Saturday, 1 October 2011

Sceptic Plays Fast and Loose With Language

Michael Shermer uses language in an Orwellian way. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Dr. Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptic magazine, writes a monthly column for Scientific American. Recently, for the umpteenth time he used the expression intelligent design creationists, which some Darwinians erroneously assume is a genuine term.

It is not. Using a similar analogy, one might call the English language “Anglo-Saxon German”. Try that in the British parliament.

While creationism and intelligent design have something in common, i.e., they are opposed to Darwinian dogmatism, there is a huge difference between Answers in Genesis and the Discovery Institute.

Shermer’s column was about “pseudoscience”. He writes that ID proponents “threaten science education in America, they breach the wall separating church and state, and they confuse the public about the nature of evolutionary theory and how science is conducted.”

As most people know, none of these reasons are valid or even true. There is an apt word for the current method of teaching Darwinian evolution in schools. It is called indoctrination.

Neither ID advocates nor creationists have a lobby group for stealthily bringing creationism into the classroom, unless, of course, one believes in conspiracy theories.

Since sceptics (or skeptics as the American spelling is) are fond of using Orwellian language, they might assume that other people are so too.

Pseudo” is a word that to a great extent describes Shermer’s use of language.


Shermer, Michael. 2011. What is Pseudoscience?