Praising with faint damnation

With the growing stir caused by Ben Stein’s movie Expelled, Joe Carter has some thoughts on why the issue of Intelligent Design refuses to go away. 

Scientific ignorance?  Not when the theory of evolution has had a monopoly on the classroom since the 1960s.

Closed-mindedness caused by a priori commitment to religious fundamentalism?  I see no evidence for that, nor do I see closed-mindedness existing on only one side.  Indeed, the whole premise of Expelled is that evolutionary orthodoxy is maintained through a ruthless suppression of dissent.  I hope to get a chance to see the movie and see what sort of case Stein makes for that.

Carter claims –and I have thought this for some time– that Intelligent Design recieves a major boost from the actions of its critics.  People like Richard Dawkins act every bit as much as closed-minded religious zealots as those they rail against.  Their reaction is an essentially emotional one: too angry and threatened to even take the time to understand what it is they see as a dire threat to humanity.  Where those who do science busy themselves with asking questions about the natural world and seeking to answer those questions empirically, the anti-ID crusaders fight tooth and nail to make sure that you and I believe the right things– things that go well beyond the pale of empiricism.   They bear not a little resemblance to medieval inquisitors; only the tenets of the orthodoxy have changed.  They have stared into the Abyss and the Abyss has stared back into them.  Although our tools and toys get increasingly complex, when it comes to human nature there apparently is nothing new under the sun.

Carter has more thoughts on ways that Intelligent Design is given impetus by its critics, and all three posts deserve reading.  His #1 reason is something that I witnessed while pursuing my BS in microbiology, back when what is now called the Intelligent Design movement was in its infancy.  Intelligence or education are no safeguard against closed-mindedness.  In bygone years this was recognized, and was justification for the academic ideal of freedom of enquiry.