PZ Myers posted Entry 2530 on August 20, 2006 10:02 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2525

A reader wrote to Francis Collins about the use of his name to promote D. James Kennedy's upcoming ahistorical anti-evolution program, and Collins wrote right back. He's doing exactly the right thing.

(Oops, no — Collins doesn't want to be quoted on this, so I've removed the email. He's unambiguous in stating that he was interviewed about his book, and that was then inserted into the video without his knowledge.)

Good for him, and that'll teach me: just when you think there are no further depths to which a creationist will sink, there they go, plumbing ever deeper. Kennedy and his crew are apparently putting together the video equivalent of a quote mine.

I apologize to Dr Collins for assuming he was a party to this creationist video, and I hope he sues those frauds.

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Comment #121035

Posted by steve s on August 20, 2006 10:20 AM (e)

I wonder what he can sue them for. Is it illegal to use someone’s statements in a misleading way? If so, Salvador would get the death penalty :-)

Comment #121041

Posted by ag on August 20, 2006 10:44 AM (e)

I am happy that Dr. Collins’s name has been cleared, and apology for blaming him before all the facts came to light is in order. Just one more illustration of creos dishonesty (as if as proof of itwas needed)

Comment #121042

Posted by wolfwalker on August 20, 2006 10:52 AM (e)

Steve S,

I wonder what he can sue them for.

IANAL, but I can think of a couple of possibilities. Depending on how bad the misuse actually is, and how much effect it has, he might be able to sue for libel and/or defamation of character. Having his name associated with a creationist production definitely damages his reputation.

If records exist of the agreement or contract under which the interview was conducted, and that agreement included something about what the interview record was supposed to be used for, then he might have a case for breach of contract or other violations of contract law. I think there’s something called “failure to negotiate in good faith.”

Comment #121043

Posted by hiero5ant on August 20, 2006 10:53 AM (e)

Sounds like they pulled a Dawkins Information Challenge on him, and he’s doing the right thing. I hope he’s able to more publicly make his case in the near future.

Of course, if repudiating Coral Ridge is doing the right thing, then ex hypothesi not repudiating them would have been doing the wrong thing.

Comment #121045

Posted by Corkscrew on August 20, 2006 11:15 AM (e)

Yay Collins :) I’m happy that we haven’t lost a decent populiser to the Dark Side.

Comment #121047

Posted by Lurker on August 20, 2006 11:26 AM (e)

Guilty until proven innocent, eh?

Comment #121051

Posted by field on August 20, 2006 11:54 AM (e)

Anton/Suttkus -

Have answered your quite lengthy posts a few days after - see Understanding Charles Darwin and Vaccine/Smallpox threads.

Comment #121053

Posted by Karen on August 20, 2006 12:01 PM (e)

I’m so glad to hear this. I just knew there was some mistake.

Comment #121054

Posted by Gerard Harbison on August 20, 2006 12:14 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #121055

Posted by Gerard Harbison on August 20, 2006 12:15 PM (e)

He’s still culpably naive. Anyone who has more than five minutes involvement with the crevo issue learns that any engagement with creationists will be exploited ruthlessly and if necessary dishonestly. Rather than rail ignorantly against Dennett, Wilson, and Dawkins, Collins needs to educate himself about his co-religionists.

Of course, he’s on record as wondering philosophically how atheism can lead to moral behavior. So Dawkins, Dennett and Wilson, by his reasoning, should be the ones twisting his words. How odd that it’s fellow Christians like Dembski and Kennedy doing it instead.

Comment #121066

Posted by Wheels on August 20, 2006 2:15 PM (e)

Wow, I lose internet access for a day and I come back to find people jumping all over a man for his personal religious beliefs and assuming the worst of character over involvement in an ID scam, instead of giving him the benefit of the doubt, when these people know full well that CreationIDists will use any and everything they can possible take out of context to their advantage and, ironically, admonish Dr. Collins for making such a mistake.
This is one of the reasons I find certain anti-religious sentiments on this site extremely distasteful and off-putting. Kudos for cooler heads who insisted on waiting to see the nature of Dr. Collins’ “contribution” before making snap judgements and armchair finger-waggling.

Comment #121067

Posted by Gerry L on August 20, 2006 2:19 PM (e)

In addition to not being a scientist, I’m also not a lawyer, but I wonder whether they had him sign a release. If not, they may argue that he is a “public figure.” I hope he confronts them both to protect his reputation and to spotlight their tactics.

Comment #121068

Posted by Registered User on August 20, 2006 2:23 PM (e)

This is one of the reasons I find certain anti-religious sentiments on this site extremely distasteful and off-putting.

That’s funny, I find the anti-religious sentiments here sadly few and far between.

Comment #121069

Posted by Registered User on August 20, 2006 2:25 PM (e)

He’s still culpably naive. Anyone who has more than five minutes involvement with the crevo issue learns that any engagement with creationists will be exploited ruthlessly and if necessary dishonestly. Rather than rail ignorantly against Dennett, Wilson, and Dawkins, Collins needs to educate himself about his co-religionists.

Maybe we can send Francis and Allen “Mr. Civility” McNeill to “Know Your Creation Peddlers” Training Camp.

Comment #121072

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on August 20, 2006 2:45 PM (e)

“This is one of the reasons I find certain anti-religious sentiments on this site extremely distasteful and off-putting.”

“That’s funny, I find the anti-religious sentiments here sadly few and far between.”

Perfect - on this topic, we strive to be mildly annoying to all readers. ;-)

Comment #121079

Posted by mplavcan on August 20, 2006 3:38 PM (e)

Yes, jumping all over Collins prematurely was a bad thing, and apologies should be given where appropriate. However, unlike some other sites – *ahem* – at least the Panda’s Thumb crew has the integrity and the nerve to stand up say “we were wrong.”

Comment #121080

Posted by genotypical on August 20, 2006 3:42 PM (e)

Thanks to Karen, Mike, Nick et al. who suggested that we wait for all the facts on this one. I’m disturbed by how quickly some people assumed that Collins was willing to participate in a smearfest. He has a clear record of statements condemning ID and describing himself as a theistic evolutionist (though not necessarily in those words). Even if you don’t like how he attempts to reconcile his religion and his science, at least give him credit for being pretty low-key and reasonable about it. I also think that it’s harsh to condemn him as being ultra-naive. If Kennedy in fact clip-mined a video on a completely different topic, that is sooooo low that even a fairly savvy person might be blindsided by it. Anyone who know Francis even slightly knows that he is pretty politically astute, but also a straight shooter and a genuinely nice guy, maybe too nice to anticipate such slimy tactics.

Comment #121081

Posted by Peter Henderson on August 20, 2006 3:47 PM (e)

I think everyone needs to take a look at this again:

http://www.skeptics.com.au/journal/1998/3_crexpo…

Surely all Christians should be above the tactics used by Keziah productions to trick Richard Dawkins. In my opinion, what was done to him was not a very Christian act. I’m still surprised he hasn’t sued !

It will be interesting to see what Kennedy comes up with. I’m sure there will be some very selective editing !

Comment #121087

Posted by hiero5ant on August 20, 2006 4:06 PM (e)

I’m sorry, but “assume” and “conclude” are two different things.

The press release said “The program features 14 scholars, scientists, and authors who outline the grim consequences of Darwin’s theory of evolution and show how his theory fueled Hitler’s ovens.” It listed Collins as one of those authors. People concluded, not assumed, that he participated as advertised.

Shame on me for not sticking with the old heuristic that everything DJK says is a lie. And it’s relieving to know Collins is not insane. His general dismissal of ID should have been a bigger clue. But it is not the sign of “guilty until proven innocent religion-bashing” to draw the conclusion that a man who wears his credulity on his sleeve and is in print claiming he doubts atheists can have a reason to be moral might be willing to proffer Nazism as a cudgel when the program description claims that is what he does.

Comment #121095

Posted by David B. Benson on August 20, 2006 5:01 PM (e)

I’m not a lawyer, but I opine he could get a court of competent authority to issue a cease and desist order regarding distribution of the video.

Comment #121098

Posted by Mike on August 20, 2006 5:44 PM (e)

Jacob Bronowski is the best counter to this perverse creationist lie. I’m getting ready to show my students the “Knowledge and Certainty” episode of his “Ascent of Man” series. Should be required viewing for all citizens. In it this Polish Jew very forcefully shows that this notion that science produced the Nazis is a (lets see, I already used the word “perverse”) obscene lie. Couldn’t get any more 180 degrees about.

Comment #121110

Posted by Doc Bill on August 20, 2006 8:27 PM (e)

I saw this episode live in 1975 as the Ascent of Man was being shown on PBS. It made a lasting impression on me. As Bronowski walked out into the pond of ashes, we sat stunned.

Never again, he said.

One must stand against wrongness. Thus..

Creationism is wrong. We must stand against it. United, arms linked.

Comment #121111

Posted by normdoering on August 20, 2006 8:37 PM (e)

Doc Bill wrote:

Creationism is wrong. We must stand against it. United, arms linked.

And then we’ll sing “I want to buy the world a coke…”

Comment #121112

Posted by Gerard Harbison on August 20, 2006 8:44 PM (e)

Some Francis Collins quotes for his admirers here to defend. They are from his Salon interview

Frankly, I think many of the current battles between atheists and fundamentalists have really been started by the scientific community.

If you look at the history of the intelligent design movement, which is now only 15 or 16 years old, you will see that it was a direct response to claims coming from people like Dawkins.

I have trouble with the argument that altruism can be completely explained on evolutionary grounds. Evolutionists now universally agree – I think Dawkins and Wilson and Dennett would all agree – that evolution does not operate on the species. It operates on the individual.If that’s the case, then it does seem that in any given circumstance, the individual’s evolutionary drive should be to preserve their ability to reproduce at all costs.

(This is unscientific crap, of course. I’d expect an undergrad. biology student to be able to refute it. And here’s more…)

All of these altruistic things seem to be a universal feature of human beings. And yet, they’re a scandal to evolutionary biology because they motivate people to do things that are exactly the opposite of what evolution would require.

I can’t imagine anyone posting here is unaware of the voluminous research on the evolution of altruism. So why is Collins claiming it doesn’t exist? Why is this different from a fundie denying transitional fossils?

And one more thing. Collins has sent a private email claiming he was deceived. Yet he is unwilling to have that email posted publicly, and he has done nothing so far, publicly, to disavow this TV show. His name is still on the credits. Let’s see if it comes off.

Comment #121116

Posted by normdoering on August 20, 2006 9:17 PM (e)

And here some quotes Same Harris pulled from Collins’s book, “The Language of God.” at this link:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20060815_sam…

Again, attributing morality only to men, not animals:

According to Collins, the moral law applies exclusively to human beings:

Though other animals may at times appear to show glimmerings of a moral sense, they are certainly not widespread, and in many instances other species’ behavior seems to be in dramatic contrast to any sense of universal rightness.

One wonders if the author has ever read a newspaper. The behavior of humans offers no such “dramatic contrast.” How badly must human beings behave to put this “sense of universal rightness” in doubt? And just how widespread must “glimmerings” of morality be among other animals before Collins—who, after all, knows a thing or two about genes—begins to wonder whether our moral sense has evolutionary precursors in the natural world?

Going farther yet:

Having established that our moral sensitivities are God-given, Collins finds himself in a position to infer the nature of our Creator:

And if that were so, what kind of God would this be? Would this be a deist God, who invented physics and mathematics and started the universe in motion about 14 billion years ago, then wandered off to deal with other, more important matters, as Einstein thought? No, this God, if I was perceiving him at all, must be a theist God, who desires some kind of relationship with those special creatures called human beings, and has therefore instilled this special glimpse of Himself into each one of us. This might be the God of Abraham, but it was certainly not the God of Einstein…. Judging by the incredibly high standards of the Moral Law … this was a God who was holy and righteous. He would have to be the embodiment of goodness…. Faith in God now seemed more rational than disbelief.

I hope the reader will share my amazement that passages like this have come from one of the most celebrated scientists in the United States. I find that my own sense of the moral law requires that I provide a few more examples of Collins’ skill as a philosopher and theologian…

Here’s an example of non-sequiter logic:

After finding himself powerless to detect any errors in the philosophizing of C.S. Lewis (a truly ominous sign), Collins describes the moment that he, as a scientist, finally became convinced of the divinity of Jesus Christ:

On a beautiful fall day, as I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains … the majesty and beauty of God’s creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ.

If this account of field research seems a little thin, don’t worry—a recent profile of Collins in Time magazine offers supplementary data. Here, we learn that the waterfall was frozen in three streams, which put the good doctor in mind of the Trinity…

It is at this point that thoughts of suicide might occur to any reader who has placed undue trust in the intellectual integrity of his fellow human beings. One would hope that it would be immediately obvious to Collins that there is nothing about seeing a frozen waterfall (no matter how frozen) that offers the slightest corroboration of the doctrine of Christianity. But it was not obvious to him as he “knelt in the dewy grass,” and it is not obvious to him now. Indeed, I fear that it will not be obvious to many of his readers.

If the beauty of nature can mean that Jesus really is the son of God, then anything can mean anything. Let us say that I saw the same waterfall, and its three streams reminded me of Romulus, Remus and the She-wolf, the mythical founders of Rome. How reasonable would it be for me to know, from that moment forward, that Italy would one day win the World Cup? This epiphany, while perfectly psychotic, would actually put me on firmer ground than Collins—because Italy did win the World Cup. Collins’ alpine conversion would be a ludicrous non sequitur even if Jesus does return to Earth trailing clouds of glory.

A non-sequiter with a failure of imagination:

On the question of why God simply doesn’t provide better evidence for his existence:

If the case in favor of belief in God were utterly airtight, then the world would be full of confident practitioners of a single faith. But imagine such a world, where the opportunity to make a free choice about belief was taken away by the certainty of the evidence. How interesting would that be?

One is tempted to say that it might be more “interesting” than a world unnecessarily shattered by competing religious orthodoxies and religious war, only to be followed by an eternity in hell for all those who believe the wrong things about God. But, to each his own.

Comment #121121

Posted by B. Spitzer on August 20, 2006 9:59 PM (e)

I don’t know too much about Collins’ views, but much of what he wrote in the Salon article I find entirely reasonable. Other statements I’d want to hear some clarification on, but on a straightforward reading I don’t find anything damning about them. To be more specific:

Frankly, I think many of the current battles between atheists and fundamentalists have really been started by the scientific community.

If you look at the history of the intelligent design movement, which is now only 15 or 16 years old, you will see that it was a direct response to claims coming from people like Dawkins.

There are definitely atheists, like Dawkins, who are essentially “evangelicals” for their lack of faith. Because these very visible atheists wield clout as scientists, there has been a reaction against science and against evolution on the part of religious people. Note that Collins does not agree with this reaction (see the rest of this paragraph and the next, on p.2 of the interview)– he seems simply to be stating that it happened. And, indeed, a number of the ID people have a chip on their shoulder against people like Dawkins. I don’t see why these statements from Collins are at all controversial. They are not, AFAICT, intended to let ID off the hook.

I have trouble with the argument that altruism can be completely explained on evolutionary grounds. Evolutionists now universally agree — I think Dawkins and Wilson and Dennett would all agree — that evolution does not operate on the species. It operates on the individual.If that’s the case, then it does seem that in any given circumstance, the individual’s evolutionary drive should be to preserve their ability to reproduce at all costs.

Minus the first sentence, I find this paragraph uncontroversial. I’d want some clarification before agreeing or disagreeing with that first sentence– I’m suspicious of it. If he means “Evolutionary mechanisms can’t account for human altruism”, then I disagree. If he means “Human altruism goes well beyond what we might have expected, given what we know about natural selection,” then I’d agree; cultural forces seem to make people generalize the altruistic urge well beyond close kin, which is what I’d expect under natural selection. Yes, I’ve heard evolutionary explanations for, e.g., Mother Theresa, but the explanations I’ve heard have been pretty dubious– more like exercises in hand-waving than empirically-supported science.

All of these altruistic things seem to be a universal feature of human beings. And yet, they’re a scandal to evolutionary biology because they motivate people to do things that are exactly the opposite of what evolution would require.

This, too, seems quite reasonable. As a biologist, I find it fascinating that humans go out of their way to help people who they’re unlikely to see again. Is this a holdover from the days when we lived in small groups of kin– can it be accounted for by kin selection? Is this a relic from group-level selection in our past? Did this urge toward altruism evolve because altruists earn social status and therefore may increase their fitness? Or is it some cultural pressure gone so far that it makes people do what’s not in their genetic self-interest?

Collins seems to be suggesting that the human moral impulse can be taken as evidence for God, and I wouldn’t follow him that far– it smells too much like ID– but I don’t think it’s warranted to say that he’s denying the existence of research on the evolution of altruism. Maybe I’m not being suspicious enough, but I think you’re taking your suspicions entirely too far.

It looks to me as though people are reacting not to what Collins has actually said or done, but are instead basing their reactions on whether or not they approve of religion. Those who can get along with religion are giving him the benefit of the doubt; those who hate religion are looking for reasons to dislike him.

Comment #121125

Posted by Henry J on August 20, 2006 10:25 PM (e)

Re ““If that’s the case, then it does seem that in any given circumstance, the individual’s evolutionary drive should be to preserve their ability to reproduce at all costs.””

Hmmm. What about worker bees in a hive? Worker ants in a colony? For that matter, the cells in a multicellular organism?

Henry

Comment #121126

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 20, 2006 10:25 PM (e)

There are definitely atheists, like Dawkins, who are essentially “evangelicals” for their lack of faith.

uh… noo…

I think you missed something.

Collin’s claim as to the history of ID flies in the face of how it actually developed, or did you miss that whole trial at dover thing?

ever think that Collins might be projecting on to Dawkins exactly what he should be projecting on to ID?

Ever consider that’s exactly what you are doing as well?

Your “arguments” make a great case to support the notion that the irrational cannot be reached.

you read the entire thread, read collins’ quotes, should know the actual history of the ID movement, if you’ve spent any time looking at it at all, and yet your mind still spits out such erroneous spins on reality it’s scary.

yikes.

are you one of those who keeps wondering why PZ goes off on religion like he does?

wonder no longer.

though i actually do disagree with him that it’s the religion itself that’s the issue.

it’s the cognitive dissonance that results from doing exactly what collins is attempting to do.

exactly what you find so “reasonable”.

did you actually even bother to really think about saying something like:

Because these very visible atheists wield clout as scientists, there has been a reaction against science and against evolution on the part of religious people.

‘cause this is just so much BS it’s funny.

the “reaction” is artificially generated by those who feel personally offended by anybody who expresses a different viewpoint from the evangelical claptrap they spout.

it’s generated by the very folks like we here denigrate; folks like Kennedy, Robertson, Dobson, etc.

frankly, the fact you see it in such an ass-backwards fashion should make you think twice.

Comment #121127

Posted by Gerard Harbison on August 20, 2006 10:26 PM (e)

There are definitely atheists, like Dawkins, who are essentially “evangelicals” for their lack of faith. Because these very visible atheists wield clout as scientists, there has been a reaction against science and against evolution on the part of religious people. Note that Collins does not agree with this reaction (see the rest of this paragraph and the next, on p.2 of the interview)— he seems simply to be stating that it happened. And, indeed, a number of the ID people have a chip on their shoulder against people like Dawkins. I don’t see why these statements from Collins are at all controversial. They are not, AFAICT, intended to let ID off the hook.

This is simply unhistorical. The ID movement was a direct reaction to Edwards vs. Aguillard; its replacement of ‘creation science’ was a response to the court decisions barring teaching of creation from school. Even today, I doubt 10% of Americans could tell you who Richard Dawkins or E.O. Wilson or Dan Dennett are; and certainly back at the birth of ‘modern ID’, their views were even more obscure.

Minus the first sentence, I find this paragraph uncontroversial.

You find it uncontroversial to claim that “If that’s the case, then it does seem that in any given circumstance, the individual’s evolutionary drive should be to preserve their ability to reproduce at all costs.” That doesn’t even permit kin selection, for heavens sake!

I’m sorry, but I think he’s constructing one more gap for his God to live in. Pretending that altruism is a ‘scandal in evolutionary biology’ is nonsense. It’s an active and fertile area of research. Nobody doubts that humans, as intelligent, culturally-sensitive beings, do altruistic things that certainly aren’t genetically programmed - we don’t have a gene for posting on the internet, either - but in fact there is excellent evidence for the evolution of a facility for quite complex altruisitic behavior, in our species and in others.

