Saturday, July 15, 2017

We Will Continue To Speak the Truth about Intelligent Design!

The Discovery Institute's (DI) Evolution 'news' and Views site has a new post, it's from davey 'klingy' klinghoffer and it sounds as if he's pissed!  "Say What You Want About Intelligent Design"  Davey is repeating a common theme, he doesn't like what people say about Intelligent Design (ID).  Poor davey!

"Literally, say whatever the hell you want. You can say things that are true. Or you can say things that are false. Either is fine, but with most mainstream media outlets, false is likely preferable.Writing at the slick science magazine Nautilus, Brian Gallagher demonstrates yet again that there is no accountability when criticizing ID is on the agenda. He tries to draw a line connecting last month’s story about Turkey eliminating evolution from 9th grade science class, with “fundamentalist” Christianity, with creationism, with intelligent design, and with academic freedom legislation."
I haven't yet read the article that offended davey so deeply, I will, but for now I wanted to focus in on his complaints.  One of the things we have discussed often is how the DI doesn't like you much unless you agree completely with their agenda and parrot their own words often.  For example, they don't like Wikipedia much because Wikipedia insists on not allowing them to define Intelligent Design as science.  They don't like the United Methodist Church because they refused to give into the DI's demand for a propaganda table at the UMC's general meeting.  They didn't like the "March for Science" because they didn't invite the DI, and when they tried to invite themselves, the March for Science folks reminded the DI that they were not a scientific organization.  I don't think they like the Vatican very much because they didn't get invited to a Vatican-sponsored conference on Darwin back in 2009.  The basic bottom line seems to be either you are on their side, or you are the enemy.  Well I guess they found another enemy.

So is Nature reporting things that are not true?  I don't believe so.  The moniker of 'false news' has become very popular lately, but just declaring, or insinuating, something is false news doesn't mean it actually is false.  Just read most of a certain hamster-haired serial misogynist and liar's tweets about all news organizations except for the extreme right and you will understand that calling something 'false news' really means they wrote something you didn't like -- not that their news is actually false!

One of davey's whine is how ID is defined, but the definition keeps changing, as noted in "Surprise! The definition of ID has 'evolved'"  It seems that one of the tactics that the DI uses is to complain about how ID is characterized -- even though they have yet to establish a formal definition and explanation of ID.  It's like they refuse to allow themselves to be pinned down, and therefore can complain about someone anytime they say something that isn't immediately supportive and positive.

Do you think a line can be drawn between Turkey dropping Evolution from their school curriculum and the activities of fundamentalist Christians, what I usually call Evangelical Christians, who are trying to do the exact same thing?  Of course you can!  Religious groups in Turkey are doing what people like kennie ham, Texas' Don McLeroy, Ohio's Deborah Owens Fink, and South Carolina's Kristin Maguire would love to do -- remake the entire school curriculum, from pre-school through college, in the conservative Christian image -- regardless of your actual religious beliefs, or lack of them.  Destroy science, history, and any subject that fails to put their version of God as the correct answer to any and all questions.  You can agree or disagree, but when you look at the facts of the actions these folks -- and others -- have taken, that is exactly what they want.

OK, so we have two points, can we extend that line to Creationism?  I believe so.

Who have been ardent supporters of their religion being the basis for education in this country?  Who have been arguing against any subject, particularly evolution, that they claim undermines their religious beliefs?  If you look at folks like McLeroy, Owens Fink, and Maguire you will find they are Creationists.  They were pushing for the addition of Creationism for years and only switched to ID as a tactic.  It's not just them, it was the school board in Dover PA which lead to the Kitzmiller et al v. Dover School Board trial which was so devastating to the ID movement.  It was groups that led up to many, if not all, of the lawsuits that results in religion being removed from the science classroom, at least in public schools.  'Creationist' is the modern term, but there have been other names for them.  What it boils down to is the actions, and their actions are to impose their religious beliefs on any and all students regardless of whether those beliefs are shared or even if those beliefs mean anything.  Think I am stretching here, well then tell me how science works when all you have to rely on is your religious beliefs?  How many diseases have been cured, how many scientific breakthroughs have been accomplished through religious beliefs?  Doesn't look like any of them, does it?

