bhumburg posted Entry 1078 on May 28, 2005 05:09 AM.
Trackback URL: http://degas.fdisk.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1076

Word has reached the ears of the Thumb (!) that the Discovery Institute has managed to get the Smithsonian to co-sponsor an ID-friendly presentation, surprising us to say the least. (Indeed, Prof. Steve Steve was as crestfallen over the matter as anyone with a fixed expression could be.)

How could the Smithsonian, the quintessential archive of evolution as natural history in our nation, have agreed to co-host this video? How could the director be “Happy to announce” this private screening? Does the director even know if any Pandas were harmed in the production of this film?

Today, the NY Times has an article that explains the situation. We’ll discuss this and other possible violations of Panda rights on the flipside.

The article explains how the Discovery Institute donated $16,000 to the Smithsonian. In exchange for this contribution, the Smithsonian allowed them to use the Baird Auditorium. And, instead of advancing science or talking about any actual controversy, the DI are playing a video that involved Intelligent Design.

In other words, the DI’s best efforts to get scientific support at the Smithsonian involves payola. They had to pay $16K for the privilege of showing their movie to a hand-picked, 100%-ID-friendly audience at the Smithsonian. Oddly enough, we here at the Thumb think this is the Discovery Institute’s biggest contribution to science in the last decade. It’s also significant that this is in keeping with the Wedge Strategy, gaining notoriety as having their views addressed in academic and scientific venues.

We also thought it was funny that Denyse O’Leary’s posts on the matter were so starry-eyed and enthusiastic that it got the better of her writing. Take, for example:

O'Leary wrote:

So why is the Smithsonian considering premiering a film that suggests that the universe shows evidence of intelligent design? Well, the Smithsonian depends for over 80 percent of its funding on the American federal government (approximately 67 percent from direct appropriations and over 13 percent from grants from federal agencies) and its new projects require the approval of Congress. An insider suggests that the US government is leaning on the venerable science institution to behave better toward people who want to talk about intelligent design? (My emphasis)

So who is this mysterious insider? Who is this person that O’Leary goes to great pains to identify only indirectly? What manner of Panda’s Thumb intelligence techniques must be applied to wean this information from Ms. O’Leary?

Well, just read a bit further!

O'Leary wrote:

And what better way to do it than giving a hearing to some of the colleagues of Richard Sternberg? He’s the guy who had to appeal to the Office of Special Counsel on account of job harassment at the Smithsonian because - even though he is not even an advocate of intelligent design - because he had published a peer-reviewed ID-friendly paper in a Smithsonian-sponsored journal. He has told me privately that he intends to attend the premiere of that film. (My emphasis.)

Subtle, Ms. O’Leary. Very subtle.

Readers of the Thumb should note the obvious glee with which outright political pressure on an independent scientific institution is openly acknowledged, welcomed, and encouraged. God help us if these guys ever get in a position to call the shots on scientific research.

The facts of the matter are as follows: The Discovery Institute has made a donation of $16,000 to the National Museum of Natural History. In keeping with Smithsonian policy, they have the opportunity to co-sponsor an event at the Museum. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History does not endorse the content of the video that will be shown at the Discovery Institute’s June 23rd event.

In other words, the fact that the DI are going to be showing an ID-friendly video at the Smithsonian is nothing more than the museum saying “Thanks for the cash.”

Prof. Steve Steve doesn’t mind that so much.

(Prof. Steve Steve and other contributers to the Thumb… well… contributed to the production of this post. No pandas were harmed in its creation.)

BCH

Comment #32541

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 28, 2005 10:53 AM (e) (s)

Will Rev. Moon be there, with his robe and crown?

Comment #32542

Posted by SteveF on May 28, 2005 10:57 AM (e) (s)

Well if you can’t be arsed writing any ID papers and submitting them for peer review, at least you can get the government to ‘lean’ on museums in order to advance science.

I imagine this is how science might have been done under the Taliban. Marvellous.

Comment #32543

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 28, 2005 11:21 AM (e) (s)

Will Rev. Moon be there, with his robe and crown?

And his older brother, Jesus Christ?

Comment #32544

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 28, 2005 11:23 AM (e) (s)

In other words, the fact that the DI are going to be showing an ID-friendly video at the Smithsonian is nothing more than the museum saying “Thanks for the cash.”

Ahmanson’s checkbook has already purchased a “controversy” for DI.

Now, Ahmanson’s checkbook is purchasing an attem pt at “scientific credibility”.

Maybe next, Ahmanson’s checkbook can purchase a few judges for DI.

Comment #32546

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on May 28, 2005 11:25 AM (e) (s)

An alternate title is “Smithsonian warming to Smith-Burns wedding?”

Comment #32547

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 28, 2005 11:36 AM (e) (s)

The Discovery Institute has made a donation of $16,000 to the National Museum of Natural History. In keeping with Smithsonian policy, they have the opportunity to co-sponsor an event at the Museum. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History does not endorse the content of the video that will be shown at the Discovery Institute’s June 23rd event.

If we pass the hat and raise $16,000 and donate it to Discovery Insitute, do you think they’d let us rent Chapman’s office for the day and have a Behe-book-burning, then tell the press that DI supported our efforts?

Comment #32548

Posted by Josh Rosenau on May 28, 2005 11:38 AM (e) (s)

Not to be petty, but I totally scooped you guys.

I like this juxtaposition:

Title of blog post: “Smithsonian warming to design theory?”

Quote from article:”They certainly didn’t say, ‘We’re really warming up to intelligent design, and therefore we’re going to sponsor this.’””

So the answer to the question in the blog post would be …

Comment #32551

Posted by TonyB on May 28, 2005 12:08 PM (e) (s)

How big a donation is required to rent the Smithsonian’s Baird Auditorium? Did they gouge the Discovery Institute by charging $16000 for a one-time showing of their film? I’d like to go “Rev Dr” Lenny Flank one better and suggest asking the Smithsonian Institution if they’d rent Baird to a suitably scientific group for, say, $1 the day before the Discovery Institute’s screening. The group could present a talk or film defending “flat earth theory”, thus setting the stage for DI’s equally scientifically valid presentation of “intelligent” design. The media would find the juxtaposition irresistible and feel compelled to mention the two events together.

Comment #32554

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 28, 2005 12:32 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'i'

Comment #32559

Posted by Michael Roberts on May 28, 2005 01:11 PM (e) (s)

I suggest Lenny Flank immediately apologises for his offensive comment.

I have attempted to put that O’Leary in her place on several occasions.

I wonder if Flank is not an ID stoolie attempted to get people onto ID’s side.

As I have written elsewhere ID is simply god of the gaps wrapped up in amino acids

Micahel Roberts

Comment #32560

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 28, 2005 01:28 PM (e) (s)

Michael Roberts wrote:

As I have written elsewhere ID is simply god of the gaps wrapped up in amino acids

Since Michael Behe says that biochemistry is the rock-bottom end of any attempts to further reduce biological phenomena, I’ve been pointing out for some years that “irreducible complexity” is a “god of the crevices” argument.

Comment #32561

Posted by Brian Spitzer on May 28, 2005 01:30 PM (e) (s)

Given that Smithsonian policy prohibits the use of the auditorium for “events of a religious or partisan political nature”, I’m not sure that this DI event is allowable. The DI may claim that they aren’t a religious organization, but a very strong case could be made to the contrary.

I think Burt’s right— the fact that the Smithsonian’s hosting this doesn’t *really* mean anything— but the DI and their supporters are going to insinuate that the Smithsonian supports ID, and lots of people will believe them. Remember the game they played with the conference language of the No Child Left Behind Act.

The Smithsonian should be urged to back out on this and return the contribution if at all possible. I’ve already written a letter urging them to do so. I’d definitely encourage others to do so as well.

—Brian

Comment #32564

Posted by Pat Hayes on May 28, 2005 01:39 PM (e) (s)

I suggest that we flood the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History with protest e-mails and calls.

Discovery and O’Leary misrepresent the nature of the Smithsonian’s “sponsorship” for political purposes — they’ve made the $16,000 donation to purchase legitimacy for their “teach the controversy” strategy. Smithsonian supports us, so the controversy must be real.

This violates museum policy which states that “events of a religious or partisan political nature” are not permitted.

Public Affairs can be contacted at Phone:
202-633-2950
Fax: 202-786-2982

Here are the numbers for Public Affairs staff:
Randall Kremer, 202-633-0817
Michele Urie 202-633-0820

The Special Events e-mail address is: [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

A quick response may cause the museum to rethink its sponsorship, and embarrass Discovery Institute for their crass effort to purchase scientific legitimacy.

Comment #32569

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 28, 2005 02:21 PM (e) (s)

Ms. O’Leary…

Didn’t she own a cow that burned down Chicago?

Comment #32570

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 28, 2005 02:21 PM (e) (s)

Brian Spitzer:
I think Burt’s right—- the fact that the Smithsonian’s hosting this doesn’t *really* mean anything—- but the DI and their supporters are going to insinuate that the Smithsonian supports ID, and lots of people will believe them.

Pat Hayes:
Discovery and O’Leary misrepresent the nature of the Smithsonian’s “sponsorship” for political purposes —- they’ve made the $16,000 donation to purchase legitimacy for their “teach the controversy” strategy. Smithsonian supports us, so the controversy must be real.

Hold your horses, folks. The DI itself has done nothing of the sort - they have a very restrained note on their web site, and that’s that.

That some of their more gullible groupies misinterpreted Smithsonian policies on “co-sponsoring” as a scientific endorsement is really not their problem (though I am sure the DI is glad it happens, as when people pass Campus Crusade for Christ talks and similar events by DI Fellows as “seminars at major universities”).

I think the Smithsonian director was very clear that a) the movie was screened by Smithsonian event organizers (which I am sure are just administrative staff) strictly to determine that it wasn’t sectarian in nature, b) there is no endorsement from the Smithsonian regarding its scientific content.

So, since this P.R. move has already blown up in the DI’s face, they would probably just love it if the event was now cancelled, and they could whine some more to the media about “darwinist censorship”. They love that crap, let’s not give them another chance to revel in it.

Which reminds me: I agree with Michael Roberts that Lenny’s comment above about burning Behe’s book in Chapman’s office, even if in jest, is inappropriate (as well as in violation of Seattle Fire Department safety codes, most likely). I am sure I am talking for all PT contributors when I say that, while we can’t tell you how to light your Memorial Day barbecue, organized book burnings are not something that should be advocated, or condoned.

Comment #32571

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 28, 2005 02:27 PM (e) (s)

“Maybe next, Ahmanson’s checkbook can purchase a few judges for DI.”

whaddya mean, maybe?

have you actually taken a look at the beliefs of the judges that were rejected by the dems during GW’s adminstration so far? How bout the one that just made it in after 4 years of blockage?

this strategy is already well under way.

Comment #32572

Posted by Del on May 28, 2005 02:31 PM (e) (s)

Republicans control the Whitehouse, the Senate, and the House - could that have something to do with it?

The Smithsonian is a government institution, so if you control the government, you get to have say in how its run.

This is happening at PBS as well.

Comment #32573

Posted by micahel roberts on May 28, 2005 02:33 PM (e) (s)

Read what I said. I was not refering to burning Behe’s book, even though I wrote a very negative review on it in 1997 for Science and Christian Belief, which got lots of complaints!

I was referring to Flank’s reference to Jesus Christ as Moon’s elder brother. Comments like that turn many Christians away and will make them more sympathetic to ID and YEC.

I have enough of a problem of trying to persuade fellow Christians and fellow clergy that both ID and YEC are total nonsense, without bigotted comments like that. On another listserve I have been very critical of dear Denyse O’Leary.

I am afraid bigotry is not confined to the friends of AIG

Michael

Comment #32576

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 28, 2005 02:51 PM (e) (s)

Michael, I see I misunderstood what you were referring to. However, isn’t the claim that Rev. Moon is the brother of Jesus (I guess, half-brother would be more appropriate) one of the tenets of the Unification Church? I guess the vast majority of Christians would certainly consider that blasphemous, but I don’t see why one should not even be allowed to mention the fact.

Comment #32578

Posted by Russell on May 28, 2005 03:00 PM (e) (s)

…reference to Jesus Christ as Moon’s elder brother. Comments like that turn many Christians away and will make them more sympathetic to ID and YEC.

I have enough of a problem of trying to persuade fellow Christians and fellow clergy that both ID and YEC are total nonsense, without bigotted comments like that….
I am afraid bigotry is not confined to the friends of AIG
Michael

Offensive, inappropriate, unhelpful, probably. But “bigotted”? I’m not sure I get that.

Comment #32581

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 28, 2005 03:22 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #32582

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 28, 2005 03:23 PM (e) (s)

Michael Roberts wrote:

I was referring to Flank’s reference to Jesus Christ as Moon’s elder brother. Comments like that turn many Christians away and will make them more sympathetic to ID and YEC.

Uh, that’s part of the content of Sun Myung Moon’s “theology”. I join Andrea in being puzzled as to why making reference to the well-known theological content of the Unification Church should be considered offensive. It isn’t Lenny that Michael needs to take that up with, but rather Moon and the Unification Church. Good luck on that.

Comment #32584

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 28, 2005 03:25 PM (e) (s)

I was referring to Flank’s reference to Jesus Christ as Moon’s elder brother. Comments like that turn many Christians away and will make them more sympathetic to ID and YEC.

It is offocial Unification church doctrine that Moon is a Son of God and Brother of Jesus.

That SHOULD turn amny Christians away ———- from Moon;’s cult, Weels’ association with it, and the ID movemement that Moon supportsin his Moonie-owned newspaper The Washington Times.

I think you are pissed at the wrong person. Turn your anger to the Moonies, where it will do some good.

Comment #32586

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 28, 2005 03:27 PM (e) (s)

The DI may claim that they aren’t a religious organization, but a very strong case could be made to the contrary.

Something I’ve never heard anythign about —— does DI claim tax exempt status as a “public policy research institute”, or as a “religious institution”. Anyone know offhand?

Comment #32588

Posted by jeff-perado on May 28, 2005 03:31 PM (e) (s)

Slightly OT:

So whatever happened to the Sternberg debacle? I have not read or heard anything else about it since the story first broke. I haven’t even heard any more references to it from the IDiots.

Comment #32590

Posted by jeff-perado on May 28, 2005 03:34 PM (e) (s)

Oh, and I agree with you Lenny, it has been public knowledge the link Moon claims to Jesus, so pointing that link out is in no way offensive to christians. All they need to know is who Rev Moon is, and the statement speaks for itself. It is Moon who is offensive to Christians, not anyone else who points that out.

P.S. How about a book shredding instead of a book burning? Wait, I have it! Replace all copies of Behe’s book at the DI with copies of all the rebuttals of it…..

Comment #32591

Posted by Glen Davidson on May 28, 2005 03:37 PM (e) (s)

Lenny was making fun of Moon, and even more so of one of the “leading lights” of ID, the egregious Jonathan Wells. At least that’s how I read it. He was making fun of the “Jesus is Moon’s older brother” view that Wells espoused at least at some point.

Had Flank been writing a newspaper column I’d be against this appropriate abuse of someone whose tactics sink as low as Wells’ tactics are. Why? Because many would not understand it. I think that here most should understand, and if not, they should begin to understand it once it is pointed out to them.

Comment #32592

Posted by Albion on May 28, 2005 03:40 PM (e) (s)

In other words, the fact that the DI are going to be showing an ID-friendly video at the Smithsonian is nothing more than the museum saying “Thanks for the cash.”

That, of course, is not how it’ll be portrayed by the ID folk, any more than the Sternberg-Meyer paper is being portrayed as an inside job by a creationist editor.

Denyse O’Leary is claiming she’s been told that the US government is putting pressure on scientific institutions to behave better toward people who want to talk about intelligent design? What does this mean? Quotas in Science and PNAS? NIH research funds earmarked for ID people to pretend to do research that’s then reported in Science and PNAS under the quota system? Mandatory ID stuff in museums? And of course in high schools? Given the way the Sternberg-Meyer paper was reported by the ID folk, pressure by the US government will no doubt be hailed as a major scientific breakthrough.

Comment #32594

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 28, 2005 03:53 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #32595

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 28, 2005 03:55 PM (e) (s)

his ownership of the Washington Post

Sorry for the mis-type —- that should be The Washington Times.

Comment #32596

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 28, 2005 03:59 PM (e) (s)

nd what better way to do it than giving a hearing to some of the colleagues of Richard Sternberg? He’s the guy who had to appeal to the Office of Special Counsel on account of job harassment at the Smithsonian because - even though he is not even an advocate of intelligent design - because he had published a peer-reviewed ID-friendly paper in a Smithsonian-sponsored journal. He has told me privately that he intends to attend the premiere of that film

Will Ahmanson be there? Will Moon be there? How openly *are* the IDers willing to acknowledge their dependence on these two nutters?

Comment #32598

Posted by PvM on May 28, 2005 04:05 PM (e) (s)

Seems Denyse was a bit quick to jump to conclusions and it took what she so often refers to as ‘legacy’ media, to get the correct story published. I have found that Denyse’s ‘reporting’ suffers often from leaps of faith or plain errors that could be easily avoided.

Comment #32601

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 28, 2005 04:18 PM (e) (s)

lenny:

DI is registered as a 501c3. As such, they don’t actually have to state publically why they are, and even after a thorough search, I find they in fact do not (I even tried calling them, but no answer). This is not surprising, considering that if they did, they wouldn’t be able to weasel around the limitations on a 501c3 for political promotion. The best statement i can find as to how they classify themselves implies the “pulic policy research” classification:

http://www.illinoispolicyinstitute.org/blog/reso…

this is a good link to use to check on the non-profit status of a variety of “think tanks” btw.

However, that said, they DO have to state the reasons for tax exempt status on their application to the IRS.

just as a brief overview of what a 501c3 is (for those who aren’t aware)…
http://www.irs.gov/charities/index.html

IIRC, a letter to the IRS should be able to produce a copy of the document filed for tax exempt status.

Lenny’s question brought an interesting point to mind…

501c3 are not supposed to engage in political lobbying, tho the rules are a bit vague on just how much they can/can’t. Political campaigning is right out. I wonder if anybody has bothered to examine the Discovery Institute with regards to this issue?

here are the rules from the IRS site:

http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/…

I used to date a woman who had the job of playing IRS detective on issues just like this. She brought down several large “churches” because of the political campaign issues.

Comment #32613

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 28, 2005 05:35 PM (e) (s)

Michael Roberts said:

I was referring to Flank’s reference to Jesus Christ as Moon’s elder brother. Comments like that turn many Christians away and will make them more sympathetic to ID and YEC.

Is that more offensive than Moon claiming to be the Savior? Is it more offensive that Moon’s use of the Hart Senate Building to have himself crowned King of Earth?

Do you know who Moon is?

Comment #32615

Posted by Duvenoy on May 28, 2005 05:51 PM (e) (s)

I am appalled that the Smithsonian would do this at any price. As has been mentioned earlier, their rules prohibit religious programs, and ID is no more than creationist religion wrapped in a thin, secular illusion.

I think that if they actually go through with it, we will be hearing all about their new-found, “national scientific support” for a long time.

doov

Comment #32616

Posted by PZ Myers on May 28, 2005 06:03 PM (e) (s)

I think there’s a fair case to make that the DI has been misrepresenting the Smithsonian’s involvement. Take a look at the invitation:

That sure as heck looks to me like the Director of the National Museum of Natural History himself is inviting people to this event. Smithsonian at the top, the director next, and then DI looks like a secondary participant. I’d like to know if the Smithsonian had any involvement in the invitation at all — it alone is propaganda for the DI.

Comment #32627

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 28, 2005 06:51 PM (e) (s)

The rules say that a Smithsonian “Special Events coordinator” has to approve everything, so I am sure this was too. Really, it’s just a foul-up, I bet that PP looks like your run-of-the-mill science documentary cum metaphysical blatherings to the uninitiated eye (”Unlocking the Mystery of Life”, with its obvious creationist undertones, would have risen suspicions, but this is astronomy), and the Discovery Institute, well duh, it sounds like an institute for discovery of stuff - what’s wrong with that?

So, some Smithsonian P.R./administration guy who takes care of special events watches the videos over lunch, sees nothing obviously wrong with it (not overtly religious, not political), and gives his/her preliminary OK. Next person up the food chain has no time to actually do all the background work again, signs the papers, et voila’.

Comment #32628

Posted by steve on May 28, 2005 06:56 PM (e) (s)

I don’t have a problem with burning books per se. For instance, if I owned a warehouse, and a company which was storing 10,000 copies of William Dembski’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being an IDiot there, went out of business, and I couldn’t get rid of them profitably, I would just as soon burn them as pay the landfill. What’s the harm?