Comment #121137

Posted by B. Spitzer on August 20, 2006 11:22 PM (e)

Collin’s claim as to the history of ID flies in the face of how it actually developed, or did you miss that whole trial at dover thing?

ever think that Collins might be projecting on to Dawkins exactly what he should be projecting on to ID?

Ever consider that’s exactly what you are doing as well?

Um, you completely missed the point of my post. I don’t think anyone’s claiming that all of the motivation of the ID’ers arose from the statements of people like Dawkins, Dennett, etc. However, it’s true that ID was kick-started when Phil Johnson read “The Blind Watchmaker” and decided to write his own screed to counter it. Hence “Darwin on Trial”. That’s the sense in which I think Collins is correct: ID started as a direct response by Johnson to Dawkins’ book.

Oh, and yes, I know the history of the ID movement– I’ve taught a course on the subject.

Kindly don’t assume that, because I criticize the statements of a few scientists, that I don’t find Dobson, Kennedy et al. a thousand times worse. It’s not an either/or game, STJ. I pointed that out in my original post.

If you think that the statements of, say, Dawkins or Dennett or Provine or Sagan don’t help to motivate the IDers, then why are the IDers constantly repeating quotes by these folks?

Sorry, it’s not me who missed something. You seem to have read into my post an awful lot of stuff that I didn’t intend.

This is simply unhistorical. The ID movement was a direct reaction to Edwards vs. Aguillard; its replacement of ‘creation science’ was a response to the court decisions barring teaching of creation from school.

See above. Collins is correct about the founding of the ID movement; of course, as soon as it was sparked, all the creation science folks shifted over to it.

Pretending that altruism is a ‘scandal in evolutionary biology’ is nonsense. It’s an active and fertile area of research.

Of course it’s an active (and fascinating) area of research. It’s active and interesting because the phenomenon in question appears at first glance to fly in the face of what we would expect. I think Collins is putting it too strongly here, as I said, but– as I also said– I think people are making this more of a referendum on Collins’ attempt at reconciling science and religion than on what he actually said. I doubt that what he actually said would strike you as heretical if it had come from someone less religious.

Comment #121140

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 21, 2006 12:03 AM (e)

However, it’s true that ID was kick-started when Phil Johnson read “The Blind Watchmaker” and decided to write his own screed to counter it. Hence “Darwin on Trial”. That’s the sense in which I think Collins is correct: ID started as a direct response by Johnson to Dawkins’ book.

incorrect.

Johnson is only one part of this. ever read the wedge document?

ever study the history of “Pandas and People”?

you have a very narrow view, that isn’t supported by the weight of evidence.

again, you are projecting exactly what Johnson wants you to think.

You seem to think this all started recently, but this goes back long before Johnson ever got himself involved in the issue.

You really need to spend more time researching where ID came from.

It was pretty clear from the Kitzmiller trial transcripts that ID was the “transmogrification” (sorry C&H fans) of the creation science of the 70’s and 80’s.

Johsnon didn’t publish his book because of Dawkins; he published it to help spread the word about their newly coined terminology for creation science.

Dawkins was publishing long before Johnson ever even thought to do so.

IDers will misuse anything ANYBODY says in order to further their agenda, or did you just miss what Kennedy JUST DID with Collins himself?

Dawkins no more assists the IDers than this very blog does.

If you want to think that atheists further the cause of evangelism, go right on ahead, but your logic is as faulty, as saying that evangelicals promote atheism.

It’s just advertising, and you fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

Comment #121141

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 21, 2006 12:04 AM (e)

oh, and “Blind Watchmaker” was a screed?

uh, yeah, right.

Comment #121146

Posted by Bob O'H on August 21, 2006 12:36 AM (e)

I have trouble with the argument that altruism can be completely explained on evolutionary grounds. Evolutionists now universally agree — I think Dawkins and Wilson and Dennett would all agree — that evolution does not operate on the species. It operates on the individual.If that’s the case, then it does seem that in any given circumstance, the individual’s evolutionary drive should be to preserve their ability to reproduce at all costs.

I think we should band together and buy Collins Narrow Roads of Geneland as a thank-you.

Oh, and the BBC had a repeat of a Collins interview yesterday. Apparently at the end he talked about religion, but Capital FM decided to give us the news in Finnish instead. It was easy Finnish, though.

Bob

Comment #121153

Posted by Registered User on August 21, 2006 12:55 AM (e)

Um, you completely missed the point of my post.

Nah, Spitzer. You just blew it and Sir TJ called you on it.

Comment #121156

Posted by Registered User on August 21, 2006 1:05 AM (e)

oh, and “Blind Watchmaker” was a screed?

In Allen McNeill’s class this summer, Allen taught his students that Phil Johnson’s book and Dawkins’ book were comparable (although Johnson’s book was “maybe even worse in some parts”).

There really is a group of scientists who simply can not abide criticism of religion. They have made up their minds that all this creationist nonsense is a “scientific controversy” and the “theory” and its proponents should only be addressed on the scientific “merits” of the “theory.”

Politically naive is a generous term for describing these scientists, as some are surely intentionally blinding themselves (and others) with regards to the ugliest facts.

Comment #121157

Posted by B. Spitzer on August 21, 2006 1:13 AM (e)

Good grief, STJ– it feels like you’re so eager to defend Dawkins that you aren’t even bothering to read what I wrote. If you did, you’d probably find that our views on the subject aren’t all that different. Please figure out what I’m actually trying to say before jumping down my throat about it.

Johnson is only one part of this. ever read the wedge document?

ever study the history of “Pandas and People”?

you have a very narrow view, that isn’t supported by the weight of evidence.

Yes, STJ, I’ve read the Wedge document, and yes, I’ve followed the history of ID’s so-called textbook. I repeat: Phil Johnson got started in ID largely as a result of reading “The Blind Watchmaker”. He was instrumental in the way in which the movement took shape, to the point where he’s considered the “founding father” of ID. Does this mean that Dawkins started the ID movement? No, and that is nowhere implied anywhere in anything that I’ve written. Does this mean that the term “intelligent design” was never used before Johnson got involved? No. What you are calling my “narrow view” is something you’ve read into what I’ve said.

Dawkins was publishing long before Johnson ever even thought to do so.

Yes, of course he was. And “The Blind Watchmaker” was quite old when Johnson read it. What does that have to do with anything?

Dawkins no more assists the IDers than this very blog does.

If you want to think that atheists further the cause of evangelism, go right on ahead, but your logic is as faulty, as saying that evangelicals promote atheism.

Again, if you think that the statements of, say, Dawkins or Dennett or Provine or Sagan don’t help to motivate the IDers, then why are the IDers constantly repeating quotes by these folks?

And, BTW, don’t you think that there are a lot of evangelicals who make atheism look good? I sure do.

