Saturday, December 17, 2005

Creationist Word Games

I may have over-reacted last night when Y called evolutionists "Darwinists," but PZ today talks about the way creationists often use loaded words in order to mischaracterize the actual debate at hand. The point about using the word Darwinist is that it suggests that evolutionary theory hasn't advanced since Darwin's original theory. And while it's true that many (or even most) of Darwin's theories remain central to today's theory of evolution, there have been considerable advancements, the ones that come to mind all involve the major inroads into our understanding the nature of DNA and other advancements in genetics. By using the phrase Darwinist, the creationists feel free to attack the weaknesses of Darwin's original theory, even where those weaknesses have been rectified by more modern science.

The point is that you do have to quibble over semantics, as unsatisfying as it may be, because if you concede the definitions to the creationists, they will define us right out of the argument. Confusion and intellectual dishonesty are their most potent (and only) weapons.


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