Jack Krebs posted Entry 2559 on August 26, 2006 05:48 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2553

A reflection on the ID movement

So where is the ID movement going now in this post-Dover, post-Kansas world?

Well, it seems to me that they are giving up on trying to seriously sell ID as science. Instead, they are forging full-steam ahead with their cultural “war of the worldviews” agenda, pitting materialism and atheism (as represented by science) against religious belief (as represented by their particular flavor of fundamentalist Christianity.)

Let’s take a quick look at what they are up to:

1. Jonathan Wells’ new Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. As Burt Humburg points out in his review of Chapter 1, “Wars and Rumors”,

Wells uses such dramatic quotations and general martial language because the struggle between “intelligent design” and science is very much a culture war, at least to him and other creationists. In order to advance his thesis, Wells has to convey the idea that “Darwinism” pits itself against traditional Christianity: to allow pupils to learn it is to give them up to atheism, decadence, liberalism and to lose the culture war.

Just a year or so ago Wells was supposedly working on a book that would show that genetics is not in fact what drives development, but instead he has now relegated himself to defending “traditional Christianity” against the attacks of Godless science by writing a popularized rehash of creationist arguments and claims.

2. William Dembski has sunk to working at a seminary which declares that ID is based on Biblical principles, to running a blog with culture warrior Denyse O’Leary, and to taking full credit for helping Ann Coulter with her terrible mishmash of criticisms of evolution in her equally terrible book “Godless” (a book on the cutting edge of the cultural and political worldview wars.)

3. Dr. D. James Kennedy’s upcoming show “Darwin’s Deadly Legacy: The Chilling Impact of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.” ‘Nuf said about this one.

4. The recent Intelligent Design DDD6 roadshow in Kansas, in which John Calvert et al hammered home the theme that teaching materialistic science and unguided evolution would lead children to atheism. See here for a succinct summary of this thesis.

5. The recent publication of the premier issue of the magazine Salvo. See here, and especially the Intro link. The Editorial Board is a Who’s Who from the Discovery Institute - Johnson, Dembski, Meyer, Beckwith, West, Nelson, Moreland, Richards and others. Despite their disclaimer that “Salvo does not advocate gratuitous violence in any form,” a militaristic theme runs throughout the magazine. Here’s a succinct summary of the real issues at stake, according to the Introduction by editor Richard Moselle:

America is involved in a massive culture war, the intensity of which increases daily…. There’s probably no aspect of comtemporary American life that’s not affected in some way by the deep cultural chasm that currently divides our country.

The division itself can be attributed to two competing worldviews. On the one hand, you have the Judeo-Christian tradition and its belief in absolute truth, this idea that the universe has a purpose and a destiny, that it’s governed by order and logic, and that it is humans - creatures especially blessed with the capacity to discern and choose - who bear the burdon of locating this purpose and letting it dictate the manner in which they live their lives.

Opposed to this perspective is that of the naturalist, the conviction that the material world, which emerged on its own by chance and without reason, represents the only reality in existence - one that’s driven entirely by the struggle to survive and is subject to no real order apart from that struggle. According to this worldview, truth is relative, and the only absolute, though even it is culturally constricted and so is not in any way binding, is the decided “evil” of imposing your version of truth on someone else….

The worldview that so clearly has things right, the one that makes the most sense logically and that has the most evidence on its side - the worldview that actually works - is also the one losing the fight for the public imagination. Through trickery and deceit, myths and misinformation, naturalism is gradually supplanting Judeo-Christianity (or what might be called super-naturalism) as the dominant American ideology, thereby unleashing all manner of cultural madness.

Well there you have it, I think: the real issues at hand. The enemy is the philosophy of naturalism, which is winning the public imagination through “trickery and deceit, myths and misinformation,… thereby unleashing all manner of cultural madness.” The remedy, of course, is the “the worldview that actually works” - Judeo-Christian supernaturalism.

Notice that there is nothing new here since the Wedge document was written a decade ago:

Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.

Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

However, the tactics have changed. Actually developing an alternative science of Intelligent Design has failed miserably - they haven’t really even tried. Legislating design via laws, state science standards or local school policies has failed. At this point, the new tactic seems to be escalate the divisive culture war.

This post was stimulated by a conversation I had with a reporter yesterday who, after I made the points described here, asked me “So is this good for science?”

My answer was “Yes, sort of, but really, no”

On the one hand, it would be a relief if these direct attacks on science and public science education would quiet down. No one really needs to take the time any more to seriously address “complex specified information”, “irreducible complexity,” or any of the other unworkable psuedoscience concepts offered by ID.

But really, the culture war approach, while more honest, is also more dangerous. The ID advocates will continue talking to their target audiences as if design were true and evolution were false, and as if believing in design and rejecting evolution is the only position compatible with their religious beliefs - and their target audiences will be glad to uncritically accept this. By dropping the pretenses about the purely scientific aspects of ID, ID advocates will in fact be able to mobilize their target audiences much more effectively. As the Salvo quote implies, the battle here is for the “public imagination” about these worldview issues. Separating ID from the cultural issues in order to attack science and education hasn’t worked, so now it’s time to abandon that tactic and go all out in arousing people to join up for the “us against them” war of the worldviews battle.

This approach is dangerous to American society because it’s Wedgey divisiveness, its self-righteousness (“the only worldview that works”) and its vilification of all other perspectives is antithetical to the fundamental need for our society to have room for a broad spectrum of cultural and religious perspectives. The approach these ID culture warriors are taking, if successful, would likely lead to the same type of destructive fragmentation that we see in other countries where religious fundamentalism is ascendent.

So how should we respond?

The problem here is that an easy way to respond would be to say, “OK, let’s duke it out - let’s get it on with this culture war.” But such a response would be wrong, and would let them win irrespective of further events. If they are allowed to make this a simple black-and-white God vs. no-God battle, they will have the public imagination on their side. If they are allowed to frame the issues and we respond within their framework, then we are forced to tacitly accept the underlying assumptions by which they make this an either-or issue in the first place.

So my suggestion is that we refuse to go to war. We have have done a good job at some levels of resisting their attempts to distort science and misuse science education, but we need to do an equally good job of resisting their attempts to distort religious, cultural and political issues. To do this effectively, we need to avoid their divisive approach and the polarization it produces. We can argue civilly and persuasively for tolerance and diversity in a secular society without acceding to their misrepesentations of such a position.

Let’s get these social and cultural issues out on the table and work on them. This is not about science and never has been. Perhaps now ID can just die away, and we can focus on the real issues.

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Comment #123073

Posted by darlene snyder on August 26, 2006 7:48 PM (e)

Does anyone know who John West of the DI is? I just saw him on TV. Is attempting to accomplish what Dembski could not? Boy was he bashing the Thomas Moore Law Center is there really bad blood there? Why?

Comment #123074

Posted by darlene snyder on August 26, 2006 7:54 PM (e)

Has anyone looked at John West’s new book? I just saw him on TV and Oh boy was he bashing the Thomas Moore Law Center is there really bad blood there? Why is West mad I should think the law center was the one wronged?

Comment #123078

Posted by leah j on August 26, 2006 8:14 PM (e)

So how do we refuse to go to war? I’d love to see a post on the specifics of doing that, because I think for scientists and sicence students, the natural tendency is to simply debate with others- because we believe we have the evidence on our side, so we aren’t afraid of getting into discussions about science, because if the evidence is there, it will prove us right, and if it isn’t there, then we’ll change our views accordingly.

What seems less natural is this idea of having to ‘frame’ an issue. People should look at the evidence and make up their own minds based on that, not based on how clever at spinning a topic somebody like ann coulter or william dembsky is. But of course, people aren’t logical and rational. they believe lies that they are told, even pretty flimsy ones, because many of them aren’t interested in thinking critically about issues like science.

So how can we frame the issue to get through to these people, without duking it out in a ‘war on science’ that we would lose because people are stupid and creationists are happy to play dirty? it seems like a tough ask, so where do you start?

Comment #123105

Posted by Keanus on August 26, 2006 10:27 PM (e)

Framing the issues is what it’s all about. That’s what the Republicans and the Bush administration has been done so successfully in the five years since 9/11. Challenge them on military strategy? The answer is 9/11. Challenge them on budget deficits? 9/11. Challenge them on tax cuts? 9/11. Challenge them on health policies? 9/11. The answer to everything has been couched in terms of 9/11, national security or Islamic terrorism. Bush’s brain, Karl Rove, has successfully kept Bush in office through framing every issue in terms of 9/11 and terrorism.

I don’t attribute anything like the same power to the DI and its acolytes—they lack the power of a White House bullhorn—but they do have a willing group of politically active people, America’s fundamentalists, who probably feel that with Bush they are tantalizingly close to the holy grail of national political power for which they’ve thirsted for more than forty years. And they’ll be damned if they’ll let that power slide beyond reach. But, if they frame the issue correctly, from their perspective that is, they’re money ahead in that in theory they’ll have all the Christians on their side and nothing but atheists and agnostics on other. Of course, that’s a false dichotomy, but falsity never stopped them before (except when they found themselves in court).

An awfully large number of Christians, mainstream denominations and the Roman Catholics, are not natural allies of the DI so whoever leads the opposition to the DI needs to be backed by both rational Christians and American secularists. The latter two groups still comprise a majority in this country, even if many strayed into Bush’s camp in 2004. So whoever does lead better not stake the flag on the back of secularists alone. If they do, we’ll lose.

Comment #123121

Posted by normdoering on August 26, 2006 11:34 PM (e)

leah j asked:

So how do we refuse to go to war?

You just sit back and watch them con the greater part of the population and watch the poll numbers for belief in the illusionary ID theory creep up.

Maybe they’ll self-destruct on their own. They seem to be running out of arguments. Almost everything I’ve seen these guys bring up can easily be answered by looking in up on talk origins.

For example, here’s the latest post on UncomDe:
http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/1518
Was Blyth the true scientist and Darwin merely a plagiarist and charlatan?

First I ever heard of Blyth and I’ve read some Loren Eiseley. So, I type in the name “Edward Blyth” with “talk origins” and I get this:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/precursors/precursnatsel.html

Eiseley’s argument that Darwin had borrowed from Blyth based on of a similarity in terminology has been disproven, on the grounds that Darwin used the term before he could have read Blyth, and because Darwin had clearly developed some of the focal planks of his theory by that point, observations made in rebuttal by Beddall 1972 and 1973 and Schwartz 1974 to Eiseley’s claims 4 to 6 years before his literary executors reissued his earlier essays. See also Ospovat. The Eiseley view is repeated on the web at this site. Gould says something about this that is worth repeating, and I am indebted to a respondent named Seth Jackson for bringing it to my attention:

“The following kind of incident has occurred over and over again, ever since Darwin. An evolutionist, browsing through some pre-Darwinian tome in natural history, comes upon a description of natural selection. Aha, he says; I have found something important, a proof that Darwin wasn’t original. Perhaps I have even discovered a source of direct and nefarious pilfering by Darwin! In the most notorious of these claims, the great anthropologist and writer Loren Eiseley thought that he had detected such an anticipation in the writings of Edward Blyth. Eiseley laboriously worked through the evidence that Darwin had read (and used) Blyth’s work and, making a crucial etymological mistake along the way (Gould, 1987c), finally charged that Darwin may have pinched the central idea for his theory from Blyth. He published his case in a long article (Eiseley, 1959), later expanded by his executors into a posthumous volume entitled “Darwin and the Mysterious Mr. X” (1979).”

Yes, Blyth had discussed natural selection, but Eiseley didn’t realize – thus committing the usual and fateful error in this common line of argument – that all good biologists did so in the generations before Darwin. Natural selection ranked as a standard item in biological discourse – but with a crucial difference from Darwin’s version: the usual interpretation invoked natural selection as part of a larger argument for created permanency. Natural selection, in this negative formulation, acted only to preserve the type, constant and inviolate, by eliminating extreme variants and unfit individuals who threatened to degrade the essence of created form. Paley himself presents the following variant of this argument, doing so to refute (in later pages) a claim that modern species preserve the good designs winnowed from a much broader range of initial creations after natural selection had eliminated the less viable forms: “The hypothesis teaches, that every possible variety of being hath, at one time or other, found its way into existence (by what cause of in what manner is not said), and that those which were badly formed, perished” (Paley, 1803, pp. 70-71).

Darwin’s theory therefore cannot be equated with the simple claim that natural selection operates. Nearly all his colleagues and predecessors accepted this postulate. Darwin, in his characteristic and radical way, grasped that this standard mechanism for preserving the type could be inverted, and then converted into the primary cause of evolutionary change. Natural selection obviously lies at the center of Darwin’s theory, but we must recognize, as Darwin’s second key postulate, the claim that natural selection acts as the creative force of evolutionary change. The essence of Darwinism cannot reside in the mere observation that natural selection operates - for everyone had long accepted a negative role for natural selection in eliminating the unfit and preserving the type.”
Gould, S. (2002). The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Page 137. The Gould 1987c reference is to An Urchin in the Storm, but no page reference is given.

Seems all you need to do in most cases is get people to check talk origins on every claim they hear from an ID avocate.

