Joined: Oct. 2006
DS quotes Jerry Pournell:
|Jerry Pournelle weighs in on intelligent design|
Searching news.google.com for “intelligent design” I happened across a recent article by a favorite author of mine, Jerry Pournelle...
|God, Earthlings, and Intelligent Design|
Men’s News Daily, OP/ED
I don’t usually get into the “Intelligent Design” argument, because I don’t have a lot to add to it; but once in a while poseurs like Professor Richard Dawkins jump into the fray with such outrageous aplomb that I feel compelled to answer...
Example of Dawkins arguments:
“Intelligent design ‘theorists’ (a misnomer, for they have no theory) often use the alien scenario to distance themselves from old-style creationists: “For all we know, the designer might be an alien from outer space.” This attempt to fend off accusations of unconstitutionally importing religion into science classes is lame and disingenuous. All the leading intelligent design spokesmen are devout, and, when talking to the faithful, they drop the science-fiction fig leaf and expose themselves as the fundamentalist creationists they truly are.”
This statement is typical of Dawkins. It is also egregiously wrong. Begin with the last sentence: that only fundamentalist creationists assert the possibility of evolution influenced by aliens from outer space. This was in fact an hypothesis put forth by the late Sir Fred Hoyle in his book Evolution from Space ; and let me assure you that far from being a fundamentalist creationist, Sir Fred had a pretty sophisticated theory of how evolution might be influenced by extra terrestrials who were neither gods nor superbeings. Sir Fred’s theories would and did horrify fundamentalists...
I subscribed to Byte Magazine from about 1982 through 1997 and always enjoyed Pournell's "User's Column" (later "Computing at Chaos Manor"). I'm not particularly into science fiction, but always admired the guy for making a living writing books and playing with toys.
But in the above Jerry gets something wrong and Dave fails to spot it. Later, Dave missed something important.
Jerry's lapse of logic: It doesn't follow from Dawkins' observation that the contemporary ID community disingenuously invokes the "ET" version of ID as cover for their patently religious motivations that he is asserting "that only fundamentalist creationists assert the possibility of evolution influenced by aliens from outer space." That simply does not follow, and Dawkins has not asserted that. Indeed, the only reason "ET-ID" makes sense as indirection is because there have been non-religiously motivated advocates of design. What Dawkins correctly observes is that the contemporary ID movement identified with Dembski, Behe, Meyers, Philip Johnson, etc. is both urgently religiously motivated and interested exclusively in the supernatural version of ID - and that they lie and engage in transparent indirection in an attempt to obscure that fact.
Pournell later states:
|I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about intelligent design because I have never had any concern about the impossibility of reconciling something like Darwinian Evolution and religion (nor indeed of reconciling reason and religion). This is probably due to my education at Christian Brothers College (now Christian Brothers High School) in Memphis during the 1940’s. Brother Fidelis was careful to teach the theory of evolution (although the Scopes Law had not yet been repealed and it was in theory illegal for him to do so) along with St. Augustine’s and St. Thomas Aquinas’s discourses on reason and science; and the concept that God could easily have created the universe in germinal causes and fixed laws, and allowed development to proceed with a bare minimum of miraculous interventions.|
In other words, Dave, Jerry Pournell accepts "something like Darwinian evolution" and is sympathetic to theistic evolution, and is hence, by your blowhard-authoritative lights, a "spineless appeaser." He has "weighed in" on intelligent design by embracing two positions both you and UD reject and revile.
Dave, quickly invoke Emerson (foolish consistency, hobgoblins, all that.)
(Bold emphases are mine.)
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.
"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace