NTS LogoSkeptical News for 11 September 2005

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings


Sunday, September 11, 2005

New Poll Supports Two Sides Of Origin

http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050910/NEWS/509100308/1021

Published Saturday, September 10, 2005

The battle over evolution in the classroom has flared in public schools.

By KEVIN ECKSTROM & ADELLE M. BANKS

WASHINGTON -- Nearly two thirds of Americans support teaching creationism alongside evolution in public schools, according to a new poll, but there is far less agreement over who gets to decide what is taught.

The poll, released Aug. 30 by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that threequarters of Americans believe God created life on Earth, and 64 percent support teaching both evolution and creationism.

The battle over evolution in the classroom has flared in public school districts in Kansas, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

The poll showed 41 percent of Americans want parents to decide what children are taught, compared with a slightly larger combined group who think the decision should be made by teachers (28 percent) or local school boards (21 percent).

Those figures roughly mirror the number of Americans who believe that life has always existed as we know it today (42 percent) versus those who believe life has evolved over time (48 percent).

John Green, a senior fellow in religion and American politics at the Pew Forum and director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, said the allow-both-sides approach was typically American.

"This is an example of American pragmatism," Green said. "Most Americans are not especially ideological people . . . and this is one way, from the point of view of the average American, to solve the problem: teach both sides and let the students sort it out."

Perhaps not surprisingly, people who support the idea that God created human life in its present form are the strongest supporters of allowing parents to decide what their children will learn in science class.

A similar poll conducted last November by CBS and the New York Times, and then another Pew poll last March, found the proportion of people favoring a dual approach has remained relatively steady, between 57 percent and 65 percent.

But advocates of evolution said they were concerned about the new figures, especially the 41 percent of people who want parents to set scholarly standards.

"It's a popularity contest," said Gerry Wheeler, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association in Arlington, Va. "That's not the way scholarship works."

President Bush recently touched off a national debate over creationism and "intelligent design" -- the belief that human development was so complex that it was overseen by a higher power -- by suggesting that both approaches should be presented in public schools.

"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush told reporters earlier this month. "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas. The answer is yes."

Wheeler said adding creationism or intelligent design in the interest of fairness is misplaced.

"At first blush, being fair seems to mean, well, we ought to do both of them," Wheeler said. "The challenge is that it's not fair to the students to present a religion in the guise of science."

Robert Crowther, director of communications for the Seattle-based Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture, a leading proponent of teaching about intelligent design alongside evolution, said allowing both approaches to be presented solves the problem.

The poll of 2,000 adults, conducted July 7-17, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Intelligent design has flaws

http://www.record-bee.com/Stories/0,1413,255~33813~3048710,00.html

Article Last Updated: Saturday, September 10, 2005 - 12:39:12 AM PST

The issue of Darwinian evolution versus "intelligent design" (ID) has received much commentary recently. I taught human and animal physiology and anatomy, and other topics in biology at U.C. Berkeley for 35 years, and I am impressed by how unintelligent many aspects of biological design are in general, and how poorly we are "designed" as a species, in particular.

Some advocates of ID accept the validity of the fossil record, yet it indicates that more than 99 percent of all animals and plants that ever existed on earth became extinct. Why did the "designer" create so many life-forms only to have them become extinct? Was he/she/it learning by doing?

Regarding our "design," virtually all women experience some pain in childbirth, and in many cases the pain is severe. In a significant number of cases the fetus must be removed surgically. Where surgical delivery is not available, maternal and infant mortality are tragically high because of birth-related complications.

We have the same complement of teeth as do chimpanzees, but in most of us our jaws are too small for those teeth. This causes twisting and overlapping of the teeth, which can be problematic. When "wisdom" teeth emerge in adults, many experience pain and other problems because there is no space for them in our jaws.

A high proportion of adults suffer from severe and even debilitating lower back pain, and we have problems with our swallowing and breathing apparatus, which is "designed" to enable us to speak.

Choking is experienced by everyone, and often it is fatal.

These "design" flaws, and others that I could mention, are virtually unknown in our primate relatives. Maybe whoever or whatever designed our designer should create a new model because he/she/it did a poor job with us.

Charles S. Nicoll, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor of Physiology

U.C. Berkeley

Lucerne

Why science shouldn't reject Intelligent Design theory

http://www.herald-mail.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=119458&format=html

Saturday September 10, 2005
By Rev. Gerald A. Barr

To the editor:

Allan Powell's letter about "faith, science and the difference" in the Saturday Herald Mail merits reconsideration, because Dr. Powell has made some errors that skew his arguments and compromise his conclusions.

Dr. Powell states that the most obvious reason intelligent design (ID) is not appropriate for study is that it is not a theory "in any accepted meaning of that term." The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a theory as "the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another; a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation; an unproven assumption." ID certainly fits into that category, as does evolution.

Dr. Powell makes an error of logic in his argument. He begins with a presupposition - an idea that he assumes to be true without any real proof. His presupposition is that there is no intelligent designer, that the exquisitely complex and interrelated world that we see around us is a result of sheer random occurrences, and that the logical explanation for all that we see around us is evolution.

That is, of course, his prerogative, he may begin with any presupposition he prefers. His error is that he then assumes that his unproven presupposition is the only possible one. This is arrogant and inconsistent on his part.

ID begins with a different presupposition - that the complex and interdependent creation we see around us is the result of an intelligence which deliberately planned it all. Some proponents of ID would indeed call the designer God; but others stop short of that identification. The point is that ID presents a possible explanation for the world around us, a bona fide theory despite Dr. Powell's assertion to the contrary.

Dr. Powell also asserts in his letter that ID is part of the "teleological argument for God's existence," which in Dr. Powell's mind automatically discredits the theory because he has presupposed that anything that is supported by religion or quoted by religious writers must be false. This is also arrogant and inconsistent; it is quite possible that religious, even Christian, people may observe facts around us and come to the correct conclusion about them.

The essence of true science is the search for truth, and anyone who sincerely wishes to know the truth will not rule out any possible explanation until it is proven absolutely to be false. If indeed an omnipotent creator, or an intelligent designer, is the ultimate cause of what we see around us, then true science would want to know that and would celebrate the discovery of that truth once it is proven.

If there is no creator, then science would celebrate that another false theory has been discredited. To this point, neither position has been proven scientifically.

It is sad that Dr. Powell and other philosophers and scientists make assumptions, assume those assumptions to be true and then try to deny any open discussion of competing theories. Why not present both possible explanations and let the future philosophers and scientists in our classrooms examine all possibilities? Is that not what true science is about?

Rev. Gerald A. Barr
Hagerstown

©1996 - 2005 The Herald-Mail Company Bobby Henderson's Flying Spaghetti Monster becomes an Internet hit http://www.oregonlive.com/living/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/living/1126350342113670.xml&coll=7

Saturday, September 10, 2005
JOHN FOYSTON The Oregonian

Intelligent Designer

Folks proposing intelligent design as an alternative to the theory of evolution should recognize as brothers in arms -- er, tentacles -- the Pastafarians, who seek equal time for the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

"I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster," wrote Bobby Henderson in a recent letter to the Kansas State Board of Education. Henderson, 25, lives in Roseburg and is hoping that someone will offer him a job that doesn't make his head explode, as he puts it.

Judging from his summer, he's had some spare time since his last job as a software development engineer. Enough to become the head prophet of Flying Spaghetti Monster in response to the Kansas education board's recent proposed new science education standards, which open the way for intelligent design to be taught along with the traditional theory of evolution.

Intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. Adherents stress the search for evidence of design in nature and downplay their nearly universal belief that the intelligent designer in question is God as worshipped by Christians.

Henderson, owner of a physics degree from Oregon State University, says that as long as there's room for intelligent design in science curricula, then there's room for some meatballs and marinara sauce, too. "It was He (Flying Spaghetti Monster) who created all that we see and all that we feel," Henderson wrote. "We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him."

After expressing his hope that legal action will not be required to make it so, Henderson closes his letter to the Kansas board with this fond vision of the future: "I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country and, eventually, the world; one-third time for intelligent design, one-third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one-third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence."

OK, people, Henderson's rationalist roots are showing. Like many in the scientific community, he sees intelligent design as creationism in a lab coat. Or the creationist's nose in the tent, if you prefer. Yes, the theory of natural selection is called a theory, but so far it answers most of the questions about the origins of life and the universe with elegance and simplicity.

Intelligent design answers those questions by positing a supernatural influence, and even though many scientists believe in God, few see intelligent design as anything other than pseudo-science.

