Casey Summarizes Discoveroid “Science”

The latest post at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog is long, tedious, boring, and amazingly worthless. But if you’ve been looking for a one-stop, all-inclusive arkload of their “science” in a single place, this is it.

The thing is titled A Tale of Two Mountains: Introducing Intelligent Design. It was written by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. His latest Discoveroid job description is “Research Coordinator” — whatever that might mean at a creationist organization. For some reason, they’ve never named Casey a Discoveroid “fellow.” To compensate for that void in his life, a few years ago we wrote Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow.

As we look at Casey’s latest, he’s dumped all of the Discoveroids’ Oogity Boogity into one gigantic lump. We won’t go through it paragraph by paragraph because that would be too much work, and we’ve discussed all of it before in numerous different posts, so we’ll give you only a few excerpts. Casey says, with bold font added by us:

Intelligent design — often called “ID” — is a scientific theory that holds that the emergence of some features of the universe and living things is best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID theorists argue that design can be inferred by studying the informational properties of natural objects to determine if they bear the type of information that, in our experience, arises from an intelligent cause.

Yup — that’s the definition of their “theory.” Its terms are undefined, its claims are untestable, and it leads nowhere. Then we’re told:

Proponents of neo-Darwinian evolution contend that the information in life arose via purposeless, blind, and unguided processes. ID proponents argue that this information arose via purposeful, intelligently guided processes. Both claims are scientifically testable using the standard methods of science. But ID theorists say that when we use the scientific method to explore nature, the evidence points away from unguided material causes, and reveals intelligent design.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Casey says intelligent design is “testable using the standard methods of science.” Yeah, right! Let’s read on:

ID is in the business of trying to discriminate between strictly naturally/materially caused objects on the one hand, and intelligently caused objects on the other. A variety of scientific fields already use ID reasoning. For example, when archaeologists find an object, they need to determine whether it arrived at its shape through natural processes, meaning it’s just another rock (let’s say), or whether it was carved for a purpose by an intelligent agent.

Yes, it’s possible to distinguish a rock from a stone implement shaped by a human. But — contrary to Casey’s implication — there’s no possible way to determine that the universe or anything within it was made by a supernatural cause. He continues:

Here is how ID works. Scientists interested in detecting design start by observing how intelligent agents act when they design things. What we know about human agents provides a large dataset for this. One of the things we find is that when intelligent agents act, they generate a great deal of information.

[…]

Thus ID seeks to find in nature reliable indications of the prior action of intelligence — specifically it seeks to find the types of information that are known to be produced by intelligent agents. Yet not all “information” is the same. What kind of information is known to be produced by intelligence? The type of information that indicates design is generally called “specified complexity” or “complex and specified information,” “CSI” for short. I will briefly explain what these terms mean.

We’ve been through all that before. See Casey Defines “Complex and Specified Information”. It’s meaningless blather. And you may want to look at Curmudgeon Computes Specified Complexity.

Then Casey talks about the “two mountains” in his title. One is a normal mountain, and the other is Mount Rushmore. Here’s where the genius of intelligent design “theory” comes in. Casey announces:

With Mount Rushmore, you don’t just observe complexity; you also find specification. Thus, you would infer that its shape was designed.

Brilliant! We couldn’t have figured that out by ourselves. We’ve posted about that splendid example of Discoveroid reasoning before — see Mt. Rushmore Is Designed, Therefore ….

Okay, we’re not even half-way into Casey’s essay, but this is where we’re going to quit. It contains nothing new, and nothing of any scientific value. But as we said at the beginning it’s, a one-stop, all-inclusive arkload of Discoveroid “science.” After reading it, you’ll understand why the “theory” of intelligent design isn’t now and never will be of any use to anyone.

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

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Creationist Wisdom #605: Science Leads to God

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Daily Reporter of Greenfield, Indiana. It’s titled Natural world reinforces reason for faith. The newspaper doesn’t have a comments feature.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. But today we’ve got a preacher — Mike Hopper, pastor of Faith United Methodist Church. Excerpts from the rev’s letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Atheists tell us that the universe and everything in it exists by blind chance, without cause, purpose, or meaning. This view taken to its logical conclusion leaves us with no basis for future hope. For atheists, there is no basis for hope when our lives are broken now, and nothing to believe in beyond death.

Verily, theirs is a wretched existence. But the rev offers hope:

Modern science is continuing to reveal new evidences for the existence of God and his creative power. When our lives are broken by poverty, drugs, divorce, serious illness and family problems, we have an eternal God who still loves us.

That’s a big help. Let’s read on:

An honest and thoughtful review of three universal scientific principles points us to God and His love for us. First, the principle of causality tells us that every effect we see in the universe had a prior cause. Nothing suddenly pops into existence from nothingness. [Mined quote from Robert Jastrow.]

