Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bad Arguments Convince Me #2

This series of 1. post, 2. reply post, and 3. reply to reply post between Mike Gene and Ed Brayton is worth a read. Brayton's reply post shows obvious, elementary and quite remarkable errors in logic, which are all too common in the anti-ID movement. Just because two things have many similar aspects does not mean that they are the same thing. One must ask the key question: are there any meaningful differences?

Regarding intelligent design and creationism, the differences are clear. Here is one difference made quite simple:

Creationism is informed by scientific evidence and divine revelation through the Bible.

Intelligent Design is informed only by scientific evidence, and not divine revelation.

Note: intelligent design proponents acknowledge that both ID and macroevolutionary theory have philosophical and religious implications. But ID is not informed by religion and does not look to religion for support.

Now it should be obvious to anyone that the same scientific evidence that supports creationism is likely to support intelligent design. Of course similar arguments will be made by both. But that is not where the difference lies.

Judge Jones made similar logical errors in his Kitzmiller opinion, which I discussed here.

My original Bad Arguments Convince Me post is here.

Friday, December 29, 2006

"Secular Dogmatism" and Williams College

"Secular dogmatism" gets a mention in this NY Times opinion piece, by a Williams College professor. I consider this phenomenon related to "Darwinian fundamentalism."

Most of the article is about the need for students with traditional religious beliefs to be more open minded. I think the writer makes some good points and some bad points, but that is not the subject of this post.

He closes with this:
The warning signs are clear: unless we establish a genuine dialogue within and among all kinds of belief, ranging from religious fundamentalism to secular dogmatism, the conflicts of the future will probably be even more deadly.

I think it is great that he mentions the existence of "secular dogmatism," but I wish that he had discussed it in the rest of the piece. I think this is a great problem, because so many people are not even aware of it, or do not recognize it when they see it. It therefore gets a free pass from the mainstream media. Some examples of it at the university level discussed previously on this blog are here and here and here and here.