Worse, it makes no reference to pirates. Henderson's Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Web site (http://www.venganza.org/ ) includes a very scientific-looking chart plotting the world's waning pirate population in comparison with an increase in average global temperature.

No, I'm not sure of the connection, either, but who can argue with anything that allows you to drink rum, brandish cutlasses and swashbuckle? Certainly not the Flying Spaghetti Monsterians -- who must be legion, judging from the more than 3,000 e-mails Henderson has received and the 2.6 million visits to his Web site.

The pirate connection makes National Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19) the highest holiday in FSMism, according to a recent new entry in the humor Web site uncyclopedia.org. There's an annual Parrot Festival, too, but details are a little sketchy.

Clearly, many have been Touched by His Noodly Appendage. For the rest of us, here are some FSM factoids as gleaned from Web sites and e-mail conversations with Henderson.

Adherents end prayers with "Ramen," not "Amen."

According to the church Web site there are several reasons to convert to Pastafarianism, including: flimsy moral standards; every Friday is a religious holiday; and the FSM heaven includes a beer volcano and a stripper factory.

Flying Spaghetti Monster has His Noodly Appendages in everything, Henderson says. When he says that FSM created the universe 500 to 1,000 years ago, he's poking fun at those who make an assertion and then seek the facts that will support it.

"To reconcile the relatively short life of the universe, this of course means that much of our scientific data must have been altered by the Flying Spaghetti Monster," Henderson says. "For example, every organic sample that has too low a proportion of carbon-14 to nitrogen-14 molecules, thus pointing towards an older artifact than is possible in our belief system, must therefore have been meticulously altered by His Noodly Appendage."

According to uncyclopedia.org, there are divisions of the church according to dress: Piratens, Ninjaists, Moominists and Linguinists, as well as a number of sects, including the First United Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Mystical Order of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Moomon Church of His Spaghettiness (which doesn't hold with the whole pirate thing) and the Orthodox Monsterist Church. Which claims to be headquartered in Portland but offers no proof. Which isn't really that big a deal in the world of FSM.

FSM is catching on in a big way: Churches are being formed rapidly, the faithful are embellishing the FSM canon and writing FSM hymns, and the Web is alive with Flying Spaghetti Monsters. That FSM is a real religion may perhaps be most clearly seen in the recent eBay auction of a grilled cheese sandwich bearing the image of His Noodliness. It sold for $41 after 32 bids.

"I think it's very cool the way FSM is growing," Henderson says in an e-mail. "Google now returns 545,000 results for 'flying spaghetti monster,' where there were just 100,000 a couple weeks ago."

Time for a think tank, in other words. "You may be familiar with intelligent design's Discovery Institute, a supposedly scientific think tank whose mission is to challenge evolution," he says. "I'm glad to see that science methods have been relaxed to allow this type of investigation; research is much easier when you've already chosen your conclusions.

"The FSM think tank, the Enlightenment Institute, will be similar in function, except we will be gathering evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe and is active in our daily lives."

Specious reasoning is encouraged, he says.

Ramen.

John Foyston: 503-221-8368; johnfoyston@news.oregonian.com

©2005 The Oregonian

Presenters to share Shroud research with public

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/state/12589505.htm

Posted on Thu, Sep. 08, 2005

By Melissa Sanchez

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

DALLAS - For the first time in three years, scholars and scientists will share their research at the Dallas International Shroud of Turin Conference. This year will be the first year they have shared it with the public.

Facts and fiction surrounding the highly debated ancient linen will be presented at the conference. More than 100 people are expected to attend. Many believe the 4-by 14-foot fabric with a faint image of a man on its surface is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

Officials from Turin, Italy -- who have never attended the conference before -- will discuss the results of their research for the first time with attendees. The theme: Is the shroud proof of a resurrection or a medieval fake?

"This is an opportunity that has never existed in the past," conference official Tom D'Muhalasaid. "Scholars and scientists will discuss the results of their work and lots of new material will be presented."

The largest single piece of evidence against the Shroud's authenticity was a carbon-14 dating test done in 1988. The Shroud was declared to be of medieval origin and probably "a hoax," according to British Museum spokesman Mike Tite.

A subsequent study released in January 2004 by retired chemist Ray Rogers revealed that the sample removed from the shroud was taken from a portion that had been patched. Officials believe the shroud was patched after surviving two fires.

"I am a lawyer, and I believe I can prove that the shroud is authentic in a court of law," conference organizer Michael Minor said.

IN THE KNOW

If you go

Dallas International Shroud of Turin Conference

• When: 1:30 to 5:30 p.m., today; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 9:30 to 11 a.m. Sunday

• Where: Hotel Adolphus, 1321 Commerce St., Dallas

• Cost: $300 per person; discounts are available for students and groups of five or more. Members of the clergy will be admitted free.

• Information: Call Michael Minor (972) 932-5141 or go to www.shroudstory.com


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Evolution education update: Evolution affirmed in Utah; UC system sued over creationism; a quartet of articles to rea

The state board of education in Utah issues a resounding endorsement of evolution education, while the University of California system is sued in part for not certifying high school biology courses that use creationist textbooks, and Chris Mooney and Matthew C. Nisbet, David Greenberg, Rush Holt, and NCSE's own Glenn Branch provide instructive reading for the weekend.

EVOLUTION AFFIRMED IN UTAH

At its meeting on September 2, 2005, the Utah state board of education unanimously adopted a position statement that described evolution as "a major unifying concept in science and appropriately included in Utah's K-12 Science Core Curriculum." The statement, according to the Deseret Morning News (September 3, 2005), was prepared at the behest of board chairman Kim Burningham "by a group of 22 scientists, professors and community members, including members of the Coalition of Minorities Advisory Committee and the Catholic Diocese" in reaction to the ongoing controversy over evolution education across the country.

The vote comes on the heels of on-again off-again threats by state senator Chris Buttars (R-District 10) to introduce legislation that would require teaching "intelligent design" -- which he originally called "divine design" -- in the science classrooms of Utah's public schools. Buttars, who attended the meeting, requested that the board defer its vote until he presented a two-hour exposition of "intelligent design"; the board declined his request. The Deseret Morning News quoted Buttars as telling the board that evolution "has more holes than a crocheted bathtub." According to the Salt Lake Tribune (September 2, 2005), only Buttars and two supporters protested the adoption of the statement.

About a dozen scientists in attendance endorsed the statement, telling the board that "intelligent design" is not good science. Duane Jeffrey, a professor of biology at Brigham Young (and NCSE board member) compared "intelligent design" to astrology and pyramid power, while Gregory Clark, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Utah, told the board, "Intelligent design fails as science because it ... posits that life is too complex to have arisen from natural causes, and instead requires the intervention of an intelligent designer who is beyond natural explanation. Invoking the supernatural can explain anything, and hence explains nothing."

At the meeting, Buttars told the board that he intended either to introduce legislation calling for the teaching of "intelligent design" or arrange for there to be a referendum on next year's ballot. He told the Deseret Morning News that his "Academic Freedom Act" would "enhance the effectiveness of science education while at the same time ensuring that students are given credible alternative explanations for the origin of life on earth"; the newspaper quoted the act as saying, "We believe that excluding recent scientific discoveries simply because they run counter to the Darwinian model of origins is not good educational policy."

It is unclear how much support Buttars's bill would enjoy if introduced. Previously, Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr (R) was reported in the Salt Lake Tribune (August 29, 2005) as disagreeing with President Bush's apparent endorsement on August 1 of teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools. "It is a science class," he told the Tribune. "Our schools are largely secular institutions. ... I would expect my kids in science class to be instructed in those things that are somewhat quantifiable and based on thorough and rigorous empirical research." Huntsman said that he had no objection to "intelligent design" as a topic for a sociology or a psychology class.

In its editorial "Resisting temptation: Board stands on firm scientific ground" (September 7, 2005), the Salt Lake Tribune praised the board for its vote, writing, "The board was not only correct, but also refreshingly quick and unanimous, in approving last Friday a new position statement affirming that evolution is, indeed, 'a unifying concept in science' and 'a necessary part of science classroom instruction.'" The editorial also criticized Buttars for dismissing "evolutionary theory as 'a theory, not a fact,' when scientifically literate people know that theories are models for describing facts, not mere shots in the dark," adding, "Shots in the dark such as intelligent design."

