This post examines the positions and contributions of 3 Canadian IDists. Two of them easily, if shallowly embrace their IDism in public (as journalist & professor) and one still hasn’t openly reached that point of audacious self-promotion or reflexivity.
Some background: I have watched this evolutionism-creationism-IDT ‘controversy’ (which operates mainly in USAmerica) for more than 10 years. The winners so far are agnostics, atheists and also anti-IDist pro-evolutionary theory Abrahamic theists. The latter are not bothered by the repetitive doubts of agnostics or the anti-theism of atheists because they responsibly accept the horizontality of cutting-edge science while staying faithful to their vertical religious traditions. But the ‘points’ scored by agnostics and atheists against IDists have indeed been considerable, which is evident from the growing numbers of non-theists or non-religious in the USA, a country some call a pre-atheist nation.
As someone living ‘outside’ of the North American ‘culture war,’ let the following put into context the ‘work’ of three Canadian ‘Cdesign proponentsists,’ or what I call in short ‘IDists.’
Denyse O’Leary is already known here for her Uncommon Descent ‘News’ position and perhaps for her “Design vs. Chance” book polemic. O’Leary was recently an Anglican Christian before becoming a Roman Catholic Christian (RCC = Roman Catholic Church), though she doesn’t seem to cognitively grasp the effective logical RCC critiques that have been made of IDism (e.g. Edward Feser). At least, she hasn’t explained why she doesn’t accept these critiques (and neither successfully has fellow Catholic, UD contributor Vincent J. Torley). She has become repeatedly and predictably shrill, shallow and exaggerative against ‘theistic evolution’ (e.g. her anti-ASA posts, to the regret of Caroline Crocker) based on her out-spoken personal desire to be thought of as an ‘IDist.’ She obviously *wants* to be identified as an ideological IDist.
As a result of her ideological journalism and shallow interpretation of the RCC, undoubtedly, most global Vatican-affiliated scientists pay her no attention, nor should they. She is as marginal to actual top-level scholarship and peripheral in her journalistic relevance as a person living on a small lake in the Yukon with no electricity, phone or books. The truth is, however, she actually lives in Canada’s biggest city Toronto.
O’Leary apparently rejects the Catholic Church’s position on ‘evolution,’ instead wishing to be a ‘revolutionary’ of the Dembskian IDist variety. She is an anti-intellectual that is anti-science (by her crude definition of ‘science’) and anti-thinking (which is obvious from her ignorant, scholarship-lite propaganda), as her posts at UD often show. Hers is attempted grandmother-talk as if it is on the cutting-edge of knowledge, when it is so obviously decades-behind-the-times. She puts thinking, honourable and courteous grandmothers, especially Catholics to shame on the topic of evolution, creation and (lowercase) intelligent design.
One example of O’Leary’s absurd polemics: “The whole point of being a theistic evolutionist is to be good buddies with the smart guys of the world, the evolutionists.”
O‘Leary also authors “Canadian Writers that are Christians,” “Mindful Hack” and “Comments on Our Republic.” Check out the latter blog to see how she intentionally associates herself with cracked, marginal ideas and figures. Yet she operates as a journalistic front for IDism, pretending to be an intelligent IDist (oxymoron though it largely is), even to speak in favour of Discovery Institute leaders with her ‘News’ at UD. Is she paid by the Discovery Institute or has she received money from them? Through book sales indirectly as they (and ARN) advertise her works, undoubtedly yes. Otherwise, perhaps we’ll never know, as secretive as the DI is.
And honestly folks, what was Denyse O’Leary smoking before she gave the presentation linked below? Did she have an IDT-mania glue-sniff with IDists before the speech? Did she take 5 liquor shots too many and just wobble up to the podium? This recorded talk should be auto-tuned/songified for its humour (anyone at TSZ ready to try?)! 😉
It starts with: “As I mentioned earlier … [oops, correction!] … as Jay [Richards] mentioned earlier, I am a journalist” (as if she forgot) and it just gets more mentally absurd by the minute. Does Biola University really want to be associated with Denyse O’Leary’s public display of lunacy?! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA780yWDZAI) Look for this video to be removed due to embarrassment.
O’Leary quite obviously wishes she was or could be an intellectual; that people would potentially take her thoughts seriously in academic circles. Unfortunately for her, she isn’t and most scholars don’t and won’t. And her association with far, wild-right wing, conspiracy-theory blogs (like “Comments on Our Republic”) does her story and credibility no good.
Strike One for Canadian IDists.
Bruce Gordon is a curious (Lorax-type) fellow, with a background in applied mathematics and philosophy of physics, and by training a pianist (or at least piano teacher). However, he speaks with so much pseudo-science and pseudo-philosophy jargon even in popular audiences that jokes were passed around among students at the DI’s Summer Program (2008) about his communication. Is he worth taking seriously or better just humoured with an innocent tug on his goatee and a fond laugh at his surface-level earnestness for IDism?
