SMU Daily: The Discovery Institute: harming us with pseudoscience

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The SMU Campus newspaper carried an opinion piece written by Ben Wells who is a junior anthropology major.

The article starts out by describing the political and religious foundation behind the Discovery Institute’s actions

This weekend Dedman Law School’s Christian Legal Society will be hosting a controversial and well-known institute that preaches a religious message masked in a capsule of pseudoscience.

Indeed, the Wedge document outlines clearly how Intelligent Design is meant to be a religious and not necessarily a scientific issue.

A controversial document (reported as the Wedge Document, a 1998 internal memo) stated the Institute’s goal was to “drive a wedge” into “scientific materialism” in order to divorce it from its purely observational and naturalistic methodology and stop the deleterious effects of evolution on Western culture.

Ben is quick to point out the real weakness in the Intelligent Design movement, namely its scientific vacuity

This is where the Discovery Institute fails. The claims they make, claims based purely on religious or supernatural grounds, can NOT be tested in the material world. I can neither prove nor disprove the existence of a god or gods via observable phenomena in the material world - and neither can the Discovery Institute no matter what they may tell you. If they do tell you this it is because they are saying it based on a spiritual and supernatural belief masked in scientific language - not in scientific language itself.

This explains why, contrary to claims by some ID proponents, ID does not lead to testable claims beyond ‘X cannot be explained by Y’.

Ben ends with a careful reminder

The Discovery Institute can believe in a deity - it is their right. The Discovery Institute can not pass off that belief as science. When they try to they only show their own inability to come to terms with our existence on this little pale blue dot. Believe in God, believe in humanity, believe what you will, but please realize that well practiced science is the best thing we as a species have to fight tyranny, environmental degradation, illness and suffering.

Amen. For an excellent examination of the history of the Intelligent Design Movement, I suggest the following book written by Barbara Forrest and Paul Gross: Creationism’s Trojan Horse

For an excellent overview of why Intelligent Design fails to be scientifically relevant, read ecision in Favor of Plaintiffs Judge John E. Jones III, Middle District of Pennsylvania : Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District

and remember

Phase III. Once our research and writing have had time to mature, and the public prepared for the reception of design theory, we will move toward direct confrontation with the advocates of materialist science through challenge conferences in significant academic settings. We will also pursue possible legal assistance in response to resistance to the integration of design theory into public school science curricula. The attention, publicity, and influence of design theory should draw scientific materialists into open debate with design theorists, and we will be ready. With an added emphasis to the social sciences and humanities, we will begin to address the specific social consequences of materialism and the Darwinist theory that supports it in the sciences.

Only problem is that ID forgot to present a scientifically relevant hypothesis of its own beyond an appeal to ignorance.

46 Comments

For a quick overview of why ID fails to be scientifically relevant, I present

William Dembski

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.”

Source

he could have learned a lot from Darwin’s wise words

It is so easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions as the “plan of creation,” “unity of design,” ., and to think that we give an explanation when we only restate a fact. [On the Origin of Species, Chapter XIV, p 482]

From Goosing the Antithesis

Some interesting news:

What’s made this venue interesting is that it is being co-sponsored by the SMU law school’s Christian Legal Society, not a scientific organization. This was acknowledged at the beginning of the talk this evening, and the argument was submitted that Intelligent Design was part of the legal consciousness following the Dover trial, and thus was a pressing legal concern. Not the most persuasive justification, but what the hell.

That being said, tonight did have the slight air of a revival. I caught a few “Amens” echoing through the audience when a point was raised about science proving God’s existence, and there was an almost thunderous roar of applause when Stephen Meyer claimed that resorting to supernatural explanations is scientifically meritorious.

He then told me (quite openly, also, which I thought was odd) that the financial situation of the Discovery Institute was grim, and that they were “bleeding money” and were “barely able to keep the lights on in Seattle.”

They certainly are doing a good job of not providing details about their ‘theory’. They haven’t published the last 6 issues of the only ID journal in the world.

The Discovery Institute’s bleeding money? Maybe they’ll go the way of The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, which doesn’t even answer the phone anymore.