For the text of the board's statement, visit:
http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/news/2005/UT/74_evolution_affirmed_in_utah_9_7_2005.asp

To read the story in the Deseret Morning News, visit:

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,600160726,00.html

To read the story in the Salt Lake Tribune, visit:
http://www.sltrib.com/ci_2997771

To read the story about Governor Huntsman on "intelligent design," visit:
http://www.sltrib.com/ci_2974808

To read the Salt Lake Tribune's editorial, visit:
http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_3009709

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Utah, visit:
http://www.ncseweb.org/pressroom.asp?state=UT

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SYSTEM SUED OVER CREATIONISM

Creationism is prominent in a recent lawsuit that charges the University of California system with violating the constitutional rights of applicants from Christian schools whose high school coursework is deemed inadequate preparation for college. The complaint was filed in federal court in Los Angeles on August 25, 2005, on behalf of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), the Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, California, and a handful of students at the school. Representing the plaintiffs are Robert H. Tyler, a lawyer with a new organization called Advocates for Faith and Freedom, and Wendell R. Bird of the Atlanta law firm Bird and Loechl.

Bird is no stranger to litigation over creationism. As a law student in the late 1970s, he published a student note in the Yale Law Journal sketching a strategy for using the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to secure a place for creationism in the public school science classroom. Bird later worked at the Institute for Creation Research, where he updated its model "equal-time" resolution. The ICR's resolution eventually mutated, in Paul Ellwanger's hands, to become model "equal-time" legislation. A bill based on Ellwanger's model was passed in Arkansas in 1981 and then ruled unconstitutional in McLean v. Arkansas.

Although Bird was not able to participate in the McLean trial -- he sought to intervene on behalf of a number of creationist organizations and individuals, but was not allowed to do so -- he was involved in Aguillard v. Treen, which became Edwards v. Aguillard. Named a special assistant attorney general in Louisiana, Bird defended Louisiana's "equal-time" act all the way to the Supreme Court, where in 1987 it was ruled to violate the Establishment Clause. His The Origin of Species Revisited, which compared evolution and "abrupt appearance," was subsequently published (in two volumes).

At issue in the present suit are the guidelines set by the University of California system to ensure that first-year students have been adequately prepared for college in their high schools. The complaint (1.6M PDF) cites a policy of rejecting high school biology courses that use textbooks published by Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books as "inconsistent with the viewpoints and knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community." Such a policy, the complaint alleges, infringes on the plaintiffs' rights to "freedom of speech, freedom from viewpoint discrimination, freedom of religion and association, freedom from arbitrary discretion, equal protection of the laws, and freedom from hostility toward religion."

Robert Tyler told the Los Angeles Times (August 27, 2005) that "It appears that the UC system is attempting to secularize Christian schools and prevent them from teaching from a [Christian world] view." But creationism is a matter of theology, not of science, Robert John Russell of the Center for Theology and Natural Science told the Oakland Tribune (August 31, 2005). "It's almost ludicrous anyone would even take this seriously," Russell said. "It seems absurd that a student who had poor biology would meet the same standards as a student with 'good' biology. ...This has nothing to do with First Amendment rights."

A spokesperson for the University of California system would not comment on the specific allegations leveled in the complaint, but told the Los Angeles Times that the university was entitled to set course requirements for incoming students, adding, "[t]hese requirements were established after careful study by faculty and staff to ensure that students who come here are fully prepared with broad knowledge and the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed."

In its fall 2005 newsletter, ACSI expresses concern that the University of California system's "secular intolerance might spread to other institutions and to other states. ... If this discrimination is allowed to continue unchallenged, it is only a matter of time before secular institutions in other states will join the bandwagon." Interviewed by Education Week (September 7, 2005), however, a spokesperson for the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers expressed the opposite concern, reportedly worrying "about the potential implications of asking a university to ignore its course requirements -- which had been shaped by experts in various fields -- in favor of a 'free-for-all,' in which any interest group is allowed to shape policy."

For the article in the Los Angeles Times, visit:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-christian27aug27,1,7818465.story

For the article in the Oakland Tribune, visit:
http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/localnews/ci_2988070

For the article in Education Week, visit:
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/09/07/02credit.h25.html

For the complaint filed by the plaintiffs (1.6M PDF), visit:
http://www.acsi.org/webfiles/webitems/attachments/007875_2.%20ACSI%20CA%20Complaint.pdf

For the fall 2005 ACSI newsletter, visit:
http://www.acsi.org/webfiles/webitems/attachments/007875_1.%20Overview%20of%20ACSI%20Law%20Suit.pdf

For the decision in McLean v. Arkansas, visit:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mclean-v-arkansas.html

And for the decision in Edwards v. Aguillard, visit:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/edwards-v-aguillard.html

A QUARTET OF ARTICLES TO READ

Chris Mooney and Matthew C. Nisbet's "Undoing Darwin" -- the cover story of the September/October 2005 issue of Columbia Journalism Review -- is essential reading for anyone bemused by the spate of media coverage of the creationism/evolution controversy. Mooney and Nisbet argue that "[a]s evolution, driven by such events, shifts out of scientific realms and into political and legal ones, it ceases to be covered by context-oriented science reporters and is instead bounced to political pages, opinion pages, and television news. And all these venues, in their various ways, tend to deemphasize the strong scientific case in favor of evolution and instead lend credence to the notion that a growing 'controversy' exists over evolutionary science. This notion may be politically convenient, but it is false." Although "political reporting, television news, and opinion pages are all generally fanning the flames of a 'controversy' over evolution," they contend, "journalistic coverage that helps fan the flames of a nonexistent scientific controversy (and misrepresents what's actually known) simply isn't appropriate." Mooney is the author of the new book The Republican War on Science (Basic Books, 2005); Nisbet teaches in the School of Communication at Ohio State University.

Writing in Slate (September 8, 2005), David Greenberg contemplated "The legend of the Scopes trial," revealing that, contrary to popular misconception, "Science didn't really win." "The anniversary of the 'Monkey Trial' provides an occasion to remember that it didn't really settle what we assume it settled," he writes. "Popular memory of the trial, reinforced by the 1960 movie Inherit the Wind, made it seem that evolution was triumphant and fundamentalism vanquished, but in fact the result was much more ambiguous. Anti-Darwinism didn't die in Dayton, Tenn., in July 1925 -- it just retreated temporarily from the national scene, to which it has now returned." He suggests that while antievolutionism is always prevalent in fundamentalist circles, it surfaces in the popular consciousness only during "culture wars" such as those in the 1920s, the 1960s, and the present day -- when, he remarks, "a debate is occurring about whether intelligent design represents a significant variation on the version of 'creation science' that fundamentalists and other evangelical Christians began embracing in the 1960s ... To my mind, ... intelligent design contains no significant changes from 'creation science' except its success at gaining a hearing in the mainstream media." Greenberg teaches journalism and media studies at Rutgers University.

Writing as a guest columnist on the popular TPMCafe blog (September 8, 2005), Representative Rush Holt -- one of the very few research scientists who serve in Congress -- contributed a piece entitled "Intelligent design: It's not even wrong." "As a research scientist and a member of the House Education Committee," Holt writes, "I was appalled when President Bush signaled his support for the teaching of 'intelligent design' alongside evolution in public K-12 science classes. Though I respect and consistently protect the rights of persons of faith and the curricula of religious schools, public school science classes are not the place to teach concepts that cannot be backed up by evidence and tested experimentally," adding, "It is irresponsible for President Bush to cast intelligent design -- a repackaged version of creationism -- as the 'other side' of the evolution 'debate.'" His incisive essay ends with the sobering thought, "When the tenets of critical thinking and scientific investigation are weakened in our classrooms, we are weakening our nation. That is why I think the President's off-hand comment about intelligent design as the other side of the debate over evolution is such a great disservice to Americans." Holt, a physicist, now represents the 12th Congressional District of New Jersey.

Finally, NCSE deputy director Glenn Branch contributed "The battle over evolution: How geoscientists can help" to the September 2005 issue of The Sedimentary Record, published quarterly by the Society for Sedimentary Geology. "Eighty years after the Scopes trial," Branch writes in his abstract, "evolution is still under attack in the public school science classroom. Geoscientists are in a unique position to help, but in order to do so, they need to appreciate the history of the controversy, to understand the variety of ways in which creationists attempt to compromise evolution education, and to work together to use their scientific expertise effectively in the education policy arena." After reviewing a handful of recent controversies, public opinion poll data, and the contentious history of evolution education in the United States, Branch urges geoscientists to mobilize in defense of evolution education: "It is, after all, the geosciences that vouch for the great age of the earth, that uncover the forces responsible for geological changes through deep time, and that discover the history of life as preserved in the fossil record. Who, if not geoscientists, will testify about the need for students to understand what the geosciences have revealed about the earth and the history of life on it?"

