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The Most Dangerous Place to Discuss ID — The University Campus

I had an interesting conversation today with a tenured scientist who is on faculty at a research university. He was recently invited to defend ID at a public forum at the university. He declined to do it. Here’s why. Although he is a proponent of ID, he has never taught it in his classes. He is afraid that if he defends it on campus, even in a public forum arranged by one of the science departments, he will be branded as “having taught ID on campus.” This, he fears, will be used against him down the line — and he is right. He therefore told the department chair that tried to get him to speak at the forum that he would do so only if it were off-campus. The chair understood and agreed that this was the prudent course to take.

Lesson 1: Our university campuses are now the most dangerous places to discuss ID if you have anything to lose.

Lesson 2: Our best hope for getting ID discussed on college campuses is therefore the undergraduates, who have nothing to lose.*

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*You can always transfer to another institution. And because of your youth, you can always feign immaturity if you need to wheedle your way back into the system: “I was young and impressionable, and those evil ID guys bamboozled me. But now I’ve seen the true light of Darwinism …”

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13 Responses to The Most Dangerous Place to Discuss ID — The University Campus

  1. 1
    The Scubaredneck

    Bill,

    I realize that there’s more going on that you could share in a brief note but I find it interesting that the Dept Chair would invite him and then consider him prudent for declining the invite. Do you suppose that the Chair knew of his proclivities and had some nepharious ends in mind?

    The Scubaredneck

  2. Many of us ID proponents think that part of the reason — a large part — for the negative reaction to ID is that: (1)the ID movement has tried to get it taught in public high school science classes, giving the appearance of trying to use it as a Trojan horse to get religion taught in public schools; and (2) the ID movement is so closely connected and supported by a larger conservative political organization — the Discovery Institute.

    No doubt these are not the only reasons for negative reaction to ID. But many of us think that these factors have inflamed the issue, to where critics are unable to objectively here the term “ID” without connecting it to them.

  3. Scubaredneck: I don’t think anything so nefarious was going on. I expect the chair was acting in good faith, wanting to air these issues even if s/he might personally find ID objectionable. But on reflection it must have become clear what the dangers were.

  4. Not only is one not allowed to discuss it. Making arrangements for a discussion can be fatal to ones reputation.

    The most radical scientific theory with religious implications is Intelligent Design. It is impossible to get any member of the National Academy of Sciences to consider it seriously. The typical reaction of such scientists is to foam at the mouth when the phrase “intelligent design” is mentioned.

    I have recently experienced this. In the fall of 2002, I arranged for Bill Dembski to come to Tulane to debate a Darwinian on the Tulane faculty. (This faculty member was
    appropriately named Steve Darwin!) Bill presented only the evidence against Darwinism in the debate, while Steve’s response unfortunately had quite a few ad hominem remarks. Steve has continued to be friendly to me personally. But ever since the Dembski/Darwin debate, another
    evolutionist on the Tulane faculty—who shall remain nameless!—glares at me every time he sees me. Before the debate he and I were friends. Now he considers me a monster of moral depravity.

    Frank Tipler
    Uncommon Dissent

  5. Interestingly enough, even the ranks of the Graduate Students are available for this task. What I find fascinating is that this option of “feigning immaturity” works for people in religion, as well. See the current president of the SBC and his “maturing” views on Women in Ministry.

  6. Are you surprised? I’m not. Instead of discussing the issue like responsible adults, it is easier to state it is bull and move on.

    Science is unbiased, scientists are not. Simple fact that has a lot of implications. Unfortunately, you all see the most of it.

  7. I’m just wondering how much talent is being wasted on trying to find fruitless materialistic explanations by all these thousands upon thousands of university students and professors. Instead of asking really important questions that could bring major breakthroughs in science they are and have been trying to make pieces of a Theistic puzzle fit into a materialistic framework. No matter how much they try its not going to work. If scholars were to face the truth of what reality is telling us then finally academia would begin to put the pieces of the puzzle in the proper philosophical framework. Hopefully this shift in underlying paradigms is close. I truly believe the key peice of the puzzle that will break the materialistic (evolutionists back will be the full realization of the principle of Genetic Entropy. This principle has the potential to put many things into proper order for biology. As well in physics important questions as to the character of information/ material interaction will begin to gain a solid foothold.

