Coalition for Science in Kansas

| 68 Comments

The Coalition for Science is planning a series of events as the Kansas Kangaroo Court on “evidence against evolution” gets going.

The Coalition for Science is planning ahead for media participation. They will have a Media Booth with media information kits and people on hand to answer questions from the media throughout the day, a broadcast media briefing at 3PM each day, and scientists and educators will conduct an analysis of the day’s hearings half an hour following the close of hearings each day (with a light meal provided… these folks appear to know their media relations).

Pedro Irigonegaray was asked by the Department of Education to represent the Draft 2 science standards at the hearings, empowered to call science witnesses to testify. In the newsblog of the Coalition for Science, Pedro speaks out on the hearings:

The KSBE subcommittee has made it clear that they do not support Draft 2 of the standards and that they support the non-scientific opinions of the Intelligent Design (ID) Minority.

It is our opinion that the intended purpose of these hearings is:

· to provide the controlling Majority of the KSBE a rationale, in essence a façade of credibility, when they eventually change the standards; and

· to give the Intelligent Design movement a national forum to present their theological and anti-science ideas disguised as ‘science.’

I have joined thousands of scientists worldwide who recognize these hearings to be no more than a showcase for Intelligent Design, and to be rigged against mainstream science. I support their refusal to participate.

68 Comments

since this issue relates directly to teachers, don’t forget that May 3 is National Teacher Day.

http://www.nea.org/teacherday/index.html

go do something nice for a teacher.

cheers

This all reminds me of an old episode of Law and Order where a defrocked priest leads one of his underlings to shoot an abortion doctor, but yet implicitly admits that he’s unable to do it himself.

The ID crowd are, likewise, more than willing to resort to blatantly hypocritical, anti-Christian methods and tactics to further their agenda…they talk about their research program and the “work” of other people (or they resort to distorting the work of others) but yet are apparently largely either unwilling or unable to carry out legitimate, productive scientific work themselves.

Okay, so maybe the parallels aren’t exactly 1:1, but they’re there, I think.

I just wrote up a little something to send to the Star Tribune (as was requested of me a couple of posts ago!) on why I don’t believe Intelligent Design belongs in schools. I don’t usually follow the Evolutionist/ Creationist debate too closely, so forgive me if I’m off-base here, or proposing something already practiced.

In writing the blurb to the newspaper, a term occurred to me to use that I don’t hear nearly often enough in this debate. The Evolutionists, should, again and again, be calling the Intelligent Design proponents what they are: pseudoscientists. I think that repeating this label will go a lot further than all the rational, detailed debate in the world.

(If you are reminded of the events leading to a certain recent election, then you might see my point about how much terminology and framing matter. Repeat the same well-considered label enough times, and your point gets through…)

Even an ill-educated public recognizes that a pseudoscience is to be avoided, and, well, shouldn’t be taught in biology class. They also know the word “pseudoscience”, and will emotionally recoil against it, much more than if something is “not science” (which lacks intuitive force.)

I think we evolutionists have gotten hooked and distracted by the details of the argument, and we are losing sight of the main issue, which is the issue of : Is Intelligent Design science? No, it’s not. Why not? Well, science consists of the scientific method. What does the scientific method consist of? Well, you start with observable phenomena and you come up with a hypothesis, and you test it… and so on. Since ID doesn’t consist of this, it is a pseudoscience.

We really shouldn’t have to stoop so low as to defend the specifics. We’ve got 146 years of modern biology to do that. The issue is, Intelligent Design, like Social Darwinism, like Phrenology, is a pseudoscience, and we need to unite in our efforts to educate the public on this fact. Our task is not to argue about the legitimacy of the findings of our science versus theirs- in fact, doing so has gotten them this far. Instead, we need to simply drive home* the definition of science, and show that their pseudoscience is no such animal.

