The morning after Judgment Day

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I checked out a few of the blogs by the usual suspects this morning, and noticed that the creationists are largely silent (so far, give 'em time) on the Dover documentary from last night…with one exception. The Discovery Institute's Media Complaints Division is wound up over it. They have an eight-point "rebuttal" of the documentary that consists of many picked nits and regurgitated whines, and I thought about taking them on point by point, but then decided it wasn't worth it. For one thing, it's written by Casey Luskin, the DI's small mammal mascot, who is something of an incompetent pipsqueak, so it's hardly worth flicking him around any more. Most importantly, it misses the point of the program entirely.

If you've seen it, think back. What was the story it told? It has two parts.

First, it made the case that Intelligent Design is not science. This is the part that I liked best; scientists came on, schooled the court on the basics of evolutionary biology, and showed them what science is, by empirical example. The documentary supplemented that with lovely animations and diagrams that illustrated the points well. Then they showed that the witnesses for Intelligent Design failed to even come close to the standards of good science, and were in fact trying to rewrite the meaning of science to sneak their doctrines into the classroom.

Second, it showed that Intelligent Design is religion in disguise. The proponents of the changes in Dover, Bonsell and Buckingham, were young earth creationists with a patent religious agenda. The book, Of Pandas and People, which was written by people associated with the Discovery Institute and which was promoted by the DI, was rooted in creationism and got a face lift in response to court decisions that ruled against creationism. And the Discovery Institute itself was founded with a sectarian religious purpose (the first words in the Wedge document are "The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.")

These are the premises that were tested in the court case, and these were the ideas illustrated in the documentary. The Discovery Institute "rebuttal" doesn't even touch these issues; their objections don't address the thrust of the court decision, which was accurately portrayed. The story is very simple, and this is all we need to say: Intelligent Design is not science, and Intelligent Design is a religious idea. That's the message, and that's the decision of a major court case, and that's what the scientists have been saying for years. And now, in the desperate gasp of the creationists, they've failed to even touch these conclusions.

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“Teach the controversy” is one of the well-worn slogans of the creationist movement, and has been well used in the controversy about intelligent design (ID). It’s power is in an appeal to fairness. There’s a dispute? Teach bo... Read More

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The DI and the TMLC keep harping on Jones extending his boandaries and defining ID as religious. I’m under the impression both groups specifically asked Jones to rule whether ID is religious.

True or false?

NOVA lost credibility when it called Scopes a “science teacher” and showed fictitious scenes from Inherit the wind of G-men arresting a science teacher in class as though it were even close to true. NOVA writers and producers were no doubt aware of Edward Larson’s Pulitzer Prize winning book “Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate over Science and Religion,” yet choose to propagandize in the form of a documentary. The truth is Scopes was a physical education teacher who occasionally substituted for other teachers, who volunteered to be prosecuted to bring publicity to his publicity whoring town, and who even had drinks with the prosecutor during the trial.

NOVA is now a propaganda arm of the NCSE.

PZM wrote: “The story is very simple, and this is all we need to say: Intelligent Design is not science, and Intelligent Design is a religious idea. That’s the message.”

Teach the controversy, folks. That’s what the creationists wanted, and that’s what they will get.

And they lie a lot. That’s part of the message, too.

No kidding and everyone knows that guy was not a teacher but instead he was Samantha’s husband in Bewitched. Doh!

They noted “Inherit the Wind” was *losely* based on the trial and only an IDiot would think that brief movie clip was a documentary.

Speaking of credibility note ID and the DI have zero. How funny is that?

If that is all you can find to complain about, it must have been a pretty good show.

Mr_Christopher: They noted “Inherit the Wind” was *losely* based on the trial and only an IDiot would think that brief movie clip was a documentary.

Yes, a few minutes after the arrest of the poor science teacher was displayed in the NOVA documentary, it was ex post facto characterized as a being based “loosely”.

So you’re defending NOVA relying on a historically inaccurate Hollywood film to illustrate the so-called anti-science movement when the facts of the Scopes trial were quite different.

Leni Riefenstahl would be proud of Nova.

Hitler was certainly fond of Darwin (preservation of favoured races and all).

It is programs like this that make me reaffirm why “NOVA” is one of the best programs every created. I felt that the arguments (on both sides) were presented fairly and accurately and I was impressed with the level of detail and accuracy that NOVA went to in order to portray the issues presented in the trial.

Regardless of you political and religious views (I happen to be an marginally atheist Republican if you are into labels) I was particularly impressed with the biological and genetic information given in the program. If anything should be presented in a classroom, I would encourage a viewing of THIS PRESENTATION. At a very minimum it offers a clear distinction of what ‘science’ is and the use of data to prove or disprove a theory. Science is and should always be falsifiable. The scientific method is designed to make conclusions based on the evidence and continue to shape itself as new data becomes available. NOVA did an outstanding job of presenting this information. I am amazed how even fundamentalist Christian family members continue to believe that in science, a theory is the same as a “guess”. NOVA clearly articulated this point.

I need to go watch it again. I learned more in the two hours of the presentation than most of the years I spend in biology class in high school.

