Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

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And they say evolution isn’t predictable. Ever since ID went down in flames in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, creationism watchers have predicted that creationism would evolve yet again, this time into something called “critical analysis of evolution” or “teach the [made-up] controversy”. For the last month or two I have been warning about the Discovery Institute’s new crypto-creationist textbook, which is sneakily entitled Explore Evolution: The Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism (yes, take a good hard look at the spiffy website). The book is clearly another shot at the Of Pandas and People strategy, namely, “when a court case goes against you, change the label and try again.”

We already knew that the first official big promotional conference for Explore Evolution was going to be at an event for teachers held at Biola University. (Formerly known as the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, the only institute in the U.S. that has graduate courses in “intelligent design”, and pretty literally the place that put the fundamentals in fundamentalism. Oh yes, how could anyone ever think that Explore Evolution is crypto-ID/creationism?)

Now it looks like the Discovery Institute has engineered a cover story in World Magazine, a leading conservative evangelical magazine. The magazine has an interview with Behe about his new book, but more importantly has a story about a plan to insert Explore Evolution into a public school in Tacoma, Washington:

COVER STORY ARTICLE | “When the base cracks” July 21, 2007

Teach the controversy

Two years after Intelligent Design advocates lost a key court battle, some biology classrooms and ID supporters are finding a balanced approach to evolution that—so far—is lawsuit-proof | Mark Bergin

[…]

This fall, the 34-year teaching veteran [yes, this guy on the Discovery Institute website] will restructure his evenhanded presentation around a new textbook from the Seattle-based Discovery Institute. Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and Against Neo-Darwinism (Hill House Publishers, 2007) does not address alternative theories of origins but succinctly lays out the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the most critical elements of Darwinism. “It’s made my work a lot easier,” Cowan said.

Explore Evolution encapsulates a “teach the controversy” paradigm that the Discovery Institute has advocated for the better part of the past decade. Over that time, the institute has advised school boards against the inclusion of Intelligent Design in their science standards. [This is laughable, by the way] Some boards have heeded that counsel; others have not.

[…snip a recounting of the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, which of course the DI had nothing to do with except for creating the entire situation and painting an incredibly rosy picture for fundamentalist school boards and law firms…]

But the Dover lawsuit also highlighted the effectiveness of the Discovery Institute’s approach. State school boards in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Mexico, and Minnesota along with local boards in Wisconsin and Louisiana have adopted science standards that encourage critical analysis of Darwinian Theory. To date, not a single lawsuit has challenged such standards.

“This is an approach that if I were a Darwinist I would be particularly frightened of,” said John West, associate director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “The policy that we’ve recommended turns out to be the precise common-ground approach we said it would be. It reduces the decibel level; you don’t get sued; you get good education; and the Darwinists don’t have a leg to stand on.”

So, here’s the score: Rather than doing something respectable, like deciding to knuckle down and convince the scientific community, like all real scientists have had to do before their views were taught in introductory science classes, the Discovery Institute, led by young-earth creationist Paul Nelson (who is the major author of Explore Evolution), has decided to sell its scientific soul (again) and launch the scientific revolution with the 14-year olds in the ninth-grade biology classroom (again).

Paul Nelson, who can’t even get his allegedly scientific monograph which disproves common ancestry finished, let alone publish it, and who can’t even get basic concepts about evolutionary theory right (example 1, example 2 from just yesterday), has opted to stick all his half-baked arguments for special creation into a high-school textbook instead, and then cravenly and dishonestly hide the fact that he is promoting his fundamentalist religious view of special creation in public schools, all in the hope that his junk science will be more convincing with an audience that has yet to learn any serious biology. And all this from a guy who just last year seemed to realize just how silly and immature and useless this method of promoting creationism was. Oh well. Let round 4 begin.*

Note

* In case you missed the reference, the short history of creationist assaults on science education:

Round 1: Fundamentalists ban evolution (1920s-1960s). Ended by Epperson v. Arkansas in 1968.

