Science writer Denyse O’Leary is bringing her incisive humor to the blogosphere. Post-Darwinist is a must read. An excerpt from her discussion of the Nightline debate between Michael Ruse and William Dembski epitomizes her style:
I predicted a few weeks ago that the Darwinists would fundamentally change their strategy and go for the emotional appeal. That is essentially what Ruse was doing on ABC’s Nightline.
One particularly clever ploy was for Ruse to say that Dembski would himself be swept away by the rising tide of right-wing Christian hate.
This worked visually because Bill looks like a nice young fellow who has no idea which direction a Nazi swastika should face or whether one should pile into Ku Klux Klan robes from the top or the bottom.
I suspect that many people will buy Ruse’s approach. “Bill may be okay, but look what comes after him,” they will say.
The beauty of Ruse’s approach is that it is truly content-free. Ruse does not need to offer any evidence that there is a rising tide of right-wing Christian hate or even that students who are allowed to know that some scientists question Darwinism will be changed in any way as a result. (It’s been legal in Ontario for years and nothing much has happened, except a complete absence of Kansas-style controversy, which suits us Ontarians fine.)
All Ruse needs to do is create fear of the Rising Tide. Many people are chronically afraid of that kind of thing, and the less they know, the more afraid they are. So the fewer details Ruse gives, the more effective his strategy is. He just has to sound portentous and convincing. Neat.