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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Intelligent design and popular culture: Science fiction "must" be anti-ID. Mustn't it?

Here is an interesting piece by science fiction reviewer, Annalee Newitz who, in "In recent sci-fi, intelligent design is truth", needs to convince herself that, generally, science fiction based on an intelligent design premise is an attempt to disprove it. Or something:
What these authors are doing is even more tricky, if you look at their work as a sneaky critique of ID theory. Essentially they're saying, "Let's invent a universe where ID is truth. Oh, that would be the universe that science will build for us." And ultimately, in these novels, the Designer is not a God or even gods, but instead a whole bunch of sentient creatures harnessing the power of science and technology to design worlds and bodies intelligently.
Well, what if ... whatever.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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Want "nice"? Move to Canada. And give UP on human dignity, okay?

Here is an excerpt from The Tyranny of Nice by Kathy Shaidle and Pete Vere, coming out at the end of this month, which rips the lid off where being merely "nice" to liberal fascists has led Canadians. The picture on the right advises you where.

By the time the “show trial” against Mark Steyn and Maclean’s began on June 2, 2008 the case had become a cause celebre in the formidable U.S. conservative media network of blogs and talk radio. Four heavyweight pundits--Jonah Goldberg, Robert Spencer, David Harsanyi and Pat Buchanan--rebuked the censors of “Soviet Canuckistan” on the very same day.

But Canada’s liberal mainstream media more or less shrugged. Veteran journalism professor John Miller condemned the “xenophobic” Steyn in an online forum by and for professional reporters, accusing Steyn of failing to express his opinions “in food [sic] faith”, then scolding prissily that “everyone must obey the law.” This lead Parliament Hill reporter Deborah Gyapong to ask the obvious question: “What if the law advocated slavery or chopping off hands?”
"Not a few bloggers noted ruefully that the last day of Steyn’s trial coincided with the anniversary of D-Day, and wondered what the Canadian soldiers who’d died on Juno Beach would make of their nation today.

Well, I know what such men wonder because my own father, who is a veteran and an RCAF escapee, phoned to ask me ... what is going on? Why is Mark Steyn or Maclean's Magazine facing charges? Why is Ezra Levant facing charges?
He didn't know about the hundreds of little people ground under the heel of the jackboot, whose stories will be detailed in The Tyranny of Nice (... and in Ezra Levant's forthcoming book, more below)

The reality is that, here in Canada, the "Conservative" government has so far totally supported the jackboot, leaving the democracy-loving population - born here or abroad - to fight on our own.
We are brave but we are not immortal.

Yes! Ezra Levant = (The EZ!) is indeed publishing a book with McClelland and Stewart in March 2009:

Part memoir, part investigative journalism, this is a shocking and controversial look at the corruption of Canada’s human rights commissions.

“On January 11, 2008, I was summoned to a 90-minute government interrrogation. My crime? As the publisher of Western Standard magazine, I had reprinted the Danish cartoons of Mohammed to illustrate a news story. I was charged with the offence of “discrimination,” and made to appear before Alberta’s “human rights commission” for questioning. As crazy as it sounds, I became the only person in the world to face legal sanction for printing those cartoons.”

As a result of this highly publicized event, Ezra Levant began investigating other instances in which innocent people have had their freedoms compromised by bureaucrats presuming to protect Canadians’ human rights. He discovered some disturbing and even bizarre cases, such as the tribunal ruling that an employee at a McDonald’s restaurant in Vancouver did not have to wash her hands at work. And the human rights complaint filed by a Calgary hair stylist against the women at a salon school who called him a “loser.” In another case that seemed stranger than fiction, an emotionally unstable transvestite fought for — and won — the right to counsel female rape victims, despite the anguished pleas of those same traumatized victims. Human rights commissions now monitor political opinions, fine people for expressing politically incorrect viewpoints, censor websites, and even ban people, permanently, from saying certain things.

The book is a result of Levant’s ordeal and the research it inspired. It shows how our concept of human rights has morphed into something dangerous and drastically different from its original meaning. Shakedown is a convincing plea to Canadians to reclaim their basic liberties.
If you have ever doubted that there are strong Canadians, please watch this government interrogation, which begins, "My name is Ezra Levant."

Yes, there ARE strong Canadians. We will take our country back, and make it once again a home for people who want something better than tyranny and disgrace - a True North strong and free.

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Canadian Earth Scientists "extremely concerned" about creationism/ID

I have been alerted by a reader to the fact that the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences has recently (September 19, 2008) warned:
Canadian media report growing public pressure to introduce Creationism and its equivalent Intelligent Design (ID) in school curricula, hinting that Creationism/ID is a 'theory', thus suggesting that it shares common ground with science-based theories. Such reporting ignores the fundamental difference between faith and measurable facts. CFES-FCST is extremely concerned about this trend, and not only because of the demonstrated importance of science to Canadian society.
They don't say which Canadian media, where, or when.

This much I know is true: Last year, I was pestered by several TV crews filming hit documentaries intended to show that intelligent design was a big THREAT in Canada.

I don't even know if any of those docs ever got made. But I told most or all of them that, last I heard, it is still legal for Canadians buy and read books about why the universe shows evidence of intelligent design and/or books that offer evidence against Darwinism and/or a variety of other establishment science claims. That is all that is happening now in Canada.

And if it's a crime, I am certainly guilty, ossifer. I have on my shelves books that span the spectrum of support and dissent.

Speaking for myself, I have always been a strong advocate of teaching basic skills in education (4Rs = reading, writing, arithmetic and research skills) and of allowing students to ask questions - as long as the purpose is not to trap and indoctrinate the students .

