I don't think that in the six years this blog has been in operation that I have ever had to delete a post for reasons of content. But today I deleted two (by the same author). They were comments on my post about the misinformed and sloppy article by Barbara Forrest in the journal Synethese, an otherwise reputable periodical, claiming that Beckwith is a "creationist."
Forrest is the self-appointed head of the Academic Committee on Unscientific Activities whose wild accusations of scientific subversion have garnered attention in the debate over evolution. And woe be unto the hapless academic who finds himself in the wrong place when she begins pointing fingers, identifying the creationists in our midst.
"I have here a list of 205 names of known creationists in academic departments," she seems to say. Or was it 57? It's hard for her to remember.
In her fevered tirade in Synthese, she identified Beckwith as a creationist enemy of science. Trouble is, not only is Beckwith not a creationist, he isn't even a proponent of Intelligent Design. In fact, his break with the Intelligent Design position, the result of a sort of philosophical conversion to the philosophy of Aristotelian Thomism several years ago (which accompanied his religious conversion to Catholicism at about the same time) is one of the more interesting and widely publicized intellectual stories of the last several years.
Forrest, however, writes as if the whole conversion thing really never happened. In fact, so bad was Forrest's handling of the whole matter in her article that the editors of the journal took the unprecedented step of distancing themselves from the article, publishing a disclaimer. Beckwith calls Forrest's charges "a professional embarrassment" and "philosophical malfeasance." That, quite frankly, is a charitable assessment.
In any respectable movement she would be intellectually shunned.
In any case, one of the more excitable commenters on this blog, "Human Ape" (a self-characterization the accuracy of which I will not challenge) joined in the conspiracy theory excitement and repeated Forrest's demonstrably false charges. Technically speaking, he also knowingly and brazenly (he even announced he was doing it) violated the posting rules. That, I might have let go.
But character assassination based on charges that are publicly known to be false seems to me to be a little over the top.
And speaking of over the top, just go look at what passes for intelligent commentary at Human Ape's blog. It's really something to behold. This is what we're being asked to accept at the cost of forsaking a 2,500 year old intellectual and cultural tradition. It's not fundamentally different from Forrest's approach--just a little more straightforward.
There comes a point at which your blunders begin to embarrass even your friends. Has it come to that with Forrest? Or are the intellectual standards among the Darwinist alarmists really that low?
I guess we'll see.