Oh, and “screed” is meant to apply to Johnson’s work, not to Dawkins’. “The Blind Watchmaker” is not a screed. Sorry if I gave a different impression– I started to write “his own book”, and felt I couldn’t dignify “Darwin on Trial” with the word “book”.

Comment #121204

Posted by Hans-Richard Grümm on August 21, 2006 4:16 AM (e)

Re a passage from Collins’ interview which has been quoted:

“If the case in favor of belief in God were utterly airtight, then the world would be full of confident practitioners of a single faith. But imagine such a world, where the opportunity to make a free choice about belief was taken away by the certainty of the evidence. How interesting would that be ?”

I guess we should blame modern molecular biologists - Collins included - for making the world so uninteresting. After all, they took away our free choice to believe that proteins were the basis for inheritance, that exactly 3 nucleotides form a codon, that DNA is directly transcribed into proteins etc. by the certainty of their evidence.

Really!

Regards, HRG.

Comment #121224

Posted by The Christensen Squad on August 21, 2006 7:10 AM (e)

So PZ thinks that Collins should sue?

And who ALL should he sue?

Would that include all the posters lying about him, PZ?

The ones who found him guilty until proven innocent?

And what about the Darwin descendants like Matthew Chapman? Could they sue for Darwin being accused of being a racist?

Oh, wait…truth is a defense is such cases…

And after all, Darwin was simply a product of his time who spewed ideas like savage races being exterminated, women being intellectually inferior, vaccination weakening the race, survival of the fittest, etc.

Comment #121226

Posted by Michael Roberts on August 21, 2006 7:11 AM (e)

I chuckle at this apology. I suggest that peopel are a little slower at condemnation. Too many on Panda’s Thumb are too keen to condemn any who have any kind of faith as if they were anti-science. I am afraid some are no better than creationists!

I suggest more measured responses in future.

I will now duck and avoid the flack - I get it from both sides!

Comment #121229

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 21, 2006 7:35 AM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

oh, and “Blind Watchmaker” was a screed?

uh, yeah, right.

“his own screed” applies to Darwin on Trial. It doesn’t apply to The Blind Watchmaker, AFAICT.

Michael Roberts wrote:

I chuckle at this apology. I suggest that peopel are a little slower at condemnation.

Yeah, it sure would be nice if everyone had perfect judgement and never made any mistakes. In lieu of that, someone taking personal responsibility for what they’ve said is a bad thing how?

So, are you a hypocrite, or can you provide some links to where you have had a word with the folks making the various condemnations documented at the invidious comparisons pages? So far as I know, no apologies have been forthcoming from that quarter.

Comment #121236

Posted by Gerard Harbison on August 21, 2006 7:53 AM (e)

See above. Collins is correct about the founding of the ID movement; of course, as soon as it was sparked, all the creation science folks shifted over to it.

Uh, no. Of Pandas and People was edited to change ‘creation’ to ‘intelligent design’ in 1989. Darwin on Trial was written in 1991. The Dover transcript makes it clear the editing of Pandas was in response to unfavorable court decisions. According to the Wikipedia entry, Stephen Meyer says the term ID came up at a conference in 1988. And the Wedge Document makes it clear the movement is an attempt to reinsitute creationism, not a reaction to overreaching by atheists.

Comment #121239

Posted by wamba on August 21, 2006 8:26 AM (e)

Uh, no. Of Pandas and People was edited to change ‘creation’ to ‘intelligent design’ in 1989.

If you double-check, I think you’ll find that happened in 1987, the same year as Edwards v. Aguillard.

Comment #121241

Posted by PZ Myers on August 21, 2006 8:31 AM (e)

B. Spitzer wrote:

Collins is correct about the founding of the ID movement; of course, as soon as it was sparked, all the creation science folks shifted over to it.

This is not true. Answers in Genesis, a larger organization than the DI, rejects ID. It isn’t Christian enough. Many adopted the DI’s rhetoric as an expedient way to get around legal issues (they hoped), but it has always been just a stalking horse for the culture warriors of creationism.

B. Spitzer wrote:

Again, if you think that the statements of, say, Dawkins or Dennett or Provine or Sagan don’t help to motivate the IDers, then why are the IDers constantly repeating quotes by these folks?

Because they are attacking their enemies, and their most effective opponents have been people like those. What do you expect, that they’re going to make a big deal out of misrepresenting some random schmoe nobody has ever heard of?

So…when the creationists quote Ken Miller or Wesley Elsberry, do you also take that as a sign that those two are ineffective promoters of science, and that maybe we ought to tell them to shut up? Interesting reactive tactics there: all creationists have to do is cite someone on our side, and suddenly they become objects of suspicion.

Comment #121249

Posted by Gerard Harbison on August 21, 2006 9:29 AM (e)

If you double-check, I think you’ll find that happened in 1987, the same year as Edwards v. Aguillard.

Mea culpa. Thanks.

Comment #121251

Posted by B. Spitzer on August 21, 2006 9:41 AM (e)

B. Spitzer wrote:

Collins is correct about the founding of the ID movement; of course, as soon as it was sparked, all the creation science folks shifted over to it.

This is not true. Answers in Genesis, a larger organization than the DI, rejects ID. It isn’t Christian enough. Many adopted the DI’s rhetoric as an expedient way to get around legal issues (they hoped), but it has always been just a stalking horse for the culture warriors of creationism.

Fair enough; I should not have written “all the creationists”. I stand corrected.

B. Spitzer wrote:

Again, if you think that the statements of, say, Dawkins or Dennett or Provine or Sagan don’t help to motivate the IDers, then why are the IDers constantly repeating quotes by these folks?

Because they are attacking their enemies, and their most effective opponents have been people like those. What do you expect, that they’re going to make a big deal out of misrepresenting some random schmoe nobody has ever heard of?

OK, but I’m not talking about “misrepresentation” here. I’m talking about scientists making anti-religious statements which the ID folks are using to rally the troops. In many cases, no misrepresentation is required. (For a change.)

Seriously, does anybody here believe that religious people aren’t put off at all by the anti-religious sentiments of, say, Dawkins or Dennett? I’ll admit that I don’t know of any systematic study of this, but, just based on anecdotal evidence, religious folks seem to react pretty negatively to those sentiments.

Sorry, but any time a highly visible scientist links science with atheism, it’s going to help generate a backlash against science. Why the effort to paint Dawkins et al. as lily-white in this regard?

Comment #121253

Posted by Rich on August 21, 2006 9:54 AM (e)

IANAL but I have served as a prosecutor in Dr. Kennedy’s denomination. While Dr. Collins may not be able to sue he might be able to press ecclesiastical charges in Dr. Kennedy’s presbytery. The PCA Book of Church Order defines an offense as:

An offense, the proper object of judicial process, is anything in the doctrines or practice of a Church member professing faith in Christ which is contrary to the Word of God. The Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Westminster Assembly, together with the formularies of government, discipline, and worship are accepted by the Presbyterian Church in America as standard expositions of the teachings of Scripture in relation to both faith and practice.[Emphasis mine]

The Larger Catechism says:

The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man,and the good name of our neighbour. [Emphasis mine]

Dr. Collins’ good name has definitely been tarnished by this. We shall see if Coral Ridge Ministries and Dr. Kennedy will do anything to restore it.

