Pharyngula

And it’s a dud. They’ve got two complaints against Randy Olson’s Flock of Dodos posted, neither of which are particularly stunning.

They repeat the claim that Haeckel’s embryos and all that silly recapitulation theory are still endemic in biology textbooks. It’s not true, no matter how much they whine about it. I’ve gone over a number of these textbooks, and what you typically find at worst is a figure of the Haeckel diagrams for historical interest with an explanation that rejects recapitulation theory; more often what you find are photos or independently redrawn illustrations of the embryos. The point is still valid; there is an interesting phenomenon going on in development, in which there is a period during which the body plan of vertebrates is roughly laid out, and biology has some explanations for it. ID’s strategy seems to be to wave away the evidence so that they don’t have to explain it.

The second claim is that Olson lied about the DI’s budget. They say Olson claimed the DI’s budget was around 5 million dollars (I’m going to have to watch the movie again to check, because I don’t believe anything the DI says, but for now I’ll assume they are correct in reporting his words.) I think they’re right, that Olson overstated their budget for that year, which was actually around $4.2 million.

i-741624ce637737733f36bdfbf94b6fb8-dibudgetgraph.gif

Unfortunately, they don’t just say that, because that’s not a big enough case to wrap a load of outrage around. So they squink mightily to amplify the magnitude of the error, as in that graph to the right. Note that Olson mentions that the DI is a big fish with a budget of around $5 million, but what they put in the graph is only their expenditures on ID of around $1.2 million—they’re comparing apples and oranges.

Then to make themselves look weak and much abused, they compare their budget to the $75 million budget of the AAAS, again ignoring the huge differences in the mission and kind of organization being compared; the DI does not do anything like what the AAAS does, and a more apt comparison would be with the NCSE…which had a total revenue of $650 thousand, compared to the DI’s over $4 million. The NCSE seems to accomplish much more with its money, of course; I suspect that the real difference is that the NCSE is staffed with competent and intelligent people, while the DI is sinking its budget into a team of clowns, shills, and prima donnas.

That’s a damp squib the DI has just tried to set off, and note how they describe it: they claim to have exposed “two of the most egregious false facts in the film”. That’s it? One error of 15% in a casual statement of their budget, and one lie about biology that they have been pushing for years?

It’s pathetic.

Comments

  1. #1 Ichthyic
    February 8, 2007

    Careful, you don’t want to anger them into bringing out the big guns! Like a flash animation of a farting dodo with a silly voice… we’ll be unable to deal with that.

    yes, that would truly be “clever beyond measure”.

    pardon, as that’s likely a joke only someone who had seen Paul Nelson try to defend William Dumbski would know.

  2. #2 Torbjörn Larsson
    February 8, 2007

    That’s because it’s pining for the fjords.

    So how come we see DI do dodo doo-doo?

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