About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The next step of Intelligent Design theory
The goal of the Biologic is to provide laboratory evidence of the impossibility of evolution, as well as empirical support for Intelligent Design. Good luck to you, guys. In reality, of course, the goal is simply to provide ammunition to rebut one of the most damning statements in Judge John Jones's decision at Dover: “[in addition to its religious undertones, ID has not] been the subject of testing and research [and it has not] generated peer-reviewed publications.” Hence, it ain't science.
The work going on at Biologic is so secretive that nobody there would speak to a New Scientist reporter, and when one of the directors, George Weber, finally did, he was immediately fired! Hmm, a splendid example of academic openness and freedom of intellectual debate, no doubt. Weber isn't a scientist, not surprisingly, but a former professor of business and the head of Reasonstobelieve.org – clearly the sort of credentials one would expect from the director of a scientific “research” institute.
Weber told the New Scientist reporter that “We are the first ones doing what we might call lab science in intelligent design.” Yes, you might call it that, or you might more appropriately call it a thinly veiled exercise in public deception. “The objective” -- Weber continued -- “is to challenge the scientific community on naturalism.” Except, of course, that naturalism is a philosophical position, so Weber should really be challenging the likes of Daniel Dennett, not the intellectual descendants of Charles Darwin.
Steve Fuller, a sociologist who testified in favor of ID at Dover (why a sociologist, and not a scientist? Nobody has ever denied that ID is a fascinating phenomenon from a sociological standpoint!) said about what Biologic is doing: “Regardless of whether the science cuts any ice against evolution, one of the virtues is that it could provide a kind of model for how religiously motivated people can go into the lab.” Are you kidding me? In other words, who cares if the so-called science is crap, it's ok because it makes religious people feel good about playing scientists!
Of course, none of this is really new stuff. The Institute for Creation Research, a young-earth creationist propaganda machine, has been in operation since the '70s, and it has produced volumes on topics such as “flood geology,” the difficult problem of making enough space for all animals on Noah's Ark, and the ever-popular documentation of humans and dinosaurs living at the same time (or was that a cartoon series for kids? I get confused with these scholarly sources). None of this has helped because it's the same sort of science-looking smokescreen that supporters of pseudoscience have always used, from astrologers to spoon-benders. And it's not going to work at Biologic for the same exact reason: it ain't science, baby.