The Unintentional Irony of William Dembski

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Fresh off his electrifying performance on the Daily Show, the intrepid Dr. Dembski is still, it seems, attempting to do comedy. Witness the extraordinary chutzpah it took to write this post about the speaking schedule of NCSE staffers. He writes:

Have a look at http://www.ncseweb.org/meeting.asp. One of my colleagues describes reading this page as “watching a car wreck.” I’m just sorry we can’t get a percentage cut from all the speaking engagements they are getting as a result of attacking us. Life is so unfair.

Well Bill, we’d love to have a cut of your speaking fees, and of the fees you charged the Thomas More Law Center for your expert witness work on the Dover trial (over $100,000, if I recall correctly, while all of the experts on our side donated their time and took only expenses), and of all the books you write in the copious free time that you save by avoiding publishing your claims for a scientific audience, books for which you find a ready audience in the churches among people who, as a group, have little hope of understanding your ideas. For that matter, I’m sure the NCSE staff would sacrifice body parts to get even a small percentage of the funding that the Discovery Institute enjoys. The DI has enough money laying around to give fellowships to rougly five times as many people as the NCSE has on their entire staff, not to mention the multiple directors, staff members, spokespeople and legal counsels they have and the PR firm they can afford to hire (more on that later).

Several things things should impress you about this page. First, the number of talks to atheist organizations; second, the number of talks paid for by university biology departments; and third, Eugenie Scott’s willingness to travel.

Well let’s take a look, shall we? The number of atheist groups.…I count exactly one, a group called “Atheists United”, to whom Glenn Branch spoke last week. He’s probably counting Rationalists, Empiricists and Skeptics of Nebraska as an “atheist group”, but that is illogical. One does not have to be an atheist to be a rationalist, empiricist or skeptic. In fact, Genie Scott appeared at their conference last week along with Chuck Austerberry, a Christian and founder of the Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education.

He might also be counting Americans United for Separation of Church and State as an “atheist group”, but that is patently false. That organization is headed by a Baptist minister and about half of their board of trustees are Christians.

The number of university biology departments that invite Genie to speak is notable.…why, exactly? He doesn’t complete the implication with any conclusion, it’s just thrown out there as though it was meaningful. I suppose it could mean that university biology departments are concerned about the attempts to water down science education and distort science for the purpose of religious indoctrination, so they ask Genie to speak to give them updates on what is happening in that arena. But somehow I doubt Dembski would see it that way. Still, this appears to be an argument by insinuation without bothering to spell out what exactly is being insinuated.

Lastly, why is Genie’s willingness to travel and speak so noteworthy? A charitable person might see this as indicative of someone highly dedicated to their job. Just another argument by insinuation without the actual insinuation. But even more chutzpah can be found in this post, about the letter signed by 38 Nobel Prize laureates and sent to the Kansas State Board of Education. In his list of complaints against this letter, he writes, presumably with a straight face:

Why don’t they instead put the energy into presenting scientific rebuttals against our side?…Doesn’t that choice — to allocate resources to PR instead of scientific rebuttals (which they always accuse Discovery of doing) — reveal that something is seriously amiss with standard evolutionary theory?

I’ll take Textbook Examples of Psychological Projection for $1000, Alex. This is stunning even for a man as disingenuous as Dembski. When asked, for example, why he doesn’t develop a scientific theory of ID and publish it in the science journals so that it may be examined by other experts in the field to see if it holds water - you know, the way the advocates of every other idea in science do - Dembski responded:

Baylor’s Mr. Dembski also has little interest in publicizing his research through traditional means. “I’ve just gotten kind of blasé about submitting things to journals where you often wait two years to get things into print,” he says. “And I find I can actually get the turnaround faster by writing a book and getting the ideas expressed there. My books sell well. I get a royalty. And the material gets read more.”

And as far as focusing on PR rather than on scientific research, all one can say is wow. This is a bit like watching Mike Tyson accuse someone else of being mentally unstable. It takes extraordinary gall to make that argument when the Discovery Institute just hired a huge PR firm, the same firm that handles AT&T, to help them peddle their wares. Does Dembski think that this suggests that “something is seriously amiss with intelligent design”? Of course not.

When IDers hire actual PR firms to sell their ideas, that doesn’t suggest anything negative about ID. But when evolution advocates write a letter to a school board advocating evolution, he calls that an undue focus on PR and suggests that this proves something wrong with evolution. Dr. Dembski works at a seminary; one would think he’d have stumbled across the biblical concept of not pointing out the splinter in someone else’s eye when one has a log in their own by now.

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n recent years, William Dembski has risen in prominence within the intelligent design creationism movement. Dembski and his supporters have tried hard to persuade a largely oblivious scientific community that his work is nothing short of revolutionar... Read More

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It continues to be a tragedy that real scientists doing real science in the interests of expanding humanity’s knowledge about the world are continually distracted by the hand-waving, self-serving shenanigans of Dembski and the rest of the ID frauds in the interests of stifling knowledge and defending fundamentalist dogmas.

Years ago someone predicted to me that the ID movement, through lack of any real scientific theory, publications or research, would eventually slide into the same state of irrelevance as Young Earth Creationism.

The first example I saw of this prediction coming to fruition was WAD appearing at a conference alongside the likes of “Dr.” Carl Baugh.