*Another advantage to this approach is that rather than a pitiful public debate between adults and toddlers, taking the discussion up a notch means the public gets to hear a lesson on what science is, and how science works. It’s also much easier for the uninitiated to understand.

“The ID crowd are, likewise, more than willing to resort to blatantly hypocritical, anti-Christian methods and tactics to further their agenda … “

Sorry, I know it’s more of technicality, but…

…Replace “ID crowd” with “Christians” and/or “God-fearing.”

;)

so what is the current consesus as to what effect this “Kansas Kangaroo Court” will have?

will it simply fizzle?

will it totally backfire?

will it have at least some success (ewww)?

… Kansas Kangaroo.. sounds like a bad cartoon character.

Lizzie

Even an ill-educated public recognizes that a pseudoscience is to be avoided, and, well, shouldn’t be taught in biology class. They also know the word “pseudoscience”, and will emotionally recoil against it, much more than if something is “not science” (which lacks intuitive force.)

Agreed.

ID is Bigfoot all over again. Except this time around Bigfoot not only wanders the forests of the Pacific Northwest, he designs and creates all the life forms that ever lived on earth and tricks scientists into believing that they evolved.

Yeah, that’s the kind of stuff we need to teach our kids. With that kind of science training, we’ll find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease in no time.

Or at least we’ll get some decent science fiction out of them now that everyone realizes how badly Michael Crichton sucks.

Lizzie, I must disagree with you. Political/debating trickery should not be used to decide matters in a scientific argument. If ID is pseudo science then just point out why. BTW

What does the scientific method consist of? Well, you start with observable phenomena and you come up with a hypothesis, and you test it … and so on. Since ID doesn’t consist of this, it is a pseudoscience.

Wouldn’t this make string theory, the “multi universe” claims and subatomic physics pseudoscince also? At least to some extent.

Oh, I am certainly not advocating that ID or YWC should be taught in a science class.

Stephen

This isn’t a scientific argument. This is a political argument. ID is a political movement and must be fought in the political arena.

“My dear Kepler, what would you say of the learned here, who, replete with the pertinacity of the asp, have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? What shall we make of this? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?”

–Letter from Galileo Galilei to Johannes Kepler

The battle has been a long one, and the end is not in sight. Change a few words and we are in the 17th century or the 21st.

Your weblog helps so much. Thank you.

“My dear Kepler, what would you say of the learned here, who, replete with the pertinacity of the asp, have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? What shall we make of this? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?” –Letter from Galileo Galilei to Johannes Kepler

The “battle” has been a long one, and the end is not in sight. Change a few words and you’re in the 21st century and not the 17th.

Thank you for your weblog. It means a great deal to me.

Lizzie – I think you’re bang on about the importance of “framing”. But it’s worth noting that the term “evolutionist” which you used is itself a part of the Creationist/ID bandwagon’s so far depressingly successful attempts at framing the debate in their terms. Saying “evolutionist” rather than “scientist” plays into their attempt to portray it as two clashing dogmas rather than science v psuedoscience. A good scientist would dispose of evolution in the (highly unlikely) event that a better theory came along, which of course Creationism/ID isn’t.

Posted by Michael I on May 3, 2005 05:54 AM (e) (s)

Stephen

This isn’t a scientific argument. This is a political argument. ID is a political movement and must be fought in the political arena.

Michael, While the argument to teach ID in science classes may be political, the reasons not to do so are scientific. I think the reasons for not teaching ID as science are best made through scientific argument/proof. If the only way for arguing pro-evolution successfully is political then maybe the ID’ists have a point.

so what is the current consesus as to what effect this “Kansas Kangaroo Court” will have?

will it simply fizzle?

will it totally backfire?

will it have at least some success (ewww)?

It will lead to court.

And if the Dover idiots don’t kill ID as a strategy, the Kansas idiots will.

