The Kansas Science Hearings Metastory

| 37 Comments

Here’s the latest from Red State Rabble, where correspondent Pat Hayes is doing a splendid job of tracking the Kansas kangaroo hearings.

This entry, The Kansas Science Hearings Metastory, is worth repeating here at the Panda’s Thumb.

Monday, May 09, 2005 The message that intelligent design proponents hoped would come out of last week’s testimony in Topeka is that there is a controversy between scientists over the validity evolutionary theory.

‘There is a genuine scientific controversy,’ insisted John Calvert, the intelligent design attorney, somewhat plaintively as the hearings came to a close Saturday.

The false notion that scientists are divided is key to the intelligent design movement’s strategy to convince school districts around the country to ‘teach the controversy’ over evolution.

That, of course, is only the first step on the road to their ultimate goal of replacing religiously neutral science with a science consonant with their own narrow Christian and theistic convictions.

That strategy was dealt a body blow by the refusal of science organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Kansas Academy of Science, Kansas Association for Biology Teachers, Kansas Association of the Teachers of Science to participate in the hearings.

The knockout punch came when Science Coalition attorney Pedro Irigonegaray compelled the intelligent design witnesses to confess, during a series of withering cross-examinations, that they hadn’t bothered to read the science standards draft written by the majority on the curriculum committee before coming to Kansas at taxpayer expense.

The rightwing, Christian fundamentalist school board members who are running the hearings compounded the blow by admitting that they too hadn’t read the draft ‘word for word’ that they so oppose.

“That wasn’t the news,” board member Connie Morris complained somewhat lamely as the hearings unwound last week.

But, of course it was, and like Humpty Dumpty nothing the witnesses, board members, or the Discovery Institute did could put the controversy fiction back together again.

The fact is, that almost everyone who read about the hearings in the papers or watched them on the television news knew that thousands of dollars were spent bringing witnesses to Kansas from all around the world who hadn’t done their homework.

The barnstorming brotherhood of bible college biologists came, they saw, they did not conquer.

The final act in the hearings will play out this Thursday when Pedro Irigonegaray sums up the case for the pro-science side, and Red State Rabble will be there to cover it.

Credit for this victory goes primarily to Kansas Citizens for Science, in particular Harry McDonald and the indefatigable Jack Krebs. Pedro Irigonegaray also played an enormously important part in exposing the feeble claims of the intelligent design witnesses, and the one-sidedness of the board. Science faculty from the University of Kansas and Kansas State University did not testify, but they monitored the hearings and made themselves available to the media to debunk the pseudoscience presented during testimony.

The KCFS strategy was high risk, but it has paid off handsomely. The defense of science is in good hands in Kansas.

The victory last week will not prevent the board from approving the intelligent design minority draft later this summer, but the public awareness coming out of the hearings will deny the board the political cover they hoped to gain from them.

Next year, half the state school board will be up for election. Then, citizens will be able to decide whether they want to be represented by zealots, or people who will act in the best interests of Kansas schoolchildren.

Red State Rabble has received an enormous amount of e-mail since the hearings began (sorry about the longer than ususal wait for a response) asking about how to help. Here are a few suggestions:

Join KCFS and support their work.

Sign the Science Coalition statement – even if you live outside Kansas. It will let people know that the eyes of the world are on this battle.

Get active in the defense of science, reason, and separation of church and state where you live. The barnstorming brotherhood may be coming soon to a school near you.

# posted by Pat Hayes @ 6:00 AM

37 Comments

barnstorming brotherhood of bible college biologists

Douglas Adams would be proud :-)

An excellent article “Barnum on Steroids” in The Baltimore Chronicle, with high praise for Irigonegaray:

Pedro Irigonegaray, the “lyin’ tamer”

The unified response of scientific organizations to boycott this show trial should show people that there is a scientific consensus, and it’s against ID. What they do with that knowledge is anyone’s guess, but they shouldn’t be able to say that there’s a significant number of scientists who favor ID.