Comment #32634

Posted by Scott Wing on May 28, 2005 07:42 PM (e) (s)

In spite of renting the Baird Auditorium for the showing of the “The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe,” I know that the staff and the administration of the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History endorse the statement of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on intelligent design, specifically:

“Whereas, ID proponents claim that contemporary evolutionary theory is incapable of explaining the origin of the diversity of living organisms;
Whereas, to date, the ID movement has failed to offer credible scientific evidence to support their claim that ID undermines the current scientifically accepted theory of evolution;
Whereas, the ID movement has not proposed a scientific means of testing its claims;
Therefore Be It Resolved, that the lack of scientific warrant for so-called “intelligent design theory” makes it improper to include as a part of science education.”

I don’t know how the Smithsonian ended up renting the auditorium to the Discovery Institute, and neither do the other Smithsonian staff I have consulted in the last few hours. The rental certainly does not reflect any endorsement by the staff or the administration of intelligent design.

Scott Wing
Chairman, Dept. of Paleobiology
National Museum of Natural History

Comment #32658

Posted by CaseyL on May 28, 2005 11:40 PM (e) (s)

So why don’t real science groups, or science advocacy groups, make a movie which debunks creationism/ID point by point? One with cool production values and a narrative written by someone who knows how to talk to the public about science.

Why haven’t they done so already, and shown it in every venue around the country they can? Hell, make a flat-out terrific movie and submit it to the Academy Awards for Best Documentary.

This pisses me off. Where are the deep-pocket donors who are in favor of science? They’ve got to be out there!

As fashionable as it is to sneer at mention of his name, Carl Sagan was a fantastic speaker for science to the general public. So was Stephen J Gould, who also got sneered at for “popularizing science.” Even Stephen Hawking catches flack for “entertaining the masses.”

Christ on a carousel, I wish the real science community would get off the unicorn, and stop mocking scientists who can and do educate the public by making science interesting and accessible. We need more Sagans, Goulds and Hawkings. Where can we find them?

Comment #32674

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on May 29, 2005 03:47 AM (e) (s)

Flank writes “And his older brother, Jesus Christ?”

Wait a minute, I thought he was Jesus Christ

Comment #32679

Posted by Arun Gupta on May 29, 2005 08:12 AM (e) (s)

ID can and should be freely debated as long as anyone in the public remains interested, in as many public forums as possible/necessary. The main thing is to keep it out of the public schools in the guise of science. ID should not be allowed to pose as the true religion, which the false religion of atheistic evolution seeks to squelch by persecuting the “heretics”. (I believe that if the Romans did not persecute the Christians, Christianity would exist only in the history books.)

Comment #32683

Posted by GT(N)T on May 29, 2005 09:47 AM (e) (s)

“I don’t know how the Smithsonian ended up renting the auditorium to the Discovery Institute, and neither do the other Smithsonian staff I have consulted in the last few hours. The rental certainly does not reflect any endorsement by the staff or the administration of intelligent design.”

I wonder if there isn’t a creationist sympathizer on the staff of the Smithsonian? I’m sure it would be illegal for a government entity to not hire someone because of their religious beliefs. However, once known, they would surely bear watching. They can believe what they want, but if they use their position to further a religious agenda they are breaking the law.

Comment #32687

Posted by Steven Laskoske on May 29, 2005 10:27 AM (e) (s)

CaseyL wrote:

As fashionable as it is to sneer at mention of his name, Carl Sagan was a fantastic speaker for science to the general public. So was Stephen J Gould, who also got sneered at for “popularizing science.” Even Stephen Hawking catches flack for “entertaining the masses.”

Personally, I think that these science popularizations are a big help to science as a whole. After all, these scientists/science writers bring the basic principles to the layman. Admittedly, in doing so, they must strip some of the more advanced concepts away (or simplify them so much that they might misrepresent the original concept). However, even with this problem, this writing takes away the feeling of arcane witchcraft that comes with most technical or scientific fields.

How this applies to the current problem with evolution/creation is obvious. One of the largest creationist claims is “It takes as much (if not more) faith to agree with evolution as it does with creationism.” Like many effective lies, this has a kernel of truth to it. For the layman, without understanding the technical details of science (including evolutionary biology and the other fields that support it), it DOES require faith in the research since the understanding of the research is beyond them. A writer who is able to “bring it down” to the layman’s level is effectively able to destroy that claim by showing that, instead of being based on faith, evolution is supported by solid facts.

In that respect, the science writers such as Gould, Sagan, Hawkings and Issac Asimov are a gold mine for basic understanding of scientific research. Of course, there is the problem that, no matter how well written these science popularizations are, it doesn’t help if no one reads them. Still, even the few that follow their interests into the science popularization make a difference.

Comment #32694

Posted by Russell on May 29, 2005 11:27 AM (e) (s)

Stuart Weinstein wrote:

Flank writes “And [Rev. Moon’s] older brother, Jesus Christ?”
tter than
Wait a minute, I thought he was Jesus Christ

Oh, it gets better than that. I believe the official Moonotheology is that where Jesus failed in his mission, Moon (yes, also son of God, and therefore Jesus’s little brother) has finally succeeded!

Comment #32699

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 29, 2005 12:07 PM (e) (s)

Flank writes “And [Rev. Moon’s] older brother, Jesus Christ?”
tter than

Stuart Weinstein wrote:

Wait a minute, I thought he was Jesus Christ

Posted by Russell

Oh, it gets better than that. I believe the official Moonotheology is that where Jesus failed in his mission, Moon (yes, also son of God, and therefore Jesus’s little brother) has finally succeeded!

Gee, I’m not sure what “Father Moon’s” exact relationship with Christ is claimed to be.

Let’s ask Wells … …

Comment #32706

Posted by primate on May 29, 2005 01:14 PM (e) (s)

Discovery Institute fantasy transcript from Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District inspired by the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street:

Attorney: Isn’t intelligent design inherently religious in nature?

WAD (expert in theology): No, The Smithsonian Institute, a trust whose Chancellor is the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, William Rehnquist, screened the movie The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe, a film that makes a case against evolution thereby making a case for intelligent design, and determined that it was not religious in nature.

Attorney: If such a venerable institution like the Smithsonsonian has determined the film The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe and the theory it espouses isn’t religious in nature, do you believe that such a film and theory is suitable for high school students?

WAD: Yes…

You see kids, there really is a Designer!

Comment #32713

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on May 29, 2005 01:56 PM (e) (s)

Now appearing at ID The Future

Correction for The New York Times: Documentary at Smithsonian Isn’t About Biological Evolution
Jonathan Witt

The New York Times has a story reporting on the June 23rd screening of The Privileged Planet at The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. A factual error in the story’s headline and lead sentence suggests that the science documentary makes a case against biological evolution. In fact, the film doesn’t even touch on the subject.

The Privileged Planet focuses on cosmology and astronomy, and on Earth’s place in the universe. One could be a strict Darwinist and still agree with the argument in The Privileged Planet. In fact, that accurately describes at least two of the prominent scientists who endorsed the book.

Posted by Jonathan Witt at 02:35:27 pm

Privileged Planet
by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards

HOW OUR PLACE IN THE COSMOS IS DESIGNED FOR DISCOVERY

(all caps in the original)

Comment #32715

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on May 29, 2005 02:04 PM (e) (s)

Apparently PP was discussed at Panda’s Thumb in 2004.
Privileged Planet: The fallout starts

Comment #32716

Posted by Russell on May 29, 2005 02:09 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'b'

Comment #32717

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 29, 2005 02:21 PM (e) (s)

another comment on the 501c3 status of DI:

DI models itself as a parent organization for the Center for Science and Culture. However, CSC is primarily promoting religion (easy to argue). Therefore, I wonder if by promoting CSC, DI is in violation of the premise of its 501c3?

btw, CSC does not appear to have its own 501c3.

just a thought.

Comment #32720

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 29, 2005 04:00 PM (e) (s)

A factual error in the story’s headline and lead sentence suggests that the science documentary makes a case against biological evolution. In fact, the film doesn’t even touch on the subject.

The Privileged Planet focuses on cosmology and astronomy, and on Earth’s place in the universe. One could be a strict Darwinist and still agree with the argument in The Privileged Planet.

So, in addition to biology and, uh, meteorology, ID also has its sights set on cosmology and astronomy.

Can physics and chemistry be far behind?

The economics, law, etc etc etc … ?

Ohhhhhh, that’s right —- the Ayatollah-wanna-be’s DO want to “renew our culture” with a “theistic science” … …

Comment #32722

Posted by steve on May 29, 2005 04:19 PM (e) (s)

Somebody should get Phil Johnson saying on record that ID supports HIV Denial.

Comment #32723

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 29, 2005 04:39 PM (e) (s)

btw, CSC does not appear to have its own 501c3.

just a thought.

The Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture is a “project” of Discovery Institute. It is not its own separate organization.

BTW, Bill Gates gives lots of money to Discovery Institute’s “research” into the future of transportation and such:

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/AboutUs/SpecialPr…

http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.ph…

Gates makes lots of noise about his forward-looking and progressive approach to science and technology, and he is also quite sensitive about his public image. With a bit of pressure, he might be persuaded to stop funding the DI — at least until they drop their efforts at theocracy.

Comment #32728

Posted by John Niles on May 29, 2005 06:56 PM (e) (s)

I’ve worked on telecommunications and tranportation issues at the Discovery Institute for over a decade, I know Bruce Chapman pretty well, and I have had discussions with the staff in the “intelligent design” section of the Institute (aka, specifically, the Center for Science and Culture).

I can tell you categorically that DI/CSC as an organization does not now nor has it ever promoted “theocracy.” The organization is on record about “theocracy” in the “Wedge Response” document posted at http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.ph…
Word scan that document for “theocracy” and read what it says. What it says is consistent with my on-the-ground experience in the Discovery Institute since the early 1990s.

The Discovery Institute is much more diverse in its interests than is generally realized outside of Seattle.

By the way, a preview clip of the 60 minute video, “The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe” scheduled to be shown at the Smithsonian in DC on June 23rd is on the web at http://www.illustramedia.com/tpppreview.htm

The recent New York Times headline “Smithsonian to Screen a Movie That Makes a Case Against Evolution” does not correspond to what the on-line trailer shows about this video. See the trailer for yourself.

Yes, “The Privileged Planet” is “ID Friendly.” But it’s not a “Case Against Evolution.”

As a long-time Dawkins fan familiar with ID but not by any means persuaded, I fully support the Smithsonian permitting the showing of this video under the terms described.

Any attempt by anybody to make like the June 23 event is some sort of Smithsonian Institution endorsement of the video’s content will backfire.

Comment #32729

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 29, 2005 07:27 PM (e) (s)

“Any attempt by anybody to make like the June 23 event is some sort of Smithsonian Institution endorsement of the video’s content will backfire.”

gee, that sounds a bit like a threat.

are you just hit and run, niles, or would you like to stick around and discuss the reality of the situation?

We all have lots of questions here, and I for one would like to see some answers for a change, especially from someone who worked with this organization for 10 years.

are you game?

Comment #32730

Posted by Paul Christopher on May 29, 2005 07:43 PM (e) (s)

Wow, that ‘Wedge Response’ document is a bit creepy. The doublethink employed by the author is almost beyond belief - he basically states that the DI wishes to attack the scientific method, and then claims that they aren’t trying to attack the scientific method.

Still, I suppose I shouldn’t expect too much from the Derisory Instute, or I’ll be destined for a life of disappointment.

Comment #32731

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 29, 2005 07:59 PM (e) (s)

Any attempt by anybody to make like the June 23 event is some sort of Smithsonian Institution endorsement of the video’s content will backfire.

Before people jump on him just because of his association with the DI, I think perhaps Niles is trying to say that, although he supports the Smithsonian showing the documentary “under the terms described” (i.e. as a pay-per-show event like many), if ID advocates try to make this look like a Smithsonian endorsement, it will backfire on them.

I looked at the trailer, I sure hope the documentary is more sophisticated in its argument, because that looks downright silly.

I also fully believe the documentary makes no mention of evolution. Unfortunately, ID is trying to sell itself as one big package, which contains everything from moderate anti-darwinians, to outright creationists, from honest scientists with dissenting opinions to outright frauds and cranks. As we have already seen, even the assumption that the Smithsonian may have screened and approved this particular video is being sold to the ID troops as “warming up to ID” (in toto). So, I am sorry for Gonzalez, but if he doesn’t want his documentary to be associated with anti-evolution propaganda, he has to clearly distance himself from his ID fellow travelers on the topic, and not allow his work to be used as anti-evolution propaganda. It’s quite simple, really.

Comment #32732

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 29, 2005 08:04 PM (e) (s)

Any attempt by anybody to make like the June 23 event is some sort of Smithsonian Institution endorsement of the video’s content will backfire.

Before people jump on him just because of his association with the DI, I think perhaps Niles is trying to say that, although he supports the Smithsonian showing the documentary “under the terms described” (i.e. as a pay-per-show event like many), if ID advocates try to make this look like a Smithsonian endorsement, it will backfire on them.

I looked at the trailer, I sure hope the documentary is more sophisticated in its argument, because that looks downright silly.

I also fully believe the documentary makes no mention of evolution. Unfortunately, ID is trying to sell itself as one big package, which contains everything from moderate anti-darwinians, to outright creationists, from honest scientists with dissenting opinions to outright frauds and cranks. As we have already seen, even the assumption that the Smithsonian may have screened and approved this particular video is being sold to the ID troops as “warming up to ID” (in toto). So, I am sorry for Gonzalez, but if he doesn’t want his documentary to be associated with anti-evolution propaganda, he has to clearly distance himself from his ID fellow travelers on the topic, and not allow his work to be used as anti-evolution propaganda. It’s quite simple, really.

Comment #32733

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 29, 2005 08:17 PM (e) (s)

personally, i could care far less about Mr. nile’s interpretation of DI’s intent on this specific issue, and far more about Mr. Nile’s thoughts on DI overall.

I would like to see his answers to several repeating questions that have gone unanswered for as long as I have participated in PT, and probably far longer.

I’m not jumping down his throat, more than i am inviting him to participate, which nobody from DI ever seems to want to do. Especially since he claims himself an independent with regards to DI’s mission goals.

Comment #32734

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 29, 2005 08:25 PM (e) (s)

I’ve worked on telecommunications and tranportation issues at the Discovery Institute for over a decade, I know Bruce Chapman pretty well, and I have had discussions with the staff in the “intelligent design” section of the Institute (aka, specifically, the Center for Science and Culture).

I’m curious what you think of the extremist views held by the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson.

Comment #32735

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 29, 2005 08:30 PM (e) (s)

I can tell you categorically that DI/CSC as an organization does not now nor has it ever promoted “theocracy.”

I suggest that everyone read the Discovery Institute’s overall strategy, in its own words, and then decide for themselves what DI is after. The Wedge Document can be found at:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/wedge.html

and my reply to the DI’s “So What” BS is at:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/diagenda.html

Comment #32736

Posted by KC on May 29, 2005 08:54 PM (e) (s)

How big IS this Tent, after all? Let’s find out. IDers may find out that they really don’t want that big a tent, after all.

Next, we point out all the Raelians inside the Tent … .

Followed by Ahmanson’s nutty Reconstructionist pals …

I’m sure swords are already being sharpened in preparation for the internal bloodletting that will occur once the victory over the common enemy—naturalism—is achieved. Wells and Behe (as a Catholic, which we all know isn’t Christian) are probably the first victims on the list.

Comment #32740

Posted by primate on May 29, 2005 10:58 PM (e) (s)

Andrea Bottaro wrote

So, I am sorry for Gonzalez, but if he doesn’t want his documentary to be associated with anti-evolution propaganda, he has to clearly distance himself from his ID fellow travelers on the topic, and not allow his work to be used as anti-evolution propaganda. It’s quite simple, really.

Guillermo Gonzalez is a DI/CRSC senior fellow, ISCID fellow and a contributer to ID the Future. His ARN Authors Page profile features essays on why aliens are not likely, in his opinion, to exist (goodbye panspermia, Raelians). I don’t think he cares if his work is used as anti-evolution propaganda. In fact, he contributes to the ‘Doubt Is What It’s About’ club that includes Illustra Media and it’s partnership and ties with Focus on the Family (see Christian ultra-fundamentalism). Illustra also produced the antievolution “documentary” “Unlocking the Mysteries of Life”.

Comment #32741

Posted by primate on May 29, 2005 11:01 PM (e) (s)

Uh, “it’s partnership” should be “its”. Doh!

Comment #32746

Posted by Albion on May 30, 2005 12:24 AM (e) (s)

So, in addition to biology and, uh, meteorology, ID also has its sights set on cosmology and astronomy.

Indeed. And it can claim therefore not to be just an argument against evolution, since it’s arguing against other mainstream sciences apart from biology.

This does tend to cut down the available candidates for the position of Designer, though. First we have the claim that cells are too complicated to have arisen naturally, hence pretty well ruling out a cellular lifeform as the Designer. Now we’re getting into planet building as well as biochemistry, so we need an acellular Designer with incredible depths of knowledge of physics and earth science as well as biology. Once they start in on criticisms of cosmology, there won’t be many candidates at all - just God and the IPU, really. I wonder when they’ll be forced to drop the “the identity of the Designer - um, designer - is irrelevant” line once they’ve started claiming that said Designer is a Designer of universes.

Comment #32755

Posted by SEF on May 30, 2005 03:06 AM (e) (s)

The argument that life is too complicated and must have been designed was never a good one anyway. Particularly when they couple it with analogies to human design. If they are going to argue from analogy, then human’s design things which are less complicated than themselves. Hence their designer would have to be more complicated than life and thus even more impossible. It’s irreducibly complex turtles all the way up.

However, if they still want their designer to be simpler regardless of the stupidity of their argument from analogy, then they ought to be agreeing with the rest of us that the underlying chemicals did it! They are indisputably less complex than the combination of them is and they continually demonstrate the potential to do it. Then when you look for the “designer” of chemicals you get to basic chemistry and physics and its all very clear how it works.

Comment #32757

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 30, 2005 04:37 AM (e) (s)

Primate:
that’s exactly my point. It is disingenuous for Gonzalez and the DI to complain that the New York Times misqualifies the PP video as “against evolution”, when they are using it themselves as part of a larger anti-evolution propaganda campaign.

Comment #32760

Posted by James on May 30, 2005 06:50 AM (e) (s)

The “terms” of showing this video at the Smithsonian are effectively moot by virtue of the press that this has gotten. While showing the video may not mean the Smithsonian is supporting anything to do with its content, that’s a distinction that’s not going to be appreciated by the vast majority of people who don’t follow discussions such as one encounters here. Rather, those people will see an ID-friendly video presented in the nation’s premier institution for presenting science to the general public, and that for them will say it all.

The ID-friendly/Creationist crowd have managed to cause IMAX theater managers to back away from showing James Cameron’s “Aliens of the Deep” because of its references to the age of the Earth and evolution. Now we have the DI snaking its way into the Smithsonian via its checkbook, a modus operandi that will not be appreciated by most.

I’ve sent emails to the Smithsonian complaining about the movie, and to my senators and congressional representative. Mark my words, letting this thing in the door and not fighting it will open the floodgates.

Comment #32766

Posted by SEF on May 30, 2005 08:36 AM (e) (s)

It’s a situation disturbingly parallel to those editorials in newspapers etc about which people are complaining because they are insufficiently critical of ID/creationist idiocies and even favourable to them. If the Smithsonian wants to be seen as a respectable institution with decent standards then it really ought to be excercising its editorial control over its contents properly. If it genuinely doesn’t have standards or the will or ability to enforce them, ie money talks whoever’s money it is, then the Smithsonian should no longer be allowed to pretend it has good standards and instead be seen as the money launderer it has become.

I don’t suppose it is just the DI which has been allowed to offer an effective bribe though. Many industries get good PR from donations to various places whose ideals don’t exactly match the actual behaviour of those industries.

Comment #32768

Posted by Randy on May 30, 2005 08:54 AM (e) (s)

I would like to raise $16,000 and rent the Baird Auditorium for a Marathon Screening of the best Science of the 1970s, Chariots of the Gods and the television series In Search Of (with Leonard Nimoy as narrator). Now that was science.

Comment #32771

Posted by SEF on May 30, 2005 09:59 AM (e) (s)

Comment #32776

Posted by Pat Hayes on May 30, 2005 10:20 AM (e) (s)

Don’t fall for the “it’s not about evolution” red herring. The film is designed to extend intelligent design antiscience into new and greener pastures: physics and cosmology. Here’s an excerpt from The Privileged Planet:

“Is it possible that this immense, symphonic system of atoms, fields, forces, stars, galaxies, and people is the result of a choice, a purpose or intention, rather than simply some inscrutable outworking of blind necessity or an inexplicable accident? If so, then it’s surely possible that there could be evidence to suggest such a possibility…

“Perhaps we have also been staring past … a signal revealing a universe so skillfully crafted for life and discovery that it seems to whisper of an extra-terrestrial intelligence immeasurably more vast, more ancient, and more magnificent than anything we’ve been willing to expect or imagine.”

