Thursday, November 12, 2009

"The Principle of Charitable Reading"

On Tuesday, Casey Luskin made a
very good observation about the Darwin/Intelligent Design debate…

Good scholarship always tries critique one’s opponents’ actual and strongest arguments rather than merely tearing down straw men caricatures. Unfortunately, Dr. Miller is notorious for using the latter approach rather than the former when attacking ID. As Michael Behe observes:

"In philosophy there is something called the 'principle of charitable reading.' In a nutshell it means that one should construe an author’s argument in the best way possible, so that the argument is engaged in its strongest form. Unfortunately, in my experience Miller does the opposite — call it the 'principle of malicious reading.' He ignores (or doesn’t comprehend) context, ignores (or doesn’t comprehend) the distinctions an author makes, and construes the argument in the worst way possible."

This is exactly right. In my brief discussions with Darwinists, I find that they’re quite eager to engage in side-arguments, such as...

*“I.D. isn’t science"

*“I.D. equals Creationism,"

*“I.D. has already been disproven,”

*“The Discovery Institute is a Christian organization,”

*“I.D. has never been peer-reviewed,”

*“I.D. researchers don’t do any research,”

*“Evolution is a fact,”

*“Criticizing Darwinism makes as much as sense as criticizing Heliocentrism,

*"Everyone knows that Darwinism is true.”

Am I forgetting anything?

Consider my debate with “Tony” at “The Common Sense Atheist" website.

After several days of arguments, I responded in exasperation…

Tony: I don’t know what you’re so upset about. First, you say ID isn’t science because it doesn’t have “hypotheses,” so I give you a “hypothesis.” Then you say there’s no research labs doing ID research; so I give you the names of 2 labs which are doing ID research. Then you say those labs aren’t publishing articles; then I give you the names of published articles. Now you’re saying…what? You cut and paste the article abstract, but don’t criticize it in any way. Then you call me a troll (again).

This is partly why materialists have a “credibility problem.”

If the Darwinists wanted to be persuasive, they would do things…

1) Address the criticisms of Darwinism head-on

2) Challenge the evidence in favor of I.D. head-on

And yet, how often do those things happen?

Very, very, very rarely.

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