Discoveroids Triumph Over Adversity

This is one of the funniest things the Discovery Institute has ever posted at their creationist blog: Conference on Intelligent Design Flees Portugal, Escapes Over the Border to Spain.

The author is Paul Nelson, a Discoveroid “senior fellow.” This is his write–up at the Discoveroids’ website. He not only contributes to the Discoveroids’ blog and lectures at their creationist revival meetings, he teaches at Biola University — a California bible college founded in 1908 as the Bible Institute Of Los Angeles. Here are some excerpts from his new post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Three different posters [pictured above Nelson’s article] for one intelligent design conference? Why? You can guess why. Some ideas are just too risky to discuss in a university setting, and intelligent design is near the top of the list. Actually, in light of what happened over the past few weeks with this conference, I’d locate ID as the leading candidate for the “But We Simply Cannot Talk About That Here” award.

Egad — what happened? Nelson says:

Here’s the backstory. A group of students at the University of the Algarve, in Faro, Portugal, wanted to have a one-day conference on ID at the university. They invited Professor Marcos Eberlin of Campinas State University in Brazil (the 2016 Thomson Medal winner) and me, to speak. The conference was scheduled for Monday, October 23, with university endorsement.

Okay, a Discoveroid revival meeting was scheduled at a university in Portugal. What happened? Nelson tells us:

Then, as soon as the conference was advertised, outside pressure began to stop it. On September 22, we received word that the event had been cancelled by the university. Score this as Cancellation Number One.

Number one? Then what happened? Nelson continues:

So they looked around, and found another school willing to host the event, in the north of Portugal: the University of Porto. A university science dean, Professor Fernanda Ribeiro, agreed to participate, and was listed on the program. Good to go, right?

Did something else happen? Let’s read on:

Except that conferences need publicity, and (again) as soon as the new location was advertised, external pressure came down hard on the University of Porto, and on Professor Ribeiro in particular. On October 15 — eight days before the conference was to occur — she [presumably Professor Fernanda Ribeiro] cancelled the event.

Wowie — that was cancellation number two! How embarrassing. Here’s another excerpt:

Tough kids don’t give up. If they couldn’t find a Portuguese university to hold the event, they would cross the border to northern Spain, and locate the conference in a commercial setting (i.e., hotel conference room), where breaking an agreement still means something. So, off to León, Spain, to the Paradores León Hostal de San Marcos: [pretty photo of the hotel].

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! They had to hold the Discoveroid revival meeting at a hotel in Spain! Here’s more:

The conference program had to be abbreviated, and the youngest son of physicist David Saravia, one of the speakers, fell onto the hotel lobby’s marble floor while playing and BROKE HIS ARM — you can see the cast on his left arm, below — which necessitated a hospital visit during the conference.

The Discoveroids just can’t get a break — oops! — that’s an unfortunate phrase under the circumstances. Let’s read on:

But we managed to get the ID ideas into circulation. Ad astra per aspera.

If your Latin is rusty, that means: “to the stars through hardships.” And now we come to the end:

Academic freedom needs courageous young people to keep it alive. “But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.” (Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, 1791). Yup.

It’s charming that Nelson ends his post with that quote. We’ll offer one of our own: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former” — Albert Einstein.

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

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22 responses to “Discoveroids Triumph Over Adversity

  1. siluriantrilobite

    “Commercial setting” surprised they didn’t go to a church for free. Of course fundamentalist Protestant churches may be hard to find in Portugal or northern Spain.

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Mark Germano

    “A university science dean, Professor Fernanda Ribeiro…”

    What kind of science, though? Biology? Chemistry? Why would Nelson leave that information out?

    From her bio at U. Porto: Currently Full Professor of the Department of Communication and Information Sciences.

    Ohhhhh.

  3. Good work, Mark Germano!

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    An injury report, but not a headcount report?

  5. Michael Fugate

    Over at Uncommondescent they have a blurb, but links to conference don’t work. They say:

    “Design is not challenging the idea of change over time, but is challenging the idea that these changes that have occurred over time are the results of purely non-directed processes.”

    They never will understand selection, will they?

  6. Mark Germano

    “…purely non-directed processes.”

    So, there are at least some “non-directed processes” that result in change?

  7. Michael Fugate

    Speaking of non-random processes how did I put “be” in
    “They never will understand selection, will they?”

    [*Voice from above*] It never happened.

  8. Michael Fugate

    One wonders where the money came from to fly Eberlin from Brazil to Portugal for a 1-day conference.

  9. Our amusement aside (this one was fun, thanks SC), it’s a bit disturbing that two universities cancelled the event. I like to think of universities as places were all ideas can be freely discussed, but I also get that institutions are fearful that hosting may be construed as giving their approval. I think SC may have given examples in which creationists/ID advocates have done this. In the absence of other details, if this was student driven, with student funds, it should have been allowed. I’m sure other crack-pot ideas are discussed on campus all the time.

  10. Michael Fugate

    SC, Just like Klinghoffer said, the history is gone?

  11. Scientist – basically right on, with sponsorship and hosting being a primary concern. While at Pepperdine, a student from Seattle with ties to the DI wanted the Natural Science Division to invite Stephen Meyer to give a talk. Our unanimous decision was no way. But, the student went to the Director of Convocation/Chapel to see if they would invite Meyer – which they did – and for which her family paid the expenses. And, by offering double convo points toward the semester’s requirements, the auditorium was full. However, when the students were invited to stay for Q&A after the official presentation, only about 5 of the several hundred in attendance hung around. When Meyer erroneously proclaimed that the Division had tried to block his visit to campus, I had to immediately pipe up and set the record straight – in no way did we try to block or even discourage his visit. He fumed a bit, but it was certainly appropriate that his visit was for chapel and not science.

