Paul McBride, Darwinist Hero of the Hour
The debate about evolution is conducted in large part on blogs and there are, of course, a variety that try to uphold the Darwinist side of the argument. Defending Darwinism from critics and advocates of alternative scientific theories like intelligent design should be a top priority for evolutionary theory's online boosters. Otherwise, what's the point? You can't spend all your time avoiding the discussion by posting photos of cute cats, as University of Chicago's Jerry Coyne has sought to do at Why Evolution Is True.
Yet there's a familiar pattern where these very same bloggers, including some scientists at reputable universities, shy from actually reading material from the intelligent-design community. At best, they'll find someone else who claims to have read it and rely on his say-so that the book or article is no good.
I find this suspicious. They seem to be afraid of directly confronting ID arguments. Why would that be?
When the new Discovery Institute Press book Science and Human Origins came out, I wondered if the Darwin community would vary from the usual pattern of averting their eyes and relying on a champion, descending from the heavens, to save them. Here, after all, is a short book. It's a pretty easy read too -- no extended passages of technical prose. The Darwinist bloggers couldn't ignore it, but once again they were disinclined to take the risk involved in reading it themselves. True to form, they have joined in support of a previously unknown reviewer, a PhD candidate at Auckland University of Technology, in New Zealand. The reviewer, Paul McBride, writes about the book at his blog that no one before ever heard of.
National Center for Science Education apparat Josh Rosenau was evidently the first to discover McBride's review and he's since been joined by colleagues in the world of Darwin bloggers (for example, see here, here, and here). Together they lift up the hitherto obscure McBride on their shoulders, as their hero and defender, amid the usual catcalls involving lame puns on "intelligent design" and "Discovery Institute."
"Fortunately for me, I'm spared the chore of reading and critiquing the book," exclaims an immensely relieved Richard B. Hoppe at Panda's Thumb.
This is the extent of the response so far from Darwin's partisans. It's pathetic and, in itself, gives you an indication, for all their bluster, of how much confidence in their theory these guys actually feel.