Monthly Archives: October 2009

Discovery Institute: Brave Struggle Against All Odds

FOR Halloween, what could be more appropriate than a discussion about the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids).

Today we bring you a genuinely spooky Discoveroid blog article: Free Speech Prevails as Stephen Meyer Speaks on Intelligent Design to Huge Crowd at Colorado Conference. It’s by John West, one of our favorite Discoveroids. Westie has been on some kind of martyrdom gig lately. See: Discovery Institute: Victim of “Hate Speech”?

Who is John West? Most of you already know, so you can skip these two indented paragraphs:

West is a winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award. He’s a Senior Fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute (the DI), where he is Associate Director of their Center for Science and Culture. That makes him one of the chief Keepers of their Wedge strategy, and the guru of the cdesign proponentsists (a term described here: cdesign proponentsists).

West can be counted on each year to attempt Another July 4th Hijacking. He’s also known for making Wild Charges of Evidence Suppression concerning “recent scientific evidence challenging Darwinism.”

Okay, here’s Westie’s latest article. It’s about some creationist revival meeting the Discoveroids are holding in Colorado. The article is quite short, so we’ll break it up into separate sentences to accommodate our Curmudgeonly commentary. We’ll omit the links that are in the article, and the bold font was added by us:

Castle Rock, Colorado—Despite the first major snowstorm of the season, and unrelenting efforts by malicious Darwinists to prevent people from registering, a huge crowd of around 1,000 people showed up Friday night to hear Dr. Stephen Meyer present the DNA evidence for intelligent design based on his new book Signature in the Cell.

Wow! These intrepid creationists — sorry, Westie, we mean “intelligent design theorists” — endured not only a major snowstorm, but also the slings and arrows of “malicious Darwinists” who were trying to suppress their amazing evidence. What a brave bunch those Discoveroids must be!

Who is Stephen Meyer? He’s the guy who was mixed up in the infamous peer review controversy. Let’s read on from Westie’s blog article:

Meyer, Michael Behe, David Berlinski, and myself are in Colorado to speak at the Legacy of Darwin ID Conference sponsored by Shepherd Project Ministries.

What a gathering of giants! See: Kitzmiller v. Dover: Michael Behe’s Testimony. We haven’t written much about David Berlinski. He’s one of those who tutored Ann Coulter on science and evolution for her book Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

And what’s Shepherd Project Ministries? Their website isn’t responding at the moment (probably because of those “malicious Darwinists”), but they’re obviously not a scientific research organization. Here’s their Facebook information.

We continue:

On Saturday, Michael Behe will present the evidence against modern Darwinism from his books Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution; David Berlinski will talk about The Devil’s Delusion and The Deniable Darwin; and I will talk about my book Darwin Day in America.

They seem to have selected an appropriate venue for their presentations. Sounds like a great opportunity to soak up some of that old-time creationism. Here’s more:

Any fair-minded person in the Denver-Castle Rock-Colorado Springs area who still wants to come is welcome to purchase tickets at the door on Saturday morning starting at 8:15 am. The conference is taking place at the Douglas County Events Center.

Westie wants only “fair-minded” people to attend. Anyone who actually knows something about evolution might ask embarrassing questions, and that’s not fair. Moving along:

As of tonight, the malicious jamming of the Shepherd’s Project website seems to be continuing.

Perhaps. Or maybe they just shut the site down so they could play the victim role. Hey, teach the controversy! Another excerpt:

Not content to suppress free speech about Darwin’s theory in schools and colleges and the media, some Darwinist vigilantes are now apparently even trying to stop intelligent design proponents from speaking at private conferences.

Yes, but who can blame them? The’re all terrified of The Truth. Here’s the end of the article:

Fortunately, their suppression tactics don’t seem to be working!

Then the Darwinist conspiracy is surely doomed. Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Debate: Ray Comfort vs. Eugenie Scott

AT the website of U.S. News & World Report we read: Ray Comfort Defends His Creationist Edition of ‘On the Origin of Species’. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

When I blogged recently about a new, pro-creationism edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species — complete with a rebuttal to the theory of evolution — the responses poured in. “I’m a little concerned,” the communications director for the National Center for Science Education wrote me in an E-mail, “that some stuff — such as Ray Comfort’s version of On the Origin of Species — gets coverage but no critical commentary.”

So I invited the head of the National Center for Science Education, the leading organization promoting and defending the teaching of evolution in public schools, to debate Ray Comfort, author of the new Origin, here on God & Country.

That sounds interesting. Let’s read on:

Here’s the first post from Comfort, explaining his new book, which he plans to distribute in the tens of thousands on college campuses.

Great. More press coverage for Comfort. We continue:

I’ll post a rebuttal from NCSE Executive Director Eugenie Scott later today. Next week, I’ll put up a follow-up post from each. And just a reminder: Neither God & Country [the column in the magazine] nor U.S. News necessarily endorses their views.