While the argument to teach ID in science classes may be political, the reasons not to do so are scientific. I think the reasons for not teaching ID as science are best made through scientific argument/proof. If the only way for arguing pro-evolution successfully is political then maybe the ID’ists have a point.

This argument is not simply over whether ID should be taught in a science class. It involves far far more than that.

See:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/fundies.htm

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/diagenda.html

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/wedge.html

Stephen Elliott Wrote:

While the argument to teach ID in science classes may be political, the reasons not to do so are scientific. I think the reasons for not teaching ID as science are best made through scientific argument/proof. If the only way for arguing pro-evolution successfully is political then maybe the ID’ists have a point.

The only reason not to teach “intelligent design” in science classes that comes with legal recourse in the USA is that what is being taught is religious. While there are plenty of pragmatic reasons not to teach ID as if it were science, these are consistently ignored by various and sundry politicians.

While having the straightforward rebuttal of “intelligent design” claims is necessary (see “Why Intelligent Design Fails” from Rutgers University Press), this on its own is not sufficient to settle the matter. Addressing the socio-political component of the issue is also necessary for the pro-science side.

As for “arguing pro-evolution successfully”, please visit a library and assess the scientific literature from 1859 onward. Then, assess the proportion of the scientific community that accepts the findings of evolutionary biology. Come to a conclusion.

Political/debating trickery should not be used to decide matters in a scientific argument.

But is it “trickery” if it’s the truth? Certainly not. I’m not just labeling it a pseudoscience because that’s a known bad name, I’m labeling it that because, nicely enough, that’s its proper name. It just also happens to be an effective one, too.

I’m not follow this debate very closely, but probably most Americans aren’t either. And, I just haven’t heard the word “pseudoscience” get linked with ID yet, as I believe needs to happen.

Just the way that Bush administration confused the American public into believing that we needed to invade Iraq by, consistently and without fail prefacing comments on Iraq with (absolutely unrelated) “terrible tragedy of 9/11, we should preface every mention of ID with the term “pseudoscience”. It worked for them with a lie, it should work for us when it’s the truth. However, in their case, they had to pay think tanks billions of dollars to work their manipulative lexicon out. Nicely enough, the word already exists for us, and the public already knows the word, too!

Wouldn’t this make string theory, the “multi universe” claims and subatomic physics pseudoscience also? At least to some extent.

Well, I think the difference has to do with “are there tests we can perform?” For example, Freud claimed to be a scientist, but he didn’t do any controlled, empirical testing, despite the fact that there are ways to test his claims. And biology has observable phenomena, and there are tests you can run that confirm or deny hypothesis. Biologists can, from their work, predict what will happen under specified circumstances. Shouldn’t we expect the same from ID’ers?

However, scientists know that ID is a pseudoscience, and we should call it as such, incessantly, even if we don’t have the weeks and months needed to explain why this is so, every time.

Political/debating trickery should not be used to decide matters in a scientific argument.

But is it “trickery” if it’s the truth? Certainly not. I’m not just labeling it a pseudoscience because that’s a known bad name, I’m labeling it that because, nicely enough, that’s its proper name. It just also happens to be an effective one, too.

Just the way that Bush administration confused the American public into believing that we needed to invade Iraq by, consistently and without fail prefacing comments on Iraq with the (absolutely unrelated) mention of that “terrible tragedy on 9/11, we should preface every mention of ID with the term “pseudoscience”. It worked for them with a lie, it should work for us when it’s the truth. However, in their case, they had to pay think tanks billions of dollars to work their manipulative lexicon out. Nicely enough, the word already exists for us, and the public already knows the word, too! I’d like to get to the point where even the most casual observers of this debate associate “ID” with “pseudoscience”.

Wouldn’t this make string theory, the “multi universe” claims and subatomic physics pseudoscience also? At least to some extent.

