I hope you had a good weekend. But I KNOW that rapper MC Hammer had a most interesting and intellectually stimulating one. You may wonder how I know that. It’s because he spent a good deal of it watching videos about intelligent design and evolution and exchanging tweets about ID with Discovery Institute philosopher of science Stephen Meyer, on one hand, and arch-Darwinist atheist biologist Jerry Coyne on the other. Hammer was more persuaded by Dr. Meyer than by Dr. Coyne. The latter, an emeritus professor at the University of Chicago, was not pleased and tweeted back insults, calling Hammer an “ignoramus.” (Coyne later apologized and took down the insulting tweet.)
Hammer, with 3.2 million Twitter followers, was most taken, though, by our mathematician colleague David Berlinski. He tweeted a link to Dr. Berlinski’s book The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions, and enjoyed a video of what he called a “Fantastic conversation!!!!” among Berlinski, Meyer, Yale’s David Gelernter, and host Peter Robinson of Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Hammer also tweeted out a wonderful interaction between Berlinski and a pair of interviewers from Rational Religion. Science writer Sheril Kirshenbaum further provoked Coyne by tweeting that “@MCHammer is correct. Science & religion aren’t incompatible. They both seek to understand our world.”
Now, I know that rap superstars, whether of the 1990s such as MC Hammer, or of today, aren’t uniquely empowered to decide the ultimate questions of science or philosophy. But you know what? Neither are scientists like Jerry Coyne, or science philosophers like Stephen Meyer. We are all responsible for weighing the evidence as best we can and, where there is a controversy, as with the one over dumb unguided evolution as the sole engine of all the wonders in biology, for deciding which position has the better arguments. That is what David Gelernter did when he came out a Darwin skeptic, and it’s what MC Hammer did.
A Weekend Coup
The discussion among Hammer, Coyne, and his fellow Darwinist hardliners was well timed as intelligent design enjoyed a coup over the weekend. On Friday, Discovery Institute Vice President John West wrote here about a new peer-reviewed paper in a prominent journal, the Journal of Theoretical Biology, and Evolution News reported more details about it today. The article supports intelligent design by name, pointing to the many signs of biological fine-tuning. I recommend it to rappers and evolutionary biologists alike.
As Dr. West points out, Darwinists tried to cancel and silence the paper, but failed. All they could win was a concession from the editors in the form of a Disclaimer, assuring readers that the journal is not, actually, pro-ID: “We believe that intelligent design is not in any way a suitable topic for the Journal of Theoretical Biology.” Yet this is from the three co-Chief Editors of the journal, not from the copy editor or the summer intern. But again, the article is completely upfront in naming and arguing, explicitly, for the science of intelligent design. Either the scientist editors weren’t aware what they were publishing, hadn’t bothered to read it, or they were aware, and were pressured by outside forces to issue their Disclaimer. The latter seems the more likely conclusion.
Intelligent design advocates seek to persuade the public and scientists equally, and in both those respects ID itself had an excellent weekend. But as the episode with the Journal of Theoretical Biology makes clear, the struggle against Darwin’s censors remains far from over.