Republican from Pennsylvania:

I am amazed how even fundamentalist Christian family members continue to believe that in science, a theory is the same as a “guess”. NOVA clearly articulated this point.

I typed too fast. I should have said that NOVA clearly articulated that this point is not accurate, when it fact, a scientific theory is one that fits the most data points and is continuously tested as new data arises to either prove, modify, or invalidate the theory.

Republican from Pennsylvania Wrote:

I learned more in the two hours of the presentation than most of the years I spend in biology class in high school.

That comment was also made by several people who attended the trial. I believe the judge said something to that effect also.

I appreciated the point at was made near the end of the documentary that this shortcoming in high school biology classes is primarily due to the political activities of the creationists over the years.

Sigh. Only 6 comments in and we already have a Hitler reference. Isn’t that supposed to be a last resort ad hominem? You want to save the big guns for later, you know …

Heart of gold you’re too funny! Listen carefully, with or without NOVA, intelligent design is not science. Intelligent design is creationism. Nothing can change those facts!

Ha ha!

Mr_Christopher:

Heart of gold you’re too funny! Listen carefully, with or without NOVA, intelligent design is not science. Intelligent design is creationism. Nothing can change those facts!

Ha ha!

I was challenging NOVA’s credibility. I’m not here to debate ID. But I understand that if you’re interested in debating ID, many ID advocates offers to debate meet silence, per NCSE talking point memos.

the Hitler comment probably from a James D. Kennedy fan Hitler burned Darwin’s books

NOVA did an excellant job!

This TV show was fantastic! It was educational and dramatic, seriously one of the most gripping and engaging programs I’ve seen lately. I so much admire the plaintiffs, lawyers and scientists who spoke for me, and defended my childrens’ rights to a genuine education with a functional purpose. And if I was sick, I darn sure would want Dr. Tara instead of Dr. Harvey.

Another point NOVA distorted, the textbooks that promoted evolutionism in the 1960s were financially backed by the federal government through the BSCS. Minor point, but not exactly a clamoring for evolution from the masses; more a propaganda effort to indoctrinate the masses into Julian Huxley’s evolutionary-centered religion, via the government purse and the BSCS.

I don’t recall exactly who wrote it, but I recall reading a review of the trial in which the author said that the trial was tedious and boring. But, there were times when it was rivoting and the absolute star of the show was science itself. If real highschool science classes were as fantastic as what Padian and Miller gave the court, said the reviewer, then kids would be beating down doors to become scientists.

HeartOfGold Wrote:

I was challenging NOVA’s credibility.

Look at the transcripts of the trial and then ask yourself if NOVA lacks credibility. The transcripts are more damning to the ID/Creationists and the school board members’s actions than the documentary was.

The judge’s use of the expression “breathtaking inanity” captures quite well what came out in the trial.

When my daughter’s biology teacher introduced the theory of natural selection, he said he wouldn’t spend a lot of time on it because some people objected to it, so I’m afraid Mike is right when he writes that evolution is covered poorly “in high school biology classes…primarily due to the political activities of the creationists over the years.” Hopefully the desire to maintain our economic and technological position in the world will be enough of an incentive for pragmatists amongst politicians and businessmen to demand that our students be provided with rigorous training in science undiluted by ancient mythologies.

As a side note, I absolutely LOVE how all this chaps HeartOfGold’s ass.

the type of Christian that believes in creationism fails to recognize allegory or metaphor in the Bible (Earth literally created in 6 days and all that) how can we expect them to recognize the legitimate use of ‘Inherit the Wind’ (ITW)in the context of a documentary television show (after all the 1925 Scopes trial wasn’t video taped) Nova accurately stated that ITW wasn’t to be taken as historical fact.

BSCS, a nice outfit: BSCS endeavors to improve all students’ understanding of science and technology by developing exemplary curricular materials, supporting their widespread and effective use, providing professional development, and conducting research and evaluation studies.

maybe HeatofGold should view NOVA again, but some will never learn, wonder how often he saw that “Darwin Caused Hitler” program, they called it social Darwanism (nothing to do with Darwin)

Loved it. My only complaint was that I was doing laundry at the time and had to miss the transitional fossil piece while I was getting clothes out of the dryer. Otherwise fantastic (even if I wish they’d delve more into the Discovery Institute’s hijinx… but I guess journalistic integrity made that hard for them to do after the DI backed out of the interview). The actor portraying Behe was great. The transcript was even more jaw-dropping performed by that gentleman. Kudos!

Yes HoG, generally the NCSE isn’t all that interested in staged PR events. Sometimes they are useful for educational purposes, but no way to actually do science. What’s really shocking is the total silence in the scientific literature of this alledged powerful theory of intelligent design. It seems not even its most staunch proponents have been able to actually publish anything new about Nature using this supposedly powerful scientific idea in over a decade now.

Not even in their own on-line journal, which died for lack of anything to say.

The Templeton Foundation even had to pack up and leave when no ID advocate would take their money to do research. No need to do research anyway, is there? Not if you’re convinced without it.

By the way…isn’t incessant public debating how the old fashioned YE Creationists like Hovind and Gish operate, taunting their opponants when they decline? Way to show how ID isn’t Creationism.