The quality of ISCID already was quite deplorable, and they seem to have run out even of deplorable quality contributions. What more can I say…

Narrator Jim Forbes: The year, was 1999. Dembski was named director of the Michael Polyani center. Michael Behe’s book was in its third printing. In Seattle, everything seemed to be coming up roses. But behind the scenes, things were falling apart…

Paul Nelson: It was crazy man. Out of control. Casey Luskin would get smashed before every press conference. We were on the road all the time, city after city after city. Half the time I didn’t even know where I was. The women..the booze… We were just making up things. Ontogenetic Depth? What the hell is that? I don’t even remember, man.

Forbes: Coming up: In a quiet little courtroom in Pennsylvania, Intelligent Design hits the wall…

Re: The DI “bleeding money.”

I’m not surprised to hear that they can “barely keep the lights on.” I suspect that this fact, more than any sudden realization that intelligent design isn’t a “mature scientific theory” is behind the recent decision to stop pushing it as something to be taught in classrooms; the ID lobby simply can’t afford to argue anymore lawsuits.

ID was essentially a political and legal strategy, and supporters have gotten tired of its failings. Few were ever likely wed to it very strongly in the first place; it was a cover to try to sneak creationism into classrooms, it didn’t work, and the folks who used to give money for its cause are moving on to other things that they hope might have a chance at success in advancing their agenda.

ID and the DI didn’t work out. I wonder what they’ll try next, or if they’ll be satisfied with simply grumbling amongst themselves and maybe trolling a website now and again. In any case, I expect that the Discovery Institute will be going the way of People for the New American Century and the smilodon inside of a year. Maybe two.

… when Stephen Meyer claimed that resorting to supernatural explanations is scientifically meritorious.

Has anyone seen a “supernatural explanation” of anything? Whether “scientifically meritorious” or not?

It seems to me that there are some minimal conditions that an explanation should meet. Such as, that it attempt to tell us “why this, and not something else” - but how can a supernatural explanation begin to tell us that something, anything, is more likely than anything else? A supernatural agency - even more obviously, an agency like ID posits - an agency about which we know nothing - how can we suggest that it wouldn’t do “something else”?

Has ID ever attempted to explain why life on earth appears to be billions of years old, or why there is the “tree of life”, or why the human body is so very similar to that of chimps and other apes, or how complex ecological systems could respond to what would surely be an extremely disruptive event like the sudden appearance of eyed vertebrates? (No “half-an-eye”, no “intermediate forms”, but fully modern eyed vertebrates in a world teeming with prey with no possible defense?)

What would it look like, a “supernatural explanation” of things like those? Would it be, maybe, “a supernatural agent could do anything, so it could make the world to be of age X, with the appearance of age Y, for any values of X and Y”?

Has anyone ever seen such an attempt at an explanation? Without getting into what would count as evidence for it. Much less one which has some claim at being “scientifically meritorious”.

In ID lingo anything that involves intelligence is supernatural because after all, it weighs nothing so it cannot be materialistic. Think I am kidding?..

Ahmanson hasn’t run out of money. The surge in corn prices isn’t affecting them. If they’re having a hard time paying the bills these days, it’s because some financial supporters are asking ‘why should I keep funding you losers? You aren’t accomplishing anything.’ I would loooove to hear John West try to explain that they’re really doing a great job.

He then told me (quite openly, also, which I thought was odd) that the financial situation of the Discovery Institute was grim, and that they were “bleeding money” and were “barely able to keep the lights on in Seattle.”

Well, of course he’d say that. They need an excuse for why ID is failing so badly on all fronts–scientific, PR and legal. Saying it’s due to “financial difficulties”–hard to compete with those filthy rich Darwinists who run the country, you know!–sounds a lot better than admitting it’s scientifically vacuous, unconstitutional and not even appealing to your average creationist.

I guess then the meaning of the written word has a supernatural origin, since it weighs the same as the same letters scrambled.

It is nice to see the SMU fiasco exposed so nicely. I was going to go have a live peek over there, but I can’t bear to give those twits a dime.

I certainly hope that the DI will close its doors. Its an embarrassment to the City of Seattle, King County, and the State of Washington…

If the Disco Institute is running low on funds, perhaps William Buckingham can take up an anonymous collection for them.

practiced science is the best thing we as a species have to fight tyranny, environmental degradation, illness and suffering.

I generally liked the article, but that was a little over the top. How does science fight tyranny? I think I’m detecting a bit the unjustified contempt that some scientists have toward political philosophy.

I also take issue with the following:

[science]…has progressed [sic.] humanity further than any economic, political or religious system ever has.