To read Mooney and Nisbet's article, visit:
http://www.cjr.org/issues/2005/5/mooney.asp

To read Greenberg's article, visit:
http://www.slate.com/id/2125492/

To read Holt's article, visit:
http://houseoflabor.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/9/8/183216/1039

To read Branch's article (2.6M PDF), visit:
http://www.sepm.org/sedrecord/SR%203-3.pdf

BACK-TO-SCHOOL OFFER STILL ON

A few copies of the November 2004 issue of National Geographic, featuring David Quammen's acclaimed cover story "Was Darwin wrong?" (the answer was no), are still available! Teachers who wish to receive a copy for use in their classrooms should e-mail Glenn Branch at branch@ncseweb.org. (But if you already received a copy from NCSE, please let one of your colleagues have a chance instead.) In addition, one lucky teacher, selected randomly, will also receive a copy of Niles Eldredge's The Triumph of Evolution , of which Stephen Jay Gould wrote, "I can't imagine a better book by a finer scientist and writer on a more vital and contemporary subject." (If you don't need a copy of the book, please say so in your e-mail.)

If you wish to subscribe, please send:

subscribe ncse-news your@email.com

again in the body of an e-mail to majordomo@ncseweb2.org.

Thanks for reading! And as always, be sure to consult NCSE's web site: http://www.ncseweb.org where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and threats to it.

Sincerely,

Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x305
fax: 510-601-7204
800-290-6006
branch@ncseweb.org
http://www.ncseweb.org

Eugenie C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism is now available: http://www.ncseweb.org/evc

Scientology reaches out and touches a nerve

http://www.sptimes.com/2005/09/09/State/Scientology_reaches_o.shtml

A Boys & Girls Clubs director wants the club logo removed from an L. Ron Hubbard booklet.
By ROBERT FARLEY, Times Staff Writer
Published September 9, 2005

CLEARWATER - Look where you might bump into the teachings of the Church of Scientology and its creator these days.

If you attended a fashion show that raised money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Clearwater last week, you may have found L. Ron Hubbard's "Way to Happiness" booklet in your goodie bag.

And if you're a judge, elected official or community leader in Florida, you might find a Scientology DVD in your mailbox. The church sent out 4,000 of the DVDs to officials statewide this week.

Both are outreach efforts sponsored by the church or its followers, and they've gotten a mixed reception.

It was no secret that the fashion show at the Belleair Country Club was sponsored by a nonprofit group established by Scientologists. The annual event, which netted the Boys & Girls Club $15,000 last year, raises funds for the Boys & Girls Club and the Church of Scientology's annual Winter Wonderland.

What bothered Carl Lavender, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, was that the booklets bore the insignia of the Boys & Girls Clubs on the cover and directions on the back cover indicating that additional copies could be obtained at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast facilities next to Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater. The booklet is a moral code written by Hubbard, creator of the Church of Scientology, and millions of copies have been distributed by church adherents worldwide.

The material may have been well-intentioned, Lavender said, "but I'm not pleased. You can't produce materials with our logo on it unless I give permission. We are going to collect all of them back and have them discarded."

Joanie Sigal of Clearwater Community Volunteers, the Scientology volunteer group, and a member of the Clearwater Boys & Girls Club's board of managers, originally proposed adding the logo and distributing the pamphlets. She said Thursday she doesn't know what the fuss is about.

"It is a common sense guide to morals," she said.

Among the 21 chapters: Honor and Help Your Parents, Love and Help Children, Be Temperate, Don't Be Promiscuous.

Sigal noted that numerous organizations not related to Scientology already distribute the pamphlet and put their logos on the front, including other religious organizations, several chapters of the NAACP and the Hollywood division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Sigal said the board of the local Boys & Girls Club agreed to use some of the proceeds from the fashion show to customize the pamphlets, but didn't know they needed the permission of the corporate office in St. Petersburg.

At a board of managers meeting Thursday evening, Lavender denied Sigal's request to have the corporate board consider endorsing the pamphlet.

"The booklet ends as of today," Lavender said. "... There needs to be a lesson. This cannot happen."

Sigal argued that the booklet does not promote a particular religion, but other board members voiced their misgivings.

"It promotes a particular perception in the community," said board chair Alvina Moore.

The stir over the pamphlets comes at the same time the church is sending out thousands of DVDs to federal, state and locally elected officials, judges, mayors, sheriffs, city managers and other community leaders to explain church beliefs and programs.

The campaign, paid for by a group of local Scientologists, was in response to the enormous media attention focused on Scientology this year, related to outspoken statements by actor and Scientologist Tom Cruise, said church spokesman Ben Shaw.

On the DVD is a speech titled "This is Scientology. An Overview of the World's Fastest Growing Religion," made by church leader David Miscavige in California in 2004.

Some elected officials were curious, others ambivalent.

"I didn't find clarity in the video," said Clearwater City Council member Bill Jonson. "I am still not ready to articulate what Scientology is."

"I'm going to take it home and look at it," said County Commissioner Bob Stewart. "I'm kind of curious. I don't know much about Scientology except for the controversy."

[Last modified September 9, 2005, 01:17:10]

The NCHRA Warns Hurricane Katrina Relief Donators of Scientology Pretense

http://www.pressbox.co.uk/detailed/International/The_NCHRA_Warns_Hurricane_Katrina_Relief_Donators_of_Scientology_Pretense_36117.html

Added: (Fri Sep 09 2005)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 09-SEP-2005

The National Coalition of Human Rights Activists has received a secret internal email from the Scientology corporation that asks Scientology staff and customers to use a popular on-line payment service to send money to the business so that the business may send more salespeople to the Gulf States flood disaster areas. Though the appeal might appear by some readers to imply that the money goes to victim relief, the email states the money goes to Scientology Inc. and not to hurricane victims. [0]

The Scientology business has already sent as many as 40 salespeople into the disaster areas to sell products under the pretense of "grief counseling," calling themselves "ministers." While in the area they re-victimize the victims, touching victims with what the business calls "touch assists," sell victims Scientology books, and take photographs of themselves to be put on their web pages and propaganda magazines.

"It is repulsive behavior in the extreme" said Mississippi NCHRA media liaison Timothy Bower. "The Scientology corporation has a written policy, drummed into every Scientologist, that one may not help another unless on receives equal or greater compensation for that help. [1] What we see here in the hurricane disaster areas are Scientologists turning a brutal natural disaster into a sales event." Helping people without being paid is called "Out-Exchange" by the Scientology business.

Approximately 20 Scientologists were sent by the business into the World Trade Center Tower crime scene ("Ground Zero") to take photographs of themselves under the pretense of helping victims; they were promptly thrown out by legitimate emergency response teams. In Sri Lanka the Scientology business sent in a half-dozen salespeople under the pretense of being "ministers," and the Sri Lanka government ejected them from the tsunami disaster area. [2]

"These Scientology vultures and parasites are a striking example of social evil," said Mr. Bower. "Unfortunately they are not the only ones preying upon victims of the hurricane." [3]

If one wishes to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, one may send donations to the American Read Cross or Salvation Army. The NCHRA strongly urges people to triple-check who they are giving money and other donations to charities to make sure the solicitors are legitimate representatives of well-known charities and relief organizations.

Victims of the Scientology corporation may write to the National Coalition of Human Rights Activists at NCHRA@hotmail.com to share their stories.

[1] http://home.snafu.de/tilman/mystory/index.html

[2] http://www.holysmoke.org/cos/crime-syndicate-sri-lanka-predators.htm and also http://www.asiantribune.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=60

[3] http://uk.news.yahoo.com/06092005/140/storm-survivors-told-expose-themselves.html

Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Cancer Treatment

http://www.rd.com/content/openContent.do?contentId=10710

From The National Cancer Institute

Complementary and alternative treatments for cancer are becoming more widely used. Here is some basic information to help you evaluate treatment options.

What is complementary and alternative medicine?

How are complementary and alternative treatments evaluated?

What should patients do when considering complementary and alternative therapies?

Where can I learn more about complementary and alternative therapies?

1. What is complementary and alternative medicine?

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) -- also referred to as integrative medicine -- includes a broad range of healing philosophies, approaches, and therapies. A therapy is generally called complementary when it is used in addition to conventional treatments; it is often called alternative when it is used instead of conventional treatment. (Conventional treatments are those that are widely accepted and practiced by the mainstream medical community.) Depending on how they are used, some therapies can be considered either complementary or alternative.

