On this ID the Future, Zombie Science author and biologist Jonathan Wells and host Andrew McDiarmid explore the seductive but misleading appeal to consensus science. This is when someone makes a bandwagon appeal to support a scientific hypothesis rather than offering evidence and arguments—as in, “All serious scientists agree that X is the case.” Wells says history makes hash of the consensus-science appeal because the history of scientific progress is all about a consensus view being overthrown by a newer, more accurate view that for a time was a minority view. Wells also draws a distinction between evidence-based empirical science and ideologically driven science. The example he gives for the latter: scientific materialism. Instead of a search for truth about the natural world, science under scientific materialism becomes a search for the best materialistic explanation for this or that phenomenon. Mix scientific materialism and consensus science and you get what Wells has described as “Zombie Science.” Wells and McDiarmid also discuss the problem of science journalism hype. Most scientific discoveries are small, incremental findings of little interest to the general public. The solution for many science journalists: hype the small finding into something earth-shattering. As a remedy, Wells encourages a modest dose of skepticism anytime one is reading a science article in the popular press. What about the claims of Darwinists that the science “is settled,” that evolution “is a fact,” and that bad design in biology proves that hit-or-miss evolution is the maker of life’s diversity, not an intelligent designer? Here Wells encourages more than a modest dose of skepticism, and gives the example of the supposed “backward wiring of the vertebrate eye” as a case in point.
On this ID the Future, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor discusses his recent article about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn, the great Soviet dissident and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, penned the essay “Live Not By Lies” in 1974, just before he was arrested and exiled from Russia. It was his advice, or even strategy, for living under totalitarianism. Solzhenitsyn’s basic advice is simply not to participate with lies, and to refuse to speak what one does not believe. It’s unnervingly relevant counsel to us in America today, where “cancel culture” and other silencing tactics, long foreshadowed in the intelligent design debate, are spreading to the broader culture.