That science was instrumental in the improvement of the human condition is beyond doubt. However, by themselves, the advances of science are impotent. Scientific discoveries have to be applied to serve human wants, and this could never have happened without the institutions of capitalism. Without well-functioning capital markets, no one would ever be able to finance the development and manufacture of products that apply scientific knowledge, such as medicines, airplanes, electronics, and even basic things like refrigerators, which were high tech at one point. Without consumer markets and prices set by the free interaction of supply and demand, no one would be able know which products warrant more investment and production and which need to be cut back or abandoned. That’s why centrally planned economies always end up with major shortages of highly desired items and surpluses of unwanted junk. Without an efficient system of commercial, property, and contract law, and a well-functioning court system to enforce it, no one would ever enter into business relationships to produce or market a scientific application for fear of being expropriated.

As an economist, I certianly appreciate the importance of science. Good scientists, in turn, need to appreciate the importance of the economic system, for without it, their discoveries would never have any impact beyond the pages of their journals.

I’m heartened by the reports that the DI may be running low on funds. Perhaps, the hand of economics, as explain by our economist poster, Adam (Smith?), has convinced the DI”s source of funds, mostly Howarf Ahmanson, that this avenue of pursuit is fruitless and the money might be better spent elsewhere. However, if the DI’s Institute for the Renewal of Science and Cultlure is defunded, shall we start speculating on the cut and color of the clothes that will be worn by the new savior of creationism? And who might that be? Ken Ham is a candidate but he’s an old YEC and they are pretty much shot politically. Kent Hovind will be unavailable for some time. Anyone else come to mind? But I suspect the truth is that nothing will happen for years until a new generation of doofuses, most of whom are in their teens or younger, decide on some absurd approach and find some ignorant politician to be their champion.

(Apologies. I’m not a biologist, I’m an IT grad working in tech support and waiting/hoping for approval soon to become a postgrad. I’ve also, completely unrelatedly, been accused occasionally of being incredibly naive, which may explain the rest of this post. :-) )

Hearing/reading about the DI “bleeding money” just now brought back something else I’d (re-)read whilst doing the rounds on the weekend (here, Pharyngula, etc.)… that bit about Dembski’s response to the Jones decision, his “this will galvanise the Christians, we’ll be raising a lot of funds now”…

… is there any possibility, or credence to the suggestion that he (and his cronies^W cohorts) might in fact be completely and utterly aware of this scientific vacuity; and maybe is just pulling all this in order to scam a quick buck?

When I first heard the Dembski quote post-Dover, I just thought “you idiot. Didn’t you go to court to claim it was science and not religion? Moron” (oh ha-ha, apparently its to their benefit we think of ID proponents as being idiots, is it?). I think I was so blinded by the caustic stupidity/hypocrisy, it wasn’t until recently the healed-over scabs of cynicism, that comment and now this “bleeding money” comment have made me wonder.

Could it be, possibly, nothing but a conscious, deliberate money-grinding scam? Now the thought’s in my head, I don’t think I can shift it. At least, not without some good evidence either way…

… gaaah! Why didn’t I think of this one earlier!?

He then told me (quite openly, also, which I thought was odd) that the financial situation of the Discovery Institute was grim, and that they were “bleeding money” and were “barely able to keep the lights on in Seattle.”

Is this because their blood/light/money-clotting is irreducibly complicated? :-)

Vyoma and Troff -

I am extremely heartened to see people recognizing ID for what it really is, and even before I got here.

ID was a cynical invention for the purpose of “court proofing” creationism. A good con man always partly believes his own con, especially when he’s “in the zone” hooking in saps. So Dembski and Behe and Wells and the like probably think, most of the time, at a superficial level, that they believe their own crap.

There’s no doubt in my mind, for whatever that’s worth, that the lure of money is a big part of it as well. For thirty years, it’s been shown that setting up or joining a “right wing think tank” allows modestly talented academics to rake in several times more than they ever could in real jobs, if they toe the party line.

ID was a political and legal con, worked out with weasely difficulty by men who thought they were skilled enough at spinning BS to fool everybody.

Forbes: Coming up: In a quiet little courtroom in Pennsylvania, Intelligent Design hits the wall…

I think the correct term is “Fan”: “.…Intelligent Design hits the fan.…”

Sorry, minor point.

-AR

A. Rice - From the DI’s perspective it was a crash test dummy, and it hit the wall. From the scientific perspective it was a crock of the proverbial, and it hit the fan!