Complementary and alternative therapies are used in an effort to prevent illness, reduce stress, prevent or reduce side effects and symptoms, or control or cure disease. Some commonly used methods of complementary or alternative therapy include mind/body control interventions such as visualization or relaxation, manual healing including acupressure and massage, homeopathy, vitamins or herbal products, and acupuncture.

2. How are complementary and alternative treatments evaluated?

Scientific evaluation is important in understanding if and when complementary and alternative therapies work. A number of medical centers are evaluating complementary and alternative therapies by developing scientific studies to test them.

Conventional approaches to cancer treatment have generally been studied for safety and effectiveness through a rigorous scientific process, including clinical trials with large numbers of patients. Often, less is known about the safety and effectiveness of complementary and alternative methods. Some of these complementary and alternative therapies have not undergone rigorous evaluation. Others, once considered unorthodox, are finding a place in cancer treatment -- not as cures, but as complementary therapies that may help patients feel better and recover faster. One example is acupuncture. According to a panel of experts at a National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference in November 1997, acupuncture has been found to be effective in the management of chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting and in controlling pain associated with surgery.

3. What should patients do when considering complementary and alternative therapies?

Cancer patients considering complementary and alternative medicine should discuss this decision with their doctor or nurse, as they would any therapeutic approach, because some complementary and alternative therapies may interfere with their standard treatment or may be harmful when used with conventional treatment.

You can ask your health care provider the following questions:

What benefits can be expected from this therapy?
What are the risks associated with this therapy?
Do the known benefits outweigh the risks?
What side effects can be expected?
Will the therapy interfere with conventional treatment?
Will the therapy be covered by health insurance?

4. Where can people learn more about complementary and alternative therapies?

Patients and their doctors or nurses can learn about complementary and alternative therapies from the following government agencies: The NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) facilitates research and evaluation of complementary and alternative practices and has information about a variety of methods. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates drugs and medical devices to ensure that they are safe and effective.

Copyright © 2001 The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

What's New Friday September 9, 2005

ZERO-POINT ENERGY: KATRINA REVIVES A STRUGGLING INDUSTRY.

Even as gas approaches the price of bottled water, Katrina has cut oil production in the Gulf and shut down key ports. Drilling in the ANWAR faces a key vote, and the President has ordered oil released from the strategic reserve. So where is the free-energy industry? Right on schedule. The San Francisco Chronicle had a rather skeptical article in the business section this week about a "clean, inexhaustible energy source." However, we don't do perpetual-motion in the 21st Century. Nowadays we tap zero-point energy http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN02/wn080202.html, and Magnetic Power Inc says it's "on the verge" of it. "We are still having trouble making it repeatable," the CEO said. "All we know is that we're seeing more energy output than input, what else could it be?" Is this sounding vaguely familiar? The Air Force sank $600,000 in the company. Last year, the AF was investing in teleportation http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN04/wn102904.html. Any time now we can expect to hear new claims for cold fusion.

HYDROGEN ECONOMY: "NEW CATALYST PRODUCES HYDROGEN FROM WATER."

Well, not exactly. The prospect of a hydrogen economy hinges on the ability to produce hydrogen economically. Thirty years ago, an inventor named Sam Leach claimed to have invented a car that ran on water. He said it used a secret catalyst to dissociate water. That would be thermodynamically impossible. But a brief report in Scientific American last week implied a new rhenium catalyst might dissociate water. It was based on an article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, but the title of the story in SA was misleading. The hydrogen was from catalytic oxidation of organosilanes. Cars still won't run on water.

Archives of What's New can be found at http://www.bobpark.org


Friday, September 09, 2005

Stomping on science

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/books/article/0,1299,DRMN_63_4066010,00.html

Mooney argues that Republicans, beginning with Ronald Reagan, have ignored, subverted, twisted and misrepresented science to conform to political goals

By Dan Danbom, Special to the News September 9, 2005

If timing is everything, Chris Mooney's The Republican War On Science has reached some kind of pinnacle.

His argument — that the Bush administration ignores, subverts, twists and misrepresents science to conform to its political goals — is coincident with President Bush's saying that Intelligent Design should be taught, with the Republican leader of the Senate invoking the ire of his party colleagues by changing his mind about embryonic stem cell research, and with the revelation that a White House staffer with no scientific credentials sanitized a report on global warming so as not to offend the energy industry — immediately prior to leaving the White House for a job with an oil company.

None of which is to say that politics and science have traditionally enjoyed an arms-length relationship. A cynic would say that science and politics are inherently at odds: Science is about determining facts; politics is about the selective use and abuse of them.

We have a rich tradition of science being manipulated to support causes on both the left and the right. Mooney acknowledges this, with qualification, noting that "in politicized fights involving science, it is rare to find liberals entirely innocent of abuses. But they are almost never as guilty as the right."

In The Republican War on Science, a book that is as carefully constructed as a laboratory experiment, Mooney argues that the right's assault on science has converged in the Bush administration from two different routes: businesses seeking to avoid regulation and evangelical Christians seeking to impose it.

For businesses, that means, among other things, squelching anything that suggests humans are responsible for global warming, that mercury emissions from power plants are hazardous to health, that secondhand smoke is injurious and that fast food and soft drinks contribute to obesity.

"The triumphs of the environmental and consumer movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the attendant expansion of the federal regulatory state, spurred on the business community's political counteraction. . . . Rules by new agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration necessarily required a firm scientific basis, and these bodies accordingly overflowed with technical experts specializing in science and risk assessment. Yet this, in turn, created a strong incentive for companies subject to potentially costly regulation to sponsor their own contrary science, a powerful technique for blocking or refuting proposed agency actions."

Evangelicals' interests also have scientific implications: They have found a friend in the Bush White House across a host of issues, including abortion, evolution, embryonic stem cell research and sex education.

As articulated by the Discovery Institute, a proponent of "Intelligent Design," "modern science has had 'devastating' cultural consequences, such as the denial of objective moral standards and the undermining of religious belief" and should be replaced "with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."

Mooney catalogs the tools the Bush administration uses to thwart unfriendly scientific findings:

• Demand further research and dismantle scientific bodies such as the Office of Technology Assessment.

• Change the language (Republican strategist Frank Luntz is credited with changing "global warming" to the more benign-sounding "climate change.").

• Cut off funding.

• Use scientific outliers (contrarians, such as the minority of scientists who don't believe humans have an effect on climate change) to sow doubt in public forums instead of more rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific ones.

• Use industry to fund studies to contradict the results of studies they don't like ("manufacture uncertainty," Mooney calls it).

• Vet the heads of scientific and regulatory agencies along political criteria.

• Demand strict scientific proof when it comes to something you don't want (such as reducing carbon dioxide emissions), but don't ask for scientific proof when it comes to something you support (such as ballistic missile defense).

Where did all of this begin?

Mooney, a former editor with The American Prospect who specializes in the relation of science and politics, argues that Republican antagonism toward science today began with Ronald Reagan when he was governor of California.

"Reagan's self-appointed state board of education had pushed to weaken the teaching of evolution and endorsed creationism. . . .

The Reagan administration's sympathies with creationism signaled a new development for the Republican Party and conservatism more generally. From this moment forward, many of the party's leaders willingly distorted or even denied the bedrock scientific theory of evolution, and encouraged pseudoscientific thinking, to satisfy a traditionalist religious constituency."

Science was in disfavor because what it said wasn't what the Reagan administration wanted to hear. "We know what we want to do," said budget director David Stockman, speaking of scientists, "and they'll only give us contrary advice."

But it is not so much Mooney's case-by-case examples of how Republicans have manipulated science that ultimately defines the real importance of The Republican War On Science. The book forces the reader to reconsider the fundamental role of science and the processes it uses to try to understand the world, and to appreciate the consequences of subsuming science to political expedience.

Mooney challenges the reader to ask just how important unvarnished science is to us, no matter what our political predilections.

How we answer that question will determine much more important things than who's in the White House.

Monkey business

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/82d115f8-2029-11da-b59e-00000e2511c8.html

By Stephen Pincock

Published: September 9 2005 11:09 | Last updated: September 9 2005 11:09

Like many people, I was told as a child that it was a good idea to avoid talking about religion and politics in polite conversation. A wise piece of advice, I suppose, but one that I've never really managed to follow.

Rather than tiptoe around those touchy subjects, my approach has generally been to jump in with both feet - a tendency that I must admit has, on more than one occasion, cost dearly in terms of stony silence. Still, I don't really want to change my tack. In fact, I think that some of the most valuable conversations I've had over the years have arisen from stark disagreement on some political or religious point.

