The only strong evidence which approaches certainty in dialectic about evolution is that there is tendency to take what is uncertain for being certain, in other words to take one's own faith as verifable truth.
Ven Nanamoli Thera from the essay Consciousness and Being:
How many more people in history have been killed for the sake of opinions about what is and what is not than have been killed for the sake of facts? View-points, interpretations, and opinions about the raw material of experience differ, less or more, from individual person to individual person. The more consistent and logically strengthened any moral, religious, or philosophical system becomes, the more possible it becomes for it to be contradicted by an opposing system. And then bare craving has to arbitrarily choose and bash the opponent on the head if it can. That is why Buddhism (especially Nāgārjuna, but also Theravada) favours a dialectic that pulls down all such positivistic-negativistic systems (the positive is always haunted by the negative, and so there is really no true via negativa or via positiva in any absolute sense). It pulls them down using their own premises.
This note deals with attachment to views, but let's make it clear that there are other kind of attachments, and one who is very tolerant and can objectively discuss with so called "intellectual honesty" any kind of view, in the most cases is not so much intellectually or even spiritually developed, just he doesn't bother with such things, being for example involved in search for sensual gratification. However the more intelligent one is the more one feels the need for some metaphysics, which provides escape from the chaos of "the raw material of experience".
And clash of such contradictory systems in evolutionist terms is the true struggle for one's own survival, so self-preservation instinct or bhavatanha if you prefer is involved. In this sense it is an absurd to ask believer for intellectual honesty - which is reflexive attitude - while craving is firmly established on the level of emotions, on pre-reflexive level. Note contains extract from the book which criticizes Kevin MacDonald for taking for granted that idea of Intelligent Design is unscientific and not worthy of attention. But the very critic uses such terms as Logos or Kantian moral imperative, as if these were objectively perceived entities. Again, the problem is not that one believes in the moral law, but in deception that it is a rational and obvious idea.
In short people didn't like to admit their own ignorance. But in Dhamma function of faith as a tool in conditions where ignorance predominates is clearly recognised. Only it cannot be taken for knowledge:
“If a person has faith, Bhāradvāja, he preserves truth when he says: ‘My faith is thus’; but he does not yet come to the definite conclusion: ‘Only this is true, anything else is wrong.’ In this way, Bhāradvāja, there is the preservation of truth; in this way he preserves truth; in this way we describe the preservation of truth. But as yet there is no discovery of truth. MN 95
Psychology recognizes so called "cognitive dissonance", when human mind meets information that contradicts one's own "worldview". The poit is that human mind doesn't work like a computer, which formulates certain idea based on provided data, and when a new data is given, computer quickly accommodates it and reformulates the idea. In the case of human mind we have additional factor, namely feeling, and on the first place data which contradicts one's own ideas is recognised as "unpleasant", and how unpleasant it is mostly depends on importance of the "subject" which is undermined and which mind sees as true and valuable.
For example, on suttacentral during discussion of some rather ambiguous Dalaj Lama behaviour one user naively recognised as a virtue that things were discussed there more or less objectively and without any bias. Unfortunately he missed one important thing, Dalaj Lama may enjoy some respect between Theravada students, but in the most cases he isn't important part of Theravada worldview, so most users there didn't feel personally threatened. If one would try to find faults, let's say with Ajahn Brahmavamso, perhaps things would not go so easily and objectively.
Generally informations which contradict given set of beliefs, (which quite often is taken as a "knowledge"), have a long way untill mind decide to think about them, and in the most cases this kind of informations never arrive to such point.
On the first place they are deliberately avoided, if one has to face them, they are dismissed based on ... well mamy things apart honest intelectual discussion, which is quite understandable since the honest intelectual discussion consist in admitting that one can be wrong. And the more fundamental is a "brick" in one's worldview, the less one is willing to accept one's own ignorance.
And this mechanism works quite well, so if one have a "bad luck" to meet such informatios, and is not able to dismiss them, still mind has another option, namely just forget about them.
So the fate of such ideas is somehow similar to what is said about modern readership:
Nobody reads anything.
Even if one read, one does not understand.
Even if one understand, one quickly forgets.
Or there is nice aphorism by Upton Sinclair: ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding.’ This rather crude observation is valid also on much subtle levels. Views specially in metaphysical subjects give meaning to existence, it is very painful to live in incomprehensible universe, so such views become a part of personality (sakkaya) and ideas which undermine them are seen as threatening the very core of one's existence.
