A few years ago I worked as tech support for an internet provider. After being there for a year and a half's worth of steady paychecks, I was suddenly informed by HR that they could no longer write my checks out to the name on my bank account because my SS card had a different name first.
I argued that the middle name on that SS card is the name on my bank account as well as the name on my birth certificate and I can use any of the names I've got if I so choose. They told me I'd have to take time off work – unpaid – to go sit at the SS office all day to get the names switched around to suit their new policy, supposedly imposed by Homeland Security. Being not very tolerant of pointless corporate/governmental stupidity, I told 'em to shove their silly policy on which of my legal names I can choose to have on my paycheck – they didn't pay me enough for that sort of garbage.
What does name-changing have to do with these debates? Well, we've seen quite a few critics recently who want to know why it is that TTers who aren't part of the DI and aren't 'Creo-bots' would still call what they're talking about "Intelligent Design." And their questions have been repeatedly answered by pointing out that it wouldn't do us any good to change the name of the approach to biology and evolution, because these very same critics – as well as hoards of others – would still claim we're part of the DI, support "The Wedge" and *are* Creo-bots. What would be the point?
So it was with some sense of a fitting answer to my own questions that I read installment #3 of the "Celebrate Darwin" series in Olivia Judson's NYT blog 'The Wild Side'. It's entitled Let's Get Rid of Darwinism, and argues as many TTers have argued for years that it's time to put Charles Darwin and his original thesis on the shelf of scientific history. Then to change the name of the modern evolutionary uber-theoretic to something other than Darwinism or Neo-Darwinism or any sort of 'ism' with Charlie's name on it. They could call it… say… "evolution" instead.
From the blog:
In short, Darwin did more in one lifetime than most of us could hope to accomplish in two. But his giantism has had an odd and problematic consequence. It's a tendency for everyone to refer back to him. "Why Darwin was wrong about X"; "Was Darwin wrong about Y?"; "What Darwin didn't know about Z" – these are common headlines in newspapers and magazines, in both the biological and the general literature. Then there are the words: Darwinism (sometimes used with the prefix 'neo'), Darwinist (ditto), Darwinian.
Why is this a problem? Because it's all grossly misleading. It suggests that Darwin was the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega, of evolutionary biology, and that the subject hasn't changed much in the 149 years since the publication of the "Origin."
So… the critics here who have repeatedly asserted that we should call our 'version' of ID something other than ID may have sensed this change might be in the works for Darwinism and its derivatives. Is anybody here fooled into thinking the nature of the dueling metaphysics would change if both camps changed their names?