Saturday, January 28, 2006


ID's Split Personality

In those long-ago days when RSR lived in the Big Apple, we were often accosted on the street by young men who were selling "scense," by which they meant marijuana. As we wove our way down the street between competing sales teams, we were often struck by the paradoxical situation the job of selling drugs placed these guys in. (See correction, below)

On the one hand, they had to be visible enough to move product. On the other, they had to stay hidden in order to avoid arrest and remain on the street.

It strikes us that the theorists charged with pushing intelligent design product on the public find themselves in much the same contradictory situation.

Mind you, we're not saying that what the Dembskis, Behes, and Johnsons of the world do is illegal. Rather, we are saying that they find themselves on the horns of a dilemma. They are absolutely required to reassure their creationist public that intelligent design will rout godless evolution from public schools. At the same time, they must publicly deny any religious motivation in order to avoid detection by the church and state separation police.

That's why Steve Abrams' mantra at the Kansas science hearings last May:
"My objective is to get as much empirical science (defined as observable, measurable, testable, repeatable and falsifiable) into the science curriculum standards as possible"
morphed quickly -- in a speech to church-going social conservatives -- as soon as the public hearings were over:
“At some point in time, if you compare evolution and the Bible, you have to decide which one you believe,” Abrams said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Likewise, when William Dembski spoke at the Lied Center at the University of Kansas last Monday, he stressed the scientific nature of intelligent design, but in Signs of Intelligence: Understanding Intelligent Design, a book written for a Christian audience, he writes:

The world is a mirror representing the divine life. The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.
This contradiction is inherent in intelligent design. ID apologists can spin it, they can deny it, they can try to hide it, but there's nothing they can do to change it. Their supporters will always demand reassurance that ID and God are one, while the legal and political strategy that ID represents demands that they deny it.

Like those long-ago pushers on the streets of New York, ID proponents must keep their motives both hidden and public. They are, and always will be, compelled to lead a double life.

Correction: The original version of this article read, "In those long-ago days when RSR lived in the Big Apple, we were often accosted on the street by young men who were selling 'scents' ... " A number or readers have commented that we got it wrong. The word is "sense" a derivation of "Sensimilla," or "san semilla," meaning without seeds.

Naturally, this error is deeply embarrassing to Red State Rabble, who always considered himself a child of the 60s -- whose very identity, in fact, was shaped by those distant times -- because it calls into question our mastery of the drug lore that was such an important part of the counter-culture back in the day.

It's kind of like being a basketball fan and not knowing who Larry Bird or Michael Jordan are. We are contemplating a long period of introspection...


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