Pharyngula

Got a creationist coming to your town or school? A commenter from Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education left an excellent summary of how to counter these travelin’ frauds effectively. The key is simple: recruit. Get the information out. Don’t let them come in and babble unopposed or with an audience imported from the local fundie churches — get informed people there, and the creationists will crumple easily.

Notice that this isn’t about suppressing their information (or even expelling them) — it’s shining the light of open public criticism on their shenanigans.

A little more background on how University of Oklahoma students and others
opposed the Dembski appearance:

  1. A group of students now forming a chapter of Center for Inquiry
    received permission to place chalkings on campus sidewalks to counter the
    ads for Dembski’s talk sponsored by ‘Pursuit College Example of the
    chalking: “A Federal judge ruled in 2005 that ID was Religion and Not
    Science.”

  2. The same group of students, plus some grad students from Zoology handed
    out to all entering the lecture the pre-trial statement of Jeffrey Shalitt
    that fairly demolished Dembski’s arguments for ID.

  3. A full page ad in The Daily Oklahoman student paper against Dembski
    appeared the morning (Monday)of his talk and was signed by about 200
    faculty, staff and graduate students. The ad was drafted by an English
    instructor. Dembski took bewtween 5 and 10 minutes at the beginning of his
    talk to defend the anti-Dembski comments in the ad. His defense was
    without merit, but did force him to skip about a dozen of the slides in his
    talk because he ran out of time. The ad was financed by contributions from
    many of the signers and by the OU Chapter of Sigma Xi, a national honorary
    scientific research society.

  4. An excellent Op-Ed opposing Dembski and ID also was in the student
    paper on Monday morning, along with an ineffective counter by the paper’s
    religion writer. A second excellent Op-Ed opposing ID appeared Tuesday
    morning after Dembski’s talk.

  5. The creationist group wanted a big audience and they got one. The room
    held 400 and many were turned away. However, I don’t think they expected
    that more than half the audience was against ID and showed it – especially
    during the Q and A. Of course, the ID crowd will pull out there old
    strategem – ‘See how important we are. We attracted all those scientists
    to our talk.”!

  6. The Baptist group may claim success (there is talk that they plan to
    produce a DVD , but I doubt that it will include the Q and A, where
    Dembski was pretty much skewered – mostly by undergraduate students who
    insisted on answers when Dembski waffled in his answers! We are very proud
    of our students and how they handled their pertinent questions!

That’s marvelous. It reminds me of the public reaming Paul Nelson received when he visited UMM … and again, it was the students who were able to shred their pathetic arguments, and did so with gusto.

Comments

  1. #1 Brownian
    September 20, 2007

    The meek shall inherit the earth, eh?

    I’d like to see Jesus’ proof of ownership before he goes about giving away the earth in his will.

    Thanks for the link, robotaholic, but I have to make one minor correction.

    The name is pronounced Pee Zed, not Pee Zee. And to properly anglicise the last name, we should jam a ‘u’ in there somewhere.

    Myeurs.

    There, now that’s sensibly Canadian. Healthcare’s on me, everyone!

  2. #2 MAJeff
    September 20, 2007

    There, now that’s sensibly Canadian. Healthcare’s on me, everyone!

    Do we have to elongate our uuuus? I got good at it in Vancouver, but in Boston I’ve lost it (along with my Rs).

  3. #3 Jamie G.
    September 20, 2007

    Go Sooners!

    If you think Dembski’s arguments are lame, you ought to read what we get from creationists on the Oklahoma Atheists forum.

    I had one creationist tell me, who also happened to retire from teaching science in Oklahoma, that God showed him how he existed in science. He said that God told him that he (God) was the ”=” between E=mc2. Seriously.

    But things are looking up in Oklahoma, I think. I recently went in to a high school principal’s office. She taught Physiology when I graduated there back in ’98. Her bookshelf was loaded down with books from Gould and Dawkins. After I left her office I went immediately to Amazon and put some things on my wish list. I didn’t get a chance to, but I wanted to ask her what she thought about creationism (she had a few books on the subject as well). After seeing that bookshelf her cool points went up with me.

  4. #4 Brownian
    September 20, 2007

    Do we have to elongate our uuuus?

    I like to think that if you know how to use it properly, it doesn’t matter how long your uuuu is.

  5. #5 obscured by clouds
    September 20, 2007

    Why won’t they come in my area, Silicon Valley, we can use some entertainment. I have not heard of creationist speaking in my area. What are they scared of, why are we not special?…lol Berkeley maybe, or something more in the south bay area, I would not want to drive that far just for this, lazy and all.

    Though, on seconded thought maybe not. There is enough lunacy, rather not have it in my back yard.

  6. #6 Brownian
    September 20, 2007

    Reminds me of how when Dawkins was at KU a local lawyer named Christiansomething asked an embarrising question and got shut down

    Yeah, Dawkins was really up front with dissent!

    Who ya kidding?

    Huh? What reminds you of this?

    Anyways, I’d like to see this. If you’ve got more details, we can probably find it on YouTube.

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