Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » October 2005 » A 6th Century Mentality...

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10/29/2005: A 6th Century Mentality...

Osama Bin laden has his Caliphate. This is his Model society. The thing he asserts as the *Muslim Model of World Order* to complete his vision - recreating all societies he can undermine with his terrorism goals. A 12th century period of enlightenment with a Muslim Governmental authority controlling everything. And himself as Caliphate, of course.

But, other other side of the fundamentalist coin, the Evangelical - Christian - Fundamentalists proposing and arguing for Intelligent Design - in an attempt to re-write the rules of science - have their quintessentially "perfect world order."

According to their adherents, this would be defined by the period of Christianity in the 6th century.

Just generally, this is the time of the ascension of Pope Gregory I (also known as Gregory the Great). This would be a pre-enlightenment model for the world where Biblical Scriptural Authority Ruled. It also included the co-opting of the Salian Franks and consolidation of Christianity through the conversion of Charlemagne to the faith in the 800’s.

Now there's a period for the world to re-aspire to - NOT.

But in the Fundie's visionary retro-world, they rule all that they can survey and impose the punishments for HERESY as they see fit for deviations from this perfect world order.

Laughing are you? Return to the 6th century model for the United States? - Hahahaha. Well, don’t take my word for it – when we have their own words describing this model ideal for re-imposing Christian values on those they consider "faithless".

Click on the “more” button to read this excerpt from the Washington Un. Law Review.

[Note: Emphasis is mine. I also had to do a bit of reformating to make this readable and there are additional pages of footnotes. It is too much material to include here, but is available at the original link above at pages 55-68.]

...ID proponents, however, show no respect for evidential requirements… but they have also produced no ID science through any other workable methodology. More than a decade since the Wedge’s founding, scientists charged with doing the science that The Wedge Strategy specifies as central to its cultural goals—Paul Chien, Michael Behe and Douglas Axe—have not done so (though all publish standard science articles, using MN, independently of their ID affiliation).195 Nor has Wells, a scientist who does no science but promotes ID full-time.196 Surveys of scientific databases where peer-reviewed ID publications are indexed have yielded no articles using ID as a scientific theory.197 And Dembski, admitting ID’s lack of scientific progress, prefers to cultivate political influence without it.198

ID needs to succeed as a scientific enterprise to succeed as a cultural and political enterprise . . . . But this is . . . different from requiring that . . . [ID] attain . . . maturity and acceptance in the scientific world before it may . . . legitimately influence public opinion . . . . Any rule-setting about what [ID] must accomplish in the scientific sphere before it may legitimately influence the political sphere is arbitrary and betrays a naiveté about the actual workings of science . . . .

. . . We have done amazingly well in creating a cultural movement, but we must not exaggerate ID’s successes on the scientific front. . . . Because of ID’s . . . success at gaining a cultural hearing, the scientific research . . . is now lagging behind . . . .199

If ID proponents were confident of its scientific value, Wedge scientists would use it professionally, reaping the rewards of superior scientific scholarship. But without supporting data, only their criticisms of evolution and superficially scientific assertions remain. In published critiques, philosophers and scientists in the relevant fields have evaluated their work and found it wanting.200 Their consensus is that ID’s criticisms of evolution are either misunderstandings or distortions of science and its methodology.

Only ID’s supernaturalism and its proponents’ doctrinal loyalties remain to constitute its clearly theistic foundation is only a sample of published ID critiques.

a. Error 3: A Thinly Disguised Supernaturalism

Having rejected Materialistic Naturalism [MN], ID advocates must develop another scientifically workable methodology and explanation of natural phenomena if they are to do “theistic science.” Doubts about the supernatural as a scientific explanation would vanish were they to produce (1) an epistemology for intersubjective knowledge of the supernatural and (2) a workable methodology for producing original data and constructing explanations of it.

In Intelligent Design, Dembski does offer a replacement for MN. It hardly meets either criterion and certainly does not qualify as science, but he has little else to which to appeal. In the contest between Christian theism and scientific naturalism, theism wins: Dembski proposes using “Christology” to judge a scientific explanation’s “conceptual soundness.”201 (“Christology is the study of the Person and attributes of Christ, in particular the union in Him of divine and human natures.”202) He means that science must include Christ in its conceptual framework, confirming that ID’s presupposition of religion, enunciated by Meyer, is not only sectarian but explicitly Christian.

Apart from saying that “when Christ is the lens through which we survey the world . . . we should expect the christological lens to focus on Christ as well,”203 Dembski leaves unspecified the particulars of how Christology can be used to safeguard science’s conceptual soundness, but he does not doubt Jesus’s centrality to science: “Christ, as the completion of our scientific theories . . . renders all our studies the study of himself.”204If we take seriously the . . . Christology of Chalcedon ( . . . Christ is fully human and fully divine) and view Christ as the telos toward which God is drawing . . . creation, then any view of the sciences that leaves Christ out . . . must be . . . deficient. . .

