Their Own Worst Enemy

4 01 2009

First, the bad news: The barbarians in our midst are still at it, doing their best to undermine our civilization by destroying the science upon which our technological progress is based.

The good news is, they aren’t particularly good at science. As a result of this blind spot in their world view, they keep falling prey to their own ignorance when trying to foist their religious pseudoscience upon the rest of us.

A couple of years ago, some citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania sued their own school board over the inclusion of religious pseudoscience (so-called Intelligent Design theory, or ID) into the school science curriculum. These citizens claimed that Intelligent Design was thinly-disguised Creationism, which was a religious dogma and therefore an unacceptable intrusion of religion into Public Schools.  A federal judge  listened to the arguments and ruled that Intelligent Design was, in fact,  crudely disguised Creationism, and therefore could not be taught in science classrooms.

The proponents of ID were furious, but they couldn’t do anything about it. They were neither plaintiff nor  respondent in the case, and therefore had no standing to appeal. The only one who could appeal was the Dover School Board. This was unlikely to happen because the voters in Dover had voted out the IDiots on the Board, and the new Board was quite happy with the ruling.

To the proponents of Intelligent Design, the ruling is a massive thorn in their side. This ruling by  federal court meant that it was applicable throughout the country. Therefore, any group of citizens who wished to have actual science taught in science classrooms need only quote Kitzmiller v Dover as the legal basis for any suit against Intelligent Design. They had to do something to reduce the negative impact the Kitzmiller ruling was having on their campaign to get ID into school curicula around the country.

IDiots are not particularly good at science, but they are very good at Public Relations. When the facts don’t suit you, attack the credibility and competence of the people on the other side. Under normal circumstances, they might have flooded the airwaves and newsprint with accusations against the judge for his perceived liberal (and by implication, anti-christian) bias. The problem there was the judge in question was an evangelical christian who had been appointed by George W. Bush.

With the judge relatively immune to the usual character assassination, the ID proponents turned their attention to the opposition’s expert witnesses. Attacking their credibility would be difficult, because they were all recognized experts in their fields- and IDiots don’t do science well. In a modestly clever attempt to circumvent this weakness in their argument, they began aserting that the opposition witnesses had lied or misrepresented their case on the stand. In particular, IDiots claimed that the plaintiff’s expert witness had specifically lied when describing certain claims of the Intelligent Design theory.

Alas, acumen in PR does not equate to competence in legal matters any more than scientific affairs. The testimony, amicus briefs, and supporting documentation for the case are all part of the legal record. One of the expert witnesses for the plaintiff, Ken Miller, got tired of these accusation. Using nothing more than public records and his own wit, he metaphorically demolished this ID attack in a three-part series of blog articles for Discover Magazine.

Of course, little things like facts and evidence seem to hold little sway over ID proponents. Their stated goal is to undermine the teaching of evolution at every opportunity and replace it with their thinly-disguised creationism throughout the United States. Since they are on a Mission for God, mere facts will not dissuade them from their sacred task. The fact that this sort of fanaticism is alien to a large majority of Americans also has little meaning. The proponents of ID know what is best for us all, and they are going to get us to see things their way by any means necessary- including deception.

This attitude will be their eventual undoing. IDiots are their own worst enemy. The more they sputter and pontificate, the more ridiculous they make themselves look. Every time they try to deny some aspect of science that refutes their arguments, they are buried beneath a mountain of unassailable evidence to contradict them.

My main concern is for what will happen when these fanatics realize that they’re losing. Religious fanatics as a general rule do not have a good record of dealing with successful opposition. What happens when the fanatics realize that everyone with a functional brain is mocking them?


Current status: Concerned

Current music: Songs from the Wood by Jethro Tull



2 responses

11 01 2009

“What happens when the fanatics realize that everyone with a functional brain is mocking them?”

Alas I’m not sure they ever will. Their imaginary friend told them they’re right and He never lies…

12 01 2009

Connor: That would actually be the ideal response. What concerns me is the historical tendency of such groups to resort to violence when confronted by the scorn and derision they so richly deserve.

The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed.

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.

“… that laughter is the Gods’ best gift,
so to the Gods our laughter lift.
Aye, though their wrath the heavens split,
they grant us scorn- to laugh at it.”

– Robert Service

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