Very journalistic. They take no sides between solid science and flaming buffoonery.

Anyway, what follows at their website is Comfort’s side of this “debate.” We’re not going to give you any excerpts because it’s rubbish from start to finish. They promise to post Scott’s rebuttal today. We’ll see. At the moment, US News is looking like WorldNetDaily.

Addendum: They’ve published Eugenie Scott’s response.

Addendum: See also Debate: Comfort vs. Scott — Phase 2.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Wisdom — Example 80

ALL the letters-to-the-editor we write about have similarities, yet each has its unique aspects. Today’s specimen appears in the Fort Collins Coloradoan, and it’s titled Darwin’s ideas conflict with the facts.

We won’t copy today’s letter in its entirety because it’s too long, so we’ll skip over the letter-writer’s standard creationist blather. We’ll also omit his name and city. Besides adding Curmudgeonly commentary between the paragraphs, we added some bold font for emphasis. Here we go:

Darwin’s legacy is both an advancement in our understanding of the natural world and the human disaster of atheistic regimes like Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China.

We see this at almost all creationist websites. There are two reasons for rejecting such nonsense. First, because it’s false. Stalin suppressed Darwinian biology, and Mao probably never heard of Darwin. Also, if this creationist allegation were true, then why didn’t Darwin’s own country behave like Russia and China? The second reason is because science doesn’t causes the problems attributed to it; rather, it’s the anti-science side that deserves “credit” for religious wars, witch burnings, and centuries of state-enforced mindlessness. A creationist who slanders science is like a blood-drenched slasher accusing his victims of atrocities.

Let’s read on:

Naturalism presupposes that no supernatural force was involved in our origins and thus gives us no purpose, positions man free from the laws of God, and makes man merely an animal, seeking his own pleasure at the expense of others.

So many errors, so little time. Contrary to the propaganda from professional creationist flim-flammers, science doesn’t demand a philosophy of metaphysical naturalism. All that science requires, besides freedom, is data that can be verifiably observed and tested. These are modest occupational necessities, and they leave the angels entirely free to conduct their heavenly duties. We continue:

Scientists have imposed atheistic presuppositions on the explanation of origins – a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The teaching of evolution as fact in science classrooms is also wrong because observational data do not support the theory.

That second sentence is nonsense, but the sentence before it is an argument we haven’t seen before, which is why we’re writing about today’s letter. Let’s ignore the letter-writer’s fevered imaginings about the alleged presuppositions of science — which are not only wrong but stupidly wrong. Instead, focus on the wild assertion that science itself violates the First Amendment. That’s a new one. It’s not much of an argument, obviously, but it’s a newly observed symptom of creationism.

Here’s more:

Today’s science textbooks teach evolution as fact, when already known facts and laws directly contradict it.

Yeah, right. How about an example?

In high school biology textbooks, we’re told that life can only come from life (the Law of Biogenesis), which Louis Pasteur proved via experiment, yet in following chapters we are told that “life arose” from nonlife 3.5 billion years ago. We’re told that species slowly morph into more complex new species over long periods of time, yet this has never been observed, even after observing tens of thousands of generations of bacteria.

Ah yes, the oft-repeated and entirely fictional “Law of Biogenesis,” which only exists in creationist literature. We’ve discussed it a time or two. See: Creationist Wisdom — Example Fourteen. Better still, here’s a good discussion at Talk.Origins: Spontaneous Generation and the Origin of Life.

Moving along:

I believe that our culture has been deceived into thinking that evolution can explain life’s origins when the facts prove that it cannot.

That’s what the letter-writer believes? Okay. Hey, genius: Darwin’s theory of evolution never attempted to explain life’s origins. Here’s more:

Life’s information, complexity, interdependence and sustainability are much better explained by the history in Genesis. The facts of science back this up.

Genesis is a proclamation, not an explanation. We’re getting close to the end now:

Dr. Rob Carter will visit Fort Collins this week to share the latest findings in the human genome and how the story of creation, the catastrophe of the flood and the dispersal of the people all line up consistently with the data of human genetics and fit much better than the evolutionary scenario. If this interests you, come hear Dr. Carter speak at 3 p.m. Friday in the North Ballroom of Lory Student Center at Colorado State University.

Who is Carter? We found him here: Dr Robert W. Carter. If we can believe his biographical material (remember: verify everything when dealing with creationists) then he’s one of those curiosities who somehow got through school but who nevertheless believes — or at least promotes — creationism. To us, that’s far worse than a totally unschooled creationist, who has the excuse of not knowing better. What’s Carter’s excuse?

At last, we come to the letter’s end:

And if you can’t make that but are interested in the topic of creation/evolution and how we can all work together to have science stay connected to truth, e-mail me at [Curmudgeonly deletion] and I’ll be happy to talk with you.

