Sunday, October 31, 2010

New planet -- 'Dawinian' Astronomy?

Anyone who reads this blog knows my opinion of casey luskin, the lawyer who seems never to get his facts straight. Well I refrain from commenting on him most weeks, but in my opinion, he reached a new low -- something I really didn't think possible.

So what did casey do now? Oh nothing much, he just opened his mouth. He noticed that there had been a few articles reporting on the discovery of at least one extra-solar planet that may be able to support life. I assume someone pointed them out to him because I doubt he actually reads scientific articles all by himself.

His problem starts with the very title of his article, which is what caught my eye. "Darwinian Assumptions Leave "No Doubt" About Extraterrestrial Life". OK, since you already know my feeling of the use of the words 'Darwinism' and 'Darwinist', you can also add the word 'Darwinian'. Let's be clear, while someone else might actually be commenting on something Darwin said or did, when casey, and his ilk, use these words, they are using them as invective. You can almost see him spitting it out as he says it.

OK, so after reading his post, I went looking for the comments by a biologist that raised his toothless ire -- and guess what -- I couldn't find them. He was whining about a comment made by Astronomer Steven Vogt, and referring to him as an 'evolutionary scientist'. For the record, Dr. Vogt is a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California. So the question is just where did little casey make the evolutionary connection?

In all honesty, I think casey's buddy Guillermo Gonzalez, author of "The Priviledged Planet", might have written an article about having another planet perfectly placed for life and tried to align Professor Vogt with his camp of pseudo-scientists. But no, luskin makes a connection here that is completely unsupported by the two articles luskin linked to himself.

So just what did the Professor say? During a press conference he offered a personal opinion:
"Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say, my own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,"
So why does casey make it sound like the professor was making a scientific pronouncement? One of the many things I find amusing is that casey is the freaking lawyer and prone to play word games. Here the professor is offering a personal opinion and casey take exception! So I guess a scientist isn't allowed to offer personal opinions . . .Ummmm so all those popular press books and articles written by Dembski, Behe, Johnson, and Meyer -- which offer NOTHING but personal opinion -- I guess by casey's current standards, they should have never been published at all! But then we know the history of casey, the Discovery Institute, and double standards!

Just in case maybe casey knows something I don't, I went and found the professor's website and looked up his academic background:
A.B., Physics, U.C. Berkeley, 1972
A.B., Astronomy, U.C. Berkeley, 1972
M.S., Astronomy, U. of Texas at Austin, 1976
Ph.D., Astronomy, U. of Texas at Austin, 1978
Not a biology degree in the bunch. So what am I left to think? Before casey's article, I would have assumed that when anyone from the Discovery Institute uses the term 'evolutionary scientist' they meant a biologist who acknowledged evolutionary theory. Now that seems to be too narrow an interpretation. Since Professor Vogt is an Astronomer, who as far as I know hasn't addressed the issue of evolution, I can only assume that now an 'evolutionary scientist' is a scientist of any discipline who has not drank the Intelligent Design kool-aid and became a fellow over at the DI.

I also think the one making an assumption isn't Vogt, but casey, and its an assumption that I doubt he realized he was making. He assumed that Professor Vogt is not an Intelligent Design proponent. But then I realized that casey and I have found our first item of agreement. The odds of a scientist of any discipline being an Intelligent Design proponent are so low, that making this assumption is pretty much a given. I mean the Discovery Institute has a tiny handful of folks, most of which are not biologists but lawyers and philosophers. When you compare their numbers to the vast list of actual scientists, they do get lost in the crowd. So casey does say something that ends up making some level of sense, but I am pretty sure he does this by accident.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wild Bill and his sidekick Glenn Beck-erhead

PZ Myers on Pharyngula, Lauri Lebo on Religion Dispatches, and Jack Krebs on Panda's Thumb are among the posts reporting something that should surprise very few. William Dembski is a Young Earth Creationist (YEC). Gee! Who'd have thunk it!

It is funny that the man who several times has predicted the demise of Evolution within 10 years has undergone his own transformation within that same time limit. Yes, in 2000 he wrote an essay saying he was NOT, emphatically not, a YEC because the evidence of an old Earth was so strong, and now, just 10 years later, he announces that. . . as Jeff Foxworthy would put it "He are one!" My question is how is this going to help his credibility the next time he announces the decennial demise of Evolutionary Theory? (Head Smack!) Of course, since he has absolutely no credibility there is no impact.

