John H. Calvert
Intelligent Design Network, Inc.
LETTER: Naturalism and its siege on Pratt
One thing that Jack Krebs and I agree with is that Pratt can be likened to an outpost under siege in a cultural war.
The outpost is being manned by a few local citizens and a school board. Surrounding the outpost is an awesome science establishment supported by the Vice President of the United States, the Governor of Kansas, and the presidents of all our state universities. The crack unit leading the charge is the Kansas Citizens for Science. This is an outfit that is seemingly ruthless in the pursuit of its objectives.
The question becomes: what are these few fighting so valiantly for? What is it that drives such fear into the armies of the science establishment that they must marshal such great forces to attack so few? The barrage of eight inch guns has commenced. The shells are falling on Pratt.
My wife and I just returned from a trip to Belgium. We visited Bastogne where a few brave Americans of the 101st Airborne Division were surrounded by the German Army during the battle of the bulge. The German attack was led by a crack SS unit that took no prisoners.
What were we fighting against in Bastogne? We were fighting against a Nazi regime that used the philosophy of Naturalism to justify a eugenics program of terrifying proportions. Naturalism is the belief that all phenomena result only from the laws of chemistry and physics and that teleological or design explanations are not valid. Naturalism is not science. It is a belief system.
In the same manner, the defenders in Pratt are fighting against Naturalism, although they may not realize it. Rather than fighting against science, they are actually fighting for science. They are fighting for science that is driven by logic and critical thinking rather than by a philosophy that teaches to the exclusion of all other teachings that we are the products of only chance and necessity. They are fighting for science that is driven by the scientific method rather than science that is driven by a philosophy of Naturalism.
The title of Phil Johnson's new book is: "The Wedge of Truth: Cracking the Foundations of Naturalism." The KCFS is not waging war to promote science, it is waging war to prevent the cracking of the foundation of Naturalism. The use of Naturalism by the science establishment and the KCFS is acknowledged by Mr. Krebs in his letter when he says that ".... science...limits itself to NATURAL explanations for natural phenomena." (emphasis added)
The science establishment imposes this naturalistic limitation on scientific explanation of the origin of life by censoring two kinds of evidence. First, any evidence critical of Darwinian evolutionary theory is censored, as with the evidence of the Cambrian explosion. But most importantly, any evidence that living systems may be designed is censored at all costs.
Why censor the evidence of design? First, design theory is censored because it is the only hypothesis competitive with the Darwinian hypothesis. If design is outlawed there will be no serious competitor to evolution. The monopoly now enjoyed by evolution for origins explanations will continue. Secondly, design can not be allowed because the philosophy of Naturalism rules it out as a matter of definition, not as a matter of evidence or logic. In the process, Naturalism becomes Darwin's Crutch. The relationship between Naturalism and Darwinism is symbiotic. Naturalism protects Darwinism from the competition, while Darwinism provides support for Naturalism. However, if the weight of the failures in Darwinian explanation become so great, even the Crutch of Naturalism can not support it. For this reason, criticisms of Darwinism can not be tolerated.
Rather than using logic and good science to support its assault on the brave contingent in Pratt, the KCFS is using tactics one would expect from those that besieged Bastogne: scare tactics, misinformation and no substantive discussion of the real issues. The following are examples from Jack's letter:
"Pratt is being used as a test case." [Scare tactic. Pratt is not a test case. Rather, it is being besieged by a terrified science establishment, egged on by hollow threats from the ACLU.]
"The people of Pratt should be aware of the role they are playing in this larger conflict." [Scare tactic]
""Intelligent design'" has made no progress at establishing itself as science." [Misinformation hiding a catch-22 created by the science establishment. The science establishment's use of Naturalism is designed specifically to impede the progress of design theory by refusing to give any objective consideration to a growing mountain of evidence developed by credentialed and highly respected scientists.]
Design theory is "doing an "end-run' around the normal ways in which new scientific theories get established." [A manipulative half-truth hiding a concerted effort by the science establishment to block entrance to the "normal ways" - more misinformation. Much of the evidence critical of Darwinism is having to be published in non peer reviewed journals because peer reviewed journals will not accept design explanations that are outlawed by naturalistic philosophy of the science establishment. The "end run" is being made because the "normal way" through the process has been blocked.]
"The Board is circumventing .... established ways of developing curriculum.... to further a narrow religious and political agenda." [Another half-truth and catch 22 - Misinformation. Although I have had no input with respect to the curriculum developed by the Board or the actions taken to approve it, it seems to me that the Board is simply trying to do its job. That job is to establish policy. The issue of Naturalism is not a scientific issue. It is a philosophical one that has major legal, logical, cultural and scientific consequences. It is clearly within the function of the Board, if not its duty, to take actions that have the effect of removing Naturalism from a science curriculum. This is especially true in light of the current definition of science that is contained in the Kansas Science Standards: "Science is the activity of seeking LOGICAL [not natural] explanations of what we see in the world around us." Rather than being a movement to foster religion, the action of the Board appears to be one designed to enhance and promote legitimate scientific inquiry. This has the effect of removing the philosophy of Naturalism as a censoring mechanism. This is consistent with Michael Ruse's recent challenge to the science community to stop making evolution a religion. What makes evolution a religion is the use by the science establishment of Naturalism to protect it from all competing theories, criticisms and evidence.]
"The strategy being implemented in Pratt does your children a disservice, using their education as a tool in a conflict that should be taking place in the adult scientific and religious communities." [Scare Tactic. How are your children threatened by a Board direction to teach them to use critical analytical thinking regarding origins theories? This is also manipulation. If the adult scientific establishment has a naturalistic rule against the criticism, how will it ever get to the children?]
"If ID eventually gets established as science, it will show up in textbooks and science teachers will teach it." [Another catch 22 and inherently manipulative statement. If Naturalism considers design explanations invalid as a matter of definition, and that naturalistic world view continues, as is proposed by the KCFS, ID will never be accepted, not because of the lack of evidence, but solely because of the censorship.]
So, we are back looking at Pratt as the bombs fall. The question is whether the Board and the Community will be supported by the rest of us as they have had the guts that General McAullife and the other brave Americans had that cold winter day in Bastogne 54 years ago. McAullife's reply was very simple when asked to surrender: "Nuts!" McAullife and the 101st were subsequently relieved by elements of Patton's Third Army. In the same way we all need to rise up and put our hands together for the Pratt Board and Pratt Citizens that have just characterized the outrageous censorship by the science establishment as "Nuts!"