More Prevarication from IDers

Al Mohler, head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (and Bill Dembski's new boss), has weighed in with a profoundly silly and dishonest article about Stephen Meyer's now-infamous peer-reviewed article. It begins with the standard boilerplate "evolution is a theory in crisis" nonsense:

The theory of evolution is a tottering house of ideological cards that is more about cherished mythology than honest intellectual endeavor. Evolutionists treat their cherished theory like a fragile object of veneration and worship--and so it is. Panic is a sure sign of intellectual insecurity, and evolutionists have every reason to be insecure, for their theory is falling apart.

*YAWN*. Stop me if you've heard this diatribe before. My friend Glenn Morton, a Christian geophysicist, has a long list of predictions of the imminent demise of evolution. Claiming that evolution is a theory on the verge of collapse is virtually a cottage industry among evangelicals, yet evolution persists as the central organizing theory in a dozen fields of science with acceptance by something around 99% of the scientists in the relevant fields. Sooner or later, you'd think they'd catch on that the chicken little tactic isn't working. Now, on to the actual issue at hand:

Meyer's article was enough to cause hysteria in the evolutionists' camp. Knowing that their theory lacks intellectual credibility, the evolutionists respond by raising the volume, offering the equivalent of scientific shrieks and screams whenever their cherished theory is criticized--much less in one of their own cherished journals. As Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Discovery Institute explained, "Instead of addressing the paper's argument or inviting counterarguments or rebuttal, the society has resorted to affirming what amounts to a doctrinal statement in an effort to stifle scientific debate. They're trying to stop scientific discussion before it even starts"...

The panicked evolutionists respond with name-calling, labeling Intelligent Design proponents as "creationists," thereby hoping to prevent any scientific debate before it starts.

This, my dear readers, is a flat out, 100%, grade-A, nuclear-powered LIE. The DI and their credulous followers keep trying to claim that the response of the scientific community has been ad hominems to distract from the scientific issues, but that is not only a baldfaced lie, it applies far better to the ones making the accusation. In point of fact, Meyer's article has been subjected to a long and detailed critique, with an even more detailed one yet to come. The sum total of the DI's response to this critique? Dead silence. Rather than answering the critique of Meyer's article, they have obsessively focused on one criticism within it, the equation of ID with creationism, and pretended that there was no substantive critique in the rest of it. They go absolutely apoplectic when you say that they are creationists, and pretend that that is the only response anyone has had. It's a lie, plain and simple. And it's a lie about a lie. The only substantive response that has been given to Meyers' article was given by our side; the other side just keeps repeating that it doesn't exist. The only one to attempt to answer that critique was Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost, and his post on the subject has been rather thoroughly debunked.

Richard Sternberg, the editor who personally decided to insure that Meyers' paper got published, goes to great lengths to deny being a creationist. Yet he is on the board of the Baraminology Study Group, a group that exists SOLELY to support creationism. There is no field of baraminology outside of creationism, folks. Baraminology is the term creationists use for the study of what constituted the original "created kinds" mentioned in the bible. The term is completely meaningless in any context other than creationism. The BSG's most recent conference was called Discovering the Creator. What sorts of papers does this group discuss at their conferences? How about "Discovering the Creator: Knowing God as a
Motivation for Science"
? Or "The Anarthrous Ordinals of Genesis One"? Or try this one on for size:

P6. The Origins of Natural Evil

Gordon Wilson

New St. Andrews College

In a cursory survey of life it is obvious that a vast number of
species spanning most kingdoms and phyla have features that are
teleologically designed to deal out disease and/or death. Many
pathogens, parasites, and predators have sophisticated genetic,
morphological, and behavioral arsenals (natural evil) that clearly
testify to the God's eternal power and divine nature (Romans 1:
20), i.e. they are not the result of mutation and natural mutation.
These range from the bacterial type III secretion systems, the
cnidarian nematocysts, the toxoglossate radula and apparatus
of Conus, the parasitic physiology of Wuchereria bancrofti,
the piercing/sucking mouthparts of predaceous insects, and the
solenoglyphous skull, pit organs, and venom apparatus of pit
vipers. Scripture states that: 1) every green plant was given for
food (Genesis 1:30), 2) death and disease are a consequence of
sin (Genesis 2:17), and 3) creation was completed on the sixth
day (Genesis 2:1). The following six scenarios attempt to explain
the presence of natural evil in the biological world from a young
earth creationist framework. I will then assess them in light of
these aforementioned biblical truths.

At creation creatures that were to become pathogens, parasites,
and predators:

1) had dual gene sets: (such as in holometabola: larva, pupa, and adult) one gene set for benign morphology and behavior (sinless contingency) and one for malignant morphology and behavior (Fall contingency) with only the benign genes sets expressed prior to the Fall.

