Friday, October 23, 2009

Calm, Rational Discourse

The organizers of the October 30-31, Castle Rock ID conference (The Shepherd Project) have had their web sit hacked and atheist groups are threatening to protest the event. What basis could there be for protesting a voluntary event that raises scientific challenges to Darwinism? I would never consider protesting a pro-Darwinist event.

In any event, we may be in for a wild ride.


pgepps said...

It is always comforting when the irrationality is on the other side of the debate.

Mason said...

Atheists by definition claim there is no God. It seems rather odd that they would protest against something that doesn't exist. I'm probably too old to understand that logic.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Mason: They think the false idea of God is dangerous. Apparently, they are also moral relativists, so they don't think ID people have an objective right of free speech. If so, it is they who are dangerous. Or they could be Darwinist absolutists--even more dangerous.

Let us pray for our enemies.

Dr. Polhemus said...

Behe spoke in Fort Collins a couple years ago. I distributed about 300 fliers at the door which explained the many flaws in his book, "The Edge of Evolution." It was both a protest and also a form of calm rational discourse. The two are not mutually exclusive.

I did not go to protest against God, and I do not think the idea of God is dangerous. It is dangerous to dilute our school science curricula with ideas well outside the mainstream of science.

I'm not a moral relativist. If I were, I could not claim that the Discovery Institute's actions are is immoral.

I think ID people have an objective right to free speech, as do protesters. The right to free speech is not the right to speak unchallenged.

Darwinist absolutists? That is funny. Science and absolutism just don't go together.

The Denial of Service attacks are very inappropriate, since they obstruct, rather than counter, free speech. You might be interested to know that the World Atheist Convention website was also attacked last week.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

"Dr." P (I cannot verify whether you do hold a Ph.D.; if you do, fine):

You have a right to peacefully distribute materials. I have done that myself at films, concerts, etc., over the years. However, I would not call that a "protest." By "protest" I am thinking of signs, jeers, etc. There is no reason for that, given the subject matter of ID, which wants to rob no one of rights or marginalize anyone. It simply wants a fair shake in the argument.

What is "immoral" about the Discovery Institute? That they are challenging Darwinism? Are you against intellectual dissent?

Science, wrongly taken as materialism, is absolute for some, such as Richard Lewontin, who spilled the bean on that in The NY Times Magazine in 1997 during his review of a book by Carl Sagan. He said that we take materialist explanations as absolute and we cannot except a theistic answer. Period.

If you don't, what is wrong with ID? It is not outside the mainstream of science, since over 800 people with doctorates in science have signed a statement questioning Darwinism, which opens the doors to ID. Moreover, truth is not determined by counting noses. Majorities can--and often are--just wrong. There is nothing anti-scientific about ID reasoning; it is an inference to the best explanation. Please read Steven Meyer's "Signature in the Cell" on that.

Dr. Polhemus said...

I commented because you and the other commenters seemed confused about the motivations of someone protesting an ID event. Since I have done that (although you don't consider it a protest, which is fine) I thought I'd share my motivation.

A very small fraction of scientists think ID has any chance of being right. That does not mean that ID is wrong, but it does mean that ID is currently outside the mainstream and should not be part of school curricula. If ID researchers get some actual research done (which means experiments and field work, not writing popular books) then ID may gain acceptance and be appropriate for schools. I don't think that will ever happen, but life is full of surprises.


(I have a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago.)