Klinghoffer Attacks the NCSE

Slasher

We’ve had a terrible time the last few days finding news of The Controversy. The only “reliable” source has been the Discovery Institute, and the pickings have been slim over there too. Their latest isn’t much, but we’re going with what we’ve got.

The Discoveroids have this at their creationist blog: Going to the Heart of National Center for Science Education’s Strategy. It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. The graphic above this post is in his honor.

It’s the latest in a recent string of Discoveroid attack posts. First it was Discovery Institute Attacks John Glenn, and then Discovery Institute Attacks Zack Kopplin. Now it’s the turn of our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us.

Klinghoffer purports to quote something at Slate written by Alex Berezow, claiming that:

… the National Center for Science Education makes a specialty of the “purposeful conflation of creationism and ID” that is indeed “clichéd and tiresome.”

Klinghoffer likes that, but thinks it doesn’t go far enough. He says:

But it’s more than that. It’s deceptive — and “purposefully” so? We give them the benefit of the doubt and say they are misled themselves, by their own agitprop, but they make that charitable reading something of a challenge to sustain.

Klinghoffer charitably assumes that NCSE, although they’re “deceptive,” are beinig misled by their own propaganda. Let’s read on:

“ID is not creationism,” writes Berezow, and “it is patently unfair” to call it that. I noted this to NCSE’s Josh Rosenau [of NCSE], who brushed the point aside, advising me that he was too “busy” to comment.

ID isn’t creationism? In fairness to the Discoveroids, we know that they don’t promote the old fashioned, down-home, foot-stompin’, psalm-singin’, floor-rollin’, rafter-shakin’, bible-based version of creationism which is spouted by people like Kent Hovind and Ken Ham. The Discoveroids have intentionally purged scripture from their dogma — not because they don’t like it, but because they know a scripture-based argument would doom their efforts in any courtroom. That doesn’t fool anyone — see Intelligent Design, the Great Incongruity, and their flimsy charade has been a spectacular failure in court — see Kitzmiller v. Dover: Is ID Science?

Nevertheless, the Discoveroids continue to claim that their campaign is scientific. Klinghoffer continues:

NCSE’s website insists that the equation of ID with creationism is valid (see [at the NCSE website] What is ‘Intelligent Design’ Creationism?). Their “Friend of Darwin” Zack Kopplin hammers away at the equation and Slate gives him a prominent public forum to do so.

Those durned Darwinists! Here’s more:

Why do I emphasize this? Because so much of the Darwin Lobby’s contribution to discussions of evolution and academic freedom consists of misleading the public, that is why.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s the science advocates — the so-called “Darwin Lobby” — that are misleading the public! And now we come to the end:

Meanwhile the media, with rare exceptions, fails to take them to task for these untruths. On the contrary, NCSE is the go-to source for complacent journalists. So the job falls to us.

Despite sufferinig the slings and arrows of the “Darwin lobby,” Klinghoffer and the rest of the Discoveroids are determined to bravely soldier on, fighting the evils of materialism, naturalism, science, and reason — all those nasty things that comprise reality and our hard-won ability to understand it. As they do so, we shall continue to chronicle their efforts.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Casey Makes a Startling Admission

Last week we wrote West Virginia Evolution Litigation, about a hilariously confused and misguided lawsuit claiming that evolution is a religion, and it was unconstitutional to teach it in the public schools of West Virginia.

The thing was so bizarre that we weren’t expecting any reaction at all from the usual creationist websites. But we were wrong. Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, has just written this for the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: Yes, Despite a Lawsuit in West Virginia, It’s Constitutional for Public Schools to Teach Evolution.

Verily, that’s one of the most amazing titles we’ve ever seen. What next — will Casey acknowledge that the world isn’t flat? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A parent in West Virginia has filed a lawsuit claiming that “evolution is a religious faith” and that the teaching of evolution in public schools amounts to “the propagation of religion.” The parent, Kenneth Smith, is apparently representing himself and demands that “an accurate genetic independent investigator” be brought in “to declare the policy of evolution, as to be violating of United States Constitutional Amendments.” The lawsuit will go nowhere, and in all likelihood will be promptly dismissed.

