Stranger Fruit

The Year in ID

What a year it has been for the Discovery Institute and the Intelligent Design movement! Below the fold, I detail the advances that ID has made in the short time since Judge Jones delivered his ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover.

January

Dembski:

Just as a tree that has been “rimmed” (i.e., had its bark completely cut through on all sides) is effectively dead even if it retains its leaves and appears alive, so Darwinism has met its match with the movement initiated by Phillip Johnson. Expect Darwinism’s death throes, like Judge Jones’s decision, to continue for some time. But don’t mistake death throes for true vitality. Ironically, Judge Jones’s decision is likely to prove a blessing for the intelligent design movement, spurring its proponents to greater
heights and thereby fostering its intellectual vitality and ultimate success.

February

Dembski:

Taking a longer view, I think Dover will come eventually to be be seen as a moral victory, in the same way that Galileo’s condemnation is now viewed as a moral victory.

Ohio state school board voted to eliminate a lesson plan and science standards that opened the door to teaching ID.

March

Behe released tenth anniversary edition of Darwin’s Black Box and claims that “[o]ther than updating the list of my children in the Acknowledgements … there is very little of the original text I would change if I wrote it today.” The new afterword fails to mention most of the major criticisms of DBB but despite this the DI refers to it as an “updated version“.

April

After less than a year as director of the Center for Science and Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dembski becomes research professor of philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. The young-earther Kurt Wise takes Dembski’s position.

Dembski proudly declares that he was “in constant correspondence with Ann [Coulter] regarding her chapters on Darwinism” in her forthcoming Godless.

June

Dembski:

Ann is taking Phillip Johnson’s message as developed in DARWIN ON TRIAL and REASON IN THE BALANCE and bringing it home to the masses. Critics will dismiss it for its hyperbole, lack of nuance, and in-your-face attitude. But she has the gist just right, which is that materialism (she calls it liberalism) dominates our culture despite being held by only a minority of the populace and has become an agenda among our elites (academy, scientists, media) for total worldview reprogramming.

Coulter notes that her chapters on evolution couldn’t have been written “without the generous tutoring of Michael Behe, Devid Berlinski, and William Dembski”. These same chapters are quickly revealed to be filled with creationist canards.

July

Access Research Network launches the “ID Arts Initiative”. No one cares.

The DI launches the “Stand up for Science, Stand up for Kansas” campaign which is “intended to defend newly implemented science standards in Kansas from misleading and blatantly false campaigns of misinformation”. Following defeat of pro-ID candidates in August, Paul Nelson claims that the science standards
don’t matter anyway, and John West says the outcome would not stop people from learning about the “growing controversy” over evolution.”

August

Dembski offers an excuse for not getting any real research done:

The pressures directed against frontline ID proponents are real. From your armchair, it is easy enough to say that we need simply to get to work. But families and livelihoods really are under threat by these Darwinian fascists, and when our days are spent trying to shore up the latter, the former does not get done.

Dembski predicts:

This war will not be decided by courts, legislators, or school boards, but by young people as they wake up to the fact that dogmatic Darwinists have been systematically indoctrinating and disenfranchising them. Just as the counterculture of the 60s overturned the status quo, so a new counterculture, with high school, college, and university students taking the lead, will overturn the Darwinian
status quo.

Paul Nelson claims that the DI “actually funds a great deal of primary research — go ahead, snicker — but those receiving the support and their specific projects have become a very quiet business indeed, and that need for secrecy may continue for a long time.”

Jonathan Wells releases The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. The PIG is revealed to be full of crap.

September

In A Meaningful World, Wiker and Witt claim that Darwinism undercuts mathematics:

[I]n assuming that “species” are not real, Darwinism and the larger reductionist program burn away the original ties that bound the meaning of mathematics to the world and instead leave it stranded on a solipsistic island of the human imagination.