Comment #123147

Posted by DragonScholar on August 27, 2006 1:41 AM (e)

I think the idea that we don’t take them up on their offer is the best idea. Disprove them when they make claims, promote good science (and civilized discussion without name-calling), but don’t charge into the battle, because we’re letting the IDers set the stage, the rules, and the territory if we do. They want a culture war, and they’ve got no qualms about lying, decieving, or tearing America apart to win.

One thing to remember is that their tactic is this - it’s to remove the middle ground. They KNOW they’re not convincing any of us. They know they’re not convincing a good chunk of America. Their goal is to produce division and contention and hope more people end up on their side that the side of rationality and civility. We can refuse to give it to them and help minimize the tactic.

As for beyond that - that’s going to be more complex. Promoting good science, teamwork among the pro-science people, building alliances (I had read in The Humanist recently about a scientist that actually arranged pro-science events at local liberal churches), etc. are important. We don’t have to fight their WAR, but we do have to stay active.

Comment #123156

Posted by 386sx on August 27, 2006 2:38 AM (e)

Salvador Cordova and Edward Sisson appear on the Coral Ridge Hour. Why anybody would want to be associated with D. James Kennedy is beyond me. Icky yucky blech.

Comment #123157

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 27, 2006 2:54 AM (e)

Does anybody know what Ted Haggart (unification church in colorodo springs) is up to?

this guy at one point (still does as far as i know) had regularly weekly phone calls with GW to discuss “policy”.

If you haven’t a clue who I’m talking about, this is the mega-church preacher Dawkins confronted in “root of all evil”

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6690702357039658996&q=dawkins+root+of+evil&hl=en

You don’t hear much about him on the blogs, and I wonder why that is.

Comment #123190

Posted by James A on August 27, 2006 4:15 AM (e)

I think Jack Krebs is right: “This is not about science and never has been. Perhaps now ID can just die away, and we can focus on the real issues.”
The real issue is morality, not science. We can’t just tell people that science has nothing to say about morality and decency. It appears that evolution strongly encourages the development of good behaviour in social species such as humans, and we need to celebrate this and explain it to those who might think otherwise. To me, the destruction of the Nazi regime in WWII is an example of cultural evolution selecting against heartless social structures in favor of those with more kindness and charity, which is very good news indeed.

Comment #123219

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 27, 2006 5:42 AM (e)

So does anyone here think that “intelligent design is very much a hypothesis which simply states that design is the set theoretic complement of chance and regularity”? Does that sound like a claim from an evolutionist or an IDist?

Comment #123221

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 27, 2006 5:51 AM (e)

the destruction of the Nazi regime in WWII is an example of cultural evolution selecting against heartless social structures in favor of those with more kindness and charity

The destruction of the Nazi regime is an example of a country with greater capacity for military production defeating a country with lesser capacity, as well as the loser making strategic errors due in part by being run by a megalomaniac. The U.S. didn’t enter the war until it was attacked; it didn’t do so because of “heartless social structures”, which were largely unknown to the U.S. population. And even if the U.S. had entered the war to defeat “heartless social structures”, that wouldn’t have demonstrated “cultural evolution selecting against” them; England, with all of its “kindness and charity”, was not able to defeat the Nazis by itself.

The bottom line is, this is the worst sort of pseudo-scientific just-so-story babble.

Comment #123223

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 27, 2006 6:01 AM (e)

Also, how about “the ID hypothesis has many flaws and short comings but to argue that this is not a scientific hypothesis is like saying that young earth creationism is a priori unscientific”? Does that sound like an evolutionist position?

Comment #123227

Posted by Bob O'H on August 27, 2006 6:53 AM (e)

The destruction of the Nazi regime is an example of a country with greater capacity for military production defeating a country with lesser capacity, as well as the loser making strategic errors due in part by being run by a megalomaniac.

True, but both countries were run by megalomaniacs: the only difference is that Stalin had better allies.

Bob

Comment #123229

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 27, 2006 7:05 AM (e)

True, but both countries were run by megalomaniacs: the only difference is that Stalin had better allies.

Yeah, that makes the absurdity of James A’s fairy tale even clearer.

Comment #123232

Posted by Stephen on August 27, 2006 7:17 AM (e)

This never was IMHO a scientific debate but rather cultural and by extention political. Now they are dropping the science angle and being honest about it. Fighting this is unavoidable, so what should the rules of engagement be?
1. Show their premise to be false. Science is not theology. Nor is it an either or choice, if one accepts modern science based on the evidence that does not automatically make one an atheist. Ask them why there are so many Christians that do accept evolution without loosing faith in their God?
2. Continue to show their potiential audience that ID is not science but theology.
3. Be polite and respectful towards them, no insults or personal attacks. We don’t need to make them look silly or out of touch with reality, they do that without our help.
4. When they do look silly and out of touch with reality we should point it out: blaming Darwin for Nazi genocide is like blaming the Wright brothers for 9/11.
That’s my two cents worth.

Comment #123234

Posted by the pro from dover on August 27, 2006 7:43 AM (e)

Science is not a search for THE TRUTH,. It isn’t about finding the most rational or logical explanation for the phenomena observed in nature. It isn’t a fair and openminded debate where all points of view are equally valid and presented to a neutral audience who then can choose which “theory” works best for them and is to be taught in public school science classes, and it is not a comittment to a philosophy of materialism where nothing exists other than matter in motion under the blind and uncaring forces of nature for no apparrent purpose. Science is a methodology where questions are asked about the universe or some part of it the answers to which come from experiments and observations. These experiments and observations have to be done in such a way that the results are repeatable (others doing the same observations and experiments under the same conditions will come up with the same results), publishable and peer reviewable (your peers are your competitors). If this sounds like a long tedious process where gains are made by millimeters over decades that’s because it is. Science isn’t something you believe in, it is something that you do. Usually for a living. Science produces technology and some understanding of the workings of the universe and what we must do to thrive in it. This technology provides good high paying jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurship. You can’t count on manna from heaven by sheer belief alone. If the culture warriors are convinced that science is evil and materialistic then the challenge is for them to rid themselves of all the fruits of technology in their lives and go back to the hunter-gatherer state that would follow. The progress of science won’t stop by gutting it’s education in public schools, it will only stop in America. Somewhere in China and India educators and parents are reading about the efforts of the Discovery Institute and its allies and they are smiling. Intelligent design is not a scientific alternative to evolution, it is a metaphysical alternative to science.

Comment #123236

Posted by Keith Douglas on August 27, 2006 7:54 AM (e)

I notice that they (according to the quotes provided) also equate supernaturalism with “Judeo-Christianity”.

Comment #123242

Posted by Tim on August 27, 2006 8:33 AM (e)

So my suggestion is that we refuse to go to war… but we need to do an equally good job of resisting their attempts to distort religious, cultural and political issues. To do this effectively, we need to avoid their divisive approach and the polarization it produces. We can argue civilly and persuasively for tolerance and diversity in a secular society without acceding to their misrepresentations of such a position.

Hi, long-time lurker here. If you mean to suggest that we should not engage in this culture war, I disagree. To the extent that we are a part of this culture, this society, we are responsible for how it manifests, and thus have an obligation to be involved in shaping what it becomes. If your meaning is simply that we should not engage it on their terms, I agree, but I would argue that what we need to do is re-frame the issue and argue it proactively. To re-frame it would alter and expand the audience who hears it.

One thing I would love to see happen - and you can bet it never will - is that classes which teach students to think critically and logically, and to be able to identify non-sequiturs be introduced into the high school curriculum. They might then, just possibly, be less easily swayed by the weapons of fear and misinformation that barrage us now.

I wonder how many of those elected officials who argue in favor of “critical analysis” of evolution would be willing to pony up the money it would take for high schools to teach students to evaluate arguments and to think critically?

And why shouldn’t parents lobby their PTA’s and BoE’s to thus alter the curriculum? Seems to me that if the DI and far right is arguing that America is being lied to, misled and fed a diet of misinformation by the “liberals” (whether in the context of evolution, global warming, same-sex marriage, or violence on tv), they would be behind a push in public education to teach students how to read polls, and to recognize rhetoric from fact and so on.

That is how I would reframe the issue.

That having been said, I tip my hat to you and everyone else here who is acively involved in pushing back against the lies and misinformation by the religious right and their fellow travelers.

Comment #123249

Posted by Jack Krebs on August 27, 2006 9:26 AM (e)

Hi Tim, and others who have commented.

I agree heartily with Tim that we need to proactively engage the cultural issues, but not as if we were “at war”, and I agree we should work to frame things in our way rather than working in their framework. I also think that our framework shouldn’t be equally black-and-white and divisive (because seeing things as black-and-white and divisive is part of their framework.)

A few weeks ago there was a great Doonesbury strip where a reporter was questioning Bush, and at one point said in exasperation, “The ‘debate’ you’re willing to have is always between options of your own choosing.”

This applies to us: we need to decide what we think the issues are and present our case about those issues, putting their positions as we see them into our persepctive. We also need to address our concerns to the middle of the spectrum - people who are not yet polarized.

In fact, one of the key issues needs to be polarization and divisiveness itself. Things are usually not black-and-white, and we owe it to others, both as fellow citizens and fellow human beings, to try to understand the complexity and ambiguity of issues together without trying to force anyone into a definitive “our side or heir side” conclusion.

Comment #123261

Posted by KL on August 27, 2006 10:14 AM (e)

“In fact, one of the key issues needs to be polarization and divisiveness itself. Things are usually not black-and-white, and we owe it to others, both as fellow citizens and fellow human beings, to try to understand the complexity and ambiguity of issues together without trying to force anyone into a definitive “our side or heir side” conclusion.”

I agree. However, politicians don’t stay in power this way. They stay in power by convincing people to fear something and then telling them who is to blame (the other side). Ignorance and knee-jerk reactions in their constituents are how those in power stay in power. Ah, imagine a world where leaders lead with knowledge and wisdom, and intellectual discussion is used to develop ideas and determine policy…

Comment #123270

Posted by Tim on August 27, 2006 10:49 AM (e)

Jack wrote: In fact, one of the key issues needs to be polarization and divisiveness itself. Things are usually not black-and-white, and we owe it to others, both as fellow citizens and fellow human beings, to try to understand the complexity and ambiguity of issues together without trying to force anyone into a definitive “our side or heir side” conclusion.

You’re right about divisiveness and polarization, in my opinion. People are being trained to think that it’s quite alright to demonize and objectify those they disagree with. A recent visit to a conservative blog offered tee-shirts emblazoned with a big yellow smiley face and the slogan “Imagine No Liberals”. How can that be any more acceptable than the same shirt saying something like “Imagine No Jews”, or “Imagine No Koreans”?

However, while it is evident, to anyone who take a moment to look and think, that all issues are complex and can’t and shouldn’t be boiled down to sound-bites, talking points, and false dichotomies, the Right’s response to it being pointed out that there is complexity is that we are victims of woolly thinking and practitioners of hand-wringing.

So, from where I sit, getting people to acknowledge complexity is an ends, not a means. The question is by means do people come to ask questions, to understand that there may be more to an issue than what is being flogged and blogged?

Again, all that I can think of - and this is a neutral approach - is to get people to start discussing what constitutes an argument, what constitutes a fallacy? How does rhetoric work to obscure an absence of facts and so on? It’s not hard to imagine that such a conversation as that could take place between any two people (at the water cooler, around drinks or coffee), regardless of their political or religious p.o.v. And if we care what young people are being taught - and I think most people do (either because they are parents or partisans or both) - then there’s an incentive to include them in such a discussion. Ultimately, as I said above, we need to make critical thinking a part of the curriculum for public schools.

Comment #123289

Posted by wamba on August 27, 2006 12:21 PM (e)

That’s a nice roundup of ID activities, Jack, but you forgot to mention the Discovery Institute’s secret research program. Paul Nelson said so.

Comment #123292

Posted by Scott on August 27, 2006 12:43 PM (e)

The war against science isn’t currently being fought in colleges or even high schools. Take a look at Jimmy Carter’s recent book, “Our Endangerd Values”. In there he describes the transformation of the Southern Baptist conference from a socially liberal organization (ie flat flexible ecumenical structure, relatively tolerant, advocate for equality, focused on doing good works for the community) to a harshly conservative one (ie highly rigid authoritarian structure, totally intolerant, advocate for the subserviance of women, focused on doing good for the church).

The culture wars are being fought (and won) in the churches. Note the shrinking memberships of the “main stream” Protestant and Catholic churches. How does one fight in this kind of war?

My wife was recently talking with a friend of hers, a high school student. The family is fundamentalist Xian, and we’ve known them for a couple of years. The kid recently discovered that my wife is not a church-going Xian, and has rather strong feelings against fundamentalism. The kid responded incredulously, “But, how can that be? You’re so nice!”

My suggestion? Do what Christ did for the Christians, what Ghandi did for India, and MLK Jr. did for Blacks. Become active in your community. Do good works. Get involved. Be kind, tolerant, and charitible. Show by your deeds that your world view is successful and valuable. Lead with your works. Then, follow with your words about how your world view leads you to do good things. Stand up mildly but firmly for tolerance and understanding.