But Dembski, as he continually loses his grip on reality, is far more entertaining than even Baugh. If I were a psychologist, I would say that Bill is suffering the same kind of frustration and petulance the skinny kid with glasses on the playground feels when he can’t “play with the big boys.” And indeed, as the criticisms of his work go unanswered, the tantrums are only mounting.

The next piece of evidence that ID will be standing next to the water boy on the sidelines will surely be Dover.

What is also amusing, and quite revealing, is years back Dembski referred to NCSE as a “cheesy little non-profit”… and then goes and rents a PO Box and calls it an “Institute,” complete with phone lines to the various officers with extensions. However, the extensions were all single digits. This seemed odd. I’ve worked in a lot of offices, but never one with single digit extensions.

The building he claimed was the “suite” turned out to be a Mailboxes Etc! http://www.antievolution.org/people[…]IDoffice.jpg

This little stunt took “cheesy” to a whole new level.

So it is with great amusement, as my friend’s prediction continues to come true, we watch Dembski lead the charge to marginalization.

First, the number of talks to atheist organizations

So much for that whole “ID isn’t about religion” thingie, huh Bill.

I always suspected you were flat-out lying to us about that. Thanks for confirming it so publicly. I hope you testify to that in Dover.

Ohhhhh, that’s right ——- you got your butt kicked OUT of the Dover trial, didn’t you.

So sorry about that. Gee, I can’t understand for the life of me why the Thomas More Law Center wouldn’t want to have the much-vaunted Isaac Newton of Information Theory testifying.

But look on the bright side, Isaac — at least when the IDers lose in Dover, your syncophantic sidekicks like Sal can all give you verbal ***jobs about how they only lost because YOU weren’t there.

You know, there’s another aspect of this that I’ve not seen pointed out, and that is the total irrelevency of Dembski’s claims even if he is correct and there are things that natural science takes to be undesigned that are in fact designed. There are two things he’s not taking into account (nor are Heddle, Scott, Behe, Cordova, or any of the rest of the IDiots): some things exist which are not designed, else WAD et al have no basis or ability to extract properties as indicative of design. When you put this together with the fact we know of many designs which are never implemented, we can clearly see that design is reduced to a scientific irrelevency. If things may come about in undesigned fashion, design *by itself* is not sufficient. It cannot be since we have countless examples of designs which are not implemented and of implementations which were not designed. Implementation, the act of doing with the design or according to the design is essential. And all that we know about doing with design is mechanistic. So even if we were to determine that the FSM, sauce be upon him, designed the universe, we are still fully warranted to seek the mechanisms by which the thing designed is brought to being. And that is what science does – it is never about design, it is always about implementation. And it is absurd for Dembski or his ilk to claim that they are doing science without need of mechanism. If all he wants to claim is that he is studying design per se, fine, but we might well ask why he doesn’t broaden his field to include the unambiguous cases.

hugs, Shirley Knott

What was better about Dembski on the Daily Show, the irony or the farce?

To me the best part of the show was when Jon asked Dembski:

Jon: Which came first? The religious conversion or the evidence convincing you?

Dembski: )pause( The religious conversion.

Watch here.

Political movements need money and usually aren’t too scrupulous about how they acquire it since even illegal activities can be excused as means to an end–before the revolution, Stalin used to rob banks. Of course most revolutions don’t come off, but there’s a consolation prize. It is often possible to go on using even a Lost Cause to make more money for a long time. Various organizations of the old right, for example, morphed into straight-up mail fraud after the failure of McCarthy. If ID flops as a movement, as I think it is beginning to do in a country that is obviously getting a little fed up with reaction, I expect that people like Dembski will go for years on cashing checks for delivering the same old spiel, though, like many an aging TV actor, I expect he’ll find himself invited to less and less impressive venues for less and less money. Well, cutting the ribbon on the new strip mall isn’t grand work, but it’s a living.

Thanks for the publicity for Rationalists, Empiricists and Skeptics of Nebraska. We are indeed a congenial mixture of theists and atheists (and probably others as well).

In 2003, the Discovery Institute used $122,809.00 for travel expenses, when in the same year NCSE spent $16,803.00. The DI’s travel budget that year was over 7 times the size of NCSE’s travel budget for 2003.

I’m looking forward to speaking at the Greer-Heard Forum next spring. I wonder if Dembski will complain about that one, seeing as he is on the panel there, too.

Can anyone remember Dembski ever admitting to making a mistake–and not laughing it off as inconsequential or irrelevant?

I can’t.

It’s this sort of behaviour that places this man firmly in the company of people like Baugh, Ham, and Hovind. It doesn’t matter how complete and irrefutable the evidence against him (e.g. in this very topic) he won’t–no, *can’t*–admit to being mistaken.

I’ve come across people like that in my own life, and they can be incredibly frustrating to be around. Even the most grevious of mistakes are brushed off as an irrelevance. I’ve found they don’t make for good friends or good colleagues.

For example, Dembski proclaims to be a Christian, and yet he constantly churns out snide and mean-spirited attacks on anyone he see as an enemy. No thought of taking the high-road, no consideration for even the most basic of Christian virtues. And what does he do when confronted about his behaviour? Laugh it off as a big joke.