Round 2: “Creation science” (invented in 1969, ended as a serious legal strategy by Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987 (with earlier defeats such as Hendren v. Campbell (1977) and McLean v. Arkansas (1982))

Round 3: Intelligent design (invented in the Great Label Switch of 1987, ended as a serious legal strategy by Kitzmiller v. Dover in 2005)

Round 4: Just bash evolution and imply creationism/ID without being explicit. This is the strategy used in the DI’s Explore Evolution textbook, 2007-????. Don’t assume it will end any time soon, or even that it will be a court case that ends it. Court cases only occur with a very rare combination of circumstances. Given the sneaky nature of the “critical analysis of evolution” strategy and the rightward turn of the courts, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Still, if I were on a school board I wouldn’t trust the Discovery Institute’s legal beagles any further than I could throw them. These guys are idealogues fighting a religious war. For them, the public schools are territory to be conquered for purposes of evangelization. These are not the qualities one wants in a legal advisor.

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A couple of months ago I noted that “‘Teach the controversy’ ... makes about as much sense as teaching that tuberculosis can be cured by eating wolf livers.” Creationists – whether old-fashioned young-earthers or modern pr... Read More

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I never expected to see this sort of thing in my hometown, but at least it wasn’t at my high school. What’s the point of this anymore, to teach shitty science?

It’s like some badge of honor to be a dissenter these days, “You think common ancestry is crap? Pssh, HIV doesn’t even cause AIDS. The flagellum couldn’t have evolved? Try a 6000 year old earth.” It’s the free-mason handshake of the deniers.

What is the significance, I ask my students, of these microevolutionary changes? Can they be extrapolated to explain macroevolution - that is, evolution from one type of creature to a fundamentally different kind?

ding ding ding ding!

Skepticism for its own sake isn’t the goal here, but it’s important for students to realize that even respected scientists have peddled fraudulent evidence in defense of a pet scientific dogma. A few examples my students learn about are Ernst Haeckel’s faked embryo drawingsand the infamous Piltdown Man - fossils of a primitive hominid that turned out to be a hoax.

DING DING DING DING!

Charles Darwin wrote, “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”

Certainly, and now for the critical analysis of intelligent design…

Why am I not surprised to see Louisiana on that list? Probably because we’re at the forefront of so many other blatantly polically motivated policies. Such as government funding for a “Choose Life” license plate, but nothing to express the dissenting viewpoint. “Teach the Controversy” my ass. (To anyone who might misconstrue my words: the complaint is that it’s a blatant government endorsement of one side in a discussion which often ends up being drawn along religious lines.)

The usual reasons for why “teach the controversy” will most likely be posted below me; but I would like to address something which I don’t often see mentioned (sometimes, but not often): isn’t the point of high school not to teach the controversy, but to teach the basics? I mean, you don’t often see communism mentioned in civics classes, or the alternative Freemason explanation of World History, because there’s so much to teach, adding on “controversy” will just make the load more insanely large than it already is. Not to mention the “teach the test” criticisms already being grumbled about in education circles.

Meant to say, “The usual reasons for why ‘teach the controversy’ is nonsense”; first post in a few years is a foul-up – way to make a first impression!

Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and Against Neo-Darwinism (Hill House Publishers, 2007) does not address alternative theories of origins …

…which exempts them from critical analysis. Quite ironic, because they can be not just critically analyzed, but individually refuted and exposed as being mutually contradictory, without the cherry-picking of evidence, baiting-and-switching definitions and concepts and quote mining that is required to “critically analyze” evolution in a way that pleases the activists.

Update on my comment above:

Note how sneaky anti-evolution activist language is. There are no alternative theories of origins. Assuming they even mean origins of species that could compete with evolution (or the usual conflation of evolution and abiogenesis).

To be clear, “teach the controversy” activists know that there are several alternative hypotheses implicit in familiar creationist accounts. And that’s what they want to exempt from critical analysis, because they know that they are (1) not supported by evidence, and (2) contradict each other even before evidence is considered.

I think what they’re trying to do now is finding, by trial and error, the largest inch they can get away with, before they stretch that to a mile through friction in time.

This one is quite predictable, but at this point it’s been watered down enough that it probably won’t have any actual effect on the culture. Students that are ultra-Christian will have their beliefs (loosely) confirmed. Students that aren’t will shrug. Everyone else will, like typical high school students, not care.

Nick Matzke wrote:

…the Discovery Institute, led by young-earth creationist Paul Nelson (who is the major author of Explore Evolution), has decided to sell its scientific soul (again) and launch the scientific revolution with the 14-year olds in the ninth-grade biology classroom (again).

Wait a minute…the DI has a scientific soul?

I weep for your country.

Then I shall weep for mine.

I am, however, excited to get my teeth into ripping more creationist… er, ID… er, controversy distortions and strawmen to pieces. They just haven’t been much fun lately.

