Pharyngula

Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute has published an opinion piece in the Boston Globe in which he makes a rather anachronistic argument for ID: Thomas Jefferson was a supporter. I knew the creationists were sloppy scholars and had a poor grasp of history and science, but this is getting ridiculous.

Here, I have to help them out.

Date

Jefferson

Darwin

1743

born

-

1776

Writes the Declaration of Independence

-

1809

Ends his term as President of the US

born

1823

Writes the quote Stephen Meyer will find so appealing:

I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in its parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition.

14 years old.

1826

Dies.

Darwin is a student at the University of Edinburgh.

1831

Dead.

Voyage of the Beagle

1859

Still dead.

Publishes the Origin.

1882

Still very dead.

Darwin dies, too.

They do overlap a bit in time, but Jefferson was 33 years in the grave before Darwin got around to explaining how we don’t need a designer to explain the living universe. I rather suspect that no ship was dispatched from Virginia to Shropshire to get young Charlie Darwin’s rebuttal of the 1823 claim, either. It’s even less likely that Jefferson’s zombie rose up in 1859 to take a quick gander at these new ideas spreading through biology and decided, nah, he likes intelligent design better.

I could be wrong. Maybe the Biologic Institute has been holding seances and has received Jefferson’s imprimatur — I wouldn’t put it past them. Otherwise, though, Meyer is making a ludicrously stupid argument.

By the way, even if the DI had Jefferson’s revivified head in a jar, and it was making anti-evolutionary pronouncements, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to evolutionary biologists. Doctors might be excited, though.


Blake is even more succinct.