Why does the DI avoid ‘design’ by non-IDists (read: most normal people)? Yes, design is obvious, just not IDism.

TSZ Moderator Mung wrote over at PS about why he is a design proponent (https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/why-i-am-an-id-proponent/2955):

“[I] believe that design is obvious.”

Let’s be clearer and more accurate with our words than are most IDists at the Discovery Institute (DI) based in Seattle. I as well as most, if not all ‘skeptics’ here believe ‘human design’ is obvious. More importantly, however, so do most actual ‘design theorists’ around the world. Do you agree with us about the obvious reality of ‘human design’, Mung, or not?

IDists based at the epicentre of IDism at the DI in Seattle, as well as those who associate themselves with ‘Intelligent Design’ pretty much everywhere else globally, generally refuse to identify & discuss those ‘design theories’ as legitimate scholarship. Why? Is it an unspoken rule their followers are required to obey? Is it just a more than significant oversight on their part which they are innocent for making? Why otherwise would the DI studiously avoid, except for little nibbles of exposure here or there, a rather significant & well-attended field of study already in existence, using the same exact term as theirs: ‘design’?

Is it fathomable that this is because the DI knows that if they were to expose legitimate ‘design theorists’ who reject IDism as voices in their media echo chambers, those scholars & scientists, philosophers & even sometimes theologians, might outshine their own reactionary politically-oriented ‘intelligent design theories’ (acknowledging it the way they always officially write it now, in lowercase form, according to DI hidden policy) and thus upset the Founders & Donors of the IDM?

Non-IDists, however, who are far & away the vast majority of normal people, know that the DI is hiding inconvenient facts like that there are large numbers of non-persecuted ‘design theorists’ out there doing just fine. Hurrah, would anyone at the DI say for those ‘design theorists’? The DI is intent on pushing a culture-warring political narrative to oppose what it calls ‘cultural materialism’ (& other such names in their rhetorical playbooks, still drawn largely along the lines of the lawyerly Phillip Johnson days). Are you aware of any of this, Mung? And if you are, then why don’t you take some intellectual, political or at least financial stand against what they are doing?

“The only contender for explaining the appearance of design is Darwinism.” – Mung

This is incorrect. The actuality of ‘design’ (meaning philosophically speaking; being, existing, essence, substantiated, manifest, etc., yet somehow the ‘intelligence’ again here got dropped, in order to focus on the DI’s supersized ‘D’-word), not just the mere ‘appearance’ (cf. inferentialism) of ‘design’ (with a little ‘d’), has little to nothing to do with ‘Darwinism.’ There are thus good reasons the DI runs away from public conversations about proper & improper uses of their grammar, since they have invested such a massive stake in their credibility upon that one devastatingly ‘obvious’ term.

NB: Mung, I would rather prefer that you, & other IDists or fideists here *not* mention ‘Darwinism’ because it is clearly, already & long enough ago the wrong term for this discussion at the front lines. The actuality of ‘human design’ & community of its ‘designers’ has already been validated by more than enough scholars & scientists to have achieved ‘consensus’ & just by its existence negates the DI’s cries of injustice & unfairness against ‘design theorists’ & ‘design thinking’ in the Academy & higher education. There is simply a consensus about ‘design’ that the DI blatantly ignores.

In this author’s humble opinion, the DI does this so that they can play themselves off to their funding channels as vicitimised underdogs who made a genius discovery about ‘information’ & ‘intelligence’ (they apparently negate materialism, full stop) that all people everywhere should ‘scientific’ evangelicalistically learn about it (but they admit not yet ready for schools). And as you know, with ‘ID’ (so cute & easy to think of as a cross between Identity – ID & Intelligence Quota – IQ) the DI deep down believes their theory holds implications for, as Behe not-humbly stated, “all humane studies.” What is this other than mousetrap-style nonsense & exaggeration parading as Science?

