Pharyngula

Revealing slip of the keyboard

Catch ’em quick before they get deleted. In a post on Dembski’s blog that is discussing their Kansas ad campaign to falsely portray the IDist’s efforts as solely about teaching good science, there are a couple of interesting comments. Keep in mind that the Discovery Institute has declared that they aren’t trying to sneak intelligent design into the classroom, they just want an “honest” discussion of the weaknesses in evolutionary theory.

Here’s the first revealing comment, which plainly states that the goal of the Kansas science standards is to teach ID:

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?)

Comment by Joel Borofsky — July 30, 2006 @ 10:08 am

Bleh. How dishonest can you get? What informed teacher of biology would say of Darwin’s theory, “even if it is weak…”? It isn’t weak at all.

After being asked about this comment, take a look at his response, which digs an even deeper hole.

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.

Comment by Joel Borofsky — July 30, 2006 @ 9:04 pm

You may be saying, “So what? Blogs aren’t accountable for the random ravings of their flibbertigibbet commenters.” (I certainly don’t feel that way about mine.) There’s one important additional piece of information you need, though.

Joel Borofsky is Dembski’s research assistant and co-moderator of the site.

(hat tip to Richard Hughes.)

Comments

  1. #1 matthew
    July 31, 2006

    “So far, the only plausible theory is ID.”

    “When you do that, you have to invoke the idea of ID.”

  2. #2 j
    July 31, 2006

    Oh, what’s new? Everyone on both sides already knew what the change in science standards was about; I get the Kansas City newspaper, and several of the letters to the editor at the height of the “debate”/”controversy” were similarly revealing. Knowledge and reason yield to pseudoscience and superstition once again.

  3. #3 beajerry
    July 31, 2006

    Boooyah! of the week.

  4. #4 Scott Hatfield
    July 31, 2006

    A revealing comment in more than one way. Notice that Borofsky first describes what we science teachers do as “Darwinism” (which would be a belief system, rather than science, right?) He then goes to say that if we are not going to be “dogmatic” in our Darwinism we must consider alternatives, and (he claims) the only viable one is ID.

    Wow. Joel is deeply confused. If Darwinism is a belief system, then wouldn’t it be held dogmatically? And, if it is not a belief system, then why would it be held dogmatically? Further, why would it follow that ID constitutes the only challenge or potential corrective to Darwin’s theory?

    The answer to that is a double wow. Not only is Joel falsely conflating evolutionary biology with a ‘straw man’ commitment to Darwinism, he is also conflating Darwin’s mechanism, natural selection, with naturalism when he alludes to ‘spontaneous first cause.’ This is just so much slop on his part. While Darwinian thought infuses ‘origin of life’ research, in no way does his theory of evolution by natural selection require or even speak to the hypothesis of abiogenesis.

    I agree with PZ: this comment’s shelf life is likely short.

    Dismayed but not surprised…Scott

  5. #5 Kristine
    July 31, 2006

    Yeah, nothing new there. But lower down there’s a pathetic comment about “challenges to evolution that have nothing to do with design”–like co-evoution and such. Oh, yeah? A little confused there, buddy?

    I love the “the only alternative is ID” slogan. They’ve set themselves up for a “If you are going to be ‘dogmatic’ in science, the only alternative is stupidity” comeback. Which about sums it up for me.

  6. #6 tacitus
    July 31, 2006

    Isn’t it a little ironic that Joel Borofsky’s personal weblog is called “Stop Lying To Us“?

  7. #7 Stephen Erickson
    July 31, 2006

    Ever since the Dover decision, uncommondescent.com has gotten increasingly schizophrenic. And “intelligent design” increasingly irrelevant:
    http://www.google.com/trends?q=intelligent+design&ctab=0&geo=all&date=2006

  8. #8 Bronze Dog
    July 31, 2006

    Hope the trend Stephen shows keeps up. They’ll get around it, though:

    Wish I saved a link to the comic.

    Picture of labcoats looking at a picture with some identical apes labelled “Creationism” “Creation Science” and “Intelligent Design.”

    “Maybe we need a new name.”

  9. #9 No One of Consequence
    July 31, 2006

    Ever since the Dover decision, uncommondescent.com has gotten increasingly schizophrenic. And “intelligent design” increasingly irrelevant.

