 thousand as recorded in one book and it makes it a lot more managable and makes the reading much simpler.

    What scientists are admitting is that we don’t (can’t) know everything and that anybody who thinks they do is credulous at best.

    I get really sick of seeing the argument:

    “Evolution has problems because there are holes in the fossil record, therefore ID is correct.”

    Even though ID isn’t supported by ANY fossil evidence at all.

  35. #35 Nandes
    January 3, 2007

    My initial reaction to this entire article was to yell out:

    ZING!

    That pretty much sums it up.

  36. #36 TheFallibleFiend
    January 5, 2007

    Dear Emmanuel,
    You are arguing from and in favor of ignorance. What you want is the right for IDers and other creationists to be able to say with impunity any stupid thing that comes into their heads.

    Jason, PZ, Brayton, et. al., are doing the entire world a service by pointing out the absurdities of the creationism, as well as the absurdities of those who defend it.

    Dear JC,
    “Recognizing Irreducable complexity when one sees it is another name for logical thinking.”
    Actually recognizing IC when one sees it is evidence that one much better at talking about logical thinking than at practicing it.

  37. #37 Philipa
    January 10, 2007

    “This guy is either really stupid or incredibly dishonest, or both.” – he’s both.

    He gets his ideas/opinions from the Revd.Dr. Peter Mullen. For brevity, allow me to copy my comment here:

    Incidentally I’ve discovered that Peter Hitchens (MoS) is a puppet which accounts for there being more than one of him (someone is working him from behind) He preached a sermon at The Parish Church of St. Michael’s Cornhill in London whose sermons are usually preached by the Revd Dr Peter Mullen. PH bangs on about the King James Bible and the 1662 Book of Common prayer (and even the type of music) and guess what? So does this Church, lead by Peter Mullen. PH waxes lyrical about Intelligent Design and shortly beforehand there’s a sermon about the subject from… Peter Mullen. PH damns the Conservative Party in a manner that is sweetness and light compared to… Peter Mullen. Etc. etc. Where’s Brian Connelly when you need him: it’s a puppet!

    The reference to there being more than one PH can be explained here, and my opinion of the obnoxious, arrogant and dangerous Peter Mullen can be explained here

    To precis my own views: I’m an Anglican Christian. That’s sometimes accused of being the religion of being nice to people. I can live with that. I don’t know if Jesus was the magic product of an onmipotent deity or just a nice bloke who spoke quite a lot of sense at the time. That’s for me to decide and I consider anyone who can’t decide for themselves, but follows the thought of someone else because they have decided God meant this, as quite quite stupid. Especially when that thought flies in the face of history, science and reason. Peter Hitchens is quite obviously stupid. And because he peddles this stuff as his own and gets paid a fortune for doing it he is incredibly dishonest.

  38. #38 Hershel Reese
    January 12, 2007

    Hi there, sorry to write a little off topic in this comment, but I am wondering what you think of the following bit of info?

    http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/home/Frontpage/2007/01/08/01288.html

    It kind of takes ID to a different frame of reference.

    (I found this via – http://www.souldish.com/2007/01/12/steves-weekly-dish-110/)

    Thought it could make some interesting discussion for you.