Discoveroids’ 2020 Seattle Seminar — Not Full Yet

The Discovery Institute’s creationist blog is already starting to beg for people to come to their Seattle seminar — but in a clever way. They just posted this at their creationist blog: Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design Were a Turning Point for Me. The author is Brian Miller. He’s been writing for their blog for a couple of years, but the only information we can find about him is at the start of his first article, which says: “He is Research Coordinator for Discovery University’s Center for Science & Culture, and holds a BS and PhD in physics from MIT and Duke University respectively.” Here are some excerpts from his latest, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

At the Center for Science & Culture we are now accepting applications for our 2020 Summer Seminars, where we will once again train participants on the evidence for design in nature [Hee hee!] and on the societal implications. The program is free, and travel expenses will be paid as needed. [So why isn’t the event filled up already?] The session runs from July 10 to 18 in Seattle. Applications are due February 4 (international students) or March 4 (United States).

We wrote about the event once before — see The Discoveroids’ 2020 Creationist Seminar. Brian says:

Preparing for this year’s Seminars, I could not help but recall my own journey [A journey!] to becoming increasingly involved in the intelligent design community. During my undergraduate years, I read The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins. [A Darwinist fool!] That book incited me to start a quest. [A quest!] I wanted to determine whether I was, as Dawkins asserted, an accident of nature. Or was I created by God?

Isn’t this exciting? Brian then tells us:

Over the next several years, I read every book related to intelligent design that I could find. [Yuk!] I studied the critiques of those books and the responses to those critiques. I came to realize that the evidence for design in nature is beyond doubt.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The evidence for design is beyond doubt! Skipping a few paragraphs, Brian continues:

For unsuspecting students, the result of the assertion that we are an unintended accident of nature is often to dismantle their faith. [Gasp!] Fortunately, proponents of design have demonstrated that such arguments are typically based on a limited understanding of the technical literature (here, here, here) [links omitted], a lack of training in engineering (here, here) [links omitted], and appeals to the imperfection-of-the-gaps fallacy. [The what?] To undo the damage of this influential misinformation, I spent several years researching and teaching on the evidence for design in nature.

Brian is on a sacred mission to undue all the misinformation about evolution. Let’s read on:

Then, in 2016, I attended the Summer Seminar [Oh the joy!] That experience was a turning point in my career. I cannot adequately express my excitement at hearing directly from many of the leading scientists and other academics who so shaped my thinking. Even more striking, I learned that science is on the brink of the next great revolution.

Ooooooooooooh! A scientific revolution is coming! Another excerpt:

Since joining the staff of Discovery Institute, I have taken great pleasure in helping to lead the most recent Summer Seminars. I have met some truly impressive students, researchers, and professionals. I never grow tired of seeing the awe and wonder in their faces as they learn about the exceptional design in biology, in our local planetary environment, and in the universe as a whole.

Awe and wonder indeed! This thing is already way too long, so now we’ll skip to the end:

Our network of researchers is ever expanding, and our Summer Seminars alumni have been a driving engine behind this growth. I look forward with great anticipation to meeting our next class and seeing how the Seminars will help empower them to exercise their intellectual freedom, to pursue and proclaim the truth.

If you haven’t signed up yet, dear reader, there’s still time. Then you can be part of the Discoveroid revolution to proclaim The Truth.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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23 responses to “Discoveroids’ 2020 Seattle Seminar — Not Full Yet

  1. If they pay my airfare I might go, I might even sit though a few minutes of their revival meeting. I like the Seattle area.

  2. “I could not help but recall my own journey”
    Very much like Paulus of Tarsus. But hey, IDiocy has nothing to do with religion!

    “I read every book related to intelligent design that I could find.”
    Just realize how much time Brian could have spend on learning a few things about evolution theory instead, if he had understood that IDiocy can be explained in less than 15 minutes (and I’m generous now).

    “the imperfection-of-the-gaps fallacy.”
    I bothered to google it – nothing. It seems a new expression. As the faithful creacrapper he is Brian carefully forgets to describe what it means. So we can only speculate. Perhaps it’s “X is imperfectly designed so IDiocy doesn’t make sense”. That’s a fallcy indeed, because were X perfectly designed IDiocy still wouldn’t make sense. Other suggestions?

    “I spent several years researching on the evidence for design in nature.”
    Actual researchers then write articles, essays and sometimes entire books to present the conclusions and explain the methodology etc. Creacrappers however …. oh wait, their method is skimming actual scientific texts, looking for quote to mine. My bad.