  12. So they’re appropriating the motto of Starfleet now? It’s also on a memorial to the Apollo 1 astronauts, so they could also be said to be disrespecting their memory. Then again, it’s also the motto of the state of Kansas, so maybe it evens out, karma-wise.

  13. Ross Cameron

    ‘Tough kids don’t give up’. Neither do fools.

  14. Here’s the backstory. A group of students at the University of the Algarve, in Faro, Portugal, wanted to have a one-day conference on ID at the university. They invited Professor Marcos Eberlin of Campinas State University in Brazil (the 2016 Thomson Medal winner) and me, to speak. The conference was scheduled for Monday, October 23, with university endorsement. . . .
    Then, as soon as the conference was advertised, outside pressure began to stop it. On September 22, we received word that the event had been cancelled by the university. Score this as Cancellation Number One.

    What outside pressure? Nelson saith not. But to go on:

    So they looked around, and found another school willing to host the event, in the north of Portugal: the University of Porto. A university science dean, Professor Fernanda Ribeiro, agreed to participate, and was listed on the program. Good to go, right? . . .
    Except that conferences need publicity, and (again) as soon as the new location was advertised, external pressure came down hard on the University of Porto, and on Professor Ribeiro in particular. On October 15 — eight days before the conference was to occur — she [presumably Professor Fernanda Ribeiro] cancelled the event.

    Again, what pressure? From whom? Some communistic liberal satanic coven of professors or administrators?

    Creationists always like to present themselves as persecuted and their quack “researchers” as modern-day Galileos being victimized by a secular Inquisition. Challenged to provide evidence, however, what they offer up is basically “Our ideas aren’t being taught in public schools everywhere; what more proof do you need?” Their claims that their “scientists” are being denied promotions or otherwise abused because of their creationist views always seem to evaporate when examined. They are, in short, whining because they aren’t winning.

  15. Scientist has his preferences: ” I like to think of universities as places were all ideas can be freely discussed”
    I don’t [know] about the western side of the big pond, but at the eastern side universities are places were all scientific ideas can be freely discussed. For instance Portuguese universities won’t allow you to discuss the merits of Estado Novo either. Time, space and financial resources are limited. These universities being public institutions they have an obligation to set some standards.

    Nelson’s timing is a bit unfortunate. I’m pretty sure most attention in Spain these days goes rather to Barcelona than to Leon. Maybe he should have hired a hotel in Santiago de Compostela.
    As for “Ad astra per aspera” I suggest that after so many years Nelson finally will go through the hardships of ontogenetic depth. He has been quiet on this concept for about 13 years now. For instance in 2014

    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/04/on_paul_nelson/

    he rather adapted the motto “the best defense is an attack” and began to “argue” that evolution is wrong.

  16. Did that IDiot and YEC really just quote my fellow Thetfordian.

  17. Sounds to me like they just tried to repeat what they did a year ago “British Invasion: ID Scholars to Gather at Cambridge University for Beyond Materialism Conference”. Trying to use the name of a university for pretend legitimacy.

  18. Those Al Stewart lyrics at the end are copyright, and quoted here without proper acknowledgment (though his name is on the tag list). Naughty.

    I initially thought, like Scientist, that U. Algarve at Faro was wrong to cancel an event arranged by its students. But then I saw that Nelson speaks of “University endorsement”, and whatever the University can endorse, it also can, and in a case like this should, refrain from endorsing.

    But why did they need to drive 2000 km to find a hotel?

  19. Barbara Forrest

    The Discovery Institute has been trying for a number of years now to implement the Wedge Strategy in Europe, especially Great Britain, where there is no language barrier. They have also established an ID center in Brazil, where they have been working for years with chemist Marcos Eberlin, who was one of the speakers for the planned event in Portugal: https://evolutionnews.org/2017/05/intelligent-design-shines-in-brazil-more-from-discovery-mackenzie-launch/. One of the aspects of the original Wedge Strategy is to hold events on university campuses in order to create the impression that the university is hosting the event, giving ID an air of academic credibility. Now that the Wedge Strategy is completely exposed in the U.S, DI must look elsewhere to implement it. So they have started crossing the Atlantic. They have also had contacts in Brazil for years, so it is only natural that Eberlin would be trying to help plant an ID cell in another Portuguese-speaking country. And Paul Nelson is an old hand at crying persecution. If you are interested in the subject, see Creationism in Europe (Johns Hopkins University Press) https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/creationism-europe.

  20. Barbara C Forrest

    The above comment is mine. I forgot to enter my name!

    [*Voice from above*] All is as it should be. Good to hear from you.

  21. I can reassure you, though, that ID has been firmly pointed out the door in the Netherlands already in 2005, when then-minister of Education Maria van der Hoeve somewhat naively suggested that ID could be used to connect religious and atheist scientists. She was quickly corrected by some scientists and that was that.

  22. For those non-Dutchies who have no idea what Draken is talking about:

    http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/X2H-Xref-ViewHTML.asp?FileID=11751&lang=en

    Nr. 71.