At Bloggingheads, Fleeing the Ritual Contamination of “Creationism”

The imbroglio over editorial policy at would be of minor interest if it didn’t present such an evocative window on the psychology of the Darwin-believing community. Did you ever think about what actually drives these people? To recap: Robert Wright, the site’s editor-in-chief, was out of the shop when his staff pulled down an interview, six hours after it was put up, between linguist John McWhorter and biochemist Michael Behe. Somehow, pressure was applied to McWhorter resulting in his actually issuing a public apology. He was forced to cringe and beg forgiveness. Anyone could see the reason he had given offense: McWhorter in the interview expressed undisguised admiration for Behe’s specialty in the intelligent design field, irreducible complexity. When Read More ›

Wright Does the Right Thing, Reinstates Behe on Intelligent Design

When I wrote earlier on the Stalinist erasure of John McWhorter’s interview with biochemist Michael Behe on, I began by saying, “Wow.” I will say that again: “Wow.” Why wow? Because Bloggingheads editor-in-chief Robert Wright was, as I’d suspected, out of the shop when it happened — on a silent meditation retreat, in fact — and on returning he reversed his staff’s Orwellian move and put the interview back up. Way to go, Mr. Wright! There are three orders of business here. First, congratulations to Robert Wright, whose very interesting book The Evolution of God I’ve commented on before. He writes sensibly in explanation of what happened, making clear that the censoring of Behe was indefensible without publicly condemning Read More ›

Robert Wright’s Censors Intelligent Design Interview

Wow. This is positively Stalinist. Robert Wright’s has abruptly removed an interview it put up hours before in which linguist Dr. John McWhorter talks with biochemist Dr. Michael Behe about Behe’s The Edge of Evolution. It’s a fascinating exchange. McWhorter starts off by saying that while his own writing has been primarily on race, other subjects interest him more. For example, it would seem, evolution. He proceeds to reveal startling depths of enthusiasm for Behe, Behe’s book, and intelligent design. He talks about how he never previously believed in God and never wanted to until he read Behe, who of course in his own writing steers clear of theological ruminations (apart from noting that he’s a Roman Catholic). A Read More ›

Robert Wright’s “Grand Bargain” on Evolution? Maybe Not So Grand After All

I like Robert Wright and enjoyed his recent book The Evolution of God. One thing I value about him is his candor. Thus in his New York Times op-ed on Sunday proposing a “grand bargain” between religion and science (i.e., Darwinism), he can’t help but blurt out what would be asked in this bargain even of religious believers who think they’ve already managed to square God with Darwin. These believers, notably adherents of “theistic evolution,” with their minimalist view of the Deity, should be prepared to “scale back their conception of God’s role in creation.” If I’m reading Bob Wright correctly, even the theism-lite of theistic evolution can be reconciled with a full-bodied Darwinism only at the cost of further Read More ›

A “Heretic” in Jewish Terms? Someone Who Denies Intelligent Design

Last week some readers of my Beliefnet blog had a hard time accepting that the rabbinic term “apikoros,” a kind of heretic, denotes someone who rejects — if I may use the contemporary term — intelligent design. One fellow, by a rigorous Google search, even believed he’d found Internet-based proof that an apikoros designates a Christian! Um, no. The Mishnah uses the word without explanation, for a category of persons who have no share in the World to Come. The Talmud links it with insolence either to the face of the Sages or in their presence. (See Sanhedrin 90a, 99b.) Maimonides finds an etymological connection to an Aramaic word for “disparagement.” But what of the idea content of the term? Read More ›