A War on Science
This is a rather belated review of the Horizons Documentary- “A War on Science.”
I didn’t have time to watch the video until now.
Horizon Origins Poll (here)
The programme was cast in the mould of science vs religion documentary with the assumption built in that ID is the latest manifestation of Christian fundamentalists trying to get creationism into school science lessons. The background is the Scopes trial and the following US court cases to outlaw creationism from science education.
In most cases the basic ID arguments were presented and the opponents were allowed to respond to this basic arguments with no opportunity for the ID people to come back at their opponents which tended to give the false impression that the anti-ID camp had won the scientific arguments and that ID was left as purely a political/social/religious movement.
Ken Miller appears with his dramatic assertion that the fight against ID is a battle for the “scientific soul of
ID was defended by interviews with Phillip Johnson, Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe and William Dembski. The arguments focused on the issue of evolution as science and evolution as an integral part of a societal creation story and the concept of irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagellum.
I thought that the editors of the programme should be commended in allowing the main story of ID to be told by the leaders of the movement themselves and they gave a good overview of the basic ideas of ID.
The UK scientists who spoke against ID came across (to a pro-ID man) as remarkably ignorant of the arguments of ID given that they had agreed to appear on the programme and that they must have spent at least some time seeking to familiarise themselves with its arguments.
I do think that if Richard Dawkins wants to be taken seriously in this debate he will have to change his approach completely. His approach is to snub ID and dismiss it entirely portraying its proponents as “ignorant people” and the “yapping terriers of ignorance” forcing real scientists to “waste their time and effort having to respond to them” He has refused any public debate over these issues based on the argument that to appear in debate with these ignorant people would of itself give the impression that they had a legitimate case that ought to be heard. He maintained that ID is only spreading in parts of the population that “don’t know anything” David Attenborough seemed to be presenting a version of Stephen Gould’s “two separate magisterial view of science vs religion he argues that ID is religious and no different from creationism. He suggests that religion cannot overlap with science as it belongs in a different category of discourse. It concerns religious emotions and ethical feelings and spiritual values –it is entirely subjective. The
David Attenborough seemed to be presenting a version of Stephen Gould’s “two separate magisterial view of science vs religion he argues that ID is religious and no different from creationism. He suggests that religion cannot overlap with science as it belongs in a different category of discourse. It concerns religious emotions and ethical feelings and spiritual values –it is entirely subjective.
They are way behind the argument and have not bothered to learn the foundational issues.
The impression that the
As far as ID is concerned this was a poisoned well from the start. Buckingham and the other pro-creationism members of the school board were from an ID point of view a liability- In Dover ID tried to make the best of a bad job and the Judge sought to make a supreme court judgement about ID for the
Overall the BBC is to be commended for allowing the ID proponents to speak for ID themselves and highlighting the importance of the controversy. It was a shame however that they failed to present the underlying issue of conflicting worldviews impacting on education in a society which is still heavily influenced by Judeo/Christian foundations.