So without such psychological knowledge, one can easily attribute such attitude as "intellectual dishonesty" and in certain sense it is a good term, but it is misleading if one who uses it believes that humans are rational and purely intellectual beings. Here example of such misuse: it comes from the book Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology,... by Jonas E. Alexis:
I did mention at the beginning of this work that there are some levels of intellectual dishonesty in MacDonald’s writing. First of all, let me define intellectual dishonesty by comparing it with intellectual honesty.
Intellectual honesty does not deliberately misrepresent or misconstrue or mischaracterize a position, particularly when there is a vast amount of scholarly literature available on that position; intellectual honesty doesn’t deliberately or intentionally twist anything or leave out important information; intellectual honesty states an opponent’s position as the opponent presents it and responds in a logical manner. Logical fallacies or non sequiturs such as straw men are not part of intellectual honesty. One dictionary defines intellectual dishonesty as “An argument which is misused to advance an agenda or to reinforce one’s deeply held beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence contrary.” Has MacDonald been guilty of any of these things?
Let me state right at the outset that I am not an intelligent design proponent. I don’t appreciate Ben Stein’s worldview any more than MacDonald does, but obviously MacDonald hasn’t been paying the slightest attention to what the intelligent design movement has been saying. In fact, I will state categorically that MacDonald is intellectually dishonest when it comes to really understanding what the movement is about. How?
MacDonald laments that the academic world ostracizes him. He declares at the beginning of The Culture of Critique that the vast majority of scholars denounces his work, presumably because the issues he discusses in his work are quite sensitive. MacDonald writes in Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition that he was attacked at California State University where he taught for years. He writes,
As with Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s concern about going shopping in New York, the most dif f i cult thing is dealing with loss of reputation in my face-to-face world at the university.
The biggest problem is that being an academic nonconformist on race and ethnicity has huge moral overtones. If one dissents from the reigning theory of macroeconomics or the main infuences on nineteenth-century French Romanticism, one may be viewed as a bit eccentric or perhaps none too smart.
Given that academics tend to be Conscientious types, it’s not surprising that academics are generally loath to do or say things that might endanger their reputation. This is at least ironic, because it conflicts with the image of academics as fearless seekers of truth. Unlike politicians, who must continue to curry favor with the public in order to be re-elected, and unlike media figures who have no job protection, academics with tenure have no excuse for not being willing to endure labels such as ‘anti-Semite’ or ‘racist’ in order to pursue their perception of the truth. Part of the job—and a large part of the rationale for tenure in the first place—is that they are supposed to be willing to take unpopular positions; to forge ahead using all that brain power and expertise to chart new territories that challenge the popular wisdom. But that image of academia is simply not based in reality.1
So far, so good. During an interview with Jim Fetzer, MacDonald says that
The Culture of Critique, which I think is an important book, “got almost no reviews” in the academic world. He even admitted that he was being persecuted at California State University, Long Beach. In response to Nathan Cofnas’ critique of The Culture of Critique, MacDonald posits quite rightly that Academics want their work to be taken seriously, and honest academics value the rough and tumble of academic debate. But what I got was silence, or comments like that of Steven Pinker, who is listed in the Acknowledgements section of Cofnas’s review, saying that it was below the threshold of academic interest—and that he hadn’t read it.2
But the interesting thing is that MacDonald deliberately misrepresents the intelligent design movement and demolishes his own straw man with great relish. He writes unflinchingly: “Of course, intelligent design is not a reasonable alternative at all, but a highly motivated effort to legitimize a religious world view in the sciences.”3
What was the evidence and were the scholarly sources that MacDonald used to support this bold claim? Did he even read what ID proponents were saying and refuting them with intellectual muster? MacDonald presented not a single piece of evidence. Not one. Th is is intellectual laziness and pure intellectual dishonesty, largely because the intelligent design movement has produced a wealth of studies fleshing out what the arguments actually are and where the issues really lie.4 Their arguments don’t even remotely hinge on religious premises. In fact, many in the movement are not even religious!
Moreover, the definition of intelligent design that MacDonald is working with is pure fiction. For example, in The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities, published by Cambridge University, mathematician William Dembski meticulously argues that undirected natural causes can lose their explanatory power if “specified events of small probability” are present. “To attribute an event to design is to say that regularity and chance have been ruled out,”5 writes Dembski. Using probability theories, Dembski marshals a coherent argument which has been used for thousands of years, going all the way back to Aristotle and beyond.
Intelligent design, says Dembski, “studies signs of intelligence.” He gives a number of examples, but Mount Rushmore will suffice: “Think of Mount Rushmore—what about this rock formation convinces us it was due to a designing intelligence and not merely to wind and erosion?
