The Edge of Obfuscation: Darwinists Behind Closed Doors

Why is it that Darwinian rhetorical strategies often remind me of a Monty Python sketch? In this case, the one about the philosophy department at the University of Wollamaloo, where every faculty member is called Bruce and the departmental rules include “Rule two: No member of the faculty is to maltreat the Abbos [aboriginal Australians] in any way a’all — if there’s anyone watching.” So Michael Behe amusingly notes in his Amazon blog how public Darwinian responses to the main argument of his book The Edge of Evolution differ from responses in more technical forums. Or as Bruce might put it, Rule one: No member of the Darwin Lobby may admit that evolution poses seemingly unsolvable enigmas — if there’s Read More ›

My Son the Expert! Part III: A Challenge to Texas Darwinists

Nobody but a pedant enjoys being pedantic. But putting Darwinist experts in their place, particularly those who testified before the Texas State Board of Education, requires pointing out in detail their misleading simplifications of the fields in which they are supposed to be expertly qualified. Discovery staff have carefully combed the testimony of Professors David Hillis and Ronald Wetherington, finding numerous significant instances of egregious falsehood. Making this clear puts one in danger of seeming pedantic. But it’s important, in part because we hereby challenge Hillis and Wetherington to defend their statements, in light of the detailed and devastating analyses that are now available online here and here. Of course, they won’t respond, nor, I guess, will anyone in the Read More ›

My Son the Expert! Part II: More on the Texas Evolution Debate

Everyone knows the scene in Annie Hall. Woody Allen as Alvy Singer is standing in line to see a movie and a pretentious twit of a Columbia professor behind him is going on in a loud voice about Marshall McLuhan. Alvy first berates the guy — “Aren’t you ashamed to pontificate like that? And the funny part of it is, Marshall McLuhan, you don’t know anything about Marshall McLuhan!” Then from behind a movie poster he pulls McLuhan himself, who agrees with Alvy: “I heard what you were saying. You know nothing of my work! How you got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing!” Alvy then turns to the camera and wishes, “Boy, if life were only Read More ›

My Son the Expert! Part I: An Introduction to the Debate Over Evolution in Texas

As I was listening online to last week’s Texas State Board of Education hearings, two comments by Board members stuck with me. The TSBE was in its final deliberations on science standards and liberal Republican Pat Hardy delivered an encomium to “experts.” She went on about how if you get sick and require the medical knowledge of an expert in the field, why then you’d better go to that expert and follow his advice! She pleaded with other Board members to listen to the “experts” on evolution, which would mean voting to accept the “expert” view that there’s no debate on evolution worthy of being shared with high school biology students. The same day, Board member Don McLeroy, who was Read More ›

Remembering Raymond Shaw

The power of a slogan is that if you say it over and over again enough times, the effect is like brainwashing on yourself and many of the people who listen to you. It crowds out thought, to the point where, when a particular topic comes up in conversation, the slogan-imprinted mind simply spits back the slogan. You’ll see this at work among scientists, journalists, and the general public. Take, for example, a slogan that dogs the evolution debate: “There is no debate,” along with its variant, “There is no controversy.” A Google search on those two, linked with the word “evolution,” produces 20,800 and 18,800 hits respectively. One of those hits, I noticed, was from a piece I wrote Read More ›