I’m curious to know if there is a proper psychiatric term for this type of personality. He might make an interesting psychological study one of these days :-)

The serious questions are completely left off of Dembski’s tantrum: Why isn’t Discovery Institute talking to university departments? What about all those religious groups Discovery Institute addresses – why no science groups?

Genie Scott is talking evolution to scientists. Bill Dembski, a professor at a theological institution, is talking religion to churches. And he has the gall to complain about Scott’s work for education?

Maybe it’s not gall at all. Maybe it’s a lack of wit.

Wasn’t it Euripides who said, “Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad?”

Dave Scot writes at Dembski’s blog:

“Ed doesn’t seem to grasp what those speaking engagements have in common.

Hey Ed, does the phrase “preaching to the choir” ring any bells for you?

LOL”

Is Genie speaking to undergrads more “preaching to the choir” than ID theorists speaking to a church (where “preaching” may be a more literal description of what’s going on)?

It’s Dave Scott who doesn’t grasp what the speaking engagements are about…

From the NCSE web site:

We educate the press and public about the scientific, educational, and legal aspects of the creation and evolution controversy, and supply needed information and advice to defend good science education at local, state, and national levels. Our 4000 members are scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens with diverse religious affiliations.

Seems to lil’ ol’ me that the most of the speaking engagements are doing exactly what the mission of NCSE is all about.

Try again Dave…

Speaking of GMU and its IDEA club, does this pro-ID college organization allow non-Christians to join, or are IDEA centers Christians-only clubs?

George Mason University has an anti-discrimination policy that reads

The University’s non-discrimination policy prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, sex, or age.

For more information, see:

www.gmu.edu/facstaff/policy/sexb.html www.gmu.edu/equity/discrimination_prohibiting.shtml www.gmu.edu/facstaff/handbook/aA/discrimination.html

IIRC, Dembski’s bill to the Thomas More Legal Center was closer to $22,000 than to $100,000.

I do believe meetings to IDEA clubs are open to anyone, but a few years back I attended a conference sponsored, in part I believe, by the IDEA clubs. In a meeting about how to organize an IDEA club on your campus Casey Luskin pointed out that only Christians could hold positions of leadership in an IDEA club.

Which brings up an interesting question: If ID is really about science and not about religion, what is the scientific basis for the institutionalized religious discrimiation practiced by the IDEA clubs?

Do they have a “Jesus Gene” that the rest of us don’t? And if so, is there a plausible evolutionary pathway for this gene? Is it a duplicate/modification of the John, Mark, Matthew or Luke gene?

Maybe this could be the first actual scientific problem for ID to take on.

George asked:

Speaking of GMU and its IDEA club, does this pro-ID college organization allow non-Christians to join, or are IDEA centers Christians-only clubs?

Our GMU constitution allows them to join and be even be elected. However if non Christians are elected to become officers, the club can continue under it’s constitution, but it can no longer be a recognized as sanctioned chapter by the IDEA center in San Diego, but rather would have to delcare itself a renegade ID chapter.

We would have to rename our club to something like “EA” instead of IDEA. :-)

Or better yet, the renegade organization could be renamed the “The William Dembski fan Club”. :-)

See my comments on the issue: Is GMU trying to Justify a Witch Hunt?

Salvador

The real irony so far as people not getting a cut, of course, are the thousands of evolutionary biologists whose work ID advocates parasitize, and who don’t get a dime from the ID advocates’ “talks” around the country. (I was at a lab get-together of a group at U.C. Davis the other night, where we were talking about the number of graduate students in evolutionary biology a department could support with the level of funding one DI CRSC Fellow receives. The number we came up with was between three and four. The typical evo-bio grad student, they said, manages at least a couple of scientific publications during grad school, and many produce a lot more than that. Compare that with the post-ID-recruitment scientific productivity of the major ID advocates, and it’s like I said in 2001 at the CSICOP conference, “Maybe the DI is funding the wrong people.”)

I can’t think of a single thing produced by ID advocates de novo. Either they’ve passed on, pretty much verbatim, arguments made by young-earth and old-earth creationists before them, re-worked young-earth and old-earth creationist arguments (expansion of “What good is half a wing?” into “irreducible complexity”, expansion of “Tornado in a junkyard” into “specified complexity”, bringing in different examples for Paleyist argument, etc.), or used critical-sounding stuff from the biological literature as a jumping-off point for their own misinterpretations. Yeah, there’s a basic unfairness to be pondered, but it certainly isn’t the one Dembski thinks it is.

Hey Salvador,

What does the IDEA Center have against non-Christians?

How are they less qualified to lead an IDEA club than Christians are?

Or are the IDEA clubs really about religion?

I would have no beef at all if they would just confess that IDEA clubs are really about evangelizing, and therefore, Christians are best suited to lead such clubs. That is more than reasonable.

But to claim that IDEA clubs are about science, and then disenfranchise groups that have non-Christians on the board is just plain crap.

Our GMU constitution allows them to join and be even be elected. However if non Christians are elected to become officers, the club can continue under it’s constitution, but it can no longer be a recognized as sanctioned chapter by the IDEA center in San Diego, but rather would have to delcare itself a renegade ID chapter.

Is there a legitimate scientific reason for that, Sal, or is this just plain old-fashioned religious bigotry we are seeing?

