Post-Nova stuff

| 61 Comments

Just a few notes on post-Nova show stuff. If you missed the show (or evidently some PBS stations didn’t show it), it will be free online on the Nova website starting on Friday, November 16. In the meantime, check out Judge Jones on the NBC Today Show (you may have to search videos on “PBS” if the link doesn’t completely work) and on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer.

Also, Matthew Chapman, great-great grandson of Charles Darwin, put out a call yesterday for, “a Presidential Debate on Science.” I am cynical enough to think that is unlikely, given that there are usually only 3 major debates, but it is worth thinking about pushing the idea – heck, maybe at least a few science-related questions will get raised in the campaign. Unfortunately, the comments section was evidently flooded by creationists, so PT people might want to chip in their 2 cents over there.

Lastly – what did you think? Quite something seeing stuff on TV that first came to the public via PT back in 2005, no? I have now heard several requests for a “cdesign proponentsists” T-shirt…here is one try, although I think it would be most compelling with a “Evolution of Creationism” or “The Missing Link” title (or maybe the front has the evolution of creationism and the back has the missing link…anyone who is inspired may use the graph, by the way).

61 Comments

I think that we tend to forget how insular this world really is until it hits more traditional media. Especially to posters on Pharyngula, the whole “cdesign proponentsists” thing appears to have been a revelation (certainly not to the regulars there), well after we’ve gotten bored with it (sad to say, ID lies are dime a dozen).

Anyhow, it was good to see the characters and events pieced together on the NOVA program, like Matzke (hey, I even know how to pronounce it now) and the way he was a link in the discovery of “cdesign proponentsists”. Even better to realize how many more people know much of the sorry tale of ID and its attempts to hide what it actually is.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

They did a good job of misinforming the public. There is no serious scientific debate between evolution and creationism. ID advocates don’t want science teachers telling their students a person god created life. They don’t want science teachers to deny evolution, which is an obvious scientific fact.

Scientific ID advocates aren’t saying “I ain’t descended from no monkey” and “there ain’t nothing in the bible that ain’t true.”

But that’s how this show presented the controversy. As if nothing had changed since the Scopes trial.

I’m sure a lot of people will, and have, fallen for it. But deception usually fails eventually.

Just a couple of comments I made on my own blog about this show that I think ID opponents ought to consider:

“If I’m a scientist who believes in Darwinism, I’m going to find “Judgment Day” very disturbing, and here’s why: I’m going to be sitting there waiting for calls from my Intelligent Design friends who are going to ask me if the kind of objectivity on display in the PBS program is the same kind of objectivity I employ when dealing with scientific questions that bear on Darwinism.

“This question puts Darwinists in an awkward position: either they maintain that the show was, in fact, objective and impartial, in which case their own credibility on any question, including Darwinism, goes down the tubes, or they’re going to admit that the program was biased, in which case they can’t consider the program anything other than damaging for their cause.

“So let’s see what the opponents of Intelligent Design do now. Will they admit that the program was biased and preserve their own integrity? Or compromise their integrity by not admitting what to any reasonable person is fairly evident–that the show was a hatchet job?”

I’m sure a lot of people will, and have, fallen for it. But deception usually fails eventually.

It never fails to guide your own responses.

And sure, the program simplified. That’s partly due to the gross dishonesty of IDists, which would take too long on a two hour program to try to explain, and partly because educational programs always must simplify.

Of course like (admitted troll) “HeartOfGold” (now almost certainly Bach), realpc has no substantive answers to substantive points, so he drones on with the same awful garbage that lying IDists always spout, as if we should take their nonsense at face value. True, he’s stupid, but it’s hard to believe that even he is that stupid, in actuality.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

“So let’s see what the opponents of Intelligent Design do now. Will they admit that the program was biased and preserve their own integrity? Or compromise their integrity by not admitting what to any reasonable person is fairly evident–that the show was a hatchet job?”

Wow, an evidence-free “challenge”. I have thought about it, and decided in a fraction of a second that it’s bilge.

(Otherwise, see my previous post, wherein I note what anyone non-tard knows (leaving the present IDists out of the picture), that educational programs simplify).

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Yep, no doubt about it, Martin, this Nova was Science’s waterloo. I totally got your back on this one, buddy!

You’re right on the numbers. All my ID friends, whom I talk to daily, from their ID laboratories where they do tons and tons of ID experiments, won’t let me play their reindeer games anymore. They can tell I’ve got no credibility anymore! But now, thanks to you, my best buddy, I know why!

