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Darwinian Desperation: Petition to Re-Classify “Non-Science” Books

Not content with their virtually complete hegemony over public school science education, now the Darwinists have a new ploy to eradicate ID from scientific consideration: just re-classify it away. In a petition, some PSU science students are demanding the complete re-classification and re-shelving of ID related books to a non-science category. Apparently the instigators of this petition believe that the mere presence of an ID related book on a science shelf serves to further confuse an already confused public about what is and is not science. Citing a recent survey by the NSF that “70 percent of Americans do not understand the scientific process,” the petition claims that “further confusion surrounding what is and is not science is particularly problematic.” According to the petition, (and the NSF), the general public is just to stupid to know the difference between “real” science, and philosophy masquerading as science.

Of course, the authors of the petition would most likely be perfectly content to see books like The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, or Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett remain on the science shelves, even though neither book (and others like them) contain hardly any actual science and loads of philosophical speculation. Meanwhile, books like Stephen Meyer’s The Signature in the Cell or Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution, which are virtually 100% about science and scientific findings, must be placed on a theology or philosophy shelf. (In one case, I saw Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box on the ‘Inspirational Books’ shelf!!!) I guess there’s no reason to be concerned about the confusing the public further when books that are nearly 100% about science are on a theology shelf!

Its easy to justify these moves when, as the authors of the petition do, one defines science this way:

Science can be defined as the process of using empirical evidence to make predictions and test hypotheses in the effort to increase our understanding of the world around us. ID seeks to answer many of the same questions about life on Earth that science does. However, the two differ drastically in that ID invokes supernatural explanations to explain natural processes, while science explains natural processes using empirical data. As the study of ID does not involve the use of empirical evidence to make predictions and test hypotheses, it cannot be considered a science under any circumstances.

Someone needs to tell these guys that there simply is no widely accepted, widely agreed upon definition of what science is, so invoking a particular one to justify their animus against ID isn’t all that helpful. Apparently the authors of this petition simply do not understand what ID is really about either, and return to the old canard that ID “invokes the supernatural”. If they understood that ID is about distinguishing between undirected, natural causes and intelligent causes, then it would be much more difficult for them to sell their petition. They would know this if they read something like William Dembski’s The Design Revolution…unless, of course, that book is on the theology shelf (which it was at Borders the last time I checked), where they’d never find it.

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24 Responses to Darwinian Desperation: Petition to Re-Classify “Non-Science” Books

  1. Is the functional specificity in nucleotide sequencing not an emperical evidence? (Abel 2005, 2009).

    As for falsifiable predictions, I strongly urge any of the petitioners to come to UD or elsewhere (anywhere) and falsify Abel’s conclusions. While they are at it, they can provide a means to falsify the unquestionable claim that unguided processes are the cause of all thinga in the Universe.

  2. Just for fun, the last time I went to Barnes & Noble, I reshelved four copies of Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” under Philosophy instead of science.

    That’s where the rest of the copies were, anyway.

  3. Barb:

    Just for fun, the last time I went to Barnes & Noble, I reshelved four copies of Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” under Philosophy instead of science.

    As long as you were taking the time…you could have at least put in the juvenile book section. Would have been about as accurate! ;-)

  4. Next time, I’ll intersperse them with copies of Twilight.

  5. I view the Darwinist effort to promote anti-supernaturalism through censorship as a blessing to the ID movement. It will force all creationists to investigate and exalt the most irrefutable definition of science.

    DonaldM,

    What’s wrong with defining science to be whatever the discoverers of the laws of nature say science is? My understanding of physics is that there is no dispute about the possibility of quantum miracles.

  6. Here’s an interesting one. When I go to my local bookstores and also the library and I head to the ‘Releigion’ section I continually find that the vast majority of books in this section are critical, even hostile, toward Christianity. There are, of course, books supporting Buddhism and Islam, as well they should as this is the ‘religious’ section, but books reinterpreting or attempting to falsify the doctrines found within Christianity are quite dense on the shelf.

    I try to envision the same in the ‘Science’ section where books could be found that would be allowed to criticise current theories and permit the interested-reader the opportunity to see what others have said. If it doesn’t work with them it won’t be bought or read. That is how the business works!

    Has anyone else noticed this same presentation in their bookshops and libraries?

    Will this type of freedom of the writer be allowed in the hallowed section of the ‘science’ shelf?

    On the topic of books, I recommended Jonathan Wells’ “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design” for purchase by my local library. They bought it(!) and I got it out as the first reader. I also returned it a week later! A few months after that, I went to get it to look something up. It wasn’t on the shelf. I looked it up on the library website for a return date only to find it wasn’t listed. I inquired at the desk about the book only to be told by the staff member it was never part of the library stock. They had never heard of it.