Will this work against committed trolls on fundamentalist blogs? No. But it may make a difference in your community.

Hopefully it willl make a difference in one girls life.

Comment #123306

Posted by Mats on August 27, 2006 1:39 PM (e)

Of course, this war is about science aswell, but not only science. This is in deed a war of worldviews, and “not going to war” is exacly what allowed ID to grow and gain the publicity it has now. If you think you can change people’s hearts and minds by poiting out to religious people who accept Darwinism, you are going to have a rude awakening, Jack.

Sure, many people are skepical of Darwinism for religious reasons, but not everyone falls into the group. It’s safe to say that most people are naturally skeptical of claims that unguided forces had the ability to generate the jaw-dropping complexity present in biological life forms.

Therefore, one prediction can be made: The design hypothesis will never go away since it’s the natural conclusion we make based on simple observation. What proponents of unguided evolution want us to accept is totally against logic and reason. You are free to believe in that, but don’t be surprised if most people don’t.

Comment #123322

Posted by Darth Robo on August 27, 2006 3:00 PM (e)

“What proponents of unguided evolution want us to accept is totally against logic and reason.”

Sez you.

What’s your area of expertise again? You know, the one that enables you point out that all the scientists in the world who accept evolution are wrong and you are right because… um, because? (Hint - religious apologetics don’t count.)

“The design hypothesis will never go away since it’s the natural conclusion we make based on simple observation.”

Could you give an example of a naturally occurring organism which shows ANY proof of design? And why? (Hint - the flagellum don’t count).

Comment #123329

Posted by Darth Robo on August 27, 2006 3:11 PM (e)

“conclusion we make based on simple observation.”

SIMPLE observation would suggest the entire universe revolves around the earth. Is that a good example of logic and reason for ya?

Comment #123334

Posted by Darth Robo on August 27, 2006 3:30 PM (e)

Is he describing Uncommon Descent?

:-/

Comment #123335

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 27, 2006 3:45 PM (e)

Sure, many people are skepical of Darwinism for religious reasons, but not everyone falls into the group. It’s safe to say that most people are naturally skeptical of claims that unguided forces had the ability to generate the jaw-dropping complexity present in biological life forms.

you miss the larger issue when focusing on the narrow:

most people simply can’t grasp the concept of “billions of years” to begin with.

natural, since we only live for a century at best.

just because someone can’t wrap their ignorance around a particular concept, doesn’t invalidate the concept.

that’s why we rely on that little thing called “evidence” in order to counter any pre-existing biases.

Otherwise, I’m absolutely sure everybody would still think we live on a flat earth where the celestial bodies revolve around us in a fixed shell of a “sky”.

Comment #123347

Posted by Darth Robo on August 27, 2006 4:16 PM (e)

Just to clarify, my comment 123334 was in response to the dude with the russian-like name and not Mats. Looks like one troll went bye-bye.

Comment #123349

Posted by Andrew McClure on August 27, 2006 4:22 PM (e)

James A wrote:

We can’t just tell people that science has nothing to say about morality and decency.

Science doesn’t have anything to say about morality and decency… pretty much by definition, really.

If we decide to make things otherwise, the IDers have won in redefining science.

James A wrote:

It appears that evolution strongly encourages the development of good behaviour in social species such as humans, and we need to celebrate this and explain it to those who might think otherwise.

Whatever you’re concluding from this is a philosophical perspective and is not science.

It also sounds likely to me to be a terrible philosophical perspective, since evolutionary processes are by nature wholly amoral and reward those and only those practices which contribute to the propagation of genetic material.

Keith Douglas wrote:

I notice that they (according to the quotes provided) also equate supernaturalism with “Judeo-Christianity”.

There are no other religious perspectives which are considered valid in America today. This, I think, is actually a big part of the problem.

Comment #123371

Posted by Adam Ierymenko on August 27, 2006 5:22 PM (e)

There’s one thing that I consider very important: to refute the false dichotomy these guys are setting up.

The false dichotomy is supernaturalism/mysticism vs. pure subjectivism and total moral relativism.

Naturalism and extreme relativism are actually two seperate propositions. I personally am a naturalist and an atheist who does not subscribe to moral relativism. I think that there *are* moral principles for the same reason there are principles in engineering: because the universe has a nature and some things work better than others.

Of course, my view of morality is very different from the fundamentalist Christian view. I do not, for example, believe that homosexuality is a moral issue at all. I consider moral issues to be primarily those that involve harm and interference between individuals such as murder, deception, theft, etc. I think that a good and very solid argument from human nature and natural principles (including the nature of economies and complex systems) can be made for moral ideas such as the reciprocal principle (do unto others…) and the categorical imperative.

The dichotomy these guys want to set up is between order through religion and total anarchism. It is of *absolute* importance to deny them that dichotomy by pointing out the existence of strong rational and natural arguments for moral principle.

One way of describing my views that I use frequently is to say that “right makes might.” In other words: moral principles are those that, when followed, lead to a better and more vital human existence.

Comment #123394

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 27, 2006 6:04 PM (e)

Does anyone here agree that

to reject ID merely because it has been hijacked or had alterior motives, misses the point that there IS a scientific component to ID, however vacuous it may be. We may all want to deny such but that would merely play in the hands of the ID movement

?

Comment #123398

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 27, 2006 6:17 PM (e)

It appears that evolution strongly encourages the development of good behaviour in social species such as humans, and we need to celebrate this and explain it to those who might think otherwise.

Whatever you’re concluding from this is a philosophical perspective and is not science.

It’s downright circular, since “good behavior” is precisely that which members of this social species favor. Consider, for instance, why it’s deemed “good behavior” to protect women and children over men. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating what evolution has made of us, but such tautologies have no force as an argument for the theory of evolution.

Comment #123399

Posted by Jack Krebs on August 27, 2006 6:18 PM (e)

I agree strongly with Adam that we need to “unframe” the dichotomy that one either believes in absolute God-given morality or one is a nihilistic moral relativist.

For an example of what we need to work against, go to http://www.kcfs.org/kcfsnews/?p=185 to see what Salvo magazine published about this.

Comment #123422

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 27, 2006 7:36 PM (e)

I agree strongly with Adam that we need to “unframe” the dichotomy that one either believes in absolute God-given morality or one is a nihilistic moral relativist.

Socrates (or Plato) did this millenia ago in Euthyphro: “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” If the latter, then murder would be good if God deemed it good, which is unacceptable. If the former, then the good is good in and of itself. Those religious folks who believe that man is made in God’s image should accept that all men, even atheists, are built to be able recognize what is good just as God can. To put it another way, if men cannot recognize good without being told that it’s good, then they aren’t made in God’s image. (Of course, this could lead to fundies employing a True Scotsman argument that atheists aren’t really men.)

Comment #123423

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 27, 2006 7:42 PM (e)

(Of course, this could lead to fundies employing a True Scotsman argument that atheists aren’t really men.)

“Are we not men? We are Devo.”

Comment #123429

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 27, 2006 7:52 PM (e)

Evo-Devo?

“It’s a Long Way From Amphioxus”

A fish-like thing appeared among the annelids one day.
It hadn’t any parapods nor setae to display.
It hadn’t any eyes nor jaws, nor ventral nervous cord,
But it had a lot of gill slits and it had a notochord.

Chorus:
It’s a long way from Amphioxus. It’s a long way to us.
It’s a long way from Amphioxus to the meanest human cuss.
Well, it’s goodbye to fins and gill slits, and it’s welcome lungs and hair!
It’s a long, long way from Amphioxus, but we all came from there.

It wasn’t much to look at and it scarce knew how to swim,
And Nereis was very sure it hadn’t come from him.
The mollusks wouldn’t own it and the arthropods got sore,
So the poor thing had to burrow in the sand along the shore.

He burrowed in the sand before a crab could nip his tail,
And he said “Gill slits and myotomes are all to no avail.
I’ve grown some metapleural folds and sport an oral hood,
But all these fine new characters don’t do me any good.

(chorus)

It sulked awhile down in the sand without a bit of pep,
Then he stiffened up his notochord and said, “I’ll beat ‘em yet!
I’ve got more possibilities within my slender frame
Than all these proud invertebrates that treat me with such shame.

My notochord shall turn into a chain of vertebrae
And as fins my metapleural folds will agitate the sea.
My tiny dorsal nervous cord will be a mighty brain
And the vertebrates shall dominate the animal domain.

(chorus)

Comment #123460

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 27, 2006 9:13 PM (e)

Posted by Andrew McClure on August 27, 2006 04:22 PM (e)

James A wrote:

We can’t just tell people that science has nothing to say about morality and decency.

Science doesn’t have anything to say about morality and decency… pretty much by definition, really.

If we decide to make things otherwise, the IDers have won in redefining science.

James A wrote:

It appears that evolution strongly encourages the development of good behaviour in social species such as humans, and we need to celebrate this and explain it to those who might think otherwise.

Whatever you’re concluding from this is a philosophical perspective and is not science.

It also sounds likely to me to be a terrible philosophical perspective, since evolutionary processes are by nature wholly amoral and reward those and only those practices which contribute to the propagation of genetic material.

And you don’t see a lack of consistency in your argument?

OF COURSE, science has something to say about morals.

Why shouldn’t moral behaviour fit your criteria of “reward those and only those practices which contribute to the propagation of genetic material” ?

Science has discovered that moral behaviour is something that can evolve naturally out of the need to keep the species alive.

Comment #123470

Posted by James A on August 27, 2006 9:30 PM (e)

Thanks Anonymous_Coward for your post.

I agree with Andrew McClure’s comment that nature is “wholly amoral”, but this process has led to some species whose members cooperate and share with one another, because it is useful to do so. Why should selection bother to maintain a strongly developed moral sense in humans if it doesn’t contribute to the propagation of genetic material in the long run? Fundamentalist groups may be fascinating examples of selection in action at the group level. Notice how they encourage their members to have many children. Religion may be around a long time if it comes from (where else?) a process of random mutation and natural selection over millions of years.

Comment #123489

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 27, 2006 10:11 PM (e)

Science has discovered that moral behaviour is something that can evolve naturally out of the need to keep the species alive.

Science has also discovered that immoral behavior is something that can evolve naturally out of the need to keep the species alive. (Not that there is any scientific “need to keep the species alive”.)

Perhaps you could get some of the clues that you are currently totally lacking if you tried to develop a priori criteria for which behaviors are moral and which are not, and then develop a scientific model showing that the former are favored by evolution over the latter.

Comment #123491

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 27, 2006 10:18 PM (e)

Why should selection bother to maintain a strongly developed moral sense in humans if it doesn’t contribute to the propagation of genetic material in the long run?

It’s largely a means of social control; memetics rather than genetics. There also seems to be a significant kinship component, protecting those individuals most likely to share your genes. Human history shows that it’s generally been considered “moral” to slaughter neighboring tribes – especially their men – and take their resources to share amongst your tribe.

Comment #123533

Posted by Andrew McClure on August 28, 2006 2:43 AM (e)

And you don’t see a lack of consistency in your argument?

?

Why shouldn’t moral behaviour fit your criteria of “reward those and only those practices which contribute to the propagation of genetic material” ?

Why should it?

Science has discovered that moral behaviour is something that can evolve naturally out of the need to keep the species alive.

Science has shown that evolutionary processes can result in behavior which happens to coincide with popular forms of human-defined morality.

I don’t think this is any more interesting than the observation that evolutionary processes have also created structures which coincide with the design of human-created outboard motors. (Except maybe in the context of some argument that the popular forms of human-defined morality actually were byproducts of an evolutionary process…)

James A wrote:

I agree with Andrew McClure’s comment that nature is “wholly amoral”, but this process has led to some species whose members cooperate and share with one another, because it is useful to do so.

It’s also lead to species where one male keeps a mass harem and kills the male children, species where the female eats the male after sex, and populations which seek their maximum by means of malthusian overpopulation and mass dieoffs.

It is crucial to keep in mind that just because something is the way things happen in nature does not mean that they’re good things in a human context. For example, it’s fine– though probably not very useful in an argument about politics– to hypothesize that some human moral systems exist as a result of evolution. But it wouldn’t follow from that that those moral systems are particularly good ones.

Comment #123536

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 28, 2006 3:10 AM (e)

It’s also lead to species

Please … the word is led.

Comment #123544

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 28, 2006 4:18 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #123548

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 28, 2006 4:27 AM (e)

Science has discovered that moral behaviour is something that can evolve naturally out of the need to keep the species alive.

Perhaps you could get some of the clues that you are currently totally lacking if you tried to develop a priori criteria for which behaviors are moral and which are not, and then develop a scientific model showing that the former are favored by evolution over the latter.

Check here, Popper’s ghost: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB411.html
Being a Talk.Origins article, it has actual sources the information is cited from.

Also answers, in part, the question McClure asked:

Why shouldn’t moral behaviour fit your criteria of “reward those and only those practices which contribute to the propagation of genetic material” ?

Why should it?