Adam Wrote:

Without an efficient system of commercial, property, and contract law, and a well-functioning court system to enforce it, no one would ever enter into business relationships to produce or market a scientific application for fear of being expropriated.

You really need to read some history of applied science before spouting your idealistic nonsense. I suggest you start with Edison and Tesla and the development of commercial distribution of electricity.

Adam Wrote:

Without well-functioning capital markets

FWIW, without well-functioning technology and industry, no one would be able to do science either. (Since I’m an engineer as well, I like to fondle the technology part of the elephant too. :-)

PvM Wrote:

ID does not lead to testable claims beyond ‘X cannot be explained by Y’.

As in “Life cannot be explained by ID”, because it fails in the test of giving testable claims? ;-)

Seriously, I’m not aware of ID generating any testable claims at all. If you are thinking of IC, it is compatible with ID but not derivable from it. So I’m curious about the support for the above claim.

How does science fight tyranny?

Perhaps the article should have said that REASON helps us to fight tyranny, by enabling individuals to think for ourselves, separate fact from fiction and reason from emotion, recognize logical fallacies, and make ourselves independent of the lies and head-games played by tyrants and con-artists of all sorts.

How does science fight tyranny?

There is an indirect effect as well. Science has lifted us out of the dark ages of poverty, illness, and ignorance. Material well being is improved by technology, life span is way up (US 1900, 47yrs, today 76), and modern communications facilitates education and information acquisition. People well off with something to look forward to are a lot less inclined to accept tyrranical regimes. It is no accident that the world’s bloodiest most disfunctional places have been stuck in midieval times.

This is what is so appalling about the creos attack on science. They explicitly want to overthrow “Scientific Materialism” (whatever that is) and substitute a cultist ideology. At best this would lead to stagnation in the USA and at worst, another return to the dark ages.

A goal unworthy of everything christianity stands for but thought has never been the creos strong point.

Adam: I suggest you read “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Diamond to see how science, or at least technical innovation can spread even amoung hunter-gatherers.

After all, as Darwin pointed out, agriculture is pretty much applied science. The creation of corn (maize) is a genetic engineering feat that we have not yet surpassed.

As a long-time lurker but never a contributor, I was waiting to see whether anyone else who attended the SMU “Darwin vs Design” conference would post a synopsis. Since this has not yet happened, I’ll go ahead and provide my summary of the experience. (By the way, my creationist sister paid for my ticket.)

Lee Strobel gave the opening address on Friday evening with standard fare about the fine tuning of the physical constants. It was apparent he was not familiar with Victor Stenger’s challenge to these arguments in his recent book, “God: The Failed Hypothesis.” He also cited some statistics about the origin of life and contrasted micro vs. macro evolution. He then briefly interviewed the three primary speakers: Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe and Jay Richards. Of the three, Stephen Meyer seemed to be the most articulate and confident of his position. I came away with the impression that he really, truly believes in ID. I was pleasantly surprised to hear both him and Behe hint at their acceptance of universal common ancestry, even though Strobel had previously made it pretty clear he did not accept such a notion.

On Saturday, Jay Richards presented a summary of the arguments in his (& Guillermo Gonzalez’s) book “The Privileged Planet.” I was pleased he did not too grossly overstate the case for the impossibility of any other planet in the universe but Earth having the conditions necessary to support life. He granted that there are probably billions of other planets in the universe, and that some (but very few, if any) may have the necessary conditions. His singular argument is not that the conditions for supporting life are impossible to obtain on another planet elsewhere in the universe, but that our planet happens to have the right characteristics and placement in the galaxy to enable us to peer out and discover the nature of the universe. Bizarrely, we are the only planet in our solar system with a moon that permits a perfect (not too big, not too small) solar eclipse. This allowed us to confirm the gravitational lensing predicted by General Relatively in 1919. This suggests that the Designer not only placed Earth in a habitable zone with all the right conditions for life, but that he also provided the conditions for scientific discovery of the cosmos. I won’t comment further, other than to say “So what? This is just one more coincidence in a universe of possibly trillions of planets.”