Yes HoG, generally the NCSE isn’t all that interested in staged PR events. Sometimes they are useful for educational purposes, but no way to actually do science. What’s really shocking is the total silence in the scientific literature of this alledged powerful theory of intelligent design. It seems not even its most staunch proponents have been able to actually publish anything new about Nature using this supposedly powerful scientific idea in over a decade now.

Not even in their own on-line journal, which died for lack of anything to say.

The Templeton Foundation even had to pack up and leave when no ID advocate would take their money to do research. No need to do research anyway, is there? Not if you’re convinced without it.

By the way…isn’t incessant public debating how the old fashioned YE Creationists like Hovind and Gish operate, taunting their opponants when they decline? Way to show how ID isn’t Creationism.

Another point NOVA distorted, the textbooks that promoted evolutionism in the 1960s were financially backed by the federal government through the BSCS. Minor point, but not exactly a clamoring for evolution from the masses; more a propaganda effort to indoctrinate the masses into Julian Huxley’s evolutionary-centered religion, via the government purse and the BSCS.

So basically, HOG, you can’t fault them on any substantive point. That’s what we love about that NOVA episode.

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

richCares:

the Hitler comment probably from a James D. Kennedy fan…

NOVA did an excellant job!

This comment must be from an evolutionary biologist, since s/he doesn’t seem to mind distortions, mistruths, and Scopes Trial Mythology in furtherance of evolutionism.

Mark Twain once wrote something that could apply to Nova’s intentional use of Scopes Trial mythology: “A lie well told is immortal.”

HeartOfGold:

I was challenging NOVA’s credibility. I’m not here to debate ID. But I understand that if you’re interested in debating ID, many ID advocates offers to debate meet silence, per NCSE talking point memos.

. But you also said this:

HeartOfGold:

Hitler was certainly fond of Darwin (preservation of favoured races and all).

With that you have quite clearly established your lack of credibility.

“Hitler was certainly fond of Darwin (preservation of favoured races and all).”

Hitler was also quite fond of Martin Luther (advocating vicious pogroms against the Jews during the reformation and all).

Mr_Christopher said: “The DI and the TMLC keep harping on Jones extending his boundaries and defining ID as religious. I’m under the impression both groups specifically asked Jones to rule whether ID is religious.”

The Nova program mentioned that “both sides” wanted to pursue the issue as to whether or not ID is religious. What they should have said was “both parties.” The ACLU and NCSE were the primary drivers, and my recollection is that TMLC also pressed this issue. However, the Discovery Institute was always hesitant, and tried to rein in TMLC on several occasions.

Having observed the trial from (geographically) afar, I was impressed at the time by the ineptitude of the TMLC attorneys as to evolution, biology, and philosophy of science. They had minimal knowledge in any of these areas, and made no attempt to learn. They fumbled around in the dark when cross-examining plaintiffs’ scientific witnesses, and even on direct examination of their own witnesses! On numerous occasions they seemed not to know what questions to ask.

PZ Myers Wrote:

I checked out a few of the blogs by the usual suspects this morning, and noticed that the creationists are largely silent (so far, give ‘em time) on the Dover documentary from last night…with one exception

There’s a simple explanation for the discrepancy:

Classic creationists truly believe that they’re right and will be soon vindicated, so they just take it in stride. The DI, however, knows that there is no scientific alternative to evolution. So if the scientific flaws and mutual contradictions in classic creationism, not to mention its “common ancestry” with ID, get too much publicity, the future of anti-evolution pseudoscience is bleak, at least among the many non-biblical literalists who have fallen for the “teach the controversy” scam. So any exposure that’s not strictly on the DI’s terms drives them nuts.

This endless stream of vitriol from Heart of Gold (HOG to his correspondents) is all because NOVA decided to show a MOVIE CLIP? The Horror!!!

Or could it be because he/they couldn’t identify any significant inaccuracies outside of the piece that was presented as fiction?

Henry

But you’re right, according to this, the NCSE worked pro bono. Then again, cult members often volunteer to support their religious beliefs (such as evolutionism) so it is not that big of a surprise.

So, HoG, you are gettind paid? No? :-)

“Could you provid [sic] a reference to a study that supports your contention?”

HoG, you really are an a$$hole, aren’t you?

Hmm, looks like I’m late to the party.

I don’t have time this week to go through all of the comments, but it does look like Bach and HoG have been spectacularly dumb nad have been suitably repudiated.

However, going back to PZ’s OP, I particularly liked this line:

PZ Myers Wrote:

For one thing, it’s written by Casey Luskin, the DI’s small mammal mascot, who is something of an incompetent pipsqueak, so it’s hardly worth flicking him around any more.

I think Meyer is mellowing in his old age. He needs to be more specific when he can be. We all know “mammal” should be rodent and probably something like Pan rattus (no one wants to claim Homo status for the likes of Luskin). Even if it is a slur on the other great apes, they can’t read, and as most of the Discovery Institute’s followers know ignorance is bliss.

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on November 14, 2007 10:02 AM.

Judgment Day Accurate, NCSE Reports was the previous entry in this blog.

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