Where is that statement on their website?

Just Bob wrote

Where is that statement on their website?

It’s here.

Here are more detained instructions:

This forum is for people to sign the Position Paper on the Science Standards written and released by the founders of the coalition of organizations and individuals for quality science.

Procedure for signing

The Easy Way

Send an email to [Enable javascript to see this email address.] with your name and any identifying information you want to include, such as profession, professional affiliation, general role such as parent or concerned citizen, and so on. You may also include a brief supporting statement if you wish.

We will not make email address, phone number, or house address public even if you send that information to us.

Registering directly here at the forum

1. You may either a. Login if you are already a registered user b. Register and then login c. Or skip logging in and visit as a Guest

2. Click on New Topic in the upper-right hand part of the screen. If you are a Guest, type Guest in the Displayed Name box.

[Note: If you post as a Guest, you will not be able to edit your post. If you do post as Guest and then want to edit your message, send an email to [Enable javascript to see this email address.] and we’ll help you fix things.]

Hope that helps! - Dave

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 5, column 89, byte 405 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

While we’re talking about Kansas just thought I’d take the opportunity to mention a very good website: oceansofkansas.com This site looks at Kansas when it was covered by sea during the Cretaceous.

Hey, you people should read William Saleten’s latest heap of dung in Slate (http://www.slate.com/id/2118320/). He obviously did little research into ID, but he’s convinced that the liberal conspiracy against it is wrong.

Nuts to that guy.

William Saleten says: They complain, legitimately, that Calvert and Harris are trying to expand the definition of science beyond “natural explanations.” But have you read the definition Calvert and Harris propose? It would define science as a continuous process of “observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

No doubt the “logical argument” would be the most important piece of their new definition of science. As Les Lane likes to point out: The abuse propositional logic is one of the DI’s favorite rhetorical tools, and Britney Spears too.

Saleten says next: Abstract creationism can’t qualify for such scrutiny.

Hey Mr. Saleten, you do know that there is a reason why these creationists want to change the definition of science, right?

And when the debate turns to the identity of the designer there’s always:

http://www.sitchin.com/designer.htm

Article on Kansas at Slate.com:

http://www.slate.com/id/2118320/

Never mind. If I’d bothered to look a few posts back, I’d have noticed that IanB already linked the article.

Saletan manages to conflate IDC with theistic evolution. And Slate doesn’t allow comments, so this will be seen as an “unbiased” opinion. Then they have the gall to thank Nick along with Dembski and Willis of the Creation Science Assn for the definition. So did Hutcherson, the fundie minister, allow Microsoft to trade homophobia for creationism?

Saletan manages to conflate IDC with theistic evolution.

Two of the four most visible ID advocates accept common ancestry, viz., Behe and Dembski (Dembski said as much on Monday’s Nightline). Doesn’t that make them theistic evolutionists?

Michael Finley wrote

Two of the four most visible ID advocates accept common ancestry, viz., Behe and Dembski (Dembski said as much on Monday’s Nightline). Doesn’t that make them theistic evolutionists?

Not at all. Just as young-earth creationists are dead-set against “theistic evolution” (example), so too are Intelligent Design creationists (example).

Is Dembski a Theistic Evolutionist? Not according to… Bill Dembski:

Howard Van Till’s review of my book No Free Lunch exemplifies perfectly why theistic evolution remains intelligent design’s most implacable foe. Not only does theistic evolution sign off on the naturalism that pervades so much of contemporary science, but it justifies that naturalism theologically – as though it were unworthy of God to create by any means other than an evolutionary process that carefully conceals God’s tracks.

Short answer: No.

