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Ecstatic because “critical analysis of X” removed from standards

The Thumbsmen of Panda are ecstatic that the Ohio State Board of Education has removed “critical analysis of evolution” from its standards (see here). Question: Is there any other field of inquiry — other than evolution, that is — whose advocates become ecstatic when critical analysis of its subject is suppressed? Usually, advocates of a position are happy to entertain critical analysis because such criticism highlights the importance of their subject and facilitates its further development. Of course, there’s a qualifier that needs to be added to this question: Are there any **legitimate** fields of inquiry that discourage critical analysis of their subject areas? I used to think evolutionary theory was just a bad idea. It’s looking increasingly like a racket.

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27 Responses to Ecstatic because “critical analysis of X” removed from standards

  1. I wonder if the evolutionists see this as a long term victory? I mean, what exacly are they acomplishing? They are passing the message that evolution is “holy ground”, and we are not suposed to touch it. What will the avarage folk think about it? A new generation of students is growing up learning that we are not suposed to criticize evolution, no matter what.

    What kind of image is passing to the public?

  2. It’s interesting that the naturalists claim to “have affirmed the importance of honest science education” (from the linked Thumbsmen of Panda post) by removing this phrase. Regardless of the field in question, how can precluding critical analysis be referred to as “honest…education?” This, however, seems especially true of scientific inquiry. I wonder if they would have us remove similar inquiries from our law practices? Regardless, I do (ironically) agree with them on one point: “Efforts to undermine excellent science education will not stop here…” This seems proven true by the very action on which they posted!

  3. Dr. Dembski wrote:
    “Are there any **legitimate** fields of inquiry that discourage critical analysis of its subject? I used to think evolutionary theory was just a bad idea. It’s looking increasingly like a racket.”

    Here in Houston, the Enron trial is in full bloom.
    Today’s Front Page had to do with one of the execs simply telling the accountants what the earnings report to Wall Street would be; it was then their job to produce the number and it really didn’t seem to matter how they did it.

    So, a racket? Yes.
    Evidence didn’t matter. Ethics didn’t matter. Legality didn’t matter. Reality didn’t matter. Only the “story” mattered.

    Very same thing as far as I can see.

    Enron crashed. Burned. Sank. And then exploded.

    So will Darwinism.

  4. One more thought, if I may.

    The modern day Darwinian Inquisition reminds me of McCarthyism.
    Substitute the word “religion” for “heresy” or the word “religion” for “communist”, or the word “religion” for “witch” and you have the very same thing. History truly does repeat itself.

    Like today’s rabid Darwinists, Senator McCarthy did a lot of damage before his reign of terror ended in disgrace.

    All tyrannies end the same way: suddenly and decisively.
    When McCarthyism ended, it ended suddenly and decisively.

    McCarthyism, The Soviet Union, Saddam Hussein, Darwinism….
    Some have yet to end, but they all have–they all will.

    I found this description of the end of McCarthyism at
    http://members.aol.com/frostbit/mccarthy/down.htm
    I thought it might be an encouraging read to those who think “it will never end”.
    ….
    Who/What brought McCarthy Down?

    In the end, it was several groups of people who ended McCarthyism and the reign of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. The Army-McCarthy Hearings were the last draw for him. Over 4 years he had ruined the careers of patriotic, hard-working Americans and branded them as “card-carrying Communists” but none had actually ever been found to be loyal to the Communist Party. [RR's Comment: Compare to the harrassment of Richard Sternberg in the Smithsonian, in part instigated through the NCSE.]

    The Media, who had brought McCarthy to power and thrust him into the spotlight in the first place, had taken him out of power. They showed the entire Army-McCarthy Hearings on TV with dedicated coverage equal to that of the OJ Trial with the intent of letting people see for themselves that McCarthy was all bark and no bite. He would constantly interrupt the Hearings, yelling, “Point of Order!” and he always got in trouble for it with the Chair. People saw this nut ball for who he was… a nut ball. TV reporters, such as Edward R. Morrow of CBS finally spoke out against the Senator. The people started to ignore him and his crazy allegations.

