Saturday, October 29, 2005

Figuring Out Eugenie Scott: Is She Ignorant, Dishonest, Correct . . . Or None of the Above?

In my last post discussing Eugenie Scott's article promoting a strategy for pushing Darwin-friendly theology on public school science students, I began wondering what was the most offensive aspect. Here is another passage that contends for "most offensive." She begins her article with this remarkable statement:
People don't oppose evolution because they disagree with the science but because it offends their religious sensibilities.

Well, that statement certainly offends my intellectual sensibilities. She then continues:
In most communities, at least some students come into a class wary of the "e-word" because somehow they have acquired the idea that acceptance of evolution is incompatible with religious faith. Antievolutionists, in fact, make a special point of proclaiming that one is either an evolutionist or a creationist, falsely dichotomizing the issue.

Her initial statement is, of course, demonstrably false. Michael Behe has made it quite clear:
I'm a Roman Catholic, and Catholics have always understood that God could make life any way he wanted to. If he wanted to make it by the playing out of natural law, then who were we to object? We were taught in parochial school that Darwin's theory was the best guess at how God could have made life.

I'm still not against Darwinian evolution on theological grounds. I'm against it on scientific grounds. I think God could have made life using apparently random mutation and natural selection. But my reading of the scientific evidence is that he did not do it that way, that there was a more active guiding.

Phillip Johnson said in his landmark book Darwin on Trial:
My purpose is to examine the scientific evidence on its own terms, being careful to distinguish the evidence itself from any religious or philosophical bias that might distort our interpretation of that evidence. I assume that the creation-scientists are biased by their precommitment to Biblical fundamentalism, and I will have very little to say about their position. The question I want to investigate is whether Darwinism is based upon a fair assessment of the scientific evidence, or whether it is another kind of fundamentalism.

So maybe Ms. Scott was simply ignorant of these positions and the numerous other people who publicly question macroevolutionary theory because of the scientific evidence? Well, she reviewed Darwin on Trial and she debated both Behe and Johnson at least once. As noted previously, Scott is arguably the number one lobbyist for the Darwin Only movement, and Behe and Johnson are regarded as leaders in the intelligent design movement. Any casual observer of the current debates would assume that she is all too aware of Behe and Johnson and their positions.

Well, perhaps she thinks they are lying when they make these statements? Maybe, but if that is her position, a reasonable observer would want to know Behe's and Johnson's position, and not just Scott's personal opinion about their positions. A reader would expect this kind of clarification from an honest writer.

Perhaps Scott's view of reality does not permit her to fathom the idea that intelligent people could doubt macroevolutionary theory based on the scientific evidence? Maybe her mental faculties are so impaired that she cannot grasp this possibility? Perhaps, but she seems fairly coherent.

Another possibility is that Scott is both sane and well aware that her statement is false, but is willing to misrepresent the truth in order to further her own religious, political or scientific agenda by misleading children. Gosh, that seems like such a horrible possibility. How could that be true of someone who gets so much support from our mainstream scientific establishment?

I leave it to my readers to decide which is the most plausible explanation.

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For another post discussing Eugenie Scott and the truth, read here.


At October 31, 2005 5:24 PM, Anonymous RA said...

She sets up a straw man with lies and false assumptions and then easily knocks him down.

Notice that she must stay on the "this is just religion" tack. If she dares getting into a real scientific debate she looses big time.

There are almost no good scientific arguements for evolution. But there are a pleathora against.

What is the only real option if evolution is scientifically impossibe? Spacemen?! LOL


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