William Dembski & the Anti-Science Crusade
Posted by mattusmaximus on August 4, 2009
Those of you who have followed the evolution-creationism battles for the last few years will recognize the name and infamy of William Dembski. Dembski is one of the top talking heads for the Discovery Institute, the intelligent design “think-tank” which rose to prominence in the 1990s, and he is guilty of pretty much every logical fallacy & dishonest debating tactic in the book in his promotion of ID-creationism.
But now, Dembski has decided to branch out from telling lies about evolutionary science, because apparently after the Discovery Institute’s embarrassing smackdown at the Dover trial in 2005, the creationist movement has decided to take their anti-scientific agenda into other areas, such as environmental science. For details, see the following article on the Southern Baptist Conference’s website where Dembski recently outlined this broader attack on science.
Right off the bat, Dembski very clearly outlines the entire endeavor of science in the typical us vs. them, good vs. evil rhetoric – and, of course, Dembski and his fellow religious fanatics are on the side of “good”, making anyone (religious or otherwise) who disagrees with them on the side of “evil” by default…
John Holdren’s appointment as President Obama’s new science czar is emblematic of the abuse of science that we can increasingly expect in our secularized political environment. …
Holdren nevertheless represents the powerful new caste of scientists who have appointed themselves the guardians of humanity and the priests of a new social order. Their agenda and pretensions would be transparently obvious except that, with the mantle of their scientific expertise, they intimidate ordinary people from asking the right questions and thereby exposing their aims. Their strategy is always the same: Scientists have discovered a problem that, as their models and data (often falsely) demonstrate, is on the verge of getting out of control; now, if only we do exactly as they say, we’ll avoid catastrophe.
Note two things here: 1) Dembski attempts to paint the scientific community as a kind of pseudo-religious institution, calling them “priests of a new social order”, and 2) he also paints a conspiracy theory that scientists are lying to us in an attempt to delude the populace into going along with their “evil” plans.
In the process of spinning this yarn, Dembski jumps aboard the global warming denier train when he trots out an old, debunked criticism of climate change science…
Holdren’s 1977 book fits this pattern. Written at the height of the scare about overpopulation, he and his coauthors pondered extreme measures to bring population levels down (measures that would be implemented with all our best “scientific” expertise). Ironically, at that same time in the 1970s, scientists were concerned not that the earth was warming but that it was cooling. The scare back then was global cooling!
This claim about a “global cooling scare” back in the 1970s is factually & historically incorrect – see here for why this is the case – but since when was Dembski ever concerned about paying attention to the facts and accurately representing science?
More referencing modern science as a religion and demonization of scientists as a bunch of power hungry bastards…
Fast-forward to the present. Now the scientific priesthood is telling us that the earth faces catastrophe if we don’t mend our carbon-emitting ways and do everything we can to prevent global warming (“cap and trade” is only the beginning). Whereas back in the 1970s overpopulation was going to destroy us, now the western industrialized nations face such a steep decline in birth rates that underpopulation has become a worry. In any case, the pattern is always the same: Find a problem, catastrophize it and make scientists the saviors.
But why is it that Dembski goes to such lengths to smear the scientific community in this manner? The next part of his article explains his real motives quite clearly…
If Holdren and his scientific colleagues are priests, what is their religion? Theirs is a religion of scientific materialism. According to scientific materialism, reality is constituted entirely of material entities, and science is the only way to understand that reality. Scientific materialism has preeminently been used to undercut the sanctity of life by attempting to justify such monstrosities as abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and eugenics (including coerced sterilization). Indeed, as Holdren’s 1977 book as well as his failure to repudiate it makes clear, his attraction to eugenics remains strong.
There you have it – scientists are “priests” in a “religion” of godless, atheistic scientific materialism, and their purpose (apparently) is to destroy the “sanctity of life” as envisioned by Dembski and his allies among fundamentalist Christianity. Never mind that there are numerous scientists who are religious, they don’t matter because while they may be religious, some of them (such as Francis Collins) who are evangelical Christians, they don’t happen to share Dembski’s particularly twisted views on science & the world. Anyone who disagrees with Dembski and his allies must be on the side of “evil”.
And in this battle of good vs. evil, what does Dembski propose to do in pursuit of spreading his crusading view of godly goodness & decency around the world?
The scientific enterprise is only possible because the public financially supports scientific research. Because we hold their purse strings, they are not in a position to presume on our generosity. Insofar as they are trying to influence the public square, they need to explain themselves in plain English and they need to allow fair discussion and open dissent. Plenty of qualified scientists dispute that humans are significantly contributing to global warming or that extreme counter-measures are necessary. But the scientific priesthood quashes all such dissent, marginalizing and even persecuting those who don’t toe the party line.
Scientists are not our masters. They are our servants, and they need a lesson in humility. It is up to us — We the People — to hold their feet to the fire. To fail to do so is to be complicit in their sins. God help us to preserve what freedoms we have left.
Dembski’s solution, as written above and outlined clearly in the Discovery Institute’s Wedge Strategy, is to overly politicize science & science funding, and if the populace doesn’t rise up against these evil scientists then their fundamental liberties are at risk. This threat of loss of freedom is the manner in which Dembski and his allies plan to frighten people into mistrusting science. In his view, if he and his band of religious fanatics can influence various policy makers, they can take control of science and twist it in order to promote their particular religious beliefs in an effort to spread their faith. This whole endeavor is part of a broader plan to, in the words of the Wedge Document…
Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.
And, again, it’s not just about evolutionary science, it is about all of science – as evidenced by their recent attack on the science of global warming. Dembski views the entire concept of modern science as anathema and evil, and the goal of his movement is to completely overthrow modern science. But they don’t want to stop with science, as they have a much larger agenda in mind. They even say so quite clearly in their own Wedge Document…
Twenty Year Goals
- To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
- To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.
- To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.
Note that last goal: “To see design theory [read: their religious views] permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.”
In their own words, the real goal of these religious extremists is to take over all of society. They essentially wish to create a theocracy where they are the ones in charge and their religious views dictate the law of the land. And how is it that plan to do this? The first step is to tear down the modern scientific method, because they view this – and rightly so – as the key barrier to instigating their larger agenda.
So, ironically, while Dembski spins his lies about the “priesthood” of science attempting to foist off on society a religion of “scientific materialism” when in reality it is he and his allies who are actually trying to spread their religious beliefs. And they even say so in their own words!
I’m not particularly religious myself, but I do seem to remember from my early years in Sunday school that lying was considered a sin. But, apparently, to William Dembski, it’s perfectly appropriate to lie & deceive, so long as you do it in the name of God, in particular his God.