Comment #32778

Posted by Unstable Isotope on May 30, 2005 10:23 AM (e) (s)

The Smithsonian should refund DI’s money and not show that film. They could argue it violates their policy against events of a religious or political nature (it’s both). It may be dishonest for DI to claim that the Smithsonian is putting their seal of approval on the film, but it is being shown at the Smithsonian.

As to Moon, only the theocons could argue that posting on a religion’s own beliefs constitutes religious persecution. If pointing out what Moon believes makes people angry, it’s because they can’t believe that is really what he’s saying.

Comment #32795

Posted by Kevin on May 30, 2005 12:13 PM (e) (s)

The invisible guy in the sky created the universe…that is well known…

Comment #32800

Posted by Albion on May 30, 2005 01:00 PM (e) (s)

Don’t fall for the “it’s not about evolution” red herring. The film is designed to extend intelligent design antiscience into new and greener pastures: physics and cosmology. Here’s an excerpt from The Privileged Planet:

“Is it possible that this immense, symphonic system of atoms, fields, forces, stars, galaxies, and people is the result of a choice, a purpose or intention, rather than simply some inscrutable outworking of blind necessity or an inexplicable accident? If so, then it’s surely possible that there could be evidence to suggest such a possibility …

“Perhaps we have also been staring past … a signal revealing a universe so skillfully crafted for life and discovery that it seems to whisper of an extra-terrestrial intelligence immeasurably more vast, more ancient, and more magnificent than anything we’ve been willing to expect or imagine.”

And, as I said before, how many candidates are there for that particular position? I mean, on the one hand they’re talking about crafting a universe and on the other they’re talking about the crafter being simply extra-terrestrial??? Once we get into the realms of a creator of the universe, we’re solidly in the realms of Goddidit. I assume they’re saying that the creator of the flagellum is the same as the creator of the universe, unless we’re into RBH-type multiple designers. Hence the creator of the flagellum is also God. If they had a shred of integrity, they’d say so.

Comment #32805

Posted by bill on May 30, 2005 02:03 PM (e) (s)

re: Book Burning

I believe that Behe’s book would spontaneously combust - by design - except for the fact that it’s all wet.

Comment #32809

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on May 30, 2005 02:43 PM (e) (s)

Check this out:

reDiscovery Institute


Our goals are to Teach the Controversies, all of them, each and every one….
The reDiscovery Institute urges adherence to John Phillipson’s “Ice Pick Gambit”, which states that “until we gain total contol, we do not mention the Book of Genesis in the design debate because that frightens normal people.”

Comment #32810

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 30, 2005 02:54 PM (e) (s)

ya know, i hate to say it, but i think the reDiscovery site has fooled more of us than even intelligent design timmy.

there’s that broken irony meter again.

Comment #32811

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on May 30, 2005 02:56 PM (e) (s)

Brian writes: The Smithsonian should be urged to back out on this and return the contribution if at all possible. I’ve already written a letter urging them to do so. I’d definitely encourage others to do so as well.

I’ve already told them I’ll rescind my membership if this crap airs in the auditorium.

I don’t support them to purvey crap.

Comment #32814

Posted by hiero5ant on May 30, 2005 03:24 PM (e) (s)

Methinks all parties involved are missing a crucial opportunity amidst the bruhaha.

I have long argued (alas, unsuccessfully) that cosmological ID and biological ID are radically, fundamentally contradictory and at odds with one another. The former camp adamantly asserts that the laws of the physical universe are structured in such a way as to make life on earth inevitable; the latter camp adamantly asserts that the laws of the universe are structured in such a way that life on earth is impossible without a series of violations of natural law.

If ID bore even the most remote resemblance to a scientific enterprise, cosmological IDers and biological IDers would be at each other’s throats in every possible forum. But this is clearly not the case.

So allow me to suggest a resolution to the current Smithsonian pecadillo: cosmological IDers will be given the benefit of the doubt that they are not simply one more strain in the antievolutionary Ahmonsonite brigades if and only if they will come forward publicly and declare that cosmological ID stands in direct contradiction to the biological ID of Dembski and Behe.

Fair enough?

Comment #32816

Posted by Glenn Branch on May 30, 2005 03:39 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'url'

Comment #32817

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 30, 2005 03:48 PM (e) (s)

“If ID bore even the most remote resemblance to a scientific enterprise”

well, there you have it. It was never really meant to resemble scientific enterprise, except at the most superficial levels.

this is all just a power grab, nothing more. Ask Bill Frist.

Comment #32824

Posted by Rich on May 30, 2005 05:09 PM (e) (s)

PT’s Pym van Meur already knows this because I’ve already stated this on the ASA e-list but something has been missed in this controversy:

The Discovery Institute apparently made an UNRESTRICTED $16,000 donation to the Smithsonian.

It was right under our noses. See the quoted policy in the comments above. See http://www.blinne.org/blog/2005/05/discovery_ins… for more details.

Comment #32825

Posted by Rich on May 30, 2005 05:34 PM (e) (s)

It has been generally missed that the donation by the Discovery Insitute is unrestricted. Look at the policy. It was right under our noses. See here for more details.

Comment #32834

Posted by Dark Matter on May 30, 2005 08:18 PM (e) (s)

I posted this to another website, and I am sending it to you
as a response to the Smithsonian Institute mess I’m sure you
are aware of by now.

How about this for a publicity idea-
Someone could make up a poster, screen saver, billboard or
outdoor mural with classic artwork (Michaelangelo, etc) depicting the serpent
tempting Eve. This would be accompanied with a catchy, memorable
caption like-

“Teach the controversy? Some teachers are more honest than others.”
or “ Teach the controversy? Some people never learn, do they?”
or “ You need to let me teach you about the controversssssssssyyy,
Eve…”

or a scene from the Salem witch trials or other witch burning
scene, with a caption “Evidence? WHO NEEDS EVIDENCE?”

Maybe a shot of the last scene from “The Wicker Man” could
be worked in there( you know the one I’m talking about……)

and then follow it up with “Find out why an objective scientific education is so
important…”

Maybe this could even be turned into a TV or cable commercial.

You could then point them to talk.origins archive on line website,
The National Center for Science Education
or some other well-regarded pro-evolution website.

In any case the evolutionists definitely need to get started
on a better PR campaign. (radio, TV, newspapers, etc)

I’m not very good with artwork, so if you think this
is a good idea spread it to someone who can get it moving.
Thanks!

Comment #32835

Posted by PvM on May 30, 2005 08:31 PM (e) (s)

Rich wrote:

It has been generally missed that the donation by the Discovery Insitute is unrestricted. Look at the policy. It was right under our noses. See here for more details.

Indeed, would it not be ironic to have them sponsor a Darwinian exhibit.

Comment #32839

Posted by Timothy Scriven on May 30, 2005 09:13 PM (e) (s)

If there really are people who pretend to be science sympathisers on this site simply to destroy science then that is-

1- dishonest
2- sad
3- ( and this is the clicher for all ID supporters ) unchristian.

Comment #32842

Posted by Rich on May 30, 2005 10:00 PM (e) (s)

Timothy, I cannot tell if your comments are directed to me. In case they are let me assure you that I am not an ID supporter and am personally embarrassed by the DI. Their warfare views concerning religion and science serve neither science nor Christianity. My views are very similar to Keith Miller’s in the Kansas controversy. Like him, I am more than willing to take the arrows from both sides to stop this insane bickering. This conflict is SO unnecessary.

Comment #32853

Posted by Rusty Catheter on May 31, 2005 02:09 AM (e) (s)

I seem to recall that this is an old trick of the creationists from way back. Hire a hall from a university, stage a “debate” where the pro-evolutionists are not really allowed to get their point across, then sell edited videos of the “University X debate” in which they appear to demolish all opposition. Check out Plimer’s “telling lies for god” for typical examples. The amazing thing is that the Smithsonian fell for it. It must really be run by administrators and bureaucrats rather than scientists if no-one involved could smell the fishy tinge in the air.

Rustopher.

Comment #32866

Posted by Savagemutt on May 31, 2005 08:07 AM (e) (s)

SEF wrote:

Or Connections: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0078588/

What’s wrong with Connections? James Burke is cool.

Or did someone just miss the sarcasm of the previous post…

Comment #32869

Posted by Art on May 31, 2005 08:28 AM (e) (s)

I’m wondering - now that the Discovery Institute has endorsed, to the tune of a $16K unrestricted gift, Darwinian evolution in all of the glories on display at the SI, what is to become of the many initiatives that thought they had the DI as an ally?

Comment #32873

Posted by SEF on May 31, 2005 08:48 AM (e) (s)

Connections was good … and then it went downhill as he/they ran out of good ideas and tried to make more and more tenuous connections. Remind you of any former researchers who joined the ID bandwagon at all? Still much better than them though! So a semi-serious suggestion of something which ought to be repeated sometime/somewhere.

Comment #32881

Posted by Savagemutt on May 31, 2005 09:54 AM (e) (s)

SEF wrote:

Connections was good … and then it went downhill as he/they ran out of good ideas and tried to make more and more tenuous connections.

Point taken. I read The Knowledge Web a coupla years back and thought it was pretty poor. James Burke is still cool though.

Comment #32885

Posted by Albion on May 31, 2005 10:13 AM (e) (s)

I seem to recall that this is an old trick of the creationists from way back. Hire a hall from a university, stage a “debate” where the pro-evolutionists are not really allowed to get their point across, then sell edited videos of the “University X debate” in which they appear to demolish all opposition.

They don’t even have to do that much in this case. All they need to do is to make this donation, show their movie, and sit back quietly while their groupies like Denyse O’Leary claim in the popular press that the Smithsonian is endorsing intelligent design as legitimate science. We’ve seen this before, with the Meyer-Sternberg incident: the impression that’s been left is that ID has been the subject of a peer-reviewed paper. We know that the truth is more complicated and less favourable to ID, but we aren’t the ones this propaganda is being aimed at.

Comment #32903

Posted by Steve Reuland on May 31, 2005 12:00 PM (e) (s)

heiro5ant wrote:

Methinks all parties involved are missing a crucial opportunity amidst the bruhaha.

I have long argued (alas, unsuccessfully) that cosmological ID and biological ID are radically, fundamentally contradictory and at odds with one another. The former camp adamantly asserts that the laws of the physical universe are structured in such a way as to make life on earth inevitable; the latter camp adamantly asserts that the laws of the universe are structured in such a way that life on earth is impossible without a series of violations of natural law.

Or, as has been written elsewhere:

The fact that the laws of the universe are perfect for life is evidence for a Designer. The fact that the laws of the universe can’t produce life is evidence for a Designer.

However, I do not think that cosmological ID and biological ID are fundamentally contradictory, at least not in their onotology. IDists can always reconcile the two with enough ad hoc assumptions. They can say, for example, that God the Designer made the universe in such a way as to be possible for life to exist, and then came back later to make life itself. The contradiction lies not so much in what happened, but in what they cite as “evidence”.

The problem is, they use both rarity and commonality as evidence of “design”. If something is very rare and seemingly unlikely, that’s evidence that it couldn’t have been by “chance”, and was thus the result of divine intervention. However, if something is very common, then this is taken to mean that the laws of the unvierse must have been “designed” in order for this feature to be present, because if the laws were a little different, that feature wouldn’t be so common. This contradiction exists not only between cosmo ID and bio ID, but also within cosmo ID itself. For example, the peculiarities of the Earth (right distance from the sun, etc.) are taken to be extremely rare, and thus evidence of a divine hand having made things “just right”. On the other hand, the commonality of our sun, being one of trillions of such stars, is also taken to be the result of a divine hand. If the laws of the universe weren’t “just right”, then stars of this kind would be uncommon or nonexistent.

The problem, of course, is that you can reverse the facts but leave the arguments unchanged. Presumably, if our sun was the only star of its kind, then its rarity would be used as evidence of design. Or if the laws of the unvierse made planets with Earth-like properties highly common, then this too would be taken as evidence of design. So you’ve got a situation in which any conceivable set of facts could be used as evidence to support design. The basic reasoning — that either rarity or commonality is indicative of design — is faulty.

Comment #32936

Posted by Jim Harrison on May 31, 2005 03:38 PM (e) (s)

Considered as hypotheses about the nature of things, the belief systems of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and the rest have a negligiable probability of being true. Under the circumstances, getting people to assume that notions about Gods are even relevant to cosmological questions is quite an accomplishment. From an apologetic point of view, the great thing is to make folks assume that the concept of creation makes some sort of sense, that the debate ought to be whether or not the world was created rather than, say, whether or not it was empied out of a tin can and then heated up in a microwave oven or any one of an infinite number of absurd scenarios. The odds aren’t 50-50 God, no God; but the way that the question is framed makes people think that we’re in a coin flip situation.

It bears repeating that theism vs atheism is only an interesting debate from a cultural and political point of view. If you want to understand nature, the quarrel is irrelevant since recognizing that there is no God doesn’t get you any further in figuring out how things work while, to judge by the privileged planet and ID movement, deciding that there is a God, doesn’t explain anything either.

Comment #32984

Posted by Air Bear on May 31, 2005 09:51 PM (e) (s)

Art wrote:

I’m wondering - now that the Discovery Institute has endorsed, to the tune of a $16K unrestricted gift, Darwinian evolution in all of the glories on display at the SI, what is to become of the many initiatives that thought they had the DI as an ally?

I’m sure that the ID allies will understand that DI is buying legitimacy from the Smithsonian, and that a mere $16K will not seriously advance the cause of general understanding of evolutionary theory in the public at large. Frankly, it seems to me that DI and the ID movement in general has gotten a great bargain. They’ll be trumpeting the Smithsonian’s endorsement for months, maybe years, all for a little lint from the deep pockets of DIs donors.

Comment #32987

Posted by Art on May 31, 2005 10:23 PM (e) (s)

Air Bear,

I see your point. But I think the harder sell will be when the DI has to explain why they funded activities that promote (explicitly, I would assume) Darwinian evolution, in no uncertain terms. How can this be taken except as an endorsement of evolution? How do they explain this to their donors? What assurances will they have to make to ensure that they won’t turn around and give another few hundred thousand dollars (or more) for similar purposes? If we assume that ‘tis antievolutionists who give to the DI, then we can imagine that they won’t like it that their donations are enabling pro-evolution research, pro-evolution public education.

If the SI is worried about being “tainted”, the best thing they could do is explictly, specifically link the DI’s cash with the most creationist-unfriendly project or program they have. “More evidence that humans and chimps share a common ancestry - funded by the Discovery Institute”. What is the more convincing endorsement? Use of a lecture hall, or hard cash support of research and education? It’s a no-brainer in my mind - the SI isn’t endorsing anything, but the DI is most certainly endorsing Darwinian evolution.

Comment #32991

Posted by Air Bear on May 31, 2005 10:52 PM (e) (s)

Art -

Your integrity is showing.

I’m sure that you donate money to institutions because you want to support their work and further their missions. You wouldn’t think of buying a membership in some respected organization (say, the National Geographic Society or the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association), then strut around claiming that the organization represents your views.

The ID movement has no such integrity. They no more support the general work of the Smithsonian than they support the general work of the Biological Society of Washington.

Comment #33011

Posted by fh on June 1, 2005 03:33 AM (e) (s)

Anybody notice that the publisher of Gonzalez’s book is Regnery Publishing, the people who brought you the best seller Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry

Nice company.

Comment #33035

Posted by Randy on June 1, 2005 08:54 AM (e) (s)

Regnery also published Icons of Evolution.

Comment #33059

Posted by Dan Curran on June 1, 2005 11:28 AM (e) (s)

Remember James Randi?
The Amazing Randi?
The One Million Dollar Paranormal challenge?
Look it up: www.Randi.org:
Anyway, the JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) is willing to donate $20,000 to the Smithsonian Institution if they agree to give back the “Discovery Institute” $16,000 and decline to sponsor the showing of the film. And the JREF will not require the Smithsonian to run any films or propaganda that favor our point of view…

Comment #33061

Posted by MrDarwin on June 1, 2005 11:36 AM (e) (s)

Getting back on topic, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Dr. Christian Samper, today released this statement:

Statement by the Director, National Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History recently approved a request by the Discovery Institute to hold a private, invitation-only screening and reception at the Museum on June 23 for the film “The Privileged Planet.” Upon further review we have determined that the content of the film is not consistent with the mission of the Smithsonian Institution’s scientific research. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the National Museum of Natural History supports or endorses the Discovery Institute or the film “The Privileged Planet.” However, since Smithsonian policy states that all events held at any museum be “co-sponsored” by the director and the outside organization, and we have signed an agreement with this organization, we will honor the commitment made to provide space for the event.

Reading between the lines, I suspect that none of the scientific staff of the museum, right up to the Director’s office, had any clue that this movie was going to be shown; it was set up by special event coordinators who routinely rent space (or provide space in return for a monetary contribution, it’s really just a matter of semantics) to all kinds of different groups; Baird Auditorium is the site of musical events, theatrical productions, lectures, films, you name it.

The only consolation is that such monetary “donations” are (supposedly) unrestricted, meaning at least some of it will probably go to support evolutionary research at the Smithsonian. It’s a sad fact that the Smithsonian is in desperate need of money, and can’t afford to be too picky about the sources.

My question is, why is the Discovery Institute showing this film in the first place, and why did they choose the Smithsonian as the place to show it? The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that it was a shrewdly calculated move to buy credibility. Never mind that it’s a private event, by invitation only, and that joint “sponsorship” by the Smithsonian is a formality (ALL events of every kind occurring on Smithsonian property are “cosponsored” by the Smithsonian, probably because in most cases the Smithsonian wants to get at least some credit for providing the space and opportunity); the Discovery Institute knows the Smithsonian name lends credibility and is going to milk that name for all it’s worth.

Another big question is, are they going to try to hawk either the movie or the book upon which it’s based? If so, they are violating their contract with the Smithsonian, which prohibits display or promotion of commercial products.

But overall it’s a win-win situation for the Discovery Institute; either they get to use the Smithsonian and its name, or the Smithsonian backs out and they can add it to their litany of complaints about persecution by the scientific establishment. (The only way the Smithsonian could back out without having major egg on its face is by demonstrating that the Discovery Institute misrepresented either their organization or the movie they would be showing, and even then the Smithsonian would probably come off looking like the bad guys.)

Comment #33074

Posted by Michael Roberts on June 1, 2005 12:40 PM (e) (s)

Own goal Denyse, well done!!!

Comment #33088

Posted by Steve Reuland on June 1, 2005 01:42 PM (e) (s)

Mr. Darwin wrote:

My question is, why is the Discovery Institute showing this film in the first place, and why did they choose the Smithsonian as the place to show it? The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that it was a shrewdly calculated move to buy credibility.

Nah. You don’t say…

This particular move is simply part of a much larger pattern. The DI has on several occasions in the past rented out space at various pretigious universities, or attended an event run by the Campus Crusade for Christ, and then referred to “the [fill in the blank] conference” as if it were sponsored by the university itself. This sort of unethical behavior is old hat by now, and sadly enough, it’s pretty low on the sleaze scale compared to most of what they do.

Denyse O’Leary was kind enough to demonstrate that the purpose of the donation is to brag about the Smithsonian “warming up to ID”. They don’t even need to state this explicitly, they’ll just refer to the event as being sponsored by the Smithsonian, and they’ve managed to plant the idea in the minds of the unwary that a major scientific institution is tacitly supporting them. Most reporters will not dig deep enough to expose the ruse, and those who are on their side will actively promote the deception, as O’Leary already has.

Another big question is, are they going to try to hawk either the movie or the book upon which it’s based? If so, they are violating their contract with the Smithsonian, which prohibits display or promotion of commercial products.

If you mean in general, they’ve been hawking it for some time. If they tried to do so at the event in question, it would almost certainly be disallowed. And, given that it’s a private event, it’s not clear to whom they’d be selling it. (Each other?)

Comment #33094

Posted by Art on June 1, 2005 02:06 PM (e) (s)

As far as all the spin is concerned, words are cheap. The petty spinning of people like O’Leary doesn’t mean much, especially since it morphs into something else every 12 hours or so. Money talks, and it is telling us that the DI is funding pro-Darwin, pro-evolution research and education. This is what the blogosphere and print press needs to publicize (I can see a nice plaque next to some new RNA World exhibit - “made possible by a gift from the Discovery Institute”). Potential donors to the DI deserve to know that their money will be spent promoting ideas like abiogenesis (undirected, materialistic, in all its glory), common ancestry of humans and apes, etc., etc.

The SI obviously does not endorse ID. The DI just as obviously has no qualms about promoting Darwinian, undirected, random, materialistic evolution. There are a lot of messages in these two undisputable statements of fact, and I think these messages deserve to “get out”.