In fact, I think this Nova is so completely disasterous for science’s reputation that the ID crowd should proclaim to everyone that they need to watch it, right away. Maybe they could jockey to get it shown in every school in America… since REALLY it makes all Darwinist’s credibility go down the tubes!

You with me, Buddy! I’m totally backing you up here, Martin! Let’s get this Nova shown in churches nationwide!

Not that ID is religion or anything… but it’s just a good focal-point of unbiased scientific education.

I’m Martin’s new best friend!

Glen Davidson — Believe it. About realpc

I’ll consider it longer than I will Cothran’s “challenge”, anyway, David.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Thanks for the tip. There are a couple of web inhabitants that look forward to the online release.

So the IDC movement reacts as usual, frantically trolling the threads to relieve their anxiety when the truth is too harsh. I trust the Nova show was compelling enough, but let us dispel the misinformation here:

There is no serious scientific debate between evolution and creationism.

True, as there is no science in creationism. I’m sure the Nova show portrayed the science fairly well.

Scientific ID advocates

Who should they be, as there is no research on ID? Feel free to give references, if you think biologists have missed it.

If I’m a scientist who believes in Darwinism, I’m going to find “Judgment Day” very disturbing,

A brief perusal of science blogs will show you that scientists have unanimously reacted contrary to your strawman.

I can tell you why. It is because a fair science without an agenda is biased, biased towards the facts and the theories that can predict them.

As I understand it the Nova program did an excellent job on a neutral presentation of the biology and the circumstances around IDC’s proponents actions to promote their religious agenda in the biology class room instead of science. Anything else would have been, as you put it, a hatchet job.

Martin Cothran:

I would suggest that you read the court transcripts, and then read the newspaper articles on the Dover controversy. The NOVA group showed restraint. The program could have put up material that would have made the ID advocates look even worse. How can you call it a hatchet job when you obviously do not know what you are talking about. It looks one sided, but there was really only one side with an honest argument. If this were not true, why would the guys that ran the teach ID scam for years be running the bait and switch scam on any creationist rube that believed that they had something to teach about ID. What has happened to every creationist school board or legislator that has popped up and claimed to want to teach ID since the Ohio fiasco in 2002? Do you admit that the same guys that ran the teach ID scam are giving these rubes the switch that doesn’t even mention that ID ever existed?

If the guys that perpetrated the teach ID scam are currently running the bait and switch on their own supporters, what chance is there that the NOVA program was a hatchet job? Remember that the ID perps started to run the bait and switch before the Dover fiasco. Get your ID friends to tell you what creationist scam the guys that perpetrated the teach ID scam are currently running. Ask them why the replacement scam doesn’t even mention that ID ever existed if the NOVA program was a hatchet job. You have to know that the guys that perpetrated the teach ID scam have a new scam, right? If ID were legit, would they need a replacement like they are currently hawking? Why can’t ID be mentioned as one of the “controversies?” What are they critically analyzing? Why doesn’t it involve ID? What is your definition of hatchet job when even the ID perps gave up on the ID scam years before Dover?

Nick,

One word summed it all up for me “Cdesign proponetist”. I have a vocab. word wall in my science class. Its up their baby!

Biologists are “biased” against ID in the same sense that drivers are biased against flat tires, electricians are biased against shoddy wiring, and the Sunday-brunch chef at a good restaurant is biased against the idea of putting Velveeta in the cheese omelettes. And I personally enjoy a good “hatchet job” when its targets are perjury, willful ignorance, flagrant violations of the U.S. Constitution, and the organized sabotage of public science education at the expense of children.

NOVA did a great job, and for the most part let the people involved in the story speak for themselves. And when people speak for themselves on television, their words are heard clearly, whether they’re science teachers who weather public abuse for doing their jobs or university-tenured Ph.D. biochemists who claim to find nothing worth reading in the original literature of their own field.

For the ID Trolls, I was thinking the same thoughts that Ron Okimoto expressed. I thought that the show was remarkably restrained. You seem to forget that we have complete documentation, along with plenty of PR published on the web before the trial by the ID crowd. NOVA could have made these folks look like total idiots simply by letting them speak for themselves. (Oh, wait…they DID let them speak for themselves! Funny about that…)

But tell me, I’ve read all the transcripts, along with the judge’s ruling (and the confident talk early on by the ID folks about how great it was that a conservative, Santorum recommended Bush appointee was going to hear the case). The show re-enacted the trial from the transcripts. They invited the ID advocates to speak for themselves, and only one did (and I thought they were remarkably polite to him). They let Bonsell and Buckingham speak for themselves and express their opinions fully (as judged by the consistency of what they broadcast with what these men have maintained in the past). So how, pray tell, is this show such an embarrassing sham? Is it that when you see just how inane the ID side came off, you are so embarrassed that you tell yourself it must be a deceptive hatchet-job because you can’t admit to yourself just how silly the whole ID sham actually is? Please, detail exactly where this program went wrong? Pull up the transcripts and post those devastating exchanges showing that evolution is not science, the depositions that prove that ID is normal science supported by research, and the piles of original research published ANYWHERE that have successfully demonstrated the validity of ID as science. I’m waiting (but not enthusiastic for any sort of meaningful response).

