Posts Tagged ‘Discovery Institute’
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 15, 2013
Tonight I stumbled across an excellent blog post from the Skeptical Raptor on the most recent spate of anti-science bills (i.e., anti-evolution, anti-climate science, etc) that have cropped up all over state legislatures in the United States so far in 2013. Rather than rehash what is an already well-researched and written post, I shall simply reblog it below:
It’s a new year for the individual US state legislatures, and after a relatively unsuccessful 2012 in passing anti-science laws (with the notable exception of Tennessee’s Monkey Bill), the conservative Republicans are back trying to remove real science teaching from our kids. The anti-science legislation comes in the form of either teaching creationism (or more subtle forms, like intelligent design), usually combined with climate change denialism, and, strangely, anti-human cloning (which is not exactly a serious line of research today). But the goal is, and will probably always be, to teach creationism.
Creationism refers to the belief that the universe and everything in it were specially created by a god through magic, rather than natural, scientifically explained, means. Creationism implicitly relies on the claim that there is a “purpose” to all creation known only to the creator. In other words, creationism is a religious belief, and no matter what argument is made (and I could write 50,000 words on the topic), creationism is not science because it relies upon a supernatural being, which means it can never be falsified, one of the basic principles of the scientific method. The supporters of creationism attempt to claim that creationism is a scientific theory on the level of evolution, ignoring the fact that a scientific theory is ”a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.” Creationism is generally based on a fictional book.
The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, specifically prohibits any government entity from establishing a religion (which courts have ruled to include teaching religion in schools). Decades worth of Supreme Court rulings have found that teaching creationism in schools is equivalent to teaching religion. As recently as 2005, in Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District, a Federal Court continued the tradition of considering creationism as religion, and ruled against a school district, costing the Dover Area School District nearly $1 million in legal fees. That money probably could have been used to teach their students better science.
Despite these legal rulings, eight states have introduced antievolution or anti-science bills since the beginning of the year…
Click here to read the rest of Skeptical Raptor’s post
Posted in creationism, education, politics | Tagged: academic freedom, anti science, anti-evolution, Bible, Christ, Christianity, creationism, creationist, denial, denialism, Discovery Institute, evolution, fundamentalism, fundamentalist, God, ID, intelligent design, Jesus, legislation, politics, pseudoscience, science, Skeptical Raptor, states, teach all views, teach the controversy, truth, truth in education, YEC, Young Earth Creationism | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on December 24, 2012
As I’ve blogged before, creationists are quite adept at evolving their strategies for attempting to replace the science of evolution in public school science classes with their religious beliefs. One of the latest mutations are so-called “academic freedom” bills, but now there seems to be a new phrase and strategy emerging – “truth in education” – which we all need to be on the lookout for in our local legislatures and school boards. My skeptical colleague Steven Novella has an excellent takedown here…
by Steven Novella, Dec 10 2012
We have yet another propaganda slogan and strategy by creationists to sneak their religious beliefs into public science classrooms – “truth in education.” This one comes from state senator Dennis Kruse from Indiana. He had previously introduced a bill (in 2011) that would have required the teaching of “creation science” alongside evolution. The bill died a quick death, largely because the Supreme Court has already declared such laws unconstitutional (in the 1987 Edwards vs Aguillard case).
Kruse’s approach has since “evolved.” It seems that after his failed and naive attempt to introduce a creation science bill, he has been connected with the Discovery Institute and is now up to speed on the latest approach to anti-evolution strategies.
Creationist attempts to hamper science education when it comes to evolution go back to the beginning of evolutionary theory itself. By the turn of the 19th century evolution was an accepted scientific fact, and opposition to its teaching was forming among certain fundamentalist sects. The first big confrontation between the teaching of evolution and creationist ideology came in the form of the The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, or the Scopes Monkey Trial. This resulted from the first creationist strategy to limit the teaching of evolution in public schools – they simply banned it. This strategy was killed when such laws were found unconstitutional in 1968 (Epperson v. Arkansas).