Next was Stephen Meyer, who presented a case for the intelligent origin of the first living cell. His slides demonstrated the impressive complexity of the simplest living organisms and the astronomical probabilities involved in the chance organization of even a modest protein of 150 amino acids. His approach was to argue from the Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE), presenting successively and eliminating the hypothesis of Chance, Necessity (i.e., the laws of self-organization), and the combination of Chance + Necessity. He then invoked Charles Lyell’s principle of uniformitarianism, which states that we should seek explanations for past events based on currently observable processes. In a twist (of which he was clearly proud) of Lyell’s principle, he stated that only a process involving intelligence is known to be able to create coding mechanisms, so only an Intelligence could be responsible for the origin of the DNA coding mechanism. He failed, of course, to indicate that this does not qualify as an application of Lyell’s principle: Certainly, we are familiar with human intelligence, but there is no known or observable experience of immaterial, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Intelligence of the sort he is inferring. He also failed to give any real consideration to explanations of pre-DNA coding mechanisms like the RNA world hypothesis or its possible genetic replication predecessors. But judging from conversations I heard between sessions, the audience (of perhaps about 1000) was clearly taken with his presentation; “He’s so smart, etc.” “That was great how he showed that evolutionists bar ID from science by limiting the definition of science, etc.”

Michael Behe gave the final presentation after lunch on Saturday. He provided a brief summary of the arguments in his book, “Darwin’s Black Box.” Then, to my astonishment, he repeated the claim that no scientific publications, apart from an erroneous paper on blood clotting by Russell Doolittle, had addressed the problem of the naturalistic origin any of the irreducibly complex systems discussed in his book. I was dumbfounded. What about the large stack of publications placed on his desk by the plaintiffs at the Kitzmiller trial? His claim in the SMU address was not that all attempts to address his irreducibly complex systems fell short, but that *no* publications (apart from Doolittle’s) had even *attempted* to address these questions. The audience was clearly taken with the evolutionists’ inability to respond, chuckling quite contentedly through his lengthy and impressive (to anyone not familiar with the background) description of his triumph.

Behe’s presentation was followed by a question & answer session, of which I was able to sit through for only 20 minutes due to my responsibility to coach my daughter’s soccer game. Unfortunately the Q&A session was not interactive; only written questions were accepted, so the team was able to be selective about which ones to respond to. I had submitted two questions, one an attempt to make each of them commit to a position on common descent (and why would an omnipotent creator create in keeping with the expectations/requirements of evolutionary theory?), and the other challenging the fine-tuning arguments with data from Stenger’s book. (The cut-off for written questions was already in place before Behe’s speech, or I would certainly have challenged his claims.) According to a friend who stayed later, neither of my questions was addressed.

In the Q&A session, they did take a stab at a question about the falsifiability of ID. Meyer mentioned that he and Scott Minnich had written a paper hypothesizing that the bacterial secretory system that Matzke et al claim to be a predecessor of the bacterial flagellum represents not a predecessor but a later degenerative form of the flagellum (like the wings of flightless birds or the sightless eyes of cave fish). He claims that data are coming in that are confirming this hypothesis. I’d be interested in hearing more about this.

One topic that surfaced over and over was the complaint that the evolutionary camp defines ID out of science, not giving anyone a chance to follow the evidence where it leads. They cited statements written by 3 professors and a student at SMU as examples of this stance. This helps to confirm to the ID crowd that evolutionists are being unfair and that they have an agenda to exclude ID, since evolutionary theory does not have enough evidence to stand on its own. In this light, I wonder whether it’s worth making definitional statements about science that exclude ID, unless in the same statement an attempt is made to explain the basis for concluding that non-material explanations are excluded from science. Just my two cents.

I took pretty detailed notes along the way, but these are just the highlights. I hope they’re helpful, even if coming from a layperson’s perspective.

Adam wrote:

“Without an efficient system of commercial, property, and contract law, and a well-functioning court system to enforce it, no one would ever enter into business relationships to produce or market a scientific application for fear of being expropriated.”

Laser Responded:

“You really need to read some history of applied science before spouting your idealistic nonsense. I suggest you start with Edison and Tesla and the development of commercial distribution of electricity.”

Laser,

Since when are property rights and a functioning court system idealistic nonsense? Are you suggesting that applied science does not need/use property rights (such as patents) and their enforcement to be successful? Or are you objecting to Capitalism and Market Economies in general? Please be more specific.

As for Edison and Tesla, what is your point? Both operated in the same economic system. Edison was just much better at it.