We are stunned to find ourselves in agreement with Casey. But wait until you see what else he says:

Nevertheless, the plaintiff raises a question worth considering. Is it constitutional to teach evolution?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What a question! The Discoveroids are often entertaining — albeit unintentionally — but we never expected to find anything that amusing at their website. Let’s read on:

The answer, as we at Discovery Institute see it, is yes. Courts agree. Simply put, Darwinian evolution is a scientific theory and there’s nothing illegal in teaching about a scientific theory (however scientifically flawed) in public schools.

That may be the only time the courts agree with the Discoveroids. Or, as we see it, the Discoveroids are reluctantly going along with something they know they can’t fight. Casey continues:

[A]rguments that teaching evolution is unconstitutional have come up in various court cases over the years. This new case in West Virginia isn’t the first, nor probably the last. In each instance, the parties complaining that teaching evolution was unconstitutional lost. What follows is a summary of these cases.

You’ll understand if we skip Casey’s recital of various judicial decisions, even though they comprise the bulk of his post. Oh wait — at one point he says:

Out of all of its analysis, however, most striking is the court’s claim that even if evolution were taught “as fact,” this would “not transgress the establishment clause”: [quote from a court opinion].

Casey finds that “striking”? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Then he tells us:

When it comes to simply teaching the scientific evidence supporting evolution (or the chemical origin of life), courts have decidedly held that this is constitutional. However, there are many ways to envision how evolution could be taught alongside atheism or materialism in a way that might violate the constitution, some of which I have detailed in this law review article.

Casey’s link is to an article he wrote for the esteemed Liberty University Law Review. We posted about it a few years ago in Casey, Corbett, Creationism, & the Constitution. Moving along:

Moreover, there are many scientific problems with neo-Darwinian evolution, and even though it’s legal to teach it in a dogmatic, pro-Darwin-only fashion, that’s not the best way to teach evolution.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Discoveroids know the “best” way to teach evolution. And al-Qaeda knows best how to teach Western Civilization. Another excerpt:

Rather than seeking remedies in courts, citizens concerned about the dogmatic and one-sided teaching of evolution should go to local or state boards to convince them that the best way to teach evolution is to teach it objectively, discussing both the pros and the cons.

Uh huh — and of course, that’s done by getting the states to adopt a law based on the Discoveroids’ Academic Freedom bill. One last excerpt:

School boards should do this not because they are (or fear they might be) compelled by a lawsuit. Rather they should enact such policies because they themselves agree that it is sound education policy and good science.

So there you are. This is a day to remember — the Discoveroids have acknowledged that evolution isn’t a religion that competes with their cult about the intelligent designer. Is that progress? No, they’re merely yielding to the unanimous holdings of numerous courts around the country that have all rejected what they would otherwise be claiming.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Casey: Intelligent Design Is Not Faith-Based

The Discoveroids are in denial-mode again. Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, wrote this for the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: Answering a Common Complaint: Does Intelligent Design Require Faith?

We know, we know — you’re wondering: How in the world can he deny it? He can’t, of course, but in his latest essay, he tries.

We all know what the bible says about faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” A more rigorous definition is: Faith is belief which is not based on verifiable evidence or logical proof. Either of those fits the Discoveroids’ belief in their transcendent intelligent designer. Here are some excerpts from what Casey says, with bold font added by us:

Recently I attended an informal philosophy discussion group including both theists and atheists. The topic for the meeting was whether intelligent design qualifies as science or not. … Toward the end of the meeting, a few participants still complained that intelligent design is in fact a faith-based position. By that, they meant that it unscientifically assumes design at the outset. Are they right?

Uh, no, Casey, you haven’t stated their position properly. There are indeed times when design can be perceived. Our computers are designed, but not our colons. However, the faith-based belief of the Discoveroids isn’t that design exists and can be detected — although Discoveroids often insist that they can detect it where no one else can. Their principal faith-based belief is that their imaginary designer exists. There’s no evidence whatsoever for that. His existence is arbitrarily assumed — on faith — because he’s such a convenient “explanation” for any phenomenon the Discoveroids assign to him.

