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Lawyers Have a Way With Words!

Posted Sep 14 2008 6:12pm

Ed Darrell is a rather prolific responder to anything written against Darwinian evolutionary dogma. He has left a few challenging comments on this blog regarding my post " What are Darwinists Afraid Of?

Part of a comment he posted said the following regarding some leading Intelligent Design thinkers and writers, all of whom are fellows at the Discovery Institute.

"William Dembski is not a biologist, but a theologian; Angus Campbell is a speech professor; Jonathan Witt has a degree in creative writing; Steve Meyer has a Ph.D. in history and philosophy, and has never done a lick of biology research; John West is a professor of political science. Those are the big guns. Michael Behe is a biochemist."

Since I was not familiar with all of these names I decided to look up their credentials. While Ed is correct that most of them are not biologists ( neither is Ed since he is a lawyer in Dallas ), most of them have a lot more credentials and accomplishments than he gives them credit for. Lawyers have such a way with words don't they?! Let's take a look.

Ed says that Dembski is a theologian. Well, he is that and more:

A mathematician and a philosopher, William A. Dembski is associate research professor in the conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University and a senior fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. He is also the executive director of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design ( Dr. Dembski previously taught at Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Dallas. He has done postdoctoral work in mathematics at MIT, in physics at the University of Chicago, and in computer science at Princeton University. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago where he earned a B.A. in psychology, an M.S. in statistics, and a Ph.D. in philosophy, he also received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1988 and a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1996.

Not bad for a stupid ID'er.

Now lets look at Angus Campbell, a speech professor:

Ph.D., rhetoric, University of Pittsburgh, is a professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Communication at the University of Memphis and past President of the American Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology. He has twice won the Golden Anniversary Award from the National Communication Association (1971 and 1987) for his scholarly essays and was a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award (1993) and the Dean's Recognition Award (1994) from the University of Washington. He was named Communication Educator of the Year by the Tennessee State Communication Association (2001) and most recently (2003) was the recipient of the Oleg Zinam Award for best essay in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Next Jonathan Witt, a degree in creative writing:

Senior FellowJonathan Wittholds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Kansas. After years of studying and teaching students about logical fallacies and the structure of sound arguments, Witt began to notice just how fallacious and unsound the arguments of the leading Darwinists were.

"They claimed to rest their arguments on a wealth of arcane scientific data," he writes, "but once I dug past the jargon, I found that their arguments were always built on a foundation of question begging definitions, either/or fallacies, bogus appeals to consensus, and quasi-theological claims that 'an intelligent designer wouldn't have done it that way.'"

Witt's dissertation on critical theory and aesthetics received highest academic honors and has led to articles in such journals as
Literature and Theology and The Princeton Theological Review . Currently Witt is exploring how Darwin and prominent Darwinists employ widely discredited and even contradictory aesthetic presuppositions in their arguments against an intelligent designer. An article on this subject, "The Gods Must Be Tidy, " appeared in the July/August 2004 issue of Touchstone . His InterVarsity Press book," The Meaning-Full Universe," co-authored with Benjamin Wiker, will appear in 2006.

See Witt's own blog at

John West is a professor of political science:

Dr. West holds a Ph.D in Government from Claremont Graduate University and a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington. He is a recipient of several academic fellowships, including a Haynes Foundation Dissertation Grant, an Earhart Foundation Fellowship, a Richard Weaver Fellowship, and a Chevron Journalism/Economics Scholarship. Dr. West is a member of the American Political Science Association, Pi Sigma Alpha (the national political science honor society), and Phi Beta Kappa.

Ed says Steve Meyer has a Ph.D. in history and philosophy:

Stephen C. Meyer is director and Senior Fellow of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, in Seattle.

Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin of life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences. Previously he worked as a geophysicist with the Atlantic Richfield Company after earning his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Geology.

Dr. Meyer has recently co-written or edited two books: "
Darwinism, Design, and Public Education" with Michigan State University Press and "Science and Evidence of Design in the Universe" (Ignatius 2000).

He has also authored numerous technical articles as well as editorials in magazines and newspapers such as
The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Houston Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, First Things and National Review .

Michael Behe is a biochemist:

Michael J. Beheis Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. Behe's current research involves delineation of design and natural selection in protein structures.

In addition to publishing over 35 articles in refereed biochemical journals, he has also written editorial features in
Boston Review , American Spectator , and The New York Times . His book, "Darwin's Black Box" discusses the implications for neo-Darwinism of what he calls "irreducibly complex" biochemical systems. The book was internationally reviewed in over one hundred publications and recently named by National Review and World Magazine as one of the 100 most important books of the 20th century.

Behe has presented and debated his work at major universities throughout North America and England.

One of the major tactics of debaters (and lawyers) is to attack the credibility of the other side all the while ignoring anything truthful or logical about what they say. Lawyers do this well. They sure have a way with words don't they!

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