“Cheshire Cat” Creationism in New Mexico

| 18 Comments

Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland featured a strange creature called the Cheshire Cat, which could disappear gradually until nothing was left but its toothy grin.

I was reminded of this strange feline by a recent mailing from a new group calling itself the “New Mexico Science Foundation.”

The group recently sent a package of materials to science teachers in the embattled Rio Rancho School District, where the Intelligent Design/Creationist-friendly Science Policy 401 was adopted, and then amended after strong protests.

You wouldn’t know who is behind this mailing from the group’s website, which has quotes from Einstein, captions like “Dedicated to the pursuit of the scientific method,” and links to bonafide science organizations, like the National Science Foundation, the National Science Teachers Association, the Institute for Systems Biology, and more.

The NMSF site does have a few hints of its real agenda online, for example, links to “Scientific Dissent From Darwinism,” and articles titled “Historical Science versus Empirical Science.”

Some colleagues and I thought it might be a new cover organization for the New Mexico branch of the Intelligent Design Network, or perhaps something done under the auspices of the Discovery Institute.

We were wrong.

The New Mexico Science Foundation website is the work of Bible-believing young-earth creationists (YECs), but you wouldn’t know it just by looking at it. All that’s left of its original YEC incarnation is a toothy grin.

Creationism has been having a lot of problems here in New Mexico of late. So it’s understandable that YECs would would try to re-group in a not-so-blatantly-religious form.

The mailing to Rio Rancho science teachers included DVDs of “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and “The Privileged Planet,” as well as an invitation to a quarterly meeting.

The meetings are held in the same building as those for New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR), and the initials “NMSF” could possibly be an attempt to mimic NMSR.

The teacher mailing also included a copy of a Discovery Institute “Dissent from Darwinism” list,

and an article on the “controversy” of macroevolution.

So, how can the website be traced to its YEC producers?

All it took was a little WHOIS query, which promptly yielded this:

(Asked whois.pir.org:43 about nmsciencefoundation.org)

Domain ID: D131443858-LROR Domain Name: NMSCIENCEFOUNDATION.ORG Created On: 24-Oct-2006 19: 15: 44 UTC Last Updated On: 24-Dec-2006 03: 47: 39 UTC Expiration Date: 24-Oct-2007 19: 15: 44 UTC Sponsoring Registrar: Omnis Network LLC (R101-LROR) Status: OK Registrant ID: OMNIS-1161717340 Registrant Name: Mark Burton Registrant Organization: NMSF … Registrant City: Albuquerque Registrant State/Province: NM Registrant Postal Code: 87123 Registrant Country: US … Registrant Email: principlesATintegrity.com

Who is Mark Burton, you may ask? We first met him when he negotiated the terms of the 2000-2001 Debate between New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR) and the Creation Science Fellowship of New Mexico (CSFNM)

Burton has long been active with CSFNM, serving as a board member for several years. Consider this Recent Letter from Mark Burton to Answers in Genesis, printed in CSFNM’s March 2005 Newsletter.

In 2005, Mark Burton reported on how much it cost to get the local NBC affiliate to air “Unlocking the Mystery of Life.” Also, around this time, Burton was on local talk radio to encourage people to sign a petition of his which protested the bare breasts on a mural at the “Snob Hill” merchant in Nob Hill (in Albuquerque). This caused an international sensation, with bloggers from London saying “quite nice to be rid of the bloody Puritans” and all that. Sadly, the actual bared breasts are no longer online at Quirky Burque, but you can read some of the comments here.

I think the YECs are not entirely happy with the Discovery Institute, and may be trying to figure out how to conceal their real motives all by themselves. Time will tell!

18 Comments

Is it irony or something else that their email address is

PRINCIPLES at INTEGRITY dot com.

Must be something else.

Refering to the Cheshire Cat: There are indeed cats with invisible tails: The manx cats. OK, one may argue that they don’t have tails at all. Creationist would argue in the following way (from wikipedia):

Noah closed the door of the ark when it began to rain and accidentally cut off the Manx’s tail, who’d been playing and almost got left behind.

Of course there is a more reasonable naturalistic alternative to this argument (from wikipedia):

Recent postcards on the Isle of Man depict a cartoon scene of a cat’s tail be run over and removed by a motorbike, as motorbike racing is popular on the Island.

It’s something else.

The “2 + 2 = 5” kind of something else.

The ironic thing is that “cultural renewal” requires lying to someone with a straight face, straight to their face.

But then the subject of irony is not one of my strengths.

I note that one of the featured links on their site is to the “National Association for Objectivity in Science”. Sounds impressive until one looks at the tax statements of that organization and learns that up to 2004 (when I last looked because the site was cited by creationists in Ohio) it has no dues-paying members, no employees, and no revenue except for the donations of a Washington, D.C. tax lawyer whose address is right next door (by suite number) to its listed address.

