Discovery Institute — Their Most Brazen Post Ever?

Unplug your irony meters, folks. This headline just appeared at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: Correcting Disinformation on Academic Freedom Legislation.

The Discoveroids want to “correct disinformation?” BWAHAHAHAHAHA! If you read their founding manifesto — see What is the “Wedge Document”? – you’ll see that their sole purpose is disinformation. Specifically regarding their model Academic Freedom Act, all the world knows that it’s an anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism piece of legislative slime. We’ve critiqued it here: Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.

Their new “Correcting Disinformation” post 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. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

Our colleague Sarah Chaffee [“Savvy Sarah” to us], who is Program Officer for Education and Public Policy for the Center for Science & Culture, has an excellent piece up at CNS News, correcting some of the rampant misrepresentations of the content of academic freedom legislation around the country. She charitably calls them misconceptions.

This is Savvy Sarah’s article: Scientific Inquiry – Not Opinion – Should Triumph in Schools and the Media. Klinghoffer quotes from it and then says:

The issue centers on what the legislation protects and what it doesn’t. Academic freedom is not about teaching creationism or intelligent design.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! After that he tells us:

I’ve noticed that misrepresentations of this legislation are often accompanied by citations of the Darwin-lobbying group National Center for Science Education (NCSE). In fact, while I haven’t made a formal study of it, my impression is that that is almost always the case.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’ve noticed that actual misrepresentations about such legislation are always made by its promoters — the Discoveroids and their mindless lackeys in state legislatures.

Next, Klinghoffer complains about the article in Nature that we wrote about in Discovery Institute — Propaganda Whiplash. He says that Nature:

… quotes Glenn Branch of the NCSE, brandishing their favorite scare word (“The strategies of creationists have gotten more sophisticated”). [Klinghoffer put the word “creationists” in bold font.]

Get ready for Klinghoffer’s final paragraph. If your irony meter hasn’t blown out yet, it will now:

You have to hand it to these people [NCSE, presumably]. As champions of disinformation, with science and education reporters all but taking dictation, they are pretty impressive.

So there you are, dear reader. In the Bizarro World of the Discoveroids, on one hand you have Klinghoffer and the Discoveroids, desperately attempting to improve science education, and on the other hand you have the “champions of disinformation” like Glenn Branch and that “Darwin-lobbying group” NCSE.

Is anybody fooled by this nonsense? No. Creationists understand that the Discoveroids are on their side, and science-minded people know that the Discoveroids are a pack of creationists. Posts like Klinghoffer’s are part of the game — and for those who are concerned about integrity, they’re also very revealing.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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2017 Gallup Poll on Evolution

The last time we posted about one of these was 2014 Gallup Poll on Evolution. The results of the Gallup Organization’s latest poll are online here: In US, Belief in Creationist View of Humans at New Low. That’s an encouraging headline! We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

The percentage of U.S. adults who believe that God created humans in their present form at some time within the last 10,000 years or so — the strict creationist view — has reached a new low. Thirty-eight percent of U.S. adults now accept creationism, while 57% believe in some form of evolution — either God-guided or not — saying man developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life.

It’s chilling that 38% are flat-out creationists, but the good news is that it used to be even worse. This is the question they ask each time they poll on this subject:

Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings?

1. Human beings developed over millions of years, but God guided this process.

2. Human beings developed over millions of years, but God had no part in this process.

3. God created man in his present form.

They have a chart showing the poll results on the same question starting in 1982. For question 1 (theistic evolution), the results were originally 38%. That number has bounced around since then, but this year it’s still 38%. For question 2 (non-theistic evolution) in 1982 the result was only 9%. This year it’s up to a whopping 19%. For question 3 (hard-core drooling creationism) it was 44% in 1982, and now that’s down to only 38% (the same as for question 1).

Regarding those numbers, they say:

This is the first time since 1982 — when Gallup began asking this question using this wording — that belief in God’s direct creation of man has not been the outright most-common response. Overall, roughly three-quarters of Americans believe God was involved in man’s creation — whether that be the creationist view based on the Bible or the view that God guided the evolutionary process, outlined by scientist Charles Darwin and others. Since 1982, agreement with the “secular” viewpoint, meaning humans evolved from lower life forms without any divine intervention, has doubled.

Regarding education, they tell us:

Higher education levels are associated with less support for creationism and higher levels of belief in the evolutionary explanation for human origins. Belief in creationism is 21% among those with postgraduate education versus 48% of those with no more than a high school diploma. Agreement with evolution without God’s involvement is 31% among postgrads versus 12% among Americans with a high school education or less. However, even among adults with a college degree or postgraduate education, more believe God had a role in evolution than say evolution occurred without God.

Then they have a chart that shows the results broken down by education, religious preference, and church attendance. About those numbers they say:

Views by people’s religious preferences or lack thereof paint an illuminating picture as well. More Catholics believe that humans evolved but God guided the process (45%) than believe in the creationist viewpoint (37%). Creationism is still the view that half of Protestants and other Christians (50%) hold, but it is not dominant, with 39% saying humans essentially evolved with God’s guidance.