Shenda

Michael Behe gave the final presentation after lunch on Saturday. He provided a brief summary of the arguments in his book, “Darwin’s Black Box.” Then, to my astonishment, he repeated the claim that no scientific publications, apart from an erroneous paper on blood clotting by Russell Doolittle, had addressed the problem of the naturalistic origin any of the irreducibly complex systems discussed in his book. I was dumbfounded. What about the large stack of publications placed on his desk by the plaintiffs at the Kitzmiller trial? His claim in the SMU address was not that all attempts to address his irreducibly complex systems fell short, but that *no* publications (apart from Doolittle’s) had even *attempted* to address these questions. The audience was clearly taken with the evolutionists’ inability to respond, chuckling quite contentedly through his lengthy and impressive (to anyone not familiar with the background) description of his triumph.

What about Behe being wrong about Doolittle being wrong? Was that never cleared up? Because Behe clearly mangled his review of Doolittle.

Clearly an example of creationists unable to see that which disagrees with their position, something which was also found in Meyer’s abominable paper on the Cambrian which ignored much science that undermined his claims.

That’s not science, that’s cherry picking.

Ken,

Thanks for the summary. It sounds exactly like the conference that Jason Rosenhouse attended and wrote about extensively at scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/

Shenda,

I don’t want to get too far OT here, but no, I don’t object to capitalism or market economies (not sure why you capitalized them in your post). My attitude toward them is similar to Churchill’s attitude toward democracy: they are the worst form of economic systems, except for all the other forms. But my views on market economies are irrelevant to the accuracy of Adam’s claims.

Specifically, I object to Adam putting a happy, smiley face on property rights and contract law. Sure, on paper, a scientist makes and invention and partners with business to bring it to market. In reality, that’s not how it happens. Do you know how much it costs to file a patent, so one can protect one’s intellectual property rights?

You say Edison was better at it. Even Edison admitted that Tesla’s ideas were better than his. Edison just knew how to game the system.

So, now the Disco Institute is “bleeding money?” Um, didn’t we learn a few weeks ago that it had about $4.2 mil/year in contributions and only spent about a million and a half on scientific research– which it presents to the faithful as its primary goal? Gee, and Troff thinks it might actually be a “conscious, deliberate money-grinding scam.” Well shame on you, guy, for being so cynical. But just out of idle curiosity, what else could it possibly be???

The phrase “supernatural explanation” is on my list of oxymorons. Come on now, if you attribute something to the supernatural, it means you can find no natural explanation. IOW, it’s a miracle. OTOH, if you can explain it, it’s not a miracle. Therefore a supernatural explanation is the same as no explanation at all.

Re “Is this because their blood/light/money-clotting is irreducibly complicated? :-)”

Well, compound interest isn’t simple, is it? ;)

Henry

“[…] credence to the suggestion that he (and his cronies^W cohorts) might in fact be completely and utterly aware of this scientific vacuity; and maybe is just pulling all this in order to scam a quick buck?”

honestly, i’d always thought that about any and all of the YEC creationist ministries anyway and ID was just another version of the scam to get that pseudoscience taught in the schools so that they could scam even more people

Let me tell you what is really harming us. The pseudo-intellectuals that teach generations that they come from monkeys. You tell them that they’re animals and then you’re surprised when something like the Virginia Tech shooting occurs. That kid had no sense of ultimate consequence or morality, or that he would stand before God and answer for his hidious actions against humanity. Get used to this kind of thing, because that is what you folks are breeding, a generation of God-less humanists that have no clue what right or wrong really is, because in your world morality is relative and God does not exist.

Let me tell you what is really harming us. The pseudo-intellectuals that teach generations that they come from monkeys. You tell them that they’re animals and then you’re surprised when something like the Virginia Tech shooting occurs. That kid had no sense of ultimate consequence or morality, or that he would stand before God and answer for his hidious actions against humanity. Get used to this kind of thing, because that is what you folks are breeding, a generation of God-less humanists that have no clue what right or wrong really is, because in your world morality is relative and God does not exist.

Up Yours: So why are atheists/agnostics massively under-represented in prisons?

You teach English courses to a guy, and look what he ends up doing.

It’s Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and English departments that are responsible for this massacre.

When did “society is responsible” for crime become a right-wing slogan anyhow? I guess we know what that all means, us church-burning Ebola boys were victimized by Darwinist society, and merit assistance for the damage done to us by our society. We don’t deserve any sort of condemnation for how we were brought to our life of burning churches and spreading Ebola.

(btw, does anyone know the guy’s religion? Going by S. Korean stats, 50-50 chance that he’s Xian.)

