Category Archives: Intelligent Design

Betsy DeVos Confirmation Hearing Today

We’re expecting some creationist fireworks in the US Senate today at the confirmation hearing of Betsy DeVos, whom Trump has selected to be Secretary of Education, because there has been much speculation about her supposed creationist tendencies.

The last time we wrote about this was Discovery Institute Defends Betsy DeVos, in which David Klinghoffer, the Discoveroids’ journalistic slasher and poo-flinger, predicted that her confirmation hearing “may attract more liberal venom than any other” because she was likely to be asked “how old she thinks the Earth is, whether human beings rode on dinosaurs, whether she has visited Ken Ham’s Ark Park lately.”

The Discoveroids are concerned because they hope DeVos will be a champion of their Teach the Controversy campaign, described by Wikipedia as: “a campaign, conducted by the Discovery Institute, to promote the pseudoscientific principle of intelligent design, a variant of traditional creationism, while attempting to discredit the teaching of evolution in United States public high school science courses.”

If you’re in the mood to watch the hearing, it starts at 5:00 PM in the Eastern US. We’re posting this early so you’ll know ahead of time that you can watch the debate online and post your comments, if any, right here. We’ll provide a few different online choices. They should all be showing the same thing, but one never knows.

This is the video that will come directly from Senate committee’s website at the appropriate time: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) will have it on YouTube here: Betsy Devos confirmation hearing.

Fox News should have the live video here: Senate holds confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos.

Feelings are running high about this, so we urge you, dear reader, to keep your comments civil. We can behave better than the politicians. The curtain will rise a bit less than six hours from the time this is posted, so there’s plenty of time to get ready. And then the fun begins.

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

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South Dakota Creationism Bill for 2017

South Dakota has had the shame of contending with a creationism bill every year since 2014. Now, for the fourth consecutive year, it’s happening again. Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) just posted Antiscience legislation in South Dakota. They say:

South Dakota’s Senate Bill 55, introduced on January 11, 2017, and referred to the Senate Education Committee, appears to be the first antiscience bill of the year.

It’s the first to be literally filed this year, but an earlier one was pre-filed in December, which we wrote about in South Carolina’s 2017 ‘Academic Freedom’ Bill.

Anyway, NCSE provides this link to the South Dakota bill: SENATE BILL NO. 55. It’s titled: “An Act to protect the teaching of certain scientific information.” The actual bill is very short:


Section 1. That chapter 13-1 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:

No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48.

It was introduced by Senators Monroe, Ewing, Jensen (Phil), Nelson, Stalzer, and Wiik. Two of those names (Monroe and Jensen) were sponsors of last year’s creationism bill — which we wrote about in South Dakota Creationism: New Bill for 2016. The new bill was also introduced by Representatives Campbell, Frye-Mueller, Goodwin, Heinemann, and Howard. Two of them — Campbell and Heinemann — sponsored last year’s bill too.

To no one’s surprise, the language of this year’s bill is similar to last year’s effort. It’s a typical example of the Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom bill. We’ve critiqued their model bill here: Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.

Because his name was listed first, out of alphabetical order, Senator Jeff Monroe appears to be the principal sponsor of this year’s bill, as he was last year and the year before. That’s his page at the South Dakota Senate’s website, which says he’s a chiropractor. He’s also a drooling creationist, but we don’t need to be told that.

You can follow the progress of the new bill here: Senate Bill 55. Nothing’s happened yet except that it was referred to the Senate Education Committee on 11 January. The South Dakota legislature convened on 10 January, and they’re scheduled to adjourn “late March.” We’ll be watching, so stay tuned to this blog.