Well, I think the difference has to do with “are there tests we can perform?” For example, Freud claimed to be a scientist, but he didn’t do any controlled, empirical testing, despite the fact that there are ways to test his claims. And biology has observable phenomena, and there are tests you can run that confirm or deny hypothesis. Biologists can, from their work, predict what will happen under specified circumstances. Shouldn’t we expect the same from ID’ers?

However, scientists know that ID is a pseudoscience, and we should call it as such, incessantly, even if we don’t have the weeks and months needed to explain why this is so, every time.

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 3, 2005 07:50 AM (e) (s)

Stephen Elliott wrote:

While the argument to teach ID in science classes may be political, the reasons not to do so are scientific. I think the reasons for not teaching ID as science are best made through scientific argument/proof. If the only way for arguing pro-evolution successfully is political then maybe the ID’ists have a point.

The only reason not to teach “intelligent design” in science classes that comes with legal recourse in the USA is that what is being taught is religious. While there are plenty of pragmatic reasons not to teach ID as if it were science, these are consistently ignored by various and sundry politicians.

While having the straightforward rebuttal of “intelligent design” claims is necessary (see “Why Intelligent Design Fails” from Rutgers University Press), this on its own is not sufficient to settle the matter. Addressing the socio-political component of the issue is also necessary for the pro-science side.

As for “arguing pro-evolution successfully”, please visit a library and assess the scientific literature from 1859 onward. Then, assess the proportion of the scientific community that accepts the findings of evolutionary biology. Come to a conclusion.

Are you saying that “evolution” can’t be argued on a proof/evidence basis? I do not think you are, but that is what your coment sounds like.

I am sure that if a religous group tried to argue against the way electricity works, then science would not resort to debating trickery no matter what tactics the oposing group used.

The Evolutionists, should, again and again, be calling the Intelligent Design proponents what they are: pseudoscientists. I think that repeating this label will go a lot further than all the rational, detailed debate in the world.

And therein lies the problem, Lizzie. You evolutionists, collectively, would apparently rather do labels and such, instead of doing rational, detailed debate.

Because after all, if you do choose the latter, if you do choose simple straightforward face-to-face debates like the Kansas hearings, there’s always the possibility that the evolutionists will get their tails whipped, by scientists just as competent and pro-science as they are, in front of inquisitive journalists. A messy picture, no?

For sure, an anti-ID label like “pseudoscientists” or “pseudoscience” could be pretty seriously disputed in debate or in hearings, by the scientists and scholars on the non-Darwinism side. Evolutionists could wind up having to do some serious ‘splainin if they showed up at the Kansas hearings offering that label.

Hence the “safety first” media moves announced by KCFS. Pedro Irigonegaray, attorney for the evolution homies, has even announced that he doesn’t plan to call any witnesses or debate the merits of the theory of evolution. Go figure.

Today’s article in the Topeka Capital Journal explains Irigonegaray’s take on the matter, as well as a timely and appropriate rejoinder from ID attorney John Calvert.

“We determined that it would be inappropriate to debate an issue such as evolution with individuals who are merely bringing to table a supernatural answer,” Irigonegaray said during an interview.

But John Calvert, a retired Lake Quivira attorney organizing the case for intelligent design advocates and evolution critics, called Irigonegaray’s tactics “silly” and “all bluff.”

Calvert also said following intelligent design advocates’ proposals is the only way to avoid a legal challenge.

“Pedro doesn’t have a case. He knows he doesn’t have a case, so he’s not putting one on,” said Calvert, who helped found the Intelligent Design Network. “His client is on trial, and he’s not going to have him testify because he can’t afford to put his client in the dock.”

Re-read that last paragraph. THAT is the real deal going down this week. Safety first, you know!

So, Lizzie, what you said actually makes sense. In fact, from a historical perspective, your idea got quite a bit of play in 1999, and successfully. Choosing to deploy labels and such, instead of rational, scientific debate, ultimately won the day for the evolutionists. But maybe NOT so this time, hmm? Not nearly so, amiga. This time, people are a tad bit.…ready.