    Hmmm.

    Same library, different day. I went to the religious section and I found Darwin’s Origin of Species there.

    Hmmm again.

  7. 7

    For the record, there are books on ID in the science section of most book stores – books on ID by Barbara Forrest and Eugenie Scott (I purchased her book on ID right from the science shelf). I was not able to find, however, Dr. Stephen Meyer’s book there, and had to ask the clerk to order it for me. Is there a double standard here?

    So the propaganda being peddled right from the book store is that it’s scientific to criticize ID, but it is not scientific to support ID.

  8. Speaking of Barnes and Noble, here’s my experience on the “reshelving” issue:

    I visited a local Barnes and Noble bookstores here in Seattle about 3 months ago to look for Dr. Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell.”

    As expected, I went to the Science section to see if there are copies available. So I search through the shelves under “Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy, Mathematics and Nature” since that is how B&N normally arranged their Science section.

    I didn’t find the book under that section. So I thought, “They must have been sold out or shelved somewhere else.” I was very excited, I went to the customer service section and asked if they still have in-store copies of the book.

    The lady was equally excited and said that there is one left for the store. (At that time, I believe the book was in its second printing).

    Then she led me to the led me to the Theology/Religion section and said,

    “They used to be in the science section but we resheleved these books because they sell more here (pointing now to the Theology/Religion section) than at the science section. Its a store policy.”

    Then she left.

    When she said that, my enthusiasm just evaporates to total dissappointment.

    Then I thought for a moment: If Barnes and Noble has a point, then reshelving Richard Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show on Earth” to Stage Play and Filmography section or any other section, would still be right as long as it generates more profit.

    In the name of money, yes, Barnes and Noble would do it. But in the name of good science, it is not right.

  9. “I visited a local Barnes and Noble bookstores…”

    it would have been,

    “I visited a local Barnes and Noble bookstore…”

    “Then she led me to the led me…”

    it would have been,

    “Then she led me to the…”

    sorry for the typos.

  10. I myself am quite used to such… almost any ID books, even those that are quite based on the scientific method and such for inquiry are in religious books. I just accept it.

  11. I believe that there is a respectable agreement on the true character of science by scientists.

  12. Shubee….what is your point?

  13. UB,

    DonaldM asserted what I believe is a misleading statement: “Someone needs to tell these guys that there simply is no widely accepted, widely agreed upon definition of what science is, so invoking a particular one to justify their animus against ID isn’t all that helpful.”

    While I agree that there is no one single definition of science that is preferred above all others, I don’t see any significant disagreement among secular scientists on the meaning of science either.

  14. A search for truth might just as well be defined by the process of a search for truth.

    Regardless of who is defining what science is, it certainly should not be defined by tainted and unnecessary assumptions.

  15. UB,

    Science shouldn’t be defined simply as “a search for truth” unless you want “social science” to classed with the real sciences.

    There is no question that unnecessary assumptions plague the quasi-sciences. The fact remains that science is best defined as whatever the discoverers of the laws of nature, i.e., what the noteworthy scientists, say science is.

  16. “There is no question that unnecessary assumptions plague the quasi-sciences”.

    So you consider such disciplines as evolutionary biolgy as a quasi-science?

    I agree with you insofar as it certainly isn’t following what “the discoverers of the laws of nature” were following.

  17. Upright BiPed,

    There is no question that evolutionary biology is a quasi-science. Another problem is that DonaldM has repudiated sensible definitions of science by asserting that the majority of noteworthy discoverers of the laws of nature disagree significantly on the definition of science.

  18. Sorry Shubee, but I didn’t catch DM stating that “the majority of noteworthy discoverers of the laws of nature disagree significantly on the definition of science” and consequently, I still don’t see your point.

    My guess is that my inability to grasp what you are saying is not all that important.

    Best regards…

  19. orry Shubee, but I didn’t catch DM stating that “the majority of noteworthy discoverers of the laws of nature disagree significantly on the definition of science”

    DonaldM didn’t use those exact words but are you sure that the given conclusion can’t be inferred?

    DM quoted this criticism of the ID movement:

    “Science can be defined as the process of using empirical evidence to make predictions and test hypotheses in the effort to increase our understanding of the world around us. ID seeks to answer many of the same questions about life on Earth that science does. However, the two differ drastically in that ID invokes supernatural explanations to explain natural processes, while science explains natural processes using empirical data. As the study of ID does not involve the use of empirical evidence to make predictions and test hypotheses, it cannot be considered a science under any circumstances.”