As for the rest of these comments:

Popper's ghost wrote:

Science has also discovered that immoral behavior is something that can evolve naturally out of the need to keep the species alive. (Not that there is any scientific “need to keep the species alive”.)

Andrew McClure wrote:

Science has shown that evolutionary processes can result in behavior which happens to coincide with popular forms of human-defined morality.

I don’t think this is any more interesting than the observation that evolutionary processes have also created structures which coincide with the design of human-created outboard motors. (Except maybe in the context of some argument that the popular forms of human-defined morality actually were byproducts of an evolutionary process…)

These were in response to my post, of which the MAIN POINT was:

Anonymous_Coward wrote:

Andrew McClure wrote:

Science doesn’t have anything to say about morality and decency… pretty much by definition, really.

OF COURSE, science has something to say about morals.

Highlighted with bold and italics for your convenience.

Nice switch and bait (or whatever it’s called), McClure and Popper.

You (McClure) made the claim that science has nothing to say about morals. I demonstrated that it does. Nowhere do I, nor the sources I cited to satisfy Popper’s ghost, say that science PRESCRIBES morals. The point is, morals are not something that is outside of science’s domain.

So, this-

Science has also discovered that immoral behavior is something that can evolve naturally out of the need to keep the species alive.

-and similar comments are moot. In Popper’s ghost’s case, it is intellectually dishonest to switch and bait.

It’s also lead to species where one male keeps a mass harem and kills the male children, species where the female eats the male after sex, and populations which seek their maximum by means of malthusian overpopulation and mass dieoffs.

It is crucial to keep in mind that just because something is the way things happen in nature does not mean that they’re good things in a human context. For example, it’s fine– though probably not very useful in an argument about politics– to hypothesize that some human moral systems exist as a result of evolution. But it wouldn’t follow from that that those moral systems are particularly good ones.

This is a strawman and “poisoning the well” all in one.

No one is saying that we should apply behaviours of other animal species into human contexts. No one is suggesting that humans behave like lions, spiders or rabbits. If anything, evolutionary biology, suggests that only HUMAN behavioural patterns are fit for humans. And just like everything related to biology, behaviour patterns are also subject so selection. So the morals that aren’t particularly good ones will be selected out. In the human context, especially in modern times (2000+ years to now), this “selection” often takes place due to conscious social decisions.

But of course, this is inconsequential to my main point which is that science does have things to say about morals.

Comment #123549

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 28, 2006 4:32 AM (e)

In Popper’s ghost’s case, it is intellectually dishonest to switch and bait.

Snore.

Comment #123555

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 28, 2006 5:08 AM (e)

Hey, at least I gave a supporting example.

I demonstrated quite well that you switched to another argument that in no way addressed what I posted.

Quite intellectually dishonest to not admit that you committed that error (consciously, or more possibly, reactionary) and brush it aside as inconsequential.

Just like Creationists.

Comment #123579

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on August 28, 2006 7:20 AM (e)

Popper's ghost wrote:

There also seems to be a significant kinship component, protecting those individuals most likely to share your genes. Human history shows that it’s generally been considered “moral” to slaughter neighboring tribes – especially their men – and take their resources to share amongst your tribe.

Only if they’re bad. Like if they believe in a different god or economic system, or just look funny (always a good sign that they’re bad). Then you can kill them and take their stuff.

Andrew McClure wrote:

It’s also lead to species where one male keeps a mass harem…

Which is totally and utterly wrong! Unless I’m the one with the mass harem, in which case it’s okay.

Andrew McClure wrote:

… and kills the male children, species where the female eats the male after sex, and populations which seek their maximum by means of malthusian overpopulation and mass dieoffs.

My favorite example are some mites whose males rape other male mites, injecting their sperm into their victim’s seminal tubes. The next few times the victim mates, he’s spreading his attacker’s genes instead of his own!

Nature: Clearly the best source of moral education ever!

Comment #123580

Posted by Shaffer on August 28, 2006 7:27 AM (e)

Adam Ierymenko wrote:

The false dichotomy is supernaturalism/mysticism vs. pure subjectivism and total moral relativism.

This is a very important point that can’t be mentioned enough. If you want to talk about the overall context of this culture war, the first thing to understand is that the fundies are absolutely convinced that without the propagation of their religious belief, the world would descend into absolute chaos: that without the invisible man looking over our shoulder and saying “don’t do that!”, without the threat of punishment or promise of reward in the afterlife, there is no reason for moral behavior.

Just as we can often deflate an antievolution argument by pointing out that evolution does not equate to atheism, those of us that choose to participate in the broader culture war need to be diligent in pointing out that atheism does not equate to anarchy or immorality. It’s a tricky subject since most of the fundies have been programmed since birth to believe otherwise, but statistics regarding atheist (under)representation in prison populations, and other benchmarks on the “moral behavior” scale (donation to charities, volunteer work, etc.), can go a long way to deflating those arguments in the minds of the fence-sitters (who should be, in my opinion, our target audience).

Comment #123583

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 28, 2006 7:41 AM (e)

Nature: Clearly the best source of moral education ever!

Strawman: Clearly the most used form of argument ever!

Comment #123584

Posted by Jack Krebs on August 28, 2006 7:56 AM (e)

I agree with Shaffer’s comments, but they need to be broadened. There are many religious/philosophical belief systems other than just fundamentalist Christianity and atheism - those are two poles of a complex spectrum. I

Comment #123587

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 28, 2006 8:04 AM (e)

I don’t completely see that.

It seems more like atheism and theism are poles of a complex spectrum of religious/philosophical belief system, while fundamentalism/literalism v its opposite (I am not sure of the exact label) of either atheism and theism are like a separate axis at right angles to the theism-atheism axis which is more political than it is spiritual/philosophical.

It’s already a common occurrence to fudge the communist-capitalist and liberal-authoritarian axes into one, and we can easily see the uselessness of discussions in which the distinction isn’t made there.

Comment #123588

Posted by Jack Krebs on August 28, 2006 8:13 AM (e)

Good point. The purely religious/philosophical issues are at least logically separate from the cultural/political ones, although in today’s world there is a lot of overlap of at least the far end of the religious and the political issues.

Comment #123621

Posted by Shaffer on August 28, 2006 9:32 AM (e)

Anonymous_Coward wrote:

It seems more like atheism and theism are poles of a complex spectrum of religious/philosophical belief system, while fundamentalism/literalism v its opposite (I am not sure of the exact label) of either atheism and theism are like a separate axis at right angles to the theism-atheism axis which is more political than it is spiritual/philosophical.

It’s already a common occurrence to fudge the communist-capitalist and liberal-authoritarian axes into one, and we can easily see the uselessness of discussions in which the distinction isn’t made there.

I would agree that the distinctions between philosophical and political stances are important, though it’s important to remember that the whole point of the wedge strategy (as a whole, and not just in how it relates to evolution) are to utilize divisive wedge issues as a means of establishing a correlation between the two. You can’t be a religious “liberal” because that means you are in favor of EVIL things like ABORTIONS and QUEERS and the idea that MAN CAM FROM MONKEYS!! It’s one of the reasons that Kerry tanked so hard in the religious community: his appeals to religiosity came off as disingenuous because he couldn’t adequately reconcile his own faith with his stance on the wedge issues. He assumed the reconciliation should have been implicit, and to most people, it wasn’t. IMO he should have been more aggressive in pointing out those false dichotomies, but that’s a separate issue.

In any case, what the wedge strategy serves is a plate where, to the fundies, all “bad people” in the world - atheists, communists, liberals, terrorists, america-haters, muslims, feminists, evolutionists, materialists, and whatever other groups you want to slap a label on, are conflated into one massive group that the fundies and their neocon allies see as the “them” in the “us vs. them” context in which they are most comfortable.

The real power of the wedge strategy is in its power unifies people of diverse concerns. If 9/11 scared you sh*tless and you’re obsessed with national security and terrorism, the bad guys are the terrorists, who are (if you listen to Bill O’Reilly) being SUPPORTED by liberal America-haters RIGHT HERE AT HOME who also DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD because they support EVOLUTION, etc. If you’re a religious nut whose primary concern is stamping out godlessness, you’re fighting the same group of people. If you’re an economic conservative, same thing. (If you’re all of these things, your name might be Ann Coulter.) The wedge strategy as a whole results in a big moronic mess with all sorts of conflations between political views, economic views, philosophical positions, and religious belief.

The point is, the battle against evolution (tier 1) is a smaller facet of the battle against atheism (tier 2). This is mostly what is dealt with on this blog (and it’s what things like the infamous Wedge Document detail in full), but it’s often important to keep in mind that tier 2 is just a smaller facet of tier 3, which is the battle against the aforementioned “them”. The cesspools of hyper-religious anti-atheist anti-intellectualism that are dealt with here, like Uncommon Descent, have more than their fair share of counterparts in the other “tier 2” prongs of the culture war. Think all muslims should be eradicated? You have your sites. Think welfare is wrong and should be eliminated? You got it. Worried about queers invading your neighborhood? No problem. The wedge strategy capitalizes on the overlap between these groups to work towards their unification as allies. It’s an Even Bigger Tent.

Part of fighting this strategy rests in dismissing specific claims. The contributors to this blog are particularly good at that (of course, they have it easy on this one, since specific antievolution arguments are without exception completely moronic). However, it’s also important to remember the lines of demarcation that compartmentalize the argument. This is where we sometimes play into their hands. We can do a better job of separating evolution from atheism, and, on occasions where the atheists on this blog choose to engage on the “tier 2” front, we can do a better job of separating atheism from “them” - which is to say, in showing that lack of a god-belief is not necessarily responsible for all of the evils in the world. (Whether or not this blog is an appropriate place for that tier 2 discussion seems to be the subject of much debate, but when such debates do occur here, I don’t think we always do a very good job).

Compartmentalizing the arguments goes a long way in undermining the position of the wedge-ites, since their overall strategy relies on their ability to convince people that it’s all connected.

Comment #123628

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 28, 2006 9:54 AM (e)

Jack Krebs and Shaffer, you highlight the issues well.

Comment #123676

Posted by Emanuel Goldstein on August 28, 2006 12:59 PM (e)

Jack makes the typically bigoted remarks that Demski has “sunk” to teaching at a seminary or referring sneering to Judeo Christian supernaturalism, all the while pretending that he is the “civil” one.

And typically he suggests that we “refuse to go to war”.

Just like he engineered the boycott of the hearings last summer, he thinks he can repeat it by hiding.

In the meantime, he allows his site to be a forum for atheists to attack religion in general, allowing the most vicious remarks to remain up.

This has nothing of course, to do with science.

So I put it to you:

If IDists can be motivated by religion, why is it not the case that evolutionists are often, not always, motivated by atheism.

Dawkins, Dennet, and Sam Harris admit it.

Why can’t you?

Comment #123690

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 28, 2006 1:26 PM (e)

If IDists can be motivated by religion, why is it not the case that evolutionists are often, not always, motivated by atheism.

Dawkins, Dennet, and Sam Harris admit it.

Why can’t you?

Is this like the reverse of ID? “All evolutionists are atheists, that’s why we can only name three”.

Why do you ignore the significanly massive Catholic population of the world that basically accepts evolution and science in general as agnostic? Or are Catholics all suddenly atheist too?

allowing the most vicious remarks to remain up.

Vicious, adj.
1. Anything you disagree with.

Comment #123691

Posted by William E Emba on August 28, 2006 1:30 PM (e)

Emanuel Goldstein wrote:

Just like he engineered the boycott of the hearings last summer, he thinks he can repeat it by hiding.

Well, seeing that you’re still just the same misspelled refugee bogeyman from 1984 come back for your usual drive-by snotty comment, I’d say you have every reason to consider yourself an expert in “hiding”. Clap yourself on the back yet again! Heck, considering how badly you’re choking, I’d suggest you ought to give yourself a Heimlich maneuver!

Comment #123695

Posted by Shaffer on August 28, 2006 1:46 PM (e)

If IDists can be motivated by religion, why is it not the case that evolutionists are often, not always, motivated by atheism.

Because, as we have explained to you and you ilk a thousand times over, acceptance of evolution does not in any way imply, much less require, atheism - “evolutionists” are not motivated by atheism any more than “gravitationists”, “geocentrists”, or “meteorologists” are motivated by atheism. Understanding that there are explanations for the natural world around us that don’t involve gods, angels, demons, or faeries manipulating things behind the scenes does not equate to a philosophy that denies the possibility of any of those things.

Evolution happens to present a story that is more compatible with atheistic philosophy than stories of special creation. So what? So is every scientific explanation, when compared with religious alternatives (that statement is so obvious as to be borderline stupid, I know, but I’m not giving much credit to my audience here). The meterological explanation for lightning (a buildup of static electricity so great in potential difference as to overcome the resistance of the atmosphere) is much more compatible with atheism as compared to, say, the story of Zeus hurling lightning bolts around, too. Why does the first example get your panties all in a bunch, but the second example not? Where’s the consistency?