. . . If Christ enters substantively into our scientific theories, must not their scientific status be . . . compromised? . . . [T]here need never be any worry about smuggling Christ into our scientific theories [because] Christ can enter substantively into a scientific theory
without violating its integrity. . . . [T]he conceptual soundness of a scientific theory cannot be maintained apart from Christ. . . . [A] scientist, in trying to understand some aspect of the world, is . . . concerned with that aspect as it relates to Christ . . . regardless of whether the scientist acknowledges Christ. . . .

Christ is indispensable to any scientific theory, even if its practitioners don’t have a clue about him.205

Dembski’s proposal to constrain science according to fifth-century Christian orthodoxy confirms ID’s religious foundation in a way that Beckwith’s superficially non-religious euphemisms are not sufficient to conceal.

5. ID’s Religious Motivation and Goals

Since Christian theism is ID’s foundation, the movement’s religious motives and goals are unsurprising. Proponents reject not only naturalism, but also secularism—their admitted aim is to de-secularize America, though Johnson denies favoring theocracy:

I would oppose a theocracy of any kind, including a Christian theocracy, not in spite of the fact that I believe Christian theism to be the correct religious worldview, but because I believe the Christian teaching about the sinful heart of man . . . . [T]heocrats wielding absolute power will not long remain Christians in any sense that I can recognize.

. . . Acceptance of religious pluralism—separation of church and state in American constitutional jargon—is one of the important ways in which Christianity differs from Islam . . . or from Marxist-Leninism . . . .206

But his other comments make his denial unconvincing. He suggests that he defines theocracy narrowly, as the result of force:

“Whether a specific religious worldview is correct is one question. Whether and to what extent anyone would use force to ensure that his own religious worldview predominates over the others is a separate question.”207

Yet the manner in which a theocracy is effected is irrelevant. A theocracy could result from changes to a political system from within by using the system’s legitimate mechanisms, winning either enough political power or sufficient public approval (or both) to minimize effective resistance. ID’s Wedge Strategy and political maneuvering point to this scenario. The strategy “seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies” and “[t]o see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.”208

Such thorough permeation by a religious view points threateningly toward theocracy.209 If ID proponents convince federal courts that teaching “the controversy” is legal, they will have moved the country closer to theocracy by means of the judicial system, undermining secular government using the system itself. Meyer highlighted one aspect of such a strategy even before the Wedge’s formation, commenting on a creationist defeat in the early stages of Edwards: “The lawyers representing creationism have already submitted an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals. The creationist strategy, in general, remains the waging of a war of attrition. They plan to keep creation-science alive in appeal until conservative Reagan appointees begin to stock the courts in greater numbers.”210

Johnson’s constant drumbeat against academic and political secularism suggests that Christian theocracy is precisely his goal. He mourns American universities’ transition “from Protestant establishment to established nonbelief” and Yale’s subordination of its “Christian atmosphere” to “the secular enlightenment values of freedom of inquiry, political equality, and public service.”211 He accuses “secularized intellectuals” of “apostasy,” asserting that “[theists] need to help the public . . . understand that the nihilism permeating contemporary life is the inevitable consequence of apostasy.”212 Calling naturalism America’s “established religion,” he strongly implies that the Christian majority’s views deserve government sanction and that religious neutrality is wrong:

Government [and] lawmaking . . . presuppose the viewpoint of . . . [agnostics]. . . . Their view is that God is real if that idea works for you.

So that’s the viewpoint on God . . . throughout public life in the United States. . . . This . . . is presupposed in public life, and . . . is why . . . tolerance has become central. In this way of thinking, true religion means that you never interfere with somebody else’s belief system and that all of these are relative systems good only for the person who holds that belief, so government should presuppose none of these beliefs.

That means . . . that the agnostic position . . . becomes the neutral position which governs the country. This is what the Supreme Court has effectively enacted and imposed in its religious-liberty decisions.213

At a 1996 ID conference, he spoke longingly of days before Engel v. Vitale, when “America was unified by the concept that people of different races and religious traditions all worship . . . the God of the Bible,” and regretfully of post-Engel America, which “has declared its independence from God.”214

Its early nomenclature (Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture) indicates that the CSC is working aggressively for a cultural renewal fueled by evangelical religion. Johnson characterizes ID’s strategy:

Christians in the 20th century have been . . . fighting a defensive war to defend what they have . . . . It never turns the tide. . . . [W]e’re trying to do . . . omething entirely different . . . to go into enemy territory . . . and blow up the ammunition dump. What is their ammunition dump in this metaphor? It is their version of creation.215

ID proponents hope to de-secularize American society, which can only mean that they hope to move the country toward theocracy. In the Catholic Crisis magazine, CSC fellow Benjamin Wiker predicts an ID-fomented cultural de-secularization:

Secularized science has as its aim the reduction of apparent design . . .to the unintelligent interplay of chance and brute necessity . . . . Secularized science . . . supports secularized philosophy, . . . the . . . mouthpiece of the alliance.