    A Republican Senator walked into the Army-McCarthy Hearings one day on nation TV and silently handed “Tail-Gunner Joe” an envelope. McCarthy, who was on the witness stand read the note to find that the Vermont Senator would speak out against him in front of the Senate and move to have him censured. Initially, no one wanted the Senator to go after this guy, even the Eisenhower Administration asked him to “back off.” But this Senator, known for his morality, would do no such thing. He introduced the idea and after 3 days of intense debate, and after the Vermont Senator was called a Communist several times, the Senate formally censured Senator Joseph McCarthy with a 75 to 12 vote. This was the end for McCarthy. He now had lost not only the faith of the voters, but of his Congressional colleagues. In his remaining Senate stint, McCarthy was repeatedly called for being out of order, and as no surprise was not reelected. This was the end of McCarthyism.

    McCarthy was also an alcoholic and was a slave to the bottle. He died of effects of the alcohol on his liver.

    The question now is: Why did he do it? Was it the publicity? Was it the alcohol? Was it really ideology? Or was he just your everyday average nutcase? We’ll never know, but I think he just wanted the publicity.
    ….

  5. I guess Red Reader is pretty certain that there were no card carrying communists in high government places. Ann Coulter seems to have a somewhat different take on the McCarthy affair. I was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin at the time and I do not hesitate for a moment to admit that I voted for him. The recent movie about the McCarthy affair was a disgrace. Edward R. Murrow was a communist sympathizer and close friends with known subversives.

  6. I have also been known to take a drink. Does that make me a nutball too?

  7. Let’s not overlook the fact that the PT crowd (and the anti-ID crowd in general) consider the phrase “critical analysis” as ‘secret code’ for “subject to attack from Bible thumping, fundamentalist creationists”. So, of course they’re ecstatic to see the language removed. Completely lost on them is that the general public doesn’t share their definition of “critical analysis” and will begin to ask, “why can’t we critically analyze evolutionary theory?” I wouldn’t want to be a Darwinist trying to explain THAT to the public.

  8. *hands Dr. Davison black coffee and escorts him to a comfy chair.

  9. Dr. Davison wrote:
    “I guess Red Reader is pretty certain that there were no card carrying communists in high government places.”

    Not at all.

  10. Dogmatic censorship of an opponents educated critical review is a sign of weakness.

    Our schools have been failing us now for over 45 years precisely because they are not taught to think critically but to accept dogma.

  11. Excuse me if I don’t quite understand what’s going on…

    It has always been my understanding that evolutionary theory is critically analyzed every day by the scientific community. That is, after all, how science works. My father is a chemical engineer, and he always talks about how scientists spend most of their time trying to prove theories wrong (which is, of course, the best way to test them), or at least find ways to improve/modify them as new evidence comes into light. This sort of constant self-correction is the very essence of science. Is evolutionary theory treated differently? I would be interested to know. And if so, WHY do the scientists involved treat it differently? It doesn’t seem to me as if they have anything to gain, because they effectively stop doing science at that point.

    And if that is the case, how have they been allowed to go on so long like this?

    Most scientists are absolutely elated when new information springs up that challenges existing theories. It’s pretty much the most exciting thing that can happen. The entire world of physics didn’t collapse when relativity theory (which completely challenged age-old ideas of how the universe worked) came into play. It just got a whole lot more active.

    I’m genuinely confused. Can some of the more experienced IDers explain why critcism of evolutionary theory is supressed within the scientific community?

  12. Hi Kibitz,

    I’ll give you my attempt at an explanation (although there are others here who could do it far more eloquently). ONE of the reasons I think, is that Darwinian MacroEvolution (species to species evolution via Natural Selection + Random Mutation) carries with it strong philosophical implications (unlike other areas of science being tested and critically examined on a daily basis). It speaks to our value as humans, or lack thereof. It implies that our origins as a species is the result of an unplanned, unguided natural mechanism. Needless to say, many people in the scientific community who have a strong philosophical bent toward Atheism/Materialism embrace this Darwinian “science” in support of their philosophical position. And needless to say, they are not comfortable with challenges to it… again, consider the implications. Similarly, when the Big Bang theory was introduced, many people with a similar philosophical (theological) belief, were extremely uncomfortable with the strong theistic implications of this new theory and wanted to censor it.