The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has a nice list of the ten major legal precedents that have smacked down creationist attempts to limit the teaching of evolution. Each time the creationists simply have morphed their strategy, but the intent has never wavered. …
Read the rest of Steve’s Skeptiblog post here
Posted in creationism, education, politics | Tagged: academic freedom, Bible, Christ, Christianity, creationism, creationist, Dennis Kruse, Discovery Institute, evolution, fundamentalism, fundamentalist, God, ID, Indiana, intelligent design, Jesus, pseudoscience, science, teach all views, teach the controversy, truth, truth in education, YEC, Young Earth Creationism | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on December 21, 2012
If you’ve followed the creationism issue at all, you know that Louisiana is a hotbed of this fringe pseudoscience. However, in a more than welcome move, the city of New Orleans sent a clear message that they would not tolerate such nonsense being taught in their public schools. Here’s more on the good news from the National Center for Science Education
The Orleans Parish School Board “OK’d policies that prohibit the teaching of creationism or so-called ‘intelligent design’ in its half-dozen direct-run schools, or the purchasing of textbooks that promulgate those perspectives,” according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune (December 18, 2012). As specified in the documents for the board’s December 18, 2012, meeting, the new policies provide (PDF, pp. 100 and 101), in part, that no “science textbook [shall] be approved which presents creationism or intelligent design as science or scientific theories” and that “[no] teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes.” [emphasis added]
Ouch. There you have it, in no uncertain terms: creationists and their pseudoscience need not apply for New Orleans public school science classes.
One more positive thing about this development is that student activist Zack Kopplin, who has been fighting the creationists in Louisiana, appears to have had some influence in these developments:
… the only speaker on the textbook policy at the meeting was Zack Kopplin: “‘Creationism certainly is not science,’ he said, warning that students not only will not meet higher education standards, but they ‘won’t find New Orleans jobs in the Bio District.’”
Kopplin, the young activist who organized the effort to repeal the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act (and who received NCSE’s Friend of Darwin award in 2011), told NCSE, “Between this and the New Orleans City Council’s rejection of the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act, the city of New Orleans has fully rejected creationism.” (The New Orleans City Council adopted a resolution in May 2011 endorsing the repeal effort.) Kopplin added, “It might also be enough to prompt the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology to lift their boycott of New Orleans,” which began in 2009, owing to what SICB’s president described (PDF) as “the official position of the state in weakening science education and specifically attacking evolution in science curricula.”
I would like to encourage supporters of science and reason to contact the Orleans Parish School Board and thank them for promoting good science education, and please pass this news along so that we can reinforce this good governance!
Posted in creationism, education, politics | Tagged: academic freedom, Bible, bill, Christ, Christianity, creationism, creationist, Discovery Institute, education, evolution, God, history, ID, intelligent design, Jesus, Louisiana, National Center for Science Education, NCSE, New Orleans, Orleans Parish School Board, politics, pseudoscience, repeal, science, teach all views, teach the controversy, Thomas Robichaux, YEC, Young Earth Creationism, Zack Kopplin | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on October 8, 2012
But don’t take it from me, take it straight from his mouth…
First, allow me to state the obvious:
Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system… we see two things from this idiotic tirade from Rep. Broun:
1. He engages in the typical creationist fear-mongering about evolutionary science that it is inherently evil, etc (hence the “Pit of Hell” reference). I suppose we needn’t bother Rep. Broun with the annoying fact that many of his Christian brethren think evolution is just fine.
2. He, like far too many of his conservative colleagues in our government (I’m talking about YOU, Rep. Todd Akin), seem to have gone out of their way lately to declare war on any form of science they deem contrary to their ideology. This includes not only denying evolution and denying climate science, and apparently basic info on human reproduction, but also rejecting certain pesky historical facts along the way.
Folks, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want people like this running my federal government. This is why I so strongly support efforts like Science Debate, and why I think you should, too. It is also why those of us who are defenders and advocates of science and skepticism should be involved in our political process.
Posted in creationism, politics, religion | Tagged: astronomy, atheism, atheist, belief, Bible, Big Bang, Christian, clergy, Clergy Letter Project, congress, Congressman, conservative, cosmology, creation, creationism, creationist, DI, Discovery Institute, embryology, evolution, faith, federal, fundamentalism, fundamentalist, Georgia, God, government, house, House Science Committee, ID, intelligent design, Jesus, Paul Broun, Pit of Hell, religion, Rep. Paul Broun, Representative, science, United States, YEC, Young Earth Creationism | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on October 3, 2012
Recently, one of my skeptical colleagues – Louise Kellar – attended the Creation Evidence Expo in Indianapolis, IN and she wrote up a guest blog on it over at Freethought Blogs. I wanted to share it with you here for two reasons: 1) it is a really thorough (and funny!) write-up of the whole event, and 2) Louise must have a much stronger stomach than me, because I don’t think I could have managed to attend this thing without rage-facing my brains out.
