Fools Flock to Creationist Revival Meeting

YESTERDAY we told you about a creationist revival meeting in Colorado. See: Discovery Institute: Brave Struggle Against All Odds. Today we have a follow-up report.

This is from the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). Their article is titled More People Flock to Second Day of Colorado Conference to Hear Behe and Berlinski.

As a special treat, the Discoveroid article is by John West. You can skip these two indented paragraphs if you already know who he is:

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.”

Here are are some excerpts from West’s report. The bold font was added by us:

More than a thousand people attended the second day of the Legacy of Darwin ID Conference this weekend in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Is that possible? We suppose so. One could probably attract that many to a lecture by abducted UFO probe victims, or to a seminar on the topic “Elvis Is Alive.” So why not creationism? Let’s read on:

Behe, in his usual winsome and accessible style, drove home just how much empirical evidence has accumulated in recent years demonstrating the sharp limits to the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and random mutations.

Ah yes, Behe’s using the God of the gaps argument. As Einstein once said:

To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with the natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot. But I am persuaded that such behaviour on the part of the representatives of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal. For a doctrine which is able to maintain itself not in clear light but only in the dark, will of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human progress… .

– Albert Einstein, Science and Religion

We continue:

During the question period that followed, two people offered long-winded “questions” to Behe that seemed to come straight from the talking points of the National Center for Science Education.

Blasphemy! How could the Darwinists have been so insensitive? And it gets even worse:

The first person offered a laundry list of the ways Judge Jones and the Darwinist witnesses in the Kitzmiller case supposedly refuted intelligent design (including the shibboleth about the Type-Three Secretory System). The second person read off a list of scientific organizations such as the AAAS that have denounced of ID and then demanded to know how ID claims could be scientifically tested.

What an outrage! How did the Discoveroids handle this situation?

Behe patiently explained how Darwinists in the Kitzmiller case far from refuted the evidence from intelligent design and described how Judge Jones uncritically cut-and-pasted his inaccurate analysis of ID from a brief written by lawyers for the plaintiffs.

This is intellectual necrophilia. That “cut-and-paste” argument was dead from the start, but the Discoveroids keep the corpse in storage and haul it out for a ride every time the Kitzmiller case is mentioned. Creepy stuff, but hey — they held this Colorado revival on Halloween.

On the bright side, we conclude that West is an environmentally sensitive, planet-saving kind of guy, because he obviously believes in recycling trash. He blogged about the “cut-and-paste” excuse last year. See: Three Years Since Dover — Merry Kitzmas!

Moving along:

Regarding the ritual condemnations of ID by “scientific” lobbying organizations, he [Behe] pointed out that science isn’t determined by political statements; it’s determined by the evidence.

Our industrial-strength irony-detector exploded again. Why don’t the Discoveroids do some research and present their evidence for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals? It’s not because they lack funding. But instead of doing science, they spend the millions they’re given each year on politics and public relations. See: Discovery Institute: Their 2006 Tax Return.

Another excerpt:

Following a break for lunch, I presented a lecture drawn from my book Darwin Day in America, outlining the real-world consequences of Darwinian materialism. Despite the fact that Darwin himself was a kind man who personally espoused conventional morality, I explained how his redefinition of morality and his effort to apply natural selection to human society had far-ranging consequences.

Darwin re-defined morality? And tried to apply his theory to human society? In what alternate universe did that happen? Westie’s discussion of that must have been thrilling. And then:

At the end of my talk, I discussed the growing efforts to intimidate and censor anyone who disagrees with Darwin — including the outrageous campaign to vandalize and shut down the website of the group that sponsored the Colorado conference in order to prevent people from registering

Is this a road-map for a successful revival or what? On with the article:

The last session included Stephen Meyer, Douglas Groothuis (of Denver Seminary), Michael Behe, and myself discussing practical ways to challenge Darwinian materialism among the next generation. At the end of that session, the conference speakers received a standing ovation. It was a humbling — and encouraging — end to a wonderful conference.