Comment #33099

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 1, 2005 02:39 PM (e) (s)

I am reminded of the story about G. B. Shaw’s dinner conversation with an upstanding matron who was outraged at the common prostitution of women in the London streets.

(from second hand memory)”Madam, would you consent to having sex with me for one million pounds?”

“Why, my dear Mr. Shaw, that would be very compelling!”

“Well then, how about two pence?”

“Sir! What do you take me for?”

“Madam, we established what you are- now we are negotiating price.”

PS: I may need to upgrade D.O. from pustule to abscess.

Comment #33130

Posted by Jim Lippard on June 1, 2005 06:04 PM (e) (s)

Rusty Catheter wrote:

I seem to recall that this is an old trick of the creationists from way back. Hire a hall from a university, stage a “debate” where the pro-evolutionists are not really allowed to get their point across, then sell edited videos of the “University X debate” in which they appear to demolish all opposition. Check out Plimer’s “telling lies for god” for typical examples. The amazing thing is that the Smithsonian fell for it. It must really be run by administrators and bureaucrats rather than scientists if no-one involved could smell the fishy tinge in the air.

In Plimer’s case, they didn’t have to edit the debate, and I wouldn’t rely on his book for accurate criticisms of creationists. See the reviews of his book by Jeff Shallit, and me, as well as my “How Not to Argue with Creationists” in Creation/Evolution.

Comment #33170

Posted by LaPalida on June 2, 2005 01:22 AM (e) (s)

Does it really surprise you that the Smithsonian would do that? This latest sell out by them isn’t the first or the worst. Back in ‘97 (as some of you probably remember) it received 20 million from Kenneth E. Behring so that he could hunt endangered species for “scientific” study… Kara Tau argali sheep population dropped from 100 to 99. :S

http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/smith…

http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/courses/geog100/USA-EndS…

Comment #33187

Posted by MrDarwin on June 2, 2005 08:15 AM (e) (s)

Well, it has turned out to be even more of a win-win situation for the Discovery Institute than I thought: they get loads of publicity, the Smithsonian Institution looks like the bad guy, and the Discovery Institute gets to screen their film for free.

And they can still crow about showing a film “at the Smithsonian Institution”.

Good grief.

Comment #33194

Posted by Rich on June 2, 2005 10:30 AM (e) (s)

A win-win situation, I think not. A quote from Jesus comes to mind:

What good does it do to gain the whole world but lose your soul?

You anger the scientifically-minded people by crowing and offend the religiously-minded ones by being sleazy. My (probably vain) hope is the DI folk repudiate Denyse and don’t do that. I guess time will tell.

Comment #33197

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 2, 2005 11:01 AM (e) (s)

It’s a very public dissing of the ID crowd in the end. I think it’s quite important that the SI not allow the DI to brag about “co-sponsorship” with the Smithsonian, particularly after the Sternberg fiasco. I hate to see the DI get a screening for free, but the money isn’t all that important, not to Ahmanson, and not to the SI either when it comes down to it.

Apparently the film isn’t the worst that the DI has to offer, and I believe it was Hiero5ant who pointed to the tension between cosmological ID and biological ID. Where Hiero5ant seems to go off track to some extent is that the tension has always existed, and has been papered over by the ID sorts (originally by scholastics and others, who tried valiantly to reconcile Plato, Aristotle, and Genesis. But at least they were trying to think things through at a time when science barely existed. The DI has no excuse).

In any case, there is a considerable connection between cosmological ID and biological ID in the present political situation. The same people promote it, and there is a genuine epistemological connection between the two in that intervention is posited in both. Tension between the two ideas exists because God supposedly flouts His own cosmic decrees when He creates life. Importantly, however, if God intervened 13.7 billion years ago (I’m not sure how far back Privileged Planet itself goes back, but the principle is the same regardless), who’s to stop Him from doing so 4.5 billion years ago?

Epistemologically it’s all the same, then. When we don’t know something, do we say “The Great Intelligence did it”, or do we plough on and consider the evidence scientifically? Indeed, we might even do both. They’re not incompatible as such, but are only incompatible in the ID©ist minds which think that writing “Intelligence” means something outside of a context.

More to the point, though, do we actually require evidence and proper consideration of that evidence before we come to a conclusion about intelligences, designs, and evolution, or does lack of evidence count as evidence toward the great engineer in the sky? Ultimately that is the issue in ID, and both cosmological and biological ID© wish to insist upon the idea that lack of evidence is in fact evidence for God. It is this notion toward which the Smithsonian must especially show disrespect, and I’m glad that they finally did so even if they needed Denyse (”buy my book”) to set off the chain of events leading to the dissing.

One more thought though: Might we in this case propose that Intelligent Design was involved, that maybe God is getting angry at the lies, deceptions, and depictions of Him as a mere designer, coming from those who once were given worthwhile brains that have since been squandered on stupidity? OK, I guess we can’t, except perhaps when discussing the Great Engineer with the ID©ists.

Comment #33201

Posted by Rich on June 2, 2005 11:52 AM (e) (s)

Before I start this argument please note that this is addressed specifically to ID folk and others who believe the Bible. If you don’t, please move on there are no droids here.

One more thought though: Might we in this case propose that Intelligent Design was involved, that maybe God is getting angry at the lies, deceptions, and depictions of Him as a mere designer, coming from those who once were given worthwhile brains that have since been squandered on stupidity? OK, I guess we can’t, except perhaps when discussing the Great Engineer with the ID©ists.

God is already on record concerning this:

Exodus 20:4-6 wrote:

4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Comment #33241

Posted by Michael Roberts on June 2, 2005 03:54 PM (e) (s)

Yes, Rich, but if you take the Bible literally then Ex 20 vs teaches a flat earth. It is a pity YECs are not consistent to their hermeneutics and accept a falt as well as a young earth

Comment #33242

Posted by Michael Roberts on June 2, 2005 03:56 PM (e) (s)

Yes, Rich, but if you take the Bible literally then Ex 20 vs4 teaches a flat earth. It is a pity YECs are not consistent to their hermeneutics and accept a flat as well as a young earth

Comment #33259

Posted by Rich on June 2, 2005 07:15 PM (e) (s)

Hmm. If there is metaphor in the Second Commandment, maybe, just maybe, there is metaphor in the Fourth.

Comment #33267

Posted by Scott G. Beach on June 2, 2005 07:42 PM (e) (s)

Intelligent Design and Sexual Assault

James Dobson advocates beating children. Dobson’s advocacy of child beating is supported by his belief in “intelligent design,” the proposition that humans and other living organisms were created by an intelligent designer. According to Dobson, that designer has explicitly endorsed beating children. For example, see The Holy Bible, Book of Proverbs, Chapter 23, verse 13.

Dobson advocates striking children’s buttocks and thighs. Unfortunately, his belief in intelligent design prevents him from recognizing that he is advocating sexual assaults on children.

Modern humans are bipeds — we have two feet. Our distant ancestors were quadrupeds — they had four feet. During the quadrupedal phase of our evolution, protohuman males copulated protohuman females from behind. This kind of sexual union is formally known as dorso-ventral copulation. It is more commonly referred to as rear-entry sexual intercourse and it is colloquially known as “doggie style sex.”

During the quadrupedal phase of our evolution, natural selection favored females whose buttocks and thighs were sensitive to stimulation during dorso-ventral copulation. This sensitivity was possible because of the special, encapsulated nerve endings in the buttocks and thighs of females.

The special nerve endings in a female’s buttocks and thighs were connected by nerve fibers to her clitoris. The stimulation of those special nerve endings during dorso-ventral copulation generated nerve impulses that stimulated the female’s clitoris. Those impulses provided some of the stimulation that triggered an orgasm. During an orgasm, rhythmic contractions of the female’s vagina could pump semen into her uterus. The transfer of semen from her vagina to her uterus increased the probability that she would conceive and eventually give birth to offspring.

Modern females often copulate in a ventro-ventral position (face-to-face with the male sex partner). The special nerve endings in a modern female’s buttocks and thighs are not directly stimulated during ventro-ventral copulation but those nerve endings are nevertheless still functional.

Playfully striking a woman’s buttocks is known as an erotic spanking. An erotic spanking can trigger an orgasm. Violently striking a girl’s buttocks is known as a punishment spanking. A punishment spanking can also trigger an orgasm. However, violently striking a girl’s buttocks and thighs can teach her to associate painful assaults with sexual stimulation. That lesson can derail her psychosexual development and make it difficult or impossible for her to have normal sexual relations as an adult woman.

In summary, the special nerve endings in a girl’s buttocks and thighs are part of her reproductive system. Violently striking those organs constitutes a kind of sexual assault. Girls should not be sexually assaulted in the name of an intelligent designer. Girls should not be sexually assaulted in the name of James Dobson. James Dobson should not advocate child beating.

Comment #33272

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 2, 2005 08:13 PM (e) (s)

Excuse me, I think I need a cold shower.

Comment #33306

Posted by Wayne Francis on June 3, 2005 12:04 AM (e) (s)

Comment # 33267

Scott G. Beach wrote:

Comment #33267
Posted by Scott G. Beach on June 2, 2005 07:42 PM (e) (s)

The special nerve endings in a female’s buttocks and thighs were connected by nerve fibers to her clitoris. The stimulation of those special nerve endings during dorso-ventral copulation generated nerve impulses that stimulated the female’s clitoris. Those impulses provided some of the stimulation that triggered an orgasm. During an orgasm, rhythmic contractions of the female’s vagina could pump semen into her uterus. The transfer of semen from her vagina to her uterus increased the probability that she would conceive and eventually give birth to offspring.
Modern females often copulate in a ventro-ventral position (face-to-face with the male sex partner). The special nerve endings in a modern female’s buttocks and thighs are not directly stimulated during ventro-ventral copulation but those nerve endings are nevertheless still functional.
Playfully striking a woman’s buttocks is known as an erotic spanking. An erotic spanking can trigger an orgasm. Violently striking a girl’s buttocks is known as a punishment spanking….

And some people say evolutionary biology isn’t needed to explain anything useful. I’ll have to do some….ummmm…..tests on this hypothesis.

Comment #33347

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on June 3, 2005 08:34 AM (e) (s)

MrDarwin wrote:

My question is, why is the Discovery Institute showing this film in the first place, and why did they choose the Smithsonian as the place to show it? The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that it was a shrewdly calculated move to buy credibility.

I think it’s also because in addition to Sternberg, the Wedge has installed another covert operative at the Smithsonian to help in the shrewdly calculated media relations event:

http://www.origins.org/articles/gingerich_natura…

Nevertheless, just as I believe that the Book of Scripture illumines the pathway to God, so I believe that the Book of Nature, with its astonishing details-the blade of grass, the Conus geographus (with its lethal harpoon), or the resonance levels of the carbon atom-also suggests a God of purpose and a God of design. And I think my belief makes me no less a scientist.

To conclude, I turn once again to Kepler, who wrote, “If I have been allured into brashness by the wonderful beauty of thy works, or if I have loved my own glory among men, while advancing in work destined for thy glory, gently and mercifully pardon me: and finally, deign graciously to cause that these demonstrations may lead to thy glory and to the salvation of souls, and nowhere be an obstacle to that. Amen.”

Dr. Owen Gingerich

Dr. Owen Gingerich is Senior Astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University.

Comment #33351

Posted by Dave S. on June 3, 2005 08:49 AM (e) (s)

To conclude, I turn once again to Kepler …

Kepler, eh. Wasn’t he the guy who claimed craters on the moon had to have been intelligently designed because they displayed, what the IDers would call today even though he obviously didn’t use that terminology then, specified complexity?

That can happen when you fail to consider the right natural hypotheses.

Comment #33359

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on June 3, 2005 09:23 AM (e) (s)

Burt wrote:

God help us if these guys ever get in a position to call the shots on scientific research.

You mean like Owen Gingerich at the Smithsonian? :-)

The facts of the matter are as follows: The Discovery Institute has made a donation of $16,000 to the National Museum of Natural History.

But thanks to ye Darwinists, the Discovery Institute is getting their money back to finance yet another public relations event.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History does not endorse the content of the video that will be shown at the Discovery Institute’s June 23rd event.

But apparently, one of their scientists does privately.

Comment #33361

Posted by Randy on June 3, 2005 09:29 AM (e) (s)

Sal, the difference is Owen Gingerich knows when he is talking science and when he is talking extra-scientific (meaning something beyond the science) metaphysics, ID does not.

Comment #33368

Posted by Jon Fleming on June 3, 2005 10:00 AM (e) (s)

But apparently, one of their scientists does privately.

Got any evidence? Sheesh, what am I thinking! Salvador and evidence are never seen together.

The fact that the event was scheduled is not evidence for anyone at the Smithsonian endorsing or even knowing the content of the video.

Comment #33370

Posted by Jon Fleming on June 3, 2005 10:03 AM (e) (s)

But apparently, one of their scientists does privately.

Got evidence? Sheesh, what am I thinking … Salvador and evidence are mutually exclusive.

The fact that the event was scheduled does not indicate that nayone at the Smithsonian endorsed or even knew the contents of the video.

Comment #33371

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on June 3, 2005 10:05 AM (e) (s)

Except the entire event is now worthless to you lot as a propaganda tool, because the direct statements from the SI have said they do not endorse the video or its contents. All you’re getting is a little party but the attempt to ‘buy’ scientific credibility has blew up in your poor little faces, and that’s where you really lost out on this one. Now the SI is on record stating there was nothing scientific about the movie, mole or no mole.

What a shame.

Comment #33379

Posted by Randy on June 3, 2005 10:20 AM (e) (s)

Sal, the difference is Owen Gingerich knows when he is talking science and when he is talking extra-scientific (meaning something beyond the science) metaphysics, ID does not.

Comment #33388

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on June 3, 2005 11:14 AM (e) (s)

Responding to my claim a smithsonian scientist privately
supports the contents of Privileged Planet:

Jon Fleming wrote:

Got any evidence? Sheesh

Dr. Owen Gingerich, Senior Astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Privileged Planet theme is in agreement with the following claims by Gingerich:

There is, I believe, no contradiction between holding a staunch belief in supernatural design and being a creative scientist, the universe is easier to comprehend if we assume that it has both purpose and design…

a common-sense and satisfying interpretation of our world suggests the designing hand of a superintelligence.

The privilged planet is about design and purpose in the universe. Gingerich therefore approves of the major claims featured in Privileged Planet.

Care to refute my claim that Gingerich, a smithsonian scientist, is not in agreement with the claims presented in Privileged Planent.

Oh, and we do have this quote by him, Jon, whe Gingerich who wrote an endorsement of the book Privileged Planent:
http://www.privilegedplanet.com/endorsements.php…

This thoughtful and delightfully contrarian book will rile up those who believe the ‘Copernican Principle’ is an essential philosophical component of modern science. Is our universe designedly congenial to intelligen observing life? Passionate advocates of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) will find much to ponder in this carefully documented analysis

Comment #33391

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on June 3, 2005 11:24 AM (e) (s)

Passionate advocates of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) will find much to ponder in this carefully documented analysis

Except nobody else in the SI thought it had the same degree of merit or that it really was a ‘carefully documented analysis’. Obviously your little friend didn’t have quite as much of a say as you would like.

Keep on spinning though Sally, you might reach the moon if you spin any faster!

Comment #33398

Posted by Jon Fleming on June 3, 2005 12:16 PM (e) (s)

Dr. Owen Gingerich, Senior Astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Goodness me, you’re right. I apologize. Tthere is indeed at least one person at the Smithsonian who is fooled by the man behind the curtain.

Comment #33401

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 3, 2005 12:23 PM (e) (s)

I just bet you all thought, as I did, that Salvador would be grateful to have $16,000 freed up to partially fund extensive empirical research into biology which will be completely open to both the idea that life may have been designed, or may have evolved via known methods.

Imagine my disappointment, which I’m sure is shared, when Sal wrote this:

But thanks to ye Darwinists, the Discovery Institute is getting their money back to finance yet another public relations event.

So, like, they’re getting their event and getting the money back, and really aren’t interested in furthering the cause of science? I’ve seen far too many dying of cancer and other diseases, probably significantly due to the reigning Darwinian paradigm’s incorrect beliefs, and I was placing my hopes on Sal, Dembski, and Behe, to show up the Darwinists, and do some humanitarian good in the bargain, by applying the new science of ID to work on the world’s problems.

Could it be that they’re sitting on the greatest discovery of the last 50 years while squandering resources on mere public relations? If so, what then can I do? Is no one going to advance true science?

Comment #33404

Posted by MrDarwin on June 3, 2005 12:33 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'URL'

Comment #33409

Posted by MrDarwin on June 3, 2005 12:56 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'URL'

Comment #33477

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 3, 2005 05:43 PM (e) (s)

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova

Hi Sal. Nice to have you back again.

But you still have not answered my four simple questions.

As promised, I will ask again. And again and again and again. As many times as I need to, until you answer.

*ahem*

1. What is the scientific theory of intelligent design, and how do we test it using the scientific method? And please don’t give me more of your “the scientific theory of ID is that evolution is wrong” BS. I want to know what your designer does, specifically. I want to know what mechanism it uses to do whatever the heck you think it does. I want to know where we can see these mechanisms in action.

2. According to this scientific theory of intelligent design, how old is the earth, and did humans descend from apelike primates or did they not?

3. what, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than weather forecasting, accident investigation, or medicine?

4. do you repudiate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson, and if so, why do you keep taking his money anyway?

Comment #33509

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on June 3, 2005 07:37 PM (e) (s)

Catching up on my journals, tonight I finally made it to the monthly collection of Chuck Shepherd’s “News of the Weird” column in the 6/05 Funny Times, which includes the following possibly relevant item:

Unclear on the concept - Lawrence M. Small, the chief executive of the Smithsonian Institution, was convicted in 2004 for his collection of South American artifacts that include the feathers of 219 birds protected by the Endangered Species Act, and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Hearst Newspapers reported that Small had not yet begun his sentence, in that he is still negotiating for the right to serve it by spending 100 hours lobbying Congress to change the Endangered Species Act.

A quick visit to www.si.edu/about/people.htm confirms that Small is and has been the Secretary of the Smithsonian since Jan 24, 2000.

Comment #33533

Posted by steve on June 3, 2005 10:48 PM (e) (s)

Bob Park covered this situation in today’s What’s New:

2. “FOLLOW THE MONEY”: THE ADVICE OF “DEEP THROAT” TO WOODWARD.
“The Privileged Planet” was produced by Illustra Media. When we
asked who paid for it they said we would have to write their
lawyers. We were able to identify the Crowell Trust, established
by the founder of Quaker Oats, which promotes “the doctrines of
Evangelical Christianity.” The film was based on a book by
Guillermo Gonsalez and Jay Richards. It was published by
Regnery, whose authors are at the extreme right of the spectrum.
Richards is vice president of Discovery Institute, a non-profit
educational foundation with deep-pocket contributors. Gonzalez
is an assistant research professor at Iowa State. In the book,
he acknowledges financial support from the Templeton Foundation.

Comment #33534

Posted by steve on June 3, 2005 10:53 PM (e) (s)

Kudos to Lenny for staying on Salvador’s ass.

Comment #33543

Posted by shiva on June 3, 2005 11:37 PM (e) (s)

Salvador,
With you back here the entertainment resumes. I did some quick lookups on the web about Gingerich. His talk migh dwell on the heavier questions that cosmologists investigate these days but he is no expert on any of them - at least his recent publications aren’t necessarily in that area. He has been teaching a popular course that has to do with the history of science at Harvard. He has among other things catalogued over 400 copies of Copernicus’s works and has been commended by the Polish government for that. He does speak about his points of view but nothing earth shattering. Considering all the access and credibility he enjoys there seems to be a good reason why he does not go beyond voicing his opinions. He probably understands the ground rules of science and knows that to establish his opinions as scientific theses will take an extra-ordinary amount of work which he probably does not feel up to.

Check out these links on Gingerich before the associated factotums of get going
http://www.space.com/colleges/college_gingerich_…
http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/Bios/gingerich.…
http://www.aip.org/history/historymatters/ginger…

There’s plenty of quote mining to do.

And then how about answering Lenny’s questions?

Comment #33549

Posted by Bruce Beckman on June 4, 2005 12:47 AM (e) (s)

Hi Lenny,

I can understand your frustration with Sal and the other ID proponents. They can’t seem to answer the simplest questions regarding the scientific theory of ID. But, you know, scientific research takes time, effort, talent, money and most importantly it needs to conform with what we find in nature (possibly a major problem don’t you think?). As Sal points out, the DI’s funding priorities are to support a public relations campaign. After these significant expenditures there really isn’t anything left to actually do any scientific research. I’m sure you understand and will cut Sal and the DI some slack.