My view: These "rock stars" want attention. And sadly, rocks can't love ya. Sure, they rock, but they can't love ya.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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Intelligent design and popular culture: The BBC spin on British creationism

In an article at the BBC News online (September 15, 2008), "Who are the British creationists?", Julian Joyce beautifully demonstrates why legacy media, online or not, are media sources that are best taken with a big bag of sidewalk salt.

He starts with a creation museum in England:

At first glance the Genesis Expo museum, in the naval town of Portsmouth, looks like any other repository of natural history exhibits: fossils of dinosaurs and unusual rock formations.

But focus on the narrative of the information panels alongside them, and you start to realise this is a museum with a difference - one dedicated to the theory of creationism.
As I said when the much glitzier American creation museum opened in Kentucky, it is legal to have a private museum about anything one wishes to. That only shows that one lives in a liberal democracy or constitutional monarchy.

He then informs us,
The revelation that US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin says creationism should be taught in schools, alongside that of evolutionary theory, has raised few eyebrows in the US. ...
Actually, that is a canard put out by anti-Palin commentators. But Joyce can count on his British readers not to know that.

We are also told that, "And while the Church of England this week issues a formal apology to Charles Darwin, ... " - in fact, there was no formal apology. A church bureaucrat had literally thunk the idea up on his own initiative.

And in a classic display of believing whatever confirms one's prejudices, we read that there is "growing support" for "literal six-day" creationism. The evidence? Get a load of this:
Growing support

Justin Thacker, head of theology for the Evangelical Alliance, says research in 1998 found one third of the Alliance church members were "literal six-day creationists." The other two thirds embraced evolutionary theory to a "greater or lesser degree" he says.

"Since that survey was done, I'd say fewer of our members are out-and-out creationists - it has become more acceptable to embrace some form of Darwinism," he says.

But Keith Porteous Wood of the Secular Society is unconvinced.

"There is no question that creationism is growing," he says. "It is increasingly well funded, and well organised."
In short, creationism is not growing in Britain but both Wood and Joyce need to believe it is - Wood for his fundraising letters and Joyce for his scare story.

Unless ... Joyce really means that Muslim creationism is growing. That is a safe bet because, given that the Muslim population of Britain is growing, any point of view accepted by Muslims might well be growing in consequence. But Joyce does not say that.

He handles this topic by implying that Christian and Muslim creationists are somehow "uniting":
This shared belief in the origins of man - and the universe - is uniting unlikely bedfellows in the anti-evolution cause.

The Rev Greg Haslam, who preaches the creationist Christian creed to his 400-strong congregation at Westminster Chapel in London, welcomes the determination of Muslims to impart a religious-based view of the world.
But that is hardly an example of "uniting", and does not imply that the two groups work together. So far as I have been able to determine, they generally do not.

Anyway, file this one under "Why the legacy mainstream media are losing ground." Basically, it's reached the point that, on some topics, they just can't put out a story any more without a big fat thumb print sticking in it.

See also: Will Brit “faith and science” heavyweights speak up after education director’s firing?"

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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Will Brit “faith and science” heavyweights speak up after education director’s firing?

A friend wrote this morning to ask a question: Why, after Michael Reiss was fired from his position as education director with the Royal Society in Britain, did we not hear from Brit “faith and science” heavyweights Alister McGrath and John Lennox.

Basically, Reiss was made to resign for suggesting that intelligent design and creationism should be raised in science classes so that students could be argued out of believing in either.

I wrote back to say: As for McGrath and Lennox, maybe they have already responded, and I just haven’t got the mail.

Also, their response path may be complicated by the fact that Reiss’s heretical suggestion is a bad teaching idea. If they understand clearly why it is a bad idea, they need to be careful how they support him.

Why is it a bad teaching strategy? Well first, Reiss wants students to explain their intelligent design or creationist viewpoint for the purpose of having the science teacher explain that it is wrong, wrong, wrong, and that there is no evidence of purpose or design in life forms.

Reiss’s strategy allows for no possibility that there is evidence against Darwinism. So Darwinism is to be treated as a Revealed Truth in which the science teacher proselytizes the erring student.

That is a common conversion strategy used in evangelical religions. The intended convert is encouraged to express his own thoughts, often in response to a question, in order to hear the Truth he is now asked to embrace.

Traditionally, science education isn’t supposed to be like that - but hey, that was then and this is now. Evangelical atheism is what taxpayers in Britain re now apparently funding. So the mere fact that Reiss’s approach is a strategy for indoctrination in evangelical atheism can be overlooked for our purposes.

The bigger problem is that it is not difficult nowadays to discover many reasons for disbelieving in Darwinism, even if these reasons are not permitted to soil the sacred pages of the science text or uttered aloud in a science classroom. So, following his strategy, conflict with unbelievers in the science classroom would dramatically escalate.

Still, I doubt that any of that is the reason Reiss was fired. First, two thirds of the ideas currently afloat in education are dumb, dumber, and dumberer. So if dumbness were a firing offence, half the education faculties in the Western world would just disappear. And most of the other half haven’t published recently.

Second, while Reiss’s idea would likely benefit intelligent design in the long run, it’s not likely that either he or the Royal Society crowd even recognize that fact. (Had he recognized it, he would certainly not have advanced the idea, because he is a devout and unquestioning Believer.)

Essentially, Reiss was made to resign for the offense of blasphemy. He wanted science students to hear sacrilegious words like “intelligent design” and “creationism,” for the specific purpose of enlightening them in the true doctrine of Darwinism.

But such blasphemies no man may utter in the sacred temple of the science schoolroom (= materialist indoctrination centre). So his protests that he is utterly sincere and that he meant only to help did not move his virtuous judges to pity.

It is common for primitive religions to offer devoted adherents as human sacrifices, and Darwinism certainly looks like a primitive religion, compared to ethical monotheism.

See also “Michael Reiss: Sinner in the hands of an angry God”

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