2) had malignant morphological gene sets expressed for an imminent preordained (or fore-known) Fall, with no usage prior to the Fall. Malignant behavioral gene sets expressed after the Fall.

3) had the same malignant morphology before and after the Fall, however benign usage was normative before the Fall. After the Fall micro-evolutionary factors altered benign behavior into malignant behavior.

4) were morphologically and behaviorally benign and then subsequent to the Fall malignant genes were designed, created, and incorporated into the genome of certain creatures transforming them into pathogens, parasites, and predators.

5) were subject to random mutation and natural selection after the Fall transforming their benign gene sets into malignant gene sets. The latter were not designed by God.

6) were completely benign in all respects but at the Fall the enemy (Satan, et. al.) engaged in post-Fall genetic modification and/or bestiality that resulted in creatures with malignant behavior and morphology.

I will argue that the two scenarios that are the most harmonious
with both scripture and the scientifi c data are 1) and 2). Any
scenario attributing the presence of these highly complex
morphological and behavioral arsenals to random mutation and natural selection is granting creative powers to mindless processes (this is no better than atheistic evolution). Any scenario that attributes these complex arsenals to God's creative power yet shifts their time of origin to a post-Fall creative act, contradicts the finished creation on day six. Finally, any scenario that attributes these complex arsenals to Satan et. al., attributes too much creative power and intelligence to the powers of darkness.

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck, folks. The question of whether one is a creationist or not has no bearing on the validity of the claims being made, and no one has ever claimed it does. Why, then, do the ID advocates scream bloody murder whenever anyone refers to them as creationists, even when they belong to explicitly creationist organizations and clearly are creationists? Because the courts have already ruled that creation science is primarily religious in nature and therefore ruled curriculums based upon that out of public schools. It's a political tactic. But it requires them to lie about their views.

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The panicked evolutionists respond with name-calling, labeling Intelligent Design proponents as "creationists," thereby hoping to prevent any scientific debate before it starts.

Yes I'm all a panic. And right after a nap I'm going to panic some more.

were completely benign in all respects but at the Fall the enemy (Satan, et. al.) engaged in post-Fall genetic modification and/or bestiality that resulted in creatures with malignant behavior and morphology.

Come on Ed, show us the references. I've gotta know what journal Satan, et al. published in. That's almost as bad as Meyer getting published.

Don't know what happened to that last one -- just pretend like the first paragraph is block-quoted. Nothing like bad formatting to ruin a cheesy gag...

LOL Glenn. One has to wonder who does peer review for Satan's papers. David Hasselhoff, perhaps?

Congratulations, Ed. That Wilson piece you quoted is easily one of the silliest things I've seen authored by a creationist in - oh, what is it now? - five minutes.

By Chris Krolczyk (not verified) on 20 Sep 2004 #permalink

I'm really interested in that idea of dual gene sets. So maggots are good and sinless, and adult flies are wicked? Or is it vice versa?

And what exactly makes a gene evil? Is Hoxa1 bad, but Hoxb3 good? Or is it just bad when a particular gene happens to get expressed in a region it shouldn't? Is it like homosexuality, where the organ isn't bad, it's how it's used -- so distalless isn't evil, but when it gets turned on in a region and induces formation of a protrusion, it's naughty?

Now now, don't jump to conclusions! Just because Gordon Wilson gives papers at the Baraminology Study Group, quotes Genesis, clearly ranks theological considerations more important than his science, and considers bestiality by Satan et al. a viable scientific hypothesis for the nastier complex designs in biology, doesn't mean you can safely assume he is a creationist! Maybe he's just one of those genomic self-organization fellows, with a few personal quirks.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but in the course of obtaining an anthropology degree, our understanding always was that evolution itself was regarded as a fact, but the mechanism by which it operated was a theory, namely, natural selection. Most people confuse the two, giving creationists an opening wedge, coupling it with the "just a theory" line, as if the lay understanding of theory is the same as the scientific one.

That invisible elephants are trampling my lawn at night is just a hypothesis, but I'd better have some damn hard evidence before I can call it a theory, and I'd better catch one before I can call it a fact.

That invisible elephants are trampling my lawn at night is just a hypothesis, but I'd better have some damn hard evidence before I can call it a theory, and I'd better catch one before I can call it a fact.

Great line. LOL.

Here's how ID'ers would turn that into a theory, and then into fact: "Something is trampling my lawn at night, and you can't prove that it's not invisible elephants; therefore, it is invisible elephants." From there the move to fact is a simple one: "We don't need to actually catch an invisible elephant to prove that there are invisible elephants, because God told me that there are invisible elephants."

You see, sometimes you just have to see the forest through the invisible elephants.