I guess a second question is how will this sit with his Discovery Institute's lords and masters? I mean they tend to bend over backwards to appease the members of their 'big tent' approach and avoid internal conflicts until they can rid the world of evolution. Billy switching camps might create some internal conflict -- we can always hope. Will Billy's next fluff piece still support Michael Behe who, as far as I know, is not only not a YEC but a supporter of Common Descent? This might be fun.

On a side note, PZ's link also has connection to a Glenn Beck-erhead radio interview where he, once again, reveals to the world his colossal ignorance of anything scientific. There's another surprise. That Glenn is also a died-in-the-blood Creationist, as if his earlier rants weren't already pretty indicative. What does surprise me is how he expressed it. The script might as well have been written by kennie ham. Becker-head says that he's never seen a half-monkey/half-man and asks why haven't other species evolved into humans, and several other inanities that do nothing but show how little he knows.

Now I know all Glenn is doing is pandering to his core audience -- who will continue to make him wealthy by buying his junk and attending his shows. But even he has to realize just how stupid it makes him look. With any luck he might lose a few supporters and then he and Wild Bill can commiserate over a beer.

Thanks to Jack, Lauri, and PZ for highlighting all the fun and games. Now to get some popcorn and watch for fallout. Who will be first? Will Dembski try and weasel his way out of it? Will a mouthpiece for the DI tell us how Dembski's change is no big deal? Will kennie ham ever come out of the closet? Will Glenn Beck-erhead continue to spout about nothing at all? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Labels, labels, and more labels

Just recently there seems to be a spate of blog posts about labeling, particularly those who oppose religion dressed up in a lab coat. Accomodationalists, confrontationalists, diplomats, firebrands . . . the list seems to be endless. What I was wondering about is where did I fall?

Here, you go. Check out these articles:

So there I was, or was I . . . hey, hey I mean in the terms of the subject I write about. Don't get sidetracked :-)

Am I trying to be diplomatic and accommodating, or do I lean more toward confrontation. In all honestly, I don't know. You might be able to tell me more than I can see it for myself. In trying to figure this minor puzzle I read back through many of my posts and the one subject I really don't discuss all that often is religion. Mostly I seem to let people believe what they wish.

So rather than apply an existing, or even a new label, here is where I think I fit in.
I am for science and against religion abuse.
Because when I see the tactics and comments of people and groups like little kennie ham, the whole crowd at the Discovery Institute, dembski's uncommon descent commentary (it's not a blog), ICR, ARN, and the like what I see is a group using religion for their own gain. I don't care what they claim, they are abusing the idea of a religion!

These people have a set of beliefs . . . so what. I really don't care what they want to believe in. That's a personal decision and it should remain so. No one in the world is ever going to be able to prove one religion's position in regard to another. It's never going to happen! However what they want is for me to believe the same thing -- and they are willing to lie to me, spend other peoples' money in order to convince me, and suborn politicians and school board members for their own belief system. That is an abuse!

When you abuse it, I am going to point that out to you and anyone who wants to read this blog. When you lie, misrepresent, or try and 're-interpret' science in the name of your religious beliefs, I, and many others, are going to point it out. When you BS some pandering politician, I plan on being there to help shed light on your behavior. You may see it as confrontational, especially ID'iots like luskin and ham, others may think I should be more accommodating. Maybe I should, but my issue is science and science education and the protection of such. If I discuss religion it will more than likely be in identifying yet another abuse in the name of someone else's religious belief!

As long as religion stays out of science class, that works for me. it might be a bit more focused than some, but to each their own. I might change my mind as I get to know more and more incredibly close-minded theists -- but right now they tend to be entertaining.

ACSI v. Stearns finale

I just realized, as I read this release, that I haven't commented on this issue before. I feel remiss in my self-assigned duties and responsibilities as a blogger in not having done so. So today I briefly pick up a baton, even though the race appears over. But you know me, I can't resist making glue.

The NCSE has announced

"Creationist lawsuit flops: UC's admission standards upheld. The Supreme Court declined to review Association of Christian Schools International et al. v. Roman Stearns, affirming the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling that the University of California did not violate the constitutional rights of applicants from Christian high schools whose coursework was deemed inadequate preparation for college." (italics added)

For those of you unfamiliar the case, it boiled down to a public universities in California upholding their academic standards and refusing to accept pseudo-science as an acceptable alternative to science in applying for admission and granting credit. More specifically the Association of Christian Schools International was suing because the California University Admission system wouldn't allow high school biology courses that use creationist textbooks as credit for college preparatory biology courses. A federal court and the 9th Circuit Court agreed on appeal that the texts were "inconsistent with the viewpoints and knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community." The plaintiffs star witness, a familiar name -- Michael Behe, didn't seem to be able to sway anyone. There's a shock. So Michael is now 0 for 2?

This one went all the way up to the Supreme Court and they refused to hear it. In legalese-speak that means there is no issue and the lower court was correct. Yea!

I am sure many colleges have been facing this issue. I know it was also a complaint in Mt Vernon, Ohio, from high school biology teachers who found themselves having to re-teach basic biology to students of John Freshman, a teacher currently suing for being fired for doing several things, including teaching Creationism/ID, causing bodily harm burning crosses into students arms, and also lying to investigators. The latest chapter in that saga might actually be coming to a close. You can follow it, and read the entire history, over on Panda's Thumb.

Simply put, if Creationist schools want to be on par with public schools, they have to at least teach the minimum standards in all curriculum areas. Why is this so hard to understand? If they refuse, it's not a violation of civil or constitutional rights, it's not about free speech or freedom of religion, and it's certainly not some sort of 'viewpoint discrimination'. It's about the science!

Imagine what would have happened if the case was overturned? Suddenly any piece of pseudo-science junk because the legal equivalent of the appropriate college textbook? How insane would that be. I can see it now, "What do you mean I am unqualified, I read "The Psychic Handbook" and I am as qualified as anyone who took a Psychology class!"

Nice to know that the Supreme Court didn't bother wasting its time. I only wish the Creationist schools had been trying to teach Intelligent Design. That might have been a stake through the heart of the Discovery Institute at the same time harpooning Creationism. Oh well, maybe for Christmas.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Intelligent Design Tolerance

Over on the Discovery Institute (DI) mis-information page casey luskin has taken up a common theme - 'Viewpoint Discrimination'. You can read it, but it really doesn't say much more than his normal rant. My question is does ID deserve tolerance?

SMU recently hosted a screening of 'Darwin's Dilemma', the same film luskin is whining about. I don't really care about the film, but something that happened at the end of the meeting at SMU:

"At the end of the presentation Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute thanked the “SMU administration” for hosting the event. That is just another lie. The SMU Administration had nothing to do with the seminar."(
This is the SAME tactic they used at the end of the original meeting at SMU in 1992.

Let me be clear, what SMU supports is Free Speech. At no point did the administration or faculty sponsor either of these events. They simply allow campus organizations, like the campus ministry, to use facilities as an exercise in free speech. I respect them for it. But what I do not respect is the DI trying to even imply that the administration had some hand in supporting the event.

The DI, and by connection their pet idea of Creationism/ID doesn't not suffer from 'viewpoint discrimination' nor does it deserve any sort of 'tolerance'. Remember the "How to respond to requests to debate Creationists" post and Professor Nicholas Gotelli's response to a request to 'sponsor' a debate on the campus of University of Vermont, his hilarious response!

This is not a discrimination issue of any kind. It's the DI trying to use their typical disreputable tactics to push their religious agenda. When the Cincinnati Zoo discontinued their business relationship with kennie ham's folly, the Creation 'Museum', it didn't stop the 'Museum' from selling tickets, it did prevent kennie from claiming a relationship with a scientific organization. That is the same tactic the DI tried with SMU at the end of each of the meetings there.

When an organization resorts to such tactics, anyone has to be careful in any sort of involvement -- it's not discrimination, but common sense. As Dr. Chancey, Chair of the Religious Studies Department at SMU recently said:
"Many religious groups-Christian and other-do not regard evolutionary theory as a threat. For many people of faith, science and religion go hand in hand. When scholars criticize ID, they are not attacking religion. They are only asking ID proponents to be transparent in their agenda, accurate about their representations of scholarship, and willing to play by the same rules of peer review and quality control that legitimate scholars and scientists around the world follow every day."
One of the things we have been asking for is such transparency -- but that's apparently not on the DI's agenda.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How old is Intelligent Design?

I guess I am a little confused. You see -- I have been pretty busy this past week and hadn't seen the Discovery Institute's (DI) spin on Dr. Mark A. Chancey comments in Intelligent Design (ID) until just now. I originally wrote about Dr. Chancey's comments in "So there is nothing religious about ID? Part IV". Like I said, I didn't think they would like it -- and they didn't -- especially coming from the chair of the Department of Religious Studies at SMU.

So what's a group of apparent pathological liars to do? Change the goal posts, of course. Dr. Chancey made mention that ID had its beginnings at SMU at yet another meeting sponsored by a religious group that just happened to take place at SMU. At that meeting, like this one, they [the DI] tried to insinuate some sort of acceptance and sponsorship by the SMU administration -- which of course is just another lie.

The DI, in the guise of yet another mouthpiece, Michael Flannery -- I guess little casey must be on vacation -- takes exception to that, claiming a much longer lineage for Intelligent Design. What I find interesting is that rather than complain about anything Dr. Chancey said about ID, he took exception to something that was originally stated by Phillip E. Johnson in 1999:

"The movement we now call the wedge made its public debut at a conference of scientists and philosophers held at Southern Methodist University in March 1992, following the publication of my book "Darwin on Trial". The conference brought together key wedge and intelligent design figures, particularly Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and myself." The Wedge Breaking the Modernist Monopoly on Science Phillip E. Johnson. Touchstone. July/August, 1999.
Gee so who was/is lying? Phillip E. Johnson or Michael Flannery? Flannery is looking more and more like a casey luskin clone -- and Mike, that's not a compliment.

So if ID has such a long lineage, why did William Dembski claim that it is in it's infancy in 2006?
"Dembski and other ID proponents say intelligent design is in its "infancy" and not yet ready to be taught alongside evolution in the science classroom. "ID Supporters Say Theory in 'Infancy' "
So was Dembski lying as well? Here is how I see it. It's another Marie Antoinette thing. When anyone says something bad about ID, the DI has a pretty typical knee-jerk reaction and claims that ID has been around for . . . well some length that makes them feel good. However when anyone questions the lack of science in ID they respond by how ID is still really, really young and no one should expect it to be scientific yet. See what I mean? They want their cake and . . . well you get my meaning.

Bottom line is that can you trust anything the DI says? I have yet to see them represent anything honestly. I have been following them since they LIED to the Ohio State School Board in 2002 (Intelligent Design Bibliography Misleading). They are consistent, but like my comparison of flannery to luskin, it's not a compliment.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Damned by their own words

I have said a number of times that the best way for people to understand the paucity of the Creationist pseudo-science, be it Creationism or Intelligent Design, is not to try and silence Creationists, but to let them talk. They do much more damage to their own position than damn near anything I could possibly say.

Apparently Michael Zimmerman agrees with me. His latest post on the Huffington Post "Creationists Destroy Creationism with Their Own Words" is just poetry. The one that got me was the copy from the Centre for intelligent Design (CID), the low-rent British version of the Discovery Institute, who actually posted:

"In one sense, research work that supports ID is not the central issue. ID is
essentially an interpretation of the data that already exists. There is not much
point in gathering more information if you already have enough on which to base
your hypothesis."
Are they kidding? Here is my problem. A scientific theory is not just an idea. It is an explanation based on a great deal of information and study including experimentation, observation, and huge mounds of evidence. Unbelieveable amounts of time, energy, and manpower goes into each one. The CID is suggesting that a little re-interpretation of the existing data could arrive at an equally compelling explanation. I disagree! If the data resulted in more than one compelling explanation then the explanation would never reach the level of a Scientific Theory. The reason a hypothesis becomes a theory is because it is the most compelling, by an incredibly wide margin, explanation of the available evidence.

Do you see what I am trying to say? If there was an alternative scientific explanation then Evolution would not be the theory that it is today. It couldn't get there because an equally compelling explanation could not be dismissed. Based on my understanding of scientific methodology, the CID is wrong. If they want ID to be taken seriously as a scientific theory, they are going to have to do a great deal more than 're-interpret'.

And so I guess they are! What I find amusing is thinking back to the Dover trial and reading the transcripts of the cross-examination of Michael Behe and the basic definition of science and how in order for ID to be accepted as science the very definition of science would have to be changed. that change would open science to things like Astrology! In a second quote from the CID website, this one from a video of the Director (Please see my discussion of him in "So there is nothing religious about ID Part III") who said
" . . . criticise the "strident strain of science" that says the only acceptable
explanations are those depending on "physical and materialistic processes"
So let me get this straight, ID is science because we already have all the data we need, we just need to re-interpret it a little . . . yet at the same time we need to make a wholesale change in the very definition of science? Anyone else see Marie Antoinette in the room?

Two staff members of AnswersInGenesis make is pretty clear, as Michael quoted as well,
"The biblical creationist takes the Bible as the ultimate standard . . ."
I guess all doubt on the scientific viability and even the need to re-interpret based on existing data is gone. Everything is based on the ultimate standard! So I guess we need to crank up the presses, because the only text book needed is the Christian Bible. It's not only a book about God, it's a history book -- just history ended about 2000 years ago. It's also an Astronomy text, but then again any study of Astronomy was done well before the invention of a telescope, let alone a radio telescope. Any medical advances in the past 2000 years need to be tossed aside because the Bible is the ultimate medical authority as well! Now I think even Marie would be choking on her cake.

Michael's point, and one I agree with is that we are not trying to silence Creationists. We love listening to them and pointing out the many hilarious, erroneous, and sometimes completely idiotic things they say. My only point, and one that I think Michael agrees -- he can certainly correct me if I am putting words in his mouth -- is that we don't want to silence anyone, but we do want them to speak the truth and the truth is Intelligent Design is not science and keeping it out of the public school science classroom is not an issue of free speech, or even an effort to silence them -- it's an exercise in honesty and truth!

PS -- when you go to Michael's post, check out the comments as well.

Monday, October 4, 2010

So there is nothing religious about ID? Part IV

Recently the Discovery Institute held a little gathering at SMU. I and many others have already posted about it (here, here, and here). We've also heard from some SMU faculty who detailed a number of exceptions with how loose and fast the DI seems to play with science ("Big problems with Intelligent Design").

Well now we have heard from the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at SMU, Dr. Mark A. Chancey, with an opinion piece in SMU Daily "Religious studies professor examines Intelligent Design academically" probably had Casey Luskin all excited as he read the title -- but he would have been cringing after reading the text. The Chair doesn't address the scientific concerns, but he does explain why SMU is more than a little bit sensitive when it comes to ID. Of course this isn't the DI's first visit and each one seems to leave a typically slimy trail. He recognizes that ID isn't gaining much traction in the scientific community and gives a pretty good breakdown as to why:

  • Intelligent Design originated within certain religious circles
  • [ID] has credibility only within those same circles-mostly theologically conservative Christian groups that find aspects of evolutionary theory threatening
  • Few ID advocates hold full-time professorial positions in pertinent fields at mainstream colleges and universities
  • Many ID proponents with academic positions work at religious institutions devoted to promoting particular theological views
  • ID proponents have published very few articles in peer-reviewed journals
  • They have created their own in-house journals that they describe as "peer-reviewed." . . . universities do not consider a self-serving house organ as truly peer-reviewed; such venues are regarded as fake journals
  • IDers sometimes publish books-but most of these are with religious, not academic, presses
  • ID research is not rigorous, substantial or convincing enough to be published in genuine academic venues
  • Unable to publish their work in legitimate academic venues, they nonetheless present it as cutting-edge science
  • Unable to gain acceptance in the scientific community, they nonetheless claim to be gaining momentum
  • They deny or obscure the fact that ID is grounded in a particular religious worldview and yet regard it as a tool to promote socially and theologically conservative Christian positions.
His closing comment is something many have been asking, for years now:
"Many religious groups-Christian and other-do not regard evolutionary theory as a threat. For many people of faith, science and religion go hand in hand. When scholars criticize ID, they are not attacking religion. They are only asking ID proponents to be transparent in their agenda, accurate about their representations of scholarship, and willing to play by the same rules of peer review and quality control that legitimate scholars and scientists around the world follow every day."
How many times have the motives and tactics of the Discovery Institute been uncovered. Their lies and deceit cannot stand up to the light of day and here is one Chair of the Department of Religion who is not fooled!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

So there is nothing religious about ID? Part III

I was bored and went and peeked at the website for the new Centre for Intelligent Design (CID) that just stood up in Glascow. Funny, the site lists three people, including the director, Alastair Noble, who was quoted in the Guardian Article. But unlike the Discovery Institute, the CID doesn't like a bio for anyone involved. So on a lark I tossed Alastair Noble into Google to see what floated to the surface.

It identified an Alastair Noble as a sculptor living in NY. I figure that isn't the same one. but then I ran across this:

"Alastair has been a high school chemistry teacher, adviser, schools inspector and educational administrator. He has also worked on educational programmes within the BBC, the CBI and the Health Service. He currently works as the Field Officer of The Headteachers’ Association of Scotland and an Educational Consultant with CARE in Scotland – a Christian charity which works across a range of public policy issues. He is married to Ruth, has two grown up children, is a lay preacher, an elder at Cartsbridge Evangelical Church, Busby, and lives in Eaglesham." (Mission Scotland)
Ah, not only religion, but Evangelical as well. But is this the same Alastair Noble? Well according to Adam Wilcox it certainly is. Adam also hit whois about site and it is registered to Peter Loose-
"who, (by some amazing coincidence), is a trustee of ‘Christian Unions’ which “exists to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in the student world.” "
OK, the other two names from the CID site were Norman Nevin and David Galloway. Norman was a familiar name and it took me a moment to remember where I had heard it. In my post "Intelligent Design, Sh** or get off the Pot!", Nevin was one of the 'scientists' who was identified by Stephen C. Meyer who 'enthusiastically endorsed his recent book, and not having been previously known as an ID proponent. Meyer lied. I posted that Nevin is a supporter of "Truth in Science" a United Kingdom-based organization which promotes the "Teach the Controversy" campaign. It uses this strategy to try to get intelligent design taught alongside evolution in school science lessons. Here is another link that talks about Nevin defending 'Truth in Science".

Dr. David Galloway doesn't seem to want to hide anything. on his own website is this gem:
"You will find a discussion on the origin of biological life together with some reasons why the Darwinian model utterly fails to cope with the specified variety and complexity evident in the available data. Also take time to marvel at the amazing machinery behind the replication of DNA and the mechanisms used to manufacture proteins. There are some cool flash files which neatly demonstrate the biochemistry. Also - check out the Reason4Faith Microsite!"
His site also specifies his membership in Lennox Evangelical Church, Dumbarton.

So to sum up, we have yet another group of Evangelicals who open a Centre for intelligent Design whose motivation is strictly religious. Oh yes, and ID has nothing to do with religion! Sorry Scotland you deserve much better than this US export!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

More on the pretty dull '4 Nails in Darwin's Coffin'

A couple of others have a few words on the '4 Nails' presentation I posted about the other day ("4 nails in the coffin containing the remains of the Discovery Institute credibility") It's rare that the DI would step in it so easily, but when they do, it's nice to know there will be folks to point it out to them.

My favorite reporter, author, and blogger -- Lauri Lebo -- had a few choice words in her post on Religious Dispatches. In "4 (More) Nails in Discovery Institute’s Coffin". She points out that their presentation is also fairly typical of the tactics they have been using for years:

" . . . one of Discovery Institute’s featured tactics is to pretend that Darwin’s theory exists in a vacuum and that the scientific world has learned nothing in the past 150 years "
As we all know that their tactic to demolish Darwin will automatically elevate Intelligent Design (ID) to the only workable theory (please note the extremely heavy sarcasm in that last statement). A point that has been made by many that the tactic of attacking Darwin does little to effect modern evolutionary theory, and their toothless attacks on the theory of evolution has done even less to push their pet idea of ID. The real problem is they have yet to bother actually supporting their idea and elevate it to the level of a hypothesis let alone a scientific theory. This really does keep their evolution attacks impotent.

Ms. Lebo also linked to the SMU professors response ("Big Problems With Intelligent Design") and end her post with
"Still, after looking over all this, I do have one question. If the DI folk argue that evolution can’t account for the living diversity of the 60 million year time span of the Cambrian explosion, what exactly are they arguing? Are they saying that the omnipotent designer intentionally created all those various extinct life forms just to kill them off later?"
I think the nearest thing I have seen as an answer to her question is that the DI folks really don't care to offer an actual alternative explanation -- all they care about is closing the door on evolution -- which does follow the strategies laid out in their wedge document, as espoused in the goals set in that document:
  • "To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies"
  • "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God"
In addition to Ms. Lebo's post, another poster was at the presentation and offers this YouTube video:
I hope you watch it, it was interesting to actually hear part of the presentation and also to hear the poster's comments. Plus there are a few other related videos that are just plain hilarious like the 30 part series "Why do people laugh at creationists."