Comment #33554

Posted by steve on June 4, 2005 02:27 AM (e) (s)

The DI is just following the esteemed footsteps of Albert Einstein. Years before he got a working theory of relativity, he formed the Relativity Institute, which set about getting criticisms of Newtonian physics into high school textbooks, he made movies about a possible relativistic nature of the universe, he published Newton’s Black Box for laymen, got senators to try to write pro-relativity legislation, disclaimers on mechanics textbooks, complained about hostile journal editors, etc. Standard operating procedure for real science.

Comment #33563

Posted by Bruce Beckman on June 4, 2005 04:40 AM (e) (s)

Newton’s Black Box…really too funny for words.

Comment #33581

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 4, 2005 09:50 AM (e) (s)

Hi Lenny,

I can understand your frustration with Sal and the other ID proponents. They can’t seem to answer the simplest questions regarding the scientific theory of ID.

Indeed. It’s almost enough to make one think that … well … there IS NO scientific theory of ID, and people like Sal are just … well …LYING to us when they claim there is … .

But, you know, scientific research takes time, effort, talent, money and most importantly it needs to conform with what we find in nature (possibly a major problem don’t you think?). As Sal points out, the DI’s funding priorities are to support a public relations campaign. After these significant expenditures there really isn’t anything left to actually do any scientific research. I’m sure you understand and will cut Sal and the DI some slack.

If Sal likes, I would be very happy to write a grant request to Howard Ahmanson for him. After all, Howie is worth over half a trillion dollars, and I’m sure he can spare a few million to fund DI’s, uh, scientific research. I find it hard to imagine that Ahmanson is NOT interested in funding serious scientific research of the caliber demonstrated by the leading lights of ID (including the esteemed Isaac Newton of Information Theory). It CAN’T be true that Ahmanson is only interested in funding political efforts to help impose theocracy onto the US and place it under the Biblical Law of a small coterie of ayatollah-wanna-be’s.

Right, Sal?

Comment #33582

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 4, 2005 09:53 AM (e) (s)

Kudos to Lenny for staying on Salvador’s ass.

Wait till Nelson or Beckwith show up again … . .

I have a very long memory, and I’m a very patient man.

Comment #33605

Posted by Rich on June 4, 2005 11:34 AM (e) (s)

I’ve had some time to reflect on all this and some ironies have emerged:

1. Denyse originally touted this as a sign of the Smithsonian softening to ID. What Denyse has missed is that a number of religious and scientific people have already buried the hatchet. Only time will tell whether Denyse has reversed some of the progress we have achieved because of revival of the warfare model on both sides. On my part, I’ve tried to do as much damage control as possible. However, I am too close to myself to properly appraise whether my efforts were successful or not.

2. Denyse chided the ASA as a “dozy” organization. If I was going to do a US News and World Report winners and losers, DI and the post Darwinist blog get down arrows and the ASA and PT get up arrows.

3. I suggest we call Denyse Queen Gertrude O’Leary because she protesteth too much. Up until late last week the DI insisted they were only trying to rent a hall. The final deal allowed them to get this hall for less money than they anticipated. The only stipulation was that they didn’t get the Smithsonian’s blessing which they originally claimed they didn’t seek. DI gets everything they want but only loses what they were not seeking. Then, why oh why are they complaining so much?!??!

Comment #33609

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on June 4, 2005 12:00 PM (e) (s)

Kudos to Lenny for staying on Salvador’s ass.

Don’t forget to thank ole Sally for running away every time. His refusal to answer simple questions speaks volumes about the scientific validity of the ID movement.

Comment #33612

Posted by BC on June 4, 2005 12:13 PM (e) (s)

June 02, 2005
Amazing Outcome: Smithsonian Support Of ‘Intelligent Design’ Disappears

The Smithsonian Institution has dropped its plan to cosponsor the showing of a film promoting “intelligent design.”

In a statement issued yesterday, Smithsonian officials dropped plans to cosponsor the “The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe,” which is based on a book promoting intelligent design by Iowa State University astronomy professor Guillermo Gonzalez.

The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based group that promotes the neo-creationist intelligent design, had entered into a partnership with the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History to show the film June 23 by offering a screening fee of $16,000. Under the terms of the compromise, the film will still be shown at the museum, but the money won’t be accepted and the museum will withdraw its cosponsorship. (For more background, see yesterday’s blog item “Bad Design: Anti-Evolution Shenanigans At The Smithsonian Spark Alarm.”)

“We have determined that the content of the film is not consistent with the mission of the Smithsonian Institution’s scientific research,” observed a museum statement, as reported in The Washington Post.

The Discovery Institute’s attempt to link its religiously grounded concepts with the prestige of the Smithsonian did not sit well with many scientists and opponents of intelligent design. One ID foe, Florida-based magician James “the Amazing” Randi, a frequent debunker of pseudo-scientific claims, wrote to the Smithsonian and offered $20,000 to pull the film.

“Though we cannot imagine what political external or internal pressure was brought to bear on the Smithsonian to trigger this incredible blunder, we can count on the creationists now crowing about validation from one of the world’s most trusted scientific authorities,” Randi wrote on the website of his James Randi Educational Foundation (www.randi.org). “If James Smithson were alive today, judging from what he wrote in his diaries and letters, I believe he would want his money refunded upon hearing of this travesty.”

Randi told The Post that he believes the Smithsonian was not aware the film promoted creationist ideas and added if the Smithsonian took on the film merely to make money, “then I’m ready to surpass that.”
Bruce Chapman, president of the Discovery Institute, was not pleased by the developments. “We’re disappointed,” Chapman said. “We met all their conditions — screening the film for them, agreeing [to list the Smithsonian] director’s name on the invitation and so forth - and then some mention of this in the media, and now they want to backtrack to some degree, and we don’t get it.”

Perhaps a little clarification would be helpful for Mr. Chapman: The Smithsonian is one of the world’s premier scientific organizations. Intelligent design, meanwhile, is a tool increasingly used by evangelical Christians to cast doubt on Darwinism and win converts. Not surprisingly, the Smithsonian can’t promote that.

Phillip Johnson, a former law professor who serves as the godfather of the ID movement, laid out his goals when addressing a 1999 conference sponsored by TV preacher D. James Kennedy. Johnson said his goal is to place doubts about the validity of evolution in people’s minds. From there, they are introduced to “the truth” of the Bible, “the question of sin” and then “introduced to Jesus.”

You can call that lots of things, but it sure isn’t science.

http://blog.au.org/2005/06/amazing_outcome.html

Comment #33639

Posted by shiva on June 4, 2005 02:38 PM (e) (s)

How much ever Dembski and his factotums try to bluster and swagger IDoC is no longer a question of science - it is pure politics. The scientific debates have come and gone leaving the Icons of IDoC looking like cheap trinkets. The press has started to use the description of IDoC that were popularised on this blog - Creationism in a cheap tuxedo - so much so that the Discovery big-wigs now actually complain about it! The scientists themselves aren’t bothering themselves with countering IDoC nonsense it is the several part-time folks at places like these who wallop the full-tosses (OK that’s cricket) that ignoramuses from IDoC keep lobbing at science. In case of the Smithsonian fiasco it looks like the smartest people of IDoC turned out to be too clever by half. While some leading lights of Seattle were half-hearted about the Dover and Cobb capers opining that IDoC was being escalated too quickly; they seem to have done exactly that at the Smithsonian. These guys don’t seem to learn that when you find yourself in hole stop digging. The pseudoscientific terms IC, CSI, AP and L&O (I made up the last one) all stand discredited with the press not willing to give these cranks any quarter. It is best these puffed up charlatans relegate themselves to the amusement industry as their predecessors - the Creationists have done. But after having acted hoity-toity with CRS, AiG and ICR (appropriating their arguments and posing as non-religious sorts) Demb may have burnt his bridges and may find it difficult to scurry back to safety. IDoC will of course continue to be a political nuisance and even threaten the conduct of science. Maybe the first golden decades for science are coming to a close. The budding scientists of today will need to prepare themselves to do battle with silliness, impostors, tricksters and fraudsters.

Comment #33696

Posted by Jan on June 4, 2005 08:48 PM (e) (s)

The budding scientists of today will need to prepare themselves to do battle with silliness, impostors, tricksters and fraudsters.

If only the budding scientists of today were only interested in science rather than religion and politics, their problems would be solved. It would be so simple to present your findings and allow others to decide for themselves about their relationship with and to the Creator. It seems that a great fear has overtaken the scientist of today. Many seem to fear that ID sympathizers will destroy science. Others fear the Smithsonian will harm science or scientist in some way by presenting the knowledge of Intelligence. Perhaps you need to present your ‘scientific data’ and allow others to seek truth as they see fit. Ideas are not a threat to scientific findings. The FACT that I believe the following should not threaten you in any way:
O God, You are very great: Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain…You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth. Psalm 104:1,2,30
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16 (long before powerful microscopes, the writer knew of the invisible world that God created)

Comment #33697

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 4, 2005 09:22 PM (e) (s)

If only the budding scientists of today were only interested in science rather than religion and politics, their problems would be solved.

Actually, if only the budding scientists of today were not forced to take an interest in religion and politics by the actions of impostors, tricksters and fraudsters who, instead of doing science, insist that their dogmas must be taught as science, their problems would be solved.

Jan, I’m afraid you have it backwards: it is science that does not threaten faith, but far too many believers feel threatened by what science has discovered anyway.

Comment #33720

Posted by speck on June 5, 2005 06:18 AM (e) (s)

Jan, I may have misread your post but you seem to imply that the reality of nature is subjective. It isn’t.

Science seeks only to quantify and understand nature, on nature’s terms. Religion demands that nature conform itself to the terms of religion.

Rather than dictate to your creator how he created, why not observe and “listen”?

Comment #33726

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 5, 2005 08:37 AM (e) (s)

If only the budding scientists of today were only interested in science rather than religion and politics, their problems would be solved. It would be so simple to present your findings and allow others to decide for themselves about their relationship with and to the Creator. It seems that a great fear has overtaken the scientist of today. Many seem to fear that ID sympathizers will destroy science. Others fear the Smithsonian will harm science or scientist in some way by presenting the knowledge of Intelligence. Perhaps you need to present your ‘scientific data’ and allow others to seek truth as they see fit. Ideas are not a threat to scientific findings. The FACT that I believe the following should not threaten you in any way:
O God, You are very great: Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain … You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth. Psalm 104:1,2,30
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16 (long before powerful microscopes, the writer knew of the invisible world that God created)

Thanks for demonstrating so clearly that Id is nothing but religious apologetics, and when they claim otherwise, they are simply lying to us.

What happens to Christians who lie … .?

Comment #33739

Posted by PaulP on June 5, 2005 10:20 AM (e) (s)

steve wrote:

he published Newton’s Black Box for laymen

Not that Newton was an angel. When he wrote “if I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants”, how do you think he got onto those shoulders? First he kicked the giants in their .. uh.. groinal area then when they doubled up in agony he was able to ascend.

Comment #33745

Posted by shiva on June 5, 2005 11:00 AM (e) (s)

Jan,

Let’s keep religion out of this for your own sake. And then what is “intelligence” please? Among the many tricks Bill D and company have perfected in their decade long quest to fool specialist and laypeople alike is the use of shields such as “intelligence”, “complexity”, “design” entirely out of context. It is a clever and dishonest practice to use words in their generally accepted sense to frame scietific statements. As Jeff Shallit showed in his reviews of Bill D uses the term complexity in a way that is entirely undefined. It is one thing to talk of an intelligent person or “intelligence” as in “Intelligence Oversight Committee”. When the term is used as the IDCs do they are confounding the lay public. This is what leads to numberless letters by ill-informed laypeople every now and then expressing incredulity at how “intelligence” could have evolved. Bill D is the latest in a long line of pseudoscientists. Only this time deliberate. The YECs can be criticised for many things but at least have not attempted to play with words (although now Sarfati refers to intelligence and information more often). Bill D may have one more thing to worry about very soon. The YECs seeing how easy it is to become popular and written about might just start talking as the IDCs do - the same sham sophistication, quivocation, wordsmithy, swagger, bluster, bakwas rhetoric etc. Bill D may have an unpleasant surprise. While scientists fisk him as a rule unless it is the strident ones like Dawkins and Dennett they tend to be courteous.

Comment #33752

Posted by steve on June 5, 2005 11:27 AM (e) (s)

It’s believed by some, PaulP, that Newton, in that comment, was mocking Hooke’s small stature.

Comment #33753

Posted by Jan on June 5, 2005 11:35 AM (e) (s)

And then what is “intelligence” please?

When a “scientist” has to ask this question, we are all in real trouble. :-)

Comment #33771

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 5, 2005 01:59 PM (e) (s)

If only the budding scientists of today were only interested in science rather than religion and politics, their problems would be solved. It would be so simple to present your findings and allow others to decide for themselves about their relationship with and to the Creator. It seems that a great fear has overtaken the scientist of today. Many seem to fear that ID  sympathizers will destroy science. Others fear the Smithsonian will harm science or scientist in some way by presenting  the knowledge of Intelligence. Perhaps you need to present your ‘scientific data’ and allow others to seek truth as they see fit.

The hypocrisy and sheer projection of this is breathtaking. Scientists already do this. They invented this practice. It is Creationsists and IDists who magically exempt themselves from this rule.

Ideas are not a threat to scientific findings. The FACT that I believe the following should not threaten you in any way:
O God, You are very great: Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain … You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth. Psalm 104:1,2,30

Why should science care in the slightest that you believe this? Why is it anyone’s business but your own? Why is it relevant here? Last I checked, I wasn’t ‘sharing’ my religious beliefs with you, and doubt you feel any need to hear them.

What happens to Christians who lie … .?

Nothing, apparently. Sadly, it wasn’t included in the Ten Commandments. :-(

Comment #33785

Posted by Jan on June 5, 2005 03:48 PM (e) (s)

It appears to me a rather strange commentary that is found here. On the one hand, the contributors of this blog would all join with Arden Chatfield in asking, “Why should science care in the slightest that you believe this?”, yet on the other hand much time and effort goes into fighting a profit making organization like the IMAX theatre for choosing to present what people like myself believe. Would it not seem obvious to most “intelligent” people that IF there is an Intelligence behind the ‘creation’ of the universes that all the scientist in the world will not be able to hide this fact from children and if there is NOT, no creationist is going to be able to convince a classroom of children who are presented with scientific evidence that proves otherwise? It could be considered comical, and it really is, but it is also sad. Pretending that intelligence does not exist, when it does, is much harder than pretending it does when it clearly, ‘ain’t’ there.

Now on a different note…There may be one free thinker who needs the following: For those of you who may have never read the first amendment, but you have been told that this amendment to the constitution prohibits children from being told that there is a chance that the universe was created, I would like for you to read the amendment for yourself and think about what it actually says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Forget everything that you have been told and think about it. What do you think the founding fathers meant? Do you think that our planet clearly displays evidence of an Intelligent Design?

Comment #33788

Posted by Enough on June 5, 2005 04:04 PM (e) (s)

Jan, your ignorance is baffling. The Imax issue I think you’re referring to, was the removal of a movie based on the assumption it would offend people of religious nature. This annoyed people who wanted to see it, and they complained. This had nothing to do with not showing some sort of religious movie as you seem to be implying.

The only time the first ammendment gets any mention is when people like yourself try an end around to put religious material into science class. There is no scientific basis to creationism. If there was, there would be no issue adding it to the curriculum. This has been pointed out ad nauseum in almost every thread here.

Comment #33790

Posted by shiva on June 5, 2005 04:14 PM (e) (s)

Jan,

Lokks like it is your turn today to get fisked. Never worry. Fisking cures IDoC. As Sal and a host of other IDoC apologists have done before you so will you. From sweet reasonableness is followed by fake serious “scientific” concern; and that changes to a slight annoying condescension; thereon to bluster (I don’t care) to swagger and triumph, until the facade crubmles.

One of these is the endpoint. Gibberish - as in the case of the former professor of green mountain and gubernatorial candidate - or Dave Scot; bristling barely concealed anger at being left defenceless - like Sal (and scurrying back to great/dear leader for advice) - or all out hot loony abuse. I am waiting to see what endpoint you adopt as you evolve or as we say in Tamizh - saayam veLukka veLukka - as the dye fades. Of course you can do what Bill D and his factotums have done - construct your blog and slime and misrepresent to your heart’s content declaring victory every week.

OK get ready.

“Would it not seem obvious to most “intelligent” people that IF there is an Intelligence behind the ‘creation’ of the universes ……Pretending that intelligence does not exist, when it does, is much harder than pretending it does when it clearly, ‘ain’t’ there.”

What data or findings are you discussing? And then once again please define intelligence in terms of what you talking of. What do you mean by “intelligent” people? Are there degrees of ‘intelligent’ people? What are your methods for measuring intelligence in the processes you talk about?

For your comfort and consolation; if you do manage to answer these questions you will have managed to surpass the Icons of IDoC themselves for they have no clue what these terms mean apart from the colloquial sense. Once you are done let’s et on to pretending and imagining the obvious.

Comment #33796

Posted by Ruthless on June 5, 2005 05:20 PM (e) (s)

Jan said:

Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!

Not really, but I couldn’t resist.

It appears to me a rather strange commentary that is found here. On the one hand, the contributors of this blog would all join with Arden Chatfield in asking, “Why should science care in the slightest that you believe this?”, yet on the other hand much time and effort goes into fighting a profit making organization like the IMAX theatre for choosing to present what people like myself believe.

The IMAX “fight”, as you put it, was quite the opposite of what your are describing; it was censorship not of YOUR beliefs, but of mainstream science in order to appease an ignorant sector of the public. And the “fight”, as you’ll note, did not entail “us” (whoever that is) trying to pass legislation to force IMAX to show any particular movie nor to try to keep them from showing a particular movie. In short, you appear to be defending censorship. Is that your position?

Would it not seem obvious to most “intelligent” people

You’d be surprised how often things which seem “obvious to most intelligent people” turn out to not be true.

that IF there is an Intelligence behind the ‘creation’ of the universes that all the scientist in the world will not be able to hide this fact from children and if there is NOT, no creationist is going to be able to convince a classroom of children who are presented with scientific evidence that proves otherwise? It could be considered comical, and it really is, but it is also sad. Pretending that intelligence does not exist, when it does, is much harder than pretending it does when it clearly, ‘ain’t’ there.

I don’t think you have a realistic idea of what’s going on here.
It is trivial for someone to say something that isn’t true and have the public believe it. That’s why creationism is still around. That’s why the Bible is still believed, for that matter. That’s why global warming is “controversial” (because there are people whose job—paid for by fossil fuels industries— is specifically to make false statements to the public to create the perception that the science is “controversial”.)

Now on a different note … There may be one free thinker who needs the following: For those of you who may have never read the first amendment, but you have been told that this amendment to the constitution prohibits children from being told that there is a chance that the universe was created, I would like for you to read the amendment for yourself and think about what it actually says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Forget everything that you have been told and think about it. What do you think the founding fathers meant?

I think most of the regulars here probably have a better understanding of the history of the Constitution than you do. (And probably better than I do, I’m sure.)

You’ll note that the Constitution is really extremely vague. (I would assume that’s because precision in statements of law didn’t exist at that time.) However, it is clear from the author of that statement (from his writings) what was intended. The “wall of separation of church and state” statement did not appear out of thin air.

There’s a reason the courts have ruled that various forms of creationism are not legal for teaching using public funds.

Do you think that our planet clearly displays evidence of an Intelligent Design?

No. Is this a serious question?

Comment #33806

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 5, 2005 08:22 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #33819

Posted by Jan on June 5, 2005 09:46 PM (e) (s)

Lenny, How do you know who my heroes are? You make a lot of assumptions and I must tell you that some of them are completely wrong. Actually, I do not even keep up with the political ‘goings on’. I know enough about you guys and politicians not to take anyones word for what is happening. I would have to see the court report! You probably need to do the same before you spout off too much.

As for undermining my own side, again you are assuming that I am fighting a battle. My only purpose is to try and build a bridge. I would like for you to be more open minded. If you were able to realize the truth and know that there is an Intelligence and that there is a design and a Designer, you would enjoy your scientific findings even more. Quite honestly, I am not worried about what the courts decide. I believe that the One who created us in is control and that I do not have to fight the battle. He is able to do that and will do just that. Perhaps those who are fighting are doing what they should do, and I hope that I am not undermining them. I really do not believe that I have that much power. I would like to aid them by decreasing the number of foes they are fighting. The best way to defeat an enemy is to make him your friend.

Comment #33824

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 5, 2005 11:00 PM (e) (s)

The best way to defeat an enemy is to make him your friend.

Want to make me your friend? Then stop supporting those who are attemtping to push their religious opinions into science classrooms by lying to us and claiming that their religious opinions are really “science”.

And I thank you, sincerely, for pointing out so clearly what the single fatal flaw with the ID movement is ———— the strategy it has chosen makes it necessary for all of them, every one of them, to keep quiet indefinitely about the one thing that matters most to them.

