Update: An attendee of the Cal Defend Science event chastises Dembski and his fan Samuel Chen; Dembski posts a correction where Dembski’s anonymous source from Kansas somehow innocently got Padian confused with an entirely different person; Dembski’s blog hits a new low with a KKK cartoon posted by DaveScot.
Those of you who enjoy following the erratic goings-on over at Dembski’s blog may have noticed that yesterday he accused NCSE president Kevin Padian of being a racist. As usual it is being copied by other wingnut blogs, and probably will appear on WorldNetDaily within 24 hours. We have been trying to figure out what combination of garbled sources Dembski was relying on for that post, but it seems to be so distant from actual events it is impossible to untangle. Anyhow, here is a little reality to balance things out:
In two recent “defend science” talks, one at Cal Berkeley and the other at Kansas University, Padian singled out an Asian-American church that supports ID. In March, Berkeley’s IDEA Club sponsored two talks that I gave to packed houses on the Berkeley campus (go here). Some of the key members in that IDEA Club are also members of this church. Padian now explicitly names this church (Berkland Baptist Church) in his public talks and describes the members of the church that attended my lectures as “young,” “Asian,” and “fundamentalist,” and that this is “what we are up against today.”
There are only a few problems with this:
1. According to KU’s events calendar, there has been no meeting of the “Defend Science” group at the University of Kansas, and as far as I know, there has been no Defend Science meeting anywhere in Kansas.
2. The last evolution/creationism events on KU’s calendar are the events in late January/early February at which NCSE, Kansas Citizens for Science (KCFS), and various lawyers involved in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case spoke about the case and the implications for science standards in Kansas and elsewhere. Also, the main event on Jan. 30 was put together by KCFS, and was not associated in any way with Defend Science.
3. Late January is long before Dembski’s mid-March talks at Berkeley.
4. Kevin Padian was initially going to speak at the January Kansas event, but had to back out.
5. As far as anyone around the NCSE office can recall (Padian is president of NCSE’s board and is not regularly in the NCSE office), Padian hasn’t even been in Kansas for years.
6. Regarding the Berkeley “Defend Science” event, reports indicate that Berkland Baptist Church was not a subject of Padian’s discussion at all. I only found out about the existence of Berkland myself when Dembski mentioned it on his blog.
(Note: ‘Berkland’ is derived from Berkeley + Oakland. According to its website FAQ, the church is officially part of the Southern Baptist Convention, and is “mostly Asian American, but growing increasingly multi-ethnic.” Googling for Dembski shows that Berkland has an extensive photo essay of Dembski’s visit, apparently including some events at the church – I was only aware of Dembski’s talks at Berkeley until I saw this. But apparently Berkland hosted Dembski, perhaps this is where Dembski got the idea that Padian was talking about Berkland.)
7. At the Berkeley Defend Science panel in April, Padian did note that Dembski’s audience had been much larger than the Defend Science event, and had been predominantly asian-american and fundamentalist. Having personally attended Dembski’s lectures, I can confirm that the audience was probably 80%+ people of asian ancestry, and not all Berkeley students – the audience included folks from around the Bay Area, and from people I talked to at the event I gathered it had been publicized in local churches. The only time I’ve ever seen something similar was when Kent Hovind came to speak at Cal a few years back.
8. As you might be able to predict from Dembski’s performance with the above simple facts, he is also wrong about what Padian said. Padian didn’t say anything derogatory about people of asian ancestry. Padian’s point was simple: the audience that science educators and science fans need to reach in the future was not the audience at the Defend Science meeting, rather it was the audience of Dembski’s talk.
If Dembski wishes to regain any semblance of the decency he lost in the Pianka affair, the Shallit affair, the single-malt scotch affair, etc., he should apologize to Padian and retract his insulting claims. But based on those past experiences, I won’t hold my breath.