Friday, December 31, 2004

A Dishonest Shell Game

Steve Reuland at The Panda's Thumb takes the time to correct the many mistakes in a recent Phyllis Schafly article. Needless to say, the entire post is very interesting, but two points stood out for me.

The first one is about the creationists' tactic of reframing the argument:

Teaching creationism in science class, as everyone should know, was struck down by the Supreme Court because it was ruled to be a religious doctrine in the guise of science. ID, which is basically the same thing but with most of the testable claims stripped out, has yet to meet its day in court, but will likely suffer the same fate. Knowing this, the creationists have once again changed tactics: Claim that instead of trying to teach creationism, or God-free creationism (ID), the goal is to teach the "evidences against evolution". But this is a dishonest shell game. Those criticisms that they proffer are simply creationist arguments intended to bolster support for creationism. This is an example of what's called "reframing" the debate - changing around the terminology in order to slant perceptions in your favor.

The second one [from the comments] is super interesting, and has to do with, what else, survival of the fittest:

It would be nice if truth, and a dedication to it, gave us an automatic win, but it doesn't. And what Shclafly and so many others are doing is consolidating, gathering up the collective social power of those who would otherwise be marginalized in a more rigorously truthful world.
Evolutionary traits that are superior in every way still don't guarantee survival. And a bunch of dim-witted credulous nasty brutes all ganged up have just as much a shot at being the core of the human race as any other group does. Including rigorously honest, morally upright compassionate men and women with integrity and self-discipline.
It _is_ about winning. That's the very lesson of Darwin in the first place. And you guys [the scientists] run from it as much as the "creationists" do.


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