“Doesn’t that make them theistic evolutionists?”

let’s take a look at what dembski said, shall we:

in his first statement, he talked about the “science behind ID” (which there isn’t any.. he simply talked about a body of literature that is a buch of wanking about what “could” be there, and what we “might” look for). Moroever, he spent part of that talking about how evolution is really religion because of things that gould said, and how evolutionary theory is “totally up in the air” because of the “division in the scientific community”, and how “design” can’t be explained by the current theory.

no support that he is a theistic evolutionist there; sounds pretty much dead on ID to me.

going on…

in his next statement, he talks about how “intelligence is a perfectly natural explanation amongst his colleagues”, and how the search for ET’s essentially mirrors the ID movement. Moreover, he rejects the “materialism” of the standard scientific approach.

so, pretty much dead on ID… no support for evolutionary theory here.

going on…

he does note that “creationism was defeated via Edwards v Aguillar” (and so sets up the real reason he supports ID) and he thinks that the current mainstream scientists are “more of a problem than the right-wing politicos”.

hmm.. nope no theistic evolution here either.

in his next statement, he places intelligent design as being more comprehensive than creationism, so is smack in the “middle” between creationism and science.

then he goes into asking what the merits are of intelligent design…

then he goes into how all the young people are gonna latch onto intelligent design…

I watched every minute of the video posted on the telic thoughts site, and not ONCE did dembski mention accepting common descent.

moreover, how on earth can you claim he is even close to being a theistic evolutionist when he uses intelligent design in every single one of his statments?

yikes.

@finley:

I’ve seen your posts over on Dembski’s blog.

I am convinced that you are 80% ID troll, 20% real philosopher.

I gave you the benefit of the doubt in the beginning, but it seems pretty clear you are just another IDer.

stop pretending.

STJ,

As I’ve said many times, I am currently agnostic except for the basic point that a divine being is ultimately responsible for the existence of the universe.

Posting on Dembski’s site no more makes me an IDer than posting here makes me a Darwinist. I havn’t made up my mind because I don’t yet have an adequate grasp of either side. If that’s being a troll, then so be it.

You don’t post here. You comment here. The only posters on Dembski’s blog are IDers.

@finley:

In totally misinterpreting a quote from Dawkins, and using a bit of poor logic to boot, you pooted over on Debski’s blog:

“If evolution could be the product of design in the future, why not in the past? “

sounds like ID to me.

As I’ve said many times, I am currently agnostic except for the basic point that a divine being is ultimately responsible for the existence of the universe.

You are of course entirely entitled to hold whatever relgiious opinion you like (hte fundies have not yet managed to repeael freedom of religion).

Of course, what you are NOT entitled to do is lie to others by claimingf your religious opinions are really “science”, like IDers do.

And you are REALY REALY not entitled to pass laws mandating that your religious opinions be taught in a science classroom as if they WERE science.

And that is my bitch with IDers. If they preach their drivel in chruch where it belongs, I have no problem with them.

a Darwinist

IDers keep using this word, but never seem to explain just what it means.

Is it anything like a “Newtonist” or Einsteinist” or “Faradayist”?

Or is it just the latest fundie code word for “atheist”?

Re Comment #29510, where Sir_Toejam said

I watched every minute of the video posted on the telic thoughts site, and not ONCE did dembski mention accepting common descent.

At 1:30 into the tape (said Telic Thoughts download having only the last half (talking heads) segment of the Mon. 9th ABC Nightline), Dembski says

“We’re talking about common descent, universal common ancestry. I think there’s good evidence for that.”

FYI, Dave

Damn, Dave Thomas beat me to it.

Stephanopoulos asks: “But the evidence is overwhelming, it’s been tested again and again and again, that evolution is valid, hasn’t it?”

“ … if we’re talking about common descent, universal common ancestry, I think there is good evidence for that.”

It would seem that STJ’s listening comprehension needs some polish.

Steve Wrote:

You don’t post here. You comment here. The only posters on Dembski’s blog are IDers.

If that’s the definition of ‘post’, then no one but Dembski posts at his blog. Begging your pardon, I comment here and I comment there.

steve, may I recommend a fresh cup of coffee?