“There is no design in nature. More specifically, there is no design in biology. Contra Darwin. Contra Dawkins. etc. That’s one way to approach it. Who are the proponents of that position?” – Mung (edited to remove the superfluous inferentialist ‘appearance of’)

So yeah, I’m a proponent of that position. The concept of ‘design’ is largely considered now just (read: has become) a category error in biology, pure & simple. End of story. Stop blaming anyone for this except the DI & the IDM themselves. The shame of endless lobbying & propagandising remains. Theists especially don’t need to use ‘design’ to create an Engineer’s God made in their own image & don’t think the DI following Thaxton, Bradley & Olsen, Johnson, Behe, Meyer, Chapman, West, Gordon, Nelson & others has reinvented sliced bread. It’s an embarrassment to scholarship and intellectual integrity!

Perceiving things this way of course runs contra Dembski, contra Behe, contra Meyer, contra West, contra Wells, contra Axe, contra Gonzales, contra Gauger, contra Denton (with his engaging numbness to Design, likewise contra Berlinski), contra Marks, contra Ewert & other ideological IDists who do not know the appropriate and proper limits to ‘designist’ thinking and engage in ‘intelligence faking.’ These are not appropriately trained, honestly aspiring (double-talking, polemical rhetoric, etc.) or philosophically well-balanced scholars (Meyer’s dissertation at Cambridge is funny – he started it by redefining ‘history’ to suit his ideology). The DI invested in a religious-political platform for themselves (built also around Gilder’s radical economic futuristics) through institutional channels & has milked their funding bodies for ‘fear capital’ to stay afloat as they propagandise & polemicise the US cultural landscape. This is the basic sociological reality of the IDM & it’s proponents at the DI.

So, are you part of that ‘evangelical milking’ via allegiance to a linguistic frame of communicating that smacks of ‘designist’ ideology? Such is the blatant strategy & the provocative motif of the DI in their outward communications, Mung. Think ‘design/Design’ as much as you can & you may lose some of the richness that remains in the larger Narrative. If you wish to seek greater balance, how then do you distinguish yourself from the DI’s on-going propaganda & oftentimes petty (Klinghoffer & O’Leary at the moment) divisive culture warring, such that you would fit ‘design’ in among several other categories of ideas, rather than priviledging & lofting it up on high as Seattle’s DI & their little satellites do?

Rejecting ‘design in nature’ is also, those early readers here might remember as there was a disturbance with him at UD, a position that runs contra Adrian Bejan, an atheist-egoist Romanian thermodynamicist whose work the DI likewise all but silences by conveniently ignoring it. Not unlike deplatforming, these omissions by the DI are from adequately engaging with ‘design theory,’ design theorists, designers themselves, and now the work of an author who uses the same language as they do: ‘design in nature.’ His only crime, it seems? Being an atheist. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the DI be all over this person who is more credentialled & sought after for speaking invitations than most of their entire ‘faculty of thinkers’ at their Think Tank with his ‘design in nature’ theory & ‘constructal law’? Is that simply ‘too scientific’ for the DI, whose Biologic Institute just isn’t about physics; a biology-only research logic & strategy for funding purposes to feed their self-proclaimed ‘revolution’?

S. Joshua Swamidass (WUSTL) is of course partly correct when he notes in the same thread to Mung that, “The appearance of design, outside of [natural] scientific study, is not actually ID.” Yes, but the DI is slippery about it. Joshua & I & many others reject Mung’s (& Behe’s & the ‘philosophers’ of the IDM) ‘obvious design’ view of IDism. The category error isn’t something most IDists will own up to with their rhetoric.

The continued & well-thought out rejection of IDism/IDT by Abrahamic theists must unfortunately offend the purists at the DI. That seems to matter little at this point, however, for all they’ve willingly put themselves through in order to reinvent the ‘D-word’ & risk offending others who see a better more constructive way forward. Most people are rather well aware that applied sciences (from engineering to creative arts & business) use ‘design thinking’ regularly, while IDists stick their heads in the sand in denial about it.

Swamidass, on the other hand, is clearly self-selective with his recent memory, for example, when he argues: “I would not associate with any organization that makes bad arguments for evolution.”

