For gorsake, stop laughing, this is serious


It's difficult not to laugh at the Discovery Institute, with their transparent attempts to pretend that they don't have a religious agenda, and their nonstop media spinning. Recently there's been the hilarity of the Kansas Board of Education hearings. Before that there was the claim by DI fellow Jay Richards, a philosopher and theologian, that he thought there was a problem with the theory of relativity, based on his reading of magazine articles. In Paul Myers' words, it's like "a circus where they've fired all the acrobats and animal trainers and it's clowns, clowns, clowns all the time".

It would all be very funny if it wasn't so serious. Even though ID may be dead in the water scientifically, it is a real threat to science education, and ID-friendly initiatives are popping up all over the United States.

All of which gives me an excuse to present the following cartoon, the caption of which seems appropriate. This is a classic Australian cartoon from 1933:


Unfortunately I can’t seem to track down a copy of it on the web, but Steve Benson’s cartoon “The Carnival is back in town” is so on the money.

But do try and find a copy.

And then have a good chuckle.

I am not completely sure that best response is not ridicule for ID creationists, as it is for flat-earthers.

There is a copy of the cartoon on my “Leave no child behind, Teach Evolution” page – see

One belly laugh is worth a thousand syllogisms, in response to these clueless people. I think the best response is to refer them to the appropriate preexisting response, such as at talk origins. To argue details with them, looks like debate within the scientific community. That’s why they want to do it.

My view is that all you can do with “Intelligent Design” Creationists is to lampoon them. There is no science. All they produce is the same old tired, debunked pseudo-science. I’m amazed that Behe still has a job, Dembski got fired although to be accurate his contract was not renewed. Thanks to Dembski, Calvert et al met their Waterloo in Topeka.

Note that Dembski, the coward, did not testify in Topeka. Alfred E. Neuman of “Intelligent” Design.

I checked out “” and got a “Site not Found” message. Typical.

Mike gave us

“There is a copy of the cartoon on my “Leave no child behind, Teach Evolution” page – see

Thats exactly the Benson cartoon I was talking about.

I do like the depiction creationism being the wolf in sheep’s (ID) clothing..

Stewie, i was trying to find that cartoon yesterday. it’s so good.

“Alfred E. Neuman of “Intelligent” Design.”

I’m tellin you bill, if you read that Hampton Sides article “This is Not the Place”, you’ll be calling him the John L. Sorenson of Intelligent Design.[…]ormon33.html

In response to criticism that I argued against ID without bothering to read the damn stuff, I checked out the ISCID website and looked at PCID or whatever their journal is called. In it, there is a “research” article by Jonathan Wells that reads more like a memoir. From the guys who claim that science is too hand-wavy, unfairly brands IDists as things they’re not, and too often draws pictures that are intended to mislead, and makes unfounded assumptions that lead it astray, we get an article that:

1.) Is titled “Using Intelligent Design Theory to Guide Scientific Research” but reduces the claim in the abstract to “ID could indirectly demonstrate its scientific fruitfulness.” The paper then contains no research on intelligent design, or original research at all, for that matter. Citations are poorly considered, and in some cases where there should clearly be citations, none are given.

2.) Refers to “Western biology.” And what OTHER forms of biology are there? Talk about branding your opponents (whom you chose to make opponents in the first place) as things they’re not.

3.) Contains a thoroughly contrived graphic of the idea in question, which contains superfluous details with no grounding in biology.

4.) Starts by assuming that evolution is “false” and ID is “true.” Proceeds to wrongly pin certain principles on evolutionary biology and beat straw men, then retreats from this position in the space of two paragraphs:

TOPS then explicitly rejects several implications of Darwinian evolution. These include: (1a) The implication that living things are best understood from the bottom up, in terms of their molecular constituents. (1b) The implications that DNA mutations are the raw materials of macroevolution, that embryo development is controlled by a genetic program, that cancer is a genetic disease, etc. (1c) The implication that many features of living things are useless vestiges of random processes, so it is a waste of time to inquire into their functions. It is important to note that “implication” is not the same as “logical deduction.” Darwinian evolution does not logically exclude the ID implications listed here, nor does ID logically exclude every implication of Darwinian evolution. A Darwinian may entertain the idea that other features of an embryo besides DNA influence its development, and Darwinians can (and do) use reverse engineering to understand the functions of features in living things. Furthermore, an ID viewpoint does not logically rule out genetic programs or the idea that some features of living things may be useless vestiges of evolution. The differences between Darwinian evolution and ID that form the starting-point for TOPS are not mutually exclusive logical entailments, but differences in emphasis. The goal of TOPS is not to show that Darwinian evolution leads logically to false conclusions, but to explore what happens when ID rather than evolutionary theory is used as a framework to ask research questions.

The paper launches into its “results” section in usual ID style, going after the biggest problem imaginable in a glossy, what-me-worry-about-the-details manner: CANCER. Yes, Jonathan Wells has trumped all of biology’s decades of research by proposing an ID he indirectly got from ID (you see, ID helps one think more creatively).

Alas, I’m afraid the joke’s on me for wasting a half hour with this rubbish.

Jonathan Well is a clown for Rev. Moon first and the Discovery Institute second, depending on where he is when you ask the question.

When you squeeze his big red nose he says “ID is awesome! Give me some money!” When he’s shot from a cannon, he shouts, “Gay people are disgusting! Buy the Washington Times!” And when he rides his pony in a circle, he says, “Thank you, UC Berkeley! I took you suckers a ride!”

Jonathan Well is a clown for Rev. Moon first and the Discovery Institute second, depending on where he is when you ask the question.

There was some suggestion here at PT recently that JW had renounced Rev. Moon there on the witness stand in Topeka. (Can’t say for sure whether he did it three times and then a cock crowed). Anyone have any more information on this?

(Can’t say for sure whether he did it three times and then a cock crowed) Russell, that was funny.

Well, and then there’s just revolting, unwarranted crap like this: Dembski says of Darwin today, on Dembski’s blog:

[Just so there is no doubt, the author in particular is claiming that whites will exterminate blacks.]

Just so there is no doubt, that’s not what Darwin said. Dembski is a liar, one who gets there with simple, but probably intentional, mis-quoting of a great man.

Can Dembski fail to know he has the story wrong? No.

The indecency of such attacks is appalling. It’s especially appalling considering Darwin’s lament of the unfortunate tendency he saw for Europeans with guns to wipe out (“exterminate” in Darwin’s usual parlance) cultures and people Darwin found superior to Europeans in their setting.

It’s a crusade for way too many of those guys, a Children’s Crusade, with all the ignoble trappings.

Dave Cerutti Wrote:

2.) Refers to “Western biology.” And what OTHER forms of biology are there?

Perhaps they want to mischaracterise the objection to “Of Pandas and People”, on the valid grounds that it is a pseudoscientific religious scam, as instead being an objection because pandas are eastern. Similarly, the objection to the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt, on the grounds that it is not scientific but politically and religiously motivated legal machinations, would become an issue of kangaroos being antipodean. While the underlying objection to untested/untestable literalist camel theology would then be because camels are middle-eastern.

“Using Intelligent Design Theory to Guide Scientific Research”

Let’s be blunt here — there *is no scienticic theory of ID*. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Not a one. And IDers are simply lying to us, deliberately and with malice aforethought, when they claim there is.

Anyone who doubts that, should simply ask any prominent IDer to *tell us what this scientific theory of ID is, and how it can be tested using the scientific method*. The resulting silence will be deafening.

Please, for my sake, stop laughing. This is serious.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Foley published on May 15, 2005 7:28 PM.

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