    “Even more striking, I learned that science is on the brink of the next great revolution.”
    Most striking, according to creacrappers like Brian science has been on this brink for …. for how long, exactly? It looks science will stay there; given

    “I have met some truly impressive students, researchers, and professionals”
    who produce exactly nothing, nada zilch my bet is for a very long time to come.

  3. whether I was, as Dawkins asserted, an accident of nature. Or was I created by God?
    Creationists often change the subject. Evolution is about changes in populatons, for example, the origin of a species. If you are interested in the origin of an individual – “am I an accident of nature” – then the subject is reproduction. If you are disturbed by science studying reproduction, maybe genetics being based on randomness of your genes, then talk about that.

  4. “Brain” Miller – American Loon #2004

    Diagnosis: Pseudoscientist, denialist, fundamentalist, and conspiracy theorist. One of many, but unlike most Miller could, given his legitimate credentials, be confused for someone with something worthwhile to say (and the DiscoTute apparently wants to make damn sure that such confusions happen). He isn’t. Move on.

    I listened to about 30 seconds of him on some YouTube video, then I had to wash my ears out and eat a handful of coffee beans – straight.

    It’s no wonder he couldn’t get a job anywhere, he’s a raving moron, superficial and deeply ignorant. In other words, the perfect Tooter.

  5. docbill1351 says: “I listened to about 30 seconds of him …”

    You don’t have the courage to learn more.

  6. Michael Fugate

    It all comes down to dubious probability arguments which individuals who believe they understand math but know nothing about biology are easily taken in by. Couple this with conservative Christianity and voilà you have an DI fellow. They aren’t interested in doing science on the origin of life; they believe science can never be applicable.

  7. Michael Fugate

    It is interesting at Peaceful Science https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/brian-miller-thermodynamics-and-the-origin-of-life/1616
    Miller engages – sort of – when he is asked if abiogenesis were demonstrated would he accept it –
    would have no problem if science demonstrated that life could form through the laws of nature. In such a universe those laws would be so obviously engineered for that result that the argument for design in life would simply move to the argument for fine tuning. In such a universe we could easily demonstrate simple chemicals turning into the building blocks of life, and we would observe those building blocks combine into long chains. And, we could use randomized libraries of amino acids to form complex enzymes which could interconnect two chemical reactions or form complex molecular machines. We could also put cells into a blender and then watch them coalesce back into functional cells. However, we see no such evidence. Instead, we see a universe where practically every natural process breaks apart complex biological chemicals into simple biologically inert ones. Such observations have led many OOL researchers to describe life as a freak accident.

    Such is the depth of thought… Not matter the observation – God is always the answer – somehow…

  8. @Michael Fugate
    Yes, such is the rhetoric (I refuse to call it logic) of creationists.
    Yet they still will refuse to describe their alternative to the ways of nature. What is design?

  9. Karl Goldsmith

    So great that their own made up research journal had three papers in 2019, one being that Adam and Eve crap by Annie Green Screen.

  10. I think this woman should attend the Discoveroids’ seminar.

  11. Michael Fugate

    Yes TomS – everything is eventually deemed “designed by God” and nothing happens by chance. It tells us nothing. Even though they go on and on about probabilities, they only used them to claim something can’t happen – that the probability is zero; anything that does happen, in their view, has a probability of one. Theirs is a deterministic universe.

  12. 3 papers in their “journal” this year ?
    os·si·fy
    /ˈäsəˌfī/
    verb
    past tense: ossified; past participle: ossified
    1.turn into bone or bony tissue.
    become bony, harden, solidify, stiffen, rigidify, petrify,
    fossilize, indurate
    2.cease developing; be stagnant or rigid.

    The D’ossify Institute ?,,,,,,,,,,naaaah

  13. Dave Luckett

    och will: You provide an excellent example of the convention followed by most dictionaries. The definitions progress from the strictly literal, and in academic contexts, most rigorous, to the metaphorical in common use, with a clear ordering from most literal to most metaphorical.

    Those who argue by defining terms – a useful first step, if taken honestly – but who use a dictionary definition some distance down the list, are nearly always attempting some kind of subterfuge. We had a recent example of this from the peerless Curmudgeon’s Creationist Clunker Collection, a rural pastor who argued that “religion” meant any sort of sincerely held worldview, and therefore that atheism and agnosticism were only another (and opposing) religion. It should go without saying that this is patently ridiculous, but the Rev seemed quite convinced by it – which only demonstrated his credulity.