As you show so clearly, it’s not only something they CAN’T do, it’s something they don’t WANT to do.

And that is why ID will never see the inside of a science classroom.

I thank you for making that so clear to everyone. I also thank you for making it so clear to everyone that ID is indeed nothing but an attempt to push religious opinions into science classrooms, and when IDers claim anything different, they are simply lying to us.

What happens to Christians who lie, Jan? And what does the fact that you give your support to Christians who lie, say about YOU, Jan?

Comment #33825

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 5, 2005 11:05 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #33826

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 5, 2005 11:08 PM (e) (s)

I would have to see the court report!

Go to the library (that’s the big building with all the books in it) and look up “Maclean v Arkansas” and “Edwards v Aguillard”.

Read it twice.

Comment #33843

Posted by Jan on June 6, 2005 07:46 AM (e) (s)

Lenny, I continue to think about our discussion. Your anger, insults, and outrage do tend to give me the idea that there is an enemy out there. I certainly do not consider you an enemy. If I did, I would not respond and wait for more of your insults. I consider you someone who fails to understand anything that I say. It seems to be impossible to have a discussion without you resorting to insults, anger and rage.

Here is one more attempt to answer what you asked of me? You wish to know why I am “undermining” my “heroes”. The fact is that I am not depending on courts to make this right. Do you remember what happened in the former Soviet Union, when the church was forced underground? It was at this point, the true church began to grow and flourish. You wonder why I am not trying to help those you think are my heroes. Let me explain it this way. Many times, when knowledge is suppressed, the ban will serve to bring a focus to the thinking of those involved. While you will not openly admit that you wish to silence those who disagree with you, your wrath indicates that you are extremely intolerant and prefer to live in a nation that publicly makes zero mention of God, Creation, or the Bible. Our nation’s history is the opposite of this. We have traditionally been a nation who acknowledges God. In the last few decades, those who wish to see this changed have made great strides. If this movement continues to be successful, if we as a nation fail to tolerate even the idea of intelligence behind the design of our planet, it will serve to focus the thoughts of our nation more directly toward these questions. Why are we here? From whence came we? Could all the laws of nature, physics, etc. be random or chance occurrences or do they indicate an Intelligence or Designer? While we may go through a period of darkness, I know that eventually, the truth will prevail.

For those who keep asking, what is intelligence:
Intelligence - 1 a (1) : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations : reason ; also : the skilled use of reason (2) : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests) b : Christian Science : the basic eternal quality of divine Mind c : mental acuteness : SHREWDNESS
2 a : an intelligent entity; especially : b : intelligent minds or mind cosmic intelligence>
Keep this in mind:
The very evidence used to gain wide spread acceptance of evolution in the public eye was fraudulent. The strong bias of many evolutionists in seeking a link between apes and man is shown by the near-universal acceptance of two “missing links” that were later proved to be a fraud in the case of Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus) and a pig’s tooth in the case of Nebraska Man (Hesperopithecus). While this was admitted, it was not publicized and the theory had become so widely accepted that the broad leaps today that are being made are accepted, without the scrutiny that should be applied. Politics have become entrenched and are playing a huge part in this acceptance. In other words, it is politically correct, to “believe” and to teach evolution. Other teachings and findings are currently being ridiculed and kept out of the classroom by using the first amendment. The amendment that was intended to do just the opposite. Now take a deep breath and think before you answer….

Comment #33845

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 6, 2005 08:20 AM (e) (s)

Jan wrote:

The very evidence used to gain wide spread acceptance of evolution in the public eye was fraudulent. The strong bias of many evolutionists in seeking a link between apes and man is shown by the near-universal acceptance of two “missing links” that were later proved to be a fraud in the case of Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus) and a pig’s tooth in the case of Nebraska Man (Hesperopithecus). While this was admitted, it was not publicized and the theory had become so widely accepted that the broad leaps today that are being made are accepted, without the scrutiny that should be applied.

This line of argument is A) false as you present it, and B) so lame and tired that it can’t ambulate without the aid of creationist crutches. “It was not publicized…”? Then how did anyone find out about it? How did the exposure of Piltdown and Nebraska come about? What contribution did creationists make? Do you think the original results might have been different if the technology required to establish the fraud had existed when the frauds were originally perpretrated? Aren’t these great examples of how science actually works, and how there’s no self-correcting mechanism in creationism? Don’t you think it’s a bit hypocritical that creationists disparage the dating techniques that finally overthrew the fraud?

Comment #33850

Posted by Flint on June 6, 2005 08:45 AM (e) (s)

The very evidence used to gain wide spread acceptance of evolution in the public eye was fraudulent. The strong bias of many evolutionists in seeking a link between apes and man is shown by the near-universal acceptance of two “missing links” that were later proved to be a fraud…

What an astonishing view of history. There are huge libraries of evidence for evolution, of all varieties. The evidence was easily sufficient to convince nearly every biologist (and geologist, and physicist, etc.) long before either fraud was perpetrated. Widespread public acceptance of evolution by the public has never seemed to be based on the details of scientific knowledge, but rather one step removed — that all of the experts accept it, that the bare-bones outline of the theory makes sense.

Now, consider what your claim seems like from an outside perspective. It seems that you have decided that evolution didn’t happen. This being the case, how could people possibly have been tricked into thinking it DID happen? Clearly, it must have been by fraud. So OK, if we look hard enough, can we find any frauds? As a matter of fact, among the many many many millions of correct data, we find two frauds. They must have been responsible! Ignore all else!

But then, how is it that even after evolutionists (but you don’t mention this) exposed the frauds and publicized the exposure widely (which you deny, but YOU know all about it), evolution is STILL accepted by nearly every scientist, and by nonscientists members of the public who accept that tens of thousands of specialists probably understand their own fields? Why, it must be that they all remain fooled by those same two old frauds. What else could it be, since evolution didn’t really happen?

While you will not openly admit that you wish to silence those who disagree with you, your wrath indicates that you are extremely intolerant and prefer to live in a nation that publicly makes zero mention of God, Creation, or the Bible.

Again, from an outside perspective this seems somewhat perverse. I’ll freely admit that scientists do not tolerate error (even their own, but especially deliberate error). But equating neutrality with intolerance is something straight out of Orwell. Our nation similarly makes zero mention of Allah, Thor, etc. Does this mean we are intolerant of Thor? You seem to be saying that being indifferent to your beliefs is the same as being intolerant of your beliefs. Are we permitted to see it differently, without being intolerant? We think so; apparently you do not.

What science must necessarily do in order to BE science in the first place, is to demand evidence for any positive statement. Science wishes to investigate the evidential basis for all statements. If someone makes the positive statement that there is an intelligent designer, all science can do is require evidence for that designer, not just an insistence that it exists, however sincere. When no evidence is forthcoming, you blame science for being “intolerant” of the proposal. But science does NOT reject the proposal as Truth, but as science. You are demanding that science agree to nonscientific statements, unsupportable by any evidence. But science cannot operate on the basis of faith alone, however justified your faith may be. Science must go where physical evidence leads, and if there is no physical evidence for your God, science must remain silent. NOT opposed, but silent. When someone claims that their God is scientific, THEN science will rise up in protest. This claim is false. Saying one or more gods might exist is fine. Saying this claim is scientific is NOT fine, unless and until some testable evidence can be produced. It has not been.

Comment #33856

Posted by SteveF on June 6, 2005 09:22 AM (e) (s)

“While this was admitted, it was not publicized and the theory had become so widely accepted that the broad leaps today that are being made are accepted, without the scrutiny that should be applied.”

Could you provide some evidence to back up this rather brazen statement. Its just that I happen to be aquainted with (and have been taught by) one of the foremost experts on human evolution in the world, and this statement doesn’t ring true. In addition you might want to check out the following blog:

ww.johnhawks.net

John is a proponent of the multiregional view of human evolution. I think you’ll find him to be rather critical (a bit over sceptical in my opinion) of a lot of research into human evolution, as he holds a position contrary to the Out of Africa view. Read his blog and see if you think scrutiny isn’t being applied.

Comment #33868

Posted by DrJohn on June 6, 2005 10:24 AM (e) (s)

jan wrote:

While you will not openly admit that you wish to silence those who disagree with you, your wrath indicates that you are extremely intolerant and prefer to live in a nation that publicly makes zero mention of God, Creation, or the Bible. Our nation’s history is the opposite of this. We have traditionally been a nation who acknowledges God. In the last few decades, those who wish to see this changed have made great strides.

This is a lie. It is being sold to the gullible in order to gain political power. Period. It has not a thing to do with history.

See the book The Godless Constitution. (I forget the subtitle….)

Comment #33871

Posted by PvM on June 6, 2005 10:36 AM (e) (s)

Seem Jan is ‘buying’ the confusion of the Wedge and Icons

The very evidence used to gain wide spread acceptance of evolution in the public eye was fraudulent. The strong bias of many evolutionists in seeking a link between apes and man is shown by the near-universal acceptance of two “missing links” that were later proved to be a fraud in the case of Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus) and a pig’s tooth in the case of Nebraska Man (Hesperopithecus). While this was admitted, it was not publicized and the theory had become so widely accepted that the broad leaps today that are being made are accepted, without the scrutiny that should be applied.

1. Piltdown never received near universal acceptance. In fact, until it was shown to be a fraud based on new technology, Piltdown was seen mostly as an outlier. Similarly Nebraska man, based on a pig tooth. Both mistakes were publically admitted and it is through the scrutiny of science that they were refuted because they disagreed with other evidence.

Creationist websites are not the best source of information my dear friend.

Piltdown Man
Nebraska man

Do you not feel angry for being misled here?

Comment #33872

Posted by Ric on June 6, 2005 10:39 AM (e) (s)

So i just read this disturbing Wedge Document, specifically their Five and Twenty year goals. So how is the Discovery Institute doing at meeting these goals, in your opinions?

I, of course, hope that the answer is “not very well,” but let me hear your thoughts.

Comment #33904

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 6, 2005 12:49 PM (e) (s)

Jan said:

Many times, when knowledge is suppressed, the ban will serve to bring a focus to the thinking of those involved. While you will not openly admit that you wish to silence those who disagree with you, your wrath indicates that you are extremely intolerant and prefer to live in a nation that publicly makes zero mention of God, Creation, or the Bible. Our nation’s history is the opposite of this. We have traditionally been a nation who acknowledges God. In the last few decades, those who wish to see this changed have made great strides. If this movement continues to be successful, if we as a nation fail to tolerate even the idea of intelligence behind the design of our planet, it will serve to focus the thoughts of our nation more directly toward these questions. Why are we here? From whence came we? Could all the laws of nature, physics, etc. be random or chance occurrences or do they indicate an Intelligence or Designer? While we may go through a period of darkness, I know that eventually, the truth will prevail.

Suppression of knowledge? More than 100 times since 1925 creationists and IDists have asked state legislatures, Congress, state school boards and local school boards to suppress science, to censor evolution, to fail to teach science facts. In stark contrast, not once has any scientist ever asked that creationism or intelligent design be banned as science. Creationists are trying to dilute and suppress evolution as we speak in Utah (contrary to the local Christians!), in Kansas and in Pennsylvania. You admit you pay little attention to the news — you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but you must either put up a finger or watch the swirling dust if you don’t have a weatherman. Jan, you need to read more, and more balanced stuff.

I am a Christian, an elder in my congregation, active in my denomination, and a lawyer with experience in Constitutional law. There is no movement in the U.S. to force mentions of God out of the public square, nor has there ever been one. Whoever told you that, fed you a falsehood. One of the groups most often slandered as being in favor of “no God” mentions is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which takes a strict view defending the Bill of Rights. The reality is that many of the religious freedoms Christians enjoy today were won and are defended by the ACLU — including the right to preach in public and pass out pamphlets door to door, and including the right for private groups to put up creches in public spaces at Christmas. Jan, you need to read more, and more accurate stuff.

The history of the U.S. is a history of increased separation of church and state in order to protect the private beliefs and righs to worship of private citizens. This trend started about 1700, was continued when Ben Franklin built his fortune on a more secularized and educationally superior reading text, continued through Noah Webster’s doing the same, through expansion of jury rights and press rights in the brilliant defense of John Peter Zenger against a charge of slander, continued through the disestablishment of churches in all 13 colonies by 1778 (at the suggestion of the Contintental Congress), through the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the construction of the Constitution and the addition of a First Amendment as demanded by a majority of the people in the states. Those rights have not been expanded so much as enforced better, over the years. As de Tocqueville noted in 1831, religion is taken seriously in the U.S. because of the separation of church and state — in stark contrast to European nations with established churches, 25% membership and 10% attendance. The freedom you denigrate is the freedom that lets you meet and worship as you please. Don’t throw it over lightly. Jan, you need to read more history, especially the accurate stuff. (Somebody already recommended Kramnick and Moore’s Godless Constitution — but if you can’t find that, get the correspondence between Madison and Jefferson, and between Adams and Jefferson. Get the real stuff.)

Every time we let religionists suppress science and facts, we go through a period of darkness. Such dark periods are preventable. You seem to function on the Scroogic Theorem: “The stairs were dark, but darkness was cheap, and Scrooge liked it.” (Dickens, A Christmas Carol.) You need to read more about how science works, and why it works. Get the accurate stuff. Don’t be a cheapskate. (”The cheapskate always pays more.” Tom and Ray Magliozzi)

BTW, ID doesn’t answer the questions you pose in any fashion. No one from the ID side has tried to answer the question “Where did we come from.” You need to read more about ID — try Forrest and Branch’s book.

Jan said:

Politics have become entrenched and are playing a huge part in this acceptance. In other words, it is politically correct, to “believe” and to teach evolution. Other teachings and findings are currently being ridiculed and kept out of the classroom by using the first amendment. The amendment that was intended to do just the opposite. Now take a deep breath and think before you answer … .

“Political correctness” is determined by what passes the legislatures. As I noted, legislatures have been asked repeatedly to censor evolution, and in some stupid instances, they have done so. If you wish to hammer political correctness, please understand that you stand in favor of political correctness with your positions.

The First Amendment was never intended to force religious dogma into any classroom. You need to read more about the First Amendment and the freedoms we enjoy under the Constitution, and you need to get some accurate stuff. Here, try these: McLean v. Arkansas at http://www.antievolution.org/projects/mclean/new…, and Edwards v. Aguillard at http://tinyurl.com/f51f — and be certain to read the amicus brief of the 72 Nobel Prize laureates (if you choose to be impressed by arguments from authority, be sure you get reliable authorities to listen to).

Those teachings “being kept out of” classrooms due to the First Amendment are those teachings that are not science, but are religious dogma correctly excluded from state advocacy — and not dogma shared by a majority of any faith. Those views may be discussed in social studies classes, in classes on scripture such as the Bible, but they are wholly inappropriate for science classes, especially when ordered, Stalin-like, by a Kansas State Board of Education or a Dover Board of Education, or a Utah legislature (pending, but not likely). Of course, if you don’t read newspapers or watch broadcast, especially “mainstream media,” you’ll get a skewed view of what is going on. You won’t have the facts, and you run the risk of embarrassing yourself at cocktail parties, on internet discussion boards — and you run the risk of supporting the ruination of my kids’ educations (I don’t know about yours). Your ignorance is a danger to me, and I beg you to fill in the gaps in your knowledge store.

In short, Jan, you need to get out more. You need to broaden your reading in science, history, law and current affairs. You need to study the work of the ACLU, from a non-polemic source or two, and it wouldn’t hurt if you picked up a thorough background in evolution — you should try Ernst Mayr’s What Evolution Is, for example. Mayr lived to be over 100, and he was remarkably productive as a scientist. Clearly the Intelligent Designer (whoever that may be, >winkwink

Comment #33906

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 6, 2005 12:52 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #33909

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 6, 2005 01:01 PM (e) (s)

Denyse O’Leary is claiming she’s been told that the US government is putting pressure on scientific institutions to behave better toward people who want to talk about intelligent design? What does this mean?

It means several things.

1. ID is “politically correct” in the worst sense of that term.
2. O’Leary confirms that government pressure is being brought by the Bushies to censor science.
3. Science and liberty are endangered by these Lysenkoist efforts to use “correct” (that, “not bourgeois”) science. The First Amendment is more important, and requires additional support when it is under attack like this.
4. Some officials are probably committing crimes by urging nonsense as science. One elected official with the power to stop it, should, if he is a moral man.

Whose picture is next to “hubris” in the dictionary these days?

Comment #33939

Posted by Michael Roberts on June 6, 2005 04:27 PM (e) (s)

To refer to a post by my fellow rev Lenny, so YECs became such because of their wives, eg Gary Parker and Monty White of AIG. Exactly how I do not know but I did wonder if it had any similarities to Aristophanes’ Lysistrata!

Come on, Jan, Lenny is that awkward, he is only too aware of the fallacies of YEC and ID.

Comment #33950

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 6, 2005 05:40 PM (e) (s)

Lenny, I continue to think about our discussion. Your anger, insults, and outrage do tend to give me the idea that there is an enemy out there. I certainly do not consider you an enemy. If I did, I would not respond and wait for more of your insults. I consider you someone who fails to understand anything that I say. It seems to be impossible to have a discussion without you resorting to insults, anger and rage.

Anger, insults and rage? Towards you? Don’t flatter yourself.

Anger, insults and rage towadrs IDers? Yes, I certainly am. I treat them much the same way I treat Leninists, Klansmen and Nazis, and for much the same reasons.

Now then, when are you going to answer my questions?

Comment #33951

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 6, 2005 05:55 PM (e) (s)

The strong bias of many evolutionists in seeking a link between apes and man is shown by the near-universal acceptance of two “missing links” that were later proved to be a fraud in the case of Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus) and a pig’s tooth in the case of Nebraska Man (Hesperopithecus).

Jan, you are lying again. Or rather, more charitably, you are brainlessly repeating a lie, because you are too uninformed and ignorant to KNOW that it is a lie. Which of course doesn’t seem to prevent you from spouting off ignorantly about the topic anyway … .

(1) Piltdown was never accepted “near-universally”. Right from the beginning, there were a large proportion of paleo-anthropologists who assumed that the skull and jawbone did not belong together. This is because Piltdown never fit into the evolutionary lineage that was being illustrated by the other hominid fossils that had been found. Oddly enough, it was most of the British scientists who wanted to accept Piltdown, and most of the rest of the world that rejected it. That may or may not have something to do with where it was found.

(2) the Piltdown fraud was discovered and publicized by EVOLUTIOANRY BIOLOGISTS, not by creationists. The creationists just stood around looking stupid, while the EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGISTS did all the lab work and investigations that uncovered the fraud.

(3) The Piltdown fraud was discovered using the sequence of the fossil record and dating techniques, BOTH of which were (and still are) rejected by creationists. As noted, most biologists (while not suspecting a hoax) asserted that the skull and the jaw did not belong together, because they did not fit into the evolutionary sequence that was known from other fossils. Indeed, one of the reasons that Piltdown was flourine-tested in the first place was to see if the skull and jaw were really the same age (if it could be shown that they were different ages, then they did not belong together, as many scientists were assuming). The flourine testing revealed the fraud, and later radiodating confirmed it —— the very same radiodating techniques, take note, that CREATIONISTS keep telling us are so wildly inaccurate and untrustworthy. The odd thing is that if one rejects the dating processes and the fossil sequence (as creationists do), then there is NO REASON to conclude that Piltdown IS a fraud. So not only did creationists NOT discover the fraud, but they COULD NOT have. They “did not believe in” the very methods that were used to uncover the hoax.

(4) as for Nebraska “Man”, the person who found it said in his scientific papers that it was hard to identify and might be a hominid tooth or might be a pig’s tooth. It was NEWSPAPER REPORTERS, not scientists, who presented the tooth as evidence for early humans.

(5) Not one scientific paper published any where in the United States of America ever asserted that the tooth was definitely that of a hominid. Not one. Nor did any science textbook published in the United States of America ever claim it as evidence for evolution. Not one.

(6) As with Piltdown, it was EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGISTS who correctly identified the tooth as that of a pig, not creationists. As with Piltdown, the creationists were just standing around looking stupid, again.

(7) If you want to talk about teeth, let’s talk about “Dr” Baugh and his “Cretaceous human tooth” that he crowed about for a long time, declaring that it “proved eovlution wrong”. The tooth was later identified (once again by EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGISTS, not by creationists) as a fish tooth.

May I humbly and respectfully suggest, Jan, that you stop blithering stupidly about topics that you don’t know anything about? All you do is make ALL “Christians” look silly, stupid, uneducated, medieval, backwards, and pig-ignorant.

May I also suggest that if you want to get some science information, you get it from science books and not from fundamentalist religious tracts written by creationists who have never done a single hour of scientific reseach in their entire lives?