Anyway, let’s see what else Casey’s got for us — aside from a distortion of the basic question:

Intelligent design works like any other historical scientific theory. It doesn’t assume that the theory will be true at the outset; rather, it tests the evidence from nature to assess whether the theory is true or false.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Where are the tests that determine DNA is designed? Or life? Or the universe? Or anything else that they always babble about? Let’s read on:

Before formulating a theory to explain natural phenomena, historical scientists make observations of the natural world. They seek to identify causes that are otherwise known to be in operation. In ID’s case, theorists study intelligence to understand the types of information and complexity that intelligent agents generate.

Ooooooooooooh — information! We’ve seen their “tests” before — see, for example, The Discoveroids and Their Magic Filter, and Natural Arches Aren’t Designed, But You Are. Casey continues:

Next, a historical scientific theory uses those observations to formulate hypotheses or predictions about what we should find in nature if the theory is correct (or, if it’s incorrect). In this way, ID postulates that if natural structures were designed, we will find high levels of complex and specified information, or CSI.

OooooooooooohSpecified complexity! Here’s more:

Finally, scientists perform experimental tests on natural systems to determine if the hypothesis or predictions are confirmed or disconfirmed. As one example, ID proponents conduct mutational sensitivity tests on proteins, the building blocks of molecular machines that function in the cell. They have found that proteins are rich in CSI.

Yes, proteins are complex. No one denies it. But scientists are demonstrating how they could form naturally — see How Life Began — Problem Solved? Also, as we’ve said before, genetic algorithms are excellent evidence of nature’s ability to produce spectacular design results without thought. The everyday use of genetic algorithms to solve difficult problems clearly demonstrates, again and again, that the unthinking processes (mutation and natural selection) identified by Darwin are quite sufficient for the task. Here are some specific examples of genetic algorithms being used to solve a variety of engineering problems. Moving along:

That’s the scientific method of seeking truth. It is not “faith-based.” Rather, it tries to minimize starting assumptions and let’s nature speak to us on its own terms.

And when nature says to the Discoveroids: “This is complicated,” the Discoveroids run around shouting: “It’s complicated, and that means the designer did it!” Another excerpt:

So how do you move a close-minded materialist who cannot allow the possibility of design into the position of an open-minded materialist who is at least willing to allow the evidence to speak for itself? The task isn’t easy. I have found among materialists a high correlation between those who claim ID is faith-based and those who engage in strident name-calling and mockery, railing against ID with its supposed ties to “conservative politics,” and generally being unwilling to engage in thoughtful dialogue.

Your Curmudgeon engages in mockery, but he wishes that creationists had never been invited into the ranks of conservatism. Alas, what’s done is done. One last excerpt:

Sadly, people like this have usually stopped seeking truth — and their problem with ID is not really about the scientific evidence. If there’s a solution, it involves being patient and friendly. A touch of grace is needed.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hey Casey — at the desk next to yours sits David Klinghoffer. Here’s a sampling of his scholarly creationist oeuvre, which most of you have seen before. He’s posted a series of essays attempting to link Charles Darwin to: Hitler, and communism, and Stalin, and the Columbine shootings, and Charles Manson, and the Ft. Hood Massacre, and Mao Tse-tung, and Dr. Josef Mengele.

Very scientific. Very graceful. Sorry, Casey. Until you guys clean up your act and start doing some actual science, you’ll continue to be regarded as a propaganda mill for the Church of the Gap-Plugger.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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The Professor of Engineering Design

Everybody knows that creationists rely on the God of the gaps, about which Wikipedia says: “God of the gaps is a type of theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence.”

As Albert Einstein said in Science and Religion:

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.

It seems that creationists are getting tired of always hearing about God of the gaps. But aside from denying that they use it — to the extent they can — what else can they do? We have a surprising response from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

This amazing essay appears at the AIG website: Evolution (Not Creation) Is a God of the Gaps. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! They don’t use God of the gaps; we do!

It was written by Stuart Burgess, who they say is a professor of engineering design at the University of Bristol in the UK. We checked. Yes, he’s on their faculty. Here are some excerpts from his AIG article, with bold font added by us, and scripture references omitted:

Atheists have often accused Christians of invoking God to fill in a gap in scientific knowledge. Even the great scientist Isaac Newton has been accused by atheists of using a god-of-the-gaps explanation when he said that the universe reveals evidence of design. But creationists like Newton do not believe in a god of gaps, but a God of absolute necessity. Newton recognized that the universe could not exist without the supernatural creative power of an almighty Creator.

