Dispatches from the Creation Wars

As a perfect follow up to my earlier post about the IDers dishonest claim that the Kansas science standards have nothing to do with getting ID into public schools, take a look at this post at Dembski’s place. Dembski’s research assistant, Joel Borofsky, spills the beans completely in two comments on that post. Here’s the first:

My hope is that ID will be taught properly in Kansas. Having been born and raised there I would love to claim to be from the first state to teach ID. There is a lot of movement among science high school teachers to never teach ID, even if it becomes a law because “we don’t know how to teach philosophy.”

It would be nice to see them learn. I worked in a school and grew tired of hearing them speak of how it’s wrong to point out the weaknesses in Darwin’s theory because, “even if it is weak, it’s still the best theory out there.” (Shades of Dawkins anyone?)

And when someone else tried to argue that the Kansas science standards had nothing to do with ID but were only about teaching evolution in a “balanced” way, Joel responded:

It really is ID in disguise. The entire purpose behind all of this is to shift it into schools…at least that is the hope/fear among some science teachers in the area. The problem is, if you are not going to be dogmatic in Darwinism that means you inevitably have to point out a fault or at least an alternative to Darwinism. So far, the only plausible theory is ID.

If one is to challenge Darwin, then one must use ID. To challenge Darwin is to challenge natural selection/spontaneous first cause…which is what the Kansas board is attempting to do. When you do that, you have to invoke the idea of ID.

Joel, Joel, Joel. You went and told the truth that the IDers don’t want told. Anyone wanna take bets on how long before those comments are removed from the site? Don’t worry, I have them archived. Perhaps this is just another bit of “street theater” from Dembski.

Comments

  1. #1 GH
    July 31, 2006

    I like how these lunkheads keep saying things like this:

    even if it is weak, it’s still the best theory out there.”

    Now this is a theory that has been nothing but confimed again and again for 200 years. It seems to me it is remarkable strong and only someone blinded by irrationality can’t see it.

  2. #2 PaulC
    July 31, 2006

    Dembski’s research assistant? That job must be right up there with the Maytag repairman.

  3. #3 tacitus
    July 31, 2006

    Seen Joel’s weblog yet?

    http://www.stoplyingtous.com/

    I think the title says all we need to know about it!

  4. #4 wamba
    July 31, 2006

    Dembski’s research assistant? That job must be right up there with the Maytag repairman.

    You beat me to it!

    I could understand Dembski having a street theater assistant, perhaps…

  5. #5 tacitus
    July 31, 2006

    I’ve always believed that ID’s greatest Achilles heel is their alliance with the fundamentalists and, specifically, the young earth creationists.

    Without their political support, ID would still be a fringe pseudoscience that nobody cared or even knew anything about. But ever since they were invited into the ID movement’s “big tent” the creationists have become the elephant in the room. What’s worse, the elephant won’t keep quiet and behave itself. It blithely stomps around, upsetting the carefully arranged ID furnishings and trumpeting “Goddidit” to all for miles around.

  6. #6 James Taylor
    July 31, 2006

    I could understand Dembski having a street theater assistant, perhaps…

    That’s a geek, right?

  7. #7 diego
    July 31, 2006

    These people doesn’t read science, doesn’t read Bible and it seems they don’t even read their own memos.

    Can these people read?

  8. #8 Dave S.
    July 31, 2006

    I’m betting he’ll try the old, “I was just baiting the Darwinists…and look at how they all fell for it” gambit. That’s a good one for when you say something really stupid about ID (where stupid=honest). So yeah, that would be along his mentor’s “street theatre” approach.

  9. #9 mark
    July 31, 2006

    But ever since they were invited into the ID movement’s “big tent” the creationists have become the elephant in the room.

    And the Discombobulatory Institute clowns go chasing after them, flopping in their overshized shoes, squirting the elephants with their boutonnieres. They wonder why they don’t get any respect?

  10. #10 Ginger Yellow
    July 31, 2006

    He made another boo-boo with the “spontaneous first cause” line. Worryingly close to supernaturalism, Joel.

  11. #11 Dave S.
    July 31, 2006

    Larry tries to carry gamely on, claiming that he has critiques of evolution that are “scientific”, and not ID. But since ID is nothing more than critiques of evolution (and the supposed only alternative), the only thing preventing his ideas from being ID is his say-so. Otherwise he’s saying that ID is at least as bad if not worse than “Darwinism” in explaining his objections. That should be interesting to see discussed at the UD blog, since his objections are virtually identical to Behe’s.

