Promoters of pseudoscience often take comfort from the fact that some new scientific theories may be ridiculed at first, but eventually they become accepted. The classic example is the vicious hostility encountered by Galileo’s theory — which he backed with observational evidence — that the Earth and the other planets orbit the Sun. There are others. A good example is Alfred Wegener and his theory continental drift
Five years ago, Casey invoked Wegener’s theory and predicted that like it, one day the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design would be accepted, and their brave struggle will be universally praised — see The Discovery Institute and the Ugly Duckling. As we said then:
Alfred Wegener proposed a theory of continental drift in 1912. Alas, he had no supporting evidence — other than the easily observable fact that the continents seem to fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Wegener was never regarded as a kook, however. He later provided evidence of similar geological structures and fossils on opposite oceanic coastlines, which supported his hypothesis that the land masses has once been joined; but he needed a mechanism that could cause the continents to move around, and without that his idea didn’t go anywhere. Unfortunately, he died before his hypothesis was accepted in the 1950s, after the discovery of evidence like seafloor spreading and mid-ocean ridges.
Casey’s post was laughable at the time, but what’s even funnier is that the same argument is still being made by the Discoveroids today. Their latest post is How to Think About Minority Science Views — The Case of Plate Tectonics. It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
The idea that continents drift is now taken for granted, but it wasn’t always. In fact, when the theory was proposed by Alfred Wegener in 1912, it was mocked, until decades later after Wegener had already died, when the theory was ultimately accepted. The issue was one of mechanism. Wegener couldn’t adequately explain what was driving the continents apart. He did know that the evidence, including the way continents could be pictured as fitting together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, indicated strongly that they did so.
Yes, yes, we know all that. Then he says:
If this sounds familiar, it should. The debate about intelligent design is in many ways a replay of the controversy around Wegener’s theory.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Let’s read on:
Over the question of a mechanism, one of the more childish Darwin activists calls ID “Oogity Boogity.” [Klinghoffer links to a post by your Curmudgeon: Intelligent Design Has a Mechanism.]
After that, Klinghoffer devotes a few paragraphs to Wegener’s theory and his ultimate vindication. Near the end he says:
Will ID, like Wegener’s theory, win the day against the majority view? And if so, how soon? Of course, that’s impossible to say, partly for reasons that go beyond science.
Reasons beyond science? What are those? Klinghoffer explains:
One distinction between the theories is that the history of the continents and their arrangement has no particular significance for philosophy, whereas the history of life, how biological novelties emerge, obviously does.
Is Klinghoffer admitting that the Discoveroids’ “theory” is really a theological doctrine? He doesn’t quite say it, but it’s certainly implied. He ends his post with this:
In the differing treatments of the ideas, at Wikipedia and elsewhere, that distinction probably makes all the difference.
We respectfully disagree. It’s not merely the way places like Wikipedia arbitrarily treat the subject. The problem is that Intelligent design literally isn’t science at all. The Discoveroids’ founding manifesto, The Wedge Document, makes that quite clear. It states that the goal of the intelligent design movement is to replace science as currently practiced with “theistic and Christian science.”
The Discoveroids’ “theory” will never be accepted. Why? Although Klinghoffer may think this is childish, the reason is that intelligent design is nothing but Oogity Boogity!
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