Is the list of controversies known yet, or are we taking bets?

Nick,

It’s still too early in Seattle, and I have to attend a meeting here in Chicago anyway, but I propose that if you, or others, have focused critiques of any part of Explore Evolution (EE), we could discuss them at the Debate section of the EE webpage.

I’ll find out from the DI webmaster what needs to be done to set up open discussion threads there.

Paul: Why not have that debate right here? You know your side won’t be censored, as too many creationist blogs censor ours; and no one here has to “set up” anything in advance. The mere fact that you have posted here with impunity proves you know this; which leaves me wondering why you feel this need to dictate the place and terms of the debate you claim to want.

You have something to say? Say it here. You know we’re waiting…

Hi Paul,

Why don’t you start with explaining why Explore Evolution asserts that the origin of live birth is a problem for the origin of mammals?

Why don’t you start with explaining why Explore Evolution asserts that the origin of live birth is a problem for the origin of mammals?

It is? Some sharks also give birth to live young.

Some mammals don’t give birth to live young, platypuses, and some give birth to embryonic young who develop in pouches. Seems we might have some transitional forms wandering around the antipodes.

Are we back to arguments from ignorance or incredulity?

“I can’t see how my foot evolved so god exists.” QED

I like Drakvl’s suggestion: if they retreat to “teach the controversy” and try to slide by on all the complicated stuff, simply come back with “Teach the fundamentals”, and “Basics first, controversies later”. Little more needs to be said - the refutation is self-evident.

I’ve got my rose-colored glasses on this morning: it seems comforting that they are in a position of having to say less and less in ever more obscure ways about progressively more obscure topics. Whatever they retreat to next is likely to be even less inspiring for the general citizenry than obscure math and bacterial flagella. Another decade should see some phenomenal advances in genetics, developmental biology, OOL, and the like, not to mention ongoing discoveries in paleontology, while the DI crowd, for lack of anywhere else to go, may well end up following Dembski into a wilderness of apologetics, rhetoric, and bad philosophy.

Raven said “Some sharks also give birth to live young.”

Guppies, garter snakes and other creatures give birth to live young. Should this discussion be limited to placental mammals?

(Oops - if I use the term “creatures” does that imply I believe in “creation”? Is “creatures” a politically incorrect term in evolutionist discussions?)

Some mammals don’t give birth to live young, platypuses, and some give birth to embryonic young who develop in pouches. Seems we might have some transitional forms wandering around the antipodes.

Yeah, but you’re talking about reality. In Explore Evolution, the kiddies are told on page 129:

Most reptiles lay eggs, while mammals carry fertilized eggs internally, which they nourish through a placenta, and bear live young.

(Actually the above is the corrected version from the online errata page. They fixed a different mistake but not the big one.)

I’ll find out from the DI webmaster what needs to be done to set up open discussion threads there.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that one! “Well, that’s gonna be tricky, Paul.” “Why?” “See… an “open” discussion thread… that implies people, just anyone! can come in there and point out that we’re um… lying.” “Lying?! We’re teaching the controversy.” “Right, right, but… remember when my predecessor leaked that ‘Wedge Document’?” *grits teeth* “Yes…” “And remember how Phil Johnson keeps saying that lawyers understand the issues better than biologists?” “Yeah…” “Well, if we have um, ‘discussions,’ then, well… that stuff will probably be um… ‘discussed.’” “No, no. Science discussion. We’ll moderate the comments, so, y’know, we discuss the science.” “Okay, so you want a moderated discussion.” *cracks knuckles* “Right, right, moderated but, um, open.” “So it looks open?” “I knew we hired the right guy.”

I’ll find out from the DI webmaster what needs to be done to set up open discussion threads there.

I’m not sure what might go into that, but it is easy enough to do at AtBC.

I can see that the DI and this teacher from Tacoma are trying to shave as closely as possible to what is allowed. The key reason I object to this teach the controversy concept is becasue a better approach is to teach what is understood and admit ignorance. Virtually all controversy is born from a lack of knowledge about a particular subject. In science, the best method for reducing controversy is to review what is known and then set about filling in the gaps of knowledge through research.

What this text, Explore Evolution, attempts to do is use the gaps of knowledge to create controversy where none should exist. Instead a sound educatinal program would teach what is known and understood and make clear where and what is not known or what is still unclear. This way future biologists can form ideas of how best to apply their research and labrotory skills in college and in life.