When we point out, correctly, that ID is motivated by religion, it is not as a perjorative; rather to contradict the claim that ID has any scientific merit. Creationism has always been a religious position. What makes it unique from other religious positions (in modern times, at least), is that many of its proponents have attempted to prop it up as science, presumably to hijack the credibility that science provides with the goal of sneaking religion into public schools. This is what motivates most of us to fight against these antievolutionary canards: the belief that religion has no place in public schools, as per the first amendment, and certainly has no place masquerading as science. It’s not just atheists that believe these things.

I know you’re scared that all this talk of evolution will bring people away from Christ, or whatever. In my experience that’s almost always your people’s motivation. Relax. That’s not how it works. I would estimate that the blatant dishonesty (and thus hypocricy) of most ID proponents, who routinely lie, distort, quote mine, and resort to ad hominems in service to their arguments, causes more people to reject religion than any scientific theory ever could.

Comment #123710

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on August 28, 2006 3:25 PM (e)

You know, all these Good Christians™ keep telling me evolution=atheism, maybe I’ve been an atheist all these years and just never noticed. They couldn’t all be wrong, could they? I mean, what are the chances that every single one of them could be simultaneously wrong about it? One or two, sure, but all of them?

I must be an atheist. I’ll stop denying it.

Boy, that’s a load off my mind. Will this free up any spare time? I mean, I can stop reading the Bible, but am I obligated to start worshiping Charles Darwin? I’ve never actually read Origin of Species, will that get me kicked out? I hear there are secret atheist churches (Lenny knows what I’m talking about), will someone in the conspiracy give me an address or do I have to go through initiation first?

Since the primary reason to be an atheist is to be freed from sexual mores (Huxley said so, according to the Good Christians™, who cannot lie), I suppose the most important question is, are atheist chicks hot? Wait, I just remembered who Richard Dawkins is married to. Man, I should have done this years ago.

Thanks, Good Christians™, you’ve changed my life!

(The preceeding post presented in Sarcasmoscope.)

Comment #123723

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on August 28, 2006 5:36 PM (e)

I would estimate that the blatant dishonesty (and thus hypocrisy) of most ID proponents, who routinely lie, distort, quote mine, and resort to ad hominems in service to their arguments, causes more people to reject religion than any scientific theory ever could.

But since everything that isn’t True Christianity™ is equivalent to atheism, we can conclude that Lying for Jesus® is justified.

Comment #123737

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 28, 2006 6:52 PM (e)

If IDists can be motivated by religion

Um, I thought ID wasn’t religion. No siree Bob. It’s just them lying atheist darwinists who say it is.

Isn’t that what the IDers all testified to in Dover?

Were they just lying to us (under oath) when they said that?

Make up your friggin mind. Is ID science or is it religion? Geez.

Or does it switch from one to the other according to what is most convenient at the moment?

Comment #123741

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 28, 2006 7:09 PM (e)

If IDists can be motivated by religion, why is it not the case that evolutionists are often, not always, motivated by atheism.

For the same reason that people who eat steak on Fridays are not often motivated by atheism to do so.

Comment #123758

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 28, 2006 7:49 PM (e)

I demonstrated quite well that you switched to another argument that in no way addressed what I posted.

I responded to the text I quoted, not some other text you wrote.

Quite intellectually dishonest to not admit that you committed that error (consciously, or more possibly, reactionary) and brush it aside as inconsequential.

I did commit an error – I responded to something you wrote (and so this too is an error on my part). My excuse is that I thought James A wrote it; mea culpa.

Comment #123760

Posted by DeafScribe on August 28, 2006 7:59 PM (e)

quote leah j=”So how can we frame the issue to get through to these people, without duking it out in a ‘war on science’ that we would lose because people are stupid and creationists are happy to play dirty? it seems like a tough ask, so where do you start?”>

Refuting specific errors of argument is necessary, but tends to be drowned out by the din of a thousand barking fundies.

Jack, Adam, Keanus and Shaffer have zeroed in the key components - dismantling false dichotomies and undercutting existing frames with new ones. New terms and phrases of discussion are needed that invoke progressive points of view, and fortunately we are just now entering an era that makes it possible to get this kind of discourse going at low cost. Forums like this are one starting point, and the rise of video sources like YouTube are opening up new fronts.

The progressive DailyKos site dwarfs the conservative blogosphere. Dialogue, it turns out, is a natural advantage for the progressive perspective. There has never been a better opportunity to introduce progressive memes.

But it has to be done on a daily and consistent basis. I think the real disadvantage for progressives now is that we’re communicating with the broader public on a limited and intermittent basis. Younger people tuned into the Net are better exposed to progressive ideas than most, but there are still a lot of people getting their news from TV.

It’s not enough to have a powerful message. It has to be delivered effectively, and I think Gore moved in the right direction when he established Current. AirAmerica is another good move.

So to answer leah, I think we start by developing more media channels specifically geared to exposing people, without apology, to progressive ideas and progressive frames. We have to go where the people are, and go there daily. We already have the web, but we need more TV, radio, newspapers, magazines.

Comment #123769

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 28, 2006 8:22 PM (e)

BTW, A_C, you should be able to sympathize with my error, since you wrote as if Andrew McClure and I are virtually interchangeable. But I never claimed that science has nothing to say about morality; on the contrary, I wrote “Science has also discovered …”, and went on to write “develop a priori criteria for which behaviors are moral and which are not, and then develop a scientific model showing that the former are favored by evolution over the latter”, which is all about applying science to morality; I am, after all, a scientific materialist, and consider human moral judgments as well as every other phenomenon in the universe to be amenable to scientific analysis. But that doesn’t mean that whatever some human considers moral (which differs considerably among humans in specifics as well as generally) is a consequence of biological evolution; as I noted, memetics may be a better explanatory framework in many cases – to explain why, for instance, many people consider blasphemy or flashing a breast during the Superbowl to be immoral. Heck, some people feel that the Superbowl itself is immoral.

Comment #123770

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 28, 2006 8:22 PM (e)

Popper’s Ghost:

Please … the word is led.

We seem to be fighting a losing battle on this one, but led us fight on!

Uh, I meant…lettuce fight on!

Er, I mint…

Dang it, anyway!

Comment #123782

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 28, 2006 8:51 PM (e)

Yeah, the rapid replacement of “led” with “lead” even by literate writers and in scholarly works illustrates how quickly a viral meme can spread in today’s interconnected world, even when it is contrary to previously well-established usage and authority and introduces ambiguity where there was none.

Comment #123795

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 28, 2006 9:15 PM (e)

BTW, A_C, you should be able to sympathize with my error, since you wrote as if Andrew McClure and I are virtually interchangeable. But I never claimed that science has nothing to say about morality; on the contrary, I wrote “Science has also discovered …”, and went on to write “develop a priori criteria for which behaviors are moral and which are not, and then develop a scientific model showing that the former are favored by evolution over the latter”, which is all about applying science to morality; I am, after all, a scientific materialist, and consider human moral judgments as well as every other phenomenon in the universe to be amenable to scientific analysis. But that doesn’t mean that whatever some human considers moral (which differs considerably among humans in specifics as well as generally) is a consequence of biological evolution; as I noted, memetics may be a better explanatory framework in many cases – to explain why, for instance, many people consider blasphemy or flashing a breast during the Superbowl to be immoral. Heck, some people feel that the Superbowl itself is immoral.

I apologise for my mistake.

Comment #123854

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 29, 2006 12:52 AM (e)

Cool. So, what about

Why shouldn’t moral behaviour fit your criteria of “reward those and only those practices which contribute to the propagation of genetic material” ?

How does disapproving of blasphemy, Janet Jackson’s nipple jewelry displayed on TV, or the Superbowl contribute to the propagation of genetic material? To question that claim (as I do) does not mean that I don’t think science can say anything about morality, just that the answer is not nearly that simple. The problem is that “moral behavior” is not limited to the sorts of obvious elements of social cohesion mentioned in the TO article – which, checking back on it, only offers an explanation for altruism.

Comment #123855

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 29, 2006 1:13 AM (e)

How does disapproving of blasphemy, Janet Jackson’s nipple jewelry displayed on TV, or the Superbowl contribute to the propagation of genetic material? To question that claim (as I do) does not mean that I don’t think science can say anything about morality, just that the answer is not nearly that simple. The problem is that “moral behavior” is not limited to the sorts of obvious elements of social cohesion mentioned in the TO article – which, checking back on it, only offers an explanation for altruism.

Well, the examples you use in the beginning is more of a result of social psychology which is built on behaviour patterns that came before. The predecessor behaviour patterns contribute to the propagation of genetic material. The latter ones hyperextends them due to the development of society.

The TO article only mentions altruism. I think altruism can be considered a root of other moral behaviours. Altruistic behaviour, just like other evolutionary by-products are subject to evolution and selection as well. “Morals”, as defined by traditional contexts, are more like when one takes rabbits out of its environment to a separate one and becomes a superspecies that are virtually unchecked.

So things like disapproving of blasphemy, Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, TV and the Superbowl do not really contribute to propagation of genetic material, but they are extensions of basic behaviour patterns that did arise due to selection pressures.

You are right that it’s not simple. But being in the limited position that I am in, I have to abstract a lot of details away to get my point across. And since I’m not pursuing any degree in biology or anthropology, I don’t really have any use for developing a complete thesis.

Comment #123860

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 29, 2006 1:59 AM (e)

but they are extensions of basic behaviour patterns that did arise due to selection pressures

So we have moral judgments that are biologically adaptive and moral judgments that aren’t, which means that we may be mistaken about which is which. You might want to listen to
http://www.naturalism.org/Dennett%20talk%20at%2032%208000.mp3
which explores just how mistaken we can be and an alternative view.

I have to abstract a lot of details away to get my point across. And since I’m not pursuing any degree in biology or anthropology, I don’t really have any use for developing a complete thesis.

Well, if your point is simply that moral judgments can be scientifically studied, fine, but you went way beyond that, and I see no reason to think that your stronger claims are valid. The fact is that there are plenty of people who do have degrees in biology, antropology, psychology, and other relevant fields who have put in a lot of effort to develop cultural/memetic explanations for human moral judgments that are far more sophisticated than the rather vague and tautologous notion that the “moral” restrictions of organized religion such as sanctions against blasphemy, displays of nudity, and “crass” pursuits like professional sports are “extensions of basic behaviour patterns that did arise due to selection pressures”.

Oh well, I imagine I’ve pissed you off again. As I said, it’s mistake for me to respond to you.

Comment #123865

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 29, 2006 2:24 AM (e)

Well, if your point is simply that moral judgments can be scientifically studied, fine, but you went way beyond that, and I see no reason to think that your stronger claims are valid. The fact is that there are plenty of people who do have degrees in biology, antropology, psychology, and other relevant fields who have put in a lot of effort to develop cultural/memetic explanations for human moral judgments that are far more sophisticated than the rather vague and tautologous notion that the “moral” restrictions of organized religion such as sanctions against blasphemy, displays of nudity, and “crass” pursuits like professional sports are “extensions of basic behaviour patterns that did arise due to selection pressures”.

The “cultural/memetic” explanations that you mention are probably what I was trying to get to without success in finding appropriate vocabulary, jargon and reasoning. I see no reason why “cultural/memetic” explanations cannot be resultant of evolved behaviour patterns.

I do agree that it is vague. But I cannot see how it is tautological. Maybe you can elaborate on that?

Oh well, I imagine I’ve pissed you off again. As I said, it’s mistake for me to respond to you.

At least you’re now aware of how your behaviour can be construed as abrasive. But no, I don’t get pissed off, since you’re getting angry enough for the both of us a lot of the time.

I would still like you to elaborate on exactly how my decidedly vague idea is tautological, though. As far as I can tell, it’s tautological as natural selectino is tautological (ie, it’s not really).

Comment #123882

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 29, 2006 2:54 AM (e)

At least you’re now aware of how your behaviour can be construed as abrasive.

I’m aware that you have repeatedly become pissed off when your claims were criticized.

As for tautology, all of our behavior is in some sense an “extension” of “basic behaviour patterns that did arise due to selection pressures” – for instance, language and folk psychology (the formation of mental models, what autistics have trouble with) arose due to selection pressures, and moral judgments are extensions of those behavior patterns, but that tells us nothing interesting about moral judgments. To make the statement less tautologous requires making it less vague, but that makes it more likely to be wrong.

Comment #123888

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 29, 2006 3:20 AM (e)

I’m aware that you have repeatedly become pissed off when your claims were criticized.

Still blind?

You require people to back up their claims.

Yet, you expect people to accept your evaluation of something as “absurd” without question.

No, I don’t think requesting further elaboration and the backing up of your claims counts as pissed off.

As for tautology, all of our behavior is in some sense an “extension” of “basic behaviour patterns that did arise due to selection pressures” – for instance, language and folk psychology (the formation of mental models, what autistics have trouble with) arose due to selection pressures, and moral judgments are extensions of those behavior patterns, but that tells us nothing interesting about moral judgments. To make the statement less tautologous requires making it less vague, but that makes it more likely to be wrong.