The entire post is quite long, but I wanted to emphasize one section which I considered to be very important…
Louise Kellar – kickin’ it at the Creation Evidence Expo
… Dye kept putting up slides about education. “The aim of education should be to convert the mind into a living fountain and not a reservoir” and “Education makes a people easy to lead but difficult to drive, easy to govern but impossible to enslave.” After that he went on about how god was taken out of school in 1963 and shared some statistics with us. Now bear in mind these statistics are all the direct result of God being taken out of school. (Also this is the short list)
- Violent crime up 995%
- Suicide up 300%
- Single parent families up 117%
- STDs up 226%
- Average SAT score down 80 points
- Assaults on teachers up 7000%
- Birth rate of unwed 10-14 year olds up 325% *last year he claimed it was 553%
- 84% of cities are in financial trouble
- 4000 churches close annually
- No new members added to 50% of churches
- 1400 pastors quit each month.
My mind was reeling from all these phony statistics, and of course he didn’t stop there. I am not even sure how he segued into the next topic. It was all about how evolutionists will try to trick you into not believing and he began explaining all the ways animals try to kill humans. He kept talking about how evolutionists will show up to your events and try to trick you. They will also stalk you and they will try their best to lead you away from god. “They kill, steal, and destroy.” He repeated that phrase about every minute. It appeared very much to be an attack on anyone who didn’t believe in creationism and how evil those people are. At one point he even mentioned that people will write bad things about him on the internet. I wonder if he saw what I said about him last year?
ZOMG – BEST FLOWCHART EVAR!!! Really, you can’t make this stuff up… even though the creationists kind of DID just make it up
This goofy flowchart (and the meme behind the statistics that Dye quoted above) were what I really wanted to make the focus of my comments in this post. Those things clearly show what we who call ourselves skeptics and defenders of science are up against when we fight against creationism: namely, we are up against a worldview which is completely devoid of any scientific understanding at all. Creationists are not only ignorant of scientific facts, they are ignorant of the entire process of science itself; and not only that, in many ways they are outright anti-scientific in their views because they have been convinced (likely through a lifetime of brainwashing in church and at events like the Creation Expo) that to accept evolutionary science will automatically turn one into a raving, immoral, baby-eating, murdering, AIDS-infested atheist intent on destroying all that is good and decent in society. Hence, stupidity like the flowchart above *facepalm*
And, quite frankly, when you’re up against that kind of crazy, all the science in the world won’t help you win these folks over.
Which is why, in many cases, I don’t try to fight a creationist with whom I’m arguing solely with scientific facts (since they seem to be largely impervious to such facts); instead, while I mention scientific information, I also try to engage them in a bit of a different manner, one which I think is more effective… I use religion. Specifically, I point out that the “evolution = atheism = evil” argument is completely bogus for one simple reason: there are numerous Christians (and people of other religious faiths) who accept evolution!
That one fact alone destroys their entire argument. Showing them that people of their own religion (Christianity, usually) disagree with their views on creationism is a killer, and it can lead to – pardon the pun – quite a lot of soul-searching on the part of more thoughtful creationists. In addition, I also engage them on the entire morality argument by challenging the assertion that atheists are inherently immoral and evil; this can, and often does, lead into deeper philosophical discussions on the nature of good, evil, ethics, etc. While they may be ignorant of science, they’re all about morals, so why not engage them on those terms using language they can understand?
I’m not saying that it will win them over to the PZ Myers or Richard Dawkins camp of evolution, but one thing it will get them to do is THINK. And that’s the first step.
Posted in creationism | Tagged: atheism, atheist, belief, Bible, CEE, Christian, clergy, Clergy Letter Project, Creation Evidence Expo, creationism, DI, Discovery Institute, evolution, faith, Freethought Blogs, FTB, fundamentalism, fundamentalist, God, ID, Indiana, Indianapolis, intelligent design, Jesus, Louise Kellar, religion, science, YEC, Young Earth Creationism | 4 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 3, 2012
In a welcome bit of science education news, the Clergy Letter Project has announced that it is expanding its effort to include Buddhist clergy. In case you don’t know, this is an effort to get clergy men and women to speak out publicly in support of teaching science (specifically, evolutionary science) in the public schools. These clergy do not see any conflict between their religious beliefs and science, and I think it is an excellent way to counter the blatantly anti-scientific arguments espoused by many creationists. Read on for more info…
Clergy who want science, including Evolution in schools, created the Clergy Letter Project and the chosen theme for this years “Evolution Weekend” is “Religion and Science” and marks the seventh year for the gathering of clergy to discuss science.
“Evolution Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science. An ongoing goal has been to elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic, and to show that religion and science are not adversaries. Rather, they look at the natural world from quite different perspectives and ask, and answer, different questions.
Religious people from many diverse faith traditions and locations around the world understand that evolution is quite simply sound science; and for them, it does not in any way threaten, demean, or diminish their faith in God. In fact, for many, the wonders of science often enhance and deepen their awe and gratitude towards God.”