  13. kibitz: any number of rationalizations and explanations could be offered as to why the criticism of Darwinian evolution is suppressed. It is my opinion that its suppression has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with the fact that for many darwinists, the veneer of science which is offered by the theory is not nearly as important as the philosophical or metaphysical explanation if offers. As Dawkins himself says, darwinism made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist (may not be an exact quote) I think this fact illustrates in a striking fashion an associated insight: the human being acts from an inner motivational substance which has little to do with the demands of intellect, but is much deeper. They will utilize the intellect and its capacity for reason, to serve this deeper motivational core. If that inner part of the being is oriented in what might be termed a materialistic way, then the intellect will find attractive,even necessary, theories which defend and protect this orientation. If the inner motivation is toward objective truth at any cost, then such an individual is far more likely to welcome new evidence, even if that evidence threatens some currently held dogma. In short, the criticism of Darwinism is suppressed because it is a religion which is built up to defend materialism, and not on truly scientific grounds at all.

  14. Hi Kibitz,

    “It has always been my understanding that evolutionary theory is critically analyzed every day by the scientific community.”

    Different hypotheses and theories regarging evolution are critically analyzed, but that unintelligent evolution can adequately explain all biological phenomena is regarded as an axiom. Neo-Darwinian evolution is so embraced by the scientific community because of all materialistic explanations for life and its diversity, it makes the most sense. Materialist philosophy dictates that everything in nature can adequately be explained without invoking intelligence and that any appearance of design therein is effectively illusory. But why is the design only illusory and not actual? In order to show that the design of some natural phenomenon is effectively illusory, the Darwinist must provide empirical evidence to show that unintelligent natural processes can offer a reasonably probable causal explanation for it. As the best materialistic causal account for some natural phenomenon that looks designed becomes less probable, the more likely it becomes that it actually was designed.

    I know I’ve strayed a bit from the topic of your comment. Here’s my answer to your inquiry: I concur with both Scott and Tina that the most impassioned opposition to ID comes from those who are actually defending a metaphysical worldview of some sort–whether they realize it or not.

    I don’t consider myself an experienced IDer, but the explanations I’ve provided make the most sense to me.

  15. Scott; I read your post after mine came up: we must have been reading each other’s minds, as they are nearly identical in content. funny. i promise I wasn’t copying…

  16. “[...]the most impassioned opposition to ID comes from those who are actually defending a metaphysical worldview of some sort[...]”

    I forgot to mention that it comes from bigoted a**holes, as well.
    http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/n.....50819.html

  17. Hi Tina,

    One thing that I do often is bring up the same thread on two windows. I type my comment on one and periodically refresh the other, so I can see other comments that may come up before I finish with mine.

  18. The problem they’re having is understanding that young earth creationism does not equal intelligent design. They believe that ignoring a subject is best because acknowledging it only makes it appear to have merit. Of course, design is a serious philosophical position already. Ignoring it makes you look ignorant.

  19. I am so glad Kibitz asked this question, because it is undoubtedly the question that most people on the periphery of the debate ask.

    I am a big fan of Phillip Johnson, who is now known as the father of ID. As a professor of law with a specialty in the logic of argumentation, when it came to the Darwinism debate, he immediately detected the rhetorical and manipulative devices employed by attorneys to influence people, and to divert attention from evidence.

    I was once a devout Darwinist. When it became apparent that everything I believed about everything that mattered was wrong, it totally shattered my world and I had to start over. I also knew that I would be rejected and vilified by the people who knew me in my former life. This is a hard thing to do. Peer pressure is a big thing, especially in academia.

    Check out Phillip Johnson’s “Darwinism on Trial” lecture on the University of California TV Website:

    http://www.uctv.tv/library-hum.....on_Origins

  20. I’d like to thank Scott and Tina for their replies. To be honest, I was afraid to pose my question given the degree of censorship this blog is notorious for. I’ve found your responses to be very thoughtful, and equally helpful.

    From what I gather, the Intelligent Design community believes that evolutionists suppress criticism not in defense of evolution itself, but in defense of the underlying atheistic/materialistic worldview that evolutionary theory shields and justifies. It is their philosophy, rather than science, that is really at the core of the issue.

    Well, I can tell you that the thought of “Evolution: The Atheist Avatar” is disturbing. It certainly is a frightening notion that the majority of scientists (like Dawkins, as Tina mentioned) subscribe to this worldview and use evolutionary theory to perpetuate it–that they have some kind of long-term vested interest in bolstering their ideology and would go so far as to bumble the science itself (by not subjecting their theory to the necessary critical analysis, or adapting to new evidence) to do so.

