A review of “Darwin and the Intelligent Design Brigade”

Paddy Shannon recently published an article in the Socialist Standard entitled, Darwin and the Intelligent Design Brigade, which was re-posted on RichardDawkins.net.  I found this article fascinating for several reasons: (1) It said virtually nothing about Intelligent Design, (2) its naive caricature of “religious people” and their motives was very imaginative, and (3) its diminutive attitude toward “religious people” is typical of the pseudo-intellectualism attached to the new Atheist movement.  Allow me to touch briefly on each of these points. 

(1) Yet again, the media produces an article with Intelligent Design in the title which says absolutely nothing about Intelligent Design (aside from suggesting an anti-ID documentary.)  Perhaps I’m being a little too picky, but, one would expect an article entitled, Darwin and the Intelligent Design Brigade, to at least say something about Intelligent Design.  This is yet another shining example of incompetent reporting on Intelligent Design. 

(2)  Shannon asserts that the motivation for “religious people’s” attacks on the theory of evolution is fear.  More specifically, a fear “that without God as first cause there really is no relevance to life.”  I wonder if she’s ever considered the possibility that “religious people” attack evolution because if God does not exist, “there really is no relevance to life.”  This is not simply an argument from fear, but an assertion of the facts.  If Darwinism is true, there is no purpose, design, intentionality, personality, or objectivity in nature; the philosophical implications of Darwinism are profound.  Perhaps religious people are afraid, but not due to their naivety; they are afraid of the disturbing implications of Darwinism in the realms of art, beauty, ethics, philosophy and every other meaningful human pursuit.  It is only wise for “religious people” to question the validity of such a worldview and to encourage its proponents to follow the logic of their system to its end. 

Of course, there is another reason “religious people” might challenge evolution which Shannon omits; because of the scientific evidence.  Perhaps Intelligent Design (of which she did very little actual reporting on) has laid some serious challenges at the feat of Neo-Darwinism and religious people are convinced of this evidence. 

(3)  Consider this quote, “At the same time it is possible to feel some compassion for the fear and the desperation these, mostly ignorant and uninformed, people have, confronted with a world they don’t understand and in which they feel utterly helpless. Science to them is gas chambers, nuclear bombs, death rays, spy satellites and mind control. Wild stories about Earth-eating black holes and ‘strangelets’ guaranteed front-page coverage worldwide for the switching on of the Large Hadron Collider, an event only normally of interest to particle physicists.”

This is my translation, “Awwww, look at the poor moronic, uneducated, imbeciles, they’re afraid because they just don’t understand.  We of the intellectual elite (i.e. Darwinists) should have compassion on them for their ignorance.”

It is true; there are millions of ignorant, uneducated people in the world.  Alas, many of these people are religious.  However, to presume that the Atheistic Darwinian perspective on life is only held by educated intellectuals (which this statement implies) is outrageous.  Perhaps Shannon has not actually read any of the modern critiques of Darwinism or looked at the credentials of their author’s.  This diminutive treatment of “religious people” is a gross stereotype of the worst kind.

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4 thoughts on “A review of “Darwin and the Intelligent Design Brigade”

  1. I couldn’t agree more withe last part: there is enough ignorance to go around, and the religious are not the only perpetrators. I don’t want to point fingers though.

    I haven’t read this article yet, but it seems in step with a lot of the anti-ID literature I’ve read in the past. Dawkins has disappointed me on many occasions.

    It doesn’t seem so true that evolution denies the existence of God as much as it denies the existence of a 10,000 year-old Earth—though I would agree that the fear is implicit in challenging any dogma. Stretching out the timeline a bit doesn’t negate the existence of God (or at least I would think). I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

    Thanks for posting this review.

  2. Hello Key,

    I’m sorry I never responded to your post, for some reason I thought I had!

    The theory of evolution is predicated on the philosophical assumption of naturalism; that is, that there is nothing outside the box; nothing exists except for the material or physical world. Evolution attempts to explain the origin and development of life by means of undirected material causes. So, in this sense, evolution dispenses with the need for a God who created or designed the universe. What’s more, its metaphysical basis (philosophical naturalism) completely rejects the possibility of the supernatural; hence, it denies the existence of God.

    Thus, in my opinion, evolution has major metaphysical implications and directly impacts the issue of God’s existence. I think the issue goes far beyond the age of the earth.

    Thanks for reading and for your comment!

  3. Josh,

    Great critique!

    I think that the naturalists have considered the implications of a life without design or purpose and have duly assigned the architectural duties to none other than natural selection. To hear some of them speak of it, it has will, purpose, and even design elements in mind when it causes mutation! While the naturalists will continue to fool themselves all day long, at some point, the strict materalists are going to wake up and realize that they have gotten rid of God; they have replaced him!

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