By the way, Sal, last time you were here, you ran away without answering a few questions. So I’ll ask again. And again and again and again and again, every time you show up here, until you either answer or run away. I want every lurker who comes in here to see that you are nothing but an evasive dishonest coward.

(1) what is the scientific theory of creation (or intelligent design) and how can we test it using the scientific method?

I do *NOT* want you to respond with a long laundry list of (mostly inaccurate) criticisms of evolutionary biology. They are completely irrelevant to a scientific theory of creation or intelligent design. I want to see the scientific alternative that you are proposing—- the one you want taught in public school science classes, the one that creationists and intelligent design “theorists” testified under oath in Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas and elsewhere is SCIENCE and is NOT based on religious doctrine. Let’s assume for the purposes of this discussion that evolutionary biology is indeed absolutely completely totally irretrievable unalterably irrevocably 100% dead wrong. Fine. Show me your scientific alternative. Show me how your scientific theory explains things better than evolutionary biology does. Let’s see this superior “science” of yours.

Any testible scientific theory of creation should be able to provide answers to several questions: (1) how did life begin, (3) how did the current diversity of life appear, and (3) what mechanisms were used in these processes and where can we see these mechanisms today.

Any testible scientific theory of intelligent design should be able to give testible answers to other questions: (1) what exactly did the Intelligent Designer(s) do, (2) what mechanisms did the Designer(s) use to do whatever it is you think it did, (3) where can we see these mechanisms in action today, and (4) what objective criteria can we use to determine what entities are “intelligently designed” and what entities aren’t (please illustrate this by pointing to something that you think IS designed, something you think is NOT designed, and explain how to tell the difference).

If your, uh, “scientific theory” isn’t able to answer any of these questions yet, then please feel free to tell me how you propose to scientifically answer them. What experiments or tests can we perform, in principle, to answer these questions.

Also, since one of the criteria of “science” is falsifiability, I’d like you to tell me how your scientific theory, whatever it is, can be falsified. What experimental results or observations would conclusively prove that creation/intelligent design did not happen.

Another part of the scientific method is direct testing. One does not establish “B” simply by demonstrating that “A” did not happen. I want you to demonstrate “B” directly. So don’t give me any “there are only two choices, evolution or creation, and evolution is worng so creation must be right” baloney. I will repeat that I do NOT want a big long laundry list of “why evolution is wrong”. I don’t care why evolution is wrong. I want to know what your alternative is, and how it explains data better than evolution does.

I’d also like to know two specific things about this “alternative scientific theory”: How old does “intelligent design/creationism theory” determine the universe to be. Is it millions of years old, or thousands of years old. And does ‘intelligent design/creationism theory’ determine that humans have descended from apelike primates, or does it determine that they have not.

I look forward to seeing your “scientific theories”. Unless of course you don’t HAVE any and are just lying to us when you claim to.

(2) According to this scientific theory of intelligent design, how old is the earth, and did humans descend from apelike primates or did they not?

(3)

What, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than, say, weather forecasting or accident investigation or medicine. Please be as specific as possible.

I have never, in all my life, ever heard any weather forecaster mention “god” or “divine will” or any “supernatural” anything, at all. Ever. Does this mean, in your view, that weather forecasting is atheistic (oops, I mean, “materialistic” and “naturalistic” —- we don’t want any judges to think ID’s railing against “materialism” has any RELIGIOUS purpose, do we)?

I have yet, in all my 44 years of living, to ever hear any accifdent investigator declare solemnly at the scene of an airplane crash, “We can’t explain how it happened, so an Unknown Intelligent Being must have dunnit.” I have never yet heard an accident investigator say that “this crash has no materialistic causes — it must have been the Will of Allah”. Does this mean, in your view, that accident investigation is atheistic (oops, sorry, I meant to say “materialistic” and “naturalistic” — we don’t want any judges to know that it is “atheism” we are actually waging a religious crusade against, do we)?

How about medicine. When you get sick, do you ask your doctor to abandon his “materialistic biases” and to investigate possible “supernatural” or “non-materialistic” causes for your disease? Or do you ask your doctor to cure your naturalistic materialistic diseases by using naturalistic materialistic antibiotics to kill your naturalistic materialistic germs?

Since it seems to me as if weather forecasting, accident investigation, and medicine are every bit, in every sense,just as utterly completely totally absolutely one-thousand-percent “materialistic” as evolutionary biology is, why, specifically, is it just evolutionary biology that gets your panties all in a bunch? Why aren’t you and your fellow Wedge-ites out there fighting the good fight against godless materialistic naturalistic weather forecasting, or medicine, or accident investigation?

Or does that all come LATER, as part of, uh, “renewing our culture” .… . ?

(4) The most militant of the Ayatollah-wanna-be’s are the members of the “Reconstructionist” movement. The Reconstructionists were founded by Rouas J. Rushdoony, a militant fundamentalist who was instrumental in getting Henry Morris’s book The Genesis Flood published in 1961. According to Rushdoony’s view, the United States should be directly transformed into a theocracy in which the fundamentalists would rule directly according to the will of God. “There can be no separation of Church and State,” Rushdoony declares. (cited in Marty and Appleby 1991, p. 51) “Christians,” a Reconstructionist pamphlet declares, “are called upon by God to exercise dominion.” (cited in Marty and Appleby 1991, p. 50) The Reconstructionists propose doing away with the US Constitution and laws, and instead ruling directly according to the laws of God as set out in the Bible—they advocate a return to judicial punishment for religious crimes such as blasphemy or violating the Sabbath, as well as a return to such Biblically-approved punishments as stoning.

