Prestigious Evolution Award Awarded

Consider the following words:

The evidence supporting evolution is overwhelming and comes from diverse disciplines, such as molecular biology, paleontology, comparative anatomy, ethology, and biochemistry. There is no controversy among biologists about whether evolution occurs, nor are there science-based alternative theories. Evolution is a unifying theme in biology; teaching it as such is the best way to show students what biology is about and how they can use evolution as a tool to understand our world. [Evolution] is as important an idea as there is in science – it is a great gift to give to students.

Well put. Whoever said these words deserves an award! And guess what. The author of this inspirational passage, our own Dr. Randy Moore of the University of Minnesota has indeed won an award based on his adherence to this kind of thinking.

But it is not what you may think…

For stating the above, for telling it like it is, for putting two and two together to come up with four, for saying what we all know to be true, Randy Moore has received the most prestigious award available in the area of Evolution vs. Creationism. The sought after, coveted ….

Award for Most Dogmatic Indoctrinator in an Evolutionary Biology Course

granted by none other than the Discovery Institute.

I don’t link to that site because I don’t want my blog to get herpes or anything. But here’s a picture of it:
i-9787b3ca889cf27a9766e8faa5a589d7-discovery_institute_award_randy_moore.jpg

Congratulations Randy! This is amazing! This makes you almost the Amazing Randy!

More about Moore here.

Pharyngula has a more detailed analysis of the award, here.

Comments

  1. #1 James F
    October 14, 2008

    From the DI:

    “First, the evidence supporting evolution isn’t as overwhelming or mountainous as Moore claims.”

    This from a movement that has failed to produce a single piece of data supporting their claims in a peer-reviewed scientific research paper. They seem to have given up even putting out data-free fluff pieces; the DI website lists no “publications” for 2007 or 2008. If they weren’t so good at PR, they’d be hilariously funny.

  2. #2 Stephanie Z
    October 14, 2008

    Sometimes, it really is all about pissing off the right people. If you can do it without trying, just doing what you’d do anyway, all the better.

    Congratulations to Randy!

  3. #3 llewelly
    October 14, 2008

    Congratulations to Randy, and Stephanie Z FTW.

  4. #4 charfles
    October 14, 2008

    I don’t link to that site because I don’t want my blog to get herpes or anything.

    LOL

    So does he get a plaque or something? I’d hang that on my wall
    in a heartbeat.

  5. #5 ST
    October 15, 2008

    To be fair the words quoted do constitute a public statement, more propaganda than science. When will authors realise that making statements like that sends out entirely the wrong message. When did you last see a scientist make that kind of proclamation about gravity, atomic theory, the gas laws etc – put simply there’s no need to because the facts speak for themselves. When lay persons see statments like that by Randy Moore then it immediately raises the question, ‘why is he being so defensive?’. Unfortunately, what ever Randy’s intention it does sound like dogmatism not science.

    Please stop the propaganda and dogmatism, just give people the facts about evolution – let them draw their own conclusions. The idea that they may come to the wrong conclusions is insulting. After all the concepts behind evolution are not complicated (though the detail maybe) – it’s not like we are asking people to draw their own conclusions about quantum chromodynamics! We may have science degrees, but we shouldn’t be patronising to people who are not science-professionals, give them credit for being able to think for themselves.

    As for ID and DI, lets just let time tell. Will they still be around a decade from now? Who knows. But I am sure that dogmatic statements tend to backfire.

  6. #6 TomS
    October 15, 2008

    James F wrote:”This from a movement that has failed to produce a single piece of data supporting their claims in a peer-reviewed scientific research paper.”

    We needn’t get into fancy “peer-reviewed” or “scientific” or “research” to see the failure of ID.

    Just take a clue from seconary-school expository writing: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How.

    Once we get some idea of what they’re claiming, then we can ask about support for those claims.

  7. #7 Stephanie Z
    October 15, 2008

    When did you last see a scientist make that kind of proclamation about gravity, atomic theory, the gas laws etc – put simply there’s no need to because the facts speak for themselves.

    Actually, there’s no need because there are very few people out there trying to make the facts speak for their brand of irrationality. We’d be better off if people who understood quantum physics made a few more declarations to undermine the misunderstandings behind quantum woo.

    And gravity’s not a great basis for comparison. We know much more about the details of how evolution works than we do about gravity.