Dembski launches Overwhelming Evidence, a site “modeled on Xanga and Myspace and aimed at concentrating the power of youth to throw off the indoctrination that is being shoved down their throats by groups like the NCSE and enforced by inept judicial rulings like those of Judge Jones … Today’s high school and college students are going to need to reclaim their own freedom.” No one cares.

October

The DI announces that it has put over $4,000,000 towards “scientific and academic research into evolution and intelligent design in the past decade.”

December

DI claims of intellectual dishonesty by Judge John Jones turn out to be false. To add a touch of class to the issue, Dembski says “Jones is a narcissistic putz.”

DI fellows exhibit their own brand of intellectual dishonesty. (Update 12/19)

DI claims about the martyrdom of Richard Sternberg are shown to be overblown.

Another defeat is handed to ID as the Cobb Country (GA) disclaimer case is settled.

Overwhelming Evidence features a flash animation of Judge Jones with voice-over by Dembski and farting noises (which are subsequently toned down). ID reaches its intellectual peak for the year.

Quite a year, eh? It’s worthwhile meditating on what we did not see:

  • A peer-reviewed paper by Dembski, Wells, Nelson, Meyer …
  • Or for that matter, a single peer-reviewed article offering either (a) evidence for design, (b) a method to unambiguously detect design, or (c) a theory of how the Designer did the designing, by any fellow of the DI.
  • An exposition of Nelson’s theory of “ontogenetic depth” (promised in March 2004)
  • An article by Nelson & Dembski on problems with common descent (promised in April 2005).
  • Nelson’s monograph on common descent (currently MIA since the late 90’s).

Way back in January, Dembski predicted “greater heights … intellectual vitality and ultimate success”. You be the judge.

Comments

  1. #1 Reed A. Cartwright
    December 19, 2006

    Excellent post. I wonder what the response from people like DaveScot will be.

  2. #2 Wesley R. Elsberry
    December 19, 2006

    “I wonder what the response from people like DaveScot will be.”

    Like John says,

    No one cares.

  3. #3 KL
    December 19, 2006

    Whenever I am down, feeling that I haven’t accomplished all that I have set out to do this year, I read this list and I feel a little better.

  4. #4 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 19, 2006

    Just as a tree that has been “rimmed” (i.e., had its bark completely cut through on all sides)

    I believe he meant girdled (definition 7), based on my recall of a Robert Frost poem. I won’t discuss colloquial usage of rimmed on a a family blog.

  5. #5 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 19, 2006

    ID reaches its intellectual peak for the year.

    Don’t be so sure, there’s still twelve days left.

  6. #6 Nick (Matzke)
    December 19, 2006

    How do you keep track of all this stuff, do you have some super-special filing program with categories for “ID predictions of forthcoming publications” and “Claims of Dover being a moral victory”?

  7. #7 John Lynch
    December 19, 2006

    Nick,

    Nah, just stuff I blogged here over the year :)

  8. #8 Angry Christian
    December 19, 2006

    You are being VERY unfair in your characterization of Dembski’s Overwhelming Evidence site for little kids who want to overthrow Darwinism. They have at least 4 or 5 people who post there at least one or two times a week!

    AC

  9. #9 Arden Chatfield
    December 19, 2006

    Well, last winter Dave Scot did coin the term ‘Church-burnin’ Ebola Boy’. I suppose that’s an achievement of some kind, given how much mirth it’s afforded us.

    I’m glad someone broke the ice with the real meaning of the verb ‘to rim’.

  10. #10 Matt Inlay
    December 19, 2006

    Don’t forget about the great electoral success friends of ID have had in the recent election (e.g. Santorum).

  11. #11 Les Lane
    December 20, 2006

    Is Dembski’s flash animation part of (perhaps a major work of?) the ID arts inititative?

  12. #12 Bob O'H
    December 20, 2006

    You be the judge.

    “Err, hello? Is that the ACLU? I want a judgement about ID written.”