FL :-)

from FL: You evolutionists, collectively, would apparently rather do labels and such, instead of doing rational, detailed debate.

If we were “just doing labels”, then why would I be bothering to write a request that the scientists use the correct label?

I suppose it takes both: using the correct name (pseudoscience) as well as the rational, detailed debate.

Lizzie, if you’ll notice, was not suggesting the plaintiffs in Kansas use the word “pseudoscience,” she was making a general statement about its usefulness and accuracy. While I don’t really like the idea of descending to the IDers’ level, the word pseudoscience is certainly applicable to ID. However, calling them what they are is NOT enough. We need to say clearly WHY ID is pseudoscience, in at least as many situations in which we use the word. Then, we’ll have a distinct advantage. The ID people have ONLY names for us, nothing to back them up. Calling us dogmatic and “materialistic” has no meaning when our side can actually support what we say.

That’s tough talk FL, but this isn’t a high school football game, it’s academics.

“We determined that it would be inappropriate to debate an issue such as evolution with individuals who are merely bringing to table a supernatural answer,” Irigonegaray said during an interview.

I applaud this decision. The burden of proof is squarely on the Intelligent Design Creationists. They are the ones proposing the change in curriculum so it is their duty to show its merits versus 160 years of modern and molecular biology. Try as I might though, no one has been able to produce for me an intelligible ID theory. All I’ve heard is rants against evolution rooted in religious paranoia. A theory these do not make. Hear that splat? It’s Intelligent Design Creationists falling on their faces.

FL Please spend some time researching the history of the many, many debates between scientists and ID advocates. Just on PT alone. Your accusations are untrue, Scientists debate all time. New info is published and introduced through the journals. New ideas are accepted in Real science after being tested over and over. GOOD SCIENCE IS NOT A RESULT OF A MAJORITY VOTE.

Stephen Elliott Wrote:

Are you saying that “evolution” can’t be argued on a proof/evidence basis? I do not think you are, but that is what your coment sounds like.

Try reading the comment again, this time for comprehension.

Still not getting through? OK, fine. The arguments have been going on for over a century in the scientific community. The evidence has been gathered and debated for that long. There’s a lot of it. Visit a research university’s library to get some idea just how much. This has convinced the great majority of the scientific community that evolutionary biology is a well-supported branch of scientific endeavor. Not only can evolution be argued on the basis of evidence, that is precisely what has happened. It’s been done.

Now that that is settled, let’s turn to antievolution. Antievolutionary protest is not grounded in a dispute over the scientific arguments; it is driven instead by socio-political factors. No matter how many times Dr. Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research was told that he had his facts wrong, he still brought out the same old discredited points in his subsequent presentations. The evidence being against Gish wasn’t going to alter his talking points. Trying to undertake scientific argument with Dr. Gish was a completely fruitless endeavor, though many people gave it a go, including my Ph.D. advisor.

Nor do antievolution advocates limit themselves to argument that has some relation to science. They do things like try to redefine science. Or introduce legislation. Or influence regulatory bodies. If antievolutionists had a case, they would convince the scientific community of their points, and the instructional program in K-12 would follow. That’s not how it goes down.

You see, Stephen, the reason your complaint is so annoying is that it requires a complete inversion of reality. You should be pestering the antievolutionists to make their case to the scientific community on the basis of scientific argumentation. Instead, you are criticizing scientists and those interested in good science education for meeting a political challenge in the political arena.

And what is going on in Kansas is just politics.

Wouldn’t this make string theory, the “multi universe” claims and subatomic physics pseudoscience also? At least to some extent.

The Nova episode featuring Brian Greene had interviews with a number of physicists who made this point. Appartenly, strings are so small (by comparison, if an atom were the size of our solar system, a super string would be the size of an oak tree) that they may forever remain invisible to science.