This is false, as on the individual level Joshua would rather defend atheist cultural evolutionists, than actually taking effort to listen to an alternative to his oftentimes superficial ideological positioning re: MN & creationism. As a result, we get what appears as almost ‘universal evolutionism’ sometimes from Swamidass; he just doesn’t know where to stop the notion of ‘evolving’ in the natural world!

Joshua continues: “Why do you think I left BioLogos?”

As a note of private research, I’ve been watching Swamidass’ heroic genetical Adamics & genealogicalistics closely since he began going public not long ago with his works at BioLogos, after being invited there to join them in Francis Collins’ project. Let’s set the record straight; Joshua left BioLogos not long after accusing them of being racist towards him. The record shows, however, that he was himself the initiator of ‘racism talk’ there & so it went quickly downhill.

The suggestion that Swamidass, newly blessed with tenure in Missouri, didn’t actively escalate his challenge to likewise philosophically almost illiterate geneticist Dennis Venema in B.C. (TWU) & puff up his chest towards his fellow evangelicals & their specific ‘mission’ at BioLogos is highly misleading. Joshua is still swimming in the same waters with BioLogos-style evangelicals & now wishes to pose a kind of ‘fifth voice’ challenge to them (that’s why he got bombarded from fellow USAmericans with concern for his ‘faith & politics’ when he posted about BioLogos as possibly being called ‘post-evangelicals,’ when it appears he is more one himself!) in generating a swarm of potentially highly divisive genealogical Adamistics around his own research & “Science of Adam” book plans. He just doesn’t seem to realise the consequences his provocations so far & people at PS so far aren’t pressing him for answers about it.

“If someone has a better alternative than ‘Intelligent Design’ I don’t know what it is.” – Mung

Noted with thanks, you capitalised ‘Intelligent Design’ because that is the proper & most accurate way to signify what the DI means by it, even though they lack the courage & dignity to write & clarify that openly in public. The DI’s ‘strictly scientific’ IDism (they call it IDT) requirement bars them from speaking with the honesty that you have just displayed. Why do you think they can’t allow themselves to properly capitalise ‘Intelligent Design’ since everyone knows via ‘father of the IDM’ Phillip Johnson what they really mean? It is left as one of those mysteries of the Pacific mindset that the DI still holds itself back from wider credibility through such manoeuvers.

If you mean you believe that biology is ‘Designed by God’ then by all means, yes say that is what you intended, Mung. This is much preferred to instead parading around duplicitously as the DI still does further degrading themselves as interlocutors (e.g. Klinghoffer). Even Vincent Torley, who has now unofficially left the IDM, properly capitalises that term! As religious monotheists, we already accept a ‘Designed’ world in the capitalised sense without trying to ‘scientise’ our theological orientation in order to overcome local schoolboard restrictions based on the US Constitution. The rest of us acknowledge divine Creation, instead of harping on ‘Design’ & trying to ‘scientise’ it.

As for alternatives, I use an inherently teleological term ‘extension,’ that doesn’t double-talk like the DI does between human design & Divine Design. That’s a much better approach than IDism don’t you think, Mung? Human extension has also been considerably more impactful not only just ‘within’ social sciences & humanities, but also as applied in societies globally, than either ‘mere design’ or ‘actual evolution.’ Cultural evolutionists of course disagree with both my position and claims of any alternatives to their ‘theory’, while still pushing ahead their Darwin-disenchanted views of human society without meaningful hope of finding ‘strictly scientific’ evidence for their anti-IDT grand ideological, usually religion-substitute plans for ‘evolution’ to conceptually rule the realm of culture & ideas.

At the end of the day, human agency & free will aren’t easily persuaded that they don’t exist. ; ) They simply don’t package deterministically into a repeatable, verifiable ‘mechanism’ of change-over-time for evolutionists to justify cocking & crowing about themselves as ‘sustainable development gurus!’ (https://evolution-institute.org/) At the same time, through the DI’s apologetic faith-channels mainly only flat-minded fools are still falling for their IDism anymore. Better options are now available that are not myopically focussed on a single word or bent towards skepticism &/or atheism. Maybe Mung just needs another inspiration that is doing something actually ‘scientific’ approach to join in with rather than maintaining allegiance to & support of the DI? It sounds like he’s ready for some non-evolutionary change.

