Friday, January 20, 2012

Warning: The False Dichotomy Zone

I see from this Guardian Web article that the anti-evolutionists have been barred from British schools.

The de facto “Intelligent Design” movement are partly responsible for trapping the creation debate in the false dichotomy of Evolution vs. Intelligent Design. This has lead to the insinuation that if one is an evolutionist then one is in opposition to intelligent design creationism. The resultant effect has been to obscure important questions about the computational complexity of the class of physical regimes required to make evolution and/or OOL work. (see my last post) In this needlessly polarized debate anti-evolutionism has become too closely identified with theism and evolution too closely identified with atheism. Introducing “Intelligent Design”, so-called, into schools then, is very likely to automatically cast the creation debate into a dichotomized mold of “Evolution did it” versus “God did it” and science versus revelation – the kind of dichotomized paradigm we get from anti-science fundamentalists like Ken Ham

All this is very regretable because there are some worthy people naturally identified with the anti-evolutionist front such as William Dembski, Cornelius Hunter, Robert Sheldon, and Richard Johns who are nonetheless presenting interesting material in relation to evolutionary theory and who, in my opinion, should be given a fair hearing. Trouble is, the polarized and politicized state of the debate, for which the “ID” community share a  measure of culpability, has made people like Dembski et al persona non grata in established scientific circles; understandablely enough Dembski et al have thrown their lot in with the disaffected anti academic establishment outlaws. For me the situation is exacerbated by some very partisan desperados who post on the blog "Uncommon Descent" such as Granville Sewell, Denise O‘Leary, and Gil Dodgen, persons who it would have been better if they had not have been let loose on the subject.

C of E physicist and theologian John Polkinghorne has described himself as an Intelligent Design creationist and yet because the appellation “Intelligent Design” has been blighted, abused and given partisan meaning he was forced to declare his hostility to the “Intelligent Design” community, a community who have become thoroughly identified with anti-evolutionism.

On balance, then, the misunderstandings over the term "Intelligent Design" leads me to support the policy that bars “Intelligent Design”, so called, from British schools. May that ban last as long as it takes for the polarized anti-evolutionists to come to their senses and change their philosophy. That philosophy has the effect of driving a wedge between evolution and intelligent design and between science and revelation. It is worth recalling here that the government which has ratified these measures is headed by David Cameron who identifies himself as a Christian: The source of these measures, then, is not necessarily anti-Christian unless we are predisposed to read it that way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, i am from Australia. I may have been here before.

Please find some references which give a unique Illuminated Understanding of the always never-ending shouting match between the advocates of scientism (as distinct from science as an open-ended method of free enquiry), and the advocates of equally reductionist exoteric religiosity.

The Truth About Science (religion and God)

Einstein & Jesus

Reality & the Middle via

Why Be Blinded by Scientism