Comment #121255

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on August 21, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Seriously, does anybody here believe that religious people aren’t put off at all by the anti-religious sentiments of, say, Dawkins or Dennett? I’ll admit that I don’t know of any systematic study of this, but, just based on anecdotal evidence, religious folks seem to react pretty negatively to those sentiments.

Sorry, but any time a highly visible scientist links science with atheism, it’s going to help generate a backlash against science. Why the effort to paint Dawkins et al. as lily-white in this regard?

The point is not painting Dawkins any color. He’s just free to express his opinions, and since there is an argument to be made that science is more compatible with atheism than with religious belief, he’s free to make it if he wants. You and I, to different extents probably, may disagree with Dawkins’s argument, but why should we shut him up? Because Creationists happen to use the argument for their propaganda? That’s silly - Creationists do not like science because it contradicts their belief systems, and they still wouldn’t like it even if all scientists were Christians in the Miller/Collins mold.

As I said before, I think this argument among scientists is healthy in itself - in fact, I wish it were only better known to the public. The problem is that it tends to often become acrimonious and overheated (for some reason I personally do not understand, people seem to harbor very strong feelings about their metaphysical opinions) and part of it are these recurrent wholesale accusations of “strategic blunders”, “selling out” and “supplying ammo to the other side”, which are really irritating. People should just state their arguments, and let others think about them.

Comment #121265

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 21, 2006 10:41 AM (e)

OK, but I’m not talking about “misrepresentation” here. I’m talking about scientists making anti-religious statements which the ID folks are using to rally the troops. In many cases, no misrepresentation is required. (For a change.)

Seriously, does anybody here believe that religious people aren’t put off at all by the anti-religious sentiments of, say, Dawkins or Dennett? I’ll admit that I don’t know of any systematic study of this, but, just based on anecdotal evidence, religious folks seem to react pretty negatively to those sentiments.

Yes, and? Is the entire body of scientists supposed to censor themselves so completely that no anti-religious statements can possibly be mined by the IDiots? Is the diversity of views of scientists supposed to range only from the religious to the completely non-commital, all because Kennedy, Johnson, et al, are always going to misrepresent science by using quotes from the vocal atheists (and Spitzer, Kennedy, especially, does misrepresent by only quoting the anti-god faction, not range of other views of scientists)?

Btw, Johnson’s evolution to lead IDiot did not begin with his reading of Dawkins’ book, even if that might have set him off to write his book.

I have made it clear that I don’t think that opposition to religion is a good tactic for science to take generally. What I fail to understand is what is wrong with some vocal opposition to religion, with most scientists plumping only for science without addressing religion one way or another, along with some religionists saying that they encounter no conflict between science and their religion (which apparently is true whether or not there is such a conflict).

I actually watched some of Kennedy’s sermon this past Sunday, and he went straight to skeptical sources for quotes, as well as quote-mining scientific unknowns in order to show “how ridiculous evolution is”. If Dawkins and Myers were to completely shut up about religion there would be no end of sources of quotes for the egregious Kennedy to use. Heed the real world, Spitzer, and recognize that the anti-religious quotes already exist, and there can be no doubt that some scientists will continue to manufacture more, whether or not you disapprove.

My own view is that yes, indeed, more scientists should note the discrepancies between at least most religion and science, though usually in a politic manner.

What needs to be done is that the whole picture be given to those intelligent and open enough to listen. However, many will not, and Kennedy will continue to simply lie from his pulpit, quote-mining and misrepresenting the entirety of evolutionary science/scientists through his selective quotes. That’s why we tend to focus on the blatant liars like Kennedy, and not the far more honest Dawkins, for instance.

Even so, I agree that Collins should have been given more credit and the creos less in the announcement that set Myers off. Nevertheless, the proper apologies have been made, and there is little more needed to be said on that point.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #121298

Posted by Raging Bee on August 21, 2006 12:12 PM (e)

Because they are attacking their enemies, and their most effective opponents have been people like those. What do you expect, that they’re going to make a big deal out of misrepresenting some random schmoe nobody has ever heard of?

Actually, that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to expect of extremists, demagogues and con-artists: take the least credible, or most threatening-looking, of his opponents, quote that opponent’s most off-the-wall statements (even if he’s an irrelevant academic like Ward Churchill), and pretend this loony really represents ALL of the demagogue’s opponents, thus making the demagogue, extremist or con-artist look like the only voice of reason. Bush and his chums do this all the time, especially when they say “Everyone who opposes our Iraq policy is a peacenik wussy traitor,” and totally ignore their most intelligent critics who don’t fit into that B&W picture.

(BTW, Can anyone tell me exactly how effective Dawkins has really been as an opponent of creationism? “Visible” does not equal “effective.” Are America’s Christian majority really listening to an obnoxious atheist?)

Comment #121303

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on August 21, 2006 12:21 PM (e)

Spitzer:
“I doubt that what he actually said would strike you as heretical if it had come from someone less religious.”

The point is of course that he has written a book named “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief” and so gets rightly criticised for errors in science. Here he discuss evolution and gets it wrong.

The book should have been named “The Language of Science: A Believer Presents Evidence for Science” if he was serious about discussing his and others science in a religious context. And he would still be criticized on errors in science. :-)

“Does this mean that Dawkins started the ID movement? No, and that is nowhere implied anywhere in anything that I’ve written.”

But you are commenting on Collins claim “If you look at the history of the intelligent design movement, which is now only 15 or 16 years old, you will see that it was a direct response to claims coming from people like Dawkins.” It does imply so.

What you are saying is that Johnson’s reaction made the movement important. Collins says otherwise.

“Sorry, but any time a highly visible scientist links science with atheism, it’s going to help generate a backlash against science.”

How isn’t this a a smear on free discussion, and so a critique on religion and creationism? And specifically here, why should we criticize Dawkins but not Collins?

Creationism is a religious idea promoted for religion. It is impossible to avoid discussing that dimension when discussing creationism of any kind, even teleological theistic creationism/evolution.

Comment #121306

Posted by SHAUNG on August 21, 2006 12:35 PM (e)

This Kennedy guy is absolutely terrible, I’ve seen
him spew creationist lies from his PULPIT. He’s a self
parody and I don’t know how anyone could attend his church much less have any respect for him as a supposed christian. He’s almost as bad as Phyllis Schafly

Comment #121307

Posted by normdoering on August 21, 2006 12:39 PM (e)

Raging Bee asked:

Can anyone tell me exactly how effective Dawkins has really been as an opponent of creationism?

I don’t know how religious people take to Dawkins, but if they have a problem with him – then they just have a problem, period. Dawkins’s books that I’ve read (Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden) are good stuff for explaining evolutionary concepts to a novice, as I was when I read them. I’ve also read some of his online articles and I find no fault with them.