So we've stretched a line from Turkey through Fundamentalist Christianity to Creationism, next stop Intelligent Design. Anyone remember this post: "Does Anyone Actually Believe the Discovery Institute when They say They are not Advocating Teaching Intelligent Design?".  How about a few highlights:
  • A 'Teacher Training Program' as part of the DI's 'Publicity and Opinion-making' phase. ( (Wedge Strategy Document, Phase II, page 6)" 
  • "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)" 
  • "The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center . . . to promoting intelligent design theory . . . among students, educators, . . . and anyone else interested.
  • Our primary focus is to help students form "IDEA Clubs" on university and high school campuses to expand the dialogue over intelligent design" (IDEA Club Website
  • In Texas where they were 'advising' the Creationist head of the state school board on public school curricula and textbooks. 
  • To their own website with: 
Yes, we can connect all of this into one long line and ending at their current activities, what they like to call their Academic Freedom bills, bills which have absolutely nothing to do with academic freedom.  Here is how those bills are described in Wikipedia:
"A number of anti-evolution bills have been introduced in the United States Congress and State legislatures since 2001. Purporting to support academic freedom, supporters have contended that teachers, students, and college professors face intimidation and retaliation when discussing scientific criticisms of evolution, and therefore require protection. Critics of the legislation have pointed out that there are no credible scientific critiques of evolution. An investigation in Florida of the allegations of intimidation and retaliation found no evidence that it had occurred."
Anti-evolution, purported to support academic freedom, asking for protection against actions that have never happened.  Just another tactic of deceit from the DI.  Look at each and evey action they claim is a form of intimidation and you will find a teacher failing to do their job.  Look for yourself, but avoid the DI's propaganda machine.  The ones they mention most often are:
  • Crocker's contract was up and she was not re-hired partly because she was failing to teach the subject she was hired to teach -- science. 
  • Gonzalez was not given tenure because he failed in his responsibilities as a professor with graduate students after 7 years in the job. Seven years and only one completed graduate student and hardly any research funding. Very poor showing for a tenure seeking professor! But he was not fired. 
  • Sternberg was the already outgoing editor of a minor biological journal who, on his way out the door, violated the journals review procedure to publish one of his friend's ID paper, and now he works for that same friend at the DI. 
  • Freshwater was fired for a number of things including failing to do his job, lying to investigators, trying to get his students to lie for him, and burning crosses into kids arms. He tried to take his case all the way to the US Supreme Court, after failing at all the other levels. It didn't work. 
  • Coppedge was simply downsized and tried to turn it into a religious discrimination suit and failed. Of course he looked pretty bad when all the evidence showed that he was a poor employee (there were complaints), liked to preach his religion to his co-workers (there were more complaints), and refused to keep his skills current.
It is not intimidation to hold people accountable for the job they were hired to do!  Those so-called 'academic freedom' bills are designed to not allow schools to hold them accountable.  Imagine a school who cannot fire a teacher who was hired to teach biology and is found to be teaching religion instead?  Such bills will prevent schools from taking action . . . we have real problems in our education system, protecting those failing to perform is not going to help!

One last quote from davey:
"He repeats the myth about ID as “rebranded” creationism. Hardly. One is an inference from science, the other from the Bible. That’s a big difference. One regards the great age of the Earth, reckoned in billions of years, with equanimity and is open to the idea of common descent. The other doesn’t and isn’t."
Here is where davey plays a little redefinition with Creationism.  He tends to forget that not all Creationists are what are called Young Earth Creationists (YEC), but that's one of his criteria trying to convince people that ID isn't Creationism.  But the age of the Earth and common descent are not the common theme that connects Creationism, regardless of what specific strain you might follow.  Here's a common definition:
"Creationism is the religious belief that the universe and life originated "from specific acts of divine creation," as opposed to the scientific conclusion that they came about through natural processes." (Wikipedia: Creationism)
Anything in there on common descent or the age of the Earth?  Nope!  There are many varieties of Creationism, but they all share this belief that everything originated through the actions of a deity and not natural processes.  For comparison, ID proponents claim 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." (Wikipedia: Intelligent Design)
Notice anything similar?  Without offering any evidence, they make a claim that natural processes couldn't be responsible.  The only difference is that they hide their references to a deity.  This is a tactic, and their own guiding document, the Wedge Document, also called the Wedge Strategy.  It's the game plan used by ID proponents and it specifically calls for:
"To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God"
That's in the opening paragraph.  So while ID proponents like to hide their allegiance to a deity, they don't hide it very well.  So in reality, it's not Brian Gallagher who is repeating a myth about ID being 'rebranded Creationism', but davey himself that is telling the myth, the myth that ID is not the same thing as Creationism!

So just looking at davey's whine doesn't seem to much  any sense.  It's just the usual vitriol aimed at something who calls them, not only like they see them, but like they are.  Nature and Brian Gallagher are simply telling the truth, but it's a truth that the DI has been trying to hide for years.

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