Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Scientists Endorse Sawyer Campaign

The New York Times reports that a group of 75 scientists at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio has endorsed the candidacy of Tom Sawyer in his race against creationist Deborah Owens Fink for a spot on the Ohio Board of Education. That group includes Lawrence Krauss and Patricia Princehouse. Amusingly, Owens Fink tries to give the idea that she’s not really an advocate of ID creationism:

But Dr. Owens Fink, a professor of marketing at the University of Akron, said the curriculum standards she supported did not advocate teaching intelligent design, an ideological cousin of creationism. Rather, she said, they urge students to subject evolution to critical analysis, something she said scientists should endorse.

Except, of course, the latest standards were only one in a long line of policies Owens Fink has tried to push through. In 2001, she was pushing for specifically creationist language to be added to the curriculum. It was only when the Discovery Institute suggested the “critical analysis” lesson as a “compromise” that she suddenly jumped on board with their new tactic. But this part is even better:

She said the idea that there was a scientific consensus on evolution was “laughable.”

No, that quote is laughable. The consensus among scientists in the relevant fields of study for the validity of evolution is absolutely overwhelming. You can find as many MDs who reject the germ theory of disease as you can find evolutionary biologists who reject evolution, probably more.

Although researchers may argue about its details, the theory of evolution is the foundation for modern biology, and there is no credible scientific challenge to it as an explanation for the diversity and complexity of life on earth. In recent years, with creationist challenges to the teaching of evolution erupting in school districts around the country, groups like the National Academy of Sciences, perhaps the nation’s pre-eminent scientific organization, have repeatedly made this point.

But the academy’s opinion does not matter to Dr. Owens Fink, who said the letter was probably right to say she had dismissed it as “a group of so-called scientists.”

“I may have said that, yeah,” she said.

Don’t you love it when people with absolutely no background in science whatsoever (she’s a marketing professor, for crying out loud) presume to tell virtually every scientist in the world that everything they know to be true is wrong and that they’re “so-called” scientists?

Comments

  1. #1 Pieter B
    October 29, 2006

    Just another illustration of the adage that you don’t have to know anything about a subject to have a strong opinion on it.

  2. #2 Sastra
    October 29, 2006

    What really gets to me is that Born-Again Christians, who make up the majority of creationists in the U.S., tend to believe that people who reject or disbelieve their religion are really just suffering from an overabundance of “pride.”

  3. #3 RBH
    October 29, 2006

    Ah, but Debbie has an undergraduate engineering degree which she deems gives her authority to pronounce on scientific topics. She’s never very specific about what sort of engineering she did a B.S. in, but being engineering, it surely qualifies her to speak with authority on evolutionary biology, no?

  4. #4 merle
    October 29, 2006

    again i laugh. i know you libs like to use dawkins to back up the flimsy evidence for evolution but hes no biologist either.

    whats really funny are the thousands of scientists you ignore. i saw a poll somewhere that said most scientists are sceptical about evolution sayings its only a theory and not a fact. it cant explain why were hear. it cant explain teh big bang. it violates other science facts like thermodymanics. it says that the world is millions of years old. our kids are forced to learn this just like they are forced to watch porn in sex ed and parents cant do or say anything. you ban creation and make it illegal for us to teach about god. yet you cant even prove what you say is factual.

  5. #5 merle
    October 29, 2006

    also if were on the subject of qualifications what gives a freelance writer the write to comment on this? i see, more liberal hypocrisy. liberals are experts on everything but anyone who disagrees are idiots and should be kept quiet…

  6. #6 Davis
    October 29, 2006

    Wow, that’s an incredible bit of drive-by trolling there from merle.

    whats really funny are the thousands of scientists you ignore. i saw a poll somewhere that said most scientists are sceptical about evolution sayings its only a theory and not a fact. it cant explain why were hear. it cant explain teh big bang. it violates other science facts like thermodymanics.

    What’s really funny is that every single one of your “arguments” have been refuted. Repeatedly. All over the internet, in books, by scientists, and even in this blog.

    What’s even funnier is that you’re calling Ed a liberal.

  7. #7 Richard Simons
    October 29, 2006

    Merle
    - your comments show that you know nothing about science (‘its only a theory), nothing about evolution (‘it cant explain why were hear. it cant explain teh big bang’) and I will call you a liar unless you can give a reference to the poll you quoted. (Surely lying is not a Christian thing to do?) Your writing is barely literate, which does not give a good impression of your intellectual abilities. And finally, if you do not consider Dawkins to be a biologist, perhaps you could list half a dozen so we can find out just what standard you use.

  8. #8 Ed Brayton
    October 29, 2006

    merle wrote:

    again i laugh. i know you libs like to use dawkins to back up the flimsy evidence for evolution but hes no biologist either.

    He’s a zoologist, which is certainly a relevant field of study for which evolution is the consensus theory.

    whats really funny are the thousands of scientists you ignore. i saw a poll somewhere that said most scientists are sceptical about evolution sayings its only a theory and not a fact.

    Once you hear someone trot out the “just a theory not a fact” line, you can know with virtual certainty that you are dealing with a first class ignoramus who doesn’t have the first clue what those terms mean in science. And no, you did not see any such poll. Evolution is accepted by well over 99% of the scientists in relevant fields of study.

    it cant explain teh big bang. it violates other science facts like thermodymanics. it says that the world is millions of years old.

    It doesn’t try to explain the big bang (evolution deals solely with life on earth, not the origin of the universe). Only someone completely ignorant of both biology and physics would claim that it violates the laws of thermodynamics. And the earth is 4.55 billion years old, whether you like it or not.

    also if were on the subject of qualifications what gives a freelance writer the write to comment on this? i see, more liberal hypocrisy. liberals are experts on everything but anyone who disagrees are idiots and should be kept quiet…

    I love that “writer the write” to comment. The first amendment, of course, gives me the “write” to comment on this. And I’d be happy to test my knowledge of science against Owens Fink any time. And by the way, I know this will disrupt your simplistic little dichotomy, but I’m not a liberal; I’m a libertarian.

