On March 19 I lectured at Boise State University (BSU) to about 50 mostly-friendly students and community members on “The Positive Case for Intelligent Design.” (The lecture was largely based upon a document I produced by the same title, available here.) BSU is the notorious home of their beloved undefeated-but-yet-#5-ranked Bronco football team, but my lecture was only sponsored by the IDEA Club at Boise State. The club’s leader reports that he’s recently received unfriendly e-mails from a hostile Darwinist. The club’s leader responded nicely, saying, “I hope that you would be willing to come [to Casey Luskin’s lecture],” and also defended himself saying “I am quite content for someone to disagree with my view, but I do not respect those that resort to ad hominem attacks against my intelligence, ignorance, etc. Please come and check it out.” The Darwinist wrote, “I apologize for the lack of courtesy,” and in reply to the invitation said, “I appreciate the invite for the presentation but I will abstain” (emphasis added).
The Darwinist justified his abstention by claiming he would “save the need to debate such issues until I have gone through all of my formal schooling.” I suppose he wants his education to include only pro-Darwin arguments, and doesn’t want to be exposed to non-Darwinian ideas.
In fact, this Darwinist was not really an agnostic truth-seeker who wanted to postpone debate because he had been sending the leader of the Boise State IDEA Club multiple e-mails making strongly opinionated statements against ID. Here’s a choice selection:
“There is nothing to be gained from learning ID or Creationism.”
“ID and Creationism offer no such ability to understand reality.”
“This is a fight between dogma and reality with dogma as the aggressor.”
“ID does not have any merit.”
This Darwinist claims he wants keep an open mind and oppose “dogma.” That sounds reasonable, but do his actions prove his words? When asked to provide evidence, he wrote “Don’t take my word for it, check it out.” But then when he’s invited to “check it out” by the IDEA Club leader, the Darwinist decides to “abstain.” From what the IDEA Club’s leader says, this Darwinist is not an isolated example. Apparently many Darwinists were invited, but from what we could tell, virtually none showed up.
At the end of the day, all I can say is that it’s their loss. That’s not because my lecture was so great, but because it’s vital to listen and learn from those you disagree with. That’s why I spent many dozens of hours sitting in courses covering evolutionary biology during my undergraduate and graduate studies at UCSD. Whether you’re a Darwinist or an ID-proponent, I recommend taking every opportunity you can to learn more about what your opponents believe. From my experience as an ID-proponent, doing that has only strengthened my scientific support for the intelligent design position, but more importantly it has taught me patience, tolerance, and a sincere desire for friendship towards those who disagree with my viewpoint.