Well, I’ve read through the Discovery Institute critique of my work (PDF). I am not impressed. Neither is Carl Zimmer, who has experience with this sort of thing. PZ, meanwhile, has a good refutation of Casey Luskin’s attack on my credentials.
[To tell you the truth, PZ, Luskin’s criticism is actually even weaker than you say, because if we were act like good Kantians and generalize it it into a universal law, that would mean that journalism in this country would cease to exist, save in the few cases where journalists happen to have advanced degrees in the subjects they’re reporting on. In which case, why would they be “reporting” in the first place?]
Anyway, reading through the DI criticisms, I don’t think they dismantle my facts in any significant way at all. Everything is pretty much in the realm of interpretation, and I’m generally exhorted to present ID more in the way that DI wants ID to be presented. Except…I don’t agree with their presentation. What Luskin calls “14 major factual and logical errors” in my book, I call 14 differences of opinion. (And my opinion is right!)
Take example one: “Mr. Mooney overpraises Darwin.” Well, I disagree. Some “error.”
Here are the titles of the other entries:
Error #2: Mr. Mooney claims ID traces itself to the theological arguments of William Paley. [I don’t know about “traces itself”; those aren’t my words. But yeah, there’s a clear intellectual lineage here.]
Error #3: Mr. Mooney critiques a blatantly false, straw-man version of intelligent design. [I disagree. Just because DI wants ID presented in the most PR-friendly way possible doesn’t mean that I have to go along with them on this.]
>Error #4: Mr. Mooney implies there are no peer-reviewed scientific publications supporting ID. [My point is misconstrued, see here. Carl Zimmer also does a literature search and reaffirms my point. But hey, at least this is a factual criticism, even if it’s wrong!]
Error #5: Mr. Mooney alleges that the controversy over evolution is “manufactured”. [Yup, I sure do.]
Error #6: Mr. Mooney insinuates that Discovery Institute opposed Dover’s ID Policy because Discovery Institute allegedly believes ID is unconstitutional. [Not really. I implied that DI may have switched from pushing for the outright teaching of ID to a more modest stance out of legal strategy.]
Error #7: Mr. Mooney implies it is inappropriate to “teach the controversy” over evolution. [Yup. It is inappropriate. Did I merely “imply” that? I’m quite happy to shout it from the rooftops.]
Error #8: Mr. Mooney insinuates the Santorum Amendment inappropriately “singles out” evolution. [Yes. It does.]
Error #9: Mr. Mooney argues that intelligent design is not science because some of its proponents have Christian religious beliefs and motives. [Actually, I critique ID’s scientific pretensions, while also discussing religious motivations, which I deem relevant to the discussion.]
Error #10: Mr. Mooney argues that Discovery Institute is “disingenuously pretending that modern science basically amounts to institutionalized atheism”. [That’s my interpretation, yes.]
Error #11: Mr. Mooney appeals to authority as a valid argument against ID. [I use many arguments of different types against ID, and cite authorities to support some of those arguments. But the whole chapter does not reduce to “argument from authority.”]
Error #12: Mr. Mooney’s misrepresents Stephen Meyer’s peer-reviewed pro-ID science article. [I disagree. Luskin misrepresents my own account, however, when he writes that “Mr. Mooney insinuates that the journal editor, Dr. Richard Von Sternberg, may not have subjected the paper to peer-review despite the fact that it was clearly peer-reviewed.” That’s false. It’s also a good example of a real “error.” I make no such implication and indeed, I call the journal in question a “peer-reviewed biology journal.”]
Error #13: Mr. Mooney claims the Kitzmiller v. Dover case is the “death knell” of ID. [Yup.]
Error #14: An Error of Omission–Mr. Mooney ignores the real “war”–the attack upon the academic freedom of scientists who support intelligent design in science and the media. [Sorry I didn’t write the book you wanted.]
All in all, this is pretty thin soup. Mostly the critique boils down to the claim that I should depict ID more in the way that ID promoters want it depicted. Well, sorry. I’m not an apologist, and I’m entitled to my critical opinion.
I do appreciate all the attention, though.