    I’ll say the obvious: A good scientist will separate his personal beliefs from his work and carry on indifferently. We expect that those involved in researching and applying evolutionary theory would eagerly accept criticism and new information and modify their science accordingly, and that whatever philisophical convictions they have would remain irrelevant.

    But humans will be humans, I suppose.

    If the scientific community truly is driven by deep-seated materialistic beliefs to the extent that the scientific process itself has become disfunctional, then IDers have nothing to worry about. Evolutionary theory as we know it will eventually collapse and give way to all due critical analysis and reconfiguring. It’s only a matter of time.

  21. Thanks for the Johnson links.
    Highly recommended.

  22. I agree, i havent had time check out all the clips but look @ all the topics covered. Looks like an excellent read /dl. Correction covers basically everthing :).

    On the Theory of Evolution
    (115 min. | #6465 | 4/22/2002) Watch Now
    On the Origin of Life
    (58 min. | #6464 | 4/15/2002) Watch Now
    The Retinal Blind Spot in the Scientific Vision of our Origins
    (89 min. | #6442 | 4/8/2002) Watch Now
    Darwinism: Science of Philosophy?
    (58 min. | #6293 | 4/1/2002) Watch Now
    The Blind Watchmaker
    (58 min. | #6292 | 3/25/2002) Watch Now
    Can Science Know the Mind of God?
    (58 min. | #6290 | 3/18/2002) Watch Now
    On Darwinism
    (57 min. | #6289 | 2/11/2002) Watch Now
    Darwinism: Science or Philosophy
    (89 min. | #6287 | 2/4/2002) Watch Now
    The Journey: Searching For Our Origins Part 1
    (57 min. | #5433 | 12/19/2000) Watch Now
    Convergent Evolution
    (56 min. | #9364 | ) Watch Now
    Raising Questions About Evolution in the Schools
    (87 min. | #8546 | ) Watch Now
    How Darwinists Think
    (87 min. | #8561 | ) Watch Now
    Darwinism on Trial
    (89 min. | #6444 | ) Watch Now
    On the Origin and Design of the Cosmos
    (86 min. | #8560 | ) Watch Now
    Paradigm of Design: The Bacterial Flagellum
    (83 min. | #8547 | ) Watch Now
    Should Intelligent Design Be Taught in Schools?
    (118 min. | #11294 | ) Watch Now
    On the Origin of Phyla
    (59 min. | #6440 | ) Watch Now

    Charlie

  23. Kibitz wrote:
    “Is evolutionary theory treated differently? And if so, WHY do the scientists involved treat it differently? And if that is the case, how have they been allowed to go on so long like this? ….explain why critcism of evolutionary theory is supressed within the scientific community?”

    A slightly different take: Some are not ACTIVE in the debate.

    ID is a paradigm shift. Literally a new way of looking at the world.
    Some good, honest, skillful and productive scientists simply haven’t found it necessary to consider the alternatives or examine the issues or make a decision….yet.

    My wife, for example, is a physician. She understands Darwinian evolution and believes it to be a fact. She hasn’t read Denton’s book. She hasn’t read Behe’s book. She hasn’t read Dembski’s books (sorry Dr. D!) I’ve offered them to her and asked her to read them. She said she would, but hasn’t. Too many other things demand her attention. The ID/Darwinism debate not an issue. Moreover, she really doesn’t care one way or another. None of the issues are relevant to her practice. Or to the practices of her colleagues. It doesn’t affect her patients. The debate hasn’t touched her…as far as she knows.

    In her personal life: She is active in her church. We are active socially. NONE of the people at our church or in our social circle have been touched by the debate…that they know of.

    I know this sounds incredible. It sounds incredible to me!

    In fact, in my opinion, this debate is touching ALL our lives. Most just don’t see it…yet. I don’t want to go into all that right now. But Dr. D often posts on “the Culture Wars”, enough said for now.

    In summary, the vast majority of scientists (as well as ordinary people) don’t see the importance or the relevance of the debate or how it affects them.

    But it cannot stay that way and isn’t. ID is a part of what is happening in the world. The effects of the Darwinianistic-way-of-looking-at-the-world have been devastating to the people of our nation, if not the whole world.

  24. “To be honest, I was afraid to pose my question given the degree of censorship this blog is notorious for.”

