Answering The Rhetorical Genius of Behe

Continuing the discussion from Did Swamidass Punt on Innovation?:

I explained my rhetorical response to Behe at Behe and Swamidass: Texas A&M on Feb 20, 2020

As @Jordan responded:

What do you think @art?

Because IDers are trying to turn the public against evolutionary biology (even more than is currently the case), which has repercussions for acceptance of science in general, funding, education, and the future of science.


This needs repeating. In their constant attacks against evolutionary biology the ID-Creationists are sowing doubt among layman about the reliability of all science. That’s why we get the AGW deniers, the anti-vaxxers, etc. This country desperately needs a scientifically literate electorate and scientifically literate leaders to compete in a 21st century global marketplace. Yet we get the ID-Creationists trying to dumb-down and undermine science education at every turn. In their rush to force their Christian God back into science classes they are causing a large amount of collateral damage.


That is certainly what is at stake.

It remains up for debate whether direct engagement with them is helpful in this regard. I suspect that respectful, “peaceful” discussion of the sort that @swamidass attempted in his recent debate with Behe is counterproductive, in that it reinforces the IDC position that whether evolution is true is a question that is up for legitimate scientific disagreement.


Perhaps it is the bias of the recent, but post-modernism and a post-fact world seem like they are becoming more popular. More and more, I see people who think facts are established by the emotions they engender. If you feel something is true, then it’s true. I don’t know if ID/creationism, flat Earth, anti-vaxx, or other such movements are part of the cause or a symptom of something deeper in society.


I agree, but was my engagement direct?

As a theist, because all truth is God’s truth and we should have nothing to fear from it.

Why should evolutionary biologists even care about ID, let alone spend hours and hours banging their head against the wall trying to refute it?

I can’t speak for evolutionary biologists, but I can tell you why I do it. As someone who teaches science at an Evangelical Christian university, because this is what future Evangelical leaders are being taught and taking into the mission field. I spend a good part of my time outside of class trying to convince people that evolution is not a “theory in crisis” and that no, science doesn’t need to “catch up” with ID research (an actual statement one of my colleagues made last week.) On the first day of class I tell my students “Evangelicals have a reputation for being stupid. We can feed that stereotype or change it. If we want to effectively evangelize, we need to change it. We can start changing it by becoming scientifically literate.”


Maybe there are some good reasons to doubt the reliability of scientists, if not of science.
For example, see this:

Or this:

LOL! Do you have any evidence all our studies and empirically observed examples of back mutations are flawed science? Or are you just squirting more squid ink to hide the fact your claim was dead wrong? :smile:

Were any of those consensus views? I see a lot of single scientists in those articles.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. @Giltil manages to confirm that ID undermines public confidence in science and to link ID to anti-environmentalism, confirming two more claims of his opponents.


I would say yes, for most of them. For example, eugenics was the consensus view among the scientific community at the dawn of the 20th century.

According to you everything science knows about evolutionary biology, genetics, paleontology, physics, chemistry, geology, etc. is suspect because some scientists supported genetics 100 years ago?

That’s a new world’s record for grasping at straws.


It also doesn’t make sense. Some scientists used to support eugenics, a morally reprehensible sociopolitical idea about who should get to have offspring, therefore “science” or “scientists” are unreliable? Talk about a complete non-sequitur.


I wonder how Dr. Egnor would feel about Joe Blow rejecting his advice to have surgery on a brain tumour in favour of using healing crystals?

Maybe 'cuz people listened and made the necessary changes?