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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Expelled: "Denormalizing" the accountability gap at Baylor - 3

A most interesting op-ed appeared in the Waco Tribune (April 6, 2008) by Argye Hillis, a retired biostatistician. Hillis is quite obviously proud of Baylor’s embrace of “the ‘E’ word” (evolution), and of the way in which the institution skillfully circumvented lay concern. For example,
The late Dr. Cornelia Smith reveled in remembering “the time in the 1920s when the merchants of Waco marched four abreast from downtown Waco in support of Lula Pace.”

Dr. Smith, whose memory is still revered by the older Baylor faculty, carefully avoided labeling Dr. Pace’s teaching as evolution, just as she avoided the “E” word in the more than 40 years that Dr. Smith led the Baylor biology department herself.

In general, Hillis offers the usual boilerplate in favour of a dying materialist idea, accompanied by reassurances that the Baylorites who embrace it are devout Christians. (That glow you are seeing is faith, folks, not phosphorescence.)

Go here for more.

Expelled: "Denormalizing the Darwin thugs" 2 - PZ Myers and friends

In an earlier post, I introduced the concept of “denormalization.”

In this second post, I want to talk about PZ Myers. He and his supporters are also candidates for denormalization.

To recap, thuggery or scams that have persisted for a long time and are endorsed at the highest levels of the establishment come to seem “normal.” So the “problem” is not the behavior of thugs and scammers but the attempted responses of those they attack.

The responses sound raucous or incoherent against the tranquil background of accepted misgovernment.

However, in a free society, misgovernment persists because most people do not know what is going on and do not know what they can do to change things. Denormalization means getting the message out to a broad public: Look, this is happening. Do you think it’s fair? If not, here is what you can do about it.

That’s what the Expelled film is doing in the ID vs. unguided evolution (Darwinism) controversy. It shows both the evidence for intelligent design of life and the unconscionable lengths to which the Darwin fans are willing to go, to keep both students and the broad public from knowing why their ideas about the nature of life are probably wrong.

For more, go here.

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