    Joel himself says, “If one is to challenge Darwin, then one must use ID.” So either Dembski’s research associate is wrong, or Larry is wrong.

  12. #12 386sx
    July 31, 2006

    I’ve always believed that ID’s greatest Achilles heel is their alliance with the fundamentalists and, specifically, the young earth creationists.

    Sounds like you might be buying into some of that fancy ID propaganda. That’s all ID pretty much is: fundamentalists and, specifically, the young earth creationists. They are the ones who get to choose the alliances.

  13. #13 Skip Evans
    July 31, 2006

    First DaveScot and now Joel: You just can’t get good help these days.

  14. #14 Inoculated Mind
    July 31, 2006

    “First DaveScot and now Joel: You just can’t get good help these days.”
    You beat me to that one!

    Ah, UD never disappoints. As soon as DS stops entertaining us, Joel steps up to the plate!

  15. #15 SPARC
    July 31, 2006

    Inoculated Mind:
    “First DaveScot and now Joel: You just can’t get good help these days.”
    You beat me to that one!
    Ah, UD never disappoints. As soon as DS stops entertaining us, Joel steps up to the plate!

    And please wellcome back the promising,undeniable, undemonstrable John A. Davison on Uncommon Descent, although he certainly can not replace DaveScot.

  16. #16 cserpent
    July 31, 2006

    If one is to challenge Darwin, then one must use ID. To challenge Darwin is to challenge natural selection/spontaneous first cause…

    Apparently he is too stupid to understand the challenge/alternative to natural selection called genetic drift, or the neutral theory of molecular evolution, or the other Darwinism called sexual selection. And since when did natural selection have anything to do with any “spontaneous first cause?” What a putz. Reading comprehension skills appear to be nil among the ID/YEC/OEC crowd.

  17. #17 Fred Gollway
    July 31, 2006

    Well, I hoped you archived the UD posts well- they’re already gone. The link you give points to info on some radio ads that are airing. They claim to support presentation of evidence both for and against evolution . Here we go again.

  18. #18 Dave S.
    July 31, 2006

    Fred –

    The posts mentioned are in the comments section, and still there as of 5:24 PM eastern time, July 31st.

  19. #19 Fred Gollway
    July 31, 2006

    Yes, I see them now, thanks. I found the comments following a link from PZ’s site. I apologize for the oversite.

  20. #20 Darth Robo
    July 31, 2006

    The great thing about Larry’s critiques is that he’s still using his own blog as a reference, so people from all over the world can completely deconstruct his arguments. Why doesn’t he ever learn and link to the actual peer reviewed papers that disprove evolution? He must know where they are, since he obviously read them (or maybe wrote them).

    :-)

  21. #21 Dave S.
    August 1, 2006

    Sounds like Joel is trying to use the old ‘well maybe ID can be seen as religious, but so is Darwinism’ defense, made popular by Gish back in the 70’s with creationism (which I’m sure has nothing to do with ID). He’s also playing the ‘Creationism must mean only Young Earth creationism’ card. That’s not going down too well, as it kinda puts the YE creationist clan of IDers out in the cold.

    And I just love this delightful offering from crandaddy:

    Evidence against evolution does not automatically count as evidence in favor of ID. I, for one, would like to see evolution critically analyzed without ID being snuck in. I believe it can be done and would love to see the critical-analysis-as-a-front-for-ID slippery slope perpetrators get their noses rubbed in it. This, of course, is beside the fact that I want to avoid dishonesty. Patience is a virtue; deception is not.

    Damn sneaky ID people! He just want’s to teach fair critiques of Darwinism. And I’m sure it’s only a coincidence that he makes his claim on an weblog all about promoting intelligent design. I have to wonder what he means when he says “get their noses rubbed in it”. If he’s genuinely and honestly interested only in scientific critiques and not at all interested in sneaking ID in, then what’s to rub?? It brings a tear to my eyes watching all these ID advocates sacrifice ID just so they can give the kiddies in Kansas and other places a good education. Oh but wait, Joel has told us that, “It really is ID in disguise.” He’s Dembski’s research guy, so he should know better than most. Dammit Joel, you aren’t supposed to say that!!

    And as for “Evidence against evolution does not automatically count as evidence in favor of ID.”, is he saying ID cannot explain that evidence either? I would like to know what that evidence is, as I’d like to know what ID cannot explain. Of course, he provides us with no such examples.

  22. #22 Ed Brayton
    August 1, 2006

    I give crandaddy credit for honesty there, but if he really thinks that those pushing the “critical analysis” language have in mind anything other than introducing all of the major ID arguments into science classrooms, whether under the label of ID or not, he’s kidding himself.

