Demonising science

devilCurrently the US intelligent design (ID) movement seems to be in disarray. They have, for the moment, forgotten their story about ID being a scientific issue. For the moment they have put aside their persistent attacks on science, particularly evolutionary science. Instead they are directing their invective as theistic evolutionist. They are exposing this as a religious fight, not a scientific one.

And it’s getting pretty extreme. Bill Dembski’s called for bloodletting in his comment on Kenneth Miller’s new book Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul. Dembski has followed this with other articles attacking theistic evolution. (Mind you he always seems to mention his upcoming book so perhaps he’s using extremism as a gimmick to get publicity).

Now a fellow writer at Uncommon Descent, Dave Scot, has got into the act. He is likening the participation of Christians in evolutionary science as a  A Pact with the Devil?

He labels “theistic evolutionists” as “spineless appeaser.” Accusing them a forming a pact with the devil – with atheistic scientists. And he warns us of how evil the latter are:

“As soon as the atheists have vanquished the more blatant god bothering creationists from post-modern western civilization they’re going to go after the so-called theistic evolutionists. If any one of the theistic evolutionists thinks that the likes of Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, or their ilk are going to be happy working side by side with serious theists of any stripe then they have another think coming.”

Talk about paranoia.

Mind you Bill and Dave aren’t the only ones spouting such hysteria. Have a look at the article “Should Evolutionists Be Allowed to Vote?” by Tom Willis in the July/August 2008 issue of the newsletter of the Creation Science Association for Mid-America:

“Therefore, in a sane society, evolutionists should not be allowed to vote, or influence laws or people in any way! They should, perhaps, make bricks to earn enough to eat.”


“The arrogance displayed by the evolutionist class is totally unwarrented. The facts warrent the violent expulsion of all evolutionists from civilized society. I am quite serious that their danger to society is so great that, in a sane society, they would be, at a minimum, denied a vote in the administration of the society, as well as any job where they might influence immature humans, e.g., scout, or youth, leader, teacher and, obviously, professor” (original spelling).

It’s all part of the attempt to demonise atheists, on the one hand, and evolutionary scientists, on the other. They purposely label evolutionary science as Darwinism and scientists as Darwinists. By using this -ism they hope to create a public perception of Darwinists as the new communists or Nazis.

Wake up and smell the daisies.

The fact is that in our our modern pluralist western civilisation people with different beliefs can and do coexist. In my career I worked with scientists who were Chrsitians, atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu. And those are only the religions I knew about. From time to time we may have had friendly discussions about religion and philosophy. But religious belief never came into our work. There is no such thing as an atheist science, a Christian science, a Buddhist science, a Muslim science or a Hindu science. Science deals with evidence – not belief.

We certainly never felt any need for bloodletting, to “go after” each other, to deny basic human rights to each other or force them to “make bricks to earn enough to eat.”

Isn’t that what the Nazis, Stalinists and Maoists did?

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9 responses to “Demonising science

  1. To quote Niemoeller in this context, who wrote the poem DaveScot closes with, is just tasteless. And an uncalled for alluding to the Holocaust, a connection DaveScot decried before. On the other hand, in light of the Willis quotes maybe that poem does fit: Willis seems to suggest that we atheists might find ourselves looking around with nobody there to help us in the end if he had any say on what to do with us… I always find it puzzling that these god-loving people can be so full of hate and anger. Then, again, that biblical god is pretty full of hate and anger…


  2. Yes, I think Niemoeller’s poem is relevant – but not in the way Dave Scott is using it. He just being irrational and opportunist. How can one advocate bloodletting against Chrsitians who accept science and then use that poem in justification!

    I think it is in our interests to defend the human rights of others. And we should be defending Christian scientists (and theistic evolutionists) against this current attack whatever differences we may have about other religious belief. Human rights surely are more important than those differences.


  3. Excellent presentation, Ken. That is crazy stuff!


  4. and why do you have to be ‘logged in’ to comment over at ‘uncommon descent’? In blogging terms, that’s putting fingers in their own ears…


  5. Good post, Ken. These guys are amazingly violent in their rhetoric. I’ll be posting on this latest one soon.


  6. Yes, perhaps Dave Scott (who has commented here in the past) can explain their registration and exclusion policies.

    I have tried to register and comment at Uncommon Descent – the registration worked OK but my comments are still excluded. I wonder if they have a list that I am on!

    Bill Dembski does seem to step in quite often and publicly exclude commenters who are critical.

    Mind you, my comments to the Christian News NZ site are also now routinely excluded. They seem to now exclude anything criticising ID. I was told that my tone wasn’t acceptable (I think I called something ridiculous. And I didn’t even talk about bloodletting!

    It’s a pit Dembski’s site isn’t more open – there really isn’t any other ID site of that standing allowing comments. Mind you, I suspect that an open policy would only lead to any favourable comments being submerged in a deluge of critical ones. But that might be more representative of attitudes.


  7. I wondered why there weren’t more critical comments on that blog (Uncommon Descent), considering the fact that it would attract many people involved in the debates.

    I only ever put up one comment at Christian News NZ saying that Christianity vs Evolution was a false debate… they didn’t allow it. I don’t know why… I’m not a rude or offensive guy.


  8. Ken commented: “Human rights surely are more important than those differences.” Exactly! It’s not that they are theists that’s relevant, it’s that they’re being attacked as scientists.

    Servant wrote: “These guys are amazingly violent in their rhetoric.” Unfortunately, they don’t always remain rhetorical… The judge at the Dover trial had to get body guards after receiving death threats. Although I am not sure if anybody has been killed for defending evolution, certainly, offering women a choice can be deadly.


  9. I think it´s excellent drawing the parallel to political totalitarianism here because isn´t the procedure exactly the same? Build a hermetic system of arguments that allows for a pseudo-objective justification of everything you are saying. Then use this system to “prove” you are right and the others are wrong. Finally, attach emotional attributes to equate “right” and “wrong” with “good” and “evil”.


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