Saturday, February 04, 2006
Enough with this "Darwinism" nonsense already.
Let's imagine that you've been selected as the spokesperson of your local homeowner's association to protest, say, the annexation of your neighbourhood. There's going to be a public meeting at which the town council president will speak for half an hour in favour of the annexation, after which you as the spokesperson will get half an hour to present your side of the story. Sounds fair so far.
The meeting opens on time, and the council president starts his half hour thusly: "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for attending. The agenda will be that I will speak for 30 minutes, after which neighbourhood rep Fred Brown, who is a wife beater and child pornographer, will have 30 minutes for a rebuttal."
"Hang on!", you howl, coming out of your chair. "What the hell was that all about!? Wife beater? Child pornographer!?!?"
"Excuse me," replies the president coolly, "but we had agreed that I would have half an hour without interruption, and then it would be your turn."
"Yes," agrees the moderator, "that was the agreement. No interruptions, you'll get your turn."
"But," you sputter, "that son of a bitch just accused me of beating my wife, for fuck's sake! There's no way I'm going to let that go unchallenged, agreement or no agreement."
And that's pretty much the way I feel when I hear the proponents of "Intelligent Design" rail on and on about their objections to "Darwinism." Frankly, I'm thoroughly tired of these people using that word instead of referring to "biological evolution" when they want to make a point.
If you peruse the ID-oriented literature, you'll notice that those dingbats very cleverly refer, not to "evolution," but to "Darwinism," and for good reason. First, by constantly using the name "Darwinism," said dingbats quietly associate all of biological evolution with a single person, making it seem more like some cultish kind of hero worship than legitimate science. But that's not the worst part.
By using the phrase "Darwinism," those same dingbats are almost certainly basing some of their objections, not on the current state of biological evolution, but on some ideas as they were originally proposed by Darwin. This is an important distinction since it's universally accepted that some of Darwin's original ideas were wrong but who cares? There's been a lot of progress in the last 150 years but by constantly attacking "Darwinism," these people very cleverly leave themselves the opening to ignore all of that progress.
That's why I'd like to see a concerted effort to interrupt these wankers every time they use the phrase "Darwinism," and to insist that they talk instead about "biological evolution." Don't even try to be polite about it -- just cut them off in mid-sentence with something like, "I'm sorry, I'm not interested in discussing 'Darwinism'. I want to talk about 'biological evolution' and we're not going any further with this discussion until you start using the correct terminology. Deal with it."
It's time to stamp out this "Darwinism" dishonesty once and for all. And I suspect that, if you took that word out of the creationist arsenal, they'd suddenly have a lot less to talk about.