Once again we have the opportunity to discuss an article by David Klinghoffer. He’s a “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), among the 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 won’t bother to repeat our description of Klinghoffer’s creationist oeuvre here, but you can check it out in this recent post. Klinghoffer’s latest appears at the Discoveroids’ blog: What Intelligent Design Offers to Agnostics.
Does that title strike you as being just a little bit crazy? Can you imagine a science course named “Chemistry for Anglicans,” or maybe “Astronomy for Jews”? Or either one offered “for agnostics”? Of course not! Hydrogen is hydrogen and the moon is the moon. Science is science, and its practitioners are attracted to it from every background from all over the world. The Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design — were it science — should appeal to all rational people regardless of their views on religion. What is Klinghoffer talking about?
Well, let’s get past the goofy title and see what Klinghoffer has to say. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Intelligent design has as much to offer to the unbeliever or the unorthodox searcher as to the confirmed traditional believer. It might even have more. Does that surprise you?
Don’t try to tease, David. It’s not cute coming from you. Just get on with it:
If ID were religious in nature, then with what theology or with what faith exactly is it congruent? ID is as much a religious idea as is the cosmology of the Big Bang. Sure, it’s more readily reconciled with Judaism or Christianity than you can say of Darwinism or materialism, but that’s something different. It also has as much to offer to the unbeliever or the unorthodox searcher as to the confirmed traditional believer. It might even have more.
We can easily answer David’s question about the theology with which ID is congruent — it’s any theology that wants to suppress reason and establish a theocracy to rule over an uneducated, mindless population. That’s quite sufficient to distinguish it from the Big Bang. Let’s read on:
It’s far from the case that only orthodox religionists have perceived what Alfred Russel Wallace, evolutionary theory’s co-founder, called in 1889 the “crushing mental burden” that materialism imposes on modern man.
Wallace again. The Discoveroids’ bizarre metamorphosis into the cult of Wallace-ism is virtually complete. See: Discoveroids Adopt Alfred Wallace as Godfather.
Wait — we must interrupt to comment on Klinghoffer’s mention of “materialism.” As creationists always do, Klinghoffer is — and we suspect it’s deliberate — equating philosophical materialism with something very different — methodological materialism. The latter is a procedure (not a philosophy) which is inherent in the scientific method. We’ve explained that in detail here: Bring Me An Angel Detector!
That ends our interruption. Sorry, but it was necessary. Then Klinghoffer purports to quote the venerable Wallace:
[Warning — what follows is an unverified creationist quote. Klinghoffer claims Wallace said:] As contrasted with this hopeless and soul-deadening belief, we, who accept the existence of a spiritual world, can look upon the universe as a grand consistent whole adapted in all its parts to the development of spiritual being capable of indefinite life and perfectibility.
Eeeyoweeee! Science is a “hopeless and soul-deadening belief.” No wonder the Discoveroids love Wallace. Klinghoffer continues:
He describes beautifully that sense of optimism that I’ve identified elsewhere with “enchantment,” the hope of an invisible reality behind the façade of the physical world.
Ah, so that’s the purpose of the Discoveroids’ “science” — it’s all about enchantment! Intelligent design is truly wonderful stuff. Here’s one last excerpt from Klinghoffer’s post:
Materialism corrodes the confidence we might otherwise have that any search for meaning that we undertake is not necessarily in vain. Intelligent design offers the hope, by the refutation of materialist science, that “something is out there,” whatever it might be, capable of granting genuine purpose to our existence.
There it is, dear reader. Klinghoffer says that “materialism” — his misleading word for rational, evidence-based science — “corrodes the confidence” that we might understand the world. Our only hope is to embrace Oogity Boogity! Blessed be Wallace!
Oh, back to Klinghoffer’s peculiar title: “What Intelligent Design Offers to Agnostics” — our conclusion is that it offers nothing to anyone, but that’s only our Curmudgeonly view of things. Opinions vary.
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