140 Replies to “Why does the DI avoid ‘design’ by non-IDists (read: most normal people)? Yes, design is obvious, just not IDism.”

  1. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: The bird wing is the same but different as the forelimb of a mole: birds modified the tetrapod limb in an adaptation to flight, whereas moles modified the tetrapod limb in an adaptation to burrowing.

    That appears to match a quote from a popular book by Olivier Rieppel; Turtles as Hopeful Monsters: Origins and Evolution (Life of the Past).

    ETA Profile of Olivier Rieppel

  2. Rumraket Rumraket
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    says:

    Mung: It is JS at PS who attempts to consign Darwinism to the grave.

    How does he understand the word Darwinism, what is it he is attemping to consign to the grave specifically?

    Ruse distinguishes between Darwinian evolutionary theory and Darwinism, the former being science and the latter being religion.

    Okay, what kind of science then? What is the “science of Darwinism”? I’m asking because if the word is never defined, having a discussion about it is hopeless.

    And nobody who brings it up here seems to want to take a stab at defining it. Phoodoo declared Darwinism dead. What was he declaring dead? The science of evolution? Natural selection in any and all forms? The religion Michael Ruse is talking about?

  3. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
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    says:

    Mung: Ruse distinguishes between Darwinian evolutionary theory and Darwinism, the former being science and the latter being religion. I think that’s a useful distinction but it’s not likely that anyone will follow him, neither those who deny that there is any Darwinian evolutionary theory any longer nor those who treat Darwinism as a religion.

    That’s why I almost always use “evolutionary theory” when I’m trying to be precise about contemporary scientific practice, and I use “Darwinism” or “Darwinian” when I’m talking with philosophers about Nietzsche, Dewey, or Rorty. I’m very interested in the so-called “extended evolutionary synthesis” but I suspect it’s over-hyped. There’s been some really interesting use of niche construction in theorizing the emergence of human culture. But I also think that “the modern synthesis” is also vastly over-hyped, esp by Dawkins. There are quite deep issues in the metaphysics of biology that can’t be solved by the modern synthesis alone, but which probably can be addressed by some synthesis of complexity theory and developmental systems theory.

  4. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist,
    Well, I dunno, KN. Darwin’s big idea was selection as a function of differential breeding success. So when I think of Darwinian evolution, I mean adaptation by the niche rather than speciation or allele change by genetic drift.

    Darwinism? Is it an ideology? There is possibly an argument that there are at least two points of view on adaptation and one can be a Darwinist/selectionist and emphasise selection in evolutionary processes or be a neutralist and emphasise neutral processes. Not sure how Darwinism qualifies as a religious belief or ideology.

  5. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    What is Marxism? Is it an ideology? What is Stalinism or Fordism? For many N. Americans, almost any serious discussion of ideology is disallowed. It’s supposed to be a dirty word, didn’t you know? ; )

    “Ruse distinguishes between Darwinian evolutionary theory and Darwinism, the former being science and the latter being religion. I think that’s a useful distinction but it’s not likely that anyone will follow him, neither those who deny that there is any Darwinian evolutionary theory any longer nor those who treat Darwinism as a religion.” – Mung

    Distinguishing between Darwinian evolutionary theory (because there are non-Darwinian variants also) and Darwinism is a sound approach. Calling one ‘science’ and the other ‘religion’ reveals Ruse’s weak American philosophy more than anything else. Listening much to Ruse is the kind of thing Torley likes doing; dipping his orthodoxy in playful agnostic blather.

    Mary Midgley, who recently passed away, spoke of ‘evolution as a religion.’ In my view, she didn’t get that right either, in that she didn’t really ‘get religion’. Her views about evolutionism as ideology, however, are spot on & her critique of Dawkins & his ‘memetics’ is priceless.

    Most people who think ‘Darwinism’ counts as or should be considered as ‘science’ (Dembski & much of the DI) get this as wrong as those who would call it ‘religion.’ Those wishing a better course should safely navigate past both of these groups’ grammar choices.

    Of course Darwinism is an ideology in the proper technical sense of the term. The fact that there are several varieties of ‘Darwinism’ is the challenge. Yet here in *this* thread, Darwin isn’t even on the radar or relevant for the key issue:

    The Discovery Institute dishonours the conversation by ignoring actual ‘design theories & theorists, design thinkers & designers, meanwhile coveting those terms for themselves in their own ‘intelligent design theory’. This double-talking along with not acknowledging the many scholars who are religious monotheists who by now have pointed out their double-talking is in the end inexcusable as a ‘movement’. Bruce Chapman, George Gilder & their buddies have little shame in this affair as Meyer & West carry out the sponsored rhetorical warfare in the name of IDism.

    In a movement without a credible leader, there are always other IDists one can shift the blame to or to make excuses for the double-talking & intentional silencing of design theories that don’t suit their agenda. This reveals a sad cycle of self-victimsation now in Seattle, based still on many good intentions by those ‘nice folks at the DI’, which has however gone badly wrong in practise. They have brought much of the polarisation & enmity upon themselves.

    Do you disagree, Mung?

  6. Allan Miller
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    says:

    Mung: Apparently he had malaria when he developed his theory of natural selection. Not sure what Darwin’s excuse is.

    So you don’t think Natural Selection has any merit at all? Hey ho.

  7. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    Allan Miller: So you don’t think Natural Selection has any merit at all?

    Just because it’s the only workable scientific explanation on the table doesn’t mean we have to like it! 😉

  8. Gregory Gregory
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    Allan Miller: So you don’t think Natural Selection has any merit at all? Hey ho.

    Surely Mung accepts ‘Natural Selection’, just not ‘natural selection’, if you catch the trajectory of the discussion Allan.

  9. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox,

    Heh. This simple notion does seem to bring people out in a rash! My favourite was when UD tried to besmirch Darwin as having stolen his theory from Wallace. This wrong theory …

  10. Allan Miller
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    says:

    Gregory: Surely Mung accepts ‘Natural Selection’, just not ‘natural selection’, if you catch the trajectory of the discussion Allan.

    Capitalisation was offered by auto correct on my tablet, and I couldn’t be bothered changing it.

  11. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: That appears to match a quote from a popular book by Olivier Rieppel

    It’s a cool book. I may do a post on it when I am done.

  12. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:
    Ruse distinguishes between Darwinian evolutionary theory and Darwinism, the former being science and the latter being religion. I think that’s a useful distinction but it’s not likely that anyone will follow him, neither those who deny that there is any Darwinian evolutionary theory any longer nor those who treat Darwinism as a religion.

    But what do you mean Mung? Why not answer the question? Why not clarify with that guy at PS what he meant too? Otherwise you don’t really know if you’re talking about the same thing when either of you talks about “Darwinism” being dead.

    You seem to take that to mean that Darwin’s name shall never be mentioned again. I don’t understand why you’d think that. Your comment here doesn’t help me understand what you mean. For example, if you take the word Darwinism as meaning a religion, and then you complain because somebody takes the evolution of the eye from Darwin’s book, your complain doesn’t make sense, since taking a scientific example from Darwin doesn’t mean that Darwin’s book is being used as a religious book.

  13. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox:
    Not sure how Darwinism qualifies as a religious belief or ideology.

    When creationists want to pretend that a scientific endeavour is at the same level as their god-did-it fantasies.

  14. phoodoo
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: That’s why I almost always use “evolutionary theory” when I’m trying to be precise about contemporary scientific practice, and I use “Darwinism” or “Darwinian” when I’m talking with philosophers about Nietzsche, Dewey, or Rorty. I’m very interested in the so-called “extended evolutionary synthesis” but I suspect it’s over-hyped. There’s been some really interesting use of niche construction in theorizing the emergence of human culture. But I also think that “the modern synthesis” is also vastly over-hyped, esp by Dawkins. There are quite deep issues in the metaphysics of biology that can’t be solved by the modern synthesis alone, but which probably can be addressed by some synthesis of complexity theory and developmental systems theory.

    And people make fun of ID because it lacks details about the designer, ha.

    Talking about the third (fifth, seventh, eleventh?) way is the most pathetic of all philosophical views in my opinion. Its like saying, “Oh I believe in emergence”, and when asked what emergence is, the person replies, “simple things add up to complexity!” You might as well say you believe in “profound”.

    Complexity Theory, Developmental Systems Theory, Blend of the extended modern synthesis and holism…Yes, but what about implicate order, doesn’t that play a part? And obviously there has to be a sprinkle of holarchy, and you can’t bake a cake without synergetics (the Haken kind, not the Fuller kind, obviously!), stacked on top of layered systems. A pinch of organicism, three cups of the noosphere, one teaspoon of vanilla, and a whole fistful of malarkey, and it should be pretty close.

    “Self-organization requires a ‘macroscopic’ system, consisting of many nonlinearly interacting subsystems. Depending on the external control parameters (environment, energy-fluxes) self-organization takes place. ”

    That’s it!! LIFE SOLVED!

  15. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo,

    … the Haken kind …

    You a fan of prog too?

    mitosis

  16. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:
    OK, I think I have figured that natural selection is the principle that heritable variants favourable to their possessors will tend to increase in frequency, whereas Natural Selection is the principle that Heritable Variants Favourable to their Possessors will Tend to Increase in Frequency.
    .

  17. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo,

    IDist the First: Woe betide anyone who departs from Darwinian Orthodoxy.
    IDist the Second: There is no Darwinian Orthodoxy.

  18. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: And people make fun of ID because it lacks details about the designer, ha.

    The problem is not the details about their fantasy designer, the problem is that they are adamant that they really don’t care about identifying this supposed designer, just the design. Since no serious scientist would be that happy to forget about the most important part of their “hypothesis,” then we have to conclude that the issue is not scientific, but religious. They don’t want to talk about the designer (which, curiously thing, they capitalize) because they’d have to reveal that they’re talking about some god, that they’re only doing all of their show because they believe in a magical being in the sky, and they want to get their religions into the science curriculum.

  19. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Repeat, due to lack of acknowledgment:

    What is Marxism? Is it an ideology? What is Stalinism or Fordism? For many N. Americans, almost any serious discussion of ideology is disallowed. It’s supposed to be a dirty word, didn’t you know?

    That view of ‘ideology’ continues in the hearts & minds of many USAmericans to this day. Either fear of or inability to discuss ideology results in great frustration among people in this ‘conversation.’ They can’t uplift themselves to address what is most problematic.

    IDism *IS* an ideology. So is creationism. (Gasp, could a Christian ever suggest that be true to another Christian, who also believes in divine Creation?!) So is evolutionism, of course, which makes common intentional ignorance by IDists, creationists & evolutionists the preferred route. All 3 ideologies cause problems & do not display balance of ideas.

  20. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Looks like ID is old news, at least according to this article. I don’t know if any side of the argument can be classed as ideological.
    The New Evolution Deniers

    Does the fact the the article appears in Quillette, the home of the intellectual dark web, bear on the issue of ideology?

    Despite the title, the article is mostly about the issue of whether the concept of sex is can be defined solely as biological or whether it requires anthropological deconstruction. I am not sure why the article does not realy on making the gender versus sex distinction instead of arguing about political correctness in defining sex. Maybe that approach is required for it to appear in Quillette.
    Is Gender Unique to Humans

    ETA
    Quillette is Home of the Intellectual Dark Web

  21. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Thanks for the link BruceS. It deserves it’s own thread.

    “At first, left-wing pushback to evolution appeared largely in response to the field of human evolutionary psychology.”

    Hmm, I wonder why that might be?

    “biologists like myself often sit quietly, afraid to defend our own field out of fear that our decade of education followed by continued research, job searches, and the quest for tenure might be made obsolete overnight if the mob decides to target one of us for speaking up. Because of this, our objections take place almost entirely between one another in private whisper networks, despite the fact that a majority of biologists are extremely troubled by these attacks to our field by social justice activists. This is an untenable situation.” … “If social justice activists require scientists to reject evolution and the reality of biological sex to be considered good allies, then we can never be good allies.” … “evolution denialism is back, but this time it’s coming from left-wing activists who do hold power in academia. This makes the issue both harder to ignore and harder to remove.” https://quillette.com/2018/11/30/the-new-evolution-deniers/

  22. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    “I don’t know if any side of the argument can be classed as ideological.”

    Usually the sides that have to do with ideas. ; ) Stop thinking ‘politics first’ when you see the term ‘ideology,’ in case you are from USA; that’s the typical first association there.

    “Does the fact the the article appears in Quillette, the home of the intellectual dark web, bear on the issue of ideology?”

    The author is not trained in the study of ideology & seems to misuse it. That’s normal for biologists though. The article suits Quillette for its relevant stand vs. gender studies social constructivism. If you want to talk IDW, then start with Peterson who transcends it. Or add this to Quillette & don’t call her ‘dark’ like the USA’s (built in Australia) version of it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upBP2UYyRZU&t=1

    Nevertheless, I do largely agree with this, depending on various ‘activists’ involved:

    “social justice activists appear completely unwilling or unable to distinguish between people who criticize their ideology and people who criticize their humanity.”

    The same happens with natural scientists who sometimes think they can hide their ideologies when doing ‘public understanding of science’ activities. Usually, if the scientist is honest, he or she will reveal their ‘anthropological’ bias that in a profound way, which they may or may not publicly admit, deeply colours their science.

  23. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS,

    Wright gives rather little evidence for his claims, and what has been asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

  24. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    For my part, I’m an evolutionist because I think that the diversity of life is due at root to variation in genetic inheritance – ‘descent with modification’ on the grand scale. While some IDists might insist they think that that too, our positions are obviously distinguished by the role of conscious intent, which I think is absent and they do not.

    If that’s an ideological position, so be it. What I’m not seeing is why that is problematic.

  25. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory:

    Thanks for the replies, Gregory. It helps me to understand better how someone within your academic discipline would approach these issues.

  26. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist:
    BruceS,

    Wright gives rather little evidence for his claims, and what has been asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    Sort of like the third way.

  27. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: Sort of like the third way.

    Or everything you’ve ever said.

  28. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist:

    Wright gives rather little evidence for his claims, and what has been asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    I’m not sure which of his several claims you are referring to. On sex versus gender, here is a recent post by Alex Byrne, analysing arguments by various philosophers who claim that sex is socially constructed.
    https://arcdigital.media/is-sex-socially-constructed-81cf3ef79f07

    On the political correctness issue: this is also one of Leiter’s hot buttons, (eg Kathleen Stock situation)
    https://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2018/11/campaign-of-harassment-and-defamation-of-philosopher-kathleen-stock-sussex-continues.html

  29. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:

    If that’s an ideological position, so be it. What I’m not seeing is why that is problematic.

    My limited understanding is that evolutionism as an ideology refers to extending (a caricature of?) the ideas of biological evolution to inappropriate domains, with social darwinism being an example of how I understand it.

    It’s like to science versus scientism.

    I’m sure there is more to it than that, however.

  30. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    I just made my annual donation to the Discovery Institute. Does anyone know of an organization promoting small i small d intelligent design? I wouldn’t want to leave them out.

  31. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
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    BruceS: I’m not sure which of his several claims you are referring t

    I was referring to his claim that there are “left-wing evolution deniers”. He doesn’t give any evidence that they exist. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t. Wright doesn’t give us any evidence — just lots of aspersions and innuendo.

    More specifically he claims that “social justice activists” (a term he does not try to define, since he knows that he can rely on its pejorative connotations to do all the work for him) hold an a priori commitment to a Blank Slate psychology. He gives no evidence of anyone who actually holds this view, and there’s no reason to believe that this is anything other than a straw-man at best and paranoid delusion at worst.

