Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I am oddly untroubled by this.

Regular readers of the blog know that I am rather interested in the whole evolution vs. absurd nonsense debate that rises and falls throughout the United States. I was, for example, very excited to find a copy of "The Devil in Dover" at the ASAs this past weekend and have been reading it off and on since then. For those who are curious: so far it's an easy read and utterly fascinating.

In any case, as a part of this fascination I keep an eye on Uncommon Descent, the weblog of Wild Bill Dembski and friends. Friends, in this case, includes Denyse O'Leary.* O'Leary caught my eye the other day with a post titled "A sociologist's perceptive look at 'theistic evolution.'" She's referring to Steve Fuller's new book Dissent Over Descent: Evolution's 500-Year War on Intelligent Design. Now, I don't have an opinion on Fuller's book as I haven't read it and, believe it or not, I generally try to read something before I disagree with it. How else, after all, would I know if I should disagree with it? I will grant that, given that Intelligent Design "theory" is considerably younger than 500 years, I am less than reassured. It's fairly impressive, after all, to claim that evolutionary theory has been beating up on ID for several centuries before ID was developed, but I digress.**

What caught my attention about this post wasn't the quality of argument- O'Leary is rather poor at rhetoric- but rather an offhand comment in the midst of it. Specifically, this:

Or, in simple human terms:

I am glad that a sociologist is researching the debate, because ASA-style theistic evolution makes sense only as sociology. It doesn’t make sense intellectually.

Leaving aside the humor of Denyse O'Leary favoring the work of a post-modernist, I find her statement interesting. She could be trying to say one of two things here. Either she's saying that sociology is not intellectual, or she's saying that theistic evolution only makes sense as some sort of bizarre phenomenon- that we can only understand it by studying it as some sort of disorder, rather than regarding it as a legitimate intellectual position. So, basically, this one statement could offend sociologists, or it could offend theistic evolutionists, or both. Yay!

Does this mean I'm offended? Oh, hell no. In the first place I'm not a theistic evolutionist, though I regard the position as entirely reasonable. Folks who don't seem to think that a hypothetical god could have created via evolution clearly don't have sufficient respect for their god. That said, am I offended as a sociologist? Nope. See, here's the thing: Denyse O'Leary wouldn't know good science or logic if it was sitting on her face. So, in a way, if she disses my discipline, I just think that means we're doing something right.


* For a more critical and, arguably, less embarrassing website. try here.

** I'll also grant that Science and Technology Studies generally makes me flinch preemptively. I've had some experiences with STS that reflect rather poorly, though likely unfairly, on the sub-area as a whole.

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Blogger Cerus said...

Sadly, there are enough sociologists that refuse to accept evolution, denying human nature, that her blathering is really insignificant.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008 1:04:00 PM  

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