According to Rushdoony, the Second Coming of Christ can only happen after the “Godly” have taken over the earth and constructed the Kingdom of Heaven here: “The dominion that Adam first received and then lost by his Fall will be restored to redeemed Man. God’s People will then have a long reign over the entire earth, after which, when all enemies have been put under Christ’s feet, the end shall come.” (cited in Diamond, 1989, p. 139) “Christian Reconstructionism,” another pamphlet says, “is a call to the Church to awaken to its Biblical responsibility to subdue the earth for the glory of God … Christian Reconstructionism therefore looks for and works for the rebuilding of the institutions of society according to a Biblical blueprint.” (cited in Diamond 1989, p. 136) In the Reconstructionist view, evolution is one of the “enemies” which must be “put under Christ’s feet” if the godly are to subdue the earth for the glory of God.

In effect, the Reconstructionists are the “Christian” equivilent of the Taliban.

While some members of both the fundamentalist and creationist movements view the Reconstructionists as somewhat kooky, many of them have had nice things to say about Rushdoony and his followers. ICR has had close ties with Reconstructionists. Rushdoony was one of the financial backers for Henry Morris’s first book, “The Genesis Flood”, and Morris’s son John was a co-signer of several documents produced by the Coalition On Revival, a reconstructionist coalition founded in 1984. ICR star debater Duane Gish was a member of COR’s Steering Committee, as was Richard Bliss, who served as ICR’s “curriculum director” until his death. Gish and Bliss were both co-signers of the COR documents “A Manifesto for the Christian Church” (COR, July 1986), and the “Forty-Two Articles of the Essentials of a Christian Worldview” (COR,1989), which declares, “We affirm that the laws of man must be based upon the laws of God. We deny that the laws of man have any inherent authority of their own or that their ultimate authority is rightly derived from or created by man.” (“Forty-Two Essentials, 1989, p. 8). P>The Discovery Institute, the chief cheerleader for “intelligent design theory”, is particularly cozy with the Reconstructionists. The single biggest source of money for the Discovery Institute is Howard Ahmanson, a California savings-and-loan bigwig. Ahmanson’s gift of $1.5 million was the original seed money to organize the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture, the arm of the Discovery Institute which focuses on promoting “intelligent design theory” (other branches of Discovery Institute are focused on areas like urban transportation, Social Security “reform”, and (anti) environmentalist organizing).

Ahmanson is a Christian Reconstructionist who was long associated with Rushdooney, and who sat with him on the board of directors of the Chalcedon Foundation – a major Reconstructionist think-tank – for over 20 years, and donated over $700,000 to the Reconstructionists. Just as Rushdooney was a prime moving force behind Morris’s first book, “The Genesis Flood”, intelligent design “theorist” Phillip Johnson dedicated his book “Defeating Darwinism” to “Howard and Roberta” – Ahmanson and his wife. Ahmanson was quoted in newspaper accounts as saying, “My purpose is total integration of Biblical law into our lives.”

Ahmanson has given several million dollars over the past few years to anti-evolution groups (including Discovery Institute), as well as anti-gay groups, “Christian” political candidates, and funding efforts to split the Episcopalian Church over its willingness to ordain gay ministers and to other groups which oppose the minimum wage. He was also a major funder of the recent “recall” effort in California which led to the election of Terminator Arnie. Ahmanson is also a major funder of the effort for computerized voting, and he and several other prominent Reconstructionists have close ties with Diebold, the company that manufactures the computerized voting machines used. There has been some criticism of Diebold because it refuses to make the source code of its voting machine software available for scrutiny, and its software does not allow anyone to track voting after it is done (no way to confirm accuracy of the machine). Some of Ahmanson’s donations are channeled through the Fieldstead Foundation, which is a subspecies of the Ahmanson foundation “Fieldstead” is Ahmanson’s middle name). The Fieldstead Foundation funds many of the travelling and speaking expenses of the DI’s shining stars.

Ahmanson’s gift of $1.5 million was the original seed money to organize the Center for Science and Culture, the arm of the Discovery Institute which focuses on promoting “intelligent design theory”. By his own reckoning, Ahmanson gives more of his money to the DI than to any other poilitically active group – only a museum trust in his wife’s hometown in Iowa and a Bible college in New Jersey get more. In 2004, he reportedly gave the Center another $2.8 million. Howard Ahamnson, Jr sits on the Board Directors of Discovery Institute.

Since then, as his views have become more widely known, Ahmanson has tried to backpeddle and present a kinder, gentler image of himself. However, his views are still so extremist that politicians have returned campaign contributions from Ahmanson once they learned who he was.

So it’s no wonder that the Discovery Institute is reluctant to talk about the funding source for its Intelligent Design campaign. Apparently, they are not very anxious to have the public know that most of its money comes from just one whacko billionnaire who has long advocated a political program that is very similar to that of the Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

Do you repudiate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson, and if so, why do you keep taking his money anyway? And if you, unlike most other IDers, are not sucking at Ahmanson’s teats, I’d still like to know if you repudiate his extremist views.

