Derbyshire Protects Darwinism from Dissent

John Derbyshire keeps reburying the design argument over at The Corner, with evidence he assures us is elsewhere. By assembling a host of misconceptions about design theory into a single, compact essay (generally unencumbered by supporting evidence), Derbyshire has done us a great service, providing us a forum to respond to each misconception in a series of posts over the next several days. I’ve never met John Derbyshire. I love his name. It makes me think of England and Middle Earth. I imagine him wearing a stylish derby and living in a tasteful shire somewhere, an articulate conservative with strong opinions–but who just might stop and take a second look at a position with a much older pedigree than Darwinism, Read More ›

Calvin Ball at USA Today

Remember Calvin Ball? Calvin and Hobbes played a ball game where the victor was the one who could most nimbly change the rules to assure victory. Well, they’re playing Calvin Ball over at USA Today again. Gerald L. Zelizer writes: Can intelligent design and evolution reside in the same school building? Yes. In the same curriculum? No. Intelligent design belongs in history or social science class. Evolution belongs in science class. If one merely defines the scientific evidence against Darwinism as not-science, then, presto, you’ve cleared the field of all those stubborn, uncooperative facts that are better explained as the product of intelligent cause. Science writer Denyse O’Leary wrote USA Today, commenting thus: Regarding Rabbi Zelizer’s comments (February 6, 2005), Read More ›

Sternberg, Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back

Recall that Richard Sternberg, former editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, permitted the publication of an essay by Stephen Meyer arguing that intelligent design was the best explanation for the Cambrian Explosion of animal forms. When it appeared, major science journals and media outlets launched a smear campaing against Sternberg, questioning his motives and claiming he violated the journal’s procedures. Sternberg, a man with two Ph.D.s in evolutionary biology and a distinguished record of scientific publication and achievement, eventually felt so much heat that he hired an attorney. Happily, one major media outlet, The Wall Street Journal, broke ranks by publishing an op-ed last week laying out Sternberg’s side of the story. In it, Sternberg’s supervisor, Read More ›

Darrow-Mencken Syndrome (DMS)

Darrow-Mencken Syndrome: closely associated with delusions of grandeur, this pathology infects many in the media and the advocacy profession by convincing them that they can be as great as Darwinist attorney Clarence Darrow or as brilliant as journalist and religious skeptic H.L. Mencken if they merely cast intelligent design arguments as a recapitulation of the Scopes Monkey Trial. Signs & Symptoms: Darrow-Mencken Syndrome most often manifests itself in attorneys and reporters and usually prevents them from actually investigating the evidence and arguments of design theorists. One tell-tale symptom of Darrow-Mencken syndrome is the chronic use of simplistic or inaccurate definitions of intelligent design. Many aren’t consciously trying to misrepresent intelligent design. They have just been disabled by the delirium often Read More ›

LA Times Columnist Takes on Strawman

In her recent LA Times column, Patt Morrison spent half her essay pummeling a strawman: creationists who think the Smithsonian is hiding Noah’s ark. The other half she spent fear mongering: The creationist “brain snatchers,” the essay warns, “could be in anybody’s backyard tomorrow.” Like an aging boxer, Darwinism has taken to dodging the real challenger, intelligent design–according to which, certain features of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process like natural selection. Morrison eventually mentions intelligent design, but only to erect another strawman. “ID is a canny tactic,” she explains, ” . . . in which the Bible is an encoded science text.” Her column attacked the creationist museum but also the ID Read More ›