The ID movement seeks to restore sanity to science, philosophy, and hence culture by investigating the possibility that nature . . . can only be understood as the effect of an Intelligent Designer . . . . [S]ecularized philosophy will be forced to confront the scientific evidence that truth is not . . . a mere human artifact . . . . Soon enough, secularized culture will be compelled to realign.216

Moreover, the logic of Dembski’s anti-naturalism points inexorably toward theocracy. He declares that scientific naturalism is idolatry, i.e., to exclude God from science is to worship nature.217 If secular science is idolatrous, then a secular political system protecting science and public education is also idolatrous. The only remedy would be the de-secularization of science, government, and education.218

The Wedge Strategy spells out the “cultural renewal” program. Science—or public understanding of it—is only the first target: “Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”219 But the strategy includes “Twenty Year Goals” encompassing “psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy . . . the fine arts [and] . . . religious, cultural, moral and political life.”220

Behe sees ID as the antidote to the “materialism” infecting modern culture and as an evangelical counter-weapon against attacks on Christianity:

[S]cientific evidence of design means a lot for Christians . . . . First, . . . understanding . . . God’s creation allows us to . . . delight in his works . . . . [W]e . . . appreciate his power and . . . realize that our lives are in strong hands. Second, Christians live in the world with non-Christians. We want to share the Good News . . . and to defend the faith against attacks. Materialism is . . . a weapon that . . . antagonists use against
Christianity and a stumbling block to some who would otherwise enter the church. To the extent that the credibility of materialism is blunted, . . . showing the reasonableness of the faith is . . . easier.221

However, the Christian convictions that the ID movement promotes are quite regressive (and do not reflect the broader, more tolerant Christian community). Dembski and CSC fellow Jay Wesley Richards define them unambiguously in Unapologetic Apologetics, which contains essays they wrote in the mid-1990s as Princeton Theological Seminary students.

Dembski and Richards wrote these essays after the Wedge’s formation, at approximately the time of the CRSC’s establishment, so they can be seen as ID’s theological framework. In the foreword, Johnson affirms that behind their anti-evolution student movement at PTS stands a “movement that will bear fruit in the coming century,” i.e., ID.222 Dembski believes Christian apologetics is crucial to ID’s agenda:

“The job of apologetics is to . . . clear obstacles that prevent people from coming to . . . Christ . . . . [I]f . . . . anything . . . has blocked . . . people accepting the Scripture and Jesus Christ, it is the Darwinian naturalistic view . . . .”223

Dembski and Richards’s vision of a culturally renewed, Christian America is not only theocratic but also disturbingly exclusionary. They speak nostalgically of “the sixth century up to the Enlightenment,” when “the West was thoroughly imbued with Christian ideals and . . . intellectual elites were overwhelmingly Christian,” when “[f]alse ideas that undermined the . . . Christian faith (e.g., denying the resurrection or the Trinity) were swiftly challenged and uprooted.”224 They disavow “inquisitorial” methods but lament allowing “the collective thought of the world to be controlled by ideas that prevent Christianity from being regarded as anything but a harmless delusion.”225 Declaring a mandate to “[bring] every aspect of life under the influence of . . . [Christ],” despite such a mandate's “elitism and intrusiveness,” they insist, “humans must decide their allegiances.” Jesus says that we are either for him or against him. There is no middle ground.”226

Dembski then surpasses even these regressive sentiments by proposing to revive the transgression of heresy, even at the cost of peaceful coexistence:

Within . . . North American Christianity, heresy has become an unpopular word. Can’t we all just get along and live together in peace? Unfortunately the answer is no. Peace cannot be purchased at the expense of truth. . . . There is an inviolable core to the Christian faith. Harsh as it sounds, to violate that core is to place ourselves outside the Christian tradition. This is the essence of heresy, and heresy remains a valid category for today . . . .