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2017’s Darwin Day Resolution in Congress

It happens every year around this time, because 12 February is Charles Darwin’s birthday. As expected, House Resolution 44 has been introduced into Congress. It’s titled Expressing support for designation of February 12, 2017, as “Darwin Day” and recognizing the importance of science in the betterment of humanity. Here’s the full text:

Whereas Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection, together with the monumental amount of scientific evidence he compiled to support it, provides humanity with a logical and intellectually compelling explanation for the diversity of life on Earth;

Whereas the validity of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is further strongly supported by the modern understanding of the science of genetics;

Whereas it has been the human curiosity and ingenuity exemplified by Darwin that has promoted new scientific discoveries that have helped humanity solve many problems and improve living conditions;

Whereas the advancement of science must be protected from those unconcerned with the adverse impacts of global warming and climate change;

Whereas the teaching of creationism in some public schools compromises the scientific and academic integrity of the United States education systems;

Whereas Charles Darwin is a worthy symbol of scientific advancement on which to focus and around which to build a global celebration of science and humanity intended to promote a common bond among all of Earth’s peoples; and

Whereas February 12, 2017, is the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 1809 and would be an appropriate date to designate as “Darwin Day”: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives —

(1) supports the designation of “Darwin Day”; and

(2) recognizes Charles Darwin as a worthy symbol on which to celebrate the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge.

The sponsor is James A. Himes, a Democrat from Connecticut. He serves on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. The resolution has 13 co-sponsors — all Democrats. [*Sigh*]

We wrote about a similar resolution last year: Another Darwin Day Resolution in Congress, in which we said:

It’ll never pass. The resolution has some “Whereas” clauses that will drive the creationists crazy. … This thing is doomed, just like similar resolutions in prior years.

This one is doomed too. With the Republicans in control of the House, it’ll likely die in committee, where it probably won’t receive a single Republican vote. We’re hoping for at least one, so this thing isn’t a total embarrassment, but … well, we’ll find out soon enough.

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Discoveroids on Martin Luther King Day

The Discovery Institute, wonderful folks that they are, couldn’t let Martin Luther King Jr. Day go by without giving it proper recognition. The task was given to David Klinghoffer, who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger.

Klinghoffer’s post is On Martin Luther King Day, Consider This About Intelligent Design. It’s a repeat of something he wrote three years ago — On MLK Day, Remember that Intelligent Design Is a Civil Rights Issue — but we ignored it then. Today we’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

He introduces his old post by saying:

I’ve observed here before that intelligent design poses not only a scientific challenge to Darwinism but also a challenge to think a little more broadly about civil rights … [then the repeated material begins].

This is what Klinghoffer wrote back in January 2014:

As we were reminded in the final and likewise shameful resolution of the David Coppedge matter, evolution is a civil-rights issue as much as it is a scientific one. Coppedge’s right to dissent from Darwinian orthodoxy was crushed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the judge in the case accepted NASA’s slickly constructed defense, rubber-stamped it, denying him the justice of what should have been total vindication.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Klinghoffer’s attempt to portray the promotion of junk science as a civil rights issue reminds us of something we wrote more than six years ago: Creationism: Abuse of the Language of Rights. We won’t repeat ourselves (as Klinghoffer is doing), but we recommend that you take a look at that post. Okay, back to Klinghoffer. In his oldie-goldie, he said:

[F]or every David Coppedge, there are countless other people who share their scientific doubts about Darwin, their openness to seeing evidence of design in nature, but who keep their views to themselves in a strategy of self-defense. They are teachers, professors, students, and other thoughtful open-minded citizens, who can’t exercise their right to advocate a particular scientific view. They reasonably fear censorship and bullying.

Sickening, isn’t it? You can read it all if you like, but here’s our last excerpt:

Civil-liberties organizations like AU and the ACLU ought to be in the thick of the fight to protect free-expression rights for Darwin doubters. Instead, they stand firmly with the censors and the bullies.

Although it’s irrelevant to Klinghoffer’s strange message, here’s a discussion of King’s views on Darwin. From the quotes therein, we would judge his attitude to be similar to that of the Catholics — he didn’t deny that humans evolved, but he thought the soul is a divine gift. Our guess is that he wouldn’t agree with the Discoveroids — and they probably know it — but they’re willing to exploit him anyway.

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

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