Monday, October 16, 2006

On Darwinism
I mentioned this in the comments over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars but it's worth repeating here. On the subject of yet another silly diatribe against teaching evolution in the schools, Ed and a couple of commentors had words to say about the frequent use of the word "Darwinism" by ID supporters and other Creationists.

Their use of the terms "Darwinism" and "Darwinist" aren't the result sheer ignorance; it's a carefully thought out propaganda strategy. An "-ism" implies an ideology or a dogma. It moves evolution out of science and into the land of politics or religion: though which is based on faith or blind adherence and not reason. Americans are trained to be suspicious of ideology and like to believe that their beliefs are practical and nonideological (whether they really are or not is another question). Just getting the word "Darwinism" before the audience gains them a few points in any argument. This is the same reason that some Creationists use the terms "evolutionism" and "evolutionist" to describe our side.

There is also a certain amount of misdirection and even projection involved in this choice of words. ID and other forms of Creationism are faith-based dogmas and not reason-based scientific theories. ID itself is really nothing more than a marketing campaign for Creationism. It's significant to notice that, following the first legal setbacks by Creationists trying to force their religious view onto school curricula back in the seventies, they changed the name of their belief from Creationism to Creation Science. While this name change may have been a useful propaganda move, they failed to convince the courts that their dogma wasn't a religion and the far more sophisticated marketing campaign of Intelligent Design was born.

By abandoning their own "-ism" name and applying and "-ism" to evolutionary science, the Creationists are using the age-old grade-school debating tactic of claiming "I'm not the poopy head; you're the poopy head." No amount of shouting will change the fact that they, and not we, are the dogmatic poopy heads.

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