In recent months, a discussion of sorts (some have called it a battle) has been going on between scientists and a group of mostly conservative Christians in the US, over the subject of evolution. In an era when science, religion and politics intersect in several places - think stem cells, for example - evolution is perhaps the most disputatious.

Evolution has always been rejected by some Christians as it contradicts the literal teachings of the Bible; but the most recent development in the anti-evolution debate revolves around an idea known as "intelligent design" which argues that our world and the life on it are just too complex to have evolved.

In one oft-mentioned argument, for example, the biochemist Michael J. Behe - a well-known design theorist - points out that some complex biological systems, such as the cascade of proteins that cause blood to clot, would not function if just one element was missing. His argument, outlined in his 1996 book Darwin's Black Box, is that such systems could not develop incrementally, as evolution would suggest.

Proponents say that such complexity suggests that life is the work of an intelligent creator. Generally no mention is made of God, as such, but the religious leanings of groups that support the idea, such as the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, give the game away.

In the past couple of years, supporters of this view - including some scientists and engineers - have been putting pressure on the US education system to have teachers tell children in science class that evolution is "a theory, not a fact" and to tell them that an alternative explanation for the origin of life is intelligent design.

At the moment, they seem to be succeeding. Proposals seeking for a critical analysis of the "controversies" or "gaps" surrounding Darwinian ideas of evolution have been considered in more than 20 states, Time magazine reported on August 15. And the week before, President Bush had expressed his support for combining lessons in evolution and intelligent design. "Both sides ought to be properly taught," he told reporters.

What's more, many Americans appear to agree. A Harris poll of 1,000 adults conducted in June showed that 54 per cent did not believe that humans developed from an earlier species, and 55 per cent thought children should be taught creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution.

All of which strikes horror into the hearts of most mainstream scientists. The arguments supporting intelligent design are often couched in scientific language, but for the many researchers who have written letters to newspapers in the US and elsewhere over recent months, the two "sides" are simply not comparable. For many, intelligent design looks like an idea based more on faith than science.

"I'm concerned about implying that there is some sort of scientific argument going on. There's not," the notably outspoken scientist Richard Dawkins told Time. "You can't prove intelligent design by experiment."

On the other hand, the Discovery Institute repeatedly describes the debate as a scientific one. Its members also argue that evolution has become a matter of faith for scientists. For example, last month, Benjamin Wiker, a senior fellow at both the St Paul Center for Biblical Theology in Ohio and the Discovery Institute, wrote the following: "The number of scientific dissenters from Darwinism is growing because, as scientists, they realise that evolutionary theory is functioning like an ideology, a theoretical dogma that is being held onto with a kind of blind patriotism." The Discovery Institute reports on its website that it has gathered more than 400 signatures from scientists who say they are sceptical about evolution.

You probably won't be surprised to find that I'm not convinced by the arguments in favour of intelligent design, or by any of the reasoning that anti-Darwinists use against evolution.

If I'm frank, the campaign to "teach the controversy" of evolution and offer a designed alternative looks to me a lot like the latest attempt to introduce religion into the science classroom, a place I don't think it belongs.

But perhaps the debate which is currently raging in newspapers, magazines and television programmes across the US - as well as on school boards and in legislatures - is a good thing. It's rare that arguments over merits of a scientific theory stimulate sustained interest in the general public. Discussions such as this one can be illuminating, even if they aren't always polite.

stephen.pincock@journalist.co.uk

Letters: Intelligent design just another myth

http://www.gazettetimes.com/articles/2005/09/09/news/opinion/3lets99.txt

Devin Rentz (Letters, Sept. 2) claims scientists "detest" the fact that evolution is a theory. Nonsense! He obviously doesn't understand the scientific method.

He claims "proof is a personal belief." Nonsense! The idea that whatever you believe is "proven" just because you believe it is incredible stupidity. Real proof can be had only through the application of logic and the scientific method.

Most people call whatever thought pops into their mind a "theory." Scientists use a much more precise definition. The scientific method starts with an idea; scientists call this "hypothesis." If the idea can be substantiated with experimental evidence it is elevated to "theory." If exhaustive verification fails to discredit the theory, it is promoted to "law."

Evolution is substantiated by experiment and observation, hence it has earned the title "theory."

"Intelligent design" is not a scientific theory; it fails on first principles. There is no proof that the hypothetical "intelligence" exists.

Because they do not understand biology, chemistry, and physics, holy rollers claim that life is so complex that a spook must have created it. Then they cite this belief as evidence that the spook exists.

Mr. Rentz is correct that "the simplicity of this (idea) is astounding." Simple minded would be more accurate. Anyone with significant intelligence will recognize this as a fallacious circular argument.

Holy rollers don't want to understand evolution. They want to believe in the Great Spook, and look for arguments to support their faith. "Intelligent design" is just another religious myth.

Phillip Hays

Corvallis

Intelligent Design: A Cop-Out!

http://www.expertclick.com/NewsReleaseWire/default.cfm?Action=ReleaseDetail&ID=10135

Ringgold, GA 30736 September 9 2005

Don Boys, Ph.D.

Some evolutionists like to parody Genesis by saying, "In the beginning there was hydrogen" suggesting that everything came from hydrogen, but where did the hydrogen come from? Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that, given billions and billions of years produces planets, plants, and people. I choose to believe, "In the beginning, God…."

Many scientists who want to "ride the horse in opposite directions at the same time" tell us that there really is no conflict between the Bible and evolution; however, they are embarrassingly wrong. Of course, they have to twist Genesis and a hundred other verses like a pretzel to come close to making their claim reasonable. Look, it is rather simple: Did a sovereign God create the world and the universe out of nothing by His command or did the universe, world, and man happen by chance? And from those who believe it happened by chance I demand to know the origin of energy and matter. Then I demand to know how this could have happened without repealing the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics! Then I demand to know how scientific laws evolved. When did gravity, inertia, laws of planetary motion, etc., begin? And how did they begin? Just a few issues that I demand the scientists explain; however, most of them run from those questions like their hair is on fire.

In recent years, major university professors have written books suggesting Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolution or in addition to evolution. Some of these men are professing Christians while others are not. All are highly respected men in their various disciplines. Their ID campaign has given evolutionists heartburn, and caused great howling and grinding of teeth. Breaks my heart!

Intelligent Design simply teaches that there are so many things such as the human eye that are so complex that they had to work at the very beginning of their evolution or they would be totally useless. Of course, Design is a good argument that some of us have been making for many years although not as eloquently as the new crop of anti-evolutionists. My local paper, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, had a cogent comment on the Free Press conservative editorial page suggesting, "Frankly, it seems that 'intelligent design' is a public relations cop-out to avoid a head-on collision with those who deny that 'In the beginning God created….' " Right on target!

Intelligent Design is a cop-out for believers just as the gap theory, day-age theory, theistic evolution, progressive evolution, etc., are. However, ID is at least a step in the right direction because scientists are acknowledging reality. The Free Press was suggesting that ID is really a capitulation to "scholarship," "academia," and "most scientists believe." Intelligent Design is taught by some men who do not believe in the God of the Bible, and are fearful that anyone might think they believe in a resurrected Christ and authoritative Book to give direction to one's life and information as to man's origin. ID is a deistic philosophy that assumes design because it is "reasonable" not because of revelation.

Unbelieving evolutionists cannot accept ID because any supernaturalism gives God an opportunity for His involvement in the creation and in their personal lives. World-renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin wrote: "Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."

Well, well, an honest evolutionist! They know if God gets His "foot in the door," He will hold them accountable for their personal sins, decisions, and beliefs.

Copyright 2005, Don Boys, Ph.D.

(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, author of 13 books, frequent guest on television and radio talk shows, and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years His book, ISLAM: America's Trojan Horse! was published last year. His website is cstnews.com.)

NOTE TO THE READER:

Dr. Boys' columns are copyrighted but permission is given for them to be republished, reposted, or emailed providing this column is copied intact and that full credit is given and that Don's web site address is included.

Radio or television Talk Show Hosts interested in scheduling an interview with Don should contact DBoysphd@aol.com

Please visit Don's web site at http://www.cstnews.com.

Don Boys, Ph.D. (dboysphd@aol.com)
International Director
Common Sense for Today
P . O. Box 944
Ringgold, GA 30736
Phone : 706-965-5930
Fax : 706-965-5930

World of science looks at a new design on life's creator

http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,16548995%255E911,00.html

JENNY HOPE in London 10sep05

A NEW theory on the beginnings of life has divided educators - but not along the lines you might think.

Intelligent Design Theory - which claims to have evidence life was at least partly the work of a designer - is causing controversy across the world.

