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Monday, July 17, 2006

Darwinist Edge group freaks about the intelligent design "Visigoths"

Darwinsite The Edge is flogging a book featuring their guys denouncing intelligent design ideas, Intelligent Thought: Science Versus The Intelligent Design Movement.
Science is the big news. Science is the important story. Science is public culture....Yet at the same time, religious fundamentalism is on the rise around the world, and our own virulent domestic version of it, under the rubric of "intelligent design," by elbowing its way into the classroom abrogates the divide between church and state that has served this country so well for so long. Moreover, the intelligent-design (ID) movement imperils American global dominance in science and in so doing presents the gravest of threats to the American economy, which is driven by advances in science and in the technology derived therefrom.

[ ... ]

The Visigoths are at the gates. Will we let them in?

And so forth.

What I don't get is how these smart guys - or so one would think (they are leading scientists, apparently) - fail to see that the more they caterwaul about Visigoths, the more people actually buy and read ID books. Who wouldn't rather find out about the Visigoth than about the churchgoing prof who announces that there is no conflict between faith and science, in like, 22,000 words?

Oh ... oh, I get it now. Stupid little me. The evil Discovery Institute is actually paying these Edgies to make all this noise! It nefariously slips them a bundle for groceries whenever ... Ah yes, I remember now, that's Wedge III, also known as Wedge the Edge.

No wait, it's too hot in here. The thermometer on the back steps registered 40 degrees Celsius this afternoon, but actually the mercury had merely reached the top of the tube ... it could easily have been hotter. No, it's more likely that the Edgies

Well, here's a clue: Over at Access Research Network (ARN), an ID outfit, they're flogging Visigoth T shirts.

Caption: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

ARN comments,
While Brockman [Edge's book agent] intended the "Visigoths" reference as an insult equating those who do not embrace materialistic Darwinism to uneducated barbarians, he has actually created an interesting analogy of the situation, and perhaps a prophetic look at the future. For it was the Visigoths of the 3rd and 4th centuries that were waiting at the gates of the Roman Empire when it collapsed under its own weight. For years the Darwinists in power have pretended all is well in the land of random mutation and natural selection and that intelligent design should be ignored. With this book (and several others like it), they are attempting to both laugh and fight back at the ID movement. Mahatma Gandhi summarized the situation well with his quote about the passive resistive movement: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." The Visigoths Are Coming image was created and copyrighted by political cartoonist Chuck Asay and is used here with permission.

When I get paid again, I'm ordering one. I'll be interested to know if anyone in Toronto "gets it."
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Early humans: Stone age bling?

According to the New York Tmes , June 23, 2006:
Archaeologists say they have found evidence that in one respect people were behaving like thoroughly modern humans as early as 100,000 years ago: they were apparently decorating themselves with a kind of status-defining jewelry — the earliest known shell necklaces.

The shells, found in Israel, present an interesting problem in design detection. Is it merely by chance that they all have holes, or is it that - as the archeologists argue - someone had made a necklace?

If so, the shell necklace suggests that the emergence of human consciousness enabled a number of developments rather quickly. The mere existence of consciousness may obviate a long, slow process of evolution of behavior, because the idea is immediately grasped, and the subsequent behavior is quickly carried out. Then widely imitated. Then knocked off in sweatshops. Then dumped in the Sally Ann bin. No wait. Those last two developments did have to wait for the development of shipping containers and the Booth family (= Sally Ann founders).
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Thinkquote of the day: Science journalists as mere cheerleaders for science?

From the Canadian Science Writers' Association's ScienceLink, the "truly egregious sin of journalists and especially of specialist science writers," according to veteran sci jo Peter Calamai of the Star is
... we tend to be cheerleaders for science. Where in the mass media are the investigative articles about the making of a Canadian science policy by stealth or the distortion of national research priorities by giving the private sector an effective veto over co-funded projects?

Yeah really. Calamai addresses the seven sins of science writers (according to scientists) and gets us off with time served. My favorite Calamai quote from the article, which isn't webbed, is in response to accusations that popular media don't provide their readers with scientific background knowledge:
True. Remedial education for people who didn't pay attention in Grade 6 is not our job. We have neither the space/time nor the inclination.

In my case, I'd also say I don't have any qualifications as an elementary schoolteacher.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove ?

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being denied tenure at Baylor.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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