If you need to teach the controversy to get kids excited about science, your not much of a teacher.

What this text, Explore Evolution, attempts to do is use the gaps of knowledge to create controversy where none should exist.

Actually, it’s much worse than that. What typically happens is that book takes the gaps in the creationist authors’ knowledge – usually specifically Paul Nelson’s fevered imagination, then assumes those gaps represent real gaps in human knowledge, and does the usual creationist schtick from there.

God of the gaps is bad, but God of the imagined/made-up gaps is far worse IMO…

Comment #187555

Posted by Paul Nelson on July 13, 2007 8:38 AM (e) | kill … I’ll find out from the DI webmaster what needs to be done to set up open discussion threads there.

Open discussion threads? Simple. Replace the webmaster with an evolutionist.

steve s Wrote:

Open discussion threads? Simple. Replace the webmaster with an evolutionist honest person.

I was going to suggest the edit above, but then realized that there are no honest people at the DI.

Carry on.

Oh, boy, you can see this coming a mile away. Part of the new ruse is going to be populating the now-empty “debate” section of the EE website with all sorts of arguments against the book, so as to be able to show that they really are just interested in the “controversy” and “critical thinking.” No one on their side will pay any attention or learn anything from it, and they can use it in court to buttress their new strategy. On the other hand, if Nelson does indeed open up a forum with no banninator button, and no one goes there and argues with them they can still claim victory. Nonetheless, as Lenny is fond of pointing out, it will be impossible for them to avoid shooting themselves in the foot sooner or later. It’s just not possible for creationists, and especially YECs like Nelson, to go very long without invoking jebus and letting the cat out of the bag.

We often hear Nelson referred to as a nice guy, and he’s always offering to buy someone a beer, but he’s perhaps the worst of the lot over there. I mean people like Dembski, Wells, Crowther and Luskin (I have all their albums) are transparent a$$holes, but Nelson likes to make it seem like he’s above all that sort of stuff. He’s a stinkin’ baldfaced liar just like the rest of them, but they’re still no match for the intelligent, educated segment of the culture. Let the attack begin.

The base of Darwinism is crumbling. Really. AND THIS TIME WE MEAN IT.

Two years after Intelligent Design advocates lost a key court battle, some biology classrooms and ID supporters are finding a balanced approach to evolution that—so far—is lawsuit-proof

Maybe we could get a bottle of Whiskey out of this?

So won’t this latest strategy be subject to the same legal challenges as the “warning stickers”, i.e. that the only reason evolution is singled out for “critical analysis” or whatever is to pander to conservative Christianity?

Where does this even fit into a typical high school lesson plan anyway?

It seems like it’s a one trick pony “I’ll tell you all about evolution, but it’s unimportant riddled with lies anyway”.

Do the teacher intend to replace a year of Biology with this? I went to school a while ago, but I don’t remember evolution (per se) being the focus of more than a few weeks of direct discussion in any given year.

Does he plan to use it as a “supplemental” textbook? If so, did the district buy it, or did it come from yet another “anonymous donor”?

Nick wrote:

God of the gaps is bad, but God of the imagined/made-up gaps is far worse IMO…

Actually, it sounds like an argument from personal ignorance. I don’t know X, which is required for Y, therefore Y is false. Simply because one does not personally know X doesn’t mean someone elses doesn’t know X, therefore if X does support Y then Y is verifiable.

I think Dawkins (or someone of similar popularity) called this “personal incredulity”?

usually specifically Paul Nelson’s fevered imagination, then assumes those gaps represent real gaps in human knowledge, and does the usual creationist schtick from there.

more simply termed: projection.

A couple of months ago I sent a letter to the editor of our local news paper outlining the abuses of the ID/Creationists. The summary line in that article that got the most gratifying feedback from teachers was:

“Their sectarian wedge agenda, their repeated distortions of scientific evidence and theory, and their evasions of scientific accountability are all sufficient reasons to bar the ID/Creationists from the biology classroom. However, as part of a course on critical thinking, dissecting their claims and tactics would make a nice case study on the abuse of science.”

I learned from my subsequent conversations with a number of biology, chemistry and physics teachers that this emphasis on the agenda, the abuses and evasions of accountability were the ones that they felt were most crucial.

A couple of summers ago, at a meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers, there was a session discussing the most effective approaches to dealing with the disruptions of the ID/Creationists. The primary conclusion was that arguing about specific scientific details was ineffective because this goes over the heads of many listeners and the ID/Creationists are masters of eating up time and throwing out more garbage.

