Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lies and Propaganda: Tyson’s “Cosmos”




If you don’t think of our scientific establishment as repressive propagandists, you might think again. Casey Luskin asks the question:

  • Are scientists today free to express their views when they feel there are problems with authoritative paradigms, like modern evolutionary biology?

Luskin then allows the evolutionists to answer this question:

  • "There's a feeling in biology that scientists should keep their dirty laundry hidden, because the religious right are always looking for any argument between evolutionists as support for their creationist theories. There's a strong school of thought that one should never question Darwin in public." (W. Daniel Hillis, in "Introduction: The Emerging Third Culture," in Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution, edited by John Brockman (Touchstone, 1995), p. 26.)
  • "It is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection ... My skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative. It is just a belief that the available scientific evidence, in spite of the consensus of scientific opinion, does not in this matter rationally require us to subordinate the incredulity of common sense. This is especially true with regard to the origin of life ... I realize that such doubts will strike many people as outrageous, but that is because almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science. ... In thinking about these questions I have been stimulated by criticisms of the prevailing scientific world picture... by the defenders of intelligent design. ... [T]he problems that these iconoclasts pose for the orthodox scientific consensus should be taken seriously. They do not deserve the scorn with which they are commonly met. It is manifestly unfair." (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, p. (Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 6-7, 10.)
  • "Honest critics of the evolutionary way of thinking who have emphasized problems with biologists' dogma and their undefinable terms are often dismissed as if they were Christian fundamentalist zealots or racial bigots. But the part of this book's thesis that insists such terminology interferes with real science requires an open and thoughtful debate about the reality of the claims made by zoocentric evolutionists." (Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of the Species, (Basic Books, 2003), p. 29).)
  • "It is dangerous to raise attention to the fact that there is no satisfying explanation for macroevolution. One easily becomes a target of orthodox evolutionary biology and a false friend of proponents of non-scientific concepts. According to the former we already know all the relevant principles that explain the complexity and diversity of life on earth; for the latter science and research will never be able to provide a conclusive explanation, simply because complex life does not have a natural origin." (Günter Theißen, "The proper place of hopeful monsters in evolutionary biology," Theory in Biosciences, 124: 349-369 (2006).)
  • "We've been told by more than one of our colleagues that, even if Darwin was substantially wrong to claim that natural selection is the mechanism of evolution, nonetheless we shouldn't say so. Not, anyhow, in public. To do that is, however inadvertently, to align oneself with the Forces of Darkness, whose goal is to bring Science into disrepute. ... [N]eo-Darwinism is taken as axiomatic; it goes literally unquestioned. A view that looks to contradict it, either directly or by implication is ipso facto rejected, however plausible it may otherwise seem. Entire departments, journals and research centres now work on this principle." (Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010), pp. xx, xvi.)
Luskin adds:

  • A 2008 article in Nature on the Altenberg 16 conference explained that some others willingly self-censor their own criticisms so as to avoid "handing ammunition" to "creationists."
  • Says [Jerry] Coyne: "People shouldn't suppress their differences to placate creationists, but to suggest that neo-Darwinism has reached some kind of crisis point plays into creationists' hands."
  • Chinese paleontologist J.Y. Chen [claims]: "In China we can criticize Darwin, but not the government. In America, you can criticize the government, but not Darwin."
In such a politically correct, hostile, propagandistic, and self-censored climate, it would seem that the average “Joe” needs to be careful about what he absorbs from the scientific elites.

In the Christian Research Journal, Luskin warns about the reboot of Cosmos - Neil Degrasse Tyson’s current series to sell evolution:

  • The Cosmos reboot has been sharply criticized – even by evolutionists – for inventing stories and religious persecution of scientists while whitewashing religion’s positive historical influence on science. It promotes “unguided” and “mindless” evolution while omitting scientific evidence that challenges neo-Darwinism or supports intelligent design… It was created by celebrity atheists seeking to advance a materialistic worldview… Public school teachers have already expressed their intent to use Cosmos. (CRI, Vol. 37, number 04, 34-41)
The executive producer admits its propagandistic intentions:

  • Seth Macfarlane acknowledges the series’ intent to oppose “a resurgence of creationism and intelligent design… theory”… Macfarlane is concerned about “the rise of schools questioning evolution,” which is “incredibly damaging to the evolution of any society.” (35-36) 
Are these adversarial views a danger to science or just to the religion of naturalism, which requires that only natural explanations are allowable? Instead, many have written that Christianity has largely contributed to the flourishing of science:

  • [Ian] Barber answers: “Many historians of science have acknowledged the importance of the Western religious tradition in molding assumptions about nature that were congenial to the scientific enterprise.” Thus Ronald Numbers explains, “The greatest myth in the history of science and religion holds that they have been in a state of constant conflict.” (37)
However, for many evolutionists, ideology should trump the accurate presentation of scientific findings:

  • Historian Joseph Martin proposes granting Cosmos “the artistic license to lie” when done “in the service of a greater truth.” He writes, “Perhaps the greater truth here is that we do need to promote greater public trust in science if we are going to tackle some of the frankly quite terrifying challenges ahead and maybe a touch of taradiddle [lies] in that direction isn’t the worst thing.” (37) 
Since when do lies “promote greater public trust in science?” In the long run, they will not; nor will their repressive and censorious culture:

  • Epidemiologist W. Daniel Hillis laments “a feeling in biology that scientists should keep their dirty laundry hidden, which creates “a strong school of thought that one should never question Darwin in public.” Two Rutgers cognitive scientists say essentially the same: “We’ve been told by more than one of our colleagues that, even if Darwin was substantially wrong to claim that natural selection is the mechanism of evolution, nonetheless we shouldn’t say so. Not, anyhow, in public.” (38) 
Nor even in the media, the public schools, and in the university! They present a monolithic front. We are faced with a conspiracy of silence in the face of the militant enforcement of what the elites now call “science.”  This is well-oiled by a slick and aggressive propagandistic machine. Tyson likens macro-evolution deniers to Hitler supporters:

  • Cosmos shows crowds cheering for Hitler while Tyson says, “Human intelligence is imperfect, surely, and newly arisen. The ease with which it can be sweet-talked, overwhelmed, or subverted by other hard-wired tendencies [like religion and ID] sometimes themselves disguised as the light of reason is worrisome.” (40)
Meanwhile, generations have been “sweet-talked, overwhelmed, or subverted” by the notion that humanity arose uncaused out of nothing.

2 comments:

  1. Great essay! I am filing this one away, to be used whenever I dialogue with someone who believes--and yes, it takes "faith" to believe--in macro-evolution.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lot's of faith based upon a ubiquitous flow of propaganda.

    ReplyDelete