Nick Matzke posted Entry 3008 on March 23, 2007 01:23 PM.
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What has the ID movement been up to, following Kitzmiller and subsequent defeats? Apparently, they are going back to their base. In 2006 and 2007, the ID movement has hosted a number of “conferences” around the country. They call them “conferences” because it sounds scientific, but they are more like weekend revivals, actually, where the ID guys are flown in, give their standard talks to the public, and with a full-time professional apologist like Thomas Woodward ( or Lee Strobel (author of The Case for a Creator, The Case for Christ, etc.) emceeing the event. In fact, the “largest ID conference ever held” was held last September in the Florida Sun Dome, well-known to be a common venue for scientific conferences.

So anyway, this year a series of “Darwin vs. Design” conferences have been set up, apparently in a cookie-cutter format with identical guests and topics, and hosted by Lee Strobel.

The bios of the speakers are online (PDF). This bit is interesting, and shows us another thing that the ID movement has been up to:

Session #3 Dr. Stephen Meyer, director of the Center for Science & Culture, editor of Darwinism, Design and Public Education, and co-author of the forthcoming textbook Explore Evolution, will explain why the information encoded in DNA points powerfully to a designing intelligence.

Oh my, what a clever title for the new Discovery Institute textbook! It’s almost like they picked one of the most common phrases for mainstream evolution education projects and websites, so that they could appear to be teaching science rather than doing religious apologetics.

And as we all know, picking new labels easily solves all conceivable problems with creationist textbooks.

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Comment #166575

Posted by Craig T on March 23, 2007 2:30 PM (e)

And as we all know, picking new labels easily solves all conceivable problems with creationist textbooks.

I think your missing link is here:…

Comment #166577

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on March 23, 2007 2:44 PM (e)

Yeah, the “Evolution of Creationism” contains that post and several others.

Comment #166579

Posted by Inoculated Mind on March 23, 2007 2:56 PM (e)

That’s it. Two can play at this game. We need to write textbooks called “Exploring Intelligent Design” and the like, and nary a positive argument (as if there was one) can be found within.

That these events are being MCed be Lee Strobel is expected, I believe he has written in his The case for… books that you cannot accept evolution and be a Christian.

Comment #166580

Posted by Rupert Goodwins on March 23, 2007 3:09 PM (e)

Is anyone of a PT persuasion going to any of these? I’d like to know how information in DNA points to the creator, but won’t be on a convenient continent.


Comment #166582

Posted by ERV on March 23, 2007 3:19 PM (e)

Explore Evolution?

That names already taken.

Comment #166583

Posted by ERV on March 23, 2007 3:21 PM (e)

Holy crap Im dense this afternoon. Sorry– just really love the HIV exhibit :)


Comment #166584

Posted by Mr_Christopher on March 23, 2007 3:28 PM (e)

I hope to attend the event at SMU. I hate like heck to enrich these bastards by $55 though. I might try and sneak in instead.

Comment #166587

Posted by Vyoma on March 23, 2007 3:31 PM (e)

In all fairness, they were forced to change the orginal and more accurate working title, “Spewing Crap,” after several PTAs objected.

Comment #166589

Posted by Mr_Christopher on March 23, 2007 3:46 PM (e)

Looks like SMU does not want to appear to be endorsing the DI jesus fest. They’re in enough hot water over the propsed Chimp Library there. Anyhow, check this out over at Dimbski’s home for wayward children:…

Comment #166592

Posted by fnxtr on March 23, 2007 3:58 PM (e)

This is along the lines of certain countries calling themselves “Democratic People’s Republics”, isn’t it?

Comment #166594

Posted by MelM on March 23, 2007 4:07 PM (e)

And the purpose of all these “Trojan Horses”?

To get the Bible into every classroom as an inerrant reference work. Imagine “critical thinking” on all subjects by referencing biblical dogma instead of reality. And, why not at the university level also? Picture a prof walking into a UC Berkeley science lecture hall and lecturing from Genesis: “Ok everybody, be sure to read about Noah and the ark. There will be a question about it on the midterm. And, don’t forget the AiG assignment!”

These fanatics would destroy all rational thought in every domain of knowledge. I think this is one of the most dangerous movements ever.

Comment #166597

Posted by fnxtr on March 23, 2007 4:26 PM (e)

WAD whined:

Okay, all together now with feeling: “WE LOVE DARWIN. WE LOVE EVOLUTION. WE LOVE THE STATUS QUO.”

How about this, Willy: We love evidence. We love rationality. We love coherent thought.

