Dr. Ray Bohlin Responds to Attacks on Intelligent Design
To the editor of Newsweek:
Jonathan Alter must have thoroughly enjoyed writing this incredibly polemical piece, taking full advantage of every stereotype, argument from authority, straw man, and unsupported assertion his space would allow. He craftily gives credit to scientific sounding arguments against evolutionary theory while claiming they have all been discredited without mentioning the well-reasoned answers to these criticisms. As an example he cites Ken Miller’s criticism of ID without mentioning that Miller himself has been respectfully answered, critiqued and refuted.
If simply rehashing the old science vs. religion argument is the best the media and the general science community can do, the battle is over. I have been making a scientific case against Darwinism and for Intelligent Design for over thirty years. As one credentialed in science, a Discovery Institute Fellow and one of the first 100 signers (now over 400) to their statement of scientific skepticism about Darwinism, I can tell you that our ranks are swelling and our case getting stronger all the time. Pieces like Alter’s only show us and Newsweek’s readers, the bankruptcy of the Darwinian paradigm.
Raymond G. Bohlin, Ph.D.
President, Probe Ministries
I would like to make some additional comments here.
1. Alter magically proclaims that “One of the reasons we have fewer science majors is the pernicious right-wing notion that conventional biology is vaguely atheistic.” How does he know that? Of course he just states it as a bald assertion, expecting us to just believe it because he says so. His claim might be true, but he is clearly trying to blame doubts about evolution for the U.S.’s perceived sputtering in science. Need a whipping boy? Try “right-wing fundamentalists.” Some will believe that every time.
2. He says that offering ID as “an alternative to evolution in ninth-grade biology is a cruel joke.” Nowhere has anybody made such a request. Even in Dover, PA, the disclaimer by the school board simply offers ID as something students might explore. It is not officially offered in the classroom as a competing theory. Discovery Institute itself maintains that ID is not ready for such treatment.
3. In the same paragraph, Alter says “ID walks like science and talks like science but, so far, performs in the lab worse than medieval alchemy.” I guess that was supposed to sting. What Alter doesn’t realize is that in molecular and cell biology, in particular, the language of design is everywhere in describing the workings of the incredible molecular machines inside the cell. They just claim that natural selection produced them with no real attempts to explain how. And as a mechanistic theory, evolution should be able to. So in reality, ID is used all the time in biological research, even by evolutionists, you just can’t call it that if you want your work to be published.
4. Alter drags the ever present Kenneth Miller into his discussion. He mentions, parenthetically, that Miller attends Mass every week. So what? It’s a double standard to allow Miller’s attendance at church serve to further his credibility when my association with a Christian ministry has been used to discredit my testimony and somehow claim that my scientific reasoning is now suspect. Nobody ever mentions Miller’s possible conflict of interest in his defense of evolution and criticism of ID. Kenneth Miller is coauthor of a well-known high school biology textbook that strongly promotes evolution as the grand unifying principle of biology. If evolution is dethroned, he loses money and his reputation. How come his reasoning isn’t compromised?
5. Alter claims that science and religion are not at odds over evolution. Fine. But science is at odds with the Darwinian mechanism and there have always been doubts. As I said in my letter to the editor, the scientific case for ID only grows stronger and the debate is here to stay. Let them keep making the science vs. religion argument and the more thoughtful and reasonable among us will see through the smoke screen and will give ID a chance. That’s all we ask.
6. Alter makes it seem that the appeal to science standards and school boards is a last ditch effort when all else has failed. In reality, these are true grassroots efforts by people who have read the books and want the truth taught to their children. Many have been frustrated for years that their kids are exposed to an evolutionary filibuster in school and are encouraged that there is a growing scientific revolt in support of their concerns. The Time article mentions that 30% of surveyed biology teachers felt pressure to give evolution a short treatment by concerned parents. What about the greater than 50% of students (far more vulnerable to pressure than adult teachers) who have felt bullied by evolution for decades?
7. All this negative publicity is actually a good thing in the long run. As long as the silly arguments are answered, we gain new adherents with every wise-cracking, arrogant article. Why? Because reasonable people see through all the fuss eventually and realize that something funny is going on. After that they read Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Gonzalez, Richards, Nelson, Wells, Thaxton, Bradley, and other ID leaders and it all begins to come together. May our tribe increase!
© 2005 Probe Ministries International