  8. #8 Andrew
    October 15, 2008

    ST: I have to agree with SZ. This statement is not propaganda at all. It is a very well worded statement of fact.

  9. #9 Randy (not that Randy)
    October 15, 2008

    To be fair the words quoted do constitute a public statement, more propaganda than science. When will authors realise that making statements like that sends out entirely the wrong message. When did you last see a scientist make that kind of proclamation about gravity, atomic theory, the gas laws etc – put simply there’s no need to because the facts speak for themselves.

    This is directly from the Wedge Strategy play book.

  10. #10 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    October 15, 2008

    ST I think it should be very clear that the “competing theories” are not competing theories at all. The basic idea is that in order to declare a concept or tested hypothesis, or an established theory to be “wrong, wrong, wrong” one needs to be able to present some sort of evidence to back up the statement. Nothing that the Disco Institoot has produced has the benefit of practiced science, it is solely composed of misstatements of the existing science that has been demonstrated time and again.

    The sad thing is that there are real controversies in evolution that should be taught, and they are related to the roles that genetics, drift, luck (good and bad) populations, culture, selection and a host of factors play. None of the controversies deny that natural forces shape evolution. ID makes the claim that they should have a special dispensation and be accepted without providing the “pathetic level of detail,” that science affords.

    Moore’s not being defensive, nor is his statement hiding or distorting reality. The only thing “dogmatic” is that science be treated as science and not watered down to make people feel comfortable that there may be a Creator. Scientists’ defensiveness is a serious effort by scientists and science communicators to buffet evolution from a continued level of stupid and misleading attacks. People do have the basics of evolution wrong.

    When the ID movement comes up with something that can actually pass the test of a scientifically analyzed solution to the question of the diversity of life, call us.

    Until then, shut up and learn. It’s not so hard.

  11. #11 Mike
    October 15, 2008

    Thumbs (opposable) up and a hearty thank you to Dr. Randy Moore. Well said and worth quoting far and wide.

    Should be read into minutes of school boards all over this science-phobic land.

  12. #12 Virgil Samms
    October 15, 2008

    When did you last see a scientist make that kind of proclamation about gravity, atomic theory, the gas laws etc – put simply there’s no need to because the facts speak for themselves.

    When did you last see a bunch of religious zealots try to harm children by circumventing existing Supreme Court precedents forbidding the teaching of religion-based attacks on those theories in public schools?

    It’s interesting that the DI wouldn’t make the award anonymous, like the Casey Luskin Graduate Award.

  13. #13 ST
    October 15, 2008

    Randy (not that Randy) stated, in relation to my comment,
    “This is directly from the Wedge Strategy play book.”

    If you are suggesting I quoted from anyone else – I did not. As for the ‘Wedge Strategy’, I have heard of it, but have never read it. Based on what little I have heard of it, I profoundly disagree with it.

    I believe science should go where the facts lead. Propaganda has no place in it. And the original quoted statement contained aspects which absolutely are propaganda not science. For example: “There is no controversy among biologists about whether evolution occurs” – this is not a statement of scientific fact, it is not even a statement of fact. Depending on how evolution is defined there are biologists who dispute it. They may be a very small minority, we may completely disagree with them, but they do exist.

    So making statements to the contrary serves no useful purpose. The public see that there is a dispute, so telling them it doesn’t exist just looks incredibly foolish, and smacks of the sort of empty rhetoric politicians are known for. When we resort to propaganda it makes us look like we are not confident enough of our own position.

    Present the facts, argue the case when necessary but leave propaganda out of it.

  14. #14 ST
    October 15, 2008

    Randy (not that Randy) stated, in relation to my comment,
    “This is directly from the Wedge Strategy play book.”

    If you are suggesting I quoted from anyone else – I did not. As for the ‘Wedge Strategy’, I have heard of it, but have never read it. Based on what little I have heard of it, I profoundly disagree with it.

    I believe science should go where the facts lead. Propaganda has no place in it. And the original quoted statement contained aspects which absolutely are propaganda not science. For example: “There is no controversy among biologists about whether evolution occurs” – this is not a statement of scientific fact, it is not even a statement of fact. Depending on how evolution is defined there are biologists who dispute it. They may be a very small minority, we may completely disagree with them, but they do exist.

