Monday, May 21, 2007

Trying to have it both ways

Transcript of today's show:

William Dembski, a leading intelligent design theorist, has an apparent knack for parlaying his theory into one-size-fits-all proselytizing. When addressing Christian audiences, Dembski has named God as the mysterious designer. Yet, when debating scientists on CNN, he insists that intelligent design does not require the designer to be God. Much as Dembski may try to distance his science from the church, blatant contradiction may not be the best approach. [source: Respectful Indolence blog]

Listen to the 1-minute broadcast of this story [mp3]

Sound Off: Science & Faith. Our point/counterpoint regulars Shelley (the voice of science) and Peter (the voice of faith), comment on the story.

The Voice of Science: Shelley Greene, Ph.D., comments:
Here is a double-headed Trojan Horse. We know it's common for politicians and salesmen to adapt their parlance for the purpose of resonating with different groups and their different interests. It's ingenious, really, but unfortunately it's disingenuous as well. Perhaps pragmatically, it is the moral price society must pay for winning the race or making the sale.

So, can we really blame Dembski, who is merely putting to practice one of the oldest sales tricks on the books? Yes and no. No because, come on, he's selling a product that has been patently rejected by the whole scientific community! This is a hard sell. He deserves a trick or two.

Yes, we should blame Dembski, because in his effort to sell his Intelligent Design theory to the people, he is a) misrepresenting science, and b) concealing the fact that ID theory is simply creationism dressed up. What Intelligent Design advocates want to sell us is not a cool, alternative 'origins of life' theory, but an entire theocratic agenda which would seek to change fundamental aspects of American society itself. Dembski et al, should indeed be blamed, not only for their fraudulent misrepresentation of science, but ultimately for attempting to perpetrate a fundamentalist-based covert operation on the American public.

The Voice of Faith: Peter Williamson, M.Div., comments:
Christians, of course, do believe the Designer is God. Mr. Dembski is not out of line speaking agreeably to this belief when he addresses a Christian audience directly. He himself a believer, so would it not be dishonest for him to say otherwise? As for the secular audiences, it is altogether appropriate for Dembski to state no opinion on the matter, given that the scientific method insists on impartiality and the absence of personal beliefs.