Oh, and your latest round of blithering about “anti-God” and “anti-religion” prompts yet another question, Sal (whcih, of course, you also will not answer).

(5) Sal, you must KNOW that your ID heroes are in court right now trying to argue that creationism/ID is SCIENCE and has NO RELIGIOUS PURPOSE OR AIM. You must KNOW that if the courts rule that creationism/ID is NOT science and IS nothing but religious doctrine, then your ID crap will never see the inside of a science classroom. So you must KNOW that every time you blither to us that creationism/ID is all about God and faith and the Bible and all that, you are UNDERMINING YOUR OWN HEROES by demonstrating, right here in public, that your heroes are just lying under oath when they claim that creationism/ID has NO religious purpose or aims.

So why the heck do you do it ANYWAY? Why the heck are you in here yammering about religion when your own leaders are trying so desperately to argue that ID/creationism is NOT about religion? Are you really THAT stupid? Really and truly?

Why are you in here arguing that ID/creationism is all about God and the Bible, while Discovery Institute and other creationists are currently in Kansas and Dover arguing that ID/creationism is NOT all about God and the Bible?

Why are you **undercutting your own side**????????

I really truly want to know.

Much as I know that ID’ists in America need a thorough kicking since rational arguments and science seem to be blatantly ignored by them, I still can not agree to the increasingly ad hominem attacks that are being launched on this site. Educative as I find it (being a linguist myself), it is increasingly becoming more of a slugfest and less in-depth response to people or discussion of evolutionary theories (I quite enjoyed the article on lateral gene transfer posted her e not long ago).

Admittedly, I see things differently here since I am in Europe but I do not see why good and respectable scientists should lower themselves to shouting matches with creationists in disguise using only such arguments as ‘but you do it much worse than us!’ whereas the real argument gets muddled by all this. Maybe I don’t underestimate the American christian lobby, but can anyone in the higher-ups be ultimately convinced by fallacies? That answer should be ‘no’, which means there should be no attacks on ID the kind I’ve seen. If the answer is ‘yes’, then I’m happy that I’m dutch and not American…

Our GMU constitution allows them to join and be even be elected. However if non Christians are elected to become officers, the club can continue under it’s constitution, but it can no longer be a recognized as sanctioned chapter by the IDEA center in San Diego, but rather would have to delcare itself a renegade ID chapter.

So, in other words, Salvador, the IDEA organization is merely paying lip service to college anti-discrimination rules in full knowledge that no chapter is going to want to risk losing its official sanction by electing one of those “many” non-Christian ID-supporters to its board.

Nice of you to point this out, but I’m not sure you did yourself any favours.

See my comments on the issue: Is GMU trying to Justify a Witch Hunt?

Salvador

I was referring to the NCSE visit, not the constitutional issue of IDEA chapters.

Skip asked:

Which brings up an interesting question: If ID is really about science and not about religion,

ID at the college level is a totally different ball game than the argument over ID in the public schools and peer-reviewed journals.

ID in the colleges is about voluntary open discussion and exploration among the students.

There are many Christians on the college campuses, many are science majors, some are creationists. IDEA is targeted to teach them ID, to help this demographic group who are naturally friendly to design to apply their sceintific learning in weighing the case for ID vs. purely naturalistic origins.

Many of the Christians and creationists are for the first time learning about ID’s “science only” approach of IDists, versus the “scripture only” approach of the creationists.

The loophole I give the creationists is the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:20 where the “science only” approach is offered. IDEA is an outreach to the students who may have strong religious commitments to not be afraid of what science will teach them about origins, as we believe that science indicates intelligent design, and that can be quite re-assuring to those of a strong religious persuasion.…

It is those students, who are already inclined by their world view, but who are science majors (especially biology majors) who are interested to hear what we have to say. It’s up to them to decide if IDist have a better case than the Darwinists.

I’ve yet to see any biology major/IDists in our Virgina chapters ever “de-converted” to Darwinism. Our arguments seem to do a good job of immunizing them from Dariwian indoctrination and brain washing. It’s very hearting to see them get diplomas and dissing Darwin at the same time. :-)

Many of the ID leaning physcians (37 to 60% of the physicians) were ID leaning biology students. Other science majors are represented as well in our IDEA clubs, especially, no surprise, engineers!

In the promotion of ID into public schools, the affiliation of the proponents of ID with Christianity can be a legal barrier, but at the college level it is a major asset.

The Christian organizations have rolled the red carpet out for IDEA on 3 of the Virginia campuses. In my view, this is wonderful to see the churches defending real science versus unscientific Darwinian dogma.

Salvador

… forget what I said, this Salvador guy is rather scary.

So, in other words, Salvador, the IDEA organization is merely paying lip service to college anti-discrimination rules

Discrimination? People are free to join and leave and run the club under the constitution. If they want to take over the club and make an “Atheists for Dembski” group, they are more than welcome to. I personally think that would be an absolute riot.

The JMU FreeThinkers, an atheist and agnostic group, supported our JMU IDEA chapter. The indirectly helped promote the friendly coverage I got in the scientific journal, Nature. They were passingly mentioned in that article and are mentioned at the ideacenter.org website.

