I need some suggestions, so I’m asking for a little tactical brainstorming in the comments. This afternoon, August Berkshire mentioned that there would be an Intelligent Design advocate on KKMS Christian talk radio in the Twin Cities, and that they’d be interviewing a Dr. Don Bierle. I’d never heard of the guy, so I did a little digging; you can hear him at a talk at the MacLaurin Institute, for instance. His schtick is that he actually has a Ph.D. in biology from a credible school, although he doesn’t seem to have ever actually done any biology, and is just another minister as near as I can tell. He claims to be arguing from an evidence-based perspective for ID.
Here’s the problem. He’s as dopey and ignorant as your standard televangelist, and his arguments are pathetic. In that recorded talk, he actually goes on at length about the bombardier beetle. On the radio, he gives the usual uncritical acceptance of Behe’s and Dembski’s discredited claims. He argues that ID is sweeping through biology, and that more and more scientists are accepting it.
Basically, he’s lying up a storm, even though I’m sure he’s perfectly sincere and believes every dishonest claim he makes.
Now just how should we respond to such blatant BS? I thought about calling in, but since I really didn’t have a question for him and would only make a comment that he’s wrong, I didn’t bother. Here’s roughly what I was thinking of saying:
Dr Bierle, you said you were going to present the evidence for intelligent design. However, all you’ve given us is logical fallacies. You’ve continually presented this debate as a false dichotomy between design (your belief) and chance (your misrepresentation of evolution.) Evolution is not a theory that everything arose by chance.
Secondly, you’ve made the argument from personal incredulity. Specificity and complexity, no matter how wonderful and amazing and difficult for you to grasp, are not evidence of design. Evolutionary theory provides a mechanism for generating complexity and specificity that does not require the intervention of an intelligent agent.
Given that you haven’t given one reasonable argument for ID and that all your arguments against evolution depend on grossly mischaracterizing the theory, do you understand why the scientific community has not rushed to accept the idea? Despite claiming to base your argument on science, it is unpersuasive to scientists precisely because you have failed to address any scientific issues.
It’s a dismissal, not a real question, not a statement that would affect the god-bots of KKMS. In general, though, it does reflect my opinion of these frauds and fakes who misrepresent science to advance their theological dogma. Does anybody have a better strategy they can recommend for dealing with talk radio?