“It would seem that STJ’s listening comprehension needs some polish.”

got me there. hmm. i watched it twice too.

otoh, the rest of the quotes i took from dembski don’t really waver from the ID stance, do they? why on earth would you try to state here that Dembski is a theistic evolutionist when he himself says he is not?

and my reading comprehension might be no better than my auditory, but it seems to me the statement you made on dembski’s blog does in fact support your belief in ID.

care to comment on that? or perhaps on the apparent logic lapse of your inference about future design implying past design? or should we just assume that your statement was just as uncharacteristic as Dembski’s claim of acceptance of the evidence for common descent?

I couldn’t care less if you are an agnostic. I do care if you think that “intelligent design” is science, or that we could “infer” it happened in the past because of modern methods humans use.

btw, dembski’s acceptance of common descent is only with the caveat that he rejects all of natural selection in getting there (probably why i didn’t even notice him saying it). in other words, he interprets the evidence of common descent as in support of design, not natural selection.

again, NOT theistic evolutionist.

Dembski has a blog on which one can comment? news to me. Where is this, Finley.

(GWW: i wasn’t being a language jerk that time, i was distinguishing)

Ooo, he does, that’s amazing. In general, conservatives and creationists don’t permit comments.

well, to be sure, any negative (to his mind) comments are usually quickly removed by Dembski.

that’s why there are so few comments.

STJ,

First you ask me to clarify my position, then you tell me that you couldn’t care less. Which is it? If you truly don’t care, then ignore me and save us both the time.

I have not yet made up my mind. I am trying on, so to speak, various positions to see if any fit; and the best way to do so is to argue for them. There is no better way to discover the strengths and weaknesses of an argument than to take it up against someone who strongly disagrees.

Steve Wrote:

Dembski has a blog on which one can comment? News to me. Where is this, Finley?

http://www.uncommondescent.com/

Though as STJ points out, Dembski has no problem censoring posts if he thinks they are unsatisfactory.

Finley

There is no better way to discover the strengths and weaknesses of an argument than to take it up against someone who strongly disagrees.

Why not argue that ID is garbage on Dembski’s blog so you can discover the strengths of that argument?

GWW Wrote:

Why not argue that ID is garbage on Dembski’s blog so you can discover the strengths of that argument?

Two reasons: (1) As has already been stated, Dembski would likely remove any unfavorable comments, as well as their author. (2) I have several friends in academia who are hard-line IDers; they serve as my foil for Darwinian arguments (perhaps I should make some friends in the biology department; but as it is, I have classmates in philosophy).

PT is a great asset to me. It allows me to test certain lines of argument against intelligent opponents.

“First you ask me to clarify my position, then you tell me that you couldn’t care less. Which is it? If you truly don’t care, then ignore me and save us both the time.”

as usual, you are incorrect. what i said was, i didn’t care if you were an agnostic. you can still be an agnostic and support ID; hell, it’s one of the things Dembski keeps “promoting”: ID has nothing to do with god, right?

that isn’t saying that i don’t care if you believe in ID or not.

the mere fact that dembski filters all criticism should give you at least some idea of which side has the better argument, if not pure logic.

Last poke at Finley:

“I am currently agnostic except for the basic point that a divine being is ultimately responsible for the existence of the universe.”

“Agnostic definition as was defined by T.H. Huxley, the man who coined the term that means one should not profess to a belief in something that cannot be proven.”

In the same sentence, you contradict yourself! You are by your own definition, a man in conflict with himself.

It’s like saying, “I’m an atheist, except for the little thing that i believe in God.”

I for one, would actually hope you would consider becoming an agnostic, at least wrt science.

Re 29685

I posted “Not being a scientist, could you sum up for me in a few sentences a neat rebuttal to those who say “there is no theory of ID” on uncommondescent.

Disappeared!

Oops. do you think he might have been implying HE is not a scientist?

Sorry last line delete HE subst. I

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dave Thomas published on May 9, 2005 12:51 PM.

Vacuity of ID: Dembski: Vast Ignorance and Trifling Understanding was the previous entry in this blog.

The Metastory: A Different View is the next entry in this blog.

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