A few years ago we offered the world the benefits of our research when we explained How To Write a Creation Science Paper. We were soon gratified to see the Discovery Institute following our advice — see Discoveroids Learn from the Curmudgeon.
The Discoveroids are still following the plan, but today they’ve added a diabolical twist — they’re flipping the thing around and giving advice to their drooling fans about how to write a pro-evolution paper. They just posted Intelligence Is Not Magic. It’s a Cause We Know at their creationist blog. It’s absurdly long and has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Thought experiment: You are a science writer for the Land of Ozma (Ozma being a fictional queen of note in the history of SETI). Your assignment is to explain the origin of life without reference to intelligent design for your munchkin readers, who are all looking to you for enlightenment. The munchkins have a natural inclination to believe in a designer behind the life they see all around them, but they have been taught in school that life emerges naturally. Your job is to reassure them that it does.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA!Isn’t that clever? They’re going to expose the “tricks” those wicked Darwinists use to create doubts about The Truth™ of creationism. They say to their science writer:
One big problem stares you in the face before you write. It’s the hard, cold mathematics of probability. [Hee hee!] As Illustra Media shows in their recent film [link omitted], getting one functional protein to self-assemble without design is so outrageously, mind-blowingly, inconceivably improbable that it will never happen in uncountable quintillions of universes under the most ideal conditions imaginable — and that’s an understatement!
[*Groan*] See “The odds are against evolution” in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Moving along:
Facing this small difficulty, what do you do? The smart thing would be to quit, saying, “Take this job and shove it” as you storm out the door. Assuming this is your chosen livelihood, however, you can still get paid by using some rhetorical tricks (remember, the job is not to prove it happened, but just to reassure the munchkins it might have happened).
The Discoveroids must have been looking in the mirror when they wrote that, because (with a couple of word changes) it describes their activities perfectly. The essay continues:
If you’re looking for a master magician to show you the ropes, you can hardly do better than to follow the example of Michael Gross, a science writer in Oxford, England, who pulls multiple rabbits out of hats in a feature for Current Biology, “How life can arise from chemistry.” He tells readers that rabbits naturally emerge from hats without magic. Here are some principles extracted from his article.
Surprisingly, they actually link to Gross’ article: How life can arise from chemistry. It can’t be read without a subscription, so the Discoveroids are confident that their drooling followers won’t be affected by it. Then, in what takes up most of their long essay, the Discoveroids present what they say are the “principles extracted from his article.” We’ll list them, with minimal excerpts:
• Ridicule anyone else’s position. … Gross dispenses with them right in his first paragraph, using the straw man tactic. “Life, in many people’s view, is special and different from all non-living matter to an extent that ancient cultures tended to credit its existence and astounding diversity to an almighty creator.” … In one masterful stroke, Gross equates belief in a creator with being behind the times.
• Roll call some heroes. Name-dropping helps you appear to be in good company, even if the names did nothing to help solve the origin of life.
• Side with science, not philosophy. Don’t let on that science and philosophy are inseparable. The munchkins need to feel that you intend to tell them about “science” as opposed to “philosophy,” which Gross lumps in with religion — a matter of faith, not fact.
• Cultivate the imagination. We see Gross tickling the imagination in the previous quote, suggesting life “may have arisen” on its own.
• Hide your materialism. Materialism? What materialism? I’m not doing philosophy, Gross thinks, when he says that life “may have arisen from purely chemical systems simply obeying the laws of thermodynamics.” That’s just simple chemistry, not philosophy.
• Promise progress. A good rhetorician helps the audience feel they are getting warmer solving a puzzle together.
• Hide your party politics. [Hee hee!]
• Use jargon sparingly. Toss in a few unfamiliar words here and there to create an air of sophistication, even if they have nothing to do with the main problem of getting life by chance.
• Use your enemy’s gun. Notice this trick; he discounted the idea of a “life force,” but then turns around and imagines something equivalent: “the initial spark” that ignited life.
• Remain confident. … It’s OK to admit a little ignorance, as long as you keep the myth of progress going, and pound the pulpit as necessary.
As you may have noticed, dear reader, creationists use all of those techniques in their articles, but here — with a bit of crude distortion — they claim that their “materialist” opponents are the ones who use dirty tricks. They end their list with this:
We could go on with other tricks of the trade in this article, but you get the point.
Then they continue for several more paragraphs, and finish by promoting a few of their videos which claim that intelligence (i.e., Oogity Boogity!) “is the only cause we know that explains the complex specified information that is abundantly evident in this phenomenon we call life.”
This Discoveroid essay is remarkably brazen in accusing us of using their tricks. It’s worth the time it takes to read carefully.
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