FL: It’s tedious to have to say so over and over, but one more time: The only meaningful “debate” is the one occurring on an ongoing basis in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. All the public opinion polls, kangaroo courts and right wing talk radio circuses can’t change that.

It worked for them with a lie, it should work for us when it’s the truth.

That’s a nice thought, but the thing about lying is that you can say pretty much whatever you want, but the thing about the truth is that not everyone can be bothered to evaluate the facts. The liars can always trump the truth. Mr. Honest: “I’m sorry but that guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Here, read this 300 page manual.” Mr. Liar: “Pay no mind to that bully, I have free cheesecake and magic spells and eternity in paradise!” Sure, Mr. Honest can offer the cheesecake too, but magic spells and eternity is some powerful stuff.

A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. – Herbert Hoover

Yes. Accurate measurement of reproducible observations plus rigorous mathematical analysis of the resulting data plus integration of that analysis with previous observations is the rational core of scientific theory. It is transparently obvious that ID turns this process on its head, reasoning from a priori metaphysical assumptions to assert an hypothesis, then seeking points of evidence to support that hypothesis. It is not so very hard to deduce that the concerns of ID proponents are intrinsically about metaphysics rather than science.

It is because scientists in general turn a blind eye on metaphysical considerations, that Science, the metaphysical entity, can be portrayed as inimical to the natural spiritual aspirations of ordinary people. Is there a proper metaphysics of Science? I think so. Think awesome wonderous mystery of nature, gradually revealing her inmost secrets. It’s an inspirational meme that fishes in the sea of belief, while reason sits on the shore cutting bait.

Sure, Mr. Honest can offer the cheesecake too, but magic spells and eternity is some powerful stuff.

Your point is very well taken.… (sigh.) God, this world is a tragic place.

Lizzie

I’m not follow this debate very closely, but probably most Americans aren’t either. And, I just haven’t heard the word “pseudoscience” get linked with ID yet, as I believe needs to happen.

I think it does happen more often than you think.

Personally, I consider ID to be a fairly unpopular pseudoscientific belief when compared to speaking with the dead, Bigfoot, psychic predictions and, of course, astrology. But that’s going to change as more and more rubes pick up the lingo and start reciting the Diclaimery Institute script.

Here is my approach when I hear someone talking about the “science” of ID.

First, I say, “You have to be kidding me? Do you believe in Bigfoot too? Can I borrow your psychic?”

Then I let them try to defend the “theory”. Of course, they are doomed to failure because they can’t do so without telling lies or resorting to attacking evolutionary biology (otherwise known as “changing the subject”).

It’s a miserable experience for the poor sap. Some people, of course, will never be convinced because they can’t tell the difference between political propoganda and scripture, e.g., when Jim Dobson or Bill Dembski tells them something is so, then praise the Lord the truth has been revealed. A sad state.

Regardless, people tend to remember when someone tells them to their face that they are being played for a sucker. Especially when it happens two or three times.

This is the “grass roots” approach to dealing with the sick charlatans at the Disclaimery Institute and it’s one of the most important effects of this blog and others like it.

nope. sounds like you are about right to me.

Fyi, ID proponent Ralph Seelke’s research plan

While historical, anatomic, and DNA evidence has made a strong case for evolution, the experimental support for evolution – those aspects that can be demonstrated in a laboratory setting - has been weak. Moreover, evolution has often been compared to economic theory- excellent at explaining past events, but offering little in the way of prediction. The purpose of my research is to put evolutionary theory on a firmer experimental footing. To do this, I have taken advantage of the most well-studied organism on earth - the colon bacterium Escherichia coli . My objective is to follow the evolution of E. coli for thousands of generations, asking very specific questions about its ability to evolve new functions. Our model strain for this has been E. coli AB1157, a strain with over ten defects in sugar utilization or amino acid synthesis genes. My students and I have put AB1157 under a variety of selective conditions, asking if evolution is able to correct these defects. Our experimental approach is simple: we allow AB1157 to grow under conditions in which mutants that have gained a selective advantage rapidly dominate a population. We grow our bacteria each day, and then transfer 1% of the population to new growth medium the following day. In this manner, we can observe 6.64 generations of evolution each day, over 46 generations per week, almost 200 generations per month, and over 2,400 generations in a year. In 10 years, using this method, we could follow the evolution of a culture for over 20,000 generations, the human equivalent of over 600,000 years of evolution.