Give us some and we’ll love you, too… and that’s really what you want, isn’t it, Willy?

Comment #166599

Posted by MarkP on March 23, 2007 4:41 PM (e)

Evolutionary theory is the most frequently changing “status quo” I’ve ever heard of. ID’s definition of “status quo” is like professional sports’ “lifetime bans” that only last a few years.

Comment #166600

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on March 23, 2007 4:48 PM (e)

Explore Evolution?

That names already taken.

Unfortunately, you can’t copyright titles. Ever see a movie called “Running Scared”? The next question is, “Which one?”

(I liked the 1986 one best.)

Comment #166601

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on March 23, 2007 5:04 PM (e)

I love how the SMU cosponsor of the DI lovefest is the Christian Legal Society. It is a most apt sponsor.

Comment #166602

Posted by mplavcan on March 23, 2007 5:05 PM (e)

Well, I suppose that there wouldn’t be much inanity offered in the “lunch” session, though indigestion might prevent proper enjoyment of the session.

Comment #166604

Posted by Trademark Attorney on March 23, 2007 6:10 PM (e)

While Gascoyne is roughly correct that titles are not ordinarily afforded copyright protection, the University of Nebraska State Museum appears to be using “Explore Evolution” as a trademark for museum services (and possibly other goods and services as well). If UNSM has trademark rights in “Explore Evolution” then that includes the right to stop another party from using the same or a similar mark on the same or similar goods or services where such use is likely to cause confusion among consumers. UNSM could possibly stop an author from using “Explore Evolution” as a title of a book.

Comment #166608

Posted by J-Dog on March 23, 2007 7:33 PM (e)

Patent Attorney - Thanks. So, looks like they go with Vyoma’s alternate title, “Spewing Crap”. At least they won’t get sued for false advertising!

Comment #166614

Posted by Crudely Wrott on March 23, 2007 8:27 PM (e)

Tired, pedestrian, sophomoric, beat to death, wore out and sad.

Sadder is some will eat this up and spread it, near viral like. Do your neighbor a favor, dissuade him from such silly shit.

Comment #166615

Posted by Jason Spaceman on March 23, 2007 8:35 PM (e)

There is a “Darwin vs. Design” conference coming up next month at Southern Methodist University. Professors from SMU’s biology, anthropology, and geology departments aren’t too thrilled that their school is hosting the event. Naturally the DI is playing the persecution card.

Comment #166616

Posted by Keanus on March 23, 2007 9:01 PM (e)

These conferences are the unwashed speaking to the unwashed, the consequences of which are zero. No converts will come from this. The only damage I foresee is that done to institutions like SMU that get hornswoggled into providing the facilities and suffer from the implication, no mater how strongly they disclaim it otherwise, that they endorses the antics. Maybe the SMU science faculties should recruit students to picket the circus in gorilla and chimpanzee suits.

Comment #166618

Posted by MelM on March 23, 2007 11:29 PM (e)

Checking, I found no book titled “Explore Evolution” or “Exploring Evolution”. Not good!

A new Trojan Horse is needed.
I wonder what the plan is. I noticed that in Ken Ham’s response to the Sisters, Oregon firing, he said that leaving his name and the name of AiG on the materials used was a mistake by Helphinstine. (Feed the kids this junk but completely hide it’s source. Wow!) Got me thinking. What if a book were to remove all references to ID, the Bible, creationism, God, Discovery Institute, Ken Ham, or AiG? Part of ID was allowing religious folks (knowing that there’s only one god) to take the last step of identifying the designer with God–not requiring a long chain of deductions really. Suppose a strategy were adopted that leaves the believers to fill the “gap” all by themselves. Maybe with just a little hint like: “Some will see God’s work here; as a scientist, I make no claim about that.” I think the old Trojan Horses of “ID”, “teach the controversy”, and “critical thinking” are dead or dying. A new horse is needed. Ultimately, it wouldn’t work though because those who know what to look for could spot the attack easily. But, would judges spot it?

Comment #166652

Posted by JamesR on March 24, 2007 10:28 AM (e)

I was thinking about writing my own version. It’s title. “Intelligent Design Revealed”. The cover would be beautifully done with DNA strands and then a little finger at the corner touching it. It would of course be nothing but blank pages. The idea being that if your going to make it up. Why not let each person make it up on their own. You may use this idea freely.

Comment #166697

Posted by wamba on March 24, 2007 2:58 PM (e)

That’s it. Two can play at this game. We need to write textbooks called “Exploring Intelligent Design” and the like, and nary a positive argument (as if there was one) can be found within.

