Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Discovery Institute Omerta?

I'm a little torn reading this "Creationism Whistleblower: ‘Academic Freedom’ Is Sneak Attack on Evolution" mainly because I don't want to be guilty of one of the things I have said about many others, usually creationists.  One of my issues is that all too often when someone reads something that agrees with them, usually in a philosophical sense, they immediately voice their agreement with it.  Nothing wrong with that.  But all too often the next step is they are willing to say incredibly ridiculous things to defend it for no other reason that the philosophical agreement.

Over on Topix, for example, there is a poster whose main defense of his religious beliefs is the 'Law of Biogenesis' which, according to him, completely disproves the Theory of Evolution and thereby making his religious belief the only possible way life could have formed on Earth.  He conveniently ignores what the 'law' actually addressed, which was the belief in 'spontaneous generation' which claimed that life arises from non-life, addressing things such as maggots 'appearing' in meat, fleas came from dust, molds in bread, and so forth.  Pasteur repeated and expanded upon earlier experiments that proves the source of these forms of life were not inanimate materials.  The poster, who calls himself 'marksman11' co-opted the term and completely changed what Pasteur did in order to rationalize his religious belief in a form of Creationism.

For another example, look at the lengths little kennie ham and his Hamians over at Answers in Genesis will go to support their narrow beliefs . . . I mean 'rafts of trees knocked down by 'The Flood' to transport animals all over the world' as a rationalization for geographical biodiversity?  Seriously?  So when I read this article, I wanted to make sure I wasn't falling into the same trap . . . because I completely agree with every word said! 

If you aren't familiar with Zach Kopplin, he first came into public view fighting the poorly named "Louisiana Science Education Act" as a high school student in Louisiana.  He's been publicly recognized and awarded for his tireless efforts in support of science education and hopefully one day his efforts to have that ridiculous bill repealed will be successful!  In this article on 'The Daily Beast' site he interviews an unidentified former-employee of the Discovery Institute and that employee reveals a number of things that are really no surprise.  I don't normally like unnamed sources, but I also understand why some people wouldn't want to become a public face.  In all honestly I have no idea why anyone would want their  . . . 15 minutes of fame . . . in the first place.  Guess I am not wired that way.  But some of the things they say are things that I, and many others, have been saying for years.  Here is a small sample:

“DI [The Discovery Institute] is religiously motivated in all they do,”
“Critical thinking, critical analysis, teach the controversy, academic freedom—these are words that stand for legitimate pedagogical approaches and doctrines in the fields of public education and public education policy,  . . . That is why DI co-opts them. DI hollows these words out and fills them with their own purposes; it then passes them off to the public and to government as secular, pedagogically appropriate, and religiously neutral.”
Zach closed his article with a great line:
"Real academic freedom is important, but creationists like the Discovery Institute have corrupted its meaning to miseducate children." 
My only addition to the list of words the DI hollows out and fills them with their own purposes is 'Peer-Reviewed', which I discussed in a post just yesterday (Is it Peer-Reviewed?).  Keep up the good work Zach!  Would it be appropriate to say you are a credit to Louisiana High School education?  Or would it be more appropriate to say you are a credit in spite of a Louisiana High School education?

In any event, I do so agree with Zach, and this former DI employee, and not just philosophical grounds.  All of the evidence supports everything they have said.  The Wedge Strategy Document clearly shows the religious purpose guiding the DI.  They use of tactics like "Teach the Controversy" and "Academic Freedom" campaigns are well documented.  So it doesn't look like I am falling into that philosophical trap because unlike folks like 'marksman11' and kennie ham, evidence trumps superstition!

Now the DI has written about Zach many, many times, mostly by one of their shills, davey klinghoffer.  In fact just this past May davey once wrote a post that was an 'Open Letter to Zach's parents'.  In it he pretty much whined about their son being used by the apparently nefarious  'Darwin Lobby' and Zach's apparent refusal to allow the DI to 'educate' him.  Klingy closed with this:
"My suggestion? Have a talk with your son about his education, and about an unfortunate reality of the world, that zealots with a political agenda will try to use an enthusiastic person like himself to their own ends, which may not include a high regard for truth telling. If I were his father, I would want to see my boy buckle down, get his degree, prepare for a career, do something useful with his life, and something honorable."
I feel this was a pretty low point in klingy's career as a DI shill, but I am sure he'll stoop to lower tactics eventually, if he hasn't already.  Obviously Zach has been getting under their skin pretty regularly.  They've written about him over 20 times in the past couple of years.  I don't know if his parents ever saw this particular piece of trash, but I would be curious if they had any sort of reaction.  Back in 2011 Zach's father did have this to say:
"Asked about his son's political initiative, Kopplin called his eldest child "smart, courageous and relentless."

"Every 17-year-old, you know, they are quite independent thinkers," he said. "I'm extraordinarily proud of him. He's a strong-willed young man, and I'm proud of him." (For Kopplins, lobbying in state Capitol will be a family affair)
If Zach was a son of mine I would be proud of him on many levels.  First of all he is standing up for what he believes in, he's supporting actual science and science education, and he's not allowing the marketing efforts of the DI from succeeding in their pseudo-science attempts to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us. 

The fun part will be seeing what kind of response Zach gets from the Discovery Institute.  Will they ignore it or will they play the 'disgruntled employee' card?  I wonder if any other former employees will come forward, or does their employment contract prohibit them from saying anything, sort of a Creationism Omerta clause?  We shall see!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Is it Peer-Reviewed?

One of my usual haunts is the Discovery Institute's (DI) Evolution 'News' and Views (E'N'V) site.  On it I read about all the cutting edge marketing the DI spews forth, offering much more Views than anything resembling News.  Caught this one "Peer-Reviewed Article on Transposable Elements Cites "Irreducible Complexity" and Other "Teleologic" Factors" and it drives a question, at least from my point of view, is this article really peer-reviewed?

The article little casey luskin is referencing is one posted in 'eLS', which is a online cite-able source published by Wiley as part of their Wiley Online Library.  One point to make, there is nothing in the Wiley Online Library that requires submissions for publication to be peer-reviewed, absolutely nothing.  So the fact it is available to be cited through Wiley doesn't mean that it is actually peer-reviewed, it also doesn't mean anyone has cited it as a reference.  So by what standard does little casey support this being a 'peer-reviewed' paper?  Absolutely none.  Little casey calls it peer-reviewed, but that doesn't mean it's actually peer-reviewed by the same standard actual science papers are peer-reviewed.

Over recent years the DI has been self-identifying a small number of papers as peer-reviewed, but the reality is their peer-review process is considerably different than the scientific community's peer-review process.  We've noted it time and time again, and frequently used this quote from Dr. Chancey, Chair of the Religious Studies Department at SMU 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."
I added the underline to make my point.  ID 'theorists' would be welcome to submit their work for peer review if they are willing to play by the same rules. So again, by what standard does little casey support his claim of peer-review?  He doesn't.  Which leads me to believe that there is no standard!

Here is another example of using a term, like 'peer-review' and then sneaking in behind it and changing the definition.  I've noted in the past that they have been doing this for years by re-defining terms like 'Theory', 'Academic Freedom', and 'Free Speech'.  Now we can certainly add 'Peer-Review' to the list.

How the scientific community defines peer-review is surprisingly simple:
"Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work (peers). It constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility." (Wikipedia: Peer-Review)

In other words, your work gets reviewed by others with similar qualifications in the same field, your peers.  Is this what happens when the Intelligent Design community peer-reviews?  Case in point the Sternberg Peer Review Controversy.  While the DI likes to cite the Meyer's paper as 'peer-reviewed', the journal in question rescinded the paper saying that the actual peer-review process was circumvented by Richard Sternberg.  In addition, Sternberg did the review in spite of the fact he is unqualified to review any paper on that subject, in other words he's not a qualified peer -- by science's standards.  So that tends one to think that the DI's definition of peer-review is more like:
'Getting a few people who already agree with you to say or write some positive comments about it.  Then  claim peer-review status because the people who already agree with you are your peers within the ID Movement.'
Certainly not the same thing as the scientific community.  Here is another take on Peer-Review, this one from the DI itself.  They have a link to "Peer-Reviewed Articles Supporting Intelligent Design" where they discuss and list what they claim are peer-reviewed papers that support ID.  Here is a couple of paragraphs that I found interesting:
"Other scientists around the world are also publishing peer-reviewed  scientific papers supportive of intelligent design. These include biologist Ralph Seelke at the University of Wisconsin Superior, Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig who recently retired from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany, and Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe.

These and other labs and researchers have published their work in a variety of appropriate technical venues, including peer-reviewed scientific journals, peer-reviewed scientific books (some published by mainstream university presses), trade-press books, peer-edited scientific anthologies, peer-edited scientific conference proceedings and peer-reviewed philosophy of science journals and books. These papers have appeared in scientific journals such as Protein Science, Journal of Molecular Biology, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics, Quarterly Review of Biology, Cell Biology International, Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum, Physics of Life Reviews, Quarterly Review of Biology, Annual Review of Genetics, and many others. At the same time, pro-ID scientists have presented their research at conferences worldwide in fields such as genetics, biochemistry, engineering, and computer science."
What I noticed was that they claim that other scientists have published peer-reviewed scientific papers in support of ID in the first paragraph . . . and then they justify that these, and other, scientists' have had work published in a number of very influential scientific journals and give a pretty impressive list.  Do you see a small disconnect?  It stood out to me.  While these two paragraphs imply one thing, do they actual say that any of these 'peer-reviewed scientific papers supportive of ID' were actually published in any of those prestigious journals?  No they do not!  There is a difference with what they are implying and what they are actually saying!

To be sure, if they ever managed to get something honestly peer-reviewed, and by that I am using the scientific communities standards of peer-review, they will be doing more than just using the term as a label, the way little casey does.  They will be crowing from every damn platform they can find.  But since that hasn't happened, I will continue to question their use of the term 'peer-review'.  It reminds me of "That's it? An admission of failure?" when we looked at who was addressing the critiques from "Darwin's Doubt", all Meyer's friends from the Discovery Institute.  Why didn't they call that one 'peer-reviewed' as well?  Maybe that was too obvious, even for the DI.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Prediction Sort of Came True!

A couple of posts back, "Re-Trying Kitzmiller v Dover School Board", I wondered what the DI's next target would be in their fairy tales about Dover Trial 'Myths'.  I thought something about Judge Jones, but I didn't think the Judge would be the target for Myth #6, I figured he would be Myth #1.  I was incorrect, but not entirely in error.  Yes, Judge Jones was the target of Myth #6.  Myth #4 was about the Judge's ruling.  Myths #2 and #1 also targeted Judge Jones.  So while I didn't think Myth #6 would have been about the Judge, I was right he would be targets by #1, but rather than 1 shot in 10,  4 of the 10 total 'myths' targeted Judge Jones.  So you see, I thought they would save it all for the final Myth, delivered on Kitzmas itself (the 20th of Dec, this one being the 10th anniversary of the Dover Ruling).  But they either couldn't contain themselves or, more likely, couldn't find anything else to spin as a myth.

You know for a court ruling that they claim has had a very limited impact on the Intelligent Design Movement, they certainly had a lot to say about it, over and over again.  What I found funny as well was that one of the Vice-Presidents for the Discovery Institute, John G. West, followed all those myth posts with one of his own "The Day a Judge Tried to Kill Intelligent Design".  For some reason I am not sure John read the actual decision because it wasn't Judge Jones who put a knife into the ID Movement, but it was a combination of the Dover School Board and the testimony of ID proponents that did more damage to ID than anything the Judge did.  All the Judge did was render a legal decision  . . . one based on actual law, not what the Discovery Institute thinks the law should be.  His legal decision summarized much of what the DI proponents, like Scott Minnich and Michael Behe had to say and explained why their testimony was particular compelling.

John repeated other things said in some of the other myths.  One I wanted to spend a little time discussing, 'Ten Myths About Dover: #5, "Discovery Institute Supported Dover School Board Policy" '.  John said:

"Even though we had opposed the Dover school district policy, we were the ones who bore the brunt of the impact of Judge Jones's decision."
So did the DI oppose the Dover School District policy?  The answer isn't the simple back and white the DI would like you to think.  Their answer is no, officially they did not support the Dover School Board.  However . . .:
  1. Why did the DI feel it was necessary to submit an Amicus Curiae brief about Intelligent Design if they weren't part of it?
  2. Why did the DI's own Wedge Strategy Document describe tactics similar to those used by the School Board and even by Michael Behe's in his testimony?  The strategy also said:
    "We will also pursue possible legal assistance in response to resistance to the integration of design theory in public school science curricula. (Wedge Strategy Document, Phase III, page 7)"
  3.  Why did Seth Cooper, DI attorney, have several calls with William Buckingham (Chairman of the Dover School Board Curriculum Committee discussing the legality of teaching ID.  (Trial Transcripts)
  4. Why did the DI forward to Buckingham DVDs, videotapes, and books. (Trial Transcripts)
  5. Why did two lawyers from the DI make a legal presentation to the Board in executive session. (Trial Transcripts)
  6. Why was the DI one of only two outside organizations consulted.  (The Thomas More Law Center was the other).  Plus the consult wasn't for scientific material, but legal advice. (Trial Transcripts)
In my opinion any claim the DI has in opposing the Dover Policy is a sham.  They were in the middle of it from the beginning and any claims of 'officially' opposing the policy is more a face-saving action rather than anything substantive.  I believe they and the Thomas More Law Center were looking for a test case for teaching any form of Creationism in public school.  Here are a couple of lines form the WIkipedia page on the Thomas More Law Center that I found interesting:
"Prior to taking on this particular case [Kitzmiller v. Diver Area School District], the lawyers of the Thomas More Law Center traveled the country seeking a school board willing to withstand a lawsuit as a test case for the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, forcing the first test case for intelligent design in the courts."

"In the summer of 2004, the Dover, Pennsylvania, school board, after receiving legal advice from the Discovery Institute, accepted the center's offer of advice and possible representation, as they worked to change their science curriculum."
The Dover School Board went down the path that cost the district $1,000,000, cost several members their seat on the board, and should have put at least two of their members in jail for perjury AFTER receiving legal advice form the Discovery Institute.  Does anyone really believe they were opposed?  What do you think they would be saying if the Dover School Board had won? 

John, and the rest of the DI keeps trying to paint the Judge as the ogre.  But John went in another direction as well and even tried to put himself in the role of a self-sacrificing hero.  Does this sound a little self-serving to you?
"It was during the bleak months following Dover that I made one of the biggest decisions of my professional life. Rather than cut and run, I decided to risk everything. Convinced of the critical importance of the intelligent design debate, I gave up my tenured position as a university professor to devote my full energies to Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture, which I had co-founded with Stephen Meyer in 1996. "
To be clear John was an Associate Professor of Political Science at Seattle Pacific University (a private Christian university) where he chaired the Political Science and Geography department.  Please note he's not a biologist, but a Government major.  Maybe I should add his teaching position to another "So there's nothing religious about ID" post?  I do wonder what his salary was in his Associate Professor position, because according to the DI's 2013 Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax), John made $120,000.  Donations were down about 25% from 2012, but John is pulling in 6-figures. The further back I can find in 2006 and while the link to the 990 was bad, the Sensuous Curmudgeon talked about another VP Stephen C. Meyer making $112,000 that year.  So I think John's was probably in the same neighborhood, after all he and Meyer co-founded the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science & Culture.

The DI keeps trying to minimize any impact of the Dover Trial and yet in his post John wants everyone to feel sorry for the DI because while claiming not to have been a party to the trial, claims to have born the brunt of the decision.  So which is it, was any impact minimal or was the impact serious?  I know what I think, but to date the DI wants everyone to believe the trial had little impact?  Which is it?

I will repeat something I said in a recent post:
" . . . How many public schools have ID on the science curriculum on par with Evolution?  They tried in many places and so far, haven't been very successful.  How many of their 5-year goals have they achieved?  How about none!  And that's not 5-year goals based on the Dover Decision, but 5-year goals set from the founding of the DI's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture . . . which I believe was 1996.  So in reality after 19 years, they haven't achieved any of their 5 year goals, let alone put a dent in their 20 year goals."
I think the impact was profound, but why would John change the DI's spin and recognize the impact all of a sudden?  I wasn't sure why until I saw the end of his post.  He tried to turn it into a plea for support, monetary support.  Here is a couple of the last lines:
"Will you take a stand against censors like Judge Jones and help us continue and expand the debate over intelligent design in 2016?
If you've helped us in the past, can you do it again right now?And if you've never donated to our work, isn't it time to join us?
DONATE now to support the work of intelligent design in 2016."
So now it wasn't enough to try and vilify the Judge, he also wants to use that vilification to raise funds.  Picture my head shaking!

OK, so there you have it.  My prediction on the Judge being saved for the big 'myth' #1 was right, but they spread their attempted vilification for Judge Jones across 40% of their 'myths', something I didn't predict.  It might have been interesting if they had anything new to say.  But the reality is they simply repeated much of their whines and cries over the last decade.  Nothing new, nothing earth-shattering.  Just more marketing, more spin.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Trying to grasp 'Information'

The most recent argument against evolution involves 'information', but they [ID proponents] never seem to explain it in a way that makes any sense.  So I have been searching for an analogy that works, but I keep coming up blank.  Not sure if I am going to reach a conclusion, but a couple of things did strike me.  Let's start with Denyse O'Leary's recent definition of Evolution:

"The mere process of eliminating unfit examples of a type in a given environment builds up information over time, resulting in huge new layers of complexity."
So, according to Denyse - Evolution is a build up of complexity.  That really doesn't ring true for me.  I don't see anything that mandates increases in complexity.  What can be, and has been documented, is that as species evolve, genetic information (genome) changes.  Whether those changes increase, decrease, or don't change the amount of genetic information seems more a matter of measurement than a matter of importance.  There is my first problem, by what standard are they measuring changes in genetic information?  I can't seem to find anything specific on such a measurement.

They offer opinion, calling 'information' complex, but what does that really mean?  Just like 'information, how do you measure complexity?  That's my second problem.  Complexity, recently sort of defined by Wild Bill Dembski, and repeated ad nauseum by little casey luskin, is this:
"something is complex if it is unlikely to occur by chance" (Wikipedia: Specified Complexity)
Now when I went looking for a definition of 'Complexity', I couldn't find a real definition, all I really found was that complexity is a characterization and often an opinion.  For example something might be complex to me may not be complex for someone else.  The most common dictionary definition is:
"the quality or state of not being simple, the quality or state of being complex, a part of something that is complicated or hard to understand" (Merriam-Webster: Complexity)
Of course you can't stop there, you then have to define 'complex':
"a whole made up of complicated or interrelated parts" (Merriam-Webster: Complex)
The problem with 'characteristic' definitions like this is they tend to run you in circles, Complexity leads you to Complex which leads you to Complicated.  Complicated is defined in a way that leads back to Complexity:
"hard to understand, explain, or deal with : having many parts or steps" (Merriam-Webster: Complicated)
I am sure something that doesn't surprise anyone, is that Complexity is defined by the rest of the world considerably different than Dembski's definition.  Just because something is complex, as in a whole made up of interrelated parts and maybe hard to understand, does not mean it is unlikely to occur through a natural process!  The formation of an object that may be defined as complex is not determined by its eventual level of complexity.  That's the opinion part of a characteristic definition.  Dembski, luskin, and the rest of the DI claim that complexity is a measure of unlikelihood, but by what measure?  Is a mountain complex?  Maybe it is or maybe it isn't.  To someone looking at one at a distance and the answer might be 'no', but ask a mountain climber or a geologist and you will get a very different answer.  Even Biblical Literalists like kennie ham agree the Grand Canyon formed by a natural process, he just thinks it happened due to an imaginary flood very quickly rather than millions of years of much smaller changes.  See what I mean by a characterization and opinion?

You might have noticed that I am not using Dembski's term 'Chance'.  I don't like that term mainly because it bring to mind something much more random.  Evolution isn't random, it's more unpredictable, which is not the same thing as being random.  But I've posted about that many times.  Although Darwin used the term 'Random Mutation', when you look at mutations within the context of evolution, any randomness is a very small piece.  Mutations themselves aren't particularly random, often they can be traced back to the genes that changed and resulted in the mutation and unless those genes were present, that specific mutation would not have occurred.  If random mutation was completely random, then anything could happen, regardless of the involved genes.  That isn't the case, unpredictable more than random.

I understand why Dembski uses 'chance', because he wants people to think Evolution is completely random and based on the luck of the draw, so to speak.  It's how he sells his argument of the impossibility of evolution. 

But, back to the discussion at hand, the reality is there is nothing anyone has published says complexities in nature cannot occur through a natural process.  They [ID proponents] feel that complexity is unlikely to occur, but that's an unsupported opinion, not based on facts.  Yes, they can call up examples of complex things that occur rarely, but by the same token there are a great many things considered complex that happen often through natural means.  What I think happened here is Dembski made up his own definition of 'complexity' and then started using it as if the world would automatically buy into it.  Is a tree complex?  And yet they grow everywhere and plant evolution is well supported.

While I was in the middle of my mental meanderings, little casey luskin, you know the 'lawyer' tasked with handing out press releases during the Dover Trial.  Well it seems he took a stab at the information argument and he really just muddied up the waters more than provided any clarification.  Here is a link to his post: "A Taxonomy of Information".  The main reason I read it is he started something potentially intriguing . . . and to be honest I usually don't make it past a few lines of most of casey's posts.  I've commented on him many times, but much less often than he posts himself.  But this time he said:
"What are some common definitions of information, and which definition is most useful for making the design inference?"
As you can imagine, I was hoping that the DI would actually pin down the definition of information that might bring some sense to their whole information argument. But, they didn't.  All little casey really did was pile on a bunch of nonsense and then use such nonsense in an effort to justify their shared religious belief.  They jump from a poor series of 'information' explanations right into their favorite topic 'Complex Specified Information' without making any connection.  From there little case' repeats stuff from Dembski on 'complexity' and he's off and running down a winding path that doesn't lead to anything resembling a conclusion.  At one point he says:
"It's important to understand that the idea of complex and specified information is NOT an invention of ID proponents."
Which isn't totally true.  Yes, the term did not originate with the DI, but Dembski's use of the term is certainly did!  To quote Wikipedia again:
" . . .whereas Orgel used the term [specified complexity] for biological features which are considered in science to have arisen through a process of evolution, Dembski says that it describes features which cannot form through "undirected" evolution—and concludes that it allows one to infer intelligent design. While Orgel employed the concept in a qualitative way, Dembski's use is intended to be quantitative." (Wikipedia: Specified Complexity)
OK, you can read Casey's little diatribe on your own time.  I think I've given him more than enough attention here.  Let's go back to the 'information' argument and try and sum up where my thinking has been going.  First let's add in the basic definition of Intelligent Design:
"The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."
The phrase that sticks with me is "best explained".  What they seem to be saying is their explanation is best because the genome is complex and complexity can only come from intelligence and not natural processes.  The only point of agreement is that the genome is complex, that is it has a great many pieces and parts.  But the fact of complexity in no way requires an intelligence.  Inventing things like specified complexity to 'explain' things fails if they cannot back it up with reality instead of wishful thinking.  The whole 'information argument' is rapidly turning into a re-statement of the old 'odds argument'.

You might remember the odds argument.  It was personified when Fred Hoyle made an analogy comparing Evolution to a tornado through a junk yard building a 747.  It was further compounded with some folks claiming to have calculated the odds of the human genome being in existence.  Yet the odds argument doesn't work.  It's like the lottery.  Before you buy a ticket, you can calculate the odds of winning because you know the parameters you are operating within.  Do we know the parameters for the formation of life?  No, and any claims to the contrary are selling one version of snake oil or another.

Let me repeat my favorite analogy about the odds argument.  Take a plain deck of playing cards and shuffle them up.  Deal them out face-up so you can see them all.  Do you see the order they are in?  What are the odds of them being in that order? 52! (52 factorial).  Pretty damn astronomical.  Now the question is did you beat the odds?  Be honest!

The answer, of course, is no.  Unless you predicted that exact order before you started dealing them out, you haven't beaten the odds at all.  Now, what are the odds of those cards being in some order?  Right, 100%.  Without the prediction, the odds are meaningless. 

Let's try one more analogy, start with the number 1 and add 1, you get 2, then add another 1, and you get 3 . . . adding one to a number is a very simple process.  Is there a limit?  Of course not.  We have frequently stated that numbers simply keep going, toward a fairly esoteric idea called 'infinity'.  But that number will pretty quickly reach a level where it is literally incomprehensible to us human beings.  Oh, in the abstract, we can deal with such large numbers by changing the way we express them in various ways to bring them down to a comprehensible level, but something like 1.0 x 10100 is given the name 'googol', another impossibly large number, a googolplex is equivalent to 1.0 x 10googol.  The estimate of counting up to a googol would take an estimated 5 x 1090 centuries (at 2 numbers per second).  Can you even imagine how long it would take to count up to a googolplex? Based on that, wouldn't such a number be 'hard to understand'?  So it meets one of the common definitions for 'complex'. 

So here we have something created through a simple process that eventually reaches a point where it is barely comprehensible without some esoteric methods of reference, like scientific notation or categorizing with a cute name. I know this isn't a complete analogy, but then what analogy completely represents anything anyway?  But look at how a simple process can eventually add up to levels of complexity that require us to take significant steps to be able to comprehend.  Even then, do most folks really understand numbers that large?

To use this analogy on Intelligent Design, it seems that we start with 1, and add 1, then add another 1 . . . and we reach a point of comprehensibility where we cannot add another number.  To make the jump to a larger number some external factor (intelligence . . . or to be honest, a Deity) must be added because of our inability to comprehend such complex things.  And yet for this to be true, there has to be some barrier that cannot be breached.  Have ID proponents offered up anything resembling a barrier?  Not yet and not for a lack of trying. 

Life evolved and continues to evolve without any evidence of the actions of a capricious deity.  The information argument doesn't really seem to mean much of anything.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Re-Trying Kitzmiller v Dover School Board

Yesterday I mentioned the spin-miesters at the Discovery Institute doing their level best to spin the Dover Decision in their posts called the '10 Myths About Dover' in my "Merry Kitzmas!" post.  I had a little time tonight and looked at their Myth No. 7, " Ten Myths About Dover: #7, "The Dover Case Showed ID Is 'Religious' and a Form of 'Creationism'" ".  I was planning on commenting on just the title, at least at first, but then I read it . . . all of it . . .warning, it's huge!  What they are trying to do is re-try the case, seriously . . . read it yourself.  Of course they are re-trying the case by only presenting their side!   It's hilarious!

In all honesty, I don't see anything new here.  It's a re-hash of things said time and time again since the trial, including their comments in the Montana Law Review.  It really is funny.  Especially this part:

Here's what Scott Minnich testified:
Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether intelligent design requires the action of a supernatural creator? A. I do.
Q. What is that opinion?
A. It does not.
Q. Does intelligent design require the action of a supernatural creator acting outside the laws of nature?
A. No.
(Scott Minnich, Nov. 3 PM Testimony, pp. 45-46, 135.)
Similarly Michael Behe testified:
Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether intelligent design requires the action of a supernatural creator? A. Yes, I do.
Q. And what is that opinion?
A. No, it doesn't.
(Michael Behe, Oct. 17 AM Testimony, p. 86.)
Now a question . . . would you expect anything else from two of the ID Proponents during their testimony?  Of course the DI forgets all about the cross examination?  If they are going to re-present their side, they should at least present the entire argument.  Well, their definition of fair and mine are obviously different.   However, did they forget that in order for ID to be science, Behe wanted to expand the definition of science to allow supernatural causation?  So under cross-examination Behe admits supernatural causation, but under examination by defense he denies the need.  And they wonder why the Judge didn't accept everything they said as gospel?

One more laugh.  Over in Ten Myths About Dover: #9, "The ID Movement Had Its Day in Court" they claimed to have not had their day in court . . . yet in addition to their proponents testifying, they bring up in this 'myth' the amicus brief they gave to Judge Jones to try and 'help' during the trial.  According to a google search, in legal terms it means:
"An amicus curiae (literally, friend of the court; plural, amici curiae) is someone who is not a party to a case and offers information that bears on the case, but who has not been solicited by any of the parties to assist a court. This may take the form of legal opinion, testimony or learned treatise (the amicus brief) and is a way to introduce concerns ensuring that the possibly broad legal effects of a court decision will not depend solely on the parties directly involved in the case."  (Wikipedia)
Yes they weren't party, but they certainly had a vested interest.  All on their own they provided this information . . . and yet they claim to not have had their day in court!   I underlined one part of the definition I wanted to mention: 'possibly broad legal effects of a court decision '.  So, the DI provided an amicus brief designed . . . pun intended . . . to insure that any possible broad legal effects had their input.  After the trial they whined that Jude Jones overstepped, yet they themselves were hoping for a broad legal effect . . . but only if it went in their favor.

Well, you can read the rest of their post if you want, but be prepared to take some time.  They pretty much re-tried and re-presented their entire side of the trial . . . a trial in which they keep trying to distance themselves.  If you want a quick laugh you can read how they re-wrote history with their re-telling of the story of "Of Pandas and People'. This part is particularly amusing:
"Again, up to this point, "creationism" was the only game in town. Sometimes in the earliest days, in fact, ID advocates used that very term. But they clearly meant something different by it than did actual "creationists." Obviously, they could not have anticipated the way Darwin defenders would later seize on the strategy of using ambiguous or multivalent language ("creationism," "evolution") to sow confusion among the public and in the media. "
ID advocates used the term 'creationism', but meant something different that how 'creationists' used it.  Does anyone believe this?  And, pretty typically, they accuse real science of sowing confusion, their own favorite tactic.  Remember the bait and switch with the word 'Theory' and who could forget 'Academic Freedom' which has nothing to do with actual academic freedom.  Ah yes, they love confusion, it's their ironic accusation that amuses me.

OK, enough!  I'm not planning to read this one again.  I wonder what they have in mind for Myth 6?  Eventually they have to renew their attacks on Judge Jones.  My guess is Myth #1 will focus there.  Who will they attack next?  Tammy Kitzmiller?  The biology teachers in Dover?  How about reporters covering the trial?

Monday, December 14, 2015

I missed something in the Discovery Institute's Myth 8

I hate when I do this.  I was checking something in 'Ten Myths About Dover: #8, "Michael Behe Admitted that ID Is No More Scientific than Astrology" ' and caught a sentence that I guess I missed the first time through.  Here is little casey luskin's last paragraph:

"The problem with astrology is not that it could have fit the NAS's definition of a scientific theory, or Michael Behe's definition. The problem with astrology is simple: It's not supported by the evidence. After all, an idea that is "science" or "scientific" can still be flatly wrong."
Look at the second to last sentence:
"The problem with astrology is simple: It's not supported by the evidence."
I can't believe a member of the Discovery Institute (DI) could actually say something like that.  They must have had every irony meter shipped far out of state or else the rest of the world would have heard and felt the explosions.

So, to paraphrase, Astrology isn't science because it is not supported by the evidence, but -- according to the Discovery Institute -- Intelligent Design is science regardless of the fact there is no evidence supporting it.  Marie Antoinette anyone?

Does this mean I disagree with the DI's claims of having evidence?  I certainly do.  Even if you don't look at the religious motivations behind them, what have they shown as evidence?
  • The appearance of design
    [Which does not equate to the fact of design]
  • Examples of human intelligence
    [Which does not equate to their idea of Intelligent Design]
  • The creation of unsupported concepts like 'irreducible complexity' and 'complex specified information' and then using them as if they had meaning in their rationalizations[It's not enough to create a definition out of thin air, they have to support . . . with evidence . . . that such things actually exist and then try and use them to rationalize ID.  They keep forgetting that step.]
  • Arguments about the impossibility of evolution
    [Even if these arguments were true, that doesn't mean ID is true.  They present a false dichotomy, sort of if not evolution, then ID.  To be clear, I also disagree with their anti-evolution arguments.]
  • A Design Inference filter
    [That doesn't seem to be able to infer anything]
  • Re-writing history
    [Like the Sternberg Peer Review Controversy or trying to re-baptize folks like Alfred Russel Wallace  and Thomas Jefferson as ID proponents.]
What ID comes down to is opinion, wishful thinking, and unsupported conjecture.  What the Intelligent Design Movement comes down to is marketing not science.   It is marketing ID using any tactic available regardless how reprehensible their tactics are -- all for a strictly religious purpose.  What I find more than a little bit galling is when a DI mouthpiece makes ironic statements like this!  No wonder no one outside their religious compatriots takes them very seriously. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Merry Kitzmas!

I know, not a very original title.  Since Judge Jones' Finding of Fact and Decision Ruling in the Dover Trial was released on 20 Dec 2005, every year one or more websites have used it.  But it certainly fits.  It's been a decade and while this year has been pull of many articles and posts about Dover, it has also been a decade of spin by the Discovery Institute.  I've written about it before, for example: "Does Judge Jones Misunderstand his Critics?"  One of the common points is that since the trial ended and even before the decision was released, the DI has been trying to mitigate the impacts on the Intelligent Design Movement.

It's been a busy month between work and getting ready for the holidays, but I had some time this weekend and hit the DI's Evolution 'News' and Views website (E'N'V).  While they commonly refer to it as a blog, I disagree.  They refuse to allow comments, so I don't consider it a blog.  I also don't consider it a news site, more in the vein of Fox 'Pseudo-news' than anything smattering in actual news.

Today's visit started with something new:

With their belief sets, shouldn't they be asking for help from a different direction?  I have several groups I donate too, but under no circumstances will I consider donating to them.  While I do derive considerable entertainment, I wouldn't consider it any type of investment, like I do MS, Parkinson's, Special Olympics, Vietnam Vets, and my local NPR station.  I feel those groups make positive things happen with my money.

But it does bring something new to mind.  If Intelligent Design hasn't been impacted by Kitzmiller v. Dover et al . . . why are they soliciting for donations?  Aren't their regular donors enough?  Or are some getting a bit disillusioned with the DI's lack of scientific progress?  Just curious?

I bet the opening paragraph about the DI from Wikipedia really must irritate the hell out of them:
"The Discovery Institute (DI) is a non-profit public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, best known for its advocacy of the pseudoscience "intelligent design" (ID). Its "Teach the Controversy" campaign aims to teach creationist anti-evolution beliefs in United States public high school science courses alongside accepted scientific theories, positing that a scientific controversy exists over these subjects (Wikipedia:  Discovery Institute)"
Well enough about that. let's close that pop-up and see what's going on.  I wonder how the DI is celebrating Kitzmas.  Ah, they are 'celebrating' by trying to  . . . again . . . spin the impacts of the Kitzmiller decision.  They started a series of posts about what they are calling '10 Myths about Dover'.  So far they are counting them down and have posted 10 through 8:
I'm not going to spend a lot of time on their spin because they aren't saying anything new.  They are re-hashing old spins.  I will say a few words about these three:
  • Did anyone say the Intelligent Design Movement was dead after Dover?  No, I don't recall anyone saying that.  What I do recall is people saying the support for ID and the political marketing campaign took a serious blow.  Hasn't that been true?  How many public schools have ID on the science curriculum on par with Evolution?  They tried in many places and so far, haven't been very successful.  How many of their 5-year goals have they achieved?  How about none!  And that's not 5-year goals based on the Dover Decision, but 5-year goals set from the founding of the DI's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture . . . which I believe was 1996.  So in reality after 19 years, they haven't achieved any of their 5 year goals, let alone put a dent in their 20 year goals. 
  • Did ID have it's day in court?  Most certainly.  ID proponents not only testified during the Dover Trial, but their testimony was designed to establish ID's scientific basis.   Based on the results . . . well in the words of Judge Jones:
    "In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents"(Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 04 cv 2688 (December 20, 2005). Curriculum, Conclusion, p. 136.)
  • Did [ID Proponent] Michael Behe actually say ID was no more scientific than Astrology?  No, he didn't use those exact words, but he wanted a broader definition of science.  The conclusion was that his broader definition would encompass many things including supernatural causation.  When you look at his comments in context, you can see that.  Of course the DI prefers to change the context to suit themselves.  I suggest you read the Dover Trial Transcripts yourself, here is a link to that part of Behe's testimony.  I think it reads very different than the DI's latest spin on it.
What I also find rather funny is that Behe and the other ID proponents tried to present the case that ID is science.  When Judge Jones ruled that it wasn't, one of the more common whines was that Judge Jones didn't have the authority to make such a judgement.  If he didn't have the authority, why present such a case?  Imagine the opposite, suppose Judge Jones had ruled that ID was science, can you imagine the hue and cry if anyone in opposition to ID suggested that Judge Jones overstepped his authority?  Unfortunately, I can imagine it . . . but good sense and the law prevailed.  ID = Creationism and therefore doesn't belong in science class.

I'll probably keep an eye on the next few and see it they try and present anything new.  I doubt it.  Which is mildly surprising.  I mean they've had a decade to hone their arguments and all we seem to get in the same old thing.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Follow-up to "So There is Nothing Religious About Intelligent Design (Part IX)"

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the Discovery Institute, while still claiming to not be a religious organization, is very concerned with young people losing their faith-based beliefs ("Are Young People Losing Their Faith Because of Science?").  They are offering a 'free' report to:

"Download this free report from Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture for information and resources to equip yourself, your family, and your congregation on issues of faith and science." 
Aside from this reminding me of those theists who used to roam the airport giving out a flower or a book and then asking for a monetary contribution . . . anyway . . .

One of the commenters on the Sensuous Curmudgeon blog, where I first caught the DI's report, apparently did download it.  If you remember I wasn't sure what five big truths the DI was going to 'explain' in order to help you counter the myth that belief in God is anti-scienceI did postulate some possibilities, and got a couple of them right.  Here is the list and my responses.  According to 'michaelfugate' they are [my comments follow and are italicized]:

  • Christianity is not anti-science. Indeed, the Judeo-Christian worldview helped nurture the scientific revolution.
    This is one of the ones I did predict.  The DI loves to lay claim to such things, but they tend to do quite a bit of cherry picking and only remark with vague generalities.  Partially true, but across history the Judeo-Christian worldview also greatly inhibited science, especially science that disagreed with that worldview.  Can anyone remember how long it took before any part of the Judeo-Christian worldview apologized to Nicholas Copernicus? 500 years?  I guess they might consider it only took 350 years to apologize for what it did to Galileo an improvement.  But you cannot consider that a nurturing environment!  Making this claim doesn't support that belief in God is scientific, only that religious groups can use their belief set in many ways, including ways that do more damage than good.
  • Even many secular scientists affirm the incredible fine-tuning of the laws of physics that make life possible. We live on a “privileged planet” designed in a multitude of ways for life and for scientific discovery.
    I would love to see their definition of a 'secular scientist' because this is patently untrue.  While real scientists have uncovered the laws of physics, they do not consider the 'fine-tuning' argument persuasive.  This top-down view of the evolution of life and the formation of the universe is much more a philosophical argument than a scientific one.  If you disagree, go out to PubMed and do a search for 'fine-tuned universe', there were six articles, and only two addressed this from a philosophical viewpoint, not a scientific one.  The other four used the term 'fine-tuning' in a different context.
  • Inside our cells are molecular machines of exquisite beauty and complexity that point powerfully to purposeful design.
    This was the other I predicted.  I figured they would try and work in their pet version of Creationism somehow.  While they often make this claim, they have yet to support it.  One of their own 'scientists', Ann Gauger said recently that not only do they not know the process of ID, but that since the Intelligent Agent (what the rest of religions call a Deity) is so far outside of us, we will never know that process.  Other than wishful thinking and conjecture, they not found anything that actually contradicts evolutionary theory.  They offer statements like this as if they are conclusions rather than just more speculation.  To make this claim, they have a great deal of work in front of them -- but so far it seems to be work they are unable or unwilling to do.
  • Human beings are special and unique in a multitude of ways.
    As compared to what?  Tigers are special and unique in a multitude of ways as well, and in many ways we would fail to measure up.  Humans also share a great many ways with many other species on this planet.  DNA studies, physiology, and studies in comparative anatomy clearly demonstrate that while we might like to think we are unique and special, there isn't all that much evidence to support it. 
  • Science is a wonderful human enterprise, but it is fallible and can be abused. It is therefore rational (and not “anti-science”) to explore competing scientific explanations, and to scrutinize cultural claims made in the name of science.
    As so goes the lesson in distrusting science that the DI has been pushing for years.  Is science perfect?  No!  But it's the exploration of other scientific theories, it's the validation with experimentation, it's following a methodological approach that makes science work and when science gets things wrong, it is often a self-correcting activity.  But it's not exploring just any ideas and trying to contrasting them with scientific theories that improves science, but actual scientific theories.  While they keep trying to claim it, Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory and until it's proponents get out of the marketing world and get into the weeds of scientific work, no one within science needs to take them particularly seriously.  By this wording here, every scientific discipline that gets questioned in any way by anybody is supposed to be addressed.  Talk about a complete and total waste of time.  For example do we really need to have Mathematicians spend time addressing Numerology?  How about Astronomers dealing with Astrology?  Archaeologists are going to have to address 'pyramid power' and chase down rumors and stories of ancient astronauts?  Until ID proponents do the actual scientific work to support their idea, real biologists should be focused real science, not trying to justify someone else's religious beliefs. 
This five things aren't 'truths', they are just more examples of the marketing of the Discovery Institute. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Unique Grand Canyon Trips . . . only in one respect

You might know that the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) hosts an annual trip rafting through the Grand Canyon.  I've heard many good things about it and one day hope to make the trip myself.  On the NCSE website, they describe it as:

"Welcome to the FAQ for the NCSE Grand Canyon 2016 raft trip, which will run from June 30-July 8! All Grand Canyon trips include spectacular scenery, fascinating natural history, brilliant night skies, exciting rapids, delicious meals, and good company of people excited about science. Because this is an NCSE trip, we offer a special twist for science fans.

Our NCSE trip features a unique "two-model" raft trip, where we discuss the creationist view of Grand Canyon, contrasted with the normal scientific interpretation. For example, we examine major erosional contacts, and explain how creationists think these formed thousands of years ago during Noah’s Flood, while scientists take a different view.

NCSE's Josh Rosenau delivers a tongue-in-cheek presentation of the creationist view, as well as expounding on the natural history of the Grand Canyon. The standard scientific view of the history of the Canyon is presented by NCSE’s Steve Newton, a trained geologist."
 Well taking a note out of the NCSE playbook, little kennie ham, you know Answers in Genesis, Creation 'Museum', and Ark Park infamy.  He's offering a similar trip, but from the Creationist viewpoint.  He describes it on his website as:
"You probably know that the Grand Canyon is one of the best places on earth you can visit to view powerful evidence that confirms the biblical account of Noah’s Flood. When you grew up and went to school, you may have been taught the false view of the Canyon’s formation in your sciences classes, namely that over millions of years, the Colorado River supposedly slowly carved out a part of northern Arizona to form the Grand Canyon. Increasingly, though, even secular geologists are beginning to agree with catastrophist creationists about the Canyon: a lot of water, over a short period of time, carved the Canyon—not a little bit of water over a long time! Creation scientists like those at AiG would argue that very soon after the Flood, a massive wall of water rather quickly carved the Canyon."
Of course he couldn't resist using this little announcement for a bit of preaching.  He claims that the scientific view of the canyon forming is false and that 'even secular geologists are beginning to agree with catastrophist (is that even a word?) creationists about the Canyon' -- neither of which he can offer any support other than wishful thinking, but then do we ever think we'll get much else?

For some reason the link to the Canyon Ministries isn't working, but you get the idea.  He's even starting to send an AiG staff member along to help 'explain' things from the Creationist point of view, isn't that so special.  Little kennie's other page discussing more of the details says something really strange:
"If a rafting trip does not fit your schedule, but you don’t want to hear the evolutionary explanation of the canyon’s formation when you visit, consider a land-based tour with Canyon Ministries."
I underlined the strange part, the raft trip is going to show the 'evolutionary explanation'?  Really?  That doesn't seem to jibe with the purpose already stated.  But that's just me, I am surprised kennie could even use the word 'evolutionary', but paraphrase one of my favorite movies, I don't think that word means what he thinks it means.

So There is Nothing Religious About Intelligent Design (Part IX)

What would a month be without another example of religion courtesy of those folks who claim not to be a religious organization, yes -- I give you the Discovery Institute.

I caught this one from one of my favorite blogs, The Sensuous Curmudgeon, and I doubt I could be in more agreement.  The source is from the DI: "Are Young People Losing Their Faith Because of Science?"  Now before diving into it, just read the title for a second.  If, and I mean a very large IF, the Discovery Institute (DI) was an actual scientific organization and the answer to the question poised was 'yes', then they themselves would be partly to blame, right?  It would only stand to reason, wouldn't it?  But since they aren't a scientific organization, the answer to the question would only be important if they were concerned about young people shifting away from faith-based beliefs.  Why would that be a concern for the DI?

In their post they claim to be addressing the following questions in their other material.  Oh, did I forget to mention that this wasn't just a post, it was an offer, a 'free' offer to download their  . . . well here it is in their own words:

"Download this free report from Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture for information and resources to equip yourself, your family, and your congregation on issues of faith and science." 
'Yourself, your family, and your congregation . . . faith and science' . . . sure no religious connotations there!  This 'free' report supposedly addresses several questions (My thoughts about their questions follow in italics):
  • What percentage of young people now enter college believing that “the universe arose by chance”? 
    I would hope that young people entering college wouldn't believe that at all -- since Science doesn't teach it.  Theists with a grudge against science try and paint science in this way, but actual science doesn't teach this.

  • What percentage of college faculty identify themselves as atheists or agnostics? 
    Why aren't they asking what percentage identify themselves as Christian or other theist?  The real question is should their religious identification make a difference?  If it does, then the school needs to take action!  Right now if a Christian biology teacher in a public school teaches their religion instead of actual science, they should be fired (John Freshwater for example).  That's how it should be!  Religious, or non-religious affiliation should not matter!  Imagine the hue and cry is a Islamic teacher made disparaging comments about Christian Creationism.  So the fact some of the teachers might be atheists or agnostics is an automatic problem?  It should be immaterial, and when it's not, action needs to be taken.

  • How many young adults with a Christian background think “Christianity is anti-science”?
    Since the Discovery Institute is one of the organizations that teach the distrust of science, anyone who follows their rhetoric and actually believes it could certainly believe Christianity is anti-science.  But the reality is the DI, and groups like Answers in Genesis (AiG) and the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) do not represent the vast majority of Christians nor Christianity as a whole.  Many Christians are scientists and many theists in the past have made many scientific breakthroughs.  Christianity is not anti-science, a small sect, notably Evangelical Christians, exhibit behaviors that are certainly anti-science.

  • What five big truths can help you counter the myth that belief in God is anti-science? 
    Not sure what five truths they are talking about, but if you go by the DI's history, they will attempt to paint many historical scientific figures by their religious beliefs and yet will, once again, fail to connect their science to their belief set.  Even in modern times, for example, one of the developers of the technology behind MRIs identifies himself as a Creation Scientist . . . and yet at no point in his actual scientific work does his religious beliefs appear.  Why is that?  It's not that Creation 'Scientists' are anti-science, it's that some of them do not let their religious beliefs get in the way of performing science.  On the other hand, what breakthroughs in various sciences are claimed by Creation 'Scientists' affiliated with religious organizations like the DI, AiG, or ICR?  Can anyone actually name any?  And if you can, can you point to where their religious beliefs enter into those breakthrough?  Not even the one-time golden boy of the DI, Michael Behe, has used his belief in ID in his work, only in his philosophical musings.

    They will also push their particular religious belief, intelligent design, as if it was actual science, but again forgetting to support it or demonstrate their scientific methodology.  If you read material by actual scientists rather than DI apologists, you see real science, you see the evidence laid out, you see the methodology used, you see scientists around the world dissecting and replicating their work.  When do you see anything of this for Intelligent Design?  Even Wikipedia describes it as psuedo-science, as much as someone keeps trying to edit that part out.

    They will continue to claim the use of human intelligence is an example of the 'theory of Intelligent Design', again forgetting to support the connection.  It would be a difficult connection for even them to make because they have yet to describe a theory of ID.

    They will more than likely keep twisting terminology, like 'Theory' and 'Academic Freedom' as ways of justifying their mistrust of science and scientific/educational institutions. 

    They might also continue to portray folks like David Coppedge, Richard Von Sternberg, and Guillermo Gonzales as 'victims' of religious persecution rather than the more accurate people who allowed their belief set to interfere with them performing a job and were held accountable. 

    Not sure what 'Truths' they will be marketing, but it might be entertaining.

  • What resources are available to help you engage young people and others who think faith is anti-science? 
    Instead of downloading the DI's marketing material, I would recommend a real education more than anything else and that would include actual science, not pseudo-science like Creationism/Intelligent Design.
Does this change in young people moving away from faith-based beliefs worry the DI?  It should since without their faith-based audience, there would be no funding, no marketing, and no Discovery Institute.  But my bottom line is connecting the DI back to something they keep officially denying, their religious motivations.  Why else would they offer this 'free' download. 

To be clear, I am not going to download it.  Would the report itself support their claims for not being religious?  I doubt it, not with this post announcing it.  So I don't believe to need the material.  I've download much of their marketing material already, like their lesson plans for teaching ID . . . another something they claim to be opposed to.  Yes, they claim to not advocate teaching ID in the classroom, yet they had lesson plans posted for how to do it.  This post is another that lays waste to their often made claims of not being religious, the material itself would add nothing to that.

In case you missed them, here are the other 8 posts (8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) about the DI not being religious.  Take a peek and you will see that while they consistently try and distance themselves, they keep returning to their religious underpinnings.  I have said it before and I will continue to say it, the Discovery Institute is much more a religious ministry than anything else.  This post shows they have more in common with kennie ham (AiG), who is at least honest about being a ministry.