April 11, 2005

Attacking Relativity - Part of Marketing ID Creationism

Over the last few days, I've been watching the discussion of Jay Richards ' post at "Intelligent Design the Future" about Einstein and the theory of relativity. You can read about it here and here and here and here. Richards approvingly references an article by Jim Holt that questions Einstein's argument for special relativity. Richards has modified his claims to some extent noting that he had "erred in not distinguishing Holt's summary of Einstein's argument, from Einstein's argument itself," but as EvolutonBlog says,

So the idea that Richards simply erred in not carefully distinguishing Einstein's argument from Holt's summary of that argument does not really hold water. The phrase "...what I have long suspected is a mistake in Einstein's argument" makes it clear that Holt's article was merely the excuse to bring up the subject. The error, says Richards clearly, lies with Einstein.

I'm not going to enter into a discussion of the merits of the case. Others have done a very good job of that. What interests me is why the ID crowd cares about this issue. After all, they have enough to do trying to re-brand science as religion and creationism as science. As is usual with this group, the answer is marketing. To improve the likelihood of people believing that biological science is a dogma it is helpful to try to show that the same is true of all science, even physics.

As Richard himself points out, the Holt article is much like an article written by David Berlinski in 2002 and published on the "Center for Science and Culture's" web site. This has been a side issue for the creationists for sometime.

What interests me is that a claim can be made and then taken back and your underlying point remains intact: "science is not trustworthy." In fact, the more you make such claims, even false ones, the more your underlying point is reinforced with your target audience. "Let's teach a controversy that we created and that otherwise would not exist." And if there is controversy in physics, "the king of the sciences, the yardstick by which other sciences are measured," then there sure must be controversy in biology. And of course, there is; plenty of it, just not the controversy that the ID Creationist marketers want. So they make their own and reinforce it with a further made up controversy about physics.

As a retired marketing guy, I can't keep from having some admiration of this. As a person who thinks their ideas are dangerous to the future of our nation and the world, I am appalled.

Posted by DuaneSmith at April 11, 2005 02:26 PM | Read more on Evolution |

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