  9. #9 Rich
    October 29, 2006

    From Merle’s blog

    “About Me
    Name:merle jennings
    Location:kansas, United States
    a true american patriot, because i love america and im a born again christian. only christians are real americans because our founding fathers were all born again christians. ”

    Merle, I can only hope you are satire.

  10. #10 merle
    October 29, 2006

    richard since you asked i like the stuff by dr. gish. hes been in the field longer than most of you have been alive. also calling me stupid because i cant write that good is like making fun of someone in the special olympics. its in bad taste and not nice manners. i grew up poor and didnt have a silver spoon in my mouth you like liberals who think nothing of spending $5 on a cup of coffee. real americas know the value of stuff and how hard it is to get the money.

    ed i guess its pointless arguing with you. you believe what you want but dont tell me i have to teach my children what you believe. you can no more prove the universe is 4 billion years old than i can prove im 8 feet tall. science keeps changing the age of hte earht. i wouldnt be at all suprised if it changes again and were told its 4.6 billion…always changing to suit whatever nutty theory comes along.

    rich im not sure what you are saying. i know most liberals dont like my way of seeing right and wrong because you were probably raised by people from the 60s generation who think everything is relative including morals. next you we be saying time is relative and different for everyone. that way there is no standard anyone has to live up to.

  11. #11 Rich
    October 29, 2006

    Time is relative to how fast you are moving.

    Merle, I’m sure you’re well intentioned. We’re all afforded different educational opportunities – and I want future generations to have even better educations. So, we must leave dogma like creationism behind.

    I wish you and your family well.

  12. #12 Jake
    October 29, 2006

    Does this Tom Sawyer get high on you in the space he invades and gets by on you?

  13. #13 gwangung
    October 29, 2006

    also calling me stupid because i cant write that good is like making fun of someone in the special olympics. its in bad taste and not nice manners.

    No, it’s excusing poor writing that’s in poor taste.

    There’s no excuse for not taking the time to construct good writing. It’s insulting to writers who DO take the time, and it’s insulting to your readers–you are saying they aren’t worth your time or your effort to communicate to them well.

    You are being arrogant without having anything to back it up.

    And that has NOTHING to do with ideology and everything to do with your poor skills and unwillingness to do anything about them.

  14. #14 gwangung
    October 29, 2006

    ANd it’s a real insult to the mentally handicapped, because growing up without a silver spoon is in no way equivalent to being mentally handicapped. That kind of background can be overcome–you just choose not to.

  15. #15 Richard Simons
    October 29, 2006

    So, Merle, you think that Duane Gish is a competent biologist? Firstly, he trained and worked as a biochemist, not a biologist. Secondly, his reputation is such that people refer to the ‘Gish Gallop’, which is a series of misleading statements, half truths and complete lies delivered at high speed in a debate. For example, in 1983 in a debate he falsely claimed that some proteins in human blood are more closely related to the equivalent proteins in frogs than in chimpanzees. He also claimed that some are more closely related to chicken proteins than chimpanzee proteins. Since then he has completely failed to back up his claims and has also refused to say that he was mistaken (check out http://www.talk.origins.org/faqs/cre-error.html). You would be well advised to accept nothing he says without checking elsewhere.

    You complain that scientists keep changing their minds. That is because new evidence keeps coming in. However, what happens is that opinion gradually closes in on a generally accepted value or theory (unlike religion in which people are seldom permitted to change their views or have different ideas). In fact, the age of the earth has been believed to be between 4 and 5 billion years for quite some time now (if I recall correctly, 4.55 is generally accepted but you need to talk to a geologist about that).

    Oh, and by the way, where I grew up all Americans were considered to be rich. The only way I was able to afford to attend university was through a grant – my parents certainly could not have afforded it. Even now I would be appalled at the idea of spending $5 for a cup of coffee. And I was raised well before the 60s generation, never mind being raised by people from the 60s generation. You did not do very well on your assumptions.

  16. #16 Skemono
    October 29, 2006

    You complain that scientists keep changing their minds.

    And does so while ignoring all the times Christians changed their minds.

  17. #17 Richard Simons
    October 29, 2006

    Don’t you love it when people with absolutely no background in science whatsoever (she’s a marketing professor, for crying out loud) presume to tell virtually every scientist in the world that everything they know to be true is wrong and that they’re “so-called” scientists?

    When I hear of people doing this, I always think of the analogy of the person at the Paris Air Show, who went around telling aircraft designers, builders and flight crew ‘I was top of my class in Grade 8 Math and I’ve got definite proof that aircraft are too heavy to fly.’

  18. #18 JY
    October 30, 2006

    c’mon — ‘merle’ is satire.

    you can no more prove the universe is 4 billion years old than i can prove im 8 feet tall. science keeps changing the age of hte earht. i wouldnt be at all suprised if it changes again and were told its 4.6 billion…always changing to suit whatever nutty theory comes along.

    I mean, he’s right: we can’t prove the universe is 4 billion years old (because it isn’t) and is it just coincidence that his prediction that we’ll eventually be told that the earth is 4.6 b.y.o. corresponds to the current actual estimate? And on the other thread, where he stuck up for poor people who shop at Wal Mart because they’re too poor to shop at Penney’s like rich folk? That’s satire.

  19. #19 Daniel Morgan
    October 30, 2006

    Our friend Merle is either a satire or the most unintelligent individual I’ve ever had the pleasure to run across on the www.

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