We have been using this approach since June of 2001. However, our early results were so interesting that we have not followed a microbe’s evolution for more than a few hundred generations yet. We find that some genes evolve rapidly, almost overnight; others take weeks to evolve; and one has yet to show any indication of evolution. Our objective is to follow the evolution of several genes for at least a thousand generations, and then use DNA sequencing to determine what is an easy task for evolution, what is a harder task, and what is a task that cannot be done in the time allotted.

Why isn’t God letting that gene evolve, dammit?

FL Wrote:

Flint says, “But IDers, like the creationists before them, have for decades declined the only debate that counts – the one in the professional scientific arena.” But that’s not what evolutionists said regarding McClean vs Arkansas. They were (and are) VERY happy with debates being decided in the courtroom or at the ballot box

Too many Steves, too many “F’s.” That was me, not Flint, and I never said that “evolutionists” declined other debate arenas like the courts. All I said is that anti-evolutionists set the precedent for declining debates.

Court debates do “count”, but not in the sense that I meant. A court case can legitimize a theory (or even a non-theory like ID) but it cannot make it work. Only sufficient research can. If any of the mutually contradictory creationist alternatives had succeeded in the science arena, however, there would have been no need for legal battles or the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ID strategy. Think about it, if the evidence did favor a young earth, or at least an old earth without common descent, there would be plenty of alternative material to keep most Genesis literalists happy (recall that OEC satisfied them before YEC became popular). There would be no need to invoke design, let alone name the designer. And without that, no one could accuse it of being a religious idea, no matter how close it was to Genesis – if the evidence fit of course. But outside of the “design” aspect, most prominent IDers seem to know that, as it stands the evidence does not point to anything remotely like Genesis.

Re “Current definition: “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us.”

Proposed change: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory-building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

Hmmm. If they don’t like the word “natural”, why not just drop that word? Though it occurs to me that the given current definition could also be taken to include things like police investigations?

How about “Science is the human activity of seeking explanations for the way things work in the world around us.”

Re “Fyi, ID proponent Ralph Seelke’s research plan”

That sounds like some good research there. Though it doesn’t sound like it has much to do with ID per se. :)

Henry

Another good article about the Kansas Kangaroo court, courtesy of Tony Ortega at The Pitch: Your OFFICIAL program to the Scopes II Kansas Monkey Trial

What a triumphant journey awaits Mustafa Akyol.

Kansas taxpayers are footing the bill to bring the Istanbul resident to Topeka as one of 23 witnesses scheduled to testify this week before a subcommittee of the Kansas State School Board in its unorthodox “trial” over science teaching standards. (Fortunately, Akyol happens to be in Washington, D.C., on other business, so Kansans are paying only to bring him across the country, not all the way from Turkey.)

Born in 1972, Akyol has a master’s degree in history and writes a column for a newspaper in Istanbul. He also has identified himself as a spokesman for the murky Bilim Arastirma Vakfi, a group with an innocuous-sounding name – it means “Science Research Foundation” – but a nasty reputation.

Said to have started as a religious cult that preyed on wealthy members of Turkish society, the Bilim Arastirma Vakfi has appeared in lurid media tales about sex rings, a blackmail prosecution and speculation about its charismatic leader, a man named Adnan Oktar. But if BAV’s notoriety has been burnished by a sensationalist Turkish media, the secretive group has earned its reputation as a prodigious publisher of inexpensive ideological paperbacks. BAV has put out hundreds of titles written by “Harun Yahya” (a pseudonym) on various topics, but most of them are Islamic-based attacks on the theory of evolution.