    It’s easy to beat up on people like Foucault and Butler for their exaggerations, which are often contradicted in the same text or elsewhere. They make for convenient targets for all the “what’s wrong with kids these days?” anxious hand-wringing and long for the Good Old Days when students could be taught Plato without being told anything about ancient Greek homosexuality.

    I’ll point out that what Byrne calls “the standard view” of sex and gender:

    sex is biologically given, natural, the raw material on which culture and society can do their work. Gender is the result of that work, the social significance that we invest in sex. Nature gives us our sexed bodies, and “gender is the cultural meanings that the sexed body assumes”

    is far and away the most prevalent view in every department of literature, cultural studies, sociology, etc I’ve come across. That’s why they’re talking about gender theory and not sex theory. For the excessively curious, there’s a nice way of parsing this distinction in Sally Haslanger’s “Future Genders? Future Races?“.

    I don’t really care about the fracas about “political correctness”, but Brian Leiter never hesitates to use the power of his soapbox to personally attack relatively less powerful members of the profession, so I can’t say I have any respect for him.

  32. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: I was referring to his claim that there are “left-wing evolution deniers”.

    I saw that as a bait and switch for his real targets: socially-constructed characterization of sex and what he characterized as fear of expressing a contrary view.

    I don’t really care about the fracas about “political correctness”, but Brian Leiter never hesitates to use the power of his soapbox to personally attack relatively less powerful members of the profession, so I can’t say I have any respect for him.

    Hard to tell for an outsider like me, since he often quotes personal attacks on him. Plenty of vitriol to go around.

  33. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS: I saw that as a bait and switch for his real targets: socially-constructed characterization of sex and what he characterized as fear of expressing a contrary view.

    OK. I’d still need to see some good evidence that there are people who want to express a contrary view but engage in some self-censorship because they’re afraid of “social justice activists”.

    Hard to tell for an outsider like me, since he often quotes personal attacks on him .Plenty of vitriol to go around.

    That’s fair enough.

  34. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS: Thanks for the replies, Gregory.It helps me to understand better how someone within your academic discipline would approach these issues.

    Which ‘academic discipline’ would that be you are suggesting that I am ‘within’?

  35. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS: My limited understanding is that evolutionism as an ideology refers to extending (a caricature of?) the ideas of biological evolution to inappropriate domains, with social darwinism being an example of how I understand it.

    It’s like to science versus scientism.

    I’m sure there is more to it than that, however.

    Yes, but that’s a decent start. Would you care to give your own examples of these ‘inappropriate domains,’ assuming you agree that such domains exist & should be protected from ideological evolutionism, which is far more rampant that some imagine?

    Does the place that puts out this stuff strike anyone here as in any way problematic? Any skeptics of D.S. WIlson’s ‘evolution for everyone’ message, if you had heard what it is?
    https://evolution-institute.org/toward-a-new-social-darwinism/

  36. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Which ‘academic discipline’ would that be you are suggesting that I am ‘within’?

    I thought it was History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science. How would you describe it?

  37. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Yes, but that’s a decent start. Would you care to give your own examples of these ‘inappropriate domains,’ assuming you agree that such domains exist & should be protected from ideological evolutionism, which is far more rampant that some imagine?

    https://evolution-institute.org/toward-a-new-social-darwinism/

    I’m not familiar with it. I looked at first few paragraphs and, based only on them, I would say yes, this is an example of Darwinism as an ideology.

    My background in STEM so another example for me would be misuse of uncertainty principle (“according to QM, whenever we observe something we disturb it. ). But that is not a very important example pf an ideology, more like a misapplication, I suspect.

    Pop evolutionary psychology might stray into a gray area between science and ideology.

  38. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Would you care to give your own examples of these ‘inappropriate domains,

    Here’s a possibility for your considertation
    https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/what-is-christianitys-luca/3451

  39. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS: My background in STEM so another example for me would be misuse of uncertainty principle…

    You’re too old for STEM.

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