Thursday, June 21, 2007


Truth in Advertising

From his bunker at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, intelligent design activist William Dembski has issued a dark warning that the Council of Europe -- that well-known radical atheist cabal -- is poised to make ID advocacy a “hate crime" in Europe.

In a post on his Uncommon Descent blog, the increasingly cranky Dembski, rails about "the European Council for the Advancement of Atheism," which he claims is about to brand those who "believe in a God who acts in the world (aka theism)" as religious extremists.

Of course, the Council of Europe is set to do no such thing. As Reuters reports, the council, Europe's main human-rights body, "will vote on a proposal next week to defend the teaching of evolution" and to keep creationism and intelligent design "out of science class in state schools in its 47 member countries."

Think of this, not as an attack on theists, after all many theists, perhaps even most, (this is Europe after all) have absolutely no problem with evolution. In fact, many theists are alarmed at the inroads their fundamentalist brethern are making in the U.S. Only some theists, it should be remembered, believe God is active in the world in the sense that biblical literalists do.

Think instead of the Council of Europe as issuing regulations on truth in advertising.

No one would be bothered if, for example, the council restricted the advertising of medicines to claims for which there is good scientific evidence. Who, after all, would think it's okay for pharmaceutical companies to make false or unproven claims for the drugs they market.

Not long ago, a Kansas City pharmacist was sent to prison for selling diluted chemotherapy drugs to cancer patients. No one was sad to see him go even though the extravagant prices he received for the ineffective drugs that killed his patients underwrote lavish contributions to his church building fund.

Why should the council allow fundamentalist Christians to conceal faith's clerical collar by pulling the lab coat of science around their shoulders? No one is stopping them from thundering to the heavens about their odd beliefs. Moreover, they're completely free to make any theological claim they wish no matter how outlandish. After all, they own a seemingly endless number of cable television channels to get their message out.

All we ask is that they be honest about their scientific claims in taxpayer funded public schools.


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