Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Hatred Libel

Barry Arrington is one of my favorite posters at Uncommon Descent. Posts like this are so good at showing the bankruptcy of ID, that one naturally wonders if "BarryA" is extraordinary success in the "deep cover troll" operations that get launched from time to time by the feisty folks at AntiEvolution.org.

This post in particular has the scent of a "false flag operation", putatively pro-ID, but powerful in its discrediting the cause it purportedly advances. BarryA is a contributor at UD, not just a commenter, and I can't recall where, but I know I've read posts by people who are familiar with this guy in real life, so this must be legit. And just so we're clear, that's fine with me.

Do Dawkins and Dennett Incite Hatred? is the title of the post.

Wherein, BarryA says this:

The media is reporting that Matthew Murray posted the following on the web: ”I’m coming for EVERYONE soon and I WILL be armed to the @#%$ teeth and I WILL shoot to kill. …God, I can’t wait till I can kill you people. Feel no remorse, no sense of shame, I don’t care if I live or die in the shoot-out. All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you … as I can especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world.”

Look at the last part of that quote closely. One wonders if Murray has been reading Dawkins or Dennett. By blaming the world’s ills on religious people do Dawkins and Dennett incite to hatred and make it more likely that tragedies of this sort can occur? I don’t know, but it is an interesting question.

Now, this is a post at Uncommon Descent, the flagship (!) blog for the Intelligent Design movement. This is a blog that is continually at pains to point out that ID is a scientific enterprise, and unrelated and unattached to religion qua religion. From Dembski on down to DaveScot, offenders are repeatedly scolded about conflating ID and Christianity or any particular brand of God. ID defenders routinely bristle at the suggestion that ID is a proxy for evangelical Christianity.

But here, the flagship ID blog is pursuing the intricate scientific details of teleogical design with respect to... well, Barry's not going in that direction at all.

This post is about the scariness of atheism.

There's not much "intelligent design" (pseudo-)science to work with here. Like so many other posts at UD, this is a political missive. Another grenade launched from the ID trench of the Culture Wars.

But remember: ID really is about the science.

As for the "merits" of the post, well, I think the large significance of this post is that BarryA feel comfortable with this kind of "interesting" question in this context. Looking the rationale he's offering topples it over pretty quickly.

  • Does BarryA suppose that those who cause the world's ills somehow deserve to be killed, even if we grant Barry his premise?
  • Does Barry believe people are responsible for their own actions, or not?
  • Does Christian "hatred" of the abomination of homosexual intercourse implicate Christianity in the hate-motivated murders of homosexuals?
It's just a non-starter from BarryA, here. And that's what's most disturbing. It's so poorly thought out, that the "design inference" for this post is that it's a bit of low opportunism, an attempt at cheap rhetorical points to make with the faithful on the blog by exploiting a tragedy.

There's a nice self-referential aspect to this post though. Barry's sort of testing his own theory, by spreading his own brand of ill to the world. What now, BarryA? Who's reading your posts, and are you worried?

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