Let's first talk about one comment from "Motheral," who, like so many people who post on Internet boards, uses a pseudonym to hide his identity. I have said numerous times before that this habit of anonymity is the technological "Ring of Gyges" that allows the person to be as rude and insulting as he wants to be without ever having to personally face anyone.
Not only is this really bad form, but I've always wondered why you would even want to pad your rhetoric with invective if your arguments are good? Isn't a crushing logical conclusion at least as personally satisfying as hurling an epithet? In his last post he compares me to the former Iraqi Information Minister. C'mon. This is like using a pitchfork in battle because you have had all your real weapons taken away.
Motheral needs to lose the attitude and address the argument.
I said that Ed Brayton over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars was assuming what he was trying to prove when he said that bias is okay in a program covering the debate between Darwinism and Intelligent Design because Darwinism is correct. Motheral disagrees. Fine. Here is his reponse:
Ed is not "assuming" anything. He's observing that evolution has been proven to be THE useful and workable scientific explanation for the observed diversity of life on Earth; and that ID/creationism has simply never been able to cut it as "science." The scientific debate here is completely one-sided, because creationism has never brought anything to the table. Therefore, it is perfectly appropriate for a TV show to recognize this fact by giving the most weight to the winning arguments. The "bias" you're going on about comes from this reality, not from PBS.Now here is Ed's argument:
- Darwinism is correct.
- Bias is okay when it is shown in favor of a correct position.
- Therefore, bias in favor of Darwinism is okay.
Ed isn't assuming what he is trying to prove because Ed is correct? Talk about turning the fallacy of principio principi into an art form!
If the debate is about whether Darwinism is correct, then obviously assuming Darwinism is correct is assuming what you are trying to prove. And simply reasserting the major premise in a circular argument is no refutation of the fact that it is circular.
Here we have a debate between two competing theories of how we got here, and one side wants the rest of us to assume, at the outset of the debate, that it is correct. Then they want the rest of us not to notice when they do it. And if we do notice, then they'll call us nasty names. Finally, despite all this, they demand that we recognize how rational and intelligent they are.
Now I'm confident that the Darwinists can do better than this, and that they can do it without personal insults and hyperbole.
C'mon Motheral, let's see if you can do it.