Food Fight: Jonathan Wells and Richard Dawkins

THIS IS AN INTERESTING DISPUTE, with an origin that tracks back to Ben Stein’s movie, Expelled. It appears that Richard Dawkins, one of the scientists interviewed in that film (and who isn’t at all pleased with the results) wrote an article appearing in the Los Angeles Times, which can be found here: Gods and Earthlings: The ‘science of intelligent design’ is science fiction. It’s very good, and we recommend that you read it.

As expected when something rational is presented (and Dawkins is certainly rational), the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture can be found on the other side. You know who they are — they’re the Discoveroids, the principal promoters of that “modern” flavor of creationism which they call the “theory” of Intelligent Design. Apparently suffering from cyber-acne, their blog has produced a pustule in the form of this article: Is the “Science” of Richard Dawkins Science Fiction?

The article describes a response to the Dawkins piece, written by Jonathan Wells, upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the title of “Senior Fellow.” Excerpts:

Atheist Richard Dawkins is hopping mad at the makers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Dawkins accuses the filmmakers of “lying for Jesus” because they make it seem that he believes in intelligent design and space aliens.

The main response to Dawkins’ anger is simply to brand him an atheist. Presumably (in the mind of Jonathan Wells) that disposes of everything Dawkins says.

But who is Wells? Wells is a Moonie, who has previously described the motivation for his biology career as follows [note that “Father” is Sun Myung Moon, the leader of the Unification Church]. The source of what follows is here: Darwinism: Why I Went for a Second Ph.D., by Jonathan Wells.

Father’s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle. [Emphasis supplied.]

So that’s the man who is criticizing Dawkins. This isn’t an ad hominem attack on Wells. We’re just pointing out the irony in Johnathan’s own use of that technique. Let’s continue with the Discoveroid blog:

Dawkins is an outspoken critic of intelligent design (ID).

Hey, Johnathan! I know in your circle that’s a criticism, but maybe that’s why he’s a professor at Oxford, and you’re just an employee of a “think tank” in Seattle that functions as a public relations engine for creationism. Continuing:

According to Dawkins, evolution shows that the universe and everything in it can be explained by undirected natural processes … [Yes, we know.]

According to intelligent design, however, it is possible to infer from evidence in nature that some features of the world and of living things are better explained by an intelligent cause than by undirected natural processes. Although ID says nothing about the nature of the designer (other than calling it intelligent), it leaves open the possibility that the designer is God.

In other words, the same old oogity-boogity creationist snake oil. And not a serious word responding to Dawkins. Nice going, Johnathan. Very slick.

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