Comment #33952

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 6, 2005 06:02 PM (e) (s)

The Piltdown fraud was discovered using the sequence of the fossil record and dating techniques, BOTH of which were (and still are) rejected by creationists.  As noted, most biologists (while not suspecting a hoax) asserted that the skull and the jaw did not belong together, because they did not fit into the evolutionary sequence that was known from other fossils.  Indeed, one of the reasons that Piltdown was flourine-tested in the first place was to see if the skull and jaw were really the same age (if it could be shown that they were different ages, then they did not belong together, as many scientists were assuming).  The flourine testing revealed the fraud, and later radiodating confirmed it ——— the very same radiodating techniques, take note, that CREATIONISTS keep telling us are so wildly inaccurate and untrustworthy.  The odd thing is that if one rejects the dating processes and the fossil sequence (as creationists do), then there is NO REASON to conclude that Piltdown IS a fraud.  So not only did creationists NOT discover the fraud, but they COULD NOT have. They “did not believe in” the very methods that were used to uncover the hoax.

Excellent point! Therefore, shouldn’t creationists all be arguing for the validity of Piltdown man?

Helluva dilemma they’ve put themselves in…

Comment #33954

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 6, 2005 06:05 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #33967

Posted by Wayne Francis on June 6, 2005 07:44 PM (e) (s)

If this is the same Jan the I’ve run into other blogs then don’t expect any response. Like many creationist she’s been corrected on these exact discrepancies before and like almost all creationists that have been corrected promptly ignores the corrections and often just goes away and hides for awhile only to show up somewhere else spouting off the same rubbish to another crowd.

Remember creationists can’t be wrong, they have Jesus on their side. Accurate recounts of history is not their strong suit.

Comment #33978

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 6, 2005 09:51 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #34203

Posted by Jan on June 7, 2005 10:20 PM (e) (s)

It is tempting to refuse to answer those who have nothing to contribute but rude remarks, insults, and attempts to accuse others of things never said. I will answer some of your questions and ask a few myself. First, however, let me make something clear once more. I am speaking for myself and myself alone. Call me a liar if you please, however, you should be polite enough to at least give me the time, place and date of this lie that I have told. As for ID being or not being religion, I have never been asked that question. I will address it now. It is my opinionthat the concept of religion and the concept of ID are separate issues. In my opinionreligion involves the service and worship of God or the supernatural anda commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance. When religion is taught in public schools, the courts have ruled that this is against the first amendment of our constitution. I agree with this ruling unless the school is a not supported with tax dollars. Intelligent Design, on the other hand, is the concept that there are evidences that point to the possiblity that the world, universe, matter etc. did not come into existence by chance or random selection. The order and laws of the universe along with other factors that can easily be found outlined on websites and in manuels on the subject suggest this very real possiblity. Teaching this to a student in no way constitutes establishing or teaching a religion. I will address other questions on my next post as this could take some time.

Mr. Lenny, You have me mixed up with someone else. I have never referred to you as an atheist. There are many people who do not consider themselves atheist who want all mention of God removed from all public airways, and any government properties.

Comment #34209

Posted by Jan on June 7, 2005 10:39 PM (e) (s)

Now concerning the question of separation of church and state. Would one of you who have a much higher education than I please give me the place where this is written in our constitution? I have already explained to you that I disagree with the courts interpretation of our first amendment in the broad sweep that has been made.

I am going to be polite and tell you briefly why I feel that we were established as a Christian nation. It would take hours for me to do a great job with this, but I will be brief and you will tear this to shreds because there is not adequate time to answer. Anyway, here goes:

The Mayflower Compact: clearly stating that it was for “the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

Benjamin Rush, a signer of our constitution wrote:
But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is that of the New Testament.

It is foreign to my purpose to hint at the arguments which establish the truth of the Christian revelation. My only business is to declare, that all its doctrines and precepts are calculated to promote the happiness of society, and the safety and well being of civil government. There are dozens of other quotes and perhaps I will place them on this post at another time.

This next paragraph is copied, but I believe my source is reliable: “Congress. The largest congregation in America at one time was meeting in, of all places, the House of Representatives! Weekly worship services once boasted an attendance of 2,000! These services took place the very week that Congress passed the 14th Amendment”

Read the inscriptions in the halls of Washington DC and on our coins.

My point might be made by reminding you that as early as the 1600’s the schools, beginning with was was called “The Old Deluder Act” referring to Satan attempted to equip children with Christian values. The early readers were filled with Christian virtues. I have copies of these in my possession. They belonged to my father. You are probably younger than I and have not seen these, but they do exist. The later books dropped these, but it was generally agreed in the American Colonies that the main purpose of reading was to enable the student to read the Bible.

I will end with this, but I could write pages. It is late and I will add more if you feel that I have not answered sufficiently. Remember, this is a country where we are allowed to disagree. I know that my words will anger you, but please do not shoot the messenger. Research this before you attack.

Comment #34215

Posted by Jan on June 7, 2005 11:12 PM (e) (s)

Now concerning the question of separation of church and state. Would one of you who have a much higher education than I please give me the place where this is written in our constitution? I have already explained to you that I disagree with the courts interpretation of our first amendment in the broad sweep that has been made.

I am going to be polite and tell you briefly why I feel that we were established as a Christian nation. It would take hours for me to do a great job with this, but I will be brief and you will tear this to shreds because there is not adequate time to answer. Anyway, here goes:

The Mayflower Compact: clearly stating that it was for “the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

Benjamin Rush, a signer of our constitution wrote:
But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is that of the New Testament.

It is foreign to my purpose to hint at the arguments which establish the truth of the Christian revelation. My only business is to declare, that all its doctrines and precepts are calculated to promote the happiness of society, and the safety and well being of civil government. There are dozens of other quotes and perhaps I will place them on this post at another time.

This next paragraph is copied, but I believe my source is reliable: “Congress. The largest congregation in America at one time was meeting in, of all places, the House of Representatives! Weekly worship services once boasted an attendance of 2,000! These services took place the very week that Congress passed the 14th Amendment”

Read the inscriptions in the halls of Washington DC and on our coins.

My point might be made by reminding you that as early as the 1600’s the schools, beginning with was was called “The Old Deluder Act” referring to Satan attempted to equip children with Christian values. The early readers were filled with Christian virtues. I have copies of these in my possession. They belonged to my father. You are probably younger than I and have not seen these, but they do exist. The later books dropped these, but it was generally agreed in the American Colonies that the main purpose of reading was to enable the student to read the Bible.

I will end with this, but I could write pages. It is late and I will add more if you feel that I have not answered sufficiently. Remember, this is a country where we are allowed to disagree. I know that my words will anger you, but please do not shoot the messenger. Research this before you attack.

I just received a message explaining why I was not able to post again so soon, so I will go on to the next subject.

Let me say that I for one applaud the scientist who recognized the hoax of the Piltdown Man. I also want to tell you that there was not so much animosity among scientist in the 1950’s. At that time there were “scientist”. Certainly some leaned toward evolution and some toward creation, but there did not seem to be the strong desire to first determine an outcome and then look for evidence to support it that we have today.

Twice now I have been asked:

What happens to Christians who lie, Jan?
When you support Christians who lie, what does that say about YOU, Jan

My belief is that lying of any kind dispeases God. That is why I attempt to be careful of what I say. People do make mistakes. Without calling anyone a liar, I do believe that you will be honest enough to admit that there have been illustrations in children’s textbooks that were completely inaccurate and “scientist” knew they were inaccurate. The pictures of the ape gradually evolving to a primate that walked was bipedal to a Neanderthal and eventually to modern man was inaccurate and misleading. It also remained there for some time after the mistakes were pointed out. When we make mistakes, whether we are Christians or whether we are not, we should acknowledge them and correct them. That does not make each and every one of you liars!! That only makes the people who intentionally deceived a liar. I have not done that and I hope that you are doing that either.

I did not come here to argue, declare victory and run. I came here, as I said, to attempt to help you to understand why I think ID should be included in a student textbook. Restate the questions that you still want answered and IF they are valid, I will attempt an answer.

Comment #34237

Posted by PaulP on June 8, 2005 05:34 AM (e) (s)

Said Jan:

I came here, as I said, to attempt to help you to understand why I think ID should be included in a student textbook.

And where did you do this? In particular, why do you think non-scientific ideas should be included ? Or if you think one or more of the various brands of creationism are scientific theories, then why should student textbooks include these failed scientific theories and not others ?

Also:

Ideas are not a threat to scientific findings

.
This does not describe reality. As Lysenkoism in Stalin’s USSR showed, science can be badly damaged by ideas that are forced on it by political power. Which is the wedge strategy in a nutshell.

Comment #34245

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 8, 2005 07:11 AM (e) (s)

Jan:

Thank you for not answering any of my questions.

I’ll ask again:

What article of the Constitution mentions God or establishes the US as a Christian antion?

What is the scientific theory of ID, and how can we test it using the scientific method? Or sare IDers just lying to us when they claim to have a sicentific theory of ID?

Why should anyone pay any more attention to your religious opinions than they should to mine, my next door neighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, my veterinarian’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas? What makes your religious opinions any more infallible, divine or holy than anyone else’s?

Comment #34246

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 8, 2005 07:14 AM (e) (s)

My belief is that lying of any kind dispeases God.

Then why did you lie about Piltdown and Nebraska Man.

Comment #34248

Posted by IgnoranceIsBliss on June 8, 2005 07:17 AM (e) (s)

Jan, a lot of people spent a long time writing absurdly long comments that you seem to have skipped over. A lot of valid points were raised, and questions asked that you didn’t answer. Instead, you decide to take the poor persecuted christian route and claim that even though people are being rude, you’ll answer the questions anyway…and then don’t answer those questions.

Comment #34254

Posted by GCT on June 8, 2005 07:34 AM (e) (s)

Jan, if ID is science, and not religious, why even bring up the First Amendment and then the whole Christian nation argument?

“Separation of Church and State” does not appear in the Constitution. It was written in a letter by Thomas Jefferson (one of the framers of the Constitution.) James Madison (the main architect of the document) also felt very strongly that church and state should be separate. It is disingenuous at best to suggest that the framers of the Constitution did not want church and state to be separate.

Comment #34259

Posted by Flint on June 8, 2005 08:06 AM (e) (s)

The claim that the US is a “Christian nation” seems to be standard fare for some Christians, who can produce a great deal of genuine history showing that a great many historical personalities in US history were themselves Christian, made reference to Christian beliefs in their statements, and attributed various events to the Christian God which their geographic precedessors had attributed to the Great Spirit.

In the opposite corner, we have those who point out that the idea of a “Christian nation” is entirely separate from the notion of a nation primarily created by and populated by Christians. Instead, the US Constitution was derived from the writings primarily of Locke. Jefferson, Franklin and other primary authors of the Constitution wrote fairly extensively of the importance of creating a government neutral to religion, forbidding the government either to endorse or discourage any given faith. In this, there was wide agreement based on immediate experience with the British experience with the Anglican Church.

Faced with the direct evidence of the near-unanimity of the founders, some religious people (to-daa!) move the goalposts!. They say, well, some of the early colonies were religious colonies. True, but irrelevant. They point to “In God We Trust” on our currency, but don’t mention that for most of US history, our money said “E Pluribus Unum” and was change in the early 1950s in political response to the “red scare” from the “godless Communists.”

There seems little hope of persuading such a religious person that there really IS a distinction between a nation full of Christians, and a nation designed and intended to support and defend one specific religion (namely theirs). Saying “I disagree with over 200 years of Constitutional interpretation by all the courts, those words mean what I WANT them to mean” is a profoundly religious statement. From every indication, religious truths are based on what people WISH to be true, and evidence to the contrary is simply “disagreed with” (i.e. dismissed).

Anyway, as far as I can tell, Jan wishes religious doctrine to be presented in science class because her reading of history finds historical figures who were Christians, because unrelated errors of fact have been made (and corrected), because she wishes her faith to be the Official State Religion, and because it’s just not fair that what she KNOWS to be true should be excluded while what she KNOWS to be false is presented on the basis of nothing but mere evidence!

Comment #34263

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 8, 2005 08:57 AM (e) (s)

Flint wrote:

The claim that the US is a “Christian nation” seems to be standard fare for some Christians, who can produce a great deal of genuine history showing that a great many historical personalities in US history were themselves Christian, made reference to Christian beliefs in their statements, and attributed various events to the Christian God which their geographic precedessors had attributed to the Great Spirit.

There is history that provides evidence of the religious beliefs of some individuals. The problem, or one of the problems, is that we have no way of knowing the depths of those beliefs, and how many of those fine upstanding Christians were jiving as a matter of political and social expediency. It was muchmore difficult to be a non-Christian in 1776 than it is now. Don’t forget—as recently as 45 years ago there were serious doubts as to whether a Roman Catholic should or could be elected president. We also make a big mistake in projecting present-day religious beliefs backwards 200+ years. The Christian pastors today who decry moral relativism have wives who would have wound up in the stocks—or worse—for the way the way they dress if the morality of the Puritans were applied.

Comment #34268

Posted by SteveF on June 8, 2005 09:22 AM (e) (s)

I wrote a perfectly polite reply to Jan and was ignored. For the record, here is my post again:

“While this was admitted, it was not publicized and the theory had become so widely accepted that the broad leaps today that are being made are accepted, without the scrutiny that should be applied.”

Could you provide some evidence to back up this rather brazen statement. Its just that I happen to be aquainted with (and have been taught by) one of the foremost experts on human evolution in the world, and this statement doesn’t ring true. In addition you might want to check out the following blog:

ww.johnhawks.net

John is a proponent of the multiregional view of human evolution. I think you’ll find him to be rather critical (a bit over sceptical in my opinion) of a lot of research into human evolution, as he holds a position contrary to the Out of Africa view. Read his blog and see if you think scrutiny isn’t being applied.

Comment #34270

Posted by Jan on June 8, 2005 09:36 AM (e) (s)

Jan, if ID is science, and not religious, why even bring up the First Amendment and then the whole Christian nation argument?

Exactly! Eureka! Someone finally gets it. Why? There should never have been a question about it in the first place. This was exactly what I tried to say the very first time I placed an opinion here, but try and come to this web-blog with that idea and see what happens to you. Many on this blog actually admitted that Evolutionist who call themselves Evolutionary Scientist have no idea where matter originated. Why then are they so dead set against this discussion, if it is a class that would lend itself to origins? Why should intelligent design be taboo? ID does not represent the teaching of religion. I tried to express my ideas concerning this clearly as follows: It is my opinion that the concept of religion and the concept of ID are separate issues. In my opinion religion involves the service and worship of God or the supernatural and a commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance. The idea that the origin of matter could best be explained, considering the complex laws and the patterns found that have led to life as we know it, by an intelligent designer certainly does not in any way teach a child that he must worship or commit to a life of devotion to God or religion. That is the one and only point that I seek to make. Everything else has been brought in by those who went ‘bananas’ over this idea.

To GCT, Yes, I know:

“Separation of Church and State” does not appear in the Constitution. It was written in a letter by Thomas Jefferson (one of the framers of the Constitution.) James Madison (the main architect of the document) also felt very strongly that church and state should be separate. It is disingenuous at best to suggest that the framers of the Constitution did not want church and state to be separate.

Many believe that the founders were attempting to prevent our government from establishing a religion and requiring that all citizens vow allegiance to that religion. I think that they were attempting to make this clear in the first amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Still many Americans have adopted the separation of church and state doctrine. This doctrine is debatable and if one supports it or not is a personal matter. Currently it is law due to court rulings. Most Americans probably agree with the doctrine. Some think that it has, however, been carried to the extreme. Solutions have been reached by many families as Church Schools have become more affordable and Home Schooling is more popular.

Comment #34272

Posted by IgnoranceIsBliss on June 8, 2005 09:44 AM (e) (s)

Jan, your ignorance makes baby Jesus cry. I can’t believe you could read so much of this site and still post the garbage that you just did. I’m glad that there are other people out there that have the time and patience to try and point out, again and again, why you are completly wrong.

Comment #34277

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on June 8, 2005 10:21 AM (e) (s)

Jan asks wrote:

Many on this blog actually admitted that Evolutionist who call themselves Evolutionary Scientist have no idea where matter originated. Why then are they so dead set against this discussion, if it is a class that would lend itself to origins?

Probably becasue the origin of matter is not relevant to evolutionary biology, just as the origin of the galaxy is not relevant to evolutionary biology, nor the origin of the solar system, nor the origin of the planet, nor even the origin of life. Evolutionary biology is all about what happen after that. The fact that you don’t understand this, even after it’s been explained to you (probably many times), tends to diminish your credibility as someone who can hold an honest discussion.

Jan wrote:

The idea that the origin of matter could best be explained, considering the complex laws and the patterns found that have led to life as we know it, by an intelligent designer certainly does not in any way teach a child that he must worship or commit to a life of devotion to God or religion.

You know, your claim is similar to the claim that the theory of evolution, which states that the diversity of life could best be explained by natural phenomenon, certainly does not in any way teach a child that she must not worship or commit to a life of devotion to God or religion. Do you agree with that second claim? Somehow, I doubt it. But before you start saying “Aha! You just admitted that evolution really is godless!” let me point out that I actually agree with the letter of your statement above; the problem I have with it is some of the inherent assumptions and implications. You assume, incorrectly, that this “idea” has some factual evidence that supports it. It doesn’t. By all means, prove me wrong (just remember that “because the Bible says so” doesn’t count). You also imply that this “idea” is scientific and should be taught as science, in science classes. It isn’t. If you want to have that “idea” taught in philosophy classes, go to town. I doubt there would be any sort of outcry at all, from anyone.

But then, that public outcry is part of the point, now isn’t it? The public outcry gets the word out a lot better than trying to get an unscientific idea taught within the discipline that it belongs, doesn’t it?

Comment #34278

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 8, 2005 10:26 AM (e) (s)

Jan wrote:

Many on this blog actually admitted that Evolutionist who call themselves Evolutionary Scientist have no idea where matter originated.

Many people have ideas as to where matter originated. Aimless conjecture isn’t science. Why do you want to characterize it as such?

Jan wrote:

Why then are they so dead set against this discussion, if it is a class that would lend itself to origins? Why should intelligent design be taboo?

Why do you insist on mischaracterizing the discussion? No one is against a “class that would lend itself to origins” so long as it’s not a science class, and so long as the class does not involve any form of religious proselytizing.

Jan wrote:

ID does not represent the teaching of religion.

The fact is, Jan that the evidence against your statement is overwhelming. It’s clear to anyone who views the matter objectively that the sole purpose of ID is to circumvent the Constitution, or at least to circumvent Supreme Court rulings against teaching creationism in public schools.
By the way, we’re still waiting for you to correct your errors wrt Piltdown and Nebraska Man. You posted certain falsehoods, perhaps innocently, which were brought to your attention and have now had ample time to check the facts.

Comment #34280

Posted by SEF on June 8, 2005 10:30 AM (e) (s)

Jan wrote:

It is my opinion that the concept of religion and the concept of ID are separate issues.

People have repeatedly pointed out to you precisely why your opinion is ill-informed and wrong. You ignore them and repeat your falsehoods. You behave just the way we’ve come to expect incompetent and dishonest religious people to behave.

It’s no good creationists merely dressing up in lab-coats and pretending to be scientists when they don’t do any science and they’ve left their dog-collars on and exposed underneath and can’t seem to stop themselves from waving their religious books around and smashing all the lab equipment while proselytising.

I’d say you are wrong about the intent of the US constitution too. I think the people who wrote it were smarter and more experienced than you and realised that people like you would come along and try to force their religions onto others just as had already happened with their own splinter group or cult. They were honest enough to recognise that they weren’t the first or likely to be the last to have differing religious views and that people would be best served by keeping religious views out of things such as general education and politics. Then along come the next batch of stupid ignorant deviant cultists who want to start all over again - but by lying about it for as long as possible.

I could say it’s your country (now!) and you idiots can ruin it if you want to - except that you seem to want to bring the rest of us down to your level with you. So I object to that outcome because I’m currently stuck on the same planet, with no obvious spaceship capable of reaching a new world free of your imbecilic religious persecution.

Comment #34281

Posted by Albion on June 8, 2005 10:31 AM (e) (s)

Why should intelligent design be taboo? ID does not represent the teaching of religion.

As formulated by the intelligent-design activists at the Discovery Institute and other similar groups, it most certainly does represent the teaching of religion. There’s nothing to stop the ID people writing simply about science and doing actual scientific research, but their writing is full of complaints about philosophical materialism, their books are being published largely by publishers with a stronger track record in theology and philosophy than science, and their activities are financed largely by grants from foundations dedicated to advancing the cause of evangelical Christianity. ID doesn’t have to represent the teaching of religion. However, that’s what it’s doing.