Anyway, enough about my club, the topic was Dembski’s making $100,000 a pop being an IDist expert witness. I’ll have uphold him to our club as something to aspire to. :-)

Salvador PS Eugenie’s visit to our school will be welcomed with courtesy and civility by IDEA. I can’t however speak for any potential mis-behavior of the creationists in the nearby community. However, the IDEA members will be encouraged to behave in polite and civil manner, if for nothing else, it’s good Public Relations.

The Christian organizations have rolled the red carpet out for IDEA on 3 of the Virginia campuses. In my view, this is wonderful to see the churches defending real science versus unscientific Darwinian dogma.

I see, so all those IDers who cliam that ID isn’t about religion, are just lying to us. Got it.

Now then, would you mind answering my questions for me, Sal? They were:

1. What is the scientific theory of intelligent design, and how do we test it using the scientific method?

2. According to this scientific theory of intelligent design, how old is the earth, and did humans descend from apelike primates or did they not?

3. what, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than weather forecasting, accident investigation, or medicine?

4. do you repudiate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson, and if so, why do you keep taking his money anyway? And if you, unlike most other IDers, are not sucking at Ahmanson’s teats, I’d still like to know if you repudiate his extremist views.

5. Why are you undermining your own side by proclaiming here that ID is all about defeating “atheism” and “anti-religion”, while your side is desperately trying to argue in court that ID has nothing at all whatsoever to do with religion or religious apologetics? Are your fellow IDers just lying under oath when they testify to that, Sal?

Anyway, enough about my club

YOUR club?

My goodness, Sal, you seem to have an awfully inflated sense of your own self-importance . …

the topic was Dembski’s making $100,000 a pop being an IDist expert witness.

Um, hey Sal, in case you didn’t hear, the Dover defendants kicked Dembski’s out on his ass. They, uh, apparently weren’t very impressed by his, uh, “expert witness”.

Now answer my questions, Sal.

Very interesting. So IDEA clubs exist for religious students (of a specific stripe) who feel their faith threatened by evolution.

Therefore, IDEA clubs feed them a bunch of stuff the mainstream scientific community soundly rejects in order to bolster their faith, regardless of the materials standing in real science.

Then, they can go out into the world and redefine science as it is currently practiced, combine science and religion, and basically bring out a new way of thinking not at all unlike the Orangs in Planet of the Apes.

Thanks Sal, that was the best and most honest description of what ID is really all about. I think we, and the public at large, owe you a debt of gratitude.

… forget what I said, this Salvador guy is rather scary.

Is that why they’re sending Eugenie to our school to see our ID marketing campaign first hand?

The motto I’m thinking to give the pre-med biology majors in our IDEA chapters:

“Evolution doesn’t get you into med school, biology does.”

Allen Orr on the situation:

Although many science, and all biology, students are required to endure molecular courses, evolution - even introductory evolution—is often an elective. The reason is simple: biochemistry and cell biology get Junior into med school, evolution doesn’t. Consequently, many professional scientists know surprisingly little about evolution.

Thank you, Allen Orr. So much for the most supposedly most important theory in biology. It’s not even good enough to get some one into medical school.

Here’s another saying I want them to be aware of, ala Jerry Coyne:

In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics.

Jerry Coyne

Salvador

Oh, Brother, Jerry Coyne being quoted out of context by yet another creationist. What a shock.

ID is simply a different label on the same old antievolution playlist of invalid criticisms of evolutionary biology. It is pseudoscience. It is, by the words of its major advocates, aimed at furthering a particular religious outlook in the society at large. These are not fallacies. These are solid facts. The Dover case is going to put exactly these issues into the courtroom. I expect that the judge will also consider these to be facts after all is said and done there.

King Canute failed to turn back the tide at command, and wishful thinking does not constitute planning for disaster relief. Neither does the evidence accommodate “intelligent design” as a legitimate alternative to science.

Norman, I want to thank and congratualate you on a successful lobby for free speech in the competition. I have no doubt that without your email challenging Bill’s behavior, ethics and credibility, he would have never publicized submissions that support evolutionary concepts. He will find that this exercise will be extremely detrimental to his “evolution never happens” ignorance movement. Technological advance is applied evolution by the human mind. All he would need to do is read a historical analyisis or watch the History channel for two days to realize that this competition will completely undermine his philosophy.

Aha, Bill has now started to not censor the submissions. I now see Norman’s and several others that were not visible as well. Guess now that the cat’s out of the bag, Bill had to show a little honesty for fear of loss of credibility (too late). Welcome to the real world Bill. I will continue to oversee this competition so that Bill is forced to remain honest. I will also continue to submit entries to undermine his politcal agenda and expose his historical ignorance.

Congratulations on a job well done. I don’t think Bill has so much credibility that he thinks he can afford to piss it all away with dishonest little tricks like that.

This is an excellent example of what a blog like this can accomplish with some vigilant people.

James Taylor wrote: “Aha, Bill has now started to not censor the submissions.”

Well, at least he has combined our IP addresses into one filter.

Would others here please enter and read Bill’s site looking for posts by me and James?

Norman, Im pretty sure he’s opened it up for now. I have been able to view yours and other well argued submissions anonymously. I will be setting up an oversite website since he apparantly needs a nanny to keep him honest.

You guys ROCK!!

Ditto!

Pizzas on the house, boys!