    Of course the DI is ossified, but I hardly need to point out to anyone who understands what language is, that this does not mean that they have become bony. It means that they are rigid, unable to change, doctrinaire, dogmatic, locked into a form and paradigm that they are incapable of adapting to evidence or to reality itself.

    Metaphor is the standard currency of all human language, and as far as we can make out, always was. I hypothesise that creationists, covert like the DI or overt like AiG and others, are somehow lacking the ability to recognise metaphor and understand its real meaning, rather as an autistic person may not recognise voice or body cues or understand their real meaning. But that’s only a hypothesis. How to test it…?

  14. @Michael Fugate
    And about that probability thing.
    Introducing a more powerful agent is counter-productive in solving a probability problem.
    If the supernatural can do more than the natural then what turns out is less probable. If you want to increase the the probability, specify stricter limits.
    But, of course, limits are contrary to the idea of God. The probability argument is destructive to theism.

  15. chris schilling

    Re the Curmudgeon’s link to Andrea Grocer, the Aileen Wuornos of serial defecators: it seems to me there’s any number of mitigating options available to Ms. Grocer and her legal defence team.

    1) Persuade the prosecution that it was all part of an extended performance art piece, exploring the contextual breakdown vis a vis the private and the public.

    2) Maintain the act was a spirited civic display of graphic social commentary, aimed at either Trump/Bernie Sanders; Brexit/Remainders; those FOR pineapple on pizza, and those AGAINST. Take your pick.

    3) A genuine Pavlovian response, completely involuntary, known to seize some rare individuals when exposed to phrases such as “Intelligent Design” and “Loving, Merciful God”, etc. Formerly stigmatized as Pooper’s Curse, it’s now being increasingly seen — like autism — as a superpower.

    Personally, I plump for perhaps the third option, for which Saint Andrea — “She s**t for our sins!” — deserves our undying admiration. Hopefully she’ll now get the help she needs, and master her condition such that she can time it to more effectively coincide with Discoveroid events, and political rallies of all persuasions.💩

  16. Steve Gerrard

    Here is a link on the Imperfection-of-the-Gaps Fallacy:

    Denis Lamoureux on the God-of-the-Gaps Fallacy

    Another error perpetrated by many evolutionists comes when they encounter some feature of life where the design logic is not immediately obvious. They often claim that such features represent examples of poor design which no competent engineer would have created. Such claims have constantly fallen into the imperfection-of-the-gaps fallacy. The perception of poor design simply reflected a lack in understanding of the underlying biology or ignorance of engineering principles. As biologists or engineers more carefully studied the features, they consistently came to recognize that they represented exceptional design.

    So, more or less, “bad design is not necessarily bad design!”

  17. Charisma News: “Revelation 8 and the first four trumpet judgments appear to describe the different stages of a singular event—a large asteroid impact on planet earth, which I predict is coming in 2029 in the form of the asteroid Apophis.”

    Charisma News is known for “its anti-witchcraft tutorials, its claim that the lifespan of gays is shortened by 20 years, its warning that burning breakfast eggs can summon demons, and its declaration that yoga is white witchcraft.” (JMG)

    https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/79646-why-revelation-8-predicts-a-giant-asteroid-crashing-into-earth

  18. @Steve Garrard
    Thank you!
    So we are informed that Intelligent Design conforms to the rules of engineering, and thereby the laws of nature.
    It is not supernatural.

  19. @Random on
    When reading the Charisma News about the apocalyptic disasters, there appeared an ad, “worried about saving for retirement?”

  20. @TomS — LOL. I didn’t notice that.

    Good catch.

  21. Our dear SC has an excellent suggestion:

    “I think this woman should attend the Discoveroids’ seminar.”
    Yeah, if anything that will make the atmosphere smell better.

    @SteveG: thank you indeed! I’m flattered that I was on the right way with my speculation.

    @TomS: nice catch indeed – Lamoureux’ comment, like Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy, only makes sense when neglecting the distinction between our natural reality and a supposed supernatural one. That was common during Antiquity and the Middle Ages, so we see confirmed again that “progress” in the IDiot dictionary means turning the clock back a couple of centuries.

  22. @FrankB
    The defense of design was by Brian Miller, against Lamoreux’s “god of the gaps”.
    And Paley himself briefly recognized the difficulty of accounting for god’s recourse to natural design.

  23. Michael Fugate

    Almost everything they do is reactive – never proactive. “imperfection-of-the-gaps” is about as uncreative as one can be. No one best configuration for any natural object or system exists – an “ideal” system could never work in nature. To be functional is a pretty minimal standard.