Ed Brayton's opening attack on me refers to my tongue in check suggestion that students who reject evolution should be flunked, or not admitted to university in the first place. Anyone with a brain can recognize the humor and sarcasm in such a remark. The fact that it sets the Intelligent Design Creationists all atwitter is part of the fun.
However, behind the humor is a serious point. If students entering university have already made up their minds that evolution should be rejected, then that's a serious problem. It's not a question of ignorance. Those students have made an active decision to choose superstition over science. Given a choice of students to admit into university science programs, I would choose the ones who show some understanding of science over those who reject one the fundamental facts of biology. Wouldn't Ed?
Ed then says, ...
To be honest, I'm rapidly becoming convinced that there are two very different groups involved in fighting against the ID public relations campaign to distort science education. The distinction between the two groups is that one is fighting to prevent ID creationism from weakening science education while the other is fighting, at least in their minds, to eliminate all religious belief of any kind, even those perspectives that have no quarrel with evolution specifically or science in general, from society.I'm mostly in the first group but I also have an interest in elminating the worst parts of religion; namely, those parts that conflict with reason. The fight against Intelligent Design Creationism and Young Earth Creationism is only part of the battle—there's a lot more involved in trying to improve science education. Some of it requires us to take a long hard look at the way science education is being eroded by well-meaning theists who don't belong in one of the obvious hard-core Creationist camps. Let's call them Theistic Evolutionists for want of a better term.
People like Ed Brayton think it's okay for Theistic Evolutionists to nibble at science and undermine its principles in subtle ways. He probably thinks it's okay because at least they aren't taking big bites. Well, Ed, I'm here to tell you that it's not all right. The little nibbles are just as bad, perhaps worse, and if you defend even a little bit of sloppy science then you are still defending sloppy science and you should be ashamed.
When Eugenie Scott and others promote a theistic version of science they seem to think they are allowing for a safe middle ground where Theistic Evolutionists like Francis Collins, Simon Conway Morris, and Ken Miller can find common cause with scientists who don't let superstition masquerade as science. They are wrong. There is no common ground between the rational and the irrational. I've written a little essay to try and explain why [Theistic Evolution: The Fallacy of the Middle Ground].
Ed continues, ...
How else to explain Moran's earlier comments here that bluntly accuse Ken Miller, the single most effective and tireless advocate of evolution and critic of ID creationism in the nation, of being anti-science merely by virtue of the fact that he attempts to reconcile science with his religious faith? In the battle Moran is fighting, theistic evolutionists are the enemy despite their advocacy of evolution, because his battle is not for evolution or against ID creationism, it is against theism, hence theists, in any form.I'll tell you how else to explain it, Ed. I'm not a fan of religion but I'm not dogmatically opposed to religion in any form. What I'm opposed to is the attack on science by religious apologists of any stripe. You can't claim to accept evolution and then turn around and say that God is behind it all and He can tweak it whenever He wants. That's not science.
In my essay I included a diagram from a talk given by Rev. Ted Peters, a leading Theistic Evolutionist. I'll include it here.
Note that Ken Miller is way out on the left of the diagram, not far from the Intelligent Design Creationists. As a matter of fact, it's difficult to distinguish his belief from those of some Intelligent Design Creationists. Take a look at where evolutionary biology is positioned. That's where I am.
Let's not forget that this is a fight between rationalism and superstition. Science is on the side of rationalism, and so am I.