Samuel Chen is a Baylor undergrad poli sci major who posted the DI's objections to being called a "conservative Christian think tank" on his blog. As the conversation there in the comments has developed, it's become fairly amusing to watch. Someone from here posted a quote from Barbara Forrest that cited the Wedge Document, as I did, to support the argument that the DI is, in fact, a conservative Christian thinktank. First, the quote from Barbara:
Launched by Phillip E. Johnson's book Darwin on Trial (1991), the intelligent-design movement crystallized in 1996 as the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture (CRSC), sponsored by the Discovery Institute, a conservative Seattle think tank. Johnson, a law professor whose religious conversion catalyzed his antievolution efforts, assembled a group of supporters who promote design theory through their writings, financed by CRSC fellowships. According to an early mission statement, the CRSC seeks "nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its damning cultural legacies."
And here is Chen's response:
Dr. Barbara Forest is the former president of the Louisiana ACLU and a leader in the evolution movement. "Plunge" hinted in another post that we shouldn't accept what Dr. Forrest Mims says because he is a proponent of intelligent design and his view are tainted. However, it appears that evolutionists are quick to accept what Dr. Barbara Forest says, because it's somehow untainted.
Bascially, evolutionists have this policy: if it's from an intelligent design proponent, it must be wrong. If it's from an evolutionist: it must be 100% correct.
To say what Barbara Forest says about intelligent design is 100% correct without further observation is to say that everything the Republicans say about the Democrats is 100% correct, or vice versa.
Think people or haven't your brains evolved that much yet?
Amusing little snark at the end, but as the full quote suggests, the one having the problem with logical thinking here is Chen. He, in fact, is the one who is dismissing someone's statements not because they're false but because the person is on the other side. He didn't dispute anything in the quote from Barbara Forrest. How could he? Every word of it is true. In their own words, the mission of the Center for Science and Culture was "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God."
Their own document, used to raise funds in their early days, declares that the goal of "design theory" (a misnomer, since there is as yet no such theory) is to "reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions." I know it's inconvenient that this document was made public, but that doesn't make it go away.
Chen offers no actual argument here as to why that description is not accurate. He offers only an ad hominem argument ("why should I listen to her, she used to be with the ACLU?") and a gratuitous insult. The closest he comes to an actual argument is to ask how it can be a conservative Christian thinktank "when there are so many people of other faiths in the organization." But remember, we're talking about the CSC specifically, not the DI as a whole, since the only department of the DI involved in the evolution/ID debate is the CSC.
Now look at a list of the CSC fellows and tell me which ones are not Christian. This is where they drag out a cardboard cutout of David Berlinski, the token Jewish guy. But Berlinski is first and foremost a self-declared iconoclast who abhors evolutionary theory and seeks more than anything else to tweak the noses of evolutionary biologists because he thinks the entire field is a pseudo-science. He personally couldn't care less about religion one way or the other, but he joined up for his own ego-driven reasons. The fact that he joined does not change the fact that the CSC's clearly expressed mission is primarily religious in nature.
So please, Mr. Chen, come here and explain how in the world an organization whose own stated goal is to establish a "theistic science" and to replace the "materialistic conception of reality" with a conception that is "consonant with Christian and theistic convictions" can reasonably be described as "secular", or why it is unreasonable to describe that organization as "conservative Christian" in nature.
Good grief! Chen disowns Telic Thoughts in an earlier post, because they did the honorable thing in the Pianka affair.
It really is difficult to parody this stuff. And it is gratifying to see the ID movement coming apart, picking fights within itself, over things that no rational person would bother with.
As a member of Baylor's inherently unofficial Atheists and Agnostics group (I know, I know), I think I'll take the liberty to invite Mr. Chen to our next meeting.
It looks like he deletes comments at his blog if he doesn't like them. He's a perfect candidate to join the DI.
He, in fact, is the one who is dismissing someone's statements not because they're false but because the person is on the other side. He didn't dispute anything in the quote from Barbara Forrest.
That doesn't seem very honest. He should be thanking people for pointing out the obvious to him. Whatever happened to common courtesy?
'...and a leader in the evolution movement.'
Seigh Heil! Seigh Heil!
... this just keeps cracking me up :)
Nice apt quote at Chen's blog from Buddha (quoting the gospel story of Peter denying Jesus three times)...
Funny how Chen takes offense at Forrest's apt characterization of the DI as a "conservative think tank" but then turns around and employs the popular conservative rhetoric that the ACLU = evil.
"Now look at a list of the CSC fellows and tell me which ones are not Christian."
Jonathan Wells is a follower of Moon, isn't he? Not exactly "Christian" (at least not in the eyes of many other Christians), but of course still "religious" and "consonant with . . . theistic convictions".
Sun Myung Moon claims something like that either he is the second coming of Christ or that he is another son of God's and Jesus is his brother. In either case, he definitely is pitching himself as leading a Christian sect. Yes, most other Christian denominations reject his claims utterly (actually, I can't think of any that endorse them), but that doesn't change the basis of the theology in Unification.
Oh this is priceless. He deleted buddha's comment about Peter denying Jesus three times, and buddha posted thusly:
"Samuel Chen, I am surprised that you would excise the Word of God from comments to your blog. I shall repost these Sacred Scriptures in the hope that you will not deny the Lord a second time:"
Where does Dr Forrest say that the CSRC is "Christian"? I see "conservative" and "overthrow of materialism", but nothing about Christianity, only that Johnson had a "religious conversion".
Dr. Barbara Forest is the former president of the Louisiana ACLU and a leader in the evolution movement.
You responded thusly:
the one having the problem with logical thinking here is Chen. He, in fact, is the one who is dismissing someone's statements not because they're false but because the person is on the other side.
Then said this later:
But Berlinski is first and foremost a self-declared iconoclast who abhors evolutionary theory and seeks more than anything else to tweak the noses of evolutionary biologists because he thinks the entire field is a pseudo-science.
Did you blame Chen for something that you did too?
Did you blame Chen for something that you did too?
No. My comment about Berlinski was not an argument against the validity of Berlinski's ideas, as Chen's claim about Forrest was an argument against the validity of her claims. It was only an argument against the claim that Berlinski's presence with the DI proves that it's not a "conservative Christian thinktank". Berlinski is not a Christian, but his reasons for joining forces with the DI are entirely distinct from the conservative Christian nature of the DI itself.