Criticised as a way of "sneaking" creationism into science, the theory has attracted the support of United States President George W Bush.

On the other side, scientists including Professor Paul Davies have compared it to "fairies and flat-Earth" theories.

Already, schools overseas - and some in the eastern states - have incorporated it into their curriculums.

Intelligent Design has yet to be taught in a South Australian school - but argument over its merit is running hot.

Independent schools - usually thought to be conservative - say Intelligent Design theory could be used as a tool for developing critical thinking.

The SA Science Teachers Association, meanwhile, has come down with an unapologetically hard-line stance.

"Intelligent Design is simply a belief," executive officer Bob Geary said.

"As beliefs are not measurable, testable nor evidence-based, they can't be considered part of science.

"Therefore, it is not appropriate for inclusion in any science course or science textbook." More than 14 million websites tackle both sides of the Intelligent Design debate.

Supporters claim life is so complex, it must have been the work of a directing intelligence.

They argue scientific evidence, gleaned from DNA, cellular machines and mathematical formula, supports their claims.

Critics, however, claim the theory simply fills gaps in current evolutionary theory with "speculative beliefs". They call the idea "God of the gaps".

Association of Independent Schools SA executive director Gary LeDuff said that the theory was an issue for most of the state's 97 non-government schools.

"Our schools have not had the opportunity to seriously consider whether they would incorporate this approach into their curriculums," he said.

He said schools taught both evolution and creationism in the hope students would come to their own conclusions about life.

"Even if it was introduced, it would be to encourage students to examine it along with the other two theories on life," he said.

"Christian schools would usually be seen as conservative but they want to give students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills and make their own decisions."

The Science Teachers Association, meanwhile, has drafted an official, four-paragraph position on Intelligent Design.

It concedes the theory may have a place in religious studies, or as a "contrast" to evolution.

"As it is not possible to set up an experiment to test Intelligent Design, it cannot have any status as a scientific theory," the document says.

We are pleased to announce that our Evolution Report

(Vol. 4, No. 1 - June 2005) is now online.

It can be found at

http://www.argentinaskeptics.com.ar/EvolutionReport06.pdf

Evolution Report contains updated local and international news about creation and evolution

Also, you can now find Proyecto Darwin (Darwin Project) at:

http://proyectodarwin.blogspot.com

Proyecto Darwin (Darwin Project) is a new blog about the creationism/evolution controversy.

Be sure to check them out!

All the best,

Juan De Gennaro
ARGENTINA SKEPTICS

SCIENTIFIC SKEPTICISM AND CRITICAL THINKING


http://www.argentinaskeptics.com.ar

When Pictures Lie

[I am posting the following even though is deals more with political issues than rational skepticism. My reasoning is this illustrates something we continue to emphasise: The truth should not be a matter of convenience.]

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-gelernter9sep09,0,7325494.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

DAVID GELERNTER

A TV report that helped fuel the deadly Palestinian intifada appears to be false. So how is truth supposed to compete with a video fraud?

A 55-SECOND video report, produced in 2000 by a French TV station and distributed free of charge around the world, has caused untold injury and grief to Israeli civilians. This month, the French author Nidra Poller analyzes the evidence in Commentary magazine and shows that the video is a fraud — "an almost perfect media crime," the retired French journalist Luc Rosenzweig calls it. That Poller's piece is conclusive is merely my own judgment, of course. But we are all required to make such judgments, in the light of such reports.

There is a wider story here also. We are vulnerable to video lies. Against purposeful lies, truth has never been so helpless, so weakly defended.

More than 500 Israeli civilians have been killed in the intifada, the Palestinian uprising that began five years ago. They were ordinary people chatting on a bus, eating ice cream in a restaurant; suddenly, a bright flash. The next moment the walls are spattered with blood and the bomb's hellish odor fills the air. Some people are blinded, others are cut to pieces. Parents living the worst seconds of their lives cast about wildly for their children in the screaming, smoky chaos.

What explains such bestial crimes? The reported death of a Palestinian child, Mohammed Dura, in Gaza did as much as anything else to ignite the current uprising. In the short video segment produced on Sept. 30, 2000, and distributed immediately, a state-owned French television station called France 2 accused the Israeli army of deliberately shooting and killing the 12-year-old.

You may remember the footage: A man and boy crouch in fear. Shots hit a wall far from the pair; a final round of gunfire kicks up a dust cloud that hides father and son, who are "targets of gunfire from Israeli positions," says the voice-over. When the dust clears, the boy is stretched at the man's feet. The voice says that he is dead.

This version of the story was retold around the world — and it has figured in countless wall posters, an Al Qaeda recruiting video, an epic poem. Last June an aspiring suicide bomber was arrested on her way to a hospital — to kill Israeli children, she said, in memory of Mohammed Dura.

BUT, ACCORDING to the Commentary article, the video is a fraud. The footage itself is ambiguous, the alleged main event hidden by dust. The voice-over is what makes us understand what we are seeing. It comes from Charles Enderlin, a correspondent at France 2 (and a French Jew who became an Israeli citizen 20 years ago). Enderlin has never claimed to have been anywhere near the scene of the alleged shooting. His Palestinian cameraman told him the story.

Lots of supporting evidence was supposed to back up the cameraman's story — more footage of the supposed father and son pinned by Israeli fire, footage showing the child's death throes. France 2 has since admitted, according to Poller, that no such footage exists.

The voice-over reports that the child is dead, yet the rest of the segment — which wasn't aired but survives — shows the child propping himself on an elbow, shading his eyes with his hands. Poller saw the tape.

A boy named Mohammed Dura did die in a Gaza hospital that fateful Sept. 30. His face doesn't match the face in the video. Presented with these facts, France 2 officials said that "they would look into the matter."

In early 2005, Enderlin published an article in the French newspaper Le Figaro. His report "may have been hasty," he wrote, but was justified because "so many children were being killed." (But the intifada had barely started; "so many children" were not being killed — not yet.)

What did happen? Chances are we will never know for sure. But Poller reports that outtakes she saw show phony battle scenes staged by Palestinians. Painstaking analysis done by students at the Israeli Military Academy found the same actors playing multiple roles: "The injured and dead jump up, dust themselves off, play at offensive combat."

Poller's article raises far more doubts about the report's authenticity than I can list here. But disproving a video report is much harder than getting people to believe it. You must convince people that their own eyes and ears have deceived them. They must follow the twists and turns of your logical argument, do their own thinking, reach their own conclusions. Give people an opportunity to switch off their brains and they will grab it.

How can cautious, painstaking truth compete with brazen video lies? If the report turns out to be just what it looks like, a despicable fake, who will produce another 55-second video telling the truth? Which TV stations will broadcast it? Where does Israel go to get its reputation back? What will it all matter to grief-stricken Israelis whose children, husbands, mothers and fathers have died in acts sparked by the Dura story?

The rational response is to insist fiercely on the transcendent importance of truth. Yet today we often hear that there is no truth. There are only competing narratives, we are told, all equally true or false.

Yet the truth of what happened on Sept. 30, 2000, is critical to the way the world works, the way people behave. The pictures we were shown and the story we were told is true or false, not both. Enderlin, France 2 and the larger media establishment have an obligation to tell us which it is. Because lies can kill. Lies do kill.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Ask Newt Gingrich about Intelligent Design

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=8152

Thursday 8th September 2005 (17h04) : 3 comment(s).

Ask Newt Gingrich about Intelligent design. Newt is sidestepping the controversy of ID. Simply put ID is an anti-science movement, being promoted by Sun Myung Moon. Moon supported the "Wise-use" movement that helped propel Newt into the lime light. The 'Wise-use' movement was an anti environmental cause that promoted lowering environmental standards across the board. They attacked by undermining environmental science.The ID movements are anti-Darwin with Moon funding because Moon had a dream in which God told him his mission was to destroy Darwin's theory of evolution.

["In Washington, part of Newt Gingrich's "contract with America" is a series of bills that would virtually halt federal action to protect the environment. It is becoming trendy to ask whether environmental laws, not polluters, are the real public enemy. In newsrooms throughout the country, the hot story is the "high cost of environmental regulation," not the people or resources harmed when that regulation fails."] 'It's a Jungle Out There'- by Kevin Carmody, May 1995 Columbia Journalism Review

Sun myung Moon's Washington Times acts as a cheerleader for Newt Gingrich, more concerning is the incestuous relationship between Moon and the Council for National Policy of which Newt is a member. Moon has funded many CNP members like Jerry Falwell, Oliver North's defense fund and agent ( Mad Max ) Hugel. SEE!!! [STATEMENT BEFORE THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE, U.S. SENATE, SEPTEMBER 11, 1991] A recent article in Korean Times claims Moon is an arm of the Korean Intelligence Agency ( KIA ) but clearly Moon is funding right wing politicos and attacks on "liberals"

The CNP and Gingrich are not the only ones receiving support from Moon, Former President Bush received six figure sums for attending Moon events in South America. Events that tore apart south American leaders campaigns against Moon, dissipated because of Moons perceived influence with Bush and America. Recently the Paraguay media has accused a Moon organization of blowing up a radio station that was critical of the 'Messiah'.