Designed objects like Mount Rushmore exhibit characteristic features or patterns that point us to an intelligence.”6 Dembski’s premise cannot be easily dismissed by cheap shots such as that the book “is motivated and informed by an anti-evolutionary impulse, and its flaws appear to follow from the need to achieve an anti-evolutionary aim.”7 Marine biologist Wesley R. Elsberry, the author of those words, admits that Dembski’s book is a “scholarly volume, as one expects from a distinguished academic press. Dembski employs clear writing, illustrative examples, and cogent argumentation.”8 But Elsberry has no way of refuting the arguments that are presented in the book, so his only recourse is to declare that Dembski is motivated by “an anti-evolutionary impulse.” Elsberry added: “The Design Inference is a work with great significance for the group of anti-evolutionists who have embraced ‘intelligent design’ as their organizing principle.”9
Long before MacDonald posited his baseless claim about ID, evolutionary biologist Massimo Pigliucci declared that Demski’s book is “a mix of trivial probability theory and nonsensical inferences.” He moved on to say that “this book is part of a large, well-planned movement whose objective, I contend, is nothing less than the destruction of modern science and its substitution with a religious system of belief.”10 The people in the movement aren’t rejecting or attacking science; they are scrutinizing a philosophical idea known as naturalism, which has very little to do with science.11 They are also questioning whether the Darwinian mechanism has enough explanatory power. And they are not the only ones to be skeptical here. (...)
What we are seeing again is that Kevin MacDonald’s critique of the intelligent design movement just doesn’t add up. It is also very disappointing because MacDonald doesn’t like it when Jewish intellectuals like Nathan Cofnas misrepresent or mischaracterize or misconstrue his position.35 He would have done a better job to write a scholarly review of the movement and cite the sources contextually, just as he has done in works like The Culture of Critique. But, like his critics, MacDonald took the easy route: first build a straw man and then knock it down with cheap shots.
That again is typical among those who cannot formulate a serious rebuke of what the people in the intelligent design movement are saying.
For example, within hours of the release of Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt, which is almost five hundred pages, comments appeared in the blogosphere stating things like the book is “mendacious intellectual pornography.”36 These people hadn’t even read the book! And those who actually gave the impression that they had read the book—like journalist Gareth Cook of the New Yorker37—they never addressed the issues that were raised at all.
Moreover, isn’t it true that many serious academics are afraid to even criticize Neo-Darwinism? Haven’t numerous scientists and academics been fired from their academic positions for even suggesting that ID perhaps— just perhaps—may be able to explain some things in ways that the Neo-Darwinian mechanism cannot? Was Dean Kenyon basing his critique of the Darwinian paradigm on a “highly motivated effort to legitimize a religious world view” when he began to doubt the theory of evolution?
Didn’t he previously co-write books such as Biochemical Predestination, arguing that life could have happened through natural selection and without any intelligent cause? Was astronomer and mathematician Sir Fred Hoyle an intelligent design theorist when he produced numerous mathematical arguments against Neo-Darwinism?
Take for example Günter Bechly, a distinguished paleontologist who has authored or co-authored nearly 150 scientiffic publications. His co-edited book on fossils, The Crato Fossil Beds of Brazil, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2007.38 Bechly has discovered and named more than 160 new species, and has 10 biological groups named in his honor. He has served on the editorial boards of two scientific journals, and has organized five large public exhibitions on Earth history and evolution....
At the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth, Bechly directed the Darwin Day exhibit at the prestigious State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany.39 Bechly used to scoff at the intelligent design movement—until he began to read the books that the movement has put out. He declared:
[W]hat I recognized to my surprise is that the arguments I found in those books were totally different from what I heard either from colleagues, or when you watch YouTube videos where the discussion is around intelligent design versus neo-Darwinian evolution. And I had the impression that on one side those people are mistreated, their position is misrepresented, and on the other hand that these arguments are not really receiving an appropriate response and they have merit.40
Bechly was instantly removed from State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, where he was one of the curators for seventeen years. Wikipedia completely deleted his English page. Omer Benjakob of Haaretz, who uses condescending words to describe the intelligent design movement, had this to say: “If Bechly’s article [on Wikipedia] was originally introduced due to his scientific work, it was deleted due to his having become a poster child for the creationist movement.”41
from the book Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology,... by Jonas E. Alexis
The man who wants to avoid grotesque collapses should not look for anything to fulfill him in space and time.
Nicolás Gómez Dávila