Monthly Archives: October 2010

Looking Back at “Wherever It Leads”

I was looking for a quote from Thomas Huxley, and having found it, found out that part of the context has become a favorite among “intelligent design” creationism advocates. What I was looking for I’ve italicized, and what the IDC advocates like to use I’ve put in bold.

It was badly received by the generation to which it was first addressed, and the outpouring of angry nonsense to which it gave rise is sad to think upon. But the present generation will probably behave just as badly if another Darwin should arise, and inflict upon them that which the generality of mankind most hate—the necessity of revising their convictions. Let them, then, be charitable to us ancients; and if they behave no better than the men of my day to some new benefactor, let them recollect that, after all, our wrath did not come to much, and vented itself chiefly in the bad language of sanctimonious scolds. Let them as speedily perform a strategic right-about-face, and follow the truth wherever it leads.

— Thomas Henry Huxley

‘On the Reception of the Origin of Species’. In F. Darwin (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Including an Autobiographical Chapter (1888), Vol. 2, 204.

It is pretty ironic that the folks continuing the tradition of spewing “angry nonsense” nonetheless enthusiastically use phrasing from later in the same quote.

SMU and the DI’s new IDC Show

Southern Methodist University (SMU) Professor John G. Wise attended a Discovery Institute (DI) presentation held on the SMU campus recently. The DI was out advocating those arguments we know from “intelligent design” creationism (IDC) again, but they don’t seem to be able to quite get things right in their critiques. Prof. Wise has provided them with an extensive critique of their effort. It makes for good reading, so have a look.

I should note that getting a question answered by the DI Fellows has gotten harder over the years. Note that when the DI launched its “Explore Evolution” textbook, Paul Nelson said at the Panda’s Thumb that the DI would see about setting up online discussion about the book. Within a couple of hours, I had created a topic for open discussion of “Explore Evolution” at the “After the Bar Closes” forum. We are now years down the line from that, and all the DI has done is create a “site” that says “Further Discussion” in the title, but is comprised entirely of the DI responding to criticism of the book seen elsewhere. Anybody accused by the DI of not being forthright about questions should bring this incident up.