    So making statements to the contrary serves no useful purpose. The public see that there is a dispute, so telling them it doesn’t exist just looks incredibly foolish, and smacks of the sort of empty rhetoric politicians are known for. When we resort to propaganda it makes us look like we are not confident enough of our own position.

    Present the facts, argue the case when necessary but leave propaganda out of it.

  15. #15 Randy (not that Randy)
    October 15, 2008

    I believe science should go where the facts lead. Propaganda has no place in it. And the original quoted statement contained aspects which absolutely are propaganda not science. For example: “There is no controversy among biologists about whether evolution occurs” – this is not a statement of scientific fact, it is not even a statement of fact. Depending on how evolution is defined there are biologists who dispute it. They may be a very small minority, we may completely disagree with them, but they do exist.

    This is directly from the Wedge Strategy play book.

  16. #16 TomS
    October 15, 2008

    I notice that ST continues in the tradition. If not evolution, then Who, What, When, Where, Why, or How?

  17. #17 James F
    October 15, 2008

    Tom S wrote:

    We needn’t get into fancy “peer-reviewed” or “scientific” or “research” to see the failure of ID.

    I hear you, but they make claims that lure in the layperson, like “irreducible complexity” and their bogus “Dissent from Darwin” list, which ST seems to have fallen for (assuming this in in reference to Moore’s statement, “There is no controversy among biologists about whether evolution occurs”):

    The public see that there is a dispute, so telling them it doesn’t exist just looks incredibly foolish, and smacks of the sort of empty rhetoric politicians are known for. When we resort to propaganda it makes us look like we are not confident enough of our own position.

    This is why I deal with statements that are not just overwhelmingly accepted, but are also unassailably true. You can find a creationist biology professor like David DeWitt at Liberty University, for example (note that I had to go to a place like Liberty to find an exception, which speaks volumes), but there are no peer-reviewed data that refute evolution or support ID. It’s the difference between 99.999% and 100%.

  18. #18 TomS
    October 15, 2008

    @James F: I have no doubt that there are people with credentials who reject evolutionary biology. After all, there are some who reject the movement of the earth. I’m not talking about personalities. What I doubt is that there is an alternative treatment of some obvious and undeniable facts (the “tree of life”, for example) which does not involve “descent with modification”. Not counting “that’s just a bunch of coincidences” or “I don’t care” or “whatever it is, it couldn’t be evolution” as offering a postive, substantive alternatives.

  19. #19 AnneT
    October 15, 2008

    To be fair the words quoted do constitute a public statement, more propaganda than science.

    What is a “public statement”? If science is spoken out loud is it then automatically “propaganda”? Please explain.

  20. #20 shonny
    October 15, 2008

    ST, how about checking out the difference between an affirmative statement and a dogma? Just to practise using a dictionary, I mean.

  21. #21 Virgil Samms
    October 15, 2008

    I did not. As for the ‘Wedge Strategy’, I have heard of it, but have never read it.

    You have missed out on some fine, fine entertainment! And it’s pretty short, too: The Wedge Strategy

  22. #22 Virgil Samms
    October 15, 2008

    Depending on how evolution is defined there are biologists who dispute it. They may be a very small minority, we may completely disagree with them, but they do exist.

    Yes, but how many of them are named Steve?

    And here’s someone with a degree in astrophysics who promotes geocentrism:
    Testimony of Gerardus Dingeman Bouw

  23. #23 Another Primate
    October 15, 2008

    When will these credulous id-iots learn…

  24. #24 mark
    October 15, 2008

    …just give people the facts about evolution – let them draw their own conclusions. The idea that they may come to the wrong conclusions is insulting.

    And yet there are people who refuse to believe the facts, even people who have been to school, who insist that if the facts contradict what is written in the Bible, the facts cannot possibly be true. There are people who believe that a scientific controversy really exists, because some Creationist said so, but could not document such a contention.

  25. #25 maxamillion
    October 16, 2008

    To be fair the words quoted do constitute a public statement, more propaganda than science. When will authors realise that making statements like that sends out entirely the wrong message.

    Surely this is the purpose of the Disinformation Institute

  26. #26 funkotron
    October 17, 2008

    PNG is a better format than JPG for images with lots of sharp transitions, like text to background. The image in this article is quite blurry around the text, as a result of the JPG compression.