    Dembski and the moderators, which I’m one of, have clearly said from the start we’ll delete any repetitions of the endless, boring arguments that have been answered in the literature or many times before in this blog. Even though we make that quite clear people don’t seem to get the point…though part of it was probably due to the comments policy not being clearly visible until recently. Anyway, other than those oft-refuted arguments we don’t mind constructive criticism.

  25. Kibitz,

    So far the replies to your question have come from ID supporters. Allow me to answer from the perspective of a Darwinian.

    Darwinians are not insecure about the evidential basis of evolutionary theory. We are not surprised that the public, being largely unacquainted with the scientific evidence, is skeptical of evolution. It’s a counter-intuitive concept, and it challenges the religious beliefs of many people. But the evidence is overwhelming, to use the cliche, and I know of no Darwinians who want to suppress criticism of evolutionary theory out of fear that it will not stand up to informed, honest scientific scrutiny.

    The nearly universal fear among Darwinians is that most of the criticism (as in the case of the Ohio standards) is motivated by religion and politics, not by genuine scientific skepticism (please note that I said “most”, not “all”). When ideology trumps objectivity, the results for science are disastrous, as illustrated by the Church’s suppression of heliocentrism and the Soviet Union’s dogmatic commitment to Lysenkoism as a genetic theory.

    This is not paranoia on the part of Darwinians. When Phillip Johnson, the acknowledged progenitor of the ID movement, speaks of the need for “theistic science”, or when the Discovery Institute’s “Wedge Document” states that the Wedge strategy’s goal is “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God”, Darwinians take notice.

    It also definitely gets our attention when people try to prematurely force an idea into public school science curricula, unlike all the other ideas which got there after first being accepted by the wider scientific community.

    My hope is that the recent setbacks in Dover, El Tejon and Ohio will cause the ID movement to reconsider its tactics and focus on genuine scientific research rather than politics and propaganda. ID theory will ultimately stand or fall on its scientific merits. Show the scientific community compelling evidence for ID and they will eventually embrace it, as they have embraced other controversial theories. Further show that research becomes more productive when done within an ID paradigm and scientists will embrace it even sooner, being a very pragmatic bunch.

    Regards,
    Valerie

    Valerie: Watch it with the tired references to the “Wedge” document. We have a low tolerance level here when it comes to Darwinian Conspiracy theories. Thank you. – Scott

  26. Knowing full well that this is a collosal waste of time, I nevertheless rise to respond to three of the many points of misinformation contained in Valerie’s post. I post not for Valerie’s sake but for the sake of some misguided visior who might unknowingly lend credence to anything she wrote.

    Valerie writes:
    “I know of no Darwinians who want to suppress criticism of evolutionary theory out of fear that it will not stand up to informed, honest scientific scrutiny.”
    –It does not appear Valerie read the Topic under which she has posted.
    From the top:
    “The Thumbsmen of Panda are ecstatic that the Ohio State Board of Education has removed “critical analysis of evolution” from its standards. Question: Is there any other field of inquiry — other than evolution, that is — whose advocates become ecstatic when critical analysis of its subject is suppressed?”

    ….
    Valerie writes:
    “When ideology trumps objectivity, the results for science are disastrous….”
    –I assume this includes the Darwinian a priori ideology that the universe created itself.

    ….
    Valerie writes:
    “…when the Discovery Institute’s “Wedge Document” states that the Wedge strategy’s goal is “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God”, Darwinians take notice.”
    See http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....038;id=450
    Quote:
    “In 1999 someone posted on the internet an early fundraising proposal for Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. Dubbed the “Wedge Document,” this proposal soon took on a life of its own, popping up in all sorts of places and eventually spawning what can only be called a giant urban legend. Among true-believers on the Darwinist fringe the document came to be viewed as evidence for a secret conspiracy to fuse religion with science and impose a theocracy. These claims were so outlandish that for a long time we simply ignored them. But because some credulous Darwinists seem willing to believe almost anything, we decided we should set the record straight.
    “So let us set the record straight. Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture does not support theocracy. We should not have to say this, but apparently we do. Discovery Institute rejects all attempts to impose orthodoxies on the practice of science as contrary to the spirit of the scientific enterprise.”

    ….
    That’s all I have time for.

  27. Ecstatic because “critical analysis of X” removed from standards?

    William Dembski has joined the fray at evolutionnews with the following non-sequitur: Ecstatic because “critical analysis of X” removed from standards Dembski wrote: Question: Is there any other field of inquiry — other than evolutio…

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