Response to kuro5hin article against Intelligent Design

Earlier today, slashdot posted this article regarding an OpEd piece on kuro5hin. What followed was an incredible storm of comments, counter-comments, accusations and counter-accusations. I couldn't resist adding my €0.02 worth under the subject line, "2000 fundamentalists and counting", thus:

I have read the article and I wish to make two criticisms of it. Then I wish to point out the absolute lack of well-reasoned dialogue on this point.

1. benna writes:

The premise of Intelligent Design is that the universe is so unimaginably complex and perfect that it must have been created by an intelligent designer.
Anyone catch the "gotcha"? What ID proponent is going to say that the universe is so "unimaginably... perfect"? This is a classic but cloaked "argumentum ad hominem - abusive": make ID'ers look like extremists so it's "obvious" to everyone that they're stupid before they even look at what is actually being said.

2. benna also cites a lack of ID articles in peer-reviewed journals as evidence that nobody in the "real" scientific community believes in ID.

This is a trifle circular. The tools used by those who oppose theistic explanations for the world (including ID) include belittling, caricaturizing, marginalizing, black-listing, not to mention monopolizing money and prestige to the exclusion of all other options from serious consideration. Faced with the scientistic forces arrayed against these bodies of ideas, is it any wonder that nobody who wants to be taken seriously later will give articles with an ID point of view serious attention? This is less about ideas "winning or losing" in the scientific marketplace and more about ideas being sand-bagged and informally kept from being heard in that marketplace.

If you don't believe this possible, look at what happened in a slightly different field to Immanuel Velikovsky when what he said didn't line up with accepted scientific orthodoxy in the fields Worlds in Collision and Ages in Chaos speak to -- whether or not you accept the contents of his books as reasonable alternative explanations.

As to my subject line: it seems that very few people can make a dispassionate, deal-with-the-facts comment on this subject either in favour of or in opposition to Intelligent Design. It struck me that there are more than one kind of fundamentalism and many slashdotters who would sooner die than be called fundamentalists merely suffer from fundamentalism in a different direction.


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