(And when I say, “the house,” I think it’s only appropriate that we send the bill to Bill. He can always expense it on the tab of his BBQ joint. Or he could just send it in to the DI, and let Howard choke on it…heh, heh.)

Aha, you fuels!

You have just handed your dedicated foes, the Designer’s Own Homeboys (the few, the proud, the DOHs!!) the detailed proof of the Atheist Materialist Naturalist Evile-utionist Cornspiracy (er, AMNEC, fer short):

The linkages to this conspiracy are now unVAIL*ed for ALL THE WORLD to see: AMNEC > PT > Lenny Flank, PT’s “champion” > the “bag boy,” Lenny’s Pizza Guy > Italian food > Pastafarianism, aka Flying Spaghetti Monstrosity-IZM (which, in case ya din’t NO, equals ATHEISM in SHIP’s CLOTHES!!!).

Ya cain’t fuel usn’s, ‘cause we’s WAY 2 SMART fer y’all, y’hear!?! Yore bound ta lews, ‘cause we can OUT-CAPITALIZE and unter-spell yew ANY DAY OF THE WEEK (and TWICET on Sunday: the DESIGNER’S day, for the thick-witted, which WE KNOW YEW ARE!!!).

_______

* HA! Betcha some of you elite edjicated monkey-lovers thawt I misspellt THAT, but AH’M rilly sayin’ rite OUT LAWED what we at DOH have LONG SUSPECKTET: thet some of yew also SKEE on them thare “false positiff SNOWFLAKES! I woodn’t DAWT it FOR A MINNIT!!!

Yes Norman, besides your excellent post about Danny Hillis, you did an excellent job calling Dembski out on his incredibly underhanded new(?) censorship tactic. I’m quite pleased to see some the words I used here end up in your post ;)

James, I hope you’ve captured the latest incarnation of the contest page to add to your evidence. I’m hoping to see this subject get a thread of it’s own here once you’ve gotten your information in a presentable state.

I can see now that yesterday at the time I said that I saw 8 posts, there appears to have been 16! I now see a total of 24. I’m also noticing that Dembski is now completely silent on that thread, there hasn’t even been his usually cheery quip of “you are out of here” as he apparently bans someone for a post nowhere near as damaging as James’ and Norman’s posts were, like this from yesterday:

Cogzoid Wrote:

Sarcasm is a low form of humour. And probably one of the most mean-spirited. I guess I hoped that those involved in a intellectual debate would strive to be above it. I guess I was wrong.

[Cogzoid, you are out of here. —WmAD]

jboze3131 has now stepped in, accusing James of crying censorship when obviously (now) he’s posted “a million times” in that thread!

I wonder what Dembski’s excuse is going to be, a computer glitch?

A couple weeks ago, someone reported Dembski doing this. While my feeble memory can’t dredge up the name of the poster or which thread he/she mentioned it in here on PT, the symptoms were identical. Said person even went so far as to clear out the cache just in case it was pulling up old data.

Three separate individuals experiencing the same symptoms seems pretty damning. Of course, if I were to get the treatment, I might never know, since I have a DHCP connection protocol.

Where are all the IDiots *now* who were just in here whining and bitching about how the big bad atheistic scientists are unfarily censoring the poor little ID scientists . … …

Any of you have anything to say about Dembski’s dirty underhanded dishonest little trick?

Hey Bill, you wouldn’t happen to have been in the employ of the Committee to Re-Elect the President circa 1972, would you? Ya know, CREEP?

I suggested that Dembski might be using an IP address trick to conceal censorship - back here: http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]omment-44057

“Can anyone remember Dembski ever admitting to making a mistake—and not laughing it off as inconsequential or irrelevant?

I can’t.”

neither can I, but I can’t remember anyone on this board ever admitting making a signficant mistake either. Also, I can’t remember Dawkins, Scott, or Ruse admitting a mistake. Dogma goes both ways.

I suspect Dembski is a megalomaniac. Literally a megalomaniac, I am not hyperboling, I think he’s a megalomaniac!!!! Consider the symptoms

1- Inflated self opinion ( when was the last time you heard him resist being labelled “The Isaac Newton of Information Theory”.) 2- Obsessive desire to propagate own ideas, and to destroy ideas one doesn’t like. 3- Desire to mould a significant part of the world, i.e Biology, popular culture, to his whims 4- Extravagant and bizarre claims, i.e his claim that Biology is a pseudoscience ( He actually said that, not evolutionary biology, not Darwinian biology, but Biology!) 5- Desperate questing to prop up questionable self esteem ( how many degrees does he have again?) 6- Desire to be surrounded by sycophants (consider his blog.)

That itself doesn’t tell us much though. Lot’s of Geniuses were and are megalomaniacs, even chartlans at times (i.e Loui Pasteur.)

Norman Wrote:

Would others here please enter and read Bill’s site looking for posts by me and James?

I can see your comments on the Tech.Evo. Prize thread. 42 comments as of now.

yours show as comments 5, 7, 18, 19, 38.

James as 8, 10, 12, 13, 22, 23, 25.

Nothing on any later thread. Did not check back further.

I found something similar happening to me a while ago. I thought this couldn’t happen to me as I don’t have a fixed IP address.

Alan wrote: “I can see your comments on the Tech.Evo. Prize thread.”

Thanks for the report. That’s what I see too.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ed Brayton published on September 17, 2005 10:22 AM.

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