The primary conclusion was that the historical and current history of the sectarian wars on secular society should have greater emphasis. Most people really believe that the ID/Creationists are real scientists doing real research and coming up with embarrassing evidence that contradicts the current scientific picture. What the public really needs to know is what the real activities of the ID/Creationists have been and what their current tactics are. Once the public is on to this, they begin to see the ruse being played by the antievolutionist gangs, and the rest falls into place.

I learned from my subsequent conversations with a number of biology, chemistry and physics teachers that this emphasis on the agenda, the abuses and evasions of accountability were the ones that they felt were most crucial.

that appears to be the response most commonly given by ex-creationists as well: it wasn’t necessarily the preponderance of evidence supporting evolutionary theory that swayed them, but the clear demonstration of the dissembling nature of the leaders of the ID/creationist movements that convinced them to investigate further what the actual science was, and eventually find their way out from under.

it’s in no way guaranteed to convince, as in many cases no argument of any kind can pierce the huge walls of projection and denial erected in defense of the irrational. however, it does seem that it has been the most productive “weaning” approach.

whenever i think about it too hard, it makes me sad that it isn’t the evidence in support of evolution that convinces them to begin with, but being a pragmatist, I guess i have to go with “whatever works”.

Stevaroni

It seems like it’s a one trick pony “I’ll tell you all about evolution, but it’s unimportant riddled with lies anyway”.

This was the original 1999 tactic in Kansas that started the current round. The school board more less simply eliminated evolution from the curriculum (this is different from the “Kangaroo court” Kansas). I remember arguing at the time that students and their parents might be able to sue for discrimination - that they were all denied an important part of their curriculum because it was said to be at odds with the religious beliefs of some.

The bottom line was that censoring the curriculum that way went over poorly with the voters.

The DI was active in the same period, of course, and they came to the “rescue” (in a general sense) with ID, the thought being that “teaching an alternative” would be more palatable than refusing to teach science.

However, of course, ID lost in court, and the cycle is back to the beginning - they’ll simply try to encourage schools to evade or distort the teaching of evolution.

Mike Elzinga

What the public really needs to know is what the real activities of the ID/Creationists have been and what their current tactics are.

This is very true, and for a simple reason. Creationist and ID arguments are designed to “sound good” and “cast doubt” at a superficial level.

Note how well this worked in Dover. I’m sure a poll of those who attended the trial, taken before the trial, would have shown a high level of sympathy for “intelligent design”. No-one would have known what that vague and loft-sounding phrase even meant. But the trial exposed what they were actually doing and saying, instead of merely giving them a platform to “cast doubt” on legitimate science. By the end of the trial, the courtroom crowd was laughing at ID.

Mike,

Thank you for making this very important point so clearly. You are indeed correct. Most people either don’t have the background to understand the science or simply don’t care. Most people however do have some experience with crooks and con-artists and know their tactics well.

I recently gave a departmental seminar on creationism. I included a lot of scientific evidence, since that was appropriate for the setting. However, what really upset the creationists in the audience were exactly the points you mentioned. I detailed their religious affiliations and funding, their lack of scientific publications and their dishonest tactics in the courtroom. Man, that really got some of them mad, especially since I had references for everything.

I wish that this was an entirely scientific issue, but obviously it is not. Sadly, that is the way the creationists seem to want it. So why not give them what they want? We can still show the futility of their position even without concentrating on science. Even if we don’t make the rules, we still don’t have to lose the game.

If they really want to “teach the controversy” the book should focus on how religious views are being imposed on curriculum in our schools. That’s the real controversy.

Why is it everytime the creationists get shot down, and the science community has decided “how to best interpret the evidence” and ID loses, they come up with another identical argument, just worded differently.

It seems like they just want you to admit the possibility they may be right, and that give them an opening in which to try a manipulate a rational human being away from logic.

Religious creation myths are just that…myths and stories for culturally primitive (by today’s standards) to explain how everything got to where it is. They did not have the same tools we have. They did not have our technologies or our knowledge.

For a long time the was flat, and the sun and the moon moved around earth at the center of the known universe. All ancient peoples have their stories and myths, yet the evangelical folks embrace these as truth and science.

It is like their small little minds don’t want to think that the universe is bigger than just Earth. They want it flat, easy to map, and they want the origin of their species tied up in a nice little 6000 year old package.