As for those with no religious preference, 57% report a belief that does not involve God, while only 9% are creationists. Not surprisingly, 65% of those who attend church weekly believe in the creationist view, while those who attend church less regularly have less consensus on the question of human origins.

There’s more to it, but you’ll probably want to click over there to study the results for yourself. It appears that some progress has been made, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. The Controversy will be with us for a long time.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Klinghoffer Criticizes Olivia Judson

Dr. Olivia Judson

Dr. Olivia Judson

Things are getting out of hand at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog. Look at this new thing they posted: A “Nachos and Ice Cream” Theory of Evolution. 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. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

If the old theory of evolution was so great, why do they keep rolling out new ones? You notice, however, that the “new,” “extended,” “fundamentally revised” theories – with the exception of the theory of intelligent design – always turn out to be more or less repackaged versions of the same old, same old. Without recourse to mind, they fail again and again to solve the main problem.

Sleazy introduction. Then he says:

Case in point: Sarah Zhang in The Atlantic heralds, “A Grand New Theory of Life’s Evolution on Earth.” At long last, is this the “theory of the generative” we’ve been waiting for?

That article is about a paper in Nature by Olivia Judson, whose image adorns this post. Here’s a link to it: The energy expansions of evolution. You can read it online without a subscription, but let’s stay with Klinghoffer for a while. He tells us:

The “new theory” from Olivia Judson of Imperial College London is a neat way of classifying sweeping time frames, “energetic epochs,” where life had energy sources made freshly available, thus making increasingly complex life possible.

That is stunning audacity. A Discoveroid, whose life is spent promoting creationism, dares to put scare-quotes around anything from Olivia Judson. Then he gives us an except from The Atlantic:

Judson divides the history of the life on Earth into five energetic epochs, a novel schema that you will not find in geology or biology textbooks. In order, the energetic epochs are: geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen, flesh, and fire. Each epoch represents the unlocking of a new source of energy, coinciding with new organisms able to exploit that source and alter their planet. The previous sources of energy stay around, so environments and life on Earth become ever more diverse. Judson calls it a “step-wise construction of a life-planet system.”

Neat idea! Why would Klinghoffer be so dismissive? He explains:

The key word in that passage may be “coincide.” Energy … is necessary but not sufficient in explaining how complex life arises. Merely “coinciding” with great leaps forward in biological complexity doesn’t cut it. The really grand mystery remains the origin of biological information. … Positing “energetic epochs” does nothing to resolve that enigma.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We recently posted about the creationists’ “information” fantasy — see Information and the Micro-Macro Mambo. Klinghoffer continues:

She mentions oxygen. In the context of explaining the Cambrian explosion, a classic fallacy is the “oxygen theory,” holding that new body plans arose thanks newly available oxygen. As we’ve noted many times before, oxygen has no ability to compose coded information, generating the software on which life runs.

Oxygen can’t compose “information”? Hey — if that’s the best the Discoveroids can do, it’s fine with us. But now, dear reader, your Curmudgeon has a decision to make. Shall we spend additional time diddling with Klinghoffer’s post, or should we stop here and put that time to better use by reading the Judson article? Decisions, decisions …

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Wisdom #772: The Designer’s Defender

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Pueblo Chieftain of Pueblo, Colorado. It’s titled Not by chance, and the newspaper has a comments feature.

Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote her by using her full name. Her first name is Claire. Excerpts from her letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

In The Chieftain of May 13, Leia Marie, in her column, states, “Whether a result of intelligent design, sheer chance within the stunning process of evolution, or — my personal favorite — some glorious interplay between the two, it is astonishing that we’re here at all.”

This is the column that inspired Claire’s letter: A meditation on the miracle that is life. It’s a gushy piece. The author is described as “a psychotherapist, spiritual mentor and reiki practitioner.” According to Wikipedia, Reiki “is pseudoscience. It is based on qi (‘chi’), which practitioners say is a universal life force, although there is no empirical evidence that such a life force exists.” Anyway, her casual reference to intelligent design seems to have angered Claire. She says:

Would that “intelligent designer” design his creation and then turn it over to chance, to the random process of evolution? Not a chance. If you’re the designer, that would not be the intelligent thing to do.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Claire knows how the designer behaves. She says:

However, he might set aside his design for a time and play around with chance? Not a chance.

The intelligent designer — blessed be he! — wouldn’t mess around with chance! Clair informs us:

Chance has no intelligent design, and has no power to do anything, because is has no being. It is merely an abstract word. It causes nothing to happen.

Phooey on chance! Claire continues:

There must be a cause. There is.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Claire tells us what the cause is:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1).

Yes. Of course! The rest of the letter is another bible quote, so we’ll quit here. Great defense of the designer, Claire!

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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