Turkey is a secular country that aspires to join the European Union and boasts several institutions of higher learning on a par with good Western universities. But beginning in 1998, BAV spearheaded an effort to attack Turkish academics who taught Darwinian theory. Professors there say they were harassed and threatened, and some of them were slandered in fliers that labeled them “Maoists” for teaching evolution. In 1999, six of the professors won a civil court case against BAV for defamation and were awarded $4,000 each.

But seven years after BAV’s offensive began, says Istanbul University forensics professor Umit Sayin (one of the slandered faculty members), the battle is over.

“There is no fight against the creationists now. They have won the war,” Sayin tells the Pitch from his home in Istanbul. “In 1998, I was able to motivate six members of the Turkish Academy of Sciences to speak out against the creationist movement. Today, it’s impossible to motivate anyone. They’re afraid they’ll be attacked by the radical Islamists and the BAV.”

Sayin is well aware of Mustafa Akyol, whom he identifies as one of BAV’s many volunteers. (Akyol himself has described his role for the group as that of a spokesman.) The organization’s source of funding and internal structure are well-guarded secrets, Sayin says. The Turkish government, he adds, refuses to take an interest, tacitly encouraging the ongoing effort against scientists.

“It’s hopeless here,” Sayin says. “I’ve been fighting with these guys for six years, and it’s come to nothing.” As a result of the BAV campaign and other efforts to denounce evolution, he adds, most members of Turkey’s parliament today not only discount evolution but consider it a hoax. “Now creationism is in [high school] biology books,” Sayin says. “Evolution is presented [by BAV] as a conspiracy of the Jewish and American imperialists to promote new world order and fascist motives … and the majority of the people believe it.”

MSNBC has a new article up about the Kangaroo Court:

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7749688/

I heard tell that Ahmanson’s name came up during the Kangaroo Court. Anyone have any details?

Kansas taxpayers are footing the bill to bring the Istanbul resident to Topeka as one of 23 witnesses scheduled to testify this week before a subcommittee of the Kansas State School Board in its unorthodox “trial” over science teaching standards. (Fortunately, Akyol happens to be in Washington, D.C., on other business, so Kansans are paying only to bring him across the country, not all the way from Turkey.)

Born in 1972, Akyol has a master’s degree in history and writes a column for a newspaper in Istanbul. He also has identified himself as a spokesman for the murky Bilim Arastirma Vakfi, a group with an innocuous-sounding name — it means “Science Research Foundation” — but a nasty reputation.

From the NCSE:

BAV has a long history of contact with American creationists, including receiving assistance from ICR. Duane Gish and Henry Morris visited Turkey in 1992, just after the establishment of BAV, and participated in a creationist conference in Istanbul. Morris, the former president of ICR, became well acquainted with Turkish fundamentalists and Islamic sects during his numerous trips to Turkey in search of Noah’s Ark (Acts & Facts 1998a,1998b). BAV’s creationist conferences in April and June 1998 in Istanbul and Ankara, which included many US creationists, developed after Harun Yahya started to publish his anti-evolution books, which were delivered to the public free of charge or given away by the daily fundamentalist newspapers Akit and Zaman as promotions.

http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/rn[…]_30_1899.asp

First Ahmanson, now this Harun Yahya nutjob. Gee, the IDers sure do seem to have an awfully big soft spot for religious kooks …

But it IS nice to see our American Christian fundie nutjobs playing nicely with the Turkish Islamic fundie nutjobs. After all, they are brothers under the skin. Maybe they can join forces for a nice holy war against civilization.

Oh wait, they already HAVE. …

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on May 2, 2005 11:36 PM.

Welcome Article on Natural Selection in Peppered Moths was the previous entry in this blog.

Quote miner, quote miner, pants on fire … is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter