Pharyngula

Anderson Cooper transcript

The transcript of last night’s Anderson Cooper segment is available. My assessment: it was a pro-religion/pro-creationism show that gave undue reverence to nonsense. Tom Foreman, one of the reporters, was a pandering fool. Anderson Cooper was an obliging tool. Most of the interviewees were conventionally clueless. I’ve put a few choice bits below the fold.

There was a good amount of footage dedicated to Ken Ham, his creation science museum, and a family of ignorant homeschoolers who said evolution was not science. On the other side, the side of good science?

MIKE NOVACEK, PROVOST, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY: There’s no question in my mind that dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, long before humans. There’s absolutely no scientific evidence aligned with the notion that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

That was it. Literally. Two sentences. That’s how much attention this program gave to the scientific position. It was pathetic.

The only bright spot was when this fellow Robert Boston had an opportunity to get assertive. His opponent was a bright-eyed, chipper android from the Family Research Council.

COOPER: Well, the battle over what children should be taught in school has been raging for nearly a century now. The question is, is there room for compromise?

Joining us to talk about it is Robert Boston of the Americans United For Separation of Church and State, and Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council.

Appreciate both of you being with us.

Robert, let me start with you.

Polls show that nearly half the American believes that people didn’t evolve from lower life-forms, but were created, in our present form, by God. If so many people think that, shouldn’t we at least be discussing it in a science class?

ROBERT BOSTON, AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Well, I think we need to look really not at what polls show, but what the scientific evidence shows.

We wouldn’t want to teach something in the public schools that was factually incorrect, simply because some people believed it was so. So, we really have to look at the science. If you look at the scientific community, you don’t see this great disparity in polls. You see most of the scientists backing the theory of evolution.

COOPER: Charmaine, what about that? Why should a science class be forced to — to teach something which mainstream science says is simply not true?

CHARMAINE YOEST, VICE PRESIDENT FOR COMMUNICATIONS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, you know, mainstream science, throughout history, has been challenged by questions. And that’s how we make advances in science, is being open to all different perspectives.

And that’s all that we’re calling for, is saying that, you know, have we gotten to a place in our culture where science has such an orthodoxy around Darwinian theory that we can’t even question it, that we can’t even look at some of the gaps in the theory, and ask, how can we do better and how can answer some of these questions?

That’s all we’re asking for, is an openness of dialogue and looking at all of the research.

COOPER: Robert, President Bush has suggested that this theory of intelligent design should be taught in public school classrooms. The idea is that kids should be able to make up their own minds; they should get different points of view.

Robert, what is wrong with that?

BOSTON: I disagree.

I think that there is a mechanism in science that allows for these views to be aired through peer-review journals. And the intelligent-design advocates…

YOEST: Well, sure.

BOSTON: … have not been able to public any research that indicates…

YOEST: That’s just not true.

BOSTON: … their point of view.

Let me finish, Charmaine.

And one of the important things we need to remember, too, is that some of the ideas that groups would like to bring into our schools have been completely discredited, for example, the idea that the Earth is 10,000 years old and that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time. Scientifically, that’s untenable.

Yet, that is what the creationists believe. And that is what, ultimately, I think they would like to bring into our classrooms.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Charmaine, I mean, do you — do you believe that dinosaurs walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? And, if so, is that the — the basis of your argument?

YOEST: What we are looking at here is saying, there are legitimate scientific questions on the table. And it is not true that — that there is a complete cohesiveness among scientists.

So, we’re really, really seeing an amazing censorship of anything that questions Darwinism. And you see this kind of thing where, immediately, the minute you question Darwinism, people like Rob come up and say, oh, no, you’re going to talk about God.

Well, you know, I think our children have more robust intelligence and — and questioning to be able to cope with looking at all the different theories that are out there. I think it’s — I just have to ask, what is he so scared of?

COOPER: Robert, do you believe this is really about — a debate about science, or is it a debate about religion?

BOSTON: Of course it’s about religion.

And notice how she did not answer your question about the age of the Earth and dinosaurs and humans coexisting. I would guess that, if you took a survey of the members of the Family Research Council, you would find, overwhelmingly, they believe that the Earth is 6,000 to 10,000 years old, that dinosaurs died because they were too big to fit on Noah’s Ark, or that they existed alongside human beings, other pseudoscientific ideas that has been debunked time and time again.

YOEST: Hey — hey, Rob…

BOSTON: Why would we want to bring this into the classroom, when there’s absolutely no scientific evidence?

(CROSSTALK)

BOSTON: Charmaine, answer the question, yes or no. Age of the Earth?

(CROSSTALK)

YOEST: You are trying to confuse the issue of conflating…

BOSTON: Age of the Earth, answer the question.

(CROSSTALK)

YOEST: I am trying to answer the question.

BOSTON: How old is it?

YOEST: I’m trying to answer the question.

BOSTON: How old is it, Charmaine?

(CROSSTALK)

YOEST: I can’t get a word in — that you’re trying to conflate creationism with intelligent design.

BOSTON: That’s because you want…

YOEST: I’m saying that you should look at…

BOSTON: … you want creationism in the classroom. Answer the question.

YOEST: I didn’t say — I didn’t say that.

BOSTON: Ten thousand years or six billion?

YOEST: The only thing I have talked about is intelligent design.

BOSTON: Why are you afraid to answer the question?

YOEST: Why are you afraid of the fact that 90 percent of the American people do believe in God?

BOSTON: I know exactly what you want to do. You want to teach your book of Genesis as if it’s some kind of literal, scientific truth, instead of maybe possibly metaphor or lots of other history. You want to bring it into science. It’s not going to fly.

COOPER: Do you want your children — Charmaine, do you want your children to be exposed to a belief which the scientific community has disproven? I’m not saying that they have disproven all of this. But, in certain cases, I mean, some things clearly…

YOEST: Sure.

COOPER: … have been disproven.

YOEST: Sure.

COOPER: Things which have been clearly scientifically disproven, do you still want them taught?

YOEST: Well, absolutely. That would — that would come in, in a history of science, in a philosophy of science.

That’s why I’m saying, there’s different kinds of classes. So, we’re talking about kind of a broad array of things. Your kids need to know what opinions are out there and — and — and see what the evidence is, consider the evidence.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: So, for other subjects in a science class that people disagree on, but that have been disproven, the kids should be taught those as well?

YOEST: Sure.

COOPER: They should — they should — they should know that there are other people who disagree on… YOEST: Absolutely.

COOPER: … just about every scientific issue?

YOEST: I’m not afraid of my kids knowing about any controversy that is out there, as long as you put the evidence on the table and consider what — what the debate is. That’s what education is all about, is having a vigorous debate.

COOPER: Charmaine Yoest, appreciate it, and Robert Boston as well.

BOSTON: Thank you.

COOPER: Fascinating discussion.

Notice how she said she was trying to answer the question (an answer that would require one word, “thousands” or “billions”) and she never did.

That was the one brief moment of fire, and then the rest of the show went back to feeding marshmallows to the gullible.

Comments

  1. #1 Jeb, FCD
    April 5, 2007

    Too bad Anderson didn’t use that show as a moment to come out of the closet. Maybe he was pandering so the fundies won’t go too hard him when he does (unless, of course, he likes that sort of thing).

  2. #2 andy
    April 5, 2007

    Perhaps someone should follow up with Mrs. Yoest at her blog, Reasoned Audacity (*pow* there goes another irony meter).

    I doubt she’ll answer there either, but…

  3. #3 John Emerson
    April 5, 2007

    Another example of “conservatives” picking up liberal jargon and trying to use it against liberals. The whole “hate speech” / “Christians are discriminated against” schtick is the same kind of thing. Here the liberal idea of open-mindedness and debate is picked up in its worst, most relativist, most anti-intellectual form and thrown back at liberals. Yoest actually pretty much said that the public schools should allow everyone with an agenda on any scientific topic (not just evolution) to demand that “the controversy” be taught. Presumably that includes flat-earthers, circle-squarers, perpetual-motion-machine makers, medical quacks, the makers of gasoline additives multiplying enerygy — everyone.

    You have to regret the way hippy, liberationist relativism — classed as “liberal” — enabled this. (In alternative medicine, hippies and wingnuts mingle). The “conservatives” sayng this kind of thign would be ashamed if they realized who their teachers were — people like Timothy Leary, et al.

  4. #4 Ed Deneke
    April 5, 2007

    Can you blame him for not coming out? His career is based on ratings, not facts, and he just quoted a poll saying that half of America believes in this BS. Like all people in the MSM, he’s between a rock and a hard place. I don’t envy him.

  5. #5 andy
    April 5, 2007

    Nevermind, I went ahead and did it.

    The comment, if approved (not holding my breath), will appear here.

  6. #6 Steve_C
    April 5, 2007

    I’m glad I skipped it. The pandering makes me insane. If you’re going to have a tour of the bullshit museum it should be recognized and be pointed out that it’s bullshit.

    That museum should be covered as “Look at this whacky museum! Today’s whacky video is from a museum that says people rode dinosaurs like in the Flintstones. Take a look.” (shows video with appropriately irreverent side show music and maybe some samples from the Flintstones.. “Wilma!”) Then they come back to the newscaster laughing his ass off, “I hope you enjoyed that bit of theater. We sure did.”

    Is this the fricking twilight zone?

  7. #7 Humbert Dinglepencker
    April 5, 2007

    Did anyone catch this glorious howler from Crooks & Liars:

    ‘And Slacktivist finds that the need to dismiss Al Gore and global warming makes it more difficult to remember the creationist belief in a 6,000 year old planet:
    Here’s a little nugget from Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, mocking Al Gore and climate change:
    During the session, Gore’s “Chicken Little” scenarios were met with skepticism, particularly from Senate Republicans like Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who said he, like many scientists, believed the dire global warming projections were a “hoax.” On the House side, the former vice president was called a prophet by some Democratic members but his revelations were challenged by others. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, cited 600,000-year-old scientific evidence that Gore’s carbon dioxide claims are false. When Gore introduced …
    Wait. Back up a moment. What was that last bit from Rep. Joe Barton?
    Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, cited 600,000-year-old scientific evidence …
    600,000 years?
    B-b-b-but the Family Research Council doesn’t believe that the earth is 600,000 years old! How can Barton have “scientific evidence” that’s 594,000 years older than the universe itself?’

    Yee-haw…

  8. #8 Geral
    April 5, 2007

    “do you believe that dinosaurs walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?”

    hahaha.

    If God threw Adam and Eve in a garden with the dinosaurs, I would assume he was throwing a snack in for his pets.

    How can people *possibly* justify the absurdity of the thought.

  9. #9 PZ Myers
    April 5, 2007

    I also left a comment at Yoest’s site:

    So, now that that mean ol’ Boston fellow isn’t interrupting you, and you have the leisure to simply write out your answer, perhaps you can finally address the question you were asked.

    How old is the earth?

    One word will do: thousands or billions of years old?

    I doubt that it will show up.

  10. #10 CalGeorge
    April 5, 2007

    Off-topic:

    Cammile Paglia is insane!

    http://www.radioopensource.org/back-to-god-with-camille-paglia/

    She calls for religion to be put at the center of education. I can’t get over this!

    “Sneering, snide, secular humanists who have a disdain for people of faith.”

    Barf!

  11. #11 Tulse
    April 5, 2007

    Cammile Paglia is insane!

    And the earth is round, and 2+2=4. This is news?

  12. #12 Observer
    April 5, 2007

    BOSTON: Why are you afraid to answer the question?

    YOEST: Why are you afraid of the fact that 90 percent of the American people do believe in God?

    See…she wouldn’t even try to establish any credibility about earth science while promoting ID being taught in school as a legitimate alternative to uhh…science. And of course, the majority of God-believers is nothing new; it’s just the same ‘ol fight with new faces. Bah, embarrassing public display of stupidity entangled with disengenuousness to the core (iow, liar).

  13. #13 CalGeorge
    April 5, 2007

    More of Paglia on Radio Open Source yesterday:

    “I’m discouraged more and more by the level of discourse that is erupting from the left-wing blogs … I feel that there is a kind of cheap, adolescent level of mind and reasoning that is coming from them that is the result of turning away, actually, from religion.”

    More compromising barf, and yet she calls herself an atheist!

    WTF?

  14. #14 Adam Cuerden
    April 5, 2007

    “a family of ignorant homeschoolers who said evolution was science”

    …Is this actually what you meant to write?

  15. #15 Brownian
    April 5, 2007

    Although I think Boston did an admirable job of not letting Gish gallop away, what’s likely to remain in the minds of creationist viewers is that the ‘Darwinists’ have something to hide. Unfortunately for many, the take-home message is that evolutionary theory is afraid of criticism.

    Would the undecided camp–the ones we’re really trying to reach and educate–respond to a comparible concept in medicine? What if it were suggested that doctors should be taught voodoo, the four humours, trepanning, and other archaic ideas alongside modern orthodox medicine and then make up their own minds when faced with the evidence?

    I wonder how many of even the most fundamental of fundies would go to a home-schooled doctor?

  16. #16 Sonja
    April 5, 2007

    Imagine Cooper asking these questions:

    Polls show that nearly half of America believes that America fought the Japanese in World War I. Doesn’t this demonstrate that we should be teaching less history in the schools?

    Polls show that nearly half of America believes that 3 times 4 equals 15. Why not teach the controversy?

    Polls show that nearly half of America believes that “weird” is spelled “wierd”. Can’t we have a discussion about including these alternate spellings in school English classes?

  17. #17 Brownian
    April 5, 2007

    I meant ‘letting Yoest Gish gallop away’.

  18. #18 Roy
    April 5, 2007

    I’m not a fan of the news media, so I’ve only seen Anderson Cooper once, and he was saying something innocuous at the time. Yet there was something about him that got my hackles up, so I would not trust him.

    Now I know he’s a tool. Thanks for enlightening me.

  19. #19 Rev. bigDumbChimp
    April 5, 2007

    I doubt that it will show up.

    Nope.

  20. #20 Clio Bluestocking
    April 5, 2007

    What, pray tell, does 90% of Americans beleiving in God have to do with science? That’s what I want to ask that person. Some things, by their very nature, just aren’t subject to democracy, and beleiving doesn’t make things true. I am constantly amazed (I shouldn’t be, but I am) by the way that these “intelligent design” people actually want to teach ignorance.

    I try to avoid these sorts of programs that give a platform to the ignorant, then refuse to let them prove themselves to be ignorant. Colbert does a better job of that than these “real” journalist.

  21. #21 Loren Petrich
    April 5, 2007

    Camille Paglia being an anti-atheist atheist is in character with the rest of her career, which has included being an anti-lesbian lesbian and an antifeminist “feminist”. She has earlier claimed that lesbian sex is “sterile”, meaning that sex must have at least one male participant in order to be passionate and enjoyable and worthwhile.

    Susie Bright responded at the time that Ms. Paglia does not seem to have gotten much lately.

    But I do wonder if Ms. Paglia is trolling.

  22. #22 ed
    April 5, 2007

    I seen a bible thumper on tv he said.”We just want the students to get both sides of the story.”So I would imagine that pretty soon all you biology profess and h/s teachers can get some great summer jobs at all the churches that will want to teach evolution so their flock”get both sides of the story”That will happen…..right?

  23. #23 Tulse
    April 5, 2007

    When is the last time that Paglia was the least relevant? Her fifteen minutes are well over.

  24. #24 Kristine
    April 5, 2007

    I saw this show, and heard enough to change the channel.

    And then this happened.

    At the back of my mind are plans to get out of the U.S. This is not a country in which I want to grow old.

  25. #25 DaveX
    April 5, 2007

    I wish that someone would respond to these allegations that creationism isn’t getting its fair “hearing” alongside evolution would just say something like–

    “Well, you already did… But that was 100 (or whatever) years ago.”

  26. #26 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    YOEST: Why are you afraid of the fact that 90 percent of the American people do believe in God?

    Why? Because those were the same demographics of the folks who, until very recently, were deeply committed to the idea that blacks were created by God to serve white people.

    Now go fuck yourself, you religious twit.

  27. #27 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    Yet there was something about him that got my hackles up …

    Cooper is a fame whore, following in Geraldo Rivera’s footsteps.

  28. #28 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    Again, I’m left wondering: what the fuck is up with the NCSE??? What a worthless piece of shit organization, completely lacking in the ability to play offense.

  29. #29 BlueIndependent
    April 5, 2007

    The “fairness for creationism/ID” charge is beyond a load of crap, because 9 times out of 10, or 99 of 100, these people and their kids go to church on Saturday night or Sunday morning and get 1-2 hours (not including Sunday school time) of sermon, some of which is given to “discussing” how evolution is evil, and spreading ahistorical fiction about specific events in human history.

    Their counter argument of course is “well my children get 5 hours of biology a week in school, which is more time than they spend in church”. This is doubtful on many levels however, at least with regard to Biology taking precedence over religion. And many of these people will have their kids in a private, religious school (if they’re not home-schooled) that includes 1 class hour a day of religion. That’s how my pre-, grade and high school life was. 6 hours of Math, Reading, Spelling, English, History, Science/Biology/Chemistry, and 1 class hour a day for religion, every day of the school week. This was before counting time at church on Sunday, time spent as an altar boy in and outside school, extra time serving mass during Christmas and especially Easter (a holiday where altar servers in my home town were pretty much booked for 5 straight days).

    The “equal time” argument is a smoke screen, nothing more. Ms. Yoest’s argument is nothing more than an excuse to get religion into places it doesn’t belong. It’s also academically detrimental to teach science under notions that the Genesis story (or indeed any creation story from any religion whatsoever) is factually true, or even partly true, and opens the door to any iane theory anyone can dream up off the cuff. Would Ms. Yoest advocate for me if I made up a story that the Earth was formed from the intergalactic snot of the dark energy beast Ishtar from the 27th dimension? Perhaps she would if I got a print deal first and a NYT bestseller…

    But that’s a question I notice almost no supporter of evolution education challenges creationists/IDers on: if they truly want to put their crap in the classroom, would they honestly and openly support the inclusion of creation stories from any and all Native American cultures, Shintoism, Taoism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddism, Wicca, Satanism, Gaia, etc.? Al Franken did a comedy segment on his show back in December about this very thing, and I still can’t believe this line of debate isn’t used more by scientists, biologists, and spporters of evolutionary theory. It’s such a simple weapon to deploy and use.

    It’s going to soak up a hell of a lot of time if cretionists/IDers in fact do support the “teaching” of multiple creation stories. Something tells me though, that they do not, and here in lies a hypocrisy and self- or group deference that is arrogant and exclusionary on so many levels as to be worthy of rejection on its face.

  30. #30 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    Their counter argument of course is “well my children get 5 hours of biology a week in school, which is more time than they spend in church”.

    So spend more time in church, dipshits, and more time in your cave, too. God forbid you actually spend any time learning facts which might allow to contribute something to society other than your worthless prayers.

  31. #31 llewelly
    April 5, 2007

    CHARMAINE YOEST, VICE PRESIDENT FOR COMMUNICATIONS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, you know, mainstream science, throughout history, has been challenged by questions. And that’s how we make advances in science, is being open to all different perspectives.

    Delusion as a different perspective. I wish there was a cure.

  32. #32 Glen Davidson
    April 5, 2007

    I don’t think it was so bad. Sure, the usual nonsense of giving the buffoons their chance to sound relevant happened, but the whole notion of “equality” to the media means pitting blanks like Ham against people who have studied and done science.

    I objected most of all to this:

    Many Christians call the Bible the ultimate authority on creation and existence, a manual for all that is possible. Others seek to chip away at that conviction. And yet others hope for harmony between science and faith.

    Sure, it’s people seeking to chip away at belief in the Bible as ultimate authority, not people who let the evidence show us the way. I applaud those who do chip away at the “authority” of a book filled with mistakes and commands to do harm, it’s just that by no means was science developed only by these people.

    I do kind of like the “some hope for harmony between science and faith” (bolding added). That’s an honest statement, not the weaselly “some see no conflict between science and faith” (perhaps true, but irrelevant to the question).

    Yes, Boston was good. If anything matters in discussing evolution, it is dates and the timeline allowed by geology. Any serious science cares about that, only a pseudoscience (or more to the point, political movement) could pretend that it doesn’t matter. Had Boston made that point as well, that segment alone would have made the program well worthwhile.

    And I know about Collins, having posted less than flattering comments about him on Pharyngula. But here he was a good general for science, not mentioning his unscientific predilections toward cosmological ID (I’m pretty sure, though I did scan fast) and sticking up for evolutionary theory. They framed him well, as an accomplished scientist who actually did the science that Ham, Dembski, and Behe do not do and cannot do. Again, had they really contrasted Collins with the IDists that way, it would have been an incomparably better program.

    Yes yes, Collins mumbled through his religion spiel. I suspect that almost no one finds it very convincing, however, so I don’t mind so very much. Of course for keeping score, we have no atheists as such (some probably were, but weren’t labeled that way) on the program, and the usual respect for religion, regardless of the science. When I said it wasn’t so bad I was using a relative standard.

    Yoest really didn’t do well. It’s bizarre that in a program which has her drivel on she’s yelling “censorship.” To her flock, that’s standard and will play well. To anyone who thinks, how stupid.

    It reminds me of UD, whose standard “response” to “Darwinism” is that criticism of it is prevented (basically, because ID is disallowed in schools, while the official word of the DI is that it should not be in schools–they can never remain coherent beyond a single blog, often not within the single blogs), also crows about their increasing readership (hits, anyway) month after month. They are not censored, it isn’t even possible, while they’re constantly censoring their forum. Of course every evolution/ID forum that isn’t heavily censored quickly turns into one dominated by those who respect science, so practically it’s understandable–it’s just that their censorship is also a mark of their intellectual defeat in any free discussion.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

  33. #33 Rey Fox
    April 5, 2007

    “Many Christians call the Bible the ultimate authority on creation and existence, a manual for all that is possible. Others seek to chip away at that conviction. And yet others hope for harmony between science and faith. ”

    Many Lucas fans call the Star Wars trilogy the ultimate authority on existence and morality and politics. Others are big meanieheads who want to chip away at that conviction. And yet others seek the Glorious Middle Way.

    Gag, choke, spew.

  34. #34 jimmiraybob
    April 5, 2007

    Some people contend that Cammile Paglia is insane. And some people contend that the earth is round, and 2+2=4. And, of course, its an old story that some believe that the Earth revolves around the sun.

    But there is an opposition chorus from a growing army of concerned citizens that dissagrees with the above assertions and they are passionately presenting an alternative, Biblical scientific view. Both sides will be equally represented in our upcoming special, God’s World View is Awesomely Righteous and Science Sucks Satan Spew.

    Kent Brockman
    CNN – More Fair and Balanced than Fox News…..and Younger and Smarter and Better too!

  35. #35 Steve_C
    April 5, 2007

    But Glen,

    The museum is completely laughable, it was given respect, as a belief that warrants consideration. It contributes to the dumbing down of the population, it was uninformative.
    I would say DISINFORMATIVE.

    It should have been treated the way David Icke is in England.

  36. #36 Joe Carter
    April 5, 2007

    B-b-b-but the Family Research Council doesn’t believe that the earth is 600,000 years old! How can Barton have “scientific evidence” that’s 594,000 years older than the universe itself?’

    Gee, what could FRC have been thinking. If we believe the earth is only 6,000 years old then how could we support a claim about evidence that was from 600,000 years ago?

    Remind me again who said that FRC supports YEC? Oh, yeah: nobody.

    I work at FRC and can assure you that Rob Boston doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says, “a survey of the members of the Family Research Council, you would find, overwhelmingly, they believe that the Earth is 6,000 to 10,000 years old,…blah, blah, blah.”

    Half of the staff is comprised of Catholics. Did the Catholic Church come out in favor of YEC? Did I miss something.

    And while I can only speak for myself, I–an evangelical Bible-believing Christian–take it as a given that the earth is between 10-20 billion years old.

  37. #37 jimmiraybob
    April 5, 2007

    …take it as a given that the earth is between 10-20 billion years old.
    Posted by: Joe Carter

    Joe, did you mean 4.65 billon for the Earth and 10-20 billion for the universe?

  38. #38 Glen Davidson
    April 5, 2007

    But Glen,

    The museum is completely laughable, it was given respect, as a belief that warrants consideration. It contributes to the dumbing down of the population, it was uninformative.
    I would say DISINFORMATIVE.

    It should have been treated the way David Icke is in England.

    I wouldn’t disagree with any of that. The media ought not allow Ham to play them along with a few well-done displays of absolute nonsense and the word “Museum” in front. A carnival of follies is no museum.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

  39. #39 Rey Fox
    April 5, 2007

    Yeah yeah, one a’ them big numbers.

  40. #40 Joe Carter
    April 5, 2007

    Joe, did you mean 4.65 billon for the Earth and 10-20 billion for the universe?

    Actually, I’m so far on the old-earth side that I think that the generally accepted view of 4.5 billion is too “young earth.” ; )

    Yeah, I had intended to write that I believe the universe is between 10-20 billion years and the earth is around 5 billion. I just got lazy, though, and crammed it all into one thought, making a mess of it. Thanks for pointing that out.

  41. #41 Tim Altom
    April 5, 2007

    Being an adjunct in academia myself (teaching statistics, among other things), I’m always saddened to see PhD’s like Yoest asserting nonsense and hiding from direct questions. But when I looked up her publications and CV, I discovered that she has an MA and PhD in “Politics” (presumably political science) from Virginia. With all due respect to the political scientists of the world, there are few disciplines easier to finesse with BS. Few dissertations contain truly rigorous analysis, because they can’t. Poli sci depends on speculation, surveys, public health data, that kind of thing, all of which can be spun in various different directions. It’s utterly constructivist. A list of her recent pubs can easily be found on http://www.scholar.google.com. Unremarkably, she seems to be well-respected in her field. But she makes a severe mistake when she steps across into another discipline that is far more rigorous and positivist than her own and tries to do battle there. Poli sci has little experience with experimental science, and therefore often has far less respect for rigor. Her research tends to be in areas such as mommies that work and other very soft subjects. I rather doubt that she could actually set up a controlled experiment, nor state why science must be based on definite cause-effect chains where the deux ex machina has no place.

  42. #42 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    I work at FRC and can assure you that Rob Boston doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says, “a survey of the members of the Family Research Council, you would find, overwhelmingly, they believe that the Earth is 6,000 to 10,000 years old,…blah, blah, blah.” Half of the staff is comprised of Catholics.

    Joe Carter, a man long noted for his integrity when it comes to discussing weapons of mass destruction or intelligent design, has spoken.

    Say, Joe, could you bring back Larry Lord to The Outpost? Your blog used to be funny and now it’s merely boring and retarded.

  43. #43 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    Check this headline out from the Family Research Council:

    http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=PV06K03

    “Evangelicals Should Not Be Fooled by Global-Warming Hysterics”

    I find it odd, to say the least, that Catholics should be worried about what might fool evangelicals. That link, by the way, took me two seconds to find.

    Maybe when Joe referred to the Catholic “staff” he was referring to the Mexican illegals the FRC employs to clean its toilets.

  44. #44 jimmiraybob
    April 5, 2007

    Actually, I’m so far on the old-earth side that I think that the generally accepted view of 4.5 billion is too “young earth.” ; )
    Posted by: Joe Carter

    Yikes, that would make me either a Middle Earth Geologist (MEG: 6K less than 4.65GA less than 10-20GA) or a Young Earth Geologist (YEG: throwing out the 6K). Whodda Thunk. So many decisions. I think I’ll go with YEG.

  45. #45 Blake Stacey
    April 5, 2007

    Rey Fox:

    Many Lucas fans call the Star Wars trilogy the ultimate authority on existence and morality and politics. Others are big meanieheads who want to chip away at that conviction. And yet others seek the Glorious Middle Way.

    Have you read Star Wars on Trial? It’s got Matthew Woodring Stover on the defense and David Brin on the prosecution. . . some interesting give-and-take, and a couple bust-a-gut laughter moments (from the prosecution’s side).

  46. #46 raindogzilla
    April 5, 2007

    “If God threw Adam and Eve in a garden with the dinosaurs, I would assume he was throwing a snack in for his pets.”

    Ah, but, you see, the dinos were peaceful vegetarians, coexisting harmoniously with Adam and Eve until that slimy serpent with it’s gleaming quince brought on The Fall- at which point said humans were not so much evicted from paradise as they were fleeing in terror from that new, hungry look in their old saurian pals’ eyes.

    I’m pretty sure a velociraptor ate Adam’s first wife, Lilith.

  47. #47 Joe Carter
    April 5, 2007

    Great White Wonder I find it odd, to say the least, that Catholics should be worried about what might fool evangelicals. That link, by the way, took me two seconds to find.

    Perhaps if you had spent a few more seconds you would have found that it was written by Bill Saunders, a Catholic.

    Maybe when Joe referred to the Catholic “staff” he was referring to the Mexican illegals the FRC employs to clean its toilets.

    Actually, I was thinking about people like, say, our eexecutive vice president, our vice president for government affairs, our human rights counsel, our…well, you get the idea. And why do you assume that (a) Catholics must be Mexican, (b) that Mexicans must be illegal aliens, and (c) that Mexicans can only get jobs cleaning toilets?

  48. #48 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    And why do you assume that (a) Catholics must be Mexican, (b) that Mexicans must be illegal aliens, and (c) that Mexicans can only get jobs cleaning toilets?

    Why do you assume that I’m not a sarcastic Mexican?

    Perhaps if you had spent a few more seconds you would have found that it was written by Bill Saunders, a Catholic.

    I could care less if Bill Saunder is a Catholic, Jew, fundy or Buddhist. I lost interest in his “deeply held religiouss beliefs” when I learned that he was an ignorance-peddling fucktard, like you.

    our eexecutive vice president, our vice president for government affairs, our human rights counsel, our…well, you get the idea.

    No, I don’t actually. So it was just a coincidence that the FRC put this creationism peddling moron on nationwide cable? Is that what we’re supposed to believe, Joe? And the FRC solidly supports teaching kids the facts about the age of the earth? So if I go to the FRC website and look through their literature I won’t find any young earth baloney or evolution denying bullcrap because of all the self-proclaimed “Catholics” employed at the FRC?

    Let me know. I’d hate to waste my time proving what most of us already know about you, Joe.

  49. #49 Sastra
    April 5, 2007

    Many Christians call the Bible the ultimate authority on creation and existence, a manual for all that is possible. Others seek to chip away at that conviction. And yet others hope for harmony between science and faith.

    And obviously this “harmony between science and faith” will most certainly not include chipping away the conviction that the Bible is the ultimate authority on creation and existence. No, we want a nice moderate position which avoids those two extremes.

    As Rey Fox already pointed out, that’s just nonsense. What they actually want to promote as “moderate” is a general refusal to consider religious claims seriously, as statements of purported facts. No, it’s all only expressions of Meaning — metaphors and symbols which stand for things that everyone believes in like life and love and being nice to your neighbor. It’s just that those symbols are so powerful they’re actually real.

    But don’t examine that last sentence too closely, or try to figure out what it literally means. Only an extremist would do that. And that’s not how we’re going to be able to “harmonize” science and faith.

  50. #50 Joe Carter
    April 5, 2007

    Why do you assume that I’m not a sarcastic Mexican?

    Because I doubt a “sarcastic Mexican” would hide behind a pseudo-supremacist pseudonym like “Great White Wonder”.

    when I learned that he was an ignorance-peddling fucktard, like you.So if I go to the FRC website and look through their literature I won’t find any young earth baloney or evolution denying bullcrap because of all the self-proclaimed “Catholics” employed at the FRC?

    That’s what I’m saying genius. Unless, of course, you’re one of the morons who conflates ID with “evolution denying bullcrap.”

    While I trust that PM knows why he believes what he does, I get the impression that you buy your beliefs in bulk and couldn’t really defend anything you’re talking about. I suspect that why you resort to hurling insults as soon as someone points out that you haven’t done your homework.

  51. #51 CalGeorge
    April 5, 2007

    Polls show that nearly half the American believes that people didn’t evolve from lower life-forms, but were created, in our present form, by God. If so many people think that, shouldn’t we at least be discussing it in a science class?

    Jeeebus! Did he actually say that!!

    Newsweek, March 30, 2007: Nine in 10 (91 percent) of American adults say they believe in God and almost as many (87 percent) say they identify with a specific religion.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17879317/site/newsweek/

    If that is the case, why are we not building bible colleges everywhere and planting the ten commandments on every court house step.

    Come on! If god exists, and the bible is his word, what are we fucking around with human laws for?

    Why aren’t we all behaving like the muslim countries? They seem to be doing a much better job of it than we are.

    Why aren’t we outlawing every science classes that contradicts the bible’s teachings?

    Come on, you religious nuts, be consistent!

  52. #52 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    Unless, of course, you’re one of the morons who conflates ID with “evolution denying bullcrap.”

    Too funny.

  53. #53 Patrick Quigley
    April 5, 2007

    COOPER: Polls show that nearly half the American believes that people didn’t evolve from lower life-forms, but were created, in our present form, by God. If so many people think that, shouldn’t we at least be discussing it in a science class?

    Um… No. The purpose of eduction is to correct ignorance, not perpetuate it. This statistic is a call for more emphasis on evolution in the classroom, not less.

    Polls also show that 75% of the american population believes that Benjamin Franklin’s statement that “God helps those who help themselves” is one of the ten commandments. Where are the demands to teach that “controversy” or to “fix” the decalogues currently decorating so many courthouses? On this topic religious leaders advocate Bible courses in schools to correct biblical illiteracy rather than acquiescence to popular belief. Double standards, anyone?

  54. #54 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    Tony Perkins, March 1 2007

    http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WM07C01&v=PRINT

    In what must be considered a strange turn of “signings,”over 700 scientists from around the world have now signed a statement expressing their doubts about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution…. The declaration of skepticism by the scientists includes the statement: We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.” John West, associate director of the Center for Science and Culture relates that “Darwinists are busy making up holidays to turn Charles Darwin into a saint, even as the evidence supporting his theory crumbles and more and more scientific challenges to it emerge.” One wonders if the Clergy Letter Project participants, who have disavowed the truthfulness of Scripture and Jesus, will find in Darwin the guidance they will need when his theory crumbles and his day subsides.

    Yup, no “evolution-denying bullcrap” there. Just some healthy skepticism.

    Remember, folks: Joe Carter is a man of integrity. He isn’t trying to mislead anybody about the Family Research Council and its commitment to providing American children a sound science education.

    That is why the Family Research Council spends a great deal of time and money educating the public about the lies being peddled by Christian creationists, right, Joe? That is why if I go to the Family Research Council website I will find all sorts of press releases and letters about how “evangelicals should not be fooled by young earth creationist liars,” right, Joe? Isn’t that right?

  55. #55 Tyler DiPietro
    April 5, 2007

    That’s what I’m saying genius. Unless, of course, you’re one of the morons who conflates ID with “evolution denying bullcrap.”

    It absolutely is, especially since “ID” is nothing but an ad hoc collection of patently ridiculous attacks on evolution. Designed deliberately, of course, so that you and your ilk can sneak them into science classrooms and use our educational apparatus to perpetuate your particular brand of ignorance.

  56. #56 Charels G
    April 5, 2007

    It seems to me that the skeptical contribution to these kinds of programs should boil down to, “Disagreement does not equal contoversy.” Millions of people disagree with different aspects of the scientific consensus on any number of issues, but those people aren’t scientists. They have no idea what they’re talking about. There is no debate when one side has all the evidence, and acknowleding at all that there might be just makes it seem like the IDers might actually have something.

    An aside: I really wish that skeptical bloggers would start saying “Christian homeschoolers” in place of “homeschoolers.” I was homeschooled, but I’m not a Creationist, Christian, or crazy, and neither are my parents. Please don’t lump those of us who pursued a different educational path in with those who are just trying to avoid being educated.

  57. #57 Mucho Blanco Mesterioso
    April 5, 2007

    I doubt a “sarcastic Mexican” would hide behind a pseudo-supremacist pseudonym like “Great White Wonder”.

    Yo soy sarcastico, as the great Christian Newt Gingrich would say.

    http://www.theamericanview.com/index.php?id=591

    Actually I guess Newt isn’t a great Christian because apparently he thinks that a homo can be a good person. Jesus no like such talk.

  58. #58 Kristine
    April 5, 2007

    May I remind people that the Esquire mag that profiled this museum last year pointed out that the real scandal was not the dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden but the fact that Adam was missing his, er, T-rex.

    Hardly paradise, I’d say.

    I wrote a short story about it. Enjoy.

  59. #59 PZ Myers
    April 5, 2007

    Arguing about what fraction of FRC staffers are YEC is useless. The relevant point here is that Yoest refused to plainly state her position, either because a) she’s YEC herself, or b) because she knows that supporting the scientifically valid position would alienate a significant portion of the FRC constituency, or c) both.

    I suspect that (b) is the biggest part of the answer.

  60. #60 Joe Carter
    April 5, 2007

    Yup, no “evolution-denying bullcrap” there. Just some healthy skepticism.

    You’re not too bright, are ya?

    Like most people, I believe in “evolution.” And while I believe that “random mutation and natural selection” can account for many, if not most, biological features that it cannot account for every biological feature. I also believe that such questions should be open to investigation and discussion and get mighty leery when people start claiming that we can’t discuss certain topics (i.e., string theory) because they are “pseudo-scientific nonsense.”

    Honestly, GWW, I don’t think you even know the first thing about biology. I think that you have a passion for liberal poltics and a disdain for religion. From there you decide what to believe based on what lines up with your politics.

    And please, if you are going to talk about intergrity and call people liars then why not have decency to quit hiding behind a stupid name like “Great White Wonder.” Your weak arguments already make it hard to take you seriously. But debating with an underemployed troll who hides behind a pseudomyn is a waste of time.

    PZ Meyers I suspect that (b) is the biggest part of the answer.

    How about (d) – She was trying to keep the discussion on topic rather than have it derailed. Odd how you fault her for not answering that question yet you don’t complain that she didn’t get to finish calling out Boston on his ignorant claim that ID has never been subject to peer-review.

    But let’s get to the bigger question. Since so many people seem to have doubts, why not have more debate about the evidence and then everyone will be convinced. It seems rather odd to say “the scientists know this stuff so your job is just to take our word on it.” Why not debate the topic on its merits. If there is no “controversy” then that should be easy to establish, shouldn’t it? Aren’t you convinced that most people will be swayed by the uncontrovertible claims of “science?”

  61. #61 Tyler DiPietro
    April 5, 2007

    “Odd how you fault her for not answering that question yet you don’t complain that she didn’t get to finish calling out Boston on his ignorant claim that ID has never been subject to peer-review.”

    Please produce the peer-reviewed publications making the case for “Intelligent Design”.

  62. #62 PZ Myers
    April 5, 2007

    I second Tyler’s request.

    How about (d) – She was trying to keep the discussion on topic rather than have it derailed. Odd how you fault her for not answering that question yet you don’t complain that she didn’t get to finish calling out Boston on his ignorant claim that ID has never been subject to peer-review.

    Not an answer. If she’d said, “The earth is billions of years old,” it would have shut Boston up much more effectively. If she’d said, “The earth is less than ten thousand years old,” though, it would have exposed her as an idiot. So why didn’t she give the former answer? Derailing isn’t the issue, since it could have been re-railed so easily.

  63. #63 Joe Carter
    April 5, 2007

    Tyler Please produce the peer-reviewed publications making the case for “Intelligent Design”.

    See here: http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=2640

  64. #64 Steve_C
    April 5, 2007

    Will Joe even answer the question?

    How old is the earth Joe?

  65. #65 PZ Myers
    April 5, 2007

    You are kidding, right? The DI’s list is a combination of books, papers smuggled in with the aid of friendly editors (Rivista is an infamous suck-hole like that), and papers that don’t actually advance any ID claim, but are retroactively appropriated by the DI (like the papers by Axe).

  66. #66 GeorgeBurnsGod
    April 5, 2007

    Hey Joe,

    Referring to page 64 of the ruling by Judge Jones.

    Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School

    “After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980’s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community.” (page 64)

  67. #67 CalGeorge
    April 5, 2007

    If there is no “controversy” then that should be easy to establish, shouldn’t it?

    There is no controversy, except how best to characterize your sleazy tactics and your disgusting con games.

  68. #68 Tyler DiPietro
    April 5, 2007

    “You are kidding, right? The DI’s list is a combination of books, papers smuggled in with the aid of friendly editors (Rivista is an infamous suck-hole like that), and papers that don’t actually advance any ID claim, but are retroactively appropriated by the DI (like the papers by Axe).”

    And just to give a bit more of an indication of the credibility of that list, Michael Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box” is listen in this category:

    Peer-Reviewed Scientific Books Supportive of Intelligent Design Published by Trade Presses or University Presses

  69. #69 Joe Carter
    April 5, 2007

    Steve_C Will Joe even answer the question? How old is the earth Joe?

    I did (see #40). But again: around 5 billion years old, give or take 6,000 years.

    PZ You are kidding, right? The DI’s list is a combination of books, papers smuggled in with the aid of friendly editors…

    Claim A: ID has never been peer-reviewed.

    When claim A is shown to be false resort to…

    Claim B: Not those peers, we mean peer-review by “peers” who refuse to acknowledge ID is a hypothesis worth considering. If a journal has allowed it for peer-review then that journal must be disreputable.

    By the way, PZ, what do you think about string theory? Should it receive federal funding?

  70. #70 daenku32
    April 5, 2007

    I’m just glad that we got a fresh creationist face here. More meat for the grinder, or maybe another poor soul to save from faith-based ignorance.

    Plus, maybe he can tell us about those holes in “darwinism”.

  71. #71 GeorgeBurnsGod
    April 5, 2007

    Or we could go with this statement from the Dover ruling. So many to choose from:

    “ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.” (page 89)

  72. #72 CalGeorge
    April 5, 2007

    …when people start claiming that we can’t discuss certain topics (i.e., string theory) because they are “pseudo-scientific nonsense.”

    Speaking of “can’t discuss certain topics,” when are you guys at FRC going to come out in favor of sex education in schools?

  73. #73 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    Joe Carter:

    Like most people, I believe in “evolution.” And while I believe that “random mutation and natural selection” can account for many, if not most, biological features that it cannot account for every biological feature. I also believe that such questions

    Blah, blah, blah, Joe, the script is really tired. It was tired two or three years when you first started recited it.

    Please tell me where on the Family Research Council webpage I can find a letter warning evangelicals “not to be fooled by creationist hysterics” and teaching evangelicals the facts about the earth’s age and why anyone who questions those facts might as well be questioning the sun-centered solar system. That would demonstrate that the Family Research Council has the tiniest bit of commitment to providing America’s children with a sound science education.

    Honestly, GWW, I don’t think you even know the first thing about biology.

    The question is: how much does Tony Perkins know about biology, Joe? Tony said a few weeks ago that “the evidence supporting [Darwin’s] theory crumbles and more and more scientific challenges to it emerge.” Where does Tony get his information from, Joe? I think he’s making it up and I think that you know it but you continue to peddle the lies because, at the end of the day, you believe that it helps Support Jesus, which is all that really matters.

    The difference between your belief about my ignorance of biology and my belief about your willful lying is that I have evidence to support my belief. You’ve got nothing, Joe. You’re a sad lying wanker for Christ and you’ll likely die before you find the guts it will take for you to come clean.

  74. #74 daenku32
    April 5, 2007

    Claim A: ID has never been peer-reviewed.

    When claim A is shown to be false resort to…
    Nice try, but that wasn’t the question Boston introduced.

    “I think that there is a mechanism in science that allows for these views to be aired through peer-review journals. And the intelligent-design advocates have not been able to public any research that indicates their point of view.”

    If these peer reviewed journals are good enough for all other science why aren’t they good enough for ID?

    Of course this brings us to Act II: Peer-reviewed scientific establishments are agents of Satan.

  75. #75 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    FRC board member Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has made several public anti-Catholic statements. During a March 22, 2000, appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live, for example, Mohler asserted, “As an evangelical, I believe the Roman church is a false church and it teaches a false gospel. I believe the pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office.”

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200702100003

    How old does Albert Mohler think the earth is?

  76. #76 Tyler DiPietro
    April 5, 2007

    “If a journal has allowed it for peer-review then that journal must be disreputable.”

    Very pretty strawman. The fact is that just about everything on the DI’s list of publications is either a book (which isn’t a peer-reviewed publication, look up “scientific peer-review” to find out why), a “philosophical paper”, or something not making any ID claim but is retrofitted into the list as “supporting” “Intelligent Design”. Nothing on that list is a peer-reviewed publication making the case for ID in a refereed scientific journal, which is what I asked for.

  77. #77 Steve_C
    April 5, 2007

    What research has been done to support ID? None.

    Apparently Joe doesn’t understand what peer reviewed means.

  78. #78 Great White Wonder
    April 5, 2007

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200702100003

    Perkins has repeatedly associated with racist groups and individuals, including former Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke and the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens.

    According to a July 30, 2005, report in The Vancouver Sun citing articles by The Nation (by Media Matters Research Fellow Max Blumenthal) and the Southern Poverty Law Center, while he served as the campaign manager for Republican senatorial candidate Louis E. “Woody” Jenkins in 1996, Perkins paid Duke $82,500 for his phone banking list, then attempted to cover up the transaction, a misdeed that resulted in a $3,000 fine from the Federal Election Council.

    Five years later, in 2001, Perkins spoke before the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). The Southern Poverty Law Center has dubbed the CCC a hate group. The CCC declares in its statement of principles:

    We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called “affirmative action” and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.

    In response to questions by The Vancouver Sun about his connection to an organization identified as a hate group, Perkins acknowledged his speech before the CCC but claimed he could not recall what he said. On the topic of his illegal payment to Duke, Perkins claimed he was unaware of Duke’s history of bigotry prior to the payment.

    Joe Carter works alongside Tony Perkins and defends Tony Perkins when Tony Perkins tells lies about biology.

    Why does Joe do this? Because Joe believes that lying for Jesus is okay. Joe believs that promoting Jesus is the best thing that anybody can do and telling lies about evolution is a popular method of promoting Jesus, especially when the audience is ignorant people. Joe Carter has engaged in this behavior for years and his lies are well-documented.

  79. #79 Glen Davidson
    April 5, 2007

    Claim A: ID has never been peer-reviewed.

    Little technical note: it would not be at all surprising if ID has indeed been peer-reviewed. What hasn’t happened, for sure, is that it hasn’t actually passed peer review (other than illegitimately in a few low-rated journals with editors sympathetic to pseudoscience), for the reasons we rehash on these forums.

    Otherwise, ID has been answered outside of peer review by competent commenters, and instead of a meaningful response to what Elsberry and others have written, we’ve only had an ID PR campaign, complete with well-publicized claims of “censorship” (oxymoronic as that sounds).

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

  80. #80 Tulse
    April 5, 2007

    Nothing on that list is a peer-reviewed publication making the case for ID in a refereed scientific journal

    And, curiously, the list is from the future – as of 5:57PM EDT, the date on the list reads “April 15, 2007″. Perhaps there are important peer-reviewed publications coming out in two weeks! (Although it looks like the Discovery Institute’s website could itself use some peer review.)

  81. #81 CalGeorge
    April 5, 2007

    Why does Joe do this?

    Joe has no choice. He is being paid to give lip service to right-wing lies.

    No doubt he regards it as a job that has nothing to do with the real Joe.

  82. #82 Sastra
    April 5, 2007

    Joe Carter wrote

    And while I believe that “random mutation and natural selection” can account for many, if not most, biological features that it cannot account for every biological feature.

    I more or less understand what the basic mundane mechanisms of random mutation and natural selection would involve (genetic replication, variation, and environmental selection, same as goes on today), but I don’t understand how Intelligent Design is supposed to work. I mean, if someone were watching an “Intelligently Designed” biological feature form, what would they see?

    Would they see chemicals and bits and pieces of molecules suddenly start to scurry across distances from all over and link up like they were being put together by an invisible hand? Perhaps they would drift together lazily, over long periods of time, but not in a way that could have happened by chance, but a very slow invisible hand. And if so, what would cause this? A form of psychokenesis? Mind acting on matter through the energy of sheer intention?

    Or would there be nothing there and then suddenly — poof — there is an irreducibly complex part of a cell? One moment it’s not there, next it is. Perhaps a small popping noise? And again, what force does this? Another form of psychokenesis, only one which actually creates ex nihilio by imagining something?

    I find it hard to believe that those scientists who consider Intelligent Design to be a science theory have never considered the how . It’s rather critical to any theory to have some kind of process in mind, I would think.

    Wouldn’t that really be the best way to test Intelligent Design in a lab, then — demonstrate psychokenesis as a creative or effective force which can act on matter? Without a mechanism, all you’ve got is an argument from ignorance. And a stunning lack of curiosity.

  83. #83 LORD GOD ALMIGHTY
    April 5, 2007

    Or would there be nothing there and then suddenly — poof — there is an irreducibly complex part of a cell? One moment it’s not there, next it is. Perhaps a small popping noise?

    What can I say? Sometimes I get so excited by my work that a fart slips out.

  84. #84 CalGeorge
    April 5, 2007

    Or would there be nothing there and then suddenly — poof — there is an irreducibly complex part of a cell? One moment it’s not there, next it is. Perhaps a small popping noise?

    There’s a video somewhere of a body (back, then shoulders, then head) covered in mud, rising from the muck, with some mud bubbles rising up round about (probably the result of intense farting).

    Can’t remember who did it! PZ might have posted at one point.

  85. #85 bernarda
    April 5, 2007

    Maybe you already know this site, but this article is a good reminder of the path ahead.

    http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2005/09/science-study-some-americans-havent.html

    “While scientific literacy has doubled over the past two decades, only 20 to 25 percent of Americans are ”scientifically savvy and alert,” he said in an interview. Most of the rest ”don’t have a clue.” At a time when science permeates debates on everything from global warming to stem cell research, he said, people’s inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process.”

  86. #86 AC
    April 5, 2007

    But let’s get to the bigger question. Since so many people seem to have doubts, why not have more debate about the evidence and then everyone will be convinced. It seems rather odd to say “the scientists know this stuff so your job is just to take our word on it.” Why not debate the topic on its merits. If there is no “controversy” then that should be easy to establish, shouldn’t it? Aren’t you convinced that most people will be swayed by the uncontrovertible claims of “science?”

    Sir, the day that science is turned over to the masses, who are not only ignorant of science but bred into hostility toward it, it will be promptly slaughtered and replaced wholesale by pleasing fabrications which cannot do anything. If you do not understand the danger in this, I don’t know if anything I could say would convince you.

  87. #87 Sastra
    April 5, 2007

    “At a time when science permeates debates on everything from global warming to stem cell research, he said, people’s inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process.”

    It’s not just that people don’t understand basic scientific concepts — the average person does not seem to understand the basic scientific process . Peer-review? That’s not really fair, everyone should get an equal chance. Testing? That means “try it for yourself and see if it works.” Scientific support? Well, does it sound like it’s science? We need to make up our own minds, not just follow what so-called “experts” say. We have experts on our side, too. We saw them in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know?

    When the public seems to honestly believe that a cure for the common cold has been “developed by a school teacher” out of herbs and vitamins — and nobody is particulary concerned with clinical controlled testing because anecdotes, testimonials, and personal experience are “scientific evidence” — then there’s a real problem, and it’s not just with distinguishing between different kinds of stem cells.

  88. #88 AC
    April 5, 2007

    And by “ignorant of science”, I don’t just mean executive-summarized findings of science; I mean the very process itself. You mock critical thinking by your invocation of it in favor of a paradigm that goes beyond pseudoscience into antiscience, and you mock science by your scare-quote-encapsulated comparison of it with its sheer opposite.

    People who are trained – in most cases from birth – to think irrationally will not be “swayed by the incontrovertible claims of science” without a long and usually difficult road of deprogramming and learning. You would assemble a jury of infants to condemn us all to their state.

  89. #89 Caledonian
    April 5, 2007

    Logically speaking, there’s no such thing as a trait that mutation cannot produce. There are no such things as traits that mutation and selection cannot produce. There are traits that mutation and selection would be unlikely to produce, and unlikely to produce in certain ways – and we really don’t see such traits much at all.

    Arguably the sort of ‘intelligence’ that humans have would be unlikely, in the same sense that any particular trait is unlikely, and in the sense that it doesn’t seem to have popped up very often. But there’s no evidence suggesting that human ‘intelligence’ wasn’t produced by evolutionary processes, and there is a great deal of evidence indicating that it was.

    So, Mr. Carter, your beliefs do not seem to be defensible. Rational people abandon indefensible positions when they become aware of them. When will you abandon yours?

    (Likely never, of course, because they’re part of your religious faith.)

  90. #90 Caledonian
    April 5, 2007

    people’s inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process.

    No, it doesn’t. That claim is absurd. The inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process intelligently, which is something that the system has never concerned itself about anyway.

  91. #91 nkylib
    April 5, 2007

    I attended 12 years of catholic schools, and I am ashamed of the ignorance of the public. I had a teacher in my senior year tell me never believe the media, the paper is bad enough but you have their lies on paper, the electronic media lies vanish into the air. It was the best advice and has served me well. People believe the news I don’t

  92. #92 BlueIndependent
    April 5, 2007

    It’s ironic (as usual) for Joe to promote a list of “peer-reviewed” literature that is supposedly the unbiased research of real scientists interested in whether ID is real or not, when you have names like Jonathan Wells in the mix. You know, people who have publicly VOWED (indeed he said it was his mission from God) to destroy evolution. Not very objective, Joe.

    Consequently, I’ve never heard any scientist publicly state that he VOWED to disprove religion, nor that he took on such a mission as part and parcel to his AVOWED atheism and the promulgation of anti-religious doctrine. And my guess is, if any scientist did make such a pronouncment (at the beginning of his career no less, a la Wells), he’d be denounced professionally. Jonathan Wells has never been denounced professionally by creationists/IDers for making such a statement. How can you guys, Joe, even come here with the charge of bias on our part, while housing and defending a tool like Wells, who makes such statements openly and unashamedly?

    Additionally, couching Dembski (a man with 2 PhDs, neither of them in biology) as an expert on evolution – and as someone able to parse the science appropriately so as to compare it to ID effectively – without the requisite training (degree + lab experience and professionally EARNED credibility) is telling. This would be analogous to the scientific community standing up, say, Chris Mooney as a knowledgeable expert on evolutionary biology, and treating what Mooney writes as peer-reviewed and effectively argued. I say this is a would-be analogous scenario, because that’s not actually the case on the side of evolution.

    See, evolutionary biologists speak for and advocate for evolution and biology (and associated studies and endeavors) themselves. They don’t get people with degrees in math, brain surgery, philosophy, engineering and any number of other topics irrelevant to the study of the core of evolutionary biology to speak for them. There are advocates of evolution that don’t hold degrees in the subject necessarily, but there are none claiming to have peer-reviewed papers on the subject or its anticedents. With creationism and ID, you have all kinds of people like Egnor, Behe, Dembski, etc. claiming they can parse all this stuff while never having set foot in a single science lab outside of their requisite high school biology class. And to add to that, they write what they call peer-reviewed pieces (since other IDers read them, albeit with an already jaundiced eye) that end up being a few pages long, and using god-of-the-gaps as the conclusion.

    The simple fact is this: the creationists/IDers (the ones leading the charge, making public appearances, and the supposed affiliated “intelligentsia”) typically have a stated opposition to evolution before joining the anti-evolution movement. In contrast, your average budding biology freshman in college doesn’t go in saying “I’m here, spending precious money I don’t have on tens of thousands of dollars in education and 4-8 years of my life, to disprove the Bible.” It just doesn’t happen. And even if they went in with that mindset, I’d wager they’d be weeded out pretty quickly, especially if they’re tinging their school work and lecture time with questions about how evolutionary theory disproves the existence of a god.

    Oh and another thing: scientists don’t go around building pro-evolution theme parks in rural areas across the country to try to convince people that evolution is right and religion wrong. They actually do work and make real discoveries, and have real curiosity about the world. The only evolutionary theme park is your local museum, where the work of professionals is put on display for people to learn and see. No fiberglass dinosaurs walking with icons of Jesus here.

  93. #93 Uber
    April 5, 2007

    Maybe when Joe referred to the Catholic “staff” he was referring to the Mexican illegals the FRC employs to clean its toilets.

    That was funny.

    You’re not too bright, are ya?

    Like most people, I believe in “evolution.” And while I believe that “random mutation and natural selection” can account for many, if not most, biological features that it cannot account for every biological feature.

    Nothing is more funny than when a comment begins by insulting anothers intelligence only to then follow it with pure stupidity as is written above.

    Whats funny is that even though the courts have slapped ID down for what it is shills like this Carter person simply don’t get it. One really has to wonder how one gets to be so arrogant.

  94. #94 CalGeorge
    April 5, 2007

    the only evolutionary theme park is your local museum,…

    And the great outdoors!

  95. #95 daenku32
    April 5, 2007

    The outdoors are the greatest example of naturalism.

  96. #96 Tim Altom
    April 6, 2007

    I took the trouble to look through the list of publications on the Discovery Institute site. I even read some of them. Tough going, of course, but one must be fair.

    Many are books, and in many cases they come from academic presses, lending them credibility. They characterize these as “peer-reviewed” books, which indeed many are. But they also misstate the case somewhat. For example, the book listed as John Angus Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer, Darwinism, Design, & Public Education (Michigan State University Press, 2003) is in actuality not a book directly in support of ID at all, but explores the controversy of teaching ID in schools. Others are similarly tangential.

    Some are indeed peer-reviewed articles in reputable journals, while others are from highly questionable publications. Most of the truly peer-reviewed articles avoid mentioning ID, and only report on specific speculations in non-Darwinian development. None go so far as to question the idea of development over time, and none are so blatant as to propose 6,000 years as the age of the Earth. Many of these papers are artfully dressed and numbingly complex expositions of probability. In my mind, they are extraordinary elaborations on the “whirlwind through a junkyard” argument. Douglas Axe, for example, in “Extreme Functional Sensitivity to Conservative Amino Acid Changes on Enzyme Exteriors,” Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 301 (2000): 585-595. essentially calculates how improbable certain protein folding would be. While perhaps valid research and speculation, any statistics grad student could instantly find several problems with his probability calculations.

    I have to note that I agree with a few of the statements I found in some of the papers. For example, one author states that to further advance the theory of irreducible complexity, empirical evidence should be pursued, and that it should not rest solely, as it does today, on speculation and probability calculations.

    Reduced to simple terms, this is what I found most disturbing in the literature on the site, its essential reduction to speculation, model proposals, and probabilities. These are all very well as starting points, and many scientific disciplines have begun with little more. But the literature they show is lacking in any direct lines from empirical evidence right back to ID. It may be because ID is, at its core, a miracle, and miracles cannot be empirically questioned.

  97. #97 Dr.Steve
    April 6, 2007

    I noticed that on Yoest’s site, your comment appeared yesterday, as well as several other demanding an answer to the question at hand.

    Today they are gone. There is one new comment making the same kind of demand. And, I just wrote this:
    “Nice censorship you practice here. I noticed PZ Meyer’s request that you anwer the question, as well as several other, similar posts have been deleted.

    The phrase “intellectual coward” comes to mind.”

  98. #98 dorkafork
    April 6, 2007

    Yoest’s site now has a post mentioning Pharyngula (and continues to avoid answering a simple question):

    The academy at pharyngula seems less concerned about academic censorship as they do about the age of the earth. They swallow a camel and choke on a gnat.

    The last sentence is a link to an editorial on abortion legislation. I’d say that puts the lie to the idea she was “trying to keep the discussion on topic rather than have it derailed.”

  99. #99 Observer
    April 6, 2007

    This is why PhDs don’t impress me – people do. It’s real simple if you read the interview: Robert Boston made a comment about YE creationism, Cooper basically asks her, do you believe that stuff ([because Boston is claiming that’s part of the real issue ad she’s claiming ID has enough validity to be taught in a science class]. She doesn’t answer even to say that it is irrelevant, untrue or whatever. If I was Cooper I would have said, “But, you didn’t answer my question, why not?” (Gee, let’s get that little canard out of the way, you’d think.)

    Charmaine Yoest, you are spineless and you can’t debate, you coward.

  100. #100 darrell
    April 8, 2007

    Completely off-topic…but Anderson Cooper once gave me the finger. No lie.

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