Twisting words is the only talent we’ve ever seen exhibited by neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
We gave you a recent sample in Discovery Institute Battles BioLogos in which we wrote about a couple of their newest claims: (1) that the theory of evolution is an “argument from junk DNA,” and (2) that evolution is “a faith based on gaps in scientific knowledge” — which they call “Darwin of the gaps.”
As pathetic as that was, we just found some others — but they’re a bit more subtle. At the Discoveroid blog we find this new post: Phillip Johnson on Dogmatic Signs. That post is little more than some excerpts from an article published elsewhere, written by Phillip E. Johnson, about whom we wrote Philip E. Johnson: Godfather of Intelligent Design. He’s a retired UC Berkeley law professor who is an architect of the Discoveroids’ Wedge Strategy.
Here are some examples of their latest brain-benders which we’ll copy from the Discoveroid excerpts of Johnson’s article. Johnson is talking about Stephen Meyer’s book. The last time we wrote about that was Two More Reviews for “Signature in the Cell”. Okay, here we go, with bold added by us:
In another way, however, it is peculiar that there is such a furious and often ill-informed objection to a learned volume that isn’t even about the theory of biological evolution.
That’s for sure. It’s about Oogity Boogity! Let’s read on:
The book advances well-reasoned arguments based on solid evidence about a prior problem — the origin of the cell’s information content — concerning which most scientists would concede that they know very little.
Ooooooooooh — information! Only an infinitely intelligent Designer can come up with that. Otherwise, there could be no snowflakes, crystals, or anything else with a discernible structure. We continue:
The one thing that many of these scientists think they do know for certain is that, however the cell may have originated, the process could only have involved natural (i.e., unintelligent) causes. But this conclusion is not something these scientists know from the evidence.
Hey — that’s a brilliant point! It’s stupid to look for evidence when you don’t already know that it exists. Here’s more:
For a long time, it has been the rule in evolutionary science that, if the evidence does not support a fully naturalistic theory about both the origin of life and its subsequent development, then there must be something wrong with the evidence rather than with the theory or its underlying philosophy.
You have to read that more than once to understand what Johnson is saying. When he says what he imagines scientists to be thinking, that “there must be something wrong with the evidence,” he’s mischaracterizing (deliberately?) what’s really happening. He’s suggesting that scientists toss out the evidence. No, but that’s what creationists do. The “something wrong” that a scientist might think is nothing more than a realization that the evidence he’s working with is incomplete. That’s why scientists do research.
The scientific approach to the world has a long and spectacular history of success, but (as we understand it) Johnson prefers that when our evidence doesn’t yet provide a full understanding, it’s not because the evidence is incomplete. Thinking that way is a philosophical error! It really means that there’s something wrong with the “underlying philosophy” of science. Those familiar with the Wedge Strategy know what Johnson’s philosophical solution is. He wants to “replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.”
The profoundly biased scientific and intellectual context into which Signature in the Cell was introduced is as important and fascinating a subject as Meyers’ book itself.
That “profoundly biased scientific and intellectual context” Johnson complains about is nothing less than the methodology of science itself. He’s right, of course. Any book that promotes Oogity Boogity! as a replacement for science is going to encounter that same kind of “bias.”
Johnson then praises a volume that collects a bunch of Discoveroid responses to the critics of Meyers’ book, after which he says:
What I hope readers of these two books [Meyers’ book and the Discoveroids’ responses to criticism] will appreciate is that conflicting scientific claims can only be properly adjudicated by impartially investigating the evidence, and not by excluding an important claim because of an a priori philosophical bias, such as by incorporating the opposing claim into the definition of “science.”
Again, that requires some re-reading. Johnson speaks of “conflicting scientific claims,” thus putting Oogity Boogity! on the same level as genuine science. He refers to “excluding an important claim” (the important claim being creationism) as being “because of an a priori philosophical bias.” And what is that bias? It’s considering science to be science, and pseudo-science to be outside the definition of science. That’s Johnson’s big beef. No one takes Oogity Boogity! seriously, and it’s only because of “bias.”
When will this cruel discrimination end? Hopefully it will never end. That means Johnson will go on muttering the line we vaguely recall (but can’t locate) from an old James Cagney gangster movie, spoken when a bitter ex-con complained about how society treated him — no one would give an ex-con a break.
Maybe you remember the movie. Cagney summed up his situation and said: “It’s a dirty rotten shame!” That must be how the Discoveroids feel.
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