I saw no lies in Dawkins work. I find them enlightening. I see nothing wrong with his thinking. He never says some deistic variant of Christianity is absolutely impossible, just that one has to have more evidence for him to find it convincing.

If you’re going to attack the man, then be specific. Where did he get anything wrong? What exactly are you complaining about? Why should he not say what he has said?

Comment #121321

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on August 21, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

“BTW, Can anyone tell me exactly how effective Dawkins has really been as an opponent of creationism?”

How did this thread go from an apology to Collins to a critique of Dawkins?

Oh yes, Gerard remarked early on that: “Anyone who has more than five minutes involvement with the crevo issue learns that any engagement with creationists will be exploited ruthlessly and if necessary dishonestly. Rather than rail ignorantly against Dennett, Wilson, and Dawkins, Collins needs to educate himself about his co-religionists.”

Gee Bee.

Comment #121328

Posted by Raging Bee on August 21, 2006 2:19 PM (e)

I’m not criticising anything Dawkins said. I am merely pointing out that creationists, like other dishonest extremists, will indeed pretend that the least credible evolutionists represent their opponents, and ignore or belittle those evolutionists whose voices are more likely to persuade the masses.

(If the creationists wanted to attack their most effective opponents, they’d be gunning for the Vatican and the Lutherans, among other mainstream churches, whose acceptance of evolution and real science will probably prove more persuasive to the non-science-educated Christian majority.)

Comment #121329

Posted by B. Spitzer on August 21, 2006 2:19 PM (e)

Andrea: “You and I, to different extents probably, may disagree with Dawkins’s argument, but why should we shut him up?”

Torbjörn Larsson: “How isn’t this a a smear on free discussion, and so a critique on religion and creationism?”

No, no, no– we shouldn’t shut Dawkins up, or close down free discussion or censor anyone. That’s not what I’m arguing. A couple of folks here seem to be arguing that anti-religious statements from scientists don’t affect anything; I’m saying that they do have an effect.

Censorship isn’t an appropriate response. But if the public gets in their collective head the idea that science is attached to this or that metaphysical perspective, that’s a misunderstanding of what science is and where its boundaries are. I think our response has to be to try to correct that misperception, and remind people what questions science can and cannot answer.

IMO, this discussion has been a tempest in a teapot. Yes, I think Collins leans too far toward ID. Yes, the case can be made that he presents a lopsided view of things that is too hard on scientists and too easy on creationists. But some people here seem to want to tar him as a full-blown Traitor to the Cause, which I think is unwarranted.

Glen Davidson: “What needs to be done is that the whole picture be given to those intelligent and open enough to listen. However, many will not, and Kennedy will continue to simply lie from his pulpit, quote-mining and misrepresenting the entirety of evolutionary science/scientists through his selective quotes. That’s why we tend to focus on the blatant liars like Kennedy, and not the far more honest Dawkins, for instance.”

I found this interesting. Ironically, I tend to focus on Dawkins (and on correcting what I see as the errors from “our side” in general) because he’s more honest. I think the hard-core creationists are too far gone to be corrected. My feeling is that it’s a lot more productive to engage with intelligent people like PZ or STJ than waste breath on the charlatans on the creationist side.

Comment #121330

Posted by Gerard Harbison on August 21, 2006 2:22 PM (e)

Oh yes, Gerard remarked early on that: “Anyone who has more than five minutes involvement with the crevo issue learns that any engagement with creationists will be exploited ruthlessly and if necessary dishonestly. Rather than rail ignorantly against Dennett, Wilson, and Dawkins, Collins needs to educate himself about his co-religionists.”

Yes, I did. I found it ironic that Collins has gone after prominent evolutionary biologists and philosophers who happen to be atheists, both in book-plugging interviews and in his book itself, while meanwhile his co-religionists have been busy exploiting/misrepresenting him.

Maybe noting the irony was off-topic, but irony tends to be like that ;-)

Comment #121331

Posted by normdoering on August 21, 2006 2:33 PM (e)

B. Spitzer wrote:

… if the public gets in their collective head the idea that science is attached to this or that metaphysical perspective, that’s a misunderstanding of what science is and where its boundaries are.

Uh heavens! What if they start thinking science is attached to metaphysical naturalism!? How awful!

We’ll have to call it “methodological naturalism” so we can hide the connection.

Yes, someone’s misperceptions do need correcting.

Comment #121334

Posted by ofro on August 21, 2006 3:06 PM (e)

It is interesting to compare this discussion with what is currently going on at Uncommon Descent. It seems to me that with the arrival of Denyse O’Leary there has been an increased effort to corral anybody religious into the ID stable. This effort is directed towards both the fundamentalist (prototype: YECs) as well as the more moderate Christian (prototype: Catholics).

The overall strategy by ID camp, as I see it, is to separate religious folks who understand evolution from the mainstream by threatening everybody with buzzwords like atheist, undirected, meaningless, etc. I am tempted to call that their New Strategy: Wedge II.

Comment #121337

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 21, 2006 3:28 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'i'

Comment #121338

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 21, 2006 3:30 PM (e)

Sorry, but any time a highly visible scientist links science with atheism, it’s going to help generate a backlash against science. Why the effort to paint Dawkins et al. as lily-white in this regard?

I think it would be worthwhile to examine this statement in detail.

Let’s start with this:

Is Dawkins linking science with atheism?

-what do you mean here? that dawkins links science with a lack of religion? In that sense, would you disagree?
Or do you mean he links it with some psuedo-religion you view as “atheism”?

I claim you do the latter: It’s you who have Dawkin’s “evanglezing” and linking science with an “anti-relgion”.

again, you impose a perspective on the issue that is colored by your own perceptions.

the “backlash against science” is being generated by the very idiots we fight against, not by fence sitters, not by the VAST majority of scientists themselves.

it’s YOU who are not seing MY point here.

I hope it is clearer now.

Comment #121355

Posted by Peter Henderson on August 21, 2006 4:41 PM (e)

SHAUNG wrote:

This Kennedy guy is absolutely terrible, I’ve seen
him spew creationist lies from his PULPIT. He’s a self
parody and I don’t know how anyone could attend his church much less have any respect for him as a supposed christian. He’s almost as bad as Phyllis Schafly

Here’s an example of Kennedy in action earlier this year SHAUNG:

http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/comments/d_ja…

I actaully saw this sermon (I often watch just to hear his anti-evolution statements) but this one seemed particularly nasty. I’m actually surprised that Stephen J. Gould’s family didn’t comment on it.

Unfortunately thousands of people seem to attend his church (At least that’s the way it appears on the Coral Ridge hour !)

Isn’t Kennedy connected in some way to AIG’s creation museum ? I think he may be a trustee.

Comment #121361

Posted by Gerard Harbison on August 21, 2006 5:24 PM (e)

I actaully saw this sermon (I often watch just to hear his anti-evolution statements) but this one seemed particularly nasty. I’m actually surprised that Stephen J. Gould’s family didn’t comment on it.