“Humbling … encouraging … wonderful.” It brings tears to your Curmudgeon’s eyes. And now we come to the end:

As I noted at the event itself, I am thankful for the fine people at Shepherd Project Ministries for sponsoring and organizing this event and inviting speakers from Discovery Institute to participate. .. In this case, the staff and volunteers of Shepherd Project Ministries had to surmount an incredibly vicious campaign of disruption in order to hold their event; I am grateful that they persevered.

Truly, a fairy-tale ending!

On a more sinister note, we suspect that these events are exploited by the Discoveroids as opportunities to build their faith-based network of useful idiots. Don’t be surprised if you see some incredibly stupid bills introduced during the next Colorado legislative session.

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

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26 responses to “Fools Flock to Creationist Revival Meeting

  1. This is classic Darwinist cant: ridicule from the well worn template, invective sans argument. I’d like to see you stand up to a real, live, moderated debate with any of the participants.

    All your insults are ably refuted in the literature: God of the gaps (no a design inference, as used throughout science and elsewhere); theocrats (no Americans wanting to make a scientific case for design); conflating creationism and ID (no: ID does argue from the Bible or insist ona young earth, etc.); and on it goes.

  2. Gabriel Hanna

    Doug, where did your Designer come from? What are your Designers powers, limitations, and desires?

    We can answer all those questions for human designers.

    You can answer none of them for your “Designer”, and until you can, you are not doiong science. You are just doing “Designer of the Gaps”.

  3. Gabriel Hanna asks: “Doug, where did your Designer come from?”

    Doug runs this blog: The Constructive Curmudgeon. Nice name, but I’ve got him on moderation, just in case. He can respond, but there may be a delay.

  4. I’d like to see you stand up to a real, live, moderated debate with any of the participants.

    That’s not how to do science, O creationist person of child like mind, and writing, and “beliefs”.

  5. retiredsciguy

    Doug Groothuis writes,
    ” I’d like to see you stand up to a real, live, moderated debate with any of the participants. ”

    And what would that prove? If you wish to do science, as you state, then do science. Publish your original research in a recognized peer-reviewed journal.

    Science isn’t politics. The theory with the most votes isn’t necessarily the correct description of reality. Likewise, the most glib speaker isn’t necessarily the one with the best science.

    Have you actually read Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”? If you wish to argue against what you call “Darwinism”, perhaps you should go directly to the source, and argue with the points he made 150 years ago.

  6. The design inference is not meant as a total natural theology or explanation of God. What it does is reveal the inadequacy of merely unintelligent natural causes in explaining aspects of the world, such as molecular machines and the information/language in DNA and RNA in the cell.

    I don’t have to know who designed the statues on Easter Island or for what purpose to know that they are designed and that they had an intelligent designer. The design inference goes through. So does it go through with molecular machines, DNA, and other aspects of biology and cosmology.

    If you are worried about the Dawkin’s quip, “Who designed the Designer,” please see my article in Think of that name. A Google search should turn it up easily.

    Thank you for your comment.

  7. Doug, I will happily volunteer to debate these guys. I’m only an amateur in the science department, but my high school debate experience will be MORE than enough to put these jackasses away. The combination of logical fallacies (such as strawmen, appeal to consequences, etc.) and the shear lack of evidence puts them behind to begin with. Of course, most of these “debates” turn out to be shear popularity contests, and ID’ers claim victory by the fact people are still clapping for them.

  8. Albanaeon, you’ll be a great debater. Permit me to suggest that you use creationist tactics. Try this line:

    “Ladies and gentlemen, the historical and scientific evidence proves that ID and creationism cause incest, retardation, bestiality, pedophilia, necrophilia, coprophilia, satanism, despotism, sadism, cannibalism, terrorism, and treason. Thank you for your attention. Have a nice day.”

  9. retiredsciguy

    Albanaeon, you might also add that Osama Bin Laden is a creationist.

  10. Gabriel Hanna

    @Doug
    I don’t have to know who designed the statues on Easter Island or for what purpose to know that they are designed and that they had an intelligent designer. The design inference goes through.

    Nonsense. You know they were designed and built by MEN. You know what men ARE and what they can do.

    You know they did not move the stones into place through magical powers.

    You know that men all over world, all through history, built things like those statues, and things like those statues are never built except by men.