One thing it doesn’t do is to represent the teaching of current (or even recent) mainstream science. The subject as taught in school has to reflect the subject as understood by its practitioners, and intelligent design isn’t part of the subject as understood by its practitioners. That alone should be enough to stop it being taught to children as though it had equivalent scientific standing to the current theories being researched.

Comment #34283

Posted by Flint on June 8, 2005 10:45 AM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #34285

Posted by GCT on June 8, 2005 10:55 AM (e) (s)

Jan, since you addressed yourself to me, I will also answer you.

The point I was trying to make was that it was YOU who brought in the Christian nation argument. Why did you feel that was necessary if ID is not religious? Science should stay out of the house of religion, would you agree with that statement? If you do agree, and you also think ID is science, then it should have nothing to say on the questions of religion, is that not so? So, why do you defend it in such a way?

Please go to the DI website and look up the Wedge document. In it, they explicitly state their claims to bring all science in accordance with Christianity. Dembski has said himself something to the effect that no science is complete without Jesus. Albion mentioned their finanacing, which comes from a guy named Ahmanson (I’m not sure about the spelling) who advocates destroying the Constitution in favor of Biblical Law. Why is he advancing what you seem to think is a purely non-religious idea like ID?

Comment #34286

Posted by SteveF on June 8, 2005 10:56 AM (e) (s)

Hmmm, is ID religion? Its probably a good time to remind Jan that the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture was originally called the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. Even taking the ‘renewal’ part out, the very fact that culture is mentioned should make one cynical about the motives of the Discovery Institute.

Comment #34290

Posted by Dark Matter on June 8, 2005 11:14 AM (e) (s)

It looks like the creationists are pursuing a policy of making this ID stuff so prevalent
that it becomes a part of the culture, that once a subculture reaches a “critical mass”,
so to speak, that humans have a tendancy to view the prevalence of a group’s beliefs
as evidence in itself. Does anybody think that pro-evolution groups should be looking
more into how mass-marketing techniques are used to “sell” ideas and how they can
be countered (Robert Cialdini’s stuff etc.) I ran across a interesting website,
ChangingMinds.org. Seems to be a huge repository of marketing and influence techniques:

http://changingminds.org/

Interesting page on Informational Social Influence (the social proof phenemonon)-
sounds like a ID campaign!

http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/i…

Comment #34291

Posted by Flint on June 8, 2005 11:14 AM (e) (s)

I’ve twice recommended to Creationists who claim ID is not religious, to go to this site, download the document and read it. Both Creationists said they saw no reason to bother. After all, that document only contains facts, rendering it worthless and a waste of time for Creationist purposes. Maybe Jan (despite the performance demonstrated to this point) can learn something by trying it herself?

Comment #34331

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 8, 2005 06:03 PM (e) (s)

Jan, if ID is science, and not religious, why even bring up the First Amendment and then the whole Christian nation argument?

Exactly! Eureka! Someone finally gets it. Why? There should never have been a question about it in the first place.

Then, uh, why did YOU bring it up in the first place, Jan … .

But hey, if ID really is science and has nothing to do with religion, then I’d like you to answer the very first question I asked you:

*ahem*

What is the scientific theory of ID, and how do we test it using the scientific method?

Is there a scientific theory of ID, or isn’t there. Yes, or no.

If there is, let’s see it.

If there isn’t, then what are you yammering about.

Put up or shut up, Jan. Fish or cut bait, Jan. Shit or get off hte toilet, Jan.

Or are IDers like you just lying to us when you claim that ID is science and not religion … … .

What happens to Christians who lie, Jan.

Comment #34332

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 8, 2005 06:11 PM (e) (s)

It is my opinion that the concept of religion and the concept of ID are separate issues. In my opinion religion involves the service and worship of God or the supernatural and a commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance. The idea that the origin of matter could best be explained, considering the complex laws and the patterns found that have led to life as we know it, by an intelligent designer certainly does not in any way teach a child that he must worship or commit to a life of devotion to God or religion. That is the one and only point that I seek to make.

And your point is nonsense.

Jan, of course, seems to be, uh, not bright enough to have come up with this idea on her own, so I suspected thjat she is just parroting it from some creationist source. And I was right. In the Maclean v Arkansas case, the creationuts tried to argue:

“There is nothing inherently religious about the terms ‘creator’ or ‘creation’, as used in the context of Act 590. Act 590 is concerned with a non-religious conception of ‘creation’ and ‘creator’, not the religious concepts dealt with in the Bible or religious writings… All that creation- science requires is that the entity which caused creation have power, intelligence and a sense of design.” (Defendant’s Trial Brief, McLean v Arkansas, 1981)

The argument advanced by defendants’ witness, Dr. Norman Geisler, that teaching the existence of God is not religious unless the teaching seeks a commitment, is contrary to common understanding and contradicts settled case law. Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980), Abbington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 222 (1963).

Sound at all familiar, Jan?

Have you ever had an original thought, Jan?

But please, Jan, if, as you NOW seemt o be saying, ID is science and not religion, then please please pretty please with sugar on it, please show us this scientific theory of ID.

sound of crickets chirping>

Yep, that’s what I thought.

You, Jan, are a liar. I hear God doesn’t like liars very much.

Comment #34333

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 8, 2005 06:14 PM (e) (s)

Still many Americans have adopted the separation of church and state doctrine. This doctrine is debatable and if one supports it or not is a personal matter.

OK, so you are a crypto-reconstructionist nutter, just like Ahmanson.

Perhaps you’d be happier living in some other country that doesn’t have that commie atheistic separation of church and state.

May I suggest Iran?

Comment #34341

Posted by steve on June 8, 2005 06:45 PM (e) (s)

Oh, but that’s muslim! they’ll say. That’s not christian. a christian country would be great. Okay, well, move to Ireland. No separation of church and state there, IIRC. They don’t even permit divorce. Let no man separate what god has joined together etc etc.

Comment #34343

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 8, 2005 06:56 PM (e) (s)

Oh, but that’s muslim! they’ll say. That’s not christian. a christian country would be great. Okay, well, move to Ireland. No separation of church and state there, IIRC. They don’t even permit divorce. Let no man separate what god has joined together etc etc.

Oh, but THEY are CATHOLIC, and that’s not Christian either. ;>

That’s alright —- Ahmanson and his pals will set us all straight. One way or another. Whether we like it or not.

Comment #34352

Posted by Albion on June 8, 2005 08:31 PM (e) (s)

It looks like the creationists are pursuing a policy of making this ID stuff so prevalent
that it becomes a part of the culture, that once a subculture reaches a “critical mass”,
so to speak, that humans have a tendancy to view the prevalence of a group’s beliefs
as evidence in itself.

I think that’s exactly what they’re doing. They have the money and the political connections to be successful too.

Does anybody think that pro-evolution groups should be looking
more into how mass-marketing techniques are used to “sell” ideas and how they can
be countered (Robert Cialdini’s stuff etc.)

Well, one problem is that so many people switch off as soon as they come up against science or mathematics that it’s hard to get across to them. Science popularisers are thin on the ground, and people are hearing the creationist side of this debate from very early in their lives at home and at church. The way ID is presented to the public is very non-threatening, and sending the message that the natural world is very complex but don’t worry because we have a simple explanation that isn’t hard to understand without any in-depth scientific knowledge and that also ties in with the religious beliefs of most people. Score one for real people against the pointy-headed atheistic intellectuals (who have apparently declared war on the rest of us).

Comment #34417

Posted by PaulP on June 9, 2005 08:56 AM (e) (s)

Okay, well, move to Ireland. No separation of church and state there, IIRC. They don’t even permit divorce.

We do have separaton of church and state in Ireland. (They don’t in England).

And we’ve had divorce (again) from the last few years. We got rid of it in 1937 and reintroduced it in 1995.

You mentioned Muslims. The main argument in favour of reintroducing divorce was that some people’s beliefs allowed them to divorce. I asked why then Muslim men were not to be permitted to have more than one wife, and Tibetan women to have more than one husband. I’m still waiting for an answer.

Comment #34446

Posted by Jeff S on June 9, 2005 12:22 PM (e) (s)

Sheesh ! This is a tough crowd ! Here’s my $.02

Jan,
Let’s suppose you are sincere in your interest in being fair and honest. Then, can you propose any materials that could be used to present ID to students in an “honest” manner ?

Since you don’t appear to be someone who is educated in science, you should be aware that scientists have moral standards about lying and deception that are enforced rather strictly. If a scientist knowingly presents data that is skewed or falsified or otherwise chooses to misrepresent the facts in order to force a conclusion (or for any reason at all), then that person is regarded as a liar and is shunned from the scientific community.

So as an extremely simple hurdle to cross, lets suppose that ID could be considered a science if its proponents were simply able (or willing, rather) to present their ideas to their peers without lying or deception. I’m not an expert on ID, so I might need to ask for some help here : Are there any ID proponents who present their ideas without resorting to lies and distortion ? It’s a tough question to answer, because it has to be approached on a case-by-case basis. In every case that I’m aware of, proponents of ID resort to the use lies and deception.

Of course, anyone can make an honest mistake, but you can’t make the same “honest” mistake over and over again and refuse to acknowledge it. That is simply a lie.

So there’s your homework. Come up with a list of ID proponents who aren’t liars. To make you task much easier, you can read reviews of works by Dembski, Behe, Wells, etc. by any competent scientist and quickly learn how they operate. Then, if you regard fair and honest discussion as something to present to students, you’ll see why real scientists (many of whom are christian) despise what the ID movement is up to.

Comment #34447

Posted by Jeff S on June 9, 2005 12:26 PM (e) (s)

Oh, and Jan …

Since you support “fair and balanced” treatment of ideas, I should ask : When you refer to us as “free thinkers”, is that a complement ?

Comment #34450

Posted by Flint on June 9, 2005 12:47 PM (e) (s)

Jeff S:

Are there any ID proponents who present their ideas without resorting to lies and distortion ?

Here you go.

Comment #34456

Posted by Jeff S on June 9, 2005 01:45 PM (e) (s)

Here you go.

Wow. Hadn’t heard of him before.

Well, I guess there you have it. Let’s present this scholoar’s works (in toto) at the next school board meeting….

Comment #34462

Posted by steve on June 9, 2005 02:23 PM (e) (s)

There is divorce in Ireland? My bad.

Comment #34637

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 10, 2005 12:31 PM (e) (s)

Jan said:

Now concerning the question of separation of church and state. Would one of you who have a much higher education than I please give me the place where this is written in our constitution? I have already explained to you that I disagree with the courts interpretation of our first amendment in the broad sweep that has been made.

Higher education isn’t necessary to read the Constitution. But don’t fall into the trap the demagogues set when they sayd “separation of church and state” isn’t in the Constitution — they’re playing to the suckers who never read the document and who don’t know history. That’s not you.

Separation of church and state is woven throughout the Constitution. Madison’s writings tell us that the Constitution sets up a government of limited powers; the document tells what authority the people delegate or yield to the government, and the government can do no more. Article I gives no ecclesiastic powers to the legislature, and gives no formal role for any ecclesiastic authority in the legislative process. Article II is similar, but with regard to the executive. Article III does the same with regard to the judiciary, and Article IV does the same with the states. Those places are where a marriage of church and state would have to be spelled out, and there is no such marriage.

Article VI includes a more sweeping separation. It has a clause that says no office holder can be required to swear an oath to any religious purpose. This clause would cover the states, too, I suppose, except that before it was ever tested the nation adopted the First Amendment, which specifically enumerates some of the rights protected by the Constitution (a complete list does not appear, in deference to the founders’ fear that any list would be incomplete, and therefore unjust; instead, all powers not enumerated as delegated to the state are reserved to the people).

All of this means simply that the government does not have rights in religion. For evolution, this means the government may not say that a religious belief is equal to, better than, or less than, science. Government cannot advocate for religion, nor against it.

The phrase “wall of separation between church and state” originated, as best we can tell, with Roger Williams in Rhode Island, the first religiously-free colony in America. In 1801, fearful that the State of Connecticut was about to ban adult baptism again, a group of Baptists wrote to President Jefferson asking for his help. He took this opportunity to show how the government didn’t need to act to protect rights, and to state the religious rights that people have under the Constitution. In careful consultation with his attorney general, Levi Lincoln, Jefferson drafted an official proclamation on religious rights, a proclamation we now know as the “letter to the Danbury Baptists.” In it Jefferson assured the Baptists that, under U.S. law, religion is free, and government may not interfere. That official proclamation has been turned to on several occasions by the Supreme Court, most famously in the 20th century religion cases. It was solid law in 1801, it still is today. Some pillars of freedom remain strong.

I am going to be polite and tell you briefly why I feel that we were established as a Christian nation. It would take hours for me to do a great job with this, but I will be brief and you will tear this to shreds because there is not adequate time to answer. Anyway, here goes:

The Mayflower Compact: clearly stating that it was for “the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

Did you study English? Diagram that sentence, and the operative sentences of the Mayflower Compact. It is an agreement between the religious refugees and the non-religious majority aboard the Mayflower that, outside of the land to which they had a charter, outside of the jurisdiction of their financial backers and therefore outside of that contract, they would instead make good laws, and they agreed to obey them. There is no role for God or any ecclesiastic authority granted in that document.

See Diane Ravitch’s brief description of the document in her American Reader, for example. Ravitch is, as you know, a very conservative woman, a favorite education authority of President Reagan and Assistant Secretary of Education for Research in George H. W. Bush’s administration, 1989-1993. Or see any other history of the document. The document itself is available many places online.

Benjamin Rush, a signer of our constitution wrote:
But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is that of the New Testament.

Where did Rush say that? He made no such claim at the Constitutional convention, and he never suggested anything but religious freedom for all Americans. See his correspondence with Jefferson on the point; Rush noted, with some humor and a little alarm, that the clergy in New England feared Jefferson as president. Jefferson said they had much to fear, because “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal opposition to every form of slavery over the mind of Man.” That statement from a letter to Rush is engraved around the dome of the Jefferson Memorial (one of my favorite places in D.C.). Rush agreed with Jefferson and Adams on the disestablishment of churches in the U.S.

It is foreign to my purpose to hint at the arguments which establish the truth of the Christian revelation. My only business is to declare, that all its doctrines and precepts are calculated to promote the happiness of society, and the safety and well being of civil government. There are dozens of other quotes and perhaps I will place them on this post at another time.

This next paragraph is copied, but I believe my source is reliable: “Congress. The largest congregation in America at one time was meeting in, of all places, the House of Representatives! Weekly worship services once boasted an attendance of 2,000! These services took place the very week that Congress passed the 14th Amendment”

Quotes don’t change the law. Quotes don’t nullify the Constitution or the First Amendment. Yes, public buildings in D.C. have been used for private purposes often. The renting of the Capitol, or any other public building, does not imply endorsement of the government, nor does it repeal the Constitution. Today the widest private use of public buildings in the U.S., especially schools, is for Sunday church services. Mind you, the kids are not required to attend. Nor did Congress attend any of those services as an official act or as an official body. The Capitol was simply one of the few big spaces available. Jefferson and Madison made due note in their diaries of the contributions they made to get the chapels constructed to get the services out of the public buildings. Don’t claim legal standing for acts that have no legal effect.

Read the inscriptions in the halls of Washington DC and on our coins.

The inscriptions on our coins were first made in 1862, as a sop to the group that asked that the Constitution to be amended to fix its “godless” structure. Those inscriptions stand as testimony to the fact that Christians in the U.S. for the first 150 years of our nation recognized that the U.S. is not and never was intended to have any religious bias. The first law which made mention of any religious saying on money was passed in the 1930s. As you know, the founders were long dead by that time.

There are about a dozen verses from the Bible painted or inscribed in various places in the Library of Congress — along with a couple hundred other, non-Biblical verses. There are no other Biblical verse on other public buildings. Someone is trying to sell you a bill of goods. (There is a great little book on the stuff in the Library of Congress, and it’s on-line — look for On These Walls.)

My point might be made by reminding you that as early as the 1600’s the schools, beginning with was was called “The Old Deluder Act” referring to Satan attempted to equip children with Christian values.

That act only required the establishment of schools. It reflects the value running through the history of American education that if the people could read, they would not be hoodwinked by clergy who could read and misinterpret scripture, or history. Check it out.

See also the Northwest Ordinances. First they guarantee religious freedom; then they state policy. They say morality is essential to good government, and so, to encourage morality, the act encourages the establishment of schools. Not churches: schools. The acts also set aside lands to be sold or operated for the benefit of schools on the frontier.

The early readers were filled with Christian virtues. I have copies of these in my possession. They belonged to my father. You are probably younger than I and have not seen these, but they do exist. The later books dropped these, but it was generally agreed in the American Colonies that the main purpose of reading was to enable the student to read the Bible.

The readers got constantly secularized because the scriptural references made bad readers. Originally American schools used Bibles — unscrupulous door-to-door Bible vendors had sold hundreds of the books, and in the absence of texts, teachers used the most available book. The first New England Reader came out with a much more secular text, and was successful because it taught reading instead of scripture. Ben Franklin’s fortune was based on his versions of the readers, which were increasingly directed to teaching reading, and away from scripture. Jefferson complained that Bible in schools corrupted young children, and in his play for public schools he suggested use of secular readers and then the teaching of “morals” instead of Christian scripture. Noah Webster’s publishing fortunes followed that secularizing trend — he was the guy who did away with the alphabet of “Adam” to “Zacheus,” replacing it with an alphabet of “Apple” to “Zebra.”

America has grown increasingly moral, but that increasing morality has come with a trend away from scripture to teach. Mark Twain’s Huck Finn achieved a moral breakthrough when he realized that his friend Jim was human despite being African American — but that moral breakthrough came against what the Bible taught, according to preachers of the day. Progressives from the 1880s to the 1940s got laws protecting children from abusive parents, spouses from spousal abuse, consumers from tainted meat and drugs, workers from inhumane working conditions — all over the objections of scripture quoters.

That, incidentally, is in the spirit of Benjamin Rush’s quote that you offer above. He didn’t urge a return to ancient morality, but an improvement on it.

I will end with this, but I could write pages. It is late and I will add more if you feel that I have not answered sufficiently. Remember, this is a country where we are allowed to disagree. I know that my words will anger you, but please do not shoot the messenger. Research this before you attack.

I hope you’re not disappointed that I’m not angry!

Yes, this is a nation where authority may be questioned — as opposed to the hierarchies described in scripture. Madison and Washington both noted that our government cannot function well without moral people to make it work — but their getting morality was their own responsibility, and not that of the government’s.

You touch on some life-long studies of mine. I would urge you to not accept cheap, veneer histories of these U.S. policies, but instead get it from the original sources. Read Madison, especially the Memorial and Remonstrance; read Jefferson, especially the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Go see D.C., and read the cases (you can get them at Findlaw.com, and at the Cornell University Law Library site). Get a couple of good biographies of Jefferson, and Washington, and Franklin and Adams (there isn’t much good I recommend for Madison — Ralph Ketcham’s book is thorough but verrry long). See what really happened.

And study biology the same way. Go look at your oak tree and its thousands of acorns — Darwinian principles in action.

The truth is there for the looking. Go look.

And good luck!

Comment #34640

Posted by Jeff S on June 10, 2005 12:42 PM (e) (s)

Those places are where a marriage of church and state would have to be spelled out, and there is no such marriage.

Of course there is no such marriage. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Period. Read the constitution. You’ll see. Soon…

Comment #34643

Posted by rocky on June 10, 2005 01:00 PM (e) (s)

I took the suggestion above to contact the Smithsonian….;

Dear Smithsonian Institution, and to whom it may concern;
I have visited the Smithsonian many times during my life, and have always been excited, enlightened and enthralled by the leading edge scientific knowledge displayed within this museums distinguished halls. I now live on the west coast, but have planned to visit the east coast again soon to visit family. One of my main planned stops is to be the Smithsonian.
Recent news articles have reported the Smithsonian is actually co-sponsoring the supposed “Intelligent Design” movie, Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe, a Discovery Institute religious film masquerading as science. I am greatly surprised and saddened that the Smithsonian would lend it’s venerable name to such a distorted view of science. I believe to my fullest extent that this “endorsement”, perceived or otherwise, will greatly diminish the stature of your institution, if not actually make your institution a laughingstock. Additionally, science, real science, will be damaged in the publics eyes far into the future by the Smithsonian’s involvement.
I will not presume to waste your time with arguments of what actually constitutes science, as I fully believe this whole ID debate is politically motivated. However, great institutions like the Smithsonian should continue to be the shining lights of wisdom, and lead our nation with current scientific knowledge, and not be associated with intellectually defunct “junk science” like Intelligent Design, Astrology, Creationism, UFO’s, crystal healing, etc. The Dark Ages are a time past, hopefully not to be revisited.
I hope and request that your great institution re-evaluate your position on this matter. Again, the Smithsonian represents the greatest aspects of science and knowledge, this loss would be immeasurable.

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