  23. #23 DJ
    August 1, 2006

    Joel is Dembski’s research assistant?

    Funny that the research assistant to a mathematician has no clue about simple statistics.

    I’m only reporting this because I think it says a lot about Dembski’s fiefdom:

    From Joel’s blog, on a post about drug use in high schools – and I have added emphasis:

    “According to the USDJ, about 45% of high school seniors admitted to having tried marijuana ever…”

    Then:

    “Imagine a high school of 1,000, which is smaller than the average high school. Generally, the way high schools are divided the senior class is the smallest of all the classes. For the sake of argument though, let’s divide this into four separate but equal parts. That means all classes, Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors class sizes are at 250…. The number of kids that would have tried marijuana would be around 450-500; two class sizes or half the school.”

    So, in summary, the research assistant to the Isaac Newton of Information Theory did this: Took a stat showing half of High School Seniors have ever tried marijuana; Applied it to the entire school, and said that the number of high schoolers who have tried marijuana is about 45%, about two full class sizes. And this is after stating that the senior class is usually smallest but to make all this statistical analysis easier he would assume it to be the same size as the others (thus greatly inflating his stat).

    1. He either missed the part about this being a poll of seniors only, and/or

    2. He assumed the percentages would apply equally down to freshman level. But this is an incredibly silly assumption. The poll indicated that about half the seniors had ever tried marijuana. This is a cumulative stat. It couldn’t possibly indicate that they all tried it in their freshman year. So you can’t assume that the stat holds true for each class level. It’s like saying that since 50% of 60-year-olds have 1 divorce in their lifetimes, we can just assume that 50% of 20-year-olds have 1 divorce too, and that 50% of everyone of marrying age has at least 1 divorce. Way to go Joel.

    Tell me if this isn’t a little more realistic. (and I am absolutely not a research assistant to the Isaac Newton of any discipline): If the senior class is smallest of the four, let’s say there are 180 seniors in a school of 1000 (instead of 250). 45% say they’ve tried marijuana, ever, so let’s say 81 seniors report that they’ve ever tried marijuana at least once. Now I’ll make an assumption for the sake of ease, however it will not greatly distort the accuracy: If we assume that of the 81, 1/4 of them tried it freshman year, and 1/4 sophmore year, etc, we can assume roughly the same numbers occuring now, meaning 20 current freshmen have tried it, 40 current sophmores, and 60 current juniors. That’s 80+60+40+20 = 200. (Note, since I believe that most people who try marijuana try it much later, say at junior or senior year, I think the numbers I estimated for freshmen and sophmores are greatly inflated.)

    So all told, I extrapolate that a very maximum of 200 out of the current 1000 students have tried marijuana at least once. Figuring in my note about Frosh and Soph might bring that down to about 170.

    17% to 20% of high schoolers, then, have ever tried marijuana, says me. Joel, assistant to the world famous mathematician and Isaac Newton of Information Theory, says about 45%. Cuz 45% of seniors say so.

    Good thing these ID guys don’t try to apply their math skills to important things like science and religion and all.

  24. #24 Blake Stacey
    August 1, 2006

    DJ:

    You’re neglecting the fact that some kids might have tried marijuana in middle school. Certainly, the administrators are worried that the kids are doing so; I remember a kid getting caught with “paraphernalia” when I was in seventh grade (mid 1990s), provoking a huge brouhaha. Of course, this anecdote and the PTA’s fears are both useless as evidence. . . .

    Give me a minute and I’ll work the problem out as a Poisson process in terms of the probability p of getting stoned on a randomly chosen day.

  25. #25 Dave S.
    August 3, 2006

    An lo…let the backtracking begin. You see people, he was just a little guy expressing a personal wish. The mere fact that he said that the Kansas standards “really is ID in disguise” or when he said “When you do that [ed. challenge Darwin], you have to invoke the idea of ID.”, doesn’t mean that he means those things. That’s just wishful thinking.

    You see people, critiquing evolution really has nothing whatsover to do with ID, just like ID has nothing whatsoever to do with religion. Why can’t you Darwinists understand this stuff?

    Then he makes a big deal about not speaking for Dembski, although as I recall, nobody said he did. But he is Dembski’s assistant, and Dembski did see fit to make him his blog contibutor, so in that capacity his frank admissions have some nominal weight. Plus, they are correct.

  26. #26 fnxtr
    August 3, 2006

    Hmmm… where can I learn more about this Quarter Earth theory? It sounds at least as probable as ID.

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