    You don’t know a thing about your “Designer” other than that you pray to Him in church, and that He apparently has given you a license to lie about what you believe.

    You have never seen a molecular machine designed or brought into being. You have only ever seen men design things; and men cannot design such machines.

    You have no knowledge of any sort about your “Designer”, except through divine revelation–which you are lying to us about.

  11. Sarah Schoonmaker

    Gabriel,

    You say, “You have never seen a molecular machine designed or brought into being. You have only ever seen men design things; and men cannot design such machines.”

    Unintelligent, naturalistic processes have not accounted for specified or functional information present in DNA. Since this is the case, why can’t an inference to the best explanation be proposed? Empirically, the only known source of functional information (i.e. computer software code) is intelligence. DNA code is far more complex than computer software code, so I think it’s a sound claim that DNA code may best be explained by intelligence.

    Intelligent design is not inherently supernatural. I think the intelligent designer could be any of the following: an intelligent naturalistic source, a supernatural source, multiple-designers, ect….Intelligent design has nothing to say about who the designer is. Certainly, many make the mistake of asserting that the “intelligent designer” is the particular god or gods they worship.

    Personally, I don’t think ID is hands down the best explanation, but I think it’s a viable theory. Here are some peer reviewed sources in support of ID:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI001_4.html

  12. A “viable theory” that happens to include a supernatural source among its options. :P

    (A supernatural source can be a viable theory for anything if you allow it to be a viable theory for one thing. You name it, its a “viable” theory for it.)

  13. (A supernatural source can be a viable theory for anything if you allow it to be a viable theory for one thing. You name it, its a “viable” theory for it.)

    Because a supernatural source can “poof” whatever it wants, whenever it wants, however it wants, and you don’t even have to have a shred of evidence for the existence of a supernatural source! Nice “viable” theory.

  14. The great thing about a “supernatural source” is that we don’t know what it means, we don’t know what it is, we don’t know what it does, we don’t know how it does, we don’t know why, what, or if it even is. But one thing we do know: if we want it to do something, it sure as heck can be “viable” that it can do it!

  15. Gabriel Hanna

    @Sarah;

    Without knowledge of what might have designed something, inferring design is a waste of time.

    Suppose that the statues on Easter island were made of wood, each from a single huge tree trunk. We know Easter doesn’t have any wood like that and never did, so we would learn that the people who built the statues got the wood from somewhere else and transported it there.

    But if we assume God, or some mysterious Designer with God-like powers that can’t be told from God, made the statues, then it doesn’t matter what they are made of. If He magicked the statues into existence He could have magicked them into wood or stone or gold or single-crystal ruby; we can place no limits on His powers and hence can learn NOTHING from anything He designed.

    A hypothesis that cannot, in principle, be disproved is scientifically worthless.

    Can you think of anything that God could not possibly have designed, that if it existed would disprove that He had designed it? No.

  16. John Stockwell

    Well, of course, Douglas Groothuis can only think of “debating” because intelligent design creationism is about debating tricks, posturing, intellectual vandalism, and grandstanding in front of the masses. It is not about scientific investigation or a furtherance of human knowledge.

    Regarding Sarah Schoonmaker’s comments, she has apparently bought into the claim that there is an “information problem” regarding DNA. This claim is based on a false notion that there is a “conservation of information” law operative. There is not. Indeed, it is the nonlinearity of processes such as the duplication
    of and subsequent mutation of genes that makes the information.

    The claims made by the IDers such as Bill Dembski are based on his hypothesizing that such a law exists. It does not. Indeed we can see that this is so because the measures of Dembski’s “complex specified information” is a so-called “information entropy”. Such quantities are known not to be conserved.

    Indeed, the claim that we somehow “identify design” is a false claim. We do model the origin of objects, we do not “detect design” by some magic
    algorithm, independent of a known method of
    manufacture.

    Regarding Easter Island discussions:

    We recognize the statues on Easter Island as such, because our culture possesses the concept of a carved image, and because we know how to make such items. In short, anything from a charm on a charm bracelet to the faces on Mt. Rushmore, are known by the same context.