God’s existence, of course, somehow violates the principle of causality, but the rev seems unconcerned. He continues:

Second, the principle of energy filling the universe takes us to the source of creation.

We didn’t know about the “principle of energy filling the universe.” It’s always good to learn new things. Here’s more:

Scientists have recently discovered that “Dark Energy” and “Dark Matter,” which cannot be seen or explained apart from the existence of God, make up 95 percent of everything that exists.

Aha — God explains dark energy and dark matter. We didn’t know that either. This is a great letter! Moving along:

The greatest power you can experience for solving personal problems is not human energy or effort, but divine energy flowing from a loving creator. Tapping into that energy requires only that you honestly seek God, and ask Him to help you.

That’s good to know. Another excerpt:

Third, life itself is providing increasing evidence for the existence of God. Abiogenesis (life springing from non-living things) has been widely supported for more than a century as proof for atheistic evolution.

That’s something else we didn’t know. This is amazing! On with the letter:

However, DNA and RNA molecules are so complex that no scientist has yet produced living and reproducing cells, which are the basic requirement for any human existence. [Quote from Jerry Bergman about “complexity that cannot be bridged by any known natural means.”] Life coming only from life points directly to a life giver.

We’ll skip the inspirational paragraph at the end, but we know you’ll want to click over there to read it. And so we leave the rev’s letter, with our understanding of things greatly enriched. Was it good for you too?

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

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Casey: Wikipedia Is Unfair about Intelligent Design

A couple of weeks ago we ran across this article at PlysOrg: On Wikipedia, politically controversial science topics vulnerable to information sabotage, which says:

[Dr. Gene E. Likens is President Emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Connecticut] partnered with Dr. Adam M. Wilson, a geographer at the University of Buffalo. Together, they analyzed Wikipedia edit histories for three politically controversial scientific topics (acid rain, evolution, and global warming), and four non-controversial scientific topics (the standard model in physics, heliocentrism, general relativity, and continental drift).

Using nearly a decade of data, Likens and Wilson teased out daily edit rates, the mean size of edits (words added, deleted, or edited), and the mean number of page views per day. While the edit rate of the acid rain article was less than the edit rate of the evolution and global warming articles, it was significantly higher than the non-controversial topics. Across the board, politically controversial scientific topics were edited more heavily and viewed more often.

We wondered when the Discoveroids would react to it. Now they have. Their article is In Covering Intelligent Design, Wikipedia‘s Editors Engage in “Information Sabotage”, which was written by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us, He begins by mentioning an article in PLOS ONE, which the PhysOrg article was about, and he says:

[I]t offers the uninteresting finding that controversial scientific topics prompt more edit-wars than uncontroversial topics. … But everyone who is paying attention knows that when it comes to controversial topics, Wikipedia tends to be highly partisan.

Oooooooooh — “controversial topics.” Golly, what topic could Casey be thinking about? Let’s read on:

And the authors of the PLOS ONE paper adopt Wikipedia’s partisan view that the scientific consensus is unassailably correct and anyone who expresses dissent from the consensus is guilty of a thought crime — what their article calls “vandalism and other shenanigans.”

But those of us with internet experience know that creationists would never attempt any “vandalism and other shenanigans.” They’re far too honorable for that. Casey continues:

On evolution and ID, the reality is that Wikipedia articles are grossly slanted — pro-evolution, anti-ID — and Wikipedia’s high-level admin editors typically refuse to tolerate edits that would allow any balance or objectivity. As soon as anyone makes an edit to correct an anti-ID error or an instance of pro-Darwin bias, those edits are reversed and disallowed.

We’re shocked — shocked! Here’s more:

So there is indeed “sabotage” going on — but it’s by those who would censor and disallow information that challenges an evolutionary viewpoint. Although I personally don’t edit Wikipedia, I say this based upon years and years of people contacting me who tell of having tried to make bland, benign, reasonable edits and who then saw those changes immediately deleted by pro-Darwin editors. Sometimes, the page is then locked down with the justification that it has been “vandalized.”

This is an outrage! Then Casey gives us an example:

In 2005 the ACLU triumphed in the Kitzmiller v. Dover ruling that banned a pro-ID textbook, Of Pandas and People, from being mentioned in science classrooms in a Pennsylvania school district.

Pandas? Casey is still whining about Pandas? The case wasn’t about banning Pandas, but that book was the strongest evidence in the whole Kitzmiller trial that convinced Judge Jones to conclude that intelligent design is nothing but re-packaged creationism. The last time we wrote about the book was “Pandas” Publisher Withdraws in Texas. That post quotes the relevant parts of the Kitzmiller decision.

