Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Russell quote anti-ID people should think about

It is clear that thought is not free if the profession of certain opinions make it impossible to earn a living.-- Bertrand Russell, Skeptical Essays (1928) ††

Interesting. So going around and getting people fired who so much as publish a pro-ID essay in a peer-reviewed journal means that thought about that subject is not free. Right??

Also, this kind of operation has the effect of trivializing the charge that ID is not supported in peer-reviewed journals. If people are afraid they will lose their jobs if they publish pro-ID stuff, then the absence of ID from peer-reviewed journals doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot. Right??


Blue Devil Knight said...

If someone published slop in any field, no respectable department would give them a job in that field. I don't buy all this crucifixion nonsense from the IDers: if they had good ideas they wouldn't be ostracized.

Blue Devil Knight said...

A good quote from Koffka, in his classic Principles of Gestalt Psychology (1935), page 13, talking about vitalists:

It required always a full share of personal courage to profess oneself a vitalist, and therefore let us honour the men who were willing to sacfifice their reputations and their careers in the service of a cause which they considered to be a true one.

This is an interesting quote. The arguments from the ID folk are so bad that I often wonder if they are being honest (as opposed to repeating things that they hope will will converts to Christ). However, honest or not, it takes some gumption to come out of the closet as an ID sympathizer in academia. To know that the majority of people will think you are a pre-modern intellectual anachronism locked into superstitions of old, and to still come out pro ID takes some guts!

It is strange that antiDarwinians have outlasted the vitalists! I think vitalism didn't touch on quite as sensitive a theological nerve as Darwin...

Victor Reppert said...

I'm willing to agree the science, and every other field, should exercise quality control. The question is whether or not there is an over-the-top attack on people's careers who provide any aid and comfort to ID. Menuge was mentioning the fact that Sternberg, who is not an advocate of ID, lost a position because he, as editor, allowed a paper by Steven Meyer top be published which supported ID. Somehow Lippard, in his response to this, had gotten the idea that Sternberg was a creationist when he was not.

Now I think it's going over the top more than a little if you start going after editors who allow articles to be published that support ID. Lippard says the paper wasn't good, it may or may not have been, but if every editor gets fired who includes a poor paper, editors are going to start dropping off right and left.

BDK says "if they had good ideas they wouldn't be ostracized." I think this rather naively underestimates what atheist Thomas Nagel calls the fear of religion. For many people, science has been the bastion of anti-religious ideas, and for science to be turned to support theism is, at least for some people, a very scary idea.

I don't think you have to be an anti-Darwinist to have problems with some of the things that have been done in the name of defending Darwinism. I think what happened to Sternberg went beyond proper quality control, and I think I would believe this regardless of what I thought of evolution.

I'll be blogging more on this soon, with some comments on a book review I just read in Christian Scholar's Review.

Lippard said...

"Somehow Lippard, in his response to this, had gotten the idea that Sternberg was a creationist when he was not."

Many people came to this conclusion, due to Sternberg's membership in the Baraminology Study Group and his participation in a "closed door" intelligent design conference which non-ID supporters were told they could not attend.