  8. 8

    At this juncture, the key for ID has little or nothing to do with where, how often and under what circumstances ID is discussed. Bottom line: ID must make a positive, undeniable scientific advancement. Otherwise it will go the way of creationism.

  9. bork, “Science is unbiased, scientists are not.” As with platitudes everywhere, this rings of truth, but may not be. If biased scientists did not steifle the views of scientists who dissent, I would agree with this sentiment. However, when the scientific community unifies, as they have effectively done in the ID case, to steifle certain views then scienc itself becomes biased.

  10. tragicmishap: Bottom line: ID must make a positive, undeniable scientific advancement. Otherwise it will go the way of creationism.
    Tragic, your diatribe bores me. Start by reading “Privelaged Planet”, or any of the other scientifically valid works. There is lots of sciences supporting ID. Lots!

  11. “Bottom line: ID must make a positive, undeniable scientific advancement.”

    It has. It has demonstrated that materialistic processes cannot account for all that we observe, and that design is overwhelmingly evident in the universe and living systems. This is perhaps the most significant scientific advancement of the last half-century, if science is defined as the search for truth.

    On the topic of this thread:

    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Modern academia is a quintessential repository of hypocrisy. Diversity and tolerance are celebrated as high virtues, but intolerance and and groupthink are enforced with remarkable consistency.

    The worst part is that anyone with a modicum of common sense and a even a superfluous knowledge of modern science, engineering, and basic mathematics can figure out that the universe and living systems did not just happen. It was all designed.

    Do the math. My 14-year-old daughter can do the math without breaking a sweat. It’s junior-high-school stuff.

  12. 12

    Tragic Mishap,
    What an appropiate name for someone who holds the materialistic philosophy as ultimate truth. The materialistic philosophy, of which evolution is a subset, is, for the overwhelming part, a major hinderance to scientific progress. The ONLY redeeming quality to the materialistic philosophy is that it serves as an antagonistic position which further clarifies and establishes the theistic philosophy as true. I remind you that ID is but just a subset of the Theistic philosophy. Though I’ve listed these predictions several times before, I will list these foundational predictions once again for your benefit Tragicmishap,

    1. Materialism did not predict the big bang, Yet Theism always said the universe was created.
    2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space, Yet Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space.
    3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s theory of relativity, Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.
    4. Materialism did not predict the stunning precision for the underlying universal constants, for the universe, found in the Anthropic Principle, Yet Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning clockwork precision found for the various universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism.
    5. Materialism did not predict the fact that the DNA code is, according to Bill Gates, far, far more advanced than any computer code ever written by man, Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code.
    6. Materialism presumed a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA, which is not the case at all. Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what very well may be, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA.
    7. Materialism presumed a very simple first life form. Yet the simplest life ever found on Earth is, according to Geneticist Michael Denton PhD., far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. Theism would have naturally expected this.
    8. Materialism predicted that it took a very long time for life to develop on earth, Yet we find evidence for photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth (Sarah Simpson, Scientific American, 2003). Theism would have expected this sudden appearance of life on earth.
    9. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record, The Cambrian Explosion, by itself, destroys this myth. Theism would have expected such sudden appearance of the many different fossils in the Cambrian explosion.
    I could go a lot further for the evidence is extensive and crushing against the Materialistic philosophy that is currently entrenched over scientific reasoning.

    As a sidelight to this There is also the fact of the Theologian/Mathematician who predicted the Big Bang and showed Einstein the prediction based soley on math. What did Eistein do? Well be obedient to the materialistic philosophy he inserted a cosmological constant into his equation to show a static universe. He called it His Biggest Blunder. Yes, Tragicmishap in all honesty it is the materialistic evolutionary framework that should be forced to justify its existance.

  13. The university is the best and safest place to have a public forum on ID. The story is incomplete, since we do not know whether or not this forum proceeded without the participation of this particuler faculty member. I suspect it had and no one was punished for supporting ID.

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