RBH

“Historical Science versus Empirical Science.”

hmm, i rather think that would be more accurate as:

Historical Revisionism vs. Empirical Science

Dave Thomas Wrote:

I think the YECs are not entirely happy with the Discovery Institute, and may be trying to figure out how to conceal their real motives all by themselves. Time will tell!

AIG leaders have publicly expressed displeasure with the DI’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. But despite “mere distancing” with ambiguous “ID is not creationism” statements, the DI has not returned the favor. Well, here’s another big chance to prove us wrong about the “big tent.” Some of us are convinced that the DI knows that YEC is nonsense, not just as a strategy, but as science. All they need to do is publicly refute YEC claims as thoroughly as they refute the strawman of “Darwinism.” Oh, and tell us that Phillip Johnson was kidding when he said that we can debate the age of the Earth after “natutalism” is defeated.

Here’s another thing on which the DI can enlighten us:

Just how many of the signers of the “Dissent from Darwinism” statement are YECs? How many of the biologists are YECs? I’m guessing “few to none,” but have no hopes of ever knowing because most signers are probably in on the scam. Besides, the statement was written so ambiguously that it includes an interpretation that fits all “evolutionists.” In fact some signers admitted beind duped into signing it, and at least one had his name removed.

And still, all they can get is ~700 names, only ~200 biologists, and even then the list is padded with names of members of pseudoscience organizations!

The big problem is how can we get the public to share our embarrassment at such a pathetic project?

I’m sure ID’ers would like to ask Marcus Ross to join that list. He’s a YEC who just received his PhD in geology (even DaveScot defended him). He’s been taking some flak recently about having to lie on his test to get it. It is important to point out to the public the length’s of dishonesty that these people are willing to go to.

“The meetings are held in the same building as those for New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR), and the initials “NMSF” could possibly be an attempt to mimic NMSR.”

There’s nothing quite like watching Creationism evolve.

WWJLT

Who would Jesus lie to?

I think the YECs are not entirely happy with the Discovery Institute, and may be trying to figure out how to conceal their real motives all by themselves. Time will tell!

They definitely are not happy at all with the ID movement ! :

http://www.answersingenesis.org/doc[…]0830_IDM.asp

Hey, I found I’d saved a copy of Mark Burton’s anti-breast-art petition, which has since fallen off the Web.

So, I’ve put it up for your edification, here.

You’ll see that the address at the bottom of the petition belongs to The Foothills (Church). Burton’s affilition with The Foothills can be established on this page.

Hats off to you again, Dave. While I was on vacation, I figured that DI had vanished just like the Cheshire cat. Delusional again!

Hats off to you, Dave, for keeping on top of this. While I was on vacation, I thought DI had disappeared like the Cheshire cat. Delusional again!

I love Mr. Burton’s email address.…[Enable javascript to see this email address.]. That’s rich coming from a guy dishonestly mimicking another organization for propaganda purposes. If my ‘principles’, he means deceptive representation of his organization as something it isn’t and by ‘integrity’ he means subordinating scientific evidence for baseless faith, then he has a pretty accurate email address.

Darth Robo Wrote:

I’m sure ID’ers would like to ask Marcus Ross to join that list. He’s a YEC who just received his PhD in geology (even DaveScot defended him).

The same DaveScot who begged hs fellow IDers to come clean and admit common descent.

Unless one is talking about someone on the street who hasn’t given 5 minutes thought beyond parroting feel-good sound bites, calling someone a YEC only means that they want others to believe it. If one really did think there was evidence of a young Earth, one should be able to defend that without referring to any problems with “Darwinism.” But these days that’s almost never done. It still amazes me though, that with all the evidence of dishonesty, so many critics give anti-evolutionists the benefit of the doubt that they actually believe what they promote, whether directly or indirectly.

If they are determined to teach ID and YE in the schools, they could at least be consistent and include astrology. It is at least as reasonable and scientifically valid as ID and YE and more internally consistent. The best thing of all, is that astrology is testable whereby ID and YE are not. I would suggest pushing these ID and YE advocacy groups to include astrology in their agenda. I would buy a ticket to hear their objections as to why astrology isn’t science.

entlord Wrote:

I would buy a ticket to hear their objections as to why astrology isn’t science.

Save your money. Michael Behe admitted under oath at the Dover trial that, to accommodate ID the rules of science would have to be relaxed so much that astrology would qualify.

For schools IDers don’t demand astrology or YEC, and in fact, in the last few years, not even ID per se. All they advocate is a well-crafted misrepresentation of evolution, disguised as “critical analysis” that encourages unreasonable doubt. Students have already been fed enough misconceptions to fill in the blanks with YEC, OEC or “the jury’s still out” nonsense. But no critical analysis of them of course.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dave Thomas published on February 22, 2007 9:22 PM.

Science Friday tomorrow – Monkey Girl, Flock of Dodos was the previous entry in this blog.

Iowa professor again poised to defend “intelligent design” is the next entry in this blog.

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