    *ducks*

    Bob

  13. #13 quester
    December 20, 2006

    Dembski said, “Just as the counterculture of the 60s overturned the status quo, so a new counterculture, with high school, college, and university students taking the lead, will overturn the Darwinian status quo.”

    The counterculture of the 60s didn’t overturn anything. LSD and marijuana are still illegal, and the U.S. is still fighting stupid wars.

    And the Darwinian status quo is even less likely to get overturned.

  14. #14 Nicholas George
    December 20, 2006

    Actually, with appropriate grafting techniques a girdled tree can be saved…

    …but then again, creationist are big on false metaphors.

  15. #15 J-Dog
    December 20, 2006

    You guys are not being fair. After all, Dembski and DaveScott have clearly learned to talk out their butts, and DaveScott has proven, PROVEN! that he can even post with his head up WAD’s butt. Thgey are both “Cutting” edge indeed.

  16. #16 Julie Stahlhut
    December 20, 2006

    “… But [Coulter] has the gist just right, which is that materialism (she calls it liberalism) dominates our culture despite being held by only a minority of the populace and has become an agenda among our elites (academy, scientists, media) for total worldview reprogramming.”

    OMG, they brainwashed me into believing in the germ theory of infectious disease! And that tomatoes aren’t poisonous! And that there really weren’t any WMDs in … oh, never mind.

  17. #17 darlene snyder
    December 20, 2006

    I have a question. Does the DI or any IDC people get government funds, any type of grants?
    thanks
    darlene

  18. #18 Josh M
    December 20, 2006

    I have to hand it to Dembski; if nothing else, he’s a great spin doctor.

    Good overview, John.

  19. #19 Ric
    December 20, 2006

    Hilarious list! Oh, and did anyone else notice that DaveScot has completely thrown off his absurd claim to being an agnostic by asking others to pray for the immortal souls of the youth engaged in the Blasphemy Challenge? I don’t know what kind of agnostic asks people to pray…. oh yeah, the kind that is a lying, closet theist.

  20. #20 Paul Millington
    December 20, 2006

    Does anyone have any idea of how many papers on evolutionary biology have been published in the past year?

  21. #21 Robert O'Brien
    December 20, 2006

    Re: the alleged “hypocrisy” and/or “academic dishonesty” of DeWolf and Luskin, I think the idea that you need to obtain permission to reuse your own work either in a class or in a journal to be pedantic nonsense. (It certainly does not constitute plagiarism, despite schoolmarm assertions to the contrary.)

  22. #22 Robert O'Brien
    December 20, 2006

    Hilarious list! Oh, and did anyone else notice that DaveScot has completely thrown off his absurd claim to being an agnostic by asking others to pray for the immortal souls of the youth engaged in the Blasphemy Challenge? I don’t know what kind of agnostic asks people to pray…. oh yeah, the kind that is a lying, closet theist.

    I do not much care for DaveScot, but he could be an agnostic theist.

  23. #23 Pierce R. Butler
    December 21, 2006

    Dembski: But families and livelihoods really are under threat by these Darwinian fascists, and when our days are spent trying to shore up the latter, the former does not get done.

    Parsed according to the rules of English grammar, Dembski is asserting that he and his posse are spending their days shoring up “these [which?] Darwinian fascists”, and that families & livelihoods are not getting done.

    Maybe they took care of the home front in May & November…

  24. #24 Les Lane
    December 21, 2006

    Does anyone have any idea of how many papers on evolutionary biology have been published in the past year?

    http://www.geocities.com/lclane2/evolcitation.html

    The page will be updated in January

  25. #25 Jim Anderson
    December 21, 2006

    One link up there isn’t worthy of inclusion: the DI’s purported “own brand of intellectual dishonesty” regarding the law review article was found to be a “tempest in a teapot,” in Ed Brayton’s words.

