From: Morgan Grey <>
To: <>
Reply-to: <>
Date: Sat Oct 20, 2001 8:04 pm
Message: 21990
Subject: Dembski `retracts' comments about Dennett

As readers of last week's ID-Commentary -"Disbelieving
Darwin -- And Feeling No Shame!"- will remember, I
took issue with Dembski's claim that Daniel Dennett
"recommends 'quarantining' parents who teach their
children to doubt Darwinism", arguing that Dembski was
misrepresenting Dennett.

I have just recieved an e-mail from Richard Wein, in
which he, among other things, directs my attention to
a "clarification" made by Dembski in a later post to

As a sort of mini-ID-Commentary, here is Dembski's
post, as well as my comments on it:


030: Disbelieving Darwin Discussed
Metaviews 030. 2000.03.23. Approximately 2693 words.

BG> William Dembski's previous posting on Metaviews
BG> provoked lots of feedback.

This Meta-post contains a number of short texts from
various authors, as well as one by Dembski himself.
However, I will only comment on the one posted by

BG> Finally, William Dembski also writes with a
BG> partial retraction of a statement made about
BG> Daniel Dennett's reputed desire to "quarantine"
BG> parents who doubt Darwinism.

Note that even though Dembski himself refers to his
posting as a "clarification" and never actually
retracts anything, Bill Grassie refers to it as a
"partial retraction" anyway.

BG> Many other messages have also been exchanged on
BG> this thread on the Reiterations Discussion List
BG> and can be read at <> in
BG> the archives.
BG> -- Billy Grassie
WAD> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= From: "William A.
WAD> Dembski" Subject:
WAD> Clarification to "Disbelieving Darwin and Feeling
WAD> No Shame"
WAD> I'd like to post a clarification to my
WAD> essay "Disbelieving Darwin and Feeling No Shame":
WAD> In my essay "Disbelieving Darwin and Feeling No
WAD> Shame" I made the following statement: "Daniel
WAD> Dennett even recommends 'quarantining' parents
WAD> who teach their children to doubt Darwinism (see
WAD> the end of his *Darwin's Dangerous Idea*)." This
WAD> is not quite accurate. On p. 519 of his book,
WAD> Dennett states, "Those whose visions dictate that
WAD> they cannot peacefully coexist with the rest of
WAD> us we will have to quarantine as best we can...."
WAD> A few lines later he continues, "If you insist on
WAD> teaching your children falsehoods--that the Earth
WAD> is flat, that "Man" is not a product of evolution
WAD> by natural selection--then you must expect, at
WAD> the very least, that those of us who have freedom
WAD> of speech will feel free to describe your
WAD> teachings as the spreading of falsehoods, and
WAD> will attempt to demonstrate this to your children
WAD> at our earliest opportunity. Our future well-
WAD> being--the well-being of all of us on the planet--
WAD> depends on the education of our descendants."
WAD> As Dennett in a private communication has made
WAD> clear to me, he does not recommend quarantining
WAD> parents who teach their children to doubt
WAD> Darwin's theory and takes exception to anyone who
WAD> attributes as much to him. I agree that there is
WAD> no explicit recommendation here to quarantine
WAD> parents who teach their children to doubt
WAD> Darwinism. Nonetheless, it seems to me that there
WAD> is an implicit recommendation to do just that. If
WAD> (1) doubting Darwinian evolution is as silly as
WAD> believing in a flat earth and (2) if our future
WAD> well-being depends on the [proper] education of
WAD> our descendants and (3) if "at the very least"
WAD> Darwinists will attempt to demonstrate the truth
WAD> of Darwinism to our children at their "earliest
WAD> opportunity" and (4) if "quarantining" is
WAD> maintained as a live option by Darwinists, then
WAD> it is no big stretch to think that quarantining
WAD> parents who teach their children to doubt Darwin
WAD> is far from Dennett's intention.

Dembski just repeats his original claim, adds some
numbers, and wraps it up as a "clarification".

In case Dembski is suffering from a reading
disability, Dennett never advocates "quarantining"
anyone on the basis of their ideas being "silly".
Unless Dembski thinks that "teach[ing one's] children
to doubt Darwin" "dictate that [one] cannot
peacefully coexist with the rest of us", Dembski has
absolutely nothing to be afraid of.

WAD> Sincerely, Bill
WAD> -- William A. Dembski, Ph.D. Director, Michael
WAD> Polanyi Center Associate Research Professor in
WAD> the Conceptual Foundations of Science Baylor
WAD> University
WAD> Address: William A. Dembski The Michael Polanyi
WAD> Center P.O. Box 97130 Baylor University Waco, TX
WAD> 76798-7130
WAD> E-mail: Web:
WAD> (personal)
WAD> (Michael Polanyi Center)
META> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Footer
META> information below last updated: 1999/12/10.
META> Copyright 1999, 2000 by William Grassie. Copies
META> of this internet posting may be made and
META> distributed in whole without further permission.
META> Credit: "This information was circulated on the
META> Meta Lists on Science and Religion
META> <>."


"Creationists say--"Welcome to the war. We are eager to
join battle, for we have the truth on our side, and the
consequences are as important as life (eternal life) and
death."" (Gish, D.T., 1993, "Creation Scientists Answer
Their Critics", pp. 249)


[More ID-Commentaries]