In our last post, Fourth of July Weekend Free Fire Zone, we said:
One thing we always watch for is when the Discoveroids, as they usually do on the Fourth, continue their gruesome campaign of intellectual body-snatching and quote-mining by hijacking one of America’s Founders and claiming him as one of their own.
And lo, it has come to pass! We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Intelligent Design Is “Based on Religion”? Tell That to Thomas Jefferson, which appears at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog — written by John West. He’s a Vice President of the Discovery Institute, a Senior Fellow, and Associate Director of their creationism think tank, the Center for Science & Culture, which makes him one of the chief Keepers of their wedge strategy. Around here we affectionately call him “Westie,” and we always look forward to his output. Westie was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo above this post.
Here are some excerpts from Westie’s post. The bold font was added by us:
Next time someone tells you intelligent design is “based on religion,” you might point him to American Founder Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. As I explain in a special July 4th edition of ID the Future, Jefferson not only believed in intelligent design, he insisted it was based on the plain evidence of nature, not religion: [link to something].
Aaaargh!! How many times before this have the Discoveroids made the bizarre claim that they are continuing the intellectual legacy of Jefferson? We’ve written about a few of them. In 2008 we wrote Usurping the Fourth of July. In 2009 we wrote Thomas Jefferson Joins The Discovery Institute!, and also Another July 4th Hijacking. But that’s not all. In 2013 we wrote Discoveroids Again Hijack the Fourth of July. In that one we discuss the mined quote from Jefferson’s letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823, which Westie mentions in today’s Discoveroid post.
Okay, let’s return to Westie’s latest. He says:
Ironically, the critics of intelligent design often think they are defending the principles of Jefferson. The National Council for the Social Studies, for example, claims that intelligent design is religion and then cites Jefferson’s famous Letter to the Danbury Baptists calling for a “wall of separation” between church and state. The clear implication is that Thomas Jefferson would agree with them that intelligent design is religion. In reality, Jefferson did not believe that intelligent design was a religious doctrine. In a letter to John Adams on April 11, 1823, he declared: [quote omitted].
We’ve already discussed that letter in a prior post. At most, Jefferson was groping toward what amounts to Paley’s watchmaker — which wasn’t altogether unreasonable in Jefferson’s generation. Let’s read on:
In sum, Jefferson believed that empirical data from nature itself proved intelligent design by showing the natural world’s intricate organization from the level of plants and insects all the way up to the revolution of the planets.
To know how Jefferson really thought, see Thomas Jefferson on Young-Earth Creationism. Westie continues:
As I document in my book The Politics of Revelation and Reason, Jefferson was hostile toward traditional Christianity and lashed out in private at those who believed in the divinity of Jesus. He even created his own redacted version of the New Testament from which he cut out the miracles. So he certainly can’t be accused of trying to promote “Christian fundamentalism.”
That’s true. Why does Westie mention it? He explains:
That makes his defense of intelligent design as based on unassisted reason rather than divine revelation all the more powerful.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Even if that were an accurate description of Jefferson’s thinking (it isn’t), there’s no way he would hold to that conclusion today, given what’s been learned since then about geology, evolution, and astronomy since he wrote that letter. Only creationists continue to hold fast to what may have seemed reasonable, albeit unscientific, conclusions in Jefferson’s time. And now we come to the end:
If more people knew about Jefferson’s real views on intelligent design, they might not be so quick to accept bogus claims that it is simply repackaged theology.
But as all the world knows, intelligent design is repackaged theology. Anyway, there you have it — another Discoveroid Fourth of July.
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