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

His claim in the SMU address was not that all attempts to address his irreducibly complex systems fell short, but that *no* publications (apart from Doolittle’s) had even *attempted* to address these questions. The audience was clearly taken with the evolutionists’ inability to respond, chuckling quite contentedly through his lengthy and impressive (to anyone not familiar with the background) description of his triumph.

Amusingly, you state your astonishment and then resolve it within the same paragraph. The claim that nobody even bothers to try to refute Behe’s points, effectively generates reliable audience support and rapport. Remember that the Religious Method holds that things become true by saying they are true, especially to an audience that wishes to believe they are true. Actual relationship with reality, whether of doctrine or of claims, simply plays no role in this process. Lying for Jesus runs deep.

Headcase cultist:

Get used to this kind of thing, because that is what you folks are breeding, a generation of God-less humanists that have no clue what right or wrong really is, because in your world morality is relative and God does not exist.

You mean like what those good christians did in Salem MA when they killed 26 alleged witches? Christianity is drenched in innocent blood from the Catholic Protestant wars to the Crusades to the murder of an unknown but probably large number of supposed withches and heretics. For a more up to date look at what a religious fanatic with a gun and an IED can do, just look to Iraq or Afghanistan. The Virginia murders are a Baghdad class pointless horror. But put the blame where it lies. A disturbed student with a gun. PS How do you know this Korean was not a Christian? There was a similar incident at another college with much fewer victims. The perp was some brainwashed guy from some Christian fundie cult no one ever heard of before.

Salem witch trials From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search 1876 illustration of the courtroom; the central figure is usually identified as Mary WalcottThe Salem Witch Trials, begun in 1692 (also known as the Salem witch hunt and the Salem Witchcraft Episode), resulted in a number of convictions and executions for witchcraft in both Salem Village and Salem Town, Massachusetts. Some have argued it was the result of a period of factional infighting and Puritan witch hysteria. The trials resulted in the executions of 20 people (14 women, 6 men) and the imprisonment of between 175 and 200 people. In addition to those executed, at least five people died in prison. One man who refused to plead to the charges was pressed to death with rocks (the medieval torture of peine forte et dure, which, if fatal, did not result in forfeiture of property).

…pressed to death with rocks…

Gotta love those Puritans for keeping it simple.

Let me tell you what is really harming us. The pseudo-intellectuals that teach generations that they come from monkeys. You tell them that they’re animals and then you’re surprised when something like the Virginia Tech shooting occurs. That kid had no sense of ultimate consequence or morality, or that he would stand before God and answer for his hidious actions against humanity. Get used to this kind of thing, because that is what you folks are breeding, a generation of God-less humanists that have no clue what right or wrong really is, because in your world morality is relative and God does not exist.

I was wondering when some loon would blame Darwinism for the VA shootings. Even AIG didn’t go that far.

I doubt our charmingly-named fundie troll will come back, but I would invite him to tell us how he knows what the shooter’s religion is, or to show us why ‘evolution’ is any more responsible for the shootings than the fact that the shooter was an English major living in Virginia, or to prove that society wasn’t violent before evolution.

It’s also fascinating that fundies blame Darwin for the shootings but NOT cheap, plentiful, easily available guns. I guess Jesus loves guns.

Well of course evolution is to blame for the shootings. Because, y’know, there was no violence before Darwin came along. Things like the Crusades, the 100 Years War, the Inquisition, the mass slaughter of indigenous South Americans by the (Catholic) Spanish and of indigenous North Americans by the (Protestant) English (and later Americans), Russian pogroms, slavery throughout the Americas, the US Civil War, and countless other atrocities, often either caused by or justified by religion, nah.

They happened because people know that Darwin would come up with evolution later. Yeah, that must be it.

You tell them that they’re animals and then you’re surprised when something like the Virginia Tech shooting occurs.

Excuse me for raining on your blame-game, but it wasn’t an evolutionist who said “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

And it wasn’t a gang of atheistic scientists who beat Matthew Shepherd to death, either.

Ken: “the complaint that the evolutionary camp defines ID out of science”

I know how they feel. I keep telling chicks I have a car, but they all laugh at me and say I don’t. This is because they’ve dogmatically defined “car” to exclude two-wheeled vehicles powered by pumping pedals with your feet. It’s so unfair.

It’s like they think words mean things!

(Thanks for the report, Ken.)

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on April 15, 2007 12:06 PM.

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