Gordon worked at (and apparently still for) the Discovery Institute, as former Research Director for the Centre for Science and Culture and writes for www.evolutionnews.org. He now works at a private Christian university in Texas (https://www.hbu.edu/Choosing-HBU/Academics/Colleges-Schools/School-of-Christian-Thought/Departments/Department-of-Philosophy/Faculty/New-document.aspx), after working at a private Christian University in New York (http://www.tkc.edu/academics/faculty/display.asp?id=82, which happens to be the same place where ethicist/administrator Paul de Vries works, the man who unfortunately coined the duo ‘methodological naturalism’), in the USA where he has lived for 25 years, though he was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Gordon has chosen to teach IDT at these universities, which reveals why observers of the IDM see quite clearly IDT’s obvious affiliation with Right-Wing, Conservative, Evangelical (RWCE) figures. And Gordon will likely not deny this obvious link to your face if you ask him. Iow, he will not deny his personhood and how intertwined his personal theology is with his definition of ‘IDT.’
Gordon holds a master’s degree in (RWCE) religious apologetics, but intentionally acts like ‘just a physicist’ for the Discovery Institute; as if IDT is a ‘strictly natural scientific’ theory (e.g. as Casey Luskin pretends it). He is one of the archetypical reasons that the Discovery Institute has failed so badly outside of USAmerican evangelicalism to reach a broader audience – by refusing to actually involve humanity’s knowledge as ‘designers/creators’ in its ‘theory.’ Gordon became the Director of the Michael Polanyi Centre at Baylor University after the Dembski ‘Waterloo’ debacle and has become an obvious dupe for the DI ever since.
The thing about it is that Gordon is a decent, genuine guy, a cuddly Canadian with a Grover-like smile. The question is why he has allowed himself to be so badly deceived by Johnson, Dembski and other leading IDists and why he has embraced IDist ideology, if for no other reason than trying to self-validate his evangelical Christian worldview in the light of evolutionary biology, geology and cosmology?
One simple example of Gordon’s grossly negligent distortions on behalf of IDism; he refers to ‘Design theory’ in the first two words of this paper, without the faintest understanding of significant works using ‘design theory’ outside of physics, chemistry and cosmology: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Apologetics/ResearchNews1-01Gordon.html The man simply and sadly didn’t/doesn’t seem to realise that ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ and ‘Design Theory’ are not synonyms. Most careful thinkers recognise the difference, but DI dupes (including those like Gordon who are/were generously funded by the DI) are unable to see this or admit it publically.
A likeable fool for IDism. Strike Two for Canadian IDists.
Cameron Wybrow is the slipperiest and most guileful of the three, but just as RWCE. He recently started freelance writing articles for Salvo Magazine, which is basically a pop-front for IDism. Its editors and supporters are made up largely of DI-IDists. This shows that Wybrow seems finally ready to embrace his position publically as an IDist, after several years writing under pseudonyms at various pro-IDT, TE/EC and general Christian apologetics websites.
Wybrow received his PhD in Western Religious Thought from McMaster University, which makes him well-qualified to become an IDist, especially as he is also a politically Conservative thinker. A brief internet search shows that as recently as 1996, he was a part-time lecturer in Biblical Greek at McMaster Divinity College, again, a subject which surely qualifies for promoting IDism (?). He wrote a book in 1993 about Michael B. Foster (http://www.conservapedia.com/Michael_B._Foster) and previously “The Bible, Baconianism & Mastery over Nature” (1991).
He is perhaps best (only?) known for his ‘positive review’ of Michael Behe’s “Edge of Evolution” in the Philadelphia Inquirer (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1884366/posts?page=76, which O’Leary responded to on her blog – http://post-darwinist.blogspot.com/2007/08/canadian-writer-gets-positive-review-of.html – the two are apparently in cahoots with each other, presumably as ‘revolutionaries’ for their beloved IDism). Lesser known, Wybrow was a contributor to the Discovery Institute Press’s proto-apologetics text on C.S. Lewis, “The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society” (2012).
Wybrow is on the editorial board of “Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy,” which again, fits him well with the politicking activities of the Discovery Institute. Other than that, Wybrow is virtually invisible on the internet. One might imagine he is the ghost writer or ghost editor for IDist texts coming out of the DI, as one of his internet pseudonymous personas has suggested regarding his regular e-mails with DI folks. But, since the man remains hidden, we cannot surely know.
If you want to see ‘Expelled Syndrome’ in action, look no further than Cameron Wybrow. Strike Three for Canadian IDists (even if Wybrow is not yet ‘out’).
Why would anyone care about this? The Canadian IDists are out there, even if they don’t always show their faces, unlike the Canadian 7th Day Adventist founding-YEC George McCready Price. You might be surprised that they are often doing the dirty work behind the scenes for the political propaganda machine of the DI and other RWCE’s.