    Indeed, in each case, the objects themselves, as well as the source rock for the material, and the tools and the marks made by those tools are part of our “theory” of the origin of each of these items.

    We don’t have a similar criterion to apply to DNA. In face, the criterion that we apply is one of recognizing in DNA the evidence of duplications, transpositions, point mutations, deletions, and recombinations. Such a collection of non-linear processes effectively creates the “information” we see in DNA.

  17. Gabriel Hanna

    @John Stockwell:

    Actually, Doug Groothius makes brave noises about debating, and then refuses to allow people to debate him at his blog, while simultaneously claiming that they are unable to debate him.

  18. John Stockwell

    To Gabriel.

    Douglas Groothuis heavily censors posts that he allows on his Constructive Curmudgeon site. One need only disagree with Groothuis, and immediately you will be branded as “uncivil” and banned from his group.

  19. Gabriel Hanna

    I never even got the chance to post there. A very different sort of Curmudgeon from our gracious host.

  20. Doug Groothuis doesn’t know squat about science – he’s just an ID groupie riding on their coat tails. It means that papers pay him to write articles to provide a “balanced view”.

    I didn’t go to the second day – because, as on the first day, it appeared to be more about slamming Dawkins and Darwin than providing real information.

    This presumably means I didn’t get classified as a fool.

    Groothuis is going to do a standalone spiel at CU Denver on the 16th November at 11.45 in the Tivoli Center. Presumably he is going to reuse Meyer and Behe talking points which were unsupportable in the first place.

    Maybe I’ll ask him how ID works with no manufacturer. I was just amazed that Meyer didn’t have anything to say about that. I mean, surely if you were a Cdesign propenticist that you would at least want to have a conversation or a few thoughts.

  21. Sarah

    Meyer said indirectly that the designer was the Christian God.

    This conference was all about the Christian God, replete with reverends and pastors and even singers with Jesus this and Jesus that.

  22. Doug Groothuis doesn’t know squat about science – he’s just an ID groupie riding on their coat tails.

    I like how he says…

    “The design inference is not meant as a total natural theology or explanation of God. ”

    And then later he says (emphasis on COSMOLOGY added by me) …

    “The design inference goes through. So does it go through with molecular machines, DNA, and other aspects of biology and COSMOLOGY.”

    In all fairness, I don’t know what the heck either one of those sentences is supposed to mean, so maybe he actually does have a coherent point there somewhere in all of that double-talk baloney-meister speak. (Not.)

  23. I’m going to try to get to his lecture and ask how ID is supposed to work. Do rabbits wander around blind and then somebody comes along and gives them eyes? Is there a vet that does surgery on each one?

    I’m waiting for a human to be born with an all band cell phone in their head. Then, they might have something.

  24. John Stockwell

    If you follow the Groothuis’ posts on The Constructive Curmudgeon, you will see that there is definitely “mission creep” in the ID movement’s arguments. Originally, it seemed that ID was intended to look mathematical and technical. The direction that the arguments are creeping toward are the more traditional creationist arguments.

    For example, Groothuis quotes David Berlinski’s “living fossil” strawman argument to the effect that “evolution predicts that all organisms change” but “the shark is unchanged”, therefore “evolution is false”.

    Of course, if you spend the time to actually look into shark evolution, you find that “shark” to a designation of organisms at the “order” level
    (kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species.)

    By no means is “the shark” (or more correctly the members of 8 orders of organisms) unchanged over the history of sharks. Strawman revealed.

    Indeed, all “living fossil” arguments made by creationists follow a similar pattern.

  25. Doug’s talk was sponsored by a ministry. The substance was a video about Behe’s outboard motor stuff. After the Q&A, instead of what I thought was the student organizer giving a summary we got a witnessing.

    Several times in the talk Doug said that ID wasn’t linked to Christianity and was nothing to do with religion. HOWEVER, you could pick up this paper http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7049/is_4_60/ai_n31064031/ , written by HIM that does exactly that.

    Another dishonest scam. Why is a seminary philosophy professor flogging science?

  26. Chris P says: “Another dishonest scam.”

    Actually, it’s the same old scam — creationism.