  26. #26 Pithaughn
    December 21, 2006

    ID proponents now insist that the designer need not be specified or explained. After many failures trying to enforce a biblical myth as part of public school curriculum, they have narrowed their definition to such a narrow one, that they are now essentially arguing that there is no need for a christian god.
    I’ll try to explain, but anyone feel free to modify or strengthen this argument, as i am but a lowly IT guy.
    The IDists claim they are not advocating an explanation that relies on a Biblical creator (the clear hypocrisy of this claim can be ignored for now) Also, the latest definition of ID is so narrow that it’s author’s insist no explanation or questions regarding the nature, timing, methodology or characteristics of the designer are allowed. Their scientific studies prove that there must be a designer and that’s that. Normally in scientific research, after making such a bold theory, the theorist would welcome questions and further research into the theory. After all, that is how science works, questions beget answers, and answers beget more questions.
    So, the IDers now have scientific proof that there is a designer, but we are all free to fill in the details about the designer as we see fit, after all, how can we, the results of the designer understand our designer any more than the first Model A could understand Henry Ford? Thus, any belief of a designer is as valid as the next.
    One can just as easily have faith in the great and wonderful OZ, the zany Christian god (with all his trinities, devil, spirits and other associated supernatural beings) , Ann Coulter’s raccoon Fart universal theory or the other 15,000 documented designers humans have dreamed up over the ages.

    Maybe, just maybe the bible is right after all though. According to the bible we are created in our maker’s image. As most of you would agree, I was created by the universe. As our pal Carl Sagan would have said ‘star stuff”. I don’t need to know exactly which super novas 10 billion years ago spewed out the elements that now are “me”, all I need to know is that I am made of the same elements as the rest of the universe, and the elements in me will behave according to the same laws and theories as all the other elements in the universe. I really am made in the image of my creator, the universe. The fact that a supernatural being is not necessary to explain this does not diminish my uniqueness. This would explain allot, for instance, how could a benevolent creator that loves me have allowed Christine Gomez to shatter my heart back in 1979? Or, how about that little girl that fell down the abandoned well shaft in Texas? I recall many emotional outbursts after she was finally rescued, “oh what a miracle God has performed” yada yada yada. Hey, why couldn’t the “all powerful, creator of the Universe” have made her ridiculously stupid parent seal up the hole? Oh, I forgot, we cannot question the motives and procedures used by the designer.

    So, now my little warped brain is wondering, how did the designer create folding proteins and all those other “irreducibly complex” thingy’s? I’m imagining a mad scientist in his cosmic lab with the most smoking gene sequencer ever, a pantry of nucleotides and bacteria flagella. Somehow, this insanely bright designer cranks out all the chemistry, biology and physics we see today in 6 days. To this day, somewhere in creation he is still at it, modifying finch’s beaks as the climate changes, I guess since he is changing the climate he would know to adjust the beaks. Hey, if the designer is still at it, he is the one behind climate change so we don’t need to worry about that little issue, or maybe, we don’t really need to worry about any of these “catastrophes” since the designer is gonna decide what’s what any ways.
    Lucky for us he has his assistant the “decider” helping him out.

  27. #27 John Lynch
    December 21, 2006

    Jim,

    Thanks. I have modified the post (and the original one).

  28. #28 Les Lane
    December 16, 2007

    The DI announces that it has put over $4,000,000 towards “scientific and academic research into evolution and intelligent design in the past decade.”

    And important scientific advances resulting from this investment are …..

  29. #29 Stanton
    December 16, 2007

    * A peer-reviewed paper by Dembski, Wells, Nelson, Meyer …
    * Or for that matter, a single peer-reviewed article offering either (a) evidence for design, (b) a method to unambiguously detect design, or (c) a theory of how the Designer did the designing, by any fellow of the DI.

    Actually, I’m curious to see if any of the DI staff have put out a peer-reviewed paper on anything since the DI first formed.

    Something tells me, though, that I can count the number of peer-review papers on one hand, and wind up with extra fingers.

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