This is yet another time when I wish I could go one on one (intellectually, I am non violent) with some of these folks.

David Stanton Wrote:

Even if we don’t make the rules, we still don’t have to lose the game.

Yeah, and I think that has been the main problem; the ID/Creationists want to make the rules, set the definitions, and determinate the conditions of “debate”.

By focusing on what they are really doing (and we now have a long documented record of it), we can show the public how the con game works. Whenever people have learned about the con activities, funding, fake research, and the rest, they get pretty angry at the ID/Creationists. And the ID/Creationists really hate being exposed.

But most people know enough about con games to get the picture. And it doesn’t hurt scientists to learn a lot more about their own intellectual history. Besides, teaching how a con game works is not only interesting, it teaches indirectly how the kind of thinking that is derived from science can make distinctions between reality and fraud.

We know that the propagandists at the Discovery Institute are already at work on revising the intellectual history and development of Western civilization. So that needs to be revealed also. Historians and philosophers are also going to be dragged into this.

Fallguy Wrote:

This is yet another time when I wish I could go one on one (intellectually, I am non violent) with some of these folks.

Nah; you wouldn’t like it. After a few rounds, you might just find yourself wishing you were violent. These kinds of discussions really get sick after a while.

I know I’ve seen this parodied, but perhaps the best approach is a passive aggressive one. If “Teach the Controversy” is the willing strategy for the ID folks, then perhaps writing “curricula” in which ‘magic’ is the controversy side of physics and astrology for astronomy and so on. If the “controversy” of a random opinion is acceptable to teach as fact then these things are just as ‘valid’ and should also be “taught”

Lint Hasenpfeffer Wrote:

I know I’ve seen this parodied, but perhaps the best approach is a passive aggressive one. If “Teach the Controversy” is the willing strategy for the ID folks, then perhaps writing “curricula” in which ‘magic’ is the controversy side of physics and astrology for astronomy and so on. If the “controversy” of a random opinion is acceptable to teach as fact then these things are just as ‘valid’ and should also be “taught”

This is often tempting, but it plays right into the hands of the ID/Creationists. They will use any means possible to tie the classroom in knots, thereby leaving little or no time for science. It just starts a lot of arguments, and they win by controlling the clock.

I think most people are coming to the conclusion that it is time for a complete exposé of the ID/Creationist movement. What we have on them is pretty deadly.

Why is it everytime the creationists get shot down, and the science community has decided “how to best interpret the evidence” and ID loses, they come up with another identical argument, just worded differently.

Because it keeps working.

David Stanton Wrote:

However, what really upset the creationists in the audience were exactly the points you mentioned.

David,

I forgot to mention; in that session I mentioned in that summer meeting of the AAPT, there were some instructors from Liberty “University” in the audience. Gerald Holton (if I remember correctly) was the speaker.

When he finished, the Liberty people stood up and tried to start arguing some specific points of science. Holton quickly finished them off in a couple of comments about intellectual history. There was nothing more the Liberty people could say.

Holton went on to finish off the session by saying that we need to do a better job of learning our own intellectual history and working this into our normal course materials. He felt that many of the real intellectual issues lie in this area and have historical precedents for their answers (including the results of all the court cases that found against the anti-evolutionists).

email me if you would like to see the exact copy of what was sent to the CU biologists. the inspiration to attack darwinism as bogus science comes from many sources, but the chief one is David Pogge’s scienceagainstevolution.org. look into it if you are not afraid of learning something new and realizing that you have been duped all your life.

You forgot to give your email address. What is it? [Enable javascript to see this email address.]?

I’ve often thought that crank.net should offer free email accounts for their top cranks as a reward.

concerned wingnut:

concerned christian on July 14, 2007 7:27 PM (e)

email me if you would like to see the exact copy of what was sent to the CU biologists.

Does it come with instructions on how to blow up a biology building with a suicide car bomb?

