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NATURALISM AND ITS SIEGE ON PRATT
A response to Jack Krebs' recent letter to the Pratt Tribune
Published in the Pratt Tribune December 6, 2000
by John H. Calvert, B.A. (Geology), J.D.
One thing that Jack Krebs and I
agree with is that Pratt can be likened to an outpost under siege in
a cultural war.
The outpost is being manned by a few local citizens and a school board.
Surrounding the outpost is an awesome science establishment supported
by the Vice President of the United States, the Governor of Kansas, and
the presidents of all our state universities. The crack unit leading
the charge is the Kansas Citizens for Science. This is an outfit that
is seemingly ruthless in the pursuit of its objectives. The question
becomes: what are these few fighting so valiantly for?
What is it that drives such fear into the armies of the
science establishment that they must marshal such great forces to attack
so few? The barrage of eight inch guns has commenced. The shells are falling
on Pratt. My wife and I just returned from a trip to Belgium. We visited
Bastogne where a few brave Americans of the 101st Airborne Division were
surrounded by the German Army during the battle of the bulge. The German
attack was led by a crack SS unit that took no prisoners. What were we
fighting against in Bastogne? We were fighting against a Nazi regime that
used the philosophy of Naturalism to justify a eugenics program of terrifying
Naturalism is the belief that all phenomena result only from
the laws of chemistry and physics and that teleological or design explanations
are not valid. Naturalism is not science. It is a belief system.
same manner, the defenders in Pratt are fighting against Naturalism,
although they may not realize it. Rather than fighting against science,
they are actually fighting for science. They are fighting for science that
is driven by logic and critical thinking rather
a philosophy that teaches to the exclusion of all other teachings
are the products of only chance and necessity. They are fighting
for science that is driven by the scientific method rather than
science that is driven
by a philosophy of Naturalism.
The title of Phil Johnson's new book is: "The Wedge of Truth: Cracking
the Foundations of Naturalism." The KCFS is not waging war
to promote science, it is waging war to prevent the cracking of
the foundation of
Naturalism. The use of Naturalism by the science establishment
and the KCFS is acknowledged by Mr. Krebs in his letter when he
says that ".... science...limits itself to NATURAL explanations
for natural phenomena." (emphasis added)
establishment imposes this naturalistic limitation on scientific
explanation of the origin of life by censoring two kinds of
evidence. First, any evidence critical of Darwinian evolutionary
theory is censored, as with the evidence of the Cambrian explosion.
But most importantly, any evidence that living systems may be designed
is censored at all costs.
Why censor the evidence of design? First, design
theory is censored because it is the only hypothesis competitive with
the Darwinian hypothesis. If design is outlawed there will be no serious
competitor to evolution. The monopoly now enjoyed by evolution for origins
explanations will continue. Secondly, design can not be allowed because
the philosophy of Naturalism rules it out as a matter of definition, not
as a matter of evidence or logic. In the process, Naturalism becomes Darwin's
Crutch. The relationship between Naturalism and Darwinism is symbiotic.
Naturalism protects Darwinism from the competition, while Darwinism provides
support for Naturalism.
However, if the weight of the failures
in Darwinian explanation become so great, even the Crutch of Naturalism
can not support it. For this reason, criticisms of Darwinism can not
be tolerated. Rather than using logic and good science to support its assault
on the brave
contingent in Pratt, the KCFS is using tactics one would expect from
those that besieged Bastogne: scare tactics, misinformation and no substantive
discussion of the real issues. The following are examples from Jack's letter:
Pratt is being used as a test case." [Scare tactic. Pratt is not
a test case. Rather, it is being besieged by a terrified science
egged on by hollow threats from the ACLU.]
" The people of Pratt should be aware of the role they are playing in this
larger conflict." [Scare tactic]
'Intelligent design'" has made no progress at establishing itself
as science." [Misinformation hiding a catch-22 created
by the science
establishment. The science establishment's use of Naturalism
is designed specifically to impede the progress of design theory
to give any
objective consideration to a growing mountain of evidence developed
credentialed and highly respected scientists.]
Design theory is "doing an 'end-run' around the normal ways in
which new scientific theories get established." [A manipulative
half-truth hiding a concerted effort by the science establishment to
block entrance to the "normal
ways" - more misinformation. Much of the evidence critical
of Darwinism is having to be published in non peer reviewed
journals because peer reviewed
journals will not accept design explanations that are outlawed
philosophy of the science establishment. The "end run" is
being made because the "normal way" through the process
has been blocked.]
" The Board is circumventing .... established ways of developing curriculum....
to further a narrow religious and political agenda." [Another half-truth
and catch 22 - Misinformation. Although I have had no input with respect to the
curriculum developed by the Board or the actions taken to approve it, it seems
to me that the Board is simply trying to do its job. That job is to establish
policy. The issue of Naturalism is not a scientific issue. It is a philosophical
one that has major legal, logical, cultural and scientific consequences. It is
clearly within the function of the Board, if not its duty, to take actions that
have the effect of removing Naturalism from a science curriculum.
This is especially true in light of the current definition of science that is
contained in the Kansas Science Standards: "Science
is the activity of seeking LOGICAL [not natural] explanations
of what we see in the world around us." Rather than being a movement to
foster religion, the action of the Board appears to be one designed to enhance
and promote legitimate scientific inquiry. This has the effect of removing
the philosophy of Naturalism as a censoring mechanism. This
is consistent with Michael Ruse's recent challenge to the science community to
stop making evolution a religion. What makes evolution a religion is the
use by the science establishment of Naturalism to protect it
from all competing theories, criticisms and evidence.]
" The strategy being implemented in Pratt does your children a disservice,
their education as a tool in a conflict that should be taking place in the adult
scientific and religious communities." [Scare
Tactic. How are your children threatened by a Board direction
to teach them to use critical analytical thinking regarding origins theories?
This is also manipulation. If the adult scientific establishment has a naturalistic
rule against the criticism, how will it ever get to the children?]
If ID eventually gets established as science, it will show up in textbooks
and science teachers will teach it." [Another catch 22
and inherently manipulative statement. If Naturalism considers
design explanations invalid as a matter of definition, and
that naturalistic world view continues, as is proposed by the
KCFS, ID will never be accepted, not because of the lack of
evidence, but solely because of the censorship.]
So, we are back looking at Pratt
as the bombs fall. The question is whether the Board and the Community
will be supported by the rest of us as they have had the guts that General
McAullife and the other brave Americans had that cold winter day in Bastogne
54 years ago. McAullife's reply was very simple when asked to surrender: "Nuts!" McAullife
and the 101st were subsequently relieved by elements of Patton's
Third Army. In the same way we all need to rise up and put our hands
together for the Pratt Board and Pratt Citizens that have just characterized
the outrageous censorship by the science establishment as "Nuts!"
John H. Calvert,
B.A. (Geology), J.D.
Intelligent Design Network, Inc.