Why have I been staying away from writing about the Discovery Institute? Stuff like this keeps happening:
Yesterday our friends at Biologic Institute were being pestered on their Facebook page by science writer and Discover magazine blogger Carl Zimmer on the subject of Science and Human Origins. Facebook is really no place for a substantive debate — the format is such that it doesn’t repay the time you put in.
So I wrote to Zimmer to invite him to participate in a genuine and informative online debate here at ENV, pairing him against one of the authors of SHO and allowing him 2000 words total in which he could tear our arguments and evidence to shreds if he liked.
Carl wrote back promptly to say “No thanks,” having also written a blog post reproducing my (private) email to him — which pained me to no end, since my note contained a typo as Carl was meticulous to make clear to his readers. (I wrote “interesting” instead of “interested.”)
So you see what we’re up against. Carl hasn’t read the book and now, having ducked out of a proper debate, he can go on denouncing it without ever having read it. He’s perfectly willing to waste our time on Facebook, where the phrase “pecked to death by ducks” comes to mind. But how about gathering his thoughts after reading the book and then telling us what’s wrong with Science and Human Origins? No, that he will not do.
My head’s not in a great place right now, so I’ll keep it short: the intelligent design movement needs to put its supposedly substantial money where its over-talkative mouth is. Stop churning out books and publish some goddamn papers, guys. And not in your little circle-of-friends journal – in the big ones. Science. Nature. If you have what you think is some revolutionary information, put it out there. Overturn the status quo. Pull no punches. Upset the mainstream. Stop preaching to the choir and yelling at the popular kids from across the road. It’s not working.
Science is not afraid of change. It’s not afraid of being mistaken. But it doesn’t just roll over for anything – it needs evidence, hypotheses and a well-thought out position. So far, it seems to me, you’re lacking all three – but I’m happy to be proven wrong. All scientists are. Write a paper outlining the best evidence for intelligent design, and submit it to every major biology journal in the world. If you survive the critiques, well… congratulations, you’ll have changed the world of biology forever.
Are you coming to the table? We’re waiting.