As I’ve clarified, I was probably thinking along the lines of cultural/memetic explanations but without finding the right words for it. Those kind of explanations, as you say are pursued by people with degrees and other relevant qualifications, would probably be the concepts that can make my statement less vague if I made reference to them.

Comment #123913

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 29, 2006 4:11 AM (e)

You require people to back up their claims.

No, I require people not to say they’ve argued something when they’ve merely asserted it.

Yet, you expect people to accept your evaluation of something as “absurd” without question.

No, I only expect people who aren’t idiots to recognize absurdities and for honest people to admit that the absurd is absurd. There are of course people who can’t or won’t; that’s why it’s a mistake for me to respond to you as if you were some other sort of person.

Comment #123915

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 29, 2006 4:15 AM (e)

No, I require people not to say they’ve argued something when they’ve merely asserted it.

And why do you not require this of yourself?

No, I only expect people who aren’t idiots to recognize absurdities and for honest people to admit that the absurd is absurd.

That’s what you say, but that’s not how you act.

I questioned your criticisms of my supposed absurdity. In your mind, that constitutes a lack of recognition.

Is it so wrong for me to criticise your criticism when you just label something as “absurd” without an reason other than you just saying it is?

Comment #123940

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 29, 2006 5:13 AM (e)

And why do you not require this of yourself?

The cargo cult mimic machine plays on.

Comment #123943

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 29, 2006 5:19 AM (e)

The cargo cult mimic machine plays on.

Typical and predictable.

Instead of recognising your own hypocrisy (something you seem, ARE, incapable of), you attack me instead.

PvM is right about you behaving just like Creationists.

Comment #123951

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 29, 2006 5:34 AM (e)

If it weren’t a mere machine, one might think it was pissed off; that could explain the way it flails about.

Comment #123957

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 29, 2006 5:41 AM (e)

If it weren’t a mere machine, one might think it was pissed off; that could explain the way it flails about.

$ Anonymous_Chatbot shutting down.

$ Input source reveals no intelligent life.

$ Anonymous_Chatbot SETI mission (exploring Sector Popper’s ghost) failed.

Comment #123975

Posted by Jack Krebs on August 29, 2006 6:55 AM (e)

Hi guys. Watching you guys banter back-and-forth is not very interesting. Please bring this to an end - if the audience in general has nothing new to say I can close this thread to comments and we can move on to other stuff.

Comment #124019

Posted by Ulyanov on August 29, 2006 11:20 AM (e)

Kind of like Kansas Citizens for Science, which has basically become a home of atheist rants against religion, dressed up with a little science.

Comment #124041

Posted by Darth Robo on August 29, 2006 12:45 PM (e)

Ulyanov said:

“Kind of like Kansas Citizens for Science, which has basically become a home of atheist rants against religion, dressed up with a little science.”

You gonna give some evidence of this, this time, or just whine again?

And why do you seem familiar…

Comment #124057

Posted by Sounder on August 29, 2006 1:55 PM (e)

Fighting off creationists does not make one an atheist. Rational Christians do it too.

Comment #124060

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 29, 2006 2:10 PM (e)

I don’t understand the anti-atheist rhetoric. Do people realize how few and far between atheists are? They’re something on the order of 1% of the population, so do people really expect that they have enough political clout to “discriminate” against anybody?

Comment #124063

Posted by gwangung on August 29, 2006 2:21 PM (e)

I don’t understand the anti-atheist rhetoric. Do people realize how few and far between atheists are? They’re something on the order of 1% of the population, so do people really expect that they have enough political clout to “discriminate” against anybody?

That’s just the Pharisees wailing and beating their breasts in public.

Comment #124078

Posted by Ulyanov on August 29, 2006 2:52 PM (e)

Evidence Darth?

If you really wanted any, you would look at their forums. The funniest are by the board member who calls himself “76”, as if we don’t know who he is.

And I sound familiar?

Too bad, so sad, you paranoid schmuck.

And as to the poster who said that the atheists are only 1 percent of the population, and implying they are irrelevant, I agree.

I am just sick of the smears and lies they spread.

I mean, look at the crap Richard Dawkins passess off as “science”.

He actually going to be in Kansas pumping his book, The God Delusion.

(I wonder if that is a peer reviewed publication.)

Comment #124083

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 29, 2006 3:02 PM (e)

I mean, look at the crap Richard Dawkins passess off as “science”.

Evidence? And it has to look something like “My atheism is scientifically proven by …”

Comment #124085

Posted by normdoering on August 29, 2006 3:09 PM (e)

GuyeFaux wrote:

Do people realize how few and far between atheists are? They’re something on the order of 1% of the population, …

No, it’s more than 1%. I can’t give you a figure, but I’m sure it’s higher than 1% and I don’t know of any polls that give you 1%.

This guy does Americans without God stats:
http://www.jcnot4me.com/Items/Misc%20Topics/atheists_in_america.htm

He’s got a high of 28% in Oregon and a low of 17% in Alabama.

A weird calculation for atheists:
http://atheism.about.com/b/a/129492.htm

Comment #124092

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 29, 2006 3:28 PM (e)

I believe the 11% figure from atheism.about.com, but that includes agnostics. Probably it’s all the same to the Pharisees, but I venture to guess that the 11% is mostly agnostics. The state-by-state breakdowns are I think a little misleading, since the word they use is “non-religious”.

And that’s the US only; I would expect worldwide figures to be lower, though I have no evidence.

Comment #124093

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on August 29, 2006 3:28 PM (e)

GuyeFaux wrote:

I don’t understand the anti-atheist rhetoric. Do people realize how few and far between atheists are? They’re something on the order of 1% of the population, so do people really expect that they have enough political clout to “discriminate” against anybody?

I reply with a quote from H.L. Mencken:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed–and hence clamorous to be led to safety–by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Atheists are one of the hobgoblins. They’re out there. Hiding in the bushes. In the movie theaters. Ready to force their godless atheism down your children’s throats in schools, maintaining the delusion that there’s freedom of religion in the US! I HAVE A LIST OF 200 ATHEISTS IN HOLLYWOOD! Or 20. Or 15. BUT SOME! BE AFRAID!

Ya gotta have bad guys.

Another point is the fundamentalist mindset NEEDS God to be needed. Their entire psychostructure depends on God being necessary. That’s why they have to be creationists, anything else doesn’t make God an absolute requirement. Where do morals come from? God. Not concern for fellow human beings, God. Rape, murder, and incest are wrong not because of who they hurt, but because God specifically listed them as wrong. If God changes His mind tomorrow, they all become moral. Their self-esteem comes believing God thinks they’re special, God’s chosen in Creation. Everything comes from God.

Picking the wrong God they can understand, that’s why other religions don’t bother them, but atheism cuts at their very heart. It suggests people can get buy without. Moral behavior from a godless person drives them nuts, that’s why they’re so desperate to find immoral behaviors to associate with atheism (abortion, tollerance of homosexuals, failure to force women to marry their rapists, that kinda thing).

Go read some fundamentalist essays on atheism. You’ll find out about their empty lives, their soulless existance without meaning. Or just listen to that awful country song where the atheist parents are so miserable they fight all the time (which never happens to Christians, nope!) and then kill each other (Christians never commit suicide) but Jesus protects the little girl and she’s taken to a foster home where she’s raised up right! Gag.

I’m Christian, but atheist bashing is bigotry, plain and simple and seeing it the self-declared True Christians™ endlessly engaging in bigotry disgusts me.

For the record, as far as I can tell, Dawkins does a good job of compartmentalizing. He finds science compatible with atheism, but doesn’t insist science demonstrates it. He’s welcome to call God a delusion and I, for one, will fight for his right to say so.

Comment #124096

Posted by gwangung on August 29, 2006 3:34 PM (e)

Evidence Darth?

If you really wanted any, you would look at their forums.

THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

And it’s not evidence. It’s being lazy. It’s being sloppy. It’s trying to pass off insults as valid arguments.

You make an accusation–back it up. And you’re NOT backing it up. If you want to play on the science playground, you better follow the rules if you want to be taken seriously.

Comment #124097

Posted by gwangung on August 29, 2006 3:38 PM (e)

By the way, Pharisee…

I mean, look at the crap Richard Dawkins passess off as “science”.

I think a lot of us have.

It’s obvious that YOU haven’t. You’re not specific, you can’t point to relevant passages, you just wave your arm in his general direction and spew another insult.

Stop being so lazy and do some work (it would help if you’d stop beating your breast in public so much).

Comment #124098

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on August 29, 2006 3:47 PM (e)

The Wikipedia article Religion in the United Statescombines atheists, agnostics, and “no religion” to get a figure of 15% in 2001, which surprises me.

Comment #124099

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 29, 2006 3:53 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #124100

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 29, 2006 4:03 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #124101

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 29, 2006 4:04 PM (e)

Sutkust Junior,

Yeah, you’re probably right re. needing to need God.

And as to the poster who said that the atheists are only 1 percent of the population, and implying they are irrelevant, I agree.

I am just sick of the smears and lies they spread.

Let’s replace “atheist” reference in the statement with a member of any other ontological minority*, e.g. Jews:

“I am just sick of the smears and lies Jews spread.”

And no, it’s not out of context.

* I wanted to imply that athesists are a religious minority, but that leads to an oxymoron. I’m not sure if my actual choice, ontology, is apt.

Comment #124102

Posted by Sounder on August 29, 2006 4:07 PM (e)

A quick glance at the KCFS boards shows a lot of anti-creationism threads, and for good reason, but no anti-Christian, and certainly no pro-atheist threads. Unless Ulyanov can show us something, this is just another case of a fundie with a persecution complex.

Comment #124104

Posted by fnxtr on August 29, 2006 4:16 PM (e)

Michael Suttkus, take 2:

Or just listen to that awful country song where the atheist parents are so miserable they fight all the time (which never happens to Christians, nope!) and then kill each other (Christians never commit suicide) but Jesus protects the little girl and she’s taken to a foster home where she’s raised up right! Gag.

John Michael Montgomery. Truly execrable. Country music does seem to be taking a step to the right these days. Even moreso, I mean.

(OT)

I know some very pleasant Christian individuals, but to me the common weak spot seems to be their insistence that everything is ‘nice’ in their world, and ‘not nice’ elsewhere, with traces of both desperation and denial (“No, really, everything is fine here. It has to be.”). I find it puzzling. It leads to large, awkward gaps in conversations.

Like that ‘parable’ of the footprints in the sand. Just what is that supposed to mean, and when, exactly, did I get ‘carried’? The argument that it’s on some ‘higher level’ means nothing to those of us actually living in the real world.

Still. Riding the bus one day I saw a man in what to my culturally limited eyes seemed like traditional North African dress (long brightly patterned sarong-type thingy, fezzy-looking hat) distributing Good News tracts. He seemed like such a happy man I was sorry to say, “No, I don’t want one.” Contrast that guy with ranting, intolerant loons like Falwell. It’s like they’re from two different planets, and neither is aware that the other considers himself a True Christian.

(/OT)

Comment #124111

Posted by Darth Robo on August 29, 2006 4:56 PM (e)

Ulyanov said:

“Too bad, so sad, you paranoid schmuck.”

Ooh, an insult! You slash me with your words! :(

Fair enough, you may be just living up to your average fundie troll steriotype that like to do a flyby every now and then. I apologise. Thanks for making the effort of pointing me your evidence. It’s SO obvious who “76” is (is it Animal from the Muppets? Or Elmer Fudd?).

p.s. re: Country music - the music of PAIN! :(

Comment #124117

Posted by Shaffer on August 29, 2006 5:24 PM (e)

Ulyanov wrote:

Kind of like Kansas Citizens for Science, which has basically become a home of atheist rants against religion, dressed up with a little science.

That is, of course, greatly exaggerated; the persistent fundie martyr complex rearing its ugly head. You guys just aren’t happy unless you’re maintaining an illusion of persecution, are ya?

And I wonder how much less anti-religion sentiment there would be amongst scientists if self-righteous religious fanatics were to quit stepping onto the scientists’ turf and insisting that what the scientists are doing ain’t science.

Comment #124123

Posted by stevaroni on August 29, 2006 5:53 PM (e)

The Wikipedia article Religion in the United Statescombines atheists, agnostics, and “no religion” to get a figure of 15% in 2001, which surprises me.

I bet if the criteria was “Only think about it when they fill out a form or have to say grace at Thanksgiving” the number would be something like 30%

And if you add “Only go to church at Christmas and for funerals”, you’d be at 40%

If the question was “Would you have an opinion about evolution one way or the other if we didn’t ask you to pick a side in this survey”, I bet you’d hit 75%

Comment #124132

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 29, 2006 6:12 PM (e)

We already have the web, but we need more TV, radio, newspapers, magazines.

Who’s paying?

Comment #124133

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 29, 2006 6:14 PM (e)

If the question was “Would you have an opinion about evolution one way or the other if we didn’t ask you to pick a side in this survey”, I bet you’d hit 75%

Who was it that said, “Most Americans have no opinions. And if asked for one, they’ll just repeat whatever they heard on ‘Nightline’ last night” … ?

Comment #124135

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 29, 2006 6:19 PM (e)

I reply with a quote from H.L. Mencken:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed–and hence clamorous to be led to safety–by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Atheists are one of the hobgoblins.

