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"We Don't Have to Listen to the Evidence Because..."

JohnDerbyshire1.jpgRegarding John Derbyshire in The American Spectator ("Occasionalism Isn't Science"), I should have added this. What's so wonderful about the essay is how perfect and undisguised an expression it is of the "We Don't Have to Listen to the Evidence Because..." school of thought in regard to intelligent design.

Much of the hostility you encounter to ID comes from resistance not to ID's argument in itself, its reasoning or presentation of the scientific evidence but rather, sweeping all that aside, from a basic refusal to consider the conclusions that ID reaches. This balking stems not from any reasoned process of consideration of the evidence but merely from the observation that the theory violates your a priori view of what should be, whether that's an aesthetic, theological or other ideological sensibility.

So we have creationists like those at Answers in Genesis criticizing ID because it's not faith driven: because Scripture doesn't dictate the conclusions that ID theorists reach. On the flipside, you have materialists who object that ID doesn't respect the dogma of methodological naturalism, which would mean limiting our findings, our understanding of what drives evolutionary history, to strictly natural causes.

Now we have Derbyshire who slams the theory of intelligent design for its imagined close relationship to "Islamic fundamentalism" -- an interesting counterpoint to charges that link us with "Christian fundamentalism." He criticizes ID for purported adherence to "occasionalism," a theological view that is the polar opposite of deism. But guess what, ID is also criticized by theistic evolutionist Denis Alexander and others for being tainted, you got it, by deism! It's in violation for attributing all causation in nature to God, and for attributing none.

Do you see? ID is guilty of every violation of sensibility -- as well as its exact opposite. The theory violates religion, and it violates atheism. It is crypto-Islamic, and it is crypto-Christian. It is tainted by occasionalism, and by deism. You name it, whatever you don't like, ID is that. Which is why you're free to stick your fingers in your ears and absolutely refuse to give the idea a hearing. You don't need to understand the arguments or weigh the evidence. ID simply CANNOT BE SCIENCE and it sure as heck CANNOT BE RIGHT.

Derbyshire's essays stands out for his candidness in refusing even to pretend to have thought about the science involved, whereas other folks tend, as I said, to make a feeble show of having done so. Give him points there, at least, for candor.

Photo: John Derbyshire/Wikipedia.