Another Kennedy lie: in the comments section of the pharyngula link, I found a reference to an old creationist lie (pardon the redundancy) about Huxley. I tracked it to this page.

I almost fell out of my chair. A public television interviewer had just asked Sir Julian Huxley, a leading defender of evolution until his death in 1975, why he thought Darwin’s idea caught on so quickly. His answer astonished me.
“[I suppose the reason] we all jumped at the Origin [Darwin’s On the Origin of Species],” Huxley said, “was because the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.” “Mores,” of course, is a secular term for morals.

Well, no he almost certainly didn’t. The lie is pretty nicely run to earth here. Note that Kennedy repeated it two years ago, even though his mendacity had already been exposed. He’s not just a liar, he’s a shameless liar.

How do you know D. James Kennedy is lying? All together now….

Comment #121516

Posted by Peter Henderson on August 22, 2006 7:00 AM (e)

I’ve heard Kennedy expound on the Julian Huxley lie on several occasions Gerald. I suppose it just shows what the man is capable of.

I also came across this interesting letter to Kennedy on some of his lies regarding astronomy etc.:

http://csharp.com/kennedy.html

I also found this statement by Ed during his correspondence with Coral Ridge interesting:

I pray sometimes, or sometimes just listen quietly and pray internally. I am not against prayers. I figure there’s a bit of theist inside even atheists, and a bit of atheist inside even theists. As I said, I have my own private beliefs and hopes in God and an afterlife, just as Deists and philosophical theists and people of many different religions have since time immemorial.

I’ve been saying exactly the same thing to my wife over the last few months. It’s funny when you see someone else reach the same conclusions as yourself, albeit from a different perspective !

Comment #121557

Posted by Raging Bee on August 22, 2006 8:41 AM (e)

Interesting bit of obfuscation, Toejam. First you offer to “examine this statement [that Dawkins tries to link science with atheism] in detail;” then you ask the question: “Is Dawkins linking science with atheism?” Then you hem and haw and rephrase the question a couple of times, and then completely fail to provide an answer. No quote from Dawkins himself on the subject? That’s sounding kinda evasive…

Comment #121580

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 22, 2006 9:21 AM (e)

This is one of the reasons I find certain anti-religious sentiments on this site extremely distasteful and off-putting.

Too bad you don’t find the anti-atheist sentiments expressed by Collins and in this thread to be extremely distasteful and off-putting.

I don’t find it much different from finding anti-astrology, anti-homeopathy, anti-psychic medicine, anti-sasquatch, anti-ufo-abduction, etc. sentiments to be extremely distasteful and off-putting but not to find anti-science sentiments to be extremely distasteful and off-putting.

Comment #121585

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 22, 2006 9:27 AM (e)

I’m not criticising anything Dawkins said. I am merely pointing out that creationists, like other dishonest extremists, will indeed pretend that the least credible evolutionists represent their opponents, and ignore or belittle those evolutionists whose voices are more likely to persuade the masses.

Yeah, sure, implying that Dawkins is among the least credible of evolutionists is not to criticize anything he’s said.

Comment #121587

Posted by Raging Bee on August 22, 2006 9:30 AM (e)

Popper’s Ghost wrote:

Too bad you don’t find the anti-atheist sentiments expressed by Collins and in this thread to be extremely distasteful and off-putting.

How do you know that Wheels doesn’t feel that way? Do you just make that assumption of anyone who expresses distaste for fundie-atheist rhetoric?

Comment #121590

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 22, 2006 9:38 AM (e)

“his own screed” applies to Darwin on Trial. It doesn’t apply to The Blind Watchmaker, AFAICT.

“his own screed” implies that what it was a response to was also a screed; otherwise one would simply say that he wrote “a screed”.

Comment #121593

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 22, 2006 9:48 AM (e)

How do you know that Wheels doesn’t feel that way?

I know that he doesn’t express it.

Do you just make that assumption of anyone who expresses distaste for fundie-atheist rhetoric?

It’s not just an assumption that such people (you being a prime example) are hypocrites.

Comment #121598

Posted by Raging Bee on August 22, 2006 10:03 AM (e)

I know that he doesn’t express it.

If he doesn’t express an opinion, then how can you know he has it? Are you a mind-reader?

It’s not just an assumption that such people (you being a prime example) are hypocrites.

Really? All I see is an assumption, spat out with no supporting logic or evidence.

Comment #121751

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 22, 2006 2:59 PM (e)

If he doesn’t express an opinion, then how can you know he has it? Are you a mind-reader?

It’s called inference.

Really? All I see is an assumption

So what? Your inferential skills are known to be poor.

Comment #121768

Posted by Gerard Harbison on August 22, 2006 3:53 PM (e)

We interrupt the regularly scheduled flame war to bring you this:

ADL Blasts Christian Supremacist TV Special & Book Blaming Darwin For Hitler

New York, NY, August 22, 2006 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today blasted a television documentary produced by Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries that attempts to link Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to Adolf Hitler and the atrocities of the Holocaust. ADL also denounced Coral Ridge Ministries for misleading Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute for the NIH, and wrongfully using him as part of its twisted documentary, “Darwin’s Deadly Legacy.”

After being contacted by the ADL about his name being used to promote Kennedy’s project, Dr. Collins said he is “absolutely appalled by what Coral Ridge Ministries is doing. I had NO knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler, and I find the thesis of Dr. Kennedy’s program utterly misguided and inflammatory,” he told ADL.

ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement:”This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis.

“It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of ‘Christian Supremacists’ who seek to “reclaim America for Christ” and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law.”

The documentary is scheduled to air this weekend along with the publication of an accompanying book “Evolution’s Fatal Fruit: How Darwin’s Tree of Life Brought Death to Millions.”

A Coral Ridge Ministries press release promoting the documentary says the program “features 14 scholars, scientists, and authors who outline the grim consequences of Darwin’s theory of evolution and show how his theory fueled Hitler’s ovens.”

Comment #121880

Posted by AC on August 22, 2006 6:16 PM (e)

I’d say Dawkins is just a convenient target for frothing fundies. It’s not as if they would be any less vocal, active, or dangerous if no scientist ever even mentioned God, because their problem is bigger than that. Their problem is that the findings of science at least marginalize and at most refute a great many of their religious beliefs. Evolution is particularly problematic, because it undermines their notion of special creation. At the same time, they are increasingly culturally marginalized. So they gather in their Coral Ridges for mutual reassurance and lash out to varying degrees at all perceived threats.

As long as the social/political agenda they fund is kept in check, I’m happy to let them have their megachurches and persecution complexes.

Comment #121918

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 22, 2006 7:09 PM (e)

As long as the social/political agenda they fund is kept in check, I’m happy to let them have their megachurches and persecution complexes.

I quite agree. I’m quite content to let them revel in their stupidness, so long as they don’t attempt to use the machinery of the state to inflict their stupidness onto everyone else.