Thanks for the mention Nick! I’ve added another take on the cdesign proponentsists shirt since, have a look.

Predictable response from the IDists - little to nothing in the way of specific refutations of specific points from the show. Just broken record complaints about how the whole thing was unfair. I’m reminded of four year olds stomping their feet and chastising their parents that “You’re not fair!” and “You’re mean!” upon being caught and punished for naughty behavior.

To address the single halfway substantive (but still dishonest) complaint I saw above, a variation on the old “creationism is so totally, totally different from ID!” saw:

realpc:

ID advocates don’t want science teachers telling their students a person god created life. They don’t want science teachers to deny evolution, which is an obvious scientific fact.

Then why do leading IDists include outright evolution deniers like Phillip Johnson, in addition to equivocators like Michael Behe who sometimes say they accept common descent in some form? Why do they always admit when pressed that they think the Designer is the Abrahamic God?

Scientific ID advocates aren’t saying “I ain’t descended from no monkey” and “there ain’t nothing in the bible that ain’t true.”

The schoolboard members pushing ID in Dover, and their supporters among the other citizens, were saying exactly that, and that’s centrally relevant to this story. That shouldn’t be mentioned, simply because IDist leaders (presumably that’s who you mean by “scientific ID advocates”) are more circumspect or equivocal about it that the people taking action on the ground? Furthermore, some of those leading IDists were happy to get up on the stand in defense of the actions these outright evolution deniers took in Dover. Oh, and did you get up for more popcorn when they quoted the passage from leading ID textbook Of Pandas and People that denies any common descent?

As for Martin and his “hatchet job” comments - I look forward to his startling evidences that, say, NOVA or Judge Jones or the NCSE or someone fabricated the perjured testimony of the ID pushers in Dover. Or perhaps that NOVA interviewers pointed a gun at Steve Fuller from off-camera while forcing him to say dopey things about the history of genetics that made him look like he didn’t know what he was talking about. Or other stuff like that.

Realpc:

“Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory” (Dembski 1999, 84).

Any questions?

I’m pumped about the idea of cdesign proponentsists T-shirts. Why not have ‘“Breathtaking inanity” – Judge Jones’ on the back?

My best friend, a geophysicist, called me up during the show. He didn’t know much about Kitzmiller v. Dover.

He was laughing his ass off, and shouted “Can you believe how retarded these fucking assholes are?”

I told him that was my same reaction during the trial.

hope this makes it into the “what do think” part.

BDeller:

Nick,

One word summed it all up for me “Cdesign proponetist”. I have a vocab. word wall in my science class. Its up their baby!

Actually it’s “cdesign proponentsists”. Misspell it right!

PBS’s “Judgment Day” portrays a dramatized and sharply truncated account of Michael Behe’s Kitzmiller testimony, making it appear as if he said that ID is no more scientific than astrology during hostile examination from the plaintiffs’ attorney. Of course Behe and all ID scientists reject astrology, but PBS insinuates that astrology falls under Behe’s definition of a “scientific theory.” What PBS fails to acknowledge is that 500 years ago, the ancient scientific consensus would have claimed (erroneously) that astrology even meets the U.S. National Academy of Science’s definition of a scientific theory, as “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, and tested hypotheses.” The problem with astrology is not that it could have fit the NAS’s definition of a scientific theory, or Michael Behe’s definition of a scientific theory 500 years ago, for something that is “science” can still be be wrong. The problem is that astrology is not supported by the evidence. That is why, unlike ID, no serious scientists are advocating astrology as a good theory which could be presented to students in science classrooms.

The above-quoted utterly irrelevant and misleading crap was written by Casey Luskin (of course).

Why not have “Breathtaking inanity” – Judge Jones on the back?

Love it!

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I don’t know who’s in charge of these shirts:

http://www.cafepress.com/idevolution

But if they somehow include this:

Alan Conwell:

I’m pumped about the idea of cdesign proponentsists T-shirts. Why not have ‘“Breathtaking inanity” – Judge Jones’ on the back?

