Design and the Intelligent Design movement (IDM) will probably come up regularly on this blog, and in fact I am eager to discuss the concept of design with the other bloggers here. But it’s almost impossible to bring up “design” without bringing to mind the IDM, and that’s unfortunate, because the IDM is contaminated with some of the most toxic intellectual and cultural ideas that one can find outside of the brand of fundamentalism that Mike brought up a few days ago.
The natural theology of the IDM, and its obvious stealth creationism, are topics for another time. Today I thought I’d point readers to a disturbing outburst by one of the IDM’s leaders, a tirade that is notable for its vicious malice and for its stark explication of the soul of the movement. ID raises interesting (if shopworn) questions about design and information, but its raison d’etre is not design. The IDM is a social and political movement against naturalism (HT: Ted Davis of Messiah College). And Bill Dembski, one of the movement’s most prominent spokespersons, makes it clear that the goal is total war — “culture war” to be exact. Here’s one of the more chilling sections of Dembski’s most recent call to arms:
So here’s the deal, everyone. Theistic evolutionists are implacably opposed to ID… They are happy to jump in bed with Richard Dawkins if it means defeating ID. They are on the wrong side of the culture war. And they need to be defeated.
Those who know anything about the IDM know that culture war is one of its founding principles, but maybe you all didn’t know that Christians like me, who accept and even embrace evolutionary explanations, are among their most reviled foes. Am I on the Enemies List because I criticize ID? (Well, okay, they haven’t actually named me. Yet. Dang.) Nope. What makes “theistic evolutionists” anathema to the culture warriors of the Discovery Institute is made clear in this comment on Dembski’s followup to the Fatwa of 12 June:
I would have preferred peaceful co-existence with the TE’s. My first choice was to agree to disagree—to seek common ground—to dialogue in a spirit of friendliness and mutual respect. But it was they who decided to go on the attack, defending their materialist atheist friends…
Yes, I have “materialist atheist friends,” and I’ve been known to defend them and drink beer with them and even hug them sometimes. And it’s clear that “being in bed with Richard Dawkins” or “defending atheist friends” is far more horrifying to some IDM leaders than is, say, fabricating a fairy tale about “junk DNA.”
Anyway, I’m not currently worrying about mathematicians and aerospace engineers showing up in my driveway with torches, pitchforks and graphing calculators, but if they do, I sure hope Mike and Anastasia will make some room for us in their basements. And in the meantime, I’m praying that Christians will wake up and see the “culture wars” as the insanely self-destructive exercises that they are, and looking for a day when they give a culture war and nobody comes.