I just ran across something called The Discovery Institute for the Advancement of Science and Technology Education

I haven’t figured out which side they’re on yet, but I did search their Mission Statement for the word “Jesus” and came up empty. If these folks are legitimate, they picked a very unfortunate name for their organization. The web pages say © 2000.

Comment #166703

Posted by Vyoma on March 24, 2007 3:41 PM (e)

wamba wrote:

I just ran across something called The Discovery Institute for the Advancement of Science and Technology Education

I haven’t figured out which side they’re on yet…

Seems legit. The domain is registered to Derrick Lavoie, a biology professor (Ecology and marine bio) at Cuesta College (a community college) in San Luis Obispo. Here’s a link about what he’s up to. Seems on the up-and-up.

Comment #166735

Posted by MelM on March 24, 2007 7:29 PM (e)

One way or the other, they’re getting into the schools.

Caution: starts with loud music. National Council on Bible Curriculum.
Claims curriculum has been voted into 382 school districts in 37 states.

Then we have the book “The Bible and Its Influence” from Bible Literacy Project.
Claim: “After first 18 months, The Bible and Its Influence, is used in 83 school districts in 30 states” Note that the Time Magazine article link is for April 2, 2007. (Yup, that’s what the cover looks like.)

I wonder if there will be any “teach the controversy” or “critical thinking skills” content to this curriculum?

Comment #166747

Posted by Sophist on March 24, 2007 9:00 PM (e)

In fact, the “largest ID conference ever held” was held last September in the Florida Sun Dome, well-known to be a common venue for scientific conferences.

Come to the Sun Dome on Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! for the Semi-annual Boat show and ID monster-truck Rally! See the amazing “Wild” Bill Dembski drive Bigfoot over a million flaming copies of “The God Delusion”! Watch in awe as “Mighty” Casey Luskin Jumps Gravedigger over 16 buses full of evilution indoctrinated schoolchildren! Cheer as Truckasaurus does battle with a 90-foot tall papier-mache effigy of Charles Darwin depicted as a monkey! It’s Science! Science! Science!

Comment #166758

Posted by fnxtr on March 24, 2007 9:58 PM (e)

Tea, meet monitor.
You owe me, Sophist.

Comment #166832

Posted by Narazemono on March 25, 2007 12:53 PM (e)

It never ceases to amaze me how people will quote Strobel as a reference in a scientific discussion. Sometimes I lose all hope for even the people in my own family when they read that and think they are enriching their understanding of science. I still humor my family by reading his work, but they can’t grasp my return arguments or any evidence not handed out at the latest church rally.

Comment #166848

Posted by Wheels on March 25, 2007 3:14 PM (e)

Stroebel and Woodward aren’t the only well-trotted-out apologists they’ve acquired. I’m sure most of us here have at least a passing familiarity with Dr. William Lane Craig, i.e. “That Kalam Argument Guy.” I didn’t know he was a fellow at the DI until I re-read his Wikipedia entry. I wonder what sort of contributions he’s made to the more well-worn ID talking points. His area of concern is mainly cosmogony rather than biology and we haven’t heard nearly as much about Cosmological ID in the news.

Tangental: the wiki article also on the page is a link to a debate between he and Dr. Bart Ehrman of Misquoting Jesus infamy, the subject being the ressurection of Jesus and whether it’s historically likely. I recommend the Misquoting book, which is a nice introduction to the layperson about Textual Criticism of the Bible and (implicitly, sometimes explicitly) why Literalism is foolish. Ehrman even goes a little into his own personal religious history, from “born again” to “agnostic” and how learning more about the Bible rather than just reading it led him into the latter. The content of the book itself and the examples it uses are almost entirely uncontroversial to textual critics (despite not meshing well at all with a lot of fundamentalist ideas about scripture), even if Dr. Ehrman takes more controversial stances in other areas of Christian history. A little knowledge about the history of the Bible itself is a useful thing to have.

Comment #167002

Posted by Testermnw on March 26, 2007 6:40 AM (e)

Hellobmh - this is just a testing, don’t worry about it

Comment #167242

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on March 27, 2007 11:03 AM (e)

Disco wrote:

Conference Fees (not including service and shipping charges of ticketing agency)

* General Admission: $55

* Students: $5 with valid Student ID (on a space available basis)

After March 20th, tickets may be purchased at the door with CASH or CHECK only.

If you have been given information regarding a group discount, please bring your code with you and we will honor the rate.

Students of who or what?
Cheaper by the busload. Who will the lucky groups be?