Dembski’s exclusionism is echoed by Johnson, who dismisses the faith even of other Christians, as he did of evolutionary biologist and Behe critic Kenneth Miller, like Behe a devout Catholic:

The only reason I have to believe that Kenneth Miller is a Christian is
that he says so. Maybe he’s sincere. But I don’t know that. If he is, I can say this: you often find the greatest enemies of Christ in the church . . . . [T]here is a kind of person who may be sincere in a way, but . . . goes into church . . . to save it from itself by bringing it into concert with evolutionary naturalism . . . . [T]hese are . . . people . . . more dangerous than an outside atheist . . . . So I am not impressed

So I am not impressed that somebody says that he is a Christian . . . and believes that evolution is our creator. . . . [S]uch people often do a great deal of damage within the church.228

Miller’s religiosity would be irrelevant if ID were about science. Johnson’s disparagement of Miller’s faith reeks of intolerance. He also directs his exclusionism against Islam, placing his comments within the context of the 2001 World Trade Center attack:

This isn’t the same country we were in the previous decades . . . .
[T]he country is almost cringing in fear of these Muslim terrorists from the Middle East. I see professors afraid to discuss the subject because they’re afraid of . . . the Muslim students . . . . I never thought our country would descend to this level.

We are afraid to search the truth and to proclaim it. We once knew who the true God was and were able to proclaim it frankly. But since about 1960 we’ve been hiding from that. We’ve been trying to pretend that all religions are the same.229

The Wedge’s vision of cultural renewal devalues religious views that do not coincide with the controlling Christian viewpoints of its leaders. Such religious exclusionism not only identifies the ID movement as sectarian, but brands it as a radically peripheral Christian sectarianism.

Dembski and Johnson thus make plain their mission’s urgency: America needs ID’s culturally regenerative message, and the Wedge Strategy’s goals must be pursued where that message can take root most deeply and comprehensively: the minds of public school students. Thus, establishing a beachhead in public schools is the first priority—so urgent, in fact, that Dembski wants ID taught despite lacking any science to legitimate it.

Mike [Gene] . . . takes the “high road” that ID must first be developed further as a scientific and scholarly program before it may be . . . taught in public school science curricula . . . . But I’ve come to reject this view entirely . . . .

Why should ID supporters allow the Darwinian establishment to
indoctrinate students at the high school level, only to divert some of the brightest to becoming supporters of . . . evolution, when by presenting ID at the high school level some of these same students would go on to careers trying to develop ID as a positive research program? If ID is going to succeed as a research program, it will need workers, and these are best recruited at a young age.230

Speaking of ID’s failure to become a “disciplined science,” Dembski noted schools’ importance for ID recruiting:

For scientific ideas to prosper ( . . . whether . . . correct or ultimately
mistaken . . . ), they must be . . . taught within the educational mainstream. This is the only way to win the next generation of scholars to intelligent design. Without a presence in the science curriculum, [ID] will limp along, merely winning stragglers here and there.

. . . Without a significant presence in the educational mainstream, . . . [ID] will . . . be marginalized and never attain its full potential. A design-theoretic curriculum is therefore indispensable to the success of . . . [ID] as a scientific and intellectual movement.231

A presence in public education is vital to spreading ID and reversing the damage of secularism, which Johnson sees as incompatible with Christianity.232

He is confident of victory: “[I]t is nearly inevitable that ‘teach the controversy’ will become public policy.”233 And the Wedge is being helped by powerful Christian organizations that see ID as a way to advance their own efforts to breach the constitutional wall between church and

Johnson thus sees the Wedge Strategy’s success as Christianity’s victory—in education, lawmaking, and restoring America’s Christian foundations:

“Secular society, and particularly the educational institutions, . . .
assumed throughout the 20th century that the Christian religion is . . . a hangover from superstitious days,” Johnson said. “With . . . [ID’s] success . . . we’re going to understand that . . . Christians have been right . . . at least on . . . major elements . . . like divine creation.” As a result, Johnson says, it will no longer be plausible to argue that “Christian ideas have no legitimate place in public education, in public lawmaking, in public discussion generally.”

. . . [S]cientific materialism . . . lead[s] to bad consequences for society . . . . [M]aybe we had a better grasp of the truth when we were a Christian country than . . . when Christian truths were spurned.”235

This anti-secularism is not confined to the CSC, but permeates an institution that Johnson calls a model for “prepar[ing] students to meet the intellectual challenges of evolutionary naturalism”—Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute.236 Named by ID auxiliary Access Research Network (“ARN”) as one of two “ID Colleges,” Biola promotes ID actively.237 Torrey is a distinctly anti-secular model for ID’s entry into public education, as its director, CSC fellow John Mark Reynolds, affirms: “Torrey . . . is at war with the modern culture. Torrey does not want to ‘get along’ with materialism, secularism, naturalism, post-modernism, radical feminism, or spiritualism. We want to win over through service every facet of the culture, from the arts to the sciences, for the Kingdom of Christ.”238 Reynolds’ comments reflect Wedge Strategy goals precisely.

So, There ya have it - a return to the 6th Century Biblical Literalism and Biblical Scriptural Authority.

Look out 6th Century- Here We Come.

And for all those potential "Heretics" out there...Hide the matches!!!

Karen on 10.29.05 @ 11:45 AM CST

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