They believe that modern science, including Evolution, and religion are in harmony with each other.
To that end, American Buddhist clergy join in the voices of Christian, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist clergy in writing letters supporting the teaching of Evolutions in public schools. …
Click here to read the entire article
Posted in creationism, religion | Tagged: atheism, atheist, belief, Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, Christian, clergy, Clergy Letter Project, creationism, Dalai Lama, DI, Discovery Institute, evolution, Evolution Weekend, faith, fundamentalism, fundamentalist, God, ID, intelligent design, Islam, Jesus, Jewish, Judaism, letter, poll, questionnaire, questions, Rabbi, religion, science, survey, Unitarian, Unitarian Universalist, Universalist, UU, YEC, Young Earth Creationism | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on April 26, 2012
If you know who Don McLeroy is (and if you don’t, read up on him here), then you know he is quite notorious for being reality-challenged. In what I can only describe as a stroke of comedic genius, Stephen Colbert interviews McLeroy on the Colbert Report. Enjoy
Posted in creationism, education, humor, politics | Tagged: academic freedom, biology, board of education, Christianity, Colbert Report, comedy, Comedy Central, creationism, Daily Show, democracy, Discovery Institute, Don McLeroy, evolution, fundamentalist, funny, humor, ID, intelligent design, Jon Stewart, National Center for Science Education, NCSE, politics, primary, pseudoscience, publishing, religion, satire, science, scientific creationism, Stephen Colbert, Texas, Texas Board of Education, Texas Freedom Network, textbook selection, textbooks, theocracy, Wedge document | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 28, 2012
So I figure that I would make some posts regarding the good old evolution-creationism issue, and I wanted to start with this little gem: The Center for Unintelligent Design. It’s a website which shows just how unintelligent it would be for some Higher Power (i.e., God) to purposely design organisms in the manner in which they exist on Earth; as such, it decidedly calls into question the whole basis of the so-called “intelligent design” argument by creationists. While their current list is over 130 examples long, here are some of my favorites:
“The fact that the liver is the only internal organ that can spontaneously regenerate when damaged.”
“Human conception – having to throw 250 million darts at the bullseye!”
“Giving birth through the pelvic girdle instead of through the abdominal wall
is the direct cause of endless horrors. Deaths in childbirth, and, if possible
even worse, brain damage during delivery either mechanically or through
perinatal anoxia. And anyone who quotes Genesis 3:16 in excuse is a moral monster.”
“Putting the recreational area right next to the sewage outflow.”
In addition, on their main page is a very interesting email discussion between the website author and Dr. Steve Fuller, a sociologist who is supportive of intelligent design (as a science, seemingly) and also a proponent of various dubious views on postmodernism in regards to science. Fuller testified in the Dover v. Kitzmiller trial on the side of the ID-creationists, and his testimony was apparently quite detrimental to their arguments. And once you read the email exchange below, you’ll understand why…
From: Steve Fuller
Sent: Sep 18, 2011
To: Keith Gilmour
Thanks for this. You might perhaps make more headway with ID people if you understood the position better. The problem of apparent ‘unintelligent design’ in nature is one that people with ID sympathies have long tackled. Simply look up the literature on ‘theodicy’.
From: Keith Gilmour
Sent: Mon 19/09/2011
To: Steve Fuller
Subject: Thank You
Dear Prof Fuller,
I am immensely grateful to you for your ‘stunning’ reply to my recent email. In just one line, you inadvertently ‘destroy’ the notion that ID is science:
“The problem of apparent ‘unintelligent design’ in nature is one that people with ID sympathies have long tackled. Simply look up the literature on ‘theodicy’.”
By admitting that ‘unintelligent design’ is a branch of theology, you necessarily admit that ‘Intelligent’ Design is also a branch of theology.
Not quite what I was expecting, but absolutely priceless!
Many thanks again,
For those who don’t already know, theodicy is the branch of theology which seeks to address the philosophical and religious “problem of evil” in regards to God’s nature. Yes, religion… not science.
I love it when the pseudo-scientists shoot themselves in the foot
Posted in creationism | Tagged: atheism, Center for Unintelligent Design, Christ, Christianity, creationism, Discovery Institute, Dover trial, Dover vs Kitzmiller, evolution, God, ID, intelligent design, Jesus, Keith Gilmour, philosophy, problem of evil, religion, science, Steve Fuller, theodicy, theology, unintelligent design | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on November 16, 2011
Many of you have already heard about the Clergy Letter Project, an effort to show that when it comes to the issue of accepting evolutionary science one doesn’t necessarily have to be an atheist. Just as there is nothing wrong with being an atheist (I’m one), by the same token I don’t see any inherent problem to being religious while also accepting evolutionary science. As I’ve said before many times, I don’t have a problem with religion, I have a problem with anti-science; and those are different things (though sometimes they do overlap).