Heck, yes, let’s teach the controversies– Controversy 1. The earth can’t be more than a hundred thousand years old because the sun will run out of fuel. Decided in favor of the theory of evolution, with the discovery of atomic energy. Controversy 2. Small, beneficial changes will get swamped. Decided in favor of the theory of evolution with the understanding of discrete inheritance (i.,e., genes.) Controversy 3. There are no missing links. Decided in favor of the theory of evolution, with the discovery of, well, missing links. Controversy 4. Fossils can’t have shown up in their present positions unless, in some unimagined way, the continents moved around. Decided in favor of the theory of evolution with the discovery of plate tectonics. And that doesn’t even start on the controversies that pre-dated The Origin of Species. (If the earth is only six thousand years old, why do we find layer after layer of rock that looks like it was deposited slowly? Why do the deeper layers contain different creatures from the ones we see today?) The fact is, the theory of evolution got a lot of immediate support because of the controversies which plagued the biblical theory of creation, taken as a scientific theory. It’s fine to ‘teach the controversy,’ although I think it would be most appropriate as a university-level course on the history of science. But any honest teaching of the scientific controversies will result in an understanding of the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution. Is the Discovery Institute ready to show that the resolved scientific controversies are precisely the reason why evolution enjoys such broad support? Or are they going to do a phony parody of ‘teaching the controversy’ to match their parody of doing scientific research?

Even Slylock Foxknows scorpions bear live young.

And whatever you thought of Virgin Killer, don’t you have to admit that power ballads are a step away from rock lizard towards sensitive mammal status? I understand I may be making a confusing argument here but unfortunately it’s irreducibly complex.

If one can grasp the fact that there is something “larger” than the universe, then they must ask what that is. Can something come out of nothing? There must have been a first cause for the effect to have happened. See Einstein. www.equip.org

yeah its all a big conspiracy!!! Keep believing that. If Darwinism could be proven, you’d have a point. But it can not. Therefore, you have made it a religion. And some are more zealous than others in their dedication of this idol. Go see “Privileged Planet.”

Dan said:

If one can grasp the fact that there is something “larger” than the universe, then they must ask what that is.

So grasping a concept makes it concretely real? And why put the word “large” in scare quotes, except to signal that the word is not being used in a meaningful way? Are we to talk about what came before time as well?

yeah its all a big conspiracy!!! Keep believing that.

Um, it’s the creationists that are always screaming “conspiracy!” when they lose the intellectual battle.

If Darwinism could be proven, you’d have a point. But it can not. Therefore, you have made it a religion.

No, after being verified over and over and over and over again, it became scientific theory, which doesn’t deal in proof.

Dan– It would help to keep the discussion on-topic if you would look up ‘cosmology’ and ‘abiogenesis’ and understand that they fall outside the scope of evolutionary theory. If ‘Darwinism’ were a religion, ‘Darwinians’ would refuse to accept the reality of genes and DNA, because their ‘god’ knew nothing about the existence of either one when he wrote The Origin of Species. They would believe mushrooms and other funghi were a kind of plant, as Darwin did, instead of accepting, as modern biologists do, that mushrooms are more closely related to squirrels than to oak trees. In short, if evolutionary theory were a religion, IT WOULDN’T KEEP CHANGING EVERY TIME ANOTHER SCIENTIST MAKES AN UNEXPECTED DISCOVERY. Sorry about the all-caps, but this is a crucial point. Scientists don’t accept ‘Darwinism’ and reject creationism because they have some religious belief in one or the other. They have changed their theory again and again as new data became available. That process of change as new data are discovered is what defines science. In the science of biology, current evolutionary theory is just what has shaken out. I can guarantee you, evolutionary theory is going to change, probably radically, over the next few years. And, sorry, it won’t be in the direction of a return to biblical literalism. In the context of science, the Genesis story is just one more theory that was tested and discarded when it didn’t fit the data. Actually, not unlike many of the details in The Origin of Species.

Concerned Christian:

I checked out the website as you suggested and did indeed learn some new things. I learned that the great lengths of the reigns of the Sumerian kings could be a result of a mistranslation from one numbering system to another (but what’s that got to do with evolution?). I learned that there is a call for a new kind of seminary. I learned that logs float horizontally while reeds float vertically (except I can walk down to the lake and see that they don’t) and I also discovered that the website author considers Time magazine to be a reputable source for articles about science.

Then I found out that scientists want to find that chimpanzees are almost identical to humans to support the theory of evolution, but if chimps and humans are too similar then scientists will not be able to do research on chimps, which is why some papers show we are close but other papers show that we are different.

Really! Are we expected to find this kind of irrelevancy and tripe convincing? Can you honestly say you find it persuasive? If so, you need to go out and actually get involved in some science. Try the nearest university, college or scientific museum.

The video on the website shows a newspaper article saying “Is intelligent design scientific”, 20 seconds in.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on July 13, 2007 1:45 AM.

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