Oh, it’s okay if a gap is plugged by “a God of absolute necessity.” Then he says:

Newton and most of the other founding fathers of science could see that the universe can only be fully explained with a combination of natural and supernatural explanations. Creationists only invoke God in origins when a supernatural action is necessary according to the laws of science. For example, according to the conservation of matter and energy (the first law of thermodynamics), it is impossible for a universe to come into existence without the supernatural intervention of an all-powerful being.

See? It’s okay to “invoke God in origins when a supernatural action is necessary according to the laws of science.” But of course, that shouldn’t be done merely for theological convenience — it requires a clear and convincing demonstration of necessity. Here’s the professor’s demonstration of that necessity:

The Bible is scientifically correct when it states that divine supernatural power is required to create the universe and life and different kinds of creatures. The Bible is also scientifically accurate that divine supernatural power is required to uphold all things. Rather than being accused of superstition, the Bible should be commended for correctly identifying the areas of origins where a supernatural Creator is necessary.

Convinced yet? No problem. Let’s read on:

Creationists are sometimes accused of ignoring scientific evidence and being anti-science. But belief in God in no way diminishes zeal for how life works. … Biblical creationists are always eager to learn from real scientific discoveries in every area of science. I personally have designed rockets and spacecraft for the European Space Agency and NASA using the latest scientific knowledge in physics and engineering. … The only “science” that creationists do not use is the speculative science of evolution that has nothing to do with useful operational science. Evolutionary ideas like “monkey-to-man charts” that supposedly chart human evolution are based on pure speculation and not useful to science and technology in any way.

Creationists also reject geology, but as with evolution, you don’t need geology to build spacecraft. They reject lots of astronomy too — everything that tells us how old the universe is — but you can build a rocket that goes to the Moon without knowing old the Moon is or where it came from. Nevertheless, it’s troubling to think that spacecraft are being designed by creationists. The professor of engineering design continues:

Ironically, it is actually evolution that is blatantly guilty of god-of-the-gaps explanations. [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!] When secular biology books attempt to explain why creatures or plants have a certain design, the answer is almost always “evolution did it” or “natural selection did it” without any explanation as to how the design feature could evolve by chance.

Uh huh. No explanation. Ever. On the other hand, creationists are always exquisitely precise in detailing every little step involved in divine creation. Here’s more:

Ironically, it is evolutionists, not creationists, who are guilty of ignoring scientific evidence. Over the last 70 years there have been many thousands of experiments with sophisticated equipment trying to create life in the laboratory from dead matter and energy. However, all of these experiments have clearly demonstrated that life cannot come about by chance. Evolutionists have a choice. Either they accept the laboratory experiments or ignore them and put faith in the god of evolution. They have chosen to ignore the evidence and exercise blind faith in chance.

Aaaargh!! Yes, life hasn’t been created in the lab — not yet. But only creationists imagine that it can’t be done — and they somehow “knew” that from the beginning, no lab work required. Moving along:

Evolutionary philosophy holds back scientific progress by seeking false evolutionary explanations of origins. If you refuse to believe that a jumbo jet was designed, it will affect the way you investigate the complexity of the aircraft.

Aaaargh!! Another excerpt:

When Darwin published his Origin of Species more than 150 years ago, one of the problems with his theory was that there was a missing link between man and apes. That missing link is still missing today despite extensive searches for fossil evidence of evolution all over the world. … As with every other aspect of evolution, the evolutionist ignores the gaps and encourages everyone to put their faith in the god of evolution.

The missing link! Aaaargh!! Skipping an ark-load we find this:

In modern society, a scientist is not allowed to say “God did it” for any aspect of creation, whether it is ultimate origins or the origin of any detailed design feature. The phrase “God did it” is seen as anti-scientific. But if God is the author of creation, then He deserves acknowledgement and credit for His work. And if God is the author of creation, then scientific investigation can only be helped by recognizing God as Creator.

Hey — he’s got a point. If God actually did it, then it’s no fallacy to say so.

We’re quitting here, but had to leave out a lot. Go ahead and read it all. It’s possible that you’ll end up agreeing with the professor of engineering design.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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