bill dembski vs. his fundamentalist bosses

The man who spent his career dismissing evolution as a faith which scientists were bullied into following is now being threatened by his bosses for disagreeing with young Earth creationism.

lost don quixote

Oh the irony! It’s so thick, you’d need a chainsaw to cut through it. One of my favorite, self-aggrandizing lackeys of the creationist movement, Bill Dembski, who grades his students on just how well they can troll science blogs, and writes vacuous tripe he tries to pass off as legitimate scientific works, was called to the carpet by his university for daring to agree with the scientifically confirmed age of the Earth. Whatever happened to teaching the controversy and encouraging open-minded exploration? Why did the Discovery Institute, so ready and willing to go up to bat for any wannabe evangelical martyr, remain silent on their star fellow’s ordeal? In the creationist world, just like in any breeding ground for cranks and pseudoscientists, it seems that having a genuine case of open-minded education is unwelcome to say the least. This is why when Dembski managed to say something intelligent in his last book and explain why our planet is billions of years old, he was swiftly rebuked for “letting scientific commitments to trump the most natural reading of the Bible.” Threats ensued…

So our scientific Don Quixote in his crusade to help spread creationism to the masses was almost fired when he let little things like facts and evidence figure in his thinking, maybe for the first time in his professional life. I find this situation to be another example of why the wealthy and politically savvy Templeton is so much more successful at undermining science education than the Discovery Institute and why it dropped those jokers as soon as its bosses saw with who they were dealing. Sure, it’s fellows are also not too bright or convincing in their lectures, but at least they would have the good sense to frown and issue a few notes about how they’re disappointed that one of their members is being bullied at work for trying to reconcile sound science with his religious beliefs. The twits at DI, by contrast, didn’t even make a peep about this turn of events. Instead, there’s only a story in a local religious paper. As the Skeptical Teacher notes, isn’t this the reverse of the whole point that the Institute tried to make with their flick Expelled, you know, the heavily and dishonestly edited film which featured professional know-nothing and pseudo-intellectual Ben Stein complaining that scientists were being fired en masse for their religion and repeating Klinghoffer’s brain-dead insipidity about Darwin?

There are professors who deny evolutionary facts and doubt the age of the Earth working in universities. They don’t get very much respect for letting their faith trump real world facts, but they also don’t get fired if they start waxing poetic about the structure of the eye and quoting Behe’s goalpost-shifting nonsense. But seminaries can, and zealously do purge their ranks of anyone who doesn’t follow their dogma to the letter. Dembski was, and still is a very devout Christian. He simply doesn’t see eye to eye with the fundamentalists on staff about a few things in the Bible, but that seems to be enough cause for the seminary’s president to threaten him with a termination because he’s not Christian enough for their tastes. And really, this level of obsession with ancient books injected with ancient morality tales, parables, and classical metaphysics about the events of a time in history that ended long ago scares me. Dembski’s employers are people who will look up at the sky and say that it’s purple because their chosen book tells them so, and if you point out that the sky is really blue, they will call you a heathen, say that the sky must be wrong, and demand it turn purple lest it suffer the wrath of God. If I were Dembski, I would’ve quit on principle alone. But what Dembski did was much worse.

Instead of standing up for his book and his conclusions and beliefs, he bowed before his bosses and turned on a dime about his assertions in the book. Money was apparently more important to him that staying true to his own faith, and that tells me that his opinions have a price tag. I wonder what would happen if an institution with reputable scientific labs were to pay him a boatload of money to produce a treatise defending evolution’s merits. Something tells me that it may be a very real possibility that our quixotic creationist would quickly turn his views around and praise Darwin’s brilliant insight on cue. Because after all, that human windbag probably has some bills to pay and needs money more than he needs to stay true to his principles…

# evolution // bill dembski / creationists / discovery institute / religion / scientific method

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