Wybrow in particular is every bit as dangerous as a Soviet poster maker who doesn’t realise the aggressive ideology that he is serving. He just does his duty as a rogue ‘revolutionary’ even if he claims not to want to be part of the ‘Movement’ itself. Such is the self-trickery that some people suffering unnecessarily from Expelled Syndrome display.
As a Canadian Abrahamic believer, I am ashamed of and offended by my fellow nationals’ religious apologetics for IDist scientism. IDists have become so jaded by their idolatry of IDism that they have even abandoned hope of what their fellow Abrahamic believers recognise regarding IDism’s weaknesses. It is therefore my duty to criticise the pseudo-intellectual and heterodox activities that such IDist propagandists as Wybrow, Gordon and O’Leary are engaged in.
This message is written so that it may be passed on to other Abrahamic believers and even atheists who faithfully reject IDism, hoping that they will join in pushing back against irresponsible IDism in Canada and by Canadians/Canadiennes. One doesn’t need to be an atheist to see how damaging IDists and their propaganda are to quality scholarship; one can be an Abrahamic anti-IDist (and anti-evolutionist) with good conscience.
Even within predominantly ‘secular’ Canada, it is a grave threat that IDists like Wybrow and O’Leary are suggesting one cannot be an Abrahamic believer and reject IDism on solid and convincing grounds. Their views, taken to their illogical conclusion, are indeed anti-constitutional, given their obvious discrimination against atheists. Such is the predicament that these two fanatical Canadian propagandists for IDism have yet to face publically and likely won’t.
Yet a bright side persists in the Canadian discourse. Alternative approaches to IDT’s ‘Darwinist’ bogeyman are nevertheless available. Sure, Wybrow, Gordon and O’Leary taunt, tickle, bicker and bitch that there is nothing credible for a person of faith to accept other than IDism. They are of course wrong and peddling an irrelevant, outdated and heterodox fideism. Their churches (had they the resources and interest to openly oppose IDism) should rebuke them for how they intentionally mislead people, while playing themselves as innocent victims. The truth is that they are radical, revolutionary-wannabe, unreliable, ideological IDists.
O’Leary at least might hope for reconciliation with the RCC should she eventually cease and desist from absurdly propagandising for IDim and try to learn from educated, intellectual Roman Catholics (e.g. Mark Ryland and Francis Beckwith) who have overcome the (attempted invisible) shadows of the DI’s IDT.
The Canadian IDists highlighted in this post are every bit as duplicitous as the Discovery Institute CSC’s American right-wing government advocate John G. West (who edited the book in which Wybrow’s most recent pro-ID work was printed). West was soundly defeated at his own IDT Summer Program in which he promoted IDT in Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and is still licking his wounds privately.
There *is* no IDT in SSH. And as such, West conceded to this author that IDT *cannot* be a theory outside of natural-physical sciences. Yet West lacks confidence, courage, logic and political will to openly share his concession in public because he knows it would lead to a serious setback to the DI’s ‘revolutionary’ ‘cultural renewal’ goals in the USA and globally (just like PNAC failed).
Question: Why did the DI intentionally shift from ‘IDT in SSH’ to pseudo-apologetics in the name of C.S. Lewis at its Summer Program? Anyone reading this with information or links to confessions by IDists is encouraged to share it in the comments section.
This thread marks a sad story about Canadian ideologues and idolaters: Denyse O’Leary, Bruce Gordon and Cameron Wybrow, among others. They have lost so much professionally and personally by their ideological affiliation to IDism and not surprisingly are still in denial about it. They have shown a lack courage or fidelity to admit their deviance from mainstream Catholic and Orthodox thought, shrinking back into heterodox Protestant (or in Denyse’s case, pseudo-Catholic) fideism to protect themselves. Will the Church not welcome them back should they turn from their anti-intellectual, anti-holistic, conflict-mongering IDist position?
Let agnostics, atheists and post-IDT theists have a field day with them, based on just deserts, that it may possibly help them to overcome what has distorted, deprived and/or debilitated them.
The main point is this: I take seriously the arguments of ‘skeptics’ (at TSZ) and even anti-theists regarding IDT. However, the challenges to IDism are strongest and most difficult for IDists when made by theists around the world. Is Canadian IDism a way forward? No. Imo, it is a clear and obvious step backwards; an avoidance of reality.
Hopefully we will not have to suffer another YEC Canadian G.M. Price either in O’Leary, Gordon or Wybrow. From what I’ve seen so far, regarding their levels of competency, adventure and courage, we are not in danger, even from their fundamentalist IDism. But safety from risk should be enabled, as this message has aimed to show.
HT: Barry Arrington & Jon Garvey
p.s. the pro-theological Abrahamic views of the author are not to be held responsible for the atheological &/or ‘skeptical’ views and anti-IDism/anti-creationism of reply comments in this thread.