So are Muslims. Or at least they serve that role nicely.

I like Ben Franklin’s quote:

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Comment #124169

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 29, 2006 8:26 PM (e)

Rape, murder, and incest are wrong not because of who they hurt, but because God specifically listed them as wrong. If God changes His mind tomorrow, they all become moral.

Or if they lose their belief in God. Daniel Dennett argues that many, perhaps most, members of organized churches don’t actually believe in God, they believe in belief in God (which explains why it’s considered to be so bad to be an atheist) – that this is an adaptation of the churches that aids their growth and spread. And that it’s hard to tell the difference between belief in God and belief in belief in God, and that also is an adaptation (deception is of course a common biological adaptation). But perhaps the high levels of rape, murder, incest, spouse abuse, infidelity, worshipping of idols, wild drunken sex, etc. among church members is a clue.

Comment #124184

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on August 29, 2006 9:22 PM (e)

GuyeFaux wrote:

* I wanted to imply that athesists are a religious minority, but that leads to an oxymoron.

You know, I’d be careful about saying things like that. If atheism isn’t a religion, is it protected by the first ammendment?*

Darth Robo wrote:

p.s. re: Country music - the music of PAIN! :(

Not to disagree with Xander, but it’s not that bad!

Okay, some of it is that bad.

But my only choices locally are 7 country stations, 8 loathsome pop music stations, a light rock and a 60’s. Well, my choices are limited.

When it rains, I can get some classical.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

I like Ben Franklin’s quote:

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

And they have neither! Ben Franklin’s Revenge!

Now, if only they weren’t frying MY liberty doing it.

* The preceeding comment assumes everyone lives in the United States. The author has been punished for his jingoism.

Comment #124214

Posted by Engineer-Poet, FCD, ΔΠΓ on August 29, 2006 11:07 PM (e)

Getting back to the subject of the post before reading all of the comments, I think the approach of “not going to war” is wrong.  It is unilateral disarmament.

The creatonuts are fighting with lies.  The solution is to tell the truth, and name the creatonuts for what they are:  liars.  Not only are they telling lies about what the evidence is and means, their whole position depends on God being a very careful and deliberate liar (fabricating all of creation to look like a lie, with the exception of the “correct” reading of His book).

I think you’ll find that mainstream Christians want nothing to do with pathological liars, and would refuse to accept a theology if it turned God into one.

Comment #124223

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 29, 2006 11:31 PM (e)

Getting back to the subject of the post before reading all of the comments, I think the approach of “not going to war” is wrong. It is unilateral disarmament.

I don’t think “not going to war” is about unilateral disarmament. It’s more of a matter of fighting this “war” on our own terms, not theirs. Their side thrives on direct frontal assaults. They know they’ll lose out, but they can get a positive public image this way.

I agree that they should be exposed as liars, which is a good vehicle for using an approach that is “not going to war”.

Comment #124287

Posted by Recovering Troll on August 30, 2006 5:46 AM (e)

If atheists are such a weak minority, and the “creationists” (substitute Jews, blacks, fundies, whatever as needed depending on your argument)are everywhere, how come evolutionism is the only thing that can be taught in public schools and creationism is BANNED?

Not to mention ID.

And someone said that Kansas Citizens for Science is full of atheist rants and go look at their forums.

And Darth Robot said thats not GOOD ENOUGH!

Well, WTF IS good enough? I looked at their forums, they ARE full of atheist rants.

What the F… do they have to do with science?

And what do Dawkins rants about religion have to do with science?

Hell, he is coming to Lawrence Kansas in October for a science lecture series to promote his new book.

Is it about his latest research on evolution?

Nope, its called the GOD DELUSION and its about how much he hates religion.

What the heck does that have to do with SCIENCE?

Comment #124296

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 30, 2006 6:27 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #124298

Posted by Moses on August 30, 2006 6:33 AM (e)

Comment #123121

Posted by normdoering on August 26, 2006 11:34 PM (e)

You just sit back and watch them con the greater part of the population and watch the poll numbers for belief in the illusionary ID theory creep up.

Sure, branding for ID goes up. But the whole-popluation remains the same and continues, over-time, to trend towards pro-evolutionary beliefs.

And, the best part is, you don’t have to teach people evolution with a large stick. You just have to educate them. The greater the literacy, the more likely they are to accept the truth of evolution.

Comment #124314

Posted by Daniel Morgan on August 30, 2006 7:36 AM (e)

Did anyone else notice that this founding editor, Dr. Richard A. Moselle, also founded the Crux Project? You see all the same names there as you see at Salvo.
http://www.cruxproject.org/AboutCrux.htm

I agree that this is good for science. I disagree that it is also bad for science. It is bad for our culture, for intellectualism generally – where learning and education are regarded as lofty pursuits, because instead all we are being given here is fear in the form of illogical rhetoric, declaiming platitutdes, and emotive appeals. Really, no difference than the sort of propaganda that accompanied the Protestant Reformation. But given that fact, we see that propaganda fails in the end. It always has. It always will.

Comment #124317

Posted by Moses on August 30, 2006 8:00 AM (e)

Comment #124287

Posted by Recovering Troll on August 30, 2006 05:46 AM (e)

If atheists are such a weak minority, and the “creationists” (substitute Jews, blacks, fundies, whatever as needed depending on your argument)are everywhere, how come evolutionism is the only thing that can be taught in public schools and creationism is BANNED?

First, regardless of the obvious Constitutional issues here, we’re talking the teaching of science. Evolution is the only scientific theory out there. Teaching creationism may very well be appropriate for a “Creation Myths of the World” class, but it’s not science.

Second, we have this little thing called a Constitution. And this Constitution says you cannot favor or suppress a religion. To teach creationism as the creationists here in America would have it is to FAVOR Christianity over other beliefs and non-beliefs.

Third, you’re acting as if you’re the minority and need protecting. You are not the minority and your implicit victimization argument is a load of garbage that most of see right through, even though you cannot. These fundamentalist/Xian temper tantrums remind me of Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who was the embodiment of Greed (Seven Deadly Sins). Having an unassailable majority in the US, you will not give space to anyone and wish to take everything from anyone not like you. Instead, you wish to shove your religion up the ***es of everyone. No matter how many times they say “no.”

Comment #124320

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on August 30, 2006 8:13 AM (e)

Recovering Troll wrote:

If atheists are such a weak minority, and the “creationists” (substitute Jews, blacks, fundies, whatever as needed depending on your argument)are everywhere, how come evolutionism is the only thing that can be taught in public schools and creationism is BANNED?

You’ve really answered your own question. Evolution (not evolutionism, for the vocabulary impaired) has been victorious despite atheists being a weak minority for two reasons:

  1. Evolution has nothing to do with atheism and many religious people, myself included, recognize it as not only correct, but no problem for a sensible religion.
  2. Evolution is supported by the facts. Creationism cannot explain how fossil oak trees got to the top of the fossil record when all of their attempts to predict fossil sorting insist they should be lower (unless you, like some creationists, apparently believe oak trees used to be capable of picking up their roots and outrunning floods).

Recovering Troll wrote:

Not to mention ID.

Same reasoning. It has nothing to offer science or religion.

Recovering Troll wrote:

And someone said that Kansas Citizens for Science is full of atheist rants and go look at their forums.

Have done. You’re incorrect. The only way you can claim this is delusionally claiming evolution=atheism, which is still a lie no matter how often it is repeated. Lies do not become truths through recitation by liars.

Recovering Troll wrote:

And Darth Robot said thats not GOOD ENOUGH!

Ah, but the evidence for evolution is good enough! Like the twin-nested hierarchy!

Recovering Troll wrote:

Well, WTF IS good enough? I looked at their forums, they ARE full of atheist rants.

Oh, I don’t know, actually demonstrating your claim by providing a link to some of those horrible atheistic rants? Or is that too much to ask?

Recovering Troll wrote:

And what do Dawkins rants about religion have to do with science?

Nothing. When he rants about religion, he’s not acting as a scientist. Or is his standing as a scientist mean that everything he ever does must be scientific! That’s just idiocy. Scientists can have opinions about religion, pro or con, as well as non-scientific opinions on anything else. Do I disqualify myself as a scientist if I declare Doctor Who is cool? It’s not a scientific opinion! How can I say such a thing unless I’m not really a scientist! OH THE HORROR!

From now on, we shall leash all the scientists in electroshock collars and if any of them dares say a single thing that isn’t utterly scientific, we shall run 2 gazillion volts through their necks! That will teach those miserable scientists!

Or we can just be sane about the matter. Your choice.

No, wait, not your choice! You’ve already demonstrated you don’t know what you’re blithering about.

Back to rehab for you, Unrecovered Troll!

Comment #124325

Posted by Darth Robo on August 30, 2006 9:00 AM (e)

Recovering Troll said:

“And what do Dawkins rants about religion have to do with science?

Hell, he is coming to Lawrence Kansas in October for a science lecture series to promote his new book.

Is it about his latest research on evolution?

Nope, its called the GOD DELUSION and its about how much he hates religion.

What the heck does that have to do with SCIENCE?”

I guess it’s perfectly ok for people like Jonathan Wells and Ann Coulter to write books full of their opinions (which are crap and lies - see www.pandasthumb.org :-p ), but it’s not ok for Dawkins? At least he HAS a brain.

“And Darth Robot said thats not GOOD ENOUGH!”

That’s ROBO - like “Robocop”. And uh, I didn’t say that.

Whatever you are recovering from must be pretty serious, you have my sympathies. Go back to bed.

Comment #124329

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 30, 2006 9:25 AM (e)

Nothing. When he rants about religion, he’s not acting as a scientist. Or is his standing as a scientist mean that everything he ever does must be scientific! That’s just idiocy. Scientists can have opinions about religion, pro or con, as well as non-scientific opinions on anything else. Do I disqualify myself as a scientist if I declare Doctor Who is cool? It’s not a scientific opinion! How can I say such a thing unless I’m not really a scientist! OH THE HORROR!

Do you think that it’s like some kind of massive continuing Freudian slip that Creationists use the fact some scientists have atheist opinions, which is indicative of their fundamentalist thinking that people should not have opinions or even think for themselves?

Comment #124335

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 30, 2006 9:56 AM (e)

…massive continuing Freudian slip…

On the whole, people are just unwilling to buy that evolution leads to Atheism, for various reasons mentioned in this thread. So it’s not really a Freudian slip.

Methinks the evidence to the contrary typically does not help, or at least I’ve never seen it. There are many examples of Christian evolution acceptors, but highlighting their religious beliefs only shifts the target from the science to their religion.

This occured in Dover, for instance when Professor Haught was questioned about his religious beliefs. The idea being that he doesn’t represent mainstream Christianity.

[Off-topic] BTW, I enjoyed Haught’s testimony the most from reading the trial transcript. I thought of all the witnesses he got the defense witnesses the most confused.[/Off-topic]

Comment #124344

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on August 30, 2006 10:15 AM (e)

Anonymous_Coward wrote:

Do you think that it’s like some kind of massive continuing Freudian slip that Creationists use the fact some scientists have atheist opinions, which is indicative of their fundamentalist thinking that people should not have opinions or even think for themselves?

Not a Freudian slip, but very Freudian. I guess it’s what psychologists call projection.

Everyone thinks in their own way, and everyone has a tendency to assume other people think the same way they do. Untrustworthy people don’t trust because they assume everyone else is as deceitful as they are. Honest people, conversely, tend to assume other people are basically honest.

Of course, most of us can learn and recognize that we aren’t the standard by which the world is judged. We begin by acting on our assumptions (“People are honest”) and finding our actions unrewarded with the outcome we expected (“That politician lied!”). So, we adjust, going to “Most people are honest,” then “It’s better to assume honesty until disproven,” and then falling into the pit of utter cynicism I now find myself in. :-)

But for some people, the habit of assuming everyone thinks like they do isn’t readily broken.

The creationists put their religion into everything. That’s why concepts like “separation of church and state” don’t make sense to them. It literally sounds like nonsense. Actual creationist quote: “You might as well argue that congressmen shouldn’t breathe while in session!” Religion isn’t what they do, it’s what they are.

And if religion determines everything they do, then it does so for everyone else. Therefore Dawkin’s atheism drives everything he does, therefore atheism leads to evolution. Further therefore, “The Pope is effectively an atheist”. (Quote by Laurie Appleton.)

Drawing a distinction between different modes of thought is an alien concept. Religion is their first and only type of value judgement. Since it is THE only type of value judgement, everyone else must be making it as well.

It’s not really that they can’t think for themselves, it’s that their thinking is locked in circles they can’t get out of.

Comment #124348

Posted by stevaroni on August 30, 2006 10:25 AM (e)

Recovering Troll writes
Well, WTF IS good enough? I looked at their forums, they ARE full of atheist rants.

Depends on what you consider an atheistic rant. If people are posting things like “aren’t those fundies stupid, they really think there is a God!” well, that’s an atheist rant.