Casey’s post is very long. He spends several paragraphs attempting to show how Wikipedia violates its own rules when the subject is intelligent design. They’re so unfair!

Then he attempts to defend the Discoveroids’ woeful list they’ve compiled of those who presumably agree with them — A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. We’ve written about it several times — see Discoveroids’ “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”. Casey is upset that Wikipedia doesn’t treat that list with the respect he thinks it deserves.

Casey also complains about several other things Wikipedia says about intelligent design, which he says aren’t backed up with appropriate authority. What things? For example, in his words: the claim that invoking an “intelligent creator” somehow has a “paralyzing effect” on scientific progress. And the claim that “Teach the Controversy,” is “a campaign, conducted by Discovery Institute.” He also repeats several of his gripes about what Judge Jones decided in the Kitzmiller decision, findings which Wikipedia uncritically reports, even though — Casey insists — Jones was wrong about everything. He says:

These are all objective problems that point to biases, errors, and flagrant violations of Wikipedia‘s own rules. Yet if you were to correct any of these errors and biases, your edits would be immediately reversed and you might be accused by pro-Darwin academics of engaging in “information sabotage,” “vandalism,” and “other shenanigans.” Since the vast majority of Wikipedia‘s editors are anti-ID, it easily erects a firewall that prevents would-be editors from inputting balance or objectivity into the pages.

This is Casey’s conclusion:

When it comes to controversial topics, the famed online encyclopedia is hardly trustworthy and in my experience, its rules are a sham. That’s a fact, but don’t expect Wikipedia to ever admit it.

The Discoveroids can’t get an honest deal anywhere. It’s so unfair!

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Ann Gauger: The Discoveroids Are Winning!

This is one of the most bizarre items ever posted at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: What If People Stopped Believing in Darwin? It was written by Ann Gauger, who seems to specialize in writing strange and weird Discoveroid posts.

Ann is best known for the clandestine nature of what she does and where she does it. She’s a “a senior research scientist” at the Discoveroids’ Biologic Institute. That’s the venerable facility to which the Discoveroids gave a “grant” of $291,300, as we pointed out in Discovery Institute: Their 2012 Tax Return.

The Discoveroids give some biographical information about Ann and their other top scientists here: Biologic Institute — People. Ann’s work is so sensitive that the interior of her lab must never be seen by outsiders. You can read all about that in Klinghoffer Defends Photo Trickery.

The work done in that secret facility sometimes appears in the Discoveroids’ captive “peer reviewed” journal, BIO-Complexity. The last time we wrote about Ann was when one of her writings was published in that esteemed journal — see The Discoveroids’ #1 Story for 2014 Is ….

That lab, plus the Discoveroids’ own “peer reviewed” vanity press operation (Discovery Institute Press) constitute their imitation of the accouterments of science, and have caused intelligent design to be described as a cargo cult.

Okay, you know what we’re dealing with, and you’re eager to learn what Ann has for us today. Here are some excerpts from her new post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

What if people stopped believing in Darwin? Let’s say they just suddenly stopped one day, awakening as from a brain fog of misty narratives and just-so stories?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s about as likely as a global flood, or the sun standing still in the sky, but it’s the sort of thing creationists dream about. All right, Ann, we’ll play along. What would change? Let’s read on:

Well, textbooks would change, for one. And a newfound humility might briefly sweep the halls of academic biology. Biology students might feel free to express their opinions on origins. The world would see a new flush of academic freedom.

Yeah, there would indeed be worldwide flush. Ann continues:

Guess what? It’s happening right now, but it’s happening slowly, not overnight.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here’s more:

That’s because more and more people are recognizing that evolutionary biology’s explanatory power is inversely proportional to its rigor. Yet there is still an enormous amount of pushback from people strongly invested in the Darwinian story.

Stubborn Darwinists — they’re such fools! Moving along:

Will people’s worldviews change? I doubt it. The old Darwinian paradigm is failing and scientists are in search of alternative explanations, ones that don’t involve nasty words like design and teleology. I think only those open to the possibility of an immaterial explanation of things, the idea of mind and information, would find their way to intelligent design.

She’s probably right. Only those whose minds are open to Oogity Boogity will find their way to the Discoveroids’ “theory.” This is Ann’s optimistic conclusion:

Most would cling to their worldviews despite the collapse of their favorite paradigm. They’d just start looking for another materialistic explanation. That’s why they say scientific revolutions happen one funeral at a time.

She’s right, of course. The Discoveroids’ generous patrons need to be patient and keep the funds flowing. They won’t achieve final victory until all of the old guard have died off. It’s going to be a long struggle. But the result will be glorious!

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

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