As an update, the Clergy Letter Project started back in late 2004 when the latest variant of creationism, so-called “intelligent design”, was coming onto the national scene and causing lots of problems across the country for science education. To date, the letter (which was originally geared towards Christian clergy but now includes Rabbinical, Islamic and Unitarian versions) has gathered nearly 13,500 signatories!
Now the Clergy Letter Project is taking part in another kind of outreach: developing a grant proposal designed to help foster discussion and improve understanding between faith communities and scientists. They want to do this by sending out the following questionnaire to clergy members, so if you are a member of the clergy or know someone who is, please give it a look:
**Send all responses to Michael Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in creationism, religion | Tagged: atheism, atheist, belief, Bible, Christian, clergy, Clergy Letter Project, creationism, DI, Discovery Institute, evolution, Evolution Weekend, faith, fundamentalism, fundamentalist, God, ID, Imam, intelligent design, Islam, Islamic, Jesus, Jewish, Judaism, letter, mosque, Muslim, poll, questionnaire, questions, Rabbi, religion, science, survey, Unitarian, Unitarian Universalist, Universalist, UU, YEC, Young Earth Creationism | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 25, 2011
In my recent post regarding the bankruptcy of the company behind the factually-challenged creationism film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”, it was briefly mentioned that the rights to the movie were going up for auction. If you know anything about the history behind how this film was made and edited, you know that there were interviews with prominent scientists (such as Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers) which were selectively edited in order to distort the science behind evolution and play into the whole “expelled” meme of the film. The kicker is that if we – the skeptical and pro-science community – could get our hands on those movie rights, then we could show the world just how badly the producers of “Expelled” misrepresented the science.
Enter the attempt by TalkOrigins to do just that: win the bidding war for the “Expelled” rights. Read the following post over at the Panda’s Thumb and please consider making a donation to this worthy cause; and spread the word!
As most of you already know, the production company Premise Media went bankrupt. Their execrable propaganda film, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”, is on the auction block. The online auction is proceeding now, and will end on Tuesday, June 28th.
The auction promises that besides all available rights and interests in the finished film itself (there is an existing distribution contract), the winner will get all the production materials and rights to them. Want to know what was in the rest of the interviews with Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers? I know I would like to have that material archived and made available to the public, among other things that Premise Media found inconvenient to include in their film.
There was talk among individuals on “After the Bar Closes” about the auction. Kristine Harley pointed out that, depending on exactly what is in the production materials, there may well be “Wedge Document 2” in there somewhere. When the “academic freedom” label on religious antievolution goes to court, it could be very handy to have those materials on hand.
But any one individual is unlikely to have the wherewithal to make the winning bid on this.
Today, the TalkOrigins Archive Foundation approved a resolution to use our funds on hand to put in a bid on “Expelled”. We hope to make many of the materials freely available and to collaborate with other groups seeking to produce rebuttals to claims made in “Expelled”. To that end, we would like your help. Our final bid amount will be determined by funds on hand and what has come in via our PayPal donation button by Monday, June 27th. This is because there are delays in transfers between PayPal and the bank, and (hopefully!) we’ll need to pay out of our bank account.
Ken Fair, our secretary and treasurer, wrote a detailed discussion of donations and bidding. The short of it is that while we hope to bid and win the auction, we don’t know what the bid prices will be come the 28th, and cannot guarantee that we will win the auction, especially since it has an unknown reserve price on it. We cannot refund donations, so even in the case of us making the winning bid, donations that take us beyond that amount would remain part of the TOAF funding. On the other hand, contributions to the TOAF are tax-deductible for USA residents and will be used in accordance with the TOAF’s mission.
I hope that by providing a single point at which we can pool our resources, we’ll have a better chance to put in the winning bid on “Expelled”. Even if we don’t manage to make the winning bid, every bit that we can do to raise our bid helps in that the other side will have to take even more money out of their current projects in order to beat the bid.
Posted in creationism, skeptical community | Tagged: bankruptcy, Ben Stein, Christianity, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, creationism, creationist, Darwin, Darwinism, DI, Discovery Institute, documentary, donation, evolution, Expelled, Expelled Exposed, facism, film, God, Godwin, Godwinning, Hilter, holocaust, ID, intelligent design, Jesus, Jews, movie, Nazi, Nazism, No Intelligence Allowed, Panda's Thumb, Premise Media, propaganda, science, TalkOrigins, TOAF | Leave a Comment »