Joined: Dec. 2002
On the off chance that any of Dembski's Philo 4483 students wander over into this Swamp of Immorality, I made an offer to answer their questions on this thread. However, I'd also like to direct a few questions in return to these Dembski students. Here goes:
You are taking a class called "Christian Faith and Science" which I hope means that you have some interest in learning about how your religion can inform your interest in the natural world, and vice versa. I'd like to think that you might actually have some interest in science beyond its use as a cudgel in the hands of the culture warrior. You might once have thought that you'd become a scientist some day. If that is the case, I think you owe it to yourself to ask a few questions. (Of yourself, but if you're really gutsy, you'll ask these of your professor as well.) And as long as you're answering these questions for yourself, perhaps you would consider shedding some light on them by telling us here what these answers are. Because we've never gotten a straight answer from your professor and his colleagues.
1. Dr. Dembski says of your prospective experience at sites like this that "it will open your eyes". By this I assume he means that there is a hostility and level of disrespect here that is emblematic of the failed worldview we hold. I'd dearly like to know if Dr. Dembski has mentioned anything in class about respectful treatment towards members of the judiciary. In particular, does he show his "Judge Jones with Fart Noises" flash animation with pride?
2. I imagine that Dr. Dembski, as a good apologist, has exhorted you to "speak truth to power" and stand up for what you believe in in the face of withering odds. (My understanding of Christian iconography says that this kind of courage against secular foes is evidence of strength and confidence in one's faith.) Please ask yourself (or Dr. Dembski) why, when it came time to testify in Kitzmiller v Dover he took a pass, choosing to risk letting the defense fail rather than expose his ideas to criticism.
3. In a similar vein, Dr. Dembski has said that some kind of Scientific Conspiracy has suppressed the ideas of his theory of Intelligent Design, via the mechanism of peer review. You might ask him why his own journal, "PCID" languishes for lack of submissions, despite having a very low bar to publication of ideas such as his.
4. Dr. Dembski accuses his perceived opponents of censorship quite a lot, actually. Many of us would like to know how this squares with the fact that the only place that he will engage in discussion of his ideas is among people who he knows agree with him, in fora that he has absolute control over. (This mostly turns out to be blogs, books-for-sale and seminary classrooms.)
5. According to my understanding of Christianity, there is a prohibition against "bearing false witness". Is Dembski's informing on a professor to the state security apparatus because of a second-hand account of his lecture an example of this? Or are some forms of bearing false witness acceptable if they're done to advance the correct political agenda?
6. Whatever does Dr. Dembski mean by "science is the embodiment of the Logos of St. John"? Is there any way to relate this to someone who does not partake in a particular sectarian worldview?
I imagine there will be many more questions, but I'll leave it at that.
My image of the educational environment of a Baptist seminary is, I'm sure, full of stereotypes and misconceptions. I hope that, counter to my conceptions, there is room within the seminary to ask these kinds of questions of yourself and your professors. Meanwhile, if you are in fact interested in science for its own sake, you should be aware of the fact that your professor is a very unreliable source of information. If he ever tried to argue his ideas among practicing scientists, they'd face a withering storm of spontaneously arising mockery. They are provocative in the way that many ideas of mediocre and narcissistic minds are. They are, quite frankly, incoherent babblings.
I've allowed myself some editorial commentary, obviously. My hope is that I've laid my cards on the table, and got it out of my system. Although you're a student of his, I do not start with the assumption that you've bought his snake oil.
If there's anything you genuinely want to know (and if you're not engaged in a drive-by for grades) I, and many others here, will do our best to address your questions respectfully.