    Maybe if we stop talking about ID, it might just go away. Of course that is a dangerous prospect as well — We need to squish the attempt to hijack science completely, or ID will rear its ugly head* as some other bogus new anti-evolution/anti-science argument.

    * and no, I don’t mean stick their heads up their rears, that has already been done.

  10. #10 No One of Consequence
    July 31, 2006

    I followed the link to see if the comments were still there and found a link to this site: http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/04/co-evolutionary-paradox.html

    nice company the IDers have —

    “his site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.”
    /

    Evolution and Holocaust denial all in one spot.

  11. #11 No One of Consequence
    July 31, 2006

    oops…screwed up closing my block quote.

  12. #12 Ethyl
    July 31, 2006

    Speaking of the google trend link, you can also compare search terms:
    http://www.google.com/trends?q=intelligent+design%2C+evolution&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all

  13. #13 Stanton
    July 31, 2006

    Is it wrong of me to become frustrated and disappointed whenever ID proponents look at me as though I’ve cursed their unborn children in Chaldean whenever I ask them to explain what ID says about the Placodermi?

  14. #14 Rescuing Reason
    July 31, 2006

    Basically, he’s saying that evolution via natural selection is so good as a theory that the best alternative they can come up with is ID.

    Bwahahahahaha!

    Do they listen to themselves?

  15. #15 RavenT
    July 31, 2006

    I would have thought that in order to have a “research assistant”, one would have to be engaged in some actual “research”.

  16. #16 Ashley Moore
    August 1, 2006

    ID the only alternative to Darwinism?

    What about Lamarkianism? I’m sure there’s still a few Lysenko-era textbooks lying around that could be translated into English.

  17. #17 Eliza
    August 1, 2006

    ‘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.’

    So he admits it’s not science. Then why the insistence it be taught by science teachers?

  18. #18 John Hynes
    August 2, 2006

    Besides Lamarckism, what about orthogenesis, Mendelism, saltationism, mutationism and neutralism? He’s a little behind the times if he thinks Darwin was the last word in evolutionary biology. I think that there are plenty more “alternative” ideas we can come up with, more plausible than “God did it”.

  19. #19 Joel Borofsky
    August 2, 2006

    Maybe the biggest irony in all of this is that to respond to what I had to say, all of you are using rhetoric. In other words, “This is stupid,” “he doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” “ID is a stupid theory and it proves they’re just trying to teach it in Kansas,” etc.

    Generally, when someone has to turn to rhetoric and cannot look to the idea being presented, there is either a heavy bias there (so heavy that it cannot be legitimately supported), or a lack of knowledge on the idea being presented. I believe that you might be falling into the former.

    My field is communications/philosophy, not science. I don’t even have a degree and thus was voicing a personal opinion…an opinion of someone who is not involved in the ID movement.

    In other words, you just wasted quite a bit of time pointing to the opinion of a person not even involved in the movement going, “See, they’re trying to teach ID!” You don’t feel at all dishonest about that?

  20. #20 j
    August 2, 2006

    “My field is communications/philosophy, not science. I don’t even have a degree and thus was voicing a personal opinion…”

    So you admit you do not have the expertise to speak from a scientific viewpoint about the validity of evolutionary theory?

  21. #21 Steve_C
    August 2, 2006

    You do work for DI don’t you?

    And you do believe that ID should be taught?

    And you do undersatnd that we understand the ID theory and think it’s crap?

  22. #22 Joel Borofsky
    August 2, 2006

    J ~

    I said I didn’t have a degree in the field and was not involved in the ID movement…no reason to jump to far fetching logical conclusions based upon a one lined sentence.

    Regardless, I merely came on here to state that it was the opinion of someone considered a “lay person” when it comes to matters such as this. To discredit the entire movement or attach my view to the movement when I am not a part of it is absurd and grasping at straws.

  23. #23 j
    August 3, 2006

    Joel Borofsky, I was not “grasping at straws.” I was asking if you personally felt that you had the expertise to speak from a scientific viewpoint about the validity of evolutionary theory. This is a perfectly valid question in light of your credentials. I asked nothing about the “movement”; I asked about you.

    And you really didn’t answer plainly.

  24. #24 Steve_C
    August 3, 2006

    Didn’t answer my questions either.

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