But the vast majority of comments go more like “C’mon guys, lets not teach religion in a science class”, which is hardly rantish, not-unreasonable public policy, and isn’t even particularly insulting to religion.

Though admittedly, it’s often taken that way by reflexively religious types, who, when it comes to any perceived slight to the faith, are so thin-skinned you see their bones when they walk in front of the sun.

Michael Suttkus wrote
From now on, we shall leash all the scientists in electroshock collars and if any of them dares say a single thing that isn’t utterly scientific, we shall run 2 gazillion volts through their necks! That will teach those miserable scientists!

You know, I’d almost be OK with that, so long as part of the deal we get the same treatment for religious leaders, who would get zapped whenever they talk about science.

Or politicians, who would be shocked when they… well.. actually pretty much all the time

Comment #124380

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on August 30, 2006 12:14 PM (e)

stevaroni wrote:

Michael Suttkus wrote:

From now on, we shall leash all the scientists in electroshock collars and if any of them dares say a single thing that isn’t utterly scientific, we shall run 2 gazillion volts through their necks! That will teach those miserable scientists!

You know, I’d almost be OK with that, so long as part of the deal we get the same treatment for religious leaders, who would get zapped whenever they talk about science.

Oooo, another atheist anti-religion rant! This forum is just full of atheist rants! :-)

Seriously, though, I’m pretty sure this is what they’re thinking of when they blither about atheistic rants. You’re not mindlessly kowtowing to religion, it’s sorta negative about it… clearly it’s an atheist rant.

Personally, I’ve long felt Congress should have electrodes in their seats, with every home having free access to C-Span and a local button to express their grievances to their representatives with. I know *I* would use it. :-)

Comment #124381

Posted by gwangung on August 30, 2006 12:15 PM (e)

And Darth Robot said thats not GOOD ENOUGH!

It aint.

Well, WTF IS good enough? I looked at their forums, they ARE full of atheist rants.

If you’re wondering what is “good enough”, may I submit that you have no business talking about either ID or evolution? When people are flat out saying “Link to some examples”, your saying “they ARE full of atheist rants” is sadly, sadly, lacking. You simply have no clue on what makes for evidence in a rhetorical argument, let alone a scientific or philosophical one.

Comment #124504

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 30, 2006 6:42 PM (e)

atheist rants

But ID isn’t about religion. No siree Bob. It’s just them lying atheist darwinists who say it is.

(snicker) (giggle)

Comment #124518

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 30, 2006 7:24 PM (e)

Recovering Troll has obviously had a relapse.

If atheists are such a weak minority, and the “creationists” (substitute Jews, blacks, fundies, whatever as needed depending on your argument)are everywhere, how come evolutionism is the only thing that can be taught in public schools and creationism is BANNED?

one, atheists is a rather broad term, the lack of religion is not a religion, nor is it easy to categorize such as a singular political or social entity, regardless of your meager attempts to do so.

two, nobody teaches “evolutionism” except in unification churches. Is that what you heard when you went to school? er, DID you go to school?

Do you not understand the difference between a scientific theory an a religious ideology? Perhaps you should read the Kitzmiller trial notes, that might help… a bit. Answer your own stupid ass question:

why did Jones rule that teaching ID was in violation of the establishment clause?

Do you understand why our Constitution even HAS an establishment clause? or didn’t they get that far at Redneck U.?

And someone said that Kansas Citizens for Science is full of atheist rants and go look at their forums.

I highly suggest you actually leave your church basement once in a while and get a clue as to WHY so many are adamantly opposed to religion in public schools, and in public life in general.

you could spend a half hour or so watching this, to see what motivates the people you erroneously group under the umbrella “atheist”:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2439999165547892433&hl=en

Well, WTF IS good enough? I looked at their forums, they ARE full of atheist rants.

What the F… do they have to do with science?

nothing, and neither does ID or creationism. which is exactly why you see so many rants at the particular site you mention. again, regardless of your attempt to classify everyone who objects to the idiocy of “creationsism” as science, as atheists, they aren’t all as easy to label as you wish to think.

And what do Dawkins rants about religion have to do with science?

nothing, but they aren’t rants. Please WATCH THE VIDEO to get some idea of the connection between irrational religious movements and the practice of science in general. If after watching that, you still can’t see the connection, please seek professional help before posting again.

Hell, he is coming to Lawrence Kansas in October for a science lecture series to promote his new book.

Is it about his latest research on evolution?

Nope, its called the GOD DELUSION and its about how much he hates religion.

What the heck does that have to do with SCIENCE?

one last time, just to be clear…

WATCH THE VIDEO.

then go to the lecture and find out. maybe if you watch the video or (*horrors*) actually READ some of his books on evolutionary theory, you might gain insight, rather than just spew irrational nonsense.

good luck, as I doubt you actually are capable of rational thought and logic.

Comment #124521

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 30, 2006 7:32 PM (e)

Michael-

Personally, I’ve long felt Congress should have electrodes in their seats, with every home having free access to C-Span and a local button to express their grievances to their representatives with. I know *I* would use it. :-)

you think you jest, but essentially, even getting to the point of running for a congressional seat has become such a nightmare these days, most folks who actually WOULD be qualified to run for office are simply afraid to do so. It’s kind of like they already see a pain-button attached to the seat, and perhaps rightly so.

to a lesser extent, I think we see a similar pattern happenig with secondary school educators. there is so much pressure on teachers these days, and so little tangible benefits, that many simply quit out of disgust, and most who would normally make great teachers see the results and decide not to even bother.

meh, just something to think about.

Comment #124548

Posted by Wooldor Sockbat on August 30, 2006 9:53 PM (e)

Some recovery.

Comment #125154

Posted by Dick on September 1, 2006 4:12 PM (e)

Yeah, I saw the vidieo.

It is nothing more than an atheist rant against religion, and has little to do with science per se.

Yeah, the root of all evil.

And I bet you think the Protocols of the Elders of Zion gives all the facts on the Jews.

Comment #125159

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 1, 2006 4:46 PM (e)

Dick, you’ve just repeated yourself.

When you feel able to accurately convey some of Dawkins’ points that you feel amounted to nothing more than “atheist rants against religion,” so that the rest of us here can follow what you’re saying–instead of just having to take your word for it–do come back.

Until then, you’re really just wasting our time–not that you probably care–as well as your own.

Comment #125162

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 1, 2006 4:56 PM (e)

Stevie:

Dick, you’ve just repeated yourself.

To be clear, I’m not referencing your most-recent double post (which I’m willing to assume is the fault of our still-kludgy interface), but the repetition of claims-without-specifics as between your post further up the thread and your latest (two) post(s).

Comment #125167

Posted by Banned by KCFS on September 1, 2006 5:12 PM (e)

His mere statement that religion is the root of ALL evil is an expression of bigotry.

In some places its Jews, in other in blacks, around the US of A its “immigrants”.

To Dawkins its religion.

So I say…it ATHEISTS.

Athestis, who killed 100 million people in the twentieth century alone.

Atheists, who after they tell us there is no God to tell us what to do, want themselves to tell us what to do.

Comment #125172

Posted by gwangung on September 1, 2006 5:18 PM (e)

Yeah, I saw the vidieo.

How can folks tell? You say nothing specific and just spray generalities. Nothing there that would actually indicate you saw the video.

What is it about creationists? You ask for specific examples and they STILL refuse to do it. Are they that mentally deficient that they think they ARE being specific?

Comment #125178

Posted by GuyeFaux on September 1, 2006 5:30 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'i'

Comment #125186

Posted by CJ O'Brien on September 1, 2006 5:42 PM (e)

Folks, Christensen is just a sad little piss-ant who still thinks the burning-bag-of-shit-on-the-doorstep gag is funny. He’s popping up under several guises here lately and he is encouraged by troll-feeding.

PLEASE DON’T FEED THE TROLLS.

Arguing with an idiot is like wrestling a pig: you both end up covered in excrement, and the pig enjoys the activity.

Comment #125195

Posted by GuyeFaux on September 1, 2006 5:55 PM (e)

He’s popping up under several guises here…

Which one’s Christiensen? Dick or Banned by KCFS? Or both?

Comment #125197

Posted by Banned by KCFS on September 1, 2006 5:57 PM (e)

[Comment deleted due to vulgarity]

Comment #125199

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 1, 2006 6:00 PM (e)

So I say…it ATHEISTS.

That’s nice.

And what, again, does this have to do with ID? IDers, after all, keep telling us that ID doesn’t have anything to do with religion.

Or are they just lying to us when they say that … ?

Oh, and by the way, how many scientists did you say were involved with writing the revised Kansas science standards …… . ?

Comment #125206

Posted by BWE on September 1, 2006 6:17 PM (e)

his approach is dangerous to American society because it’s Wedgey divisiveness, its self-righteousness (“the only worldview that works”) and its vilification of all other perspectives is antithetical to the fundamental need for our society to have room for a broad spectrum of cultural and religious perspectives. The approach these ID culture warriors are taking, if successful, would likely lead to the same type of destructive fragmentation that we see in other countries where religious fundamentalism is ascendent.

So how should we respond?

The problem here is that an easy way to respond would be to say, “OK, let’s duke it out - let’s get it on with this culture war.” But such a response would be wrong, and would let them win irrespective of further events. If they are allowed to make this a simple black-and-white God vs. no-God battle, they will have the public imagination on their side. If they are allowed to frame the issues and we respond within their framework, then we are forced to tacitly accept the underlying assumptions by which they make this an either-or issue in the first place.

So my suggestion is that we refuse to go to war. We have have done a good job at some levels of resisting their attempts to distort science and misuse science education, but we need to do an equally good job of resisting their attempts to distort religious, cultural and political issues. To do this effectively, we need to avoid their divisive approach and the polarization it produces. We can argue civilly and persuasively for tolerance and diversity in a secular society without acceding to their misrepesentations of such a position.

A concerted, funded PR campaign aimed at making them look as stupid as they are. A slew of Jokes about fundies on Leno and tv shows that show them as they are. But it won’t go to the root of the problem. They are the army recruited by banking and neocons to create a certain kind of society.

The culture war is already on I’m afraid.

These are random musings to be sure but I think it is not as simple as it seems. PR (Also short for its synonym “propoganda”) is paid for and serves a purpose. I don’t think the purpose is as simple as a fundy’s belief in a provincial god. They just aren’t that smart.

Comment #125231

Posted by Jack Krebs on September 1, 2006 7:28 PM (e)

1. Dick (formerly Christensen at KCFS) and Banned at KCFS (who also posts as Ulyanov, JB, Emmanuel Goldstein and who knows who else) are different people (banned at KCFS etc. might be two people - I’m not sure.), but all are people who have been banned at KCFS and other sites for continual posting exactly the type of thing we see here.

Connor J is right about the wisdom of ignoring these folks.

2. A common consequence of responding to these fellows is that threads often deteriorate rapidly into extremely polarizid discussions as to which side has committed the largest number of atrocities. We are not going to go there.

A theme of this thread is working to avoid polarization. These folks are polarizers in the extreme.

Comment #125234

Posted by Popper's ghost on September 1, 2006 7:50 PM (e)

And I bet you think the Protocols of the Elders of Zion gives all the facts on the Jews.

I don’t think so, because you know you would lose. In fact, anti-semitic atheists are, not surprisingly, a relative rarity. It helps to remember that the Protocols claim that Jews drink the blood of Christian children, and that the same people who promoted the Protocols also said that Bolshevism was a Jewish conspiracy.

His mere statement that religion is the root of ALL evil is an expression of bigotry.

It’s not a statement, it’s a question. And even if it were a statement, it wouldn’t be bigotry; it doesn’t even address the characteristics of people at all, but rather an institution, or a practice. It’s like saying, as Ayn Rand pretty much did, that altruism is the root of all evil; it may be wrong, but it isn’t “bigotry”.

Comment #125256

Posted by Darth Robo on September 1, 2006 9:02 PM (e)

Jack Krebs wrote:

“Connor J is right about the wisdom of ignoring these folks.

2. A common consequence of responding to these fellows is that threads often deteriorate rapidly into extremely polarizid discussions as to which side has committed the largest number of atrocities. We are not going to go there.”

I apologise if that’s how I came across (and apologies if THIS post is off topic).

My original point to him was not intended to be ‘who is meaner than who’, but rather that our human values (or lack of them) do not come from our religious beliefs (or lack of them) since history shows that ANYONE is capable of committing atrocities. They are not just limited to a particular type of belief or political system.

Sometimes it is difficult to judge when to engage people like Christensen & JB; whether to ignore them or is it better to correct them when they pop up. And when they come over with the same tired old baseless arguments without evidence to back it up, it’s easy to get an itchy trigger finger and respond out of reaction (and thereby losing the point that one was attempting to make). Admittedly I’m guilty there. Sorry about that. :-(

I appreciate you wanting to keep everything cool and keeping the thread on track.

Comment #125260

Posted by Popper's ghost on September 1, 2006 9:30 PM (e)

mu

Comment #125266

Posted by Popper's ghost on September 1, 2006 10:34 PM (e)

My previous post was a response to a troll post since deleted. But I suppose “mu” still applies. :-)