I and friends will buy several! I seem to recall whomever it was that setup the above link (did I first see it at PZ’s site?), said they would donate the profits to NCSE: is that still true?

Nick,

I’m sorry I will mispell that incorrectly-er from now on.

How about “Girreducible complexityDID IT” is this a potential transitional form?

Nick, Thank you for all you did on this trial. The part to me that was most chilling was Phillip Johnson. Wow. Johnson is a good name for him and his goals.

I know that people will want to argue for one point or the other.

Such is the nature of people.

I thought PBS did a remarkable job of demonstrating that evolution is not an enemy to religion.

I had a class in 1981 that taught both Creationist and Evolution oriented thought. We did not think that it was any big deal at the time. It was in my Earth Science class. The teacher encouraged us to make up our own minds.

It was not an agenda, or some conspiracy that made the teacher do this. He did not have any church purchased text books to do this. It was his own decision on what was fair and balanced.

In hindsight, and as a result of watching the Nova episode, I think that my teacher made a mistake. He let popular controversy and logic dictate what he taught in the class, rather than the most fundamental laws that rule our nation and his conduct.

The one mistake he didn’t make was getting us to think for ourselves. More classes should encourage their students to weigh the pros and cons of what they are exposed to, and come to their own decisions. This is in contrast to being spoon fed opinions or being confused and distracted by people that are trying to brew controversy where none should exist.

The constitution is very clear on the state establishment of religion being explicitly forbidden. Because of this, any belief system founded in religion should not be the basis for classroom material, except perhaps, in a theology class or in a private school, where teachers are free to teach whatever they want.

However, even though I agree with Nova’s conclusions, I am not buying in to the idea that because I think evolution is sound science, I need to be in conflict with people that think Creationism or Intelligent Design should be taught in schools.

I am not their enemy.

If either side wants to see the enemy, all they have to do is work up their [self] righteous indignation at another’s belief system or ideology, and then look in the mirror. Look at the face, look at the hatred, look at the anger: this is the real enemy.

And this, unfortunately is what western Television and even PBS [probably unwittingly] perpetuates.

So, by directing people’s attention to being for or against intelligent design, what we are really accomplishing is dividing people from one another. Our television is polarizing us into groups that can find no common ground, because we are not taught to think that way. The few times that I have been taught to think that way was because of the gems hidden within religion or philosophy. These are the same gems that Joseph Cambell saw. I should not hate my neighbour, but rather be able to walk a mile in his shoes. Good books and parables and sometimes fairy tales have similar wisdom.

If you are confused as far as what side I am taking, I have succeeded.

So with that, I will take a line from President Ronald Wilson Reagan, and close by saying God bless you all.

[An Agnostic Buddhist]

-Kurt Östreich

I am not buying in to the idea that because I think evolution is sound science, I need to be in conflict with people that think Creationism or Intelligent Design should be taught in schools.

Creationism or Intelligent Design *can* be taught in schools. What you’re missing is they can’t be taught as SCIENCE in SCIENCE class. They can be taught in a comparative religion, or history, or other venues. They can’t be put forward as being valid scientific theories that explains life on earth. They can be taught as being one of many non-scientific religion-based beliefs, along with native american creation myths, etc.

RealPC:

But deception usually fails eventually.

then there must be hope for you yet.

Self deception being the hardest thing to overcome, it will be difficult for you, but with the help of a good therapist, you can do it.

They can be taught in a comparative religion, or history,

I’m going to disagree in part, and say that CREATIONISM could be taught in a comp. religious studies course, but ID is nothing but marketing.

you’d have to teach it in an advertising course, or general discussion of marketing in politics (hence poly sci, or history).

Dirt Ostrich:

Look at the face, look at the hatred, look at the anger: this is the real enemy.

Sorry, Senator Lieberman, but that line is getting really really old.

The problem we face is not the existence of angry disagreement between humans.

The problem we face is widespread stupidity and the solution is surely not the promulgation of bogus platitudes like “Can’t we all get along?” The solution is education, such as a nationally broadcast documentary showing how creationists continually lie about evolution.

Thanks for playing, though.

In hindsight, and as a result of watching the Nova episode, I think that my teacher made a mistake.

if that is even the only thing that the Nova episode manages to teach folks, I would be extremely satisfied.

I appreciate the work that you have put into this page. Genuinely good,and informative. Thank You

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on November 14, 2007 6:02 PM.

The morning after Judgment Day was the previous entry in this blog.

An Open Letter to Dr. Michael Behe (Part 5) is the next entry in this blog.

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