    Let’s assume that DM’s rebuttal is valid:

    “Someone needs to tell these guys that there simply is no widely accepted, widely agreed upon definition of what science is, so invoking a particular one to justify their animus against ID isn’t all that helpful.”

    As I see it, DM’s response is no defense unless “the majority of noteworthy discoverers of the laws of nature disagree significantly on the definition of science.”

  20. Shubee:

    As I see it, DM’s response is no defense unless “the majority of noteworthy discoverers of the laws of nature disagree significantly on the definition of science.”

    So, science is defined by majority rule? You might note that many of the “noteworthy discoverers” of the laws of nature saw science as extension of their Christian theology. Newton and Boyle come to mind here.

    The authors of this petition want to appeal to a defintion of science in order to justify their condemnation of ID as not science. As I see it, the the fact there is no widely accepted agreed upon definition of science to which they can appeal makes their case for the exclusion of ID pretty darned weak!

    The larger issue for these guys is that even if they came up with some definition of what science is supposed to be, they still can’t make the case for the exclusion for ID because whatever that definition might be will also exclude some things that are considered quite scientific by nearly everyone. The uniformity principle comes to mind here.

    The simple fact of the matter is that all appeals to some definition of what science is are highly unsuccessful at excluding just ID while preserving other principles that most consider necessary to science. That fact alone makes this whole petition an exersize in silliness.

  21. Upright, (off topic sorry but I’m desperate!) there is a thread going on about theistic evolution that includes Francis Beckwith but I can’t find it. It started with the Inspector Clouseau shtick which was very funny. Do you have it? I want to comment. Thanks.

  22. DonaldM:

    So, science is defined by majority rule?

    Yes. In fact, all common words are defined by majority rule. And I believe that dictionary.com’s definition of science nicely encapsulates the scientific definition (as defined by the noteworthy discoverers of the laws of nature).

    You might note that many of the “noteworthy discoverers” of the laws of nature saw science as extension of their Christian theology. Newton and Boyle come to mind here.

    I also see the laws of nature as an extension of my Christian theology. And I understand how atheistic scientists, with their theology, interpret the laws of nature. I simply see no major disagreement among preeminent scientists on the definition of science.

    The larger issue for these guys is that even if they came up with some definition of what science is supposed to be, they still can’t make the case for the exclusion for ID because whatever that definition might be will also exclude some things that are considered quite scientific by nearly everyone. The uniformity principle comes to mind here.

    I believe that I’m consistent in my definition of science and I don’t see any original science in Intelligent Design writings. And I’m not alone. Dr. David Berlinski is “a published critic of intelligent design.” Likewise, his judgment seems to be that Intelligent Design isn’t science:

    QUOTE
    An outspoken critic of evolution, Berlinski is a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, a Seattle-based think-tank that is hub of the intelligent design movement. Berlinski shares the movement’s disbelief in the evidence for evolution, but does not openly avow intelligent design and describes his relationship with the idea as: “warm but distant. It’s the same attitude that I display in public toward my ex-wives.”

    QUOTE
    “Creationism is, as far as I can tell, an empty doctrine,” empty at least of positive evidence for the nature and presence of a Creator-although he finds some of its negative arguments against Darwinism “very good.”

  23. tgpeeler @21,

    The URL is

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-surgery/

    (There is a Search function at the top of the UD page. A search for Clouseau coughed up the above.)

  24. DonaldM:

    The larger issue for these guys is that even if they came up with some definition of what science is supposed to be, they still can’t make the case for the exclusion for ID because whatever that definition might be will also exclude some things that are considered quite scientific by nearly everyone. The uniformity principle comes to mind here.

    The issue for them is their religious zeal for pure conjecture and their profound ignorance of the highest levels of science. The issue before us is that it’s misleading to presuppose that the Intelligent Design movement is right, just because evolutionary biologists are wrong. My assertions are unassailable. Believing scientists should exercise greater care to correctly distinguish between respectable science and outdated hypotheses. Many scientists have discarded the uniformity principle of evolution in favor of the theory of punctuated equilibrium. If you’re referring to geology, neo-catastrophism is becoming very fashionable among geologists. Wikipedia, in their article on catastrophism, states, “Neocatastrophism is the explanation of sudden extinctions in the palaeontological record by high magnitude, low frequency events, as opposed to the more prevalent geomorphological thought which emphasizes low magnitude, high frequency events.” There are favorable opinions there, such as “scientifically based catastrophism has gained wide acceptance with regard to certain events in the distant past.”

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