[Writer’s name and city can be seen in the original.]

There you are, dear reader. We hope you devote all the time necessary to ponder the meaning of this. And if you’re in the Fort Collins area, be sure to attend Carter’s revival meeting. It promises some good, down-home, old-time creationism.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Discovery Institute: Victim of “Hate Speech”?

PERHAPS you’ve noticed that we’ve been neglecting the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). It’s not because we’ve stopped thinking of them as Enemies of the Enlightenment, but because most of their recent blog posts have been exceedingly boring. They’ve been promoting creationist books, or else trying to drum up enthusiasm for various creationist revival meetings where their “science” is preached by their “fellows.”

But we couldn’t resist this one: Who are the real proponents of hate speech on campus? It’s by John West, one of our favorite Discoveroids.

West is a winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award. He’s a Senior Fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute (the DI), where he is Associate Director of their Center for Science and Culture. That makes him one of the chief Keepers of their Wedge strategy, and the guru of the cdesign proponentsists (a term described here: cdesign proponentsists).

West can be counted on each year to attempt Another July 4th Hijacking. He’s also known for making Wild Charges of Evidence Suppression concerning “recent scientific evidence challenging Darwinism.”

So what’s West up to now? Here are some excerpts from his latest blog article, with bold added by us:

Supporters of Darwin’s theory continue to distinguish themselves on America’s college campuses — not for their reason and logic, but for their incredible ill manners and an almost pathological inability to engage in civil discussion.

Oh, boo hoo! Let’s read on:

Last week, a factually-challenged attack on intelligent design was published in The Nevada Sagebrush, the student newspaper at the University of Nevada, Reno. Nothing new in that; I see ill-informed articles on intelligent design all the time.

We too see what we think are “ill-informed articles on intelligent design,” and most of them are on the Discoveroid blog. We continue with West’s article:

But after my colleague Rob Crowther posted a short comment suggesting that readers might actually want to hear from intelligent design proponents themselves (imagine that!), the Darwinist thought-police came out in force. One writer who is so courageous that he hides behind the pseudonym “bobxxxx” fulminated:

[Quoting bobxxxx:] Robert Crowther… and the rest of the theocratic morons of the Dishonesty Institute are traitors who want to destroy America’s science education. If it was up to me they would be put in prison for treason. They are enemies of America, no better than terrorists, and they should be treated like terrorists.

That guy used to post at our humble blog — until we stopped him. Although he seemed to understand the motivations of the Discoveroids, he sometimes got carried away, and even when admonished he wouldn’t tone down his style of expression. Here’s West’s response:

Traitors? Terrorists? Enemies of America? ID proponents should be “put in prison” for freely expressing their views?!! Perhaps the University of Nevada should consider requiring its students to take a course on the First Amendment. It’s pretty obvious that some of them don’t understand the value of free speech.

See how it works? You can’t let creationists get under your skin, because when their ceaseless promotion of creationism in science class provokes a furious response, they’re not rebuked — rather, they’re delighted. They leap upon such indiscretions and take advantage of them to feign injury and to claim that all they want is fair play.

As for the First Amendment, maybe West should take a course in that. There’s more to it than free speech. It also contains the Establishment Clause, which all theocrats despise. It’s the principal reason the Discoveroids’ supernatural “science” can’t be taught in state-run schools.

Then West gives another example of “hate speech,” presumably taken from the same internet discussion. As we understand it, a creationist commented to complain about some over-the-top remarks by science defenders, and the creationist (who sounds like Casey) claimed that ID defenders were always such nice people. (Yeah, that’s probably who it was. See: Hey Casey!) According to West, a science defender then responded by saying that even Nazis could display good manners.

That’s true, and it was technically a sound rebuttal, but invoking Nazis is never good debate tactic. Bear in mind that after reading only West’s account of things, all the science defender said was that good manners aren’t relevant to the substance of the issues being discussed.

But West chooses to take that comment in the worst way, and he then concludes by saying:

This is not free speech; it’s an attempt to suppress free speech by demonizing and intimidating others so they will be afraid to speak up. I have a suggestion for the Darwinist purveyors of such hate speech: If you really want to identify the opponents of a free society, try looking in the mirror.

The mirror? Hey, Westie — if you’re truly concerned about hate speech, why not look over at the desk next to yours? There you’ll find your Discoveroid colleague, David Klinghoffer, who — like you — has been granted the title of Senior Fellow in your outfit.

Your comrade, Klinghoffer, likes to play the Hitler card. And communism. And Stalin. And even the Columbine shootings. Most recently, he’s added Charles Manson to his fantasy account of Darwin’s legacy.

So go ahead, Westie. Cry and complain about alleged hate speech, based on a couple of comments on the internet. But whatever you do, don’t look around your own shop. You might not like what you see. If, that is, you can allow yourself to see it.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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