Newt loves to talk and knows what questions to ask when it comes to pulling the strings of thoughtful Americans. Ask Newt Gingrich about family values and compare his answers with his actions. Ask Newt Gingrich about his plans for science in the 21 century and compare them to his past statements. Ask Newt about Moon and the CNP and see if he is truthful. If Newt wishes to sidestep these questions than stop asking him and switch him off like a bad sci fi flick.

If the science and education community is concerned, they should network to defend science from groups and politicians undermining science. With Katrina, Politicians have disregarded the scientists and warnings of Global Warming in part because of anti-Global warming studies funded by Moon and the results parroted by right wing Republicans. When weathermen spoke of a storm surge following Katrina the science was not taken seriously because of years of eroding confidence in science and those 'Radical Weathermen'. I would suggest that the science community, team with Librarians who have used their influence to tone down parts of the Patriot ACT.

["Our friends at the Center for American Progress note the Office of Technology Assessment used to produce forward-thinking plans such as "Floods: A National Policy Concern" and "A Framework for Flood Hazards Management." Unfortunately, the office was targeted by Newt Gingrich and the Republican right, and gutted years ago."

"Our friends at the Center for American Progress note the Office of Technology Assessment used to produce forward-thinking plans such as "Floods: A National Policy Concern" and "A Framework for Flood Hazards Management." Unfortunately, the office was targeted by Newt Gingrich and the Republican right, and gutted years ago.'] Molly Ivins 'Hurricane Katrina shows why policy matters'

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Newt Gingrich has a list of groups supporting him for the 2008 elections on his website. Newt has begun a full court press and concerned citizens should Dog Pile Newt now and plea with his supporters that the Republican Party and the American people can do better. The Media can do their job by asking Newt hard questions rather than allow him to tee up softball slogans that resonate because of his delivery. Ask Newt about Intelligent Design.

by : Michael Callis Thursday 8th September 2005

Intelligent design vs.evolutionary theory

http://www.arbiteronline.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/09/08/431fbb3c100ad

by Brian Holmes / Opinion Writer September 08, 2005

God must certainly love the bridge-burners. For they are a dutiful group, enamored with the self-absorbed reflex to start completely over when nothing works out in their desired favor.

Take for instance those creative and subversive folks who sit on the Kansas Board of Education, or the eerily gleeful members that make up the Christian family network Focus on the Family.

These organizations are in the business of setting important, progressive issues aside and wiping the slates clean. And as the memberships in such organizations as Focus on the Family and the Christian Coalition increase, so too, the likelihood that current relations between church and state are likely to boil over.

Which finally brings me to my point: How are we going to reconcile the important issues that should demand more of our viewership and undivided attention?

Are we to allow our educational standards and sound, scientific theory to get state board-approved makeovers? And not just any makeover, but some really creepy makeovers that ache to be done by the former bunkmate of Martha Stewart.

And what about love? Is that something that only heterosexual families can provide? The vast majority of the scientific community refuses to accept the principles that form the basis of Intelligent Design.

They righteously believe that Intelligent Design has no place among the debating tiers, let alone to be taught alongside evolutionary theory in our public school system.

But, by ignoring the issue, no matter the disagreement, our educational standards for the upcoming generations slide slowly back into the primordial ooze that we have been trying to bring ourselves out from under.

When one side of the issue, whether it be those that firmly believe in Intelligent Design as a means of expressing faith through history or those that believe that biology and natural selection are key elements to our existence, are ignored and snubbed, then that side digs in its heels and budges no further.

Surely, there must be a compromise that yields to none, but affirms both positions. Those that live by faith complement their belief every day with prayer, even if that means praying harder for those poor, downtrodden homosexual children of the world.

Those that live with science demand more of the world through research, competition, and community involvement, even if it means on occasion selling out to highest bidder.

What matters most is the concern that each group, project, or leadership involvement is in a constant search for more power in order to reach a greater audience. By doing so, those that reside in the middle become muddled and confused, and then ultimately decide against voting, which is the worst thing one can do.

As for my suggestion, as a highly sensitive and tense species that always nuzzles the security blankets of our lives, let's come together and ditch the bridge-burners and opt instead for the mediators. We may not like the results, but at least we came together as fellow human beings.

Intelligent Design and Straw Men

http://www.freelancenews.com/opinion/contentview.asp?c=167783

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Editor,

Brett Rowland recently wrote about the ongoing controversy over the teaching of intelligent design. I respond to the criticisms offered against it. First, have you noticed that the critics of intelligent design (ID) never tell you what it is? As some of these critics are educators, it seems unconscionable to me to intentionally misrepresent a topic and then attack it as something that it is not. ID is accused of teaching religion. Let's consider that criticism.

ID investigates natural objects and considers the origin alternatives of necessity, chance and design. Michael Dembski (in The Design Revolution, 2004) provides the examples of a calculator, a roulette wheel, and an agitator to clarify chance and design. When "2+2=" is punched into the calculator, it must always display "4." That is necessity; there is only on possible result. When you spin a roulette wheel, the ball can land in any one of the 38 slots. Scientists assign probabilities (a number) to the likelihood of events occurring. Because there is the same probability of the ball falling into any of the slots, this condition results in a completely random arrangement. But when the agitator operates under the influence of gravity, something more interesting occurs. The rocks become sorted, based on size, from top to bottom (largest on top). This result shows both necessity (the sorting) and chance (the arrangement in any given layer) at the same time. Do you see any religion in this so far? Let's proceed.

Some objects we study in science show neither necessity nor chance/randomness. They show specified complexity. Specified complexity is defined through five concepts: complexity - a huge number of possible outcomes; independent patterns - that is, our knowledge of resulting patterns does not affect the probability of an event; probabilistic resources - conditions that affect the likelihood that an even will occur at least once; specificational complexity - how we can define the results of a sequence of events - like 'all heads' (H) for a series of coin tosses, versus 'HHTHTTHHT'; and universal probability bound - a limit scientists give to the probability of an event occurring by considering the number of particles in the universe, how quickly they can interact, and the age of the universe. How are we doing? Any religion yet?

Armed with these tools, we approach Dembski's explanatory filter, which permits us to distinguish between necessity, chance and design. We ask first, is a pattern the only possible outcome? If it is, the pattern is necessary and we need look no further for an explanation of its cause. If not, we ask, is the pattern complex? If it is not, then chance is its logical explanation. If it is complex, we next ask, is the pattern specified? If it is not, the cause is also deemed as chance. If however, the pattern is not necessary, is complex and is specified, the explanation is design. This methodology is used throughout science - in archaeology, forensics and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Any religion yet?

And there is much more of value to our students in teaching the method of scientific inquiry called intelligent design.

In my classes on logic, we expose the fallacy of turning your opponent's position into something foolish and then attacking that imaginary argument. It's always easier to win a debate that way, right? This is called the straw man fallacy. It seems quite clear to me that the attacks on ID are a prime example of the straw man fallacy. When the critics of ID attack it for what it really is, then maybe the 90 percent of the American population that doubts the validity of Darwinism evolution will pay some attention to them.

Edward Huston, Hollister

ABC News: Boys is too Militant!

http://www.expertclick.com/NewsReleaseWire/default.cfm?Action=ReleaseDetail&ID=10101

Don Boys, Ph.D.

Evolution is a confused, convoluted, and contradictory theory that is unreasonable, unscientific, and unbiblical. And in trouble! Creationism has been denigrated and denied, but not disproved. Evolutionists know that if God created everything, it means they will one day give an account to that God whose laws they have dismissed and disobeyed. So the battle continues.

It is time for school to start; therefore, the evolution/creation issue is hot again. The ACLU has their collective trousers in a knot because a few states want to expose their students to creation science or at least to intelligent design.

The hypocrites on the left are very dedicated to the principles of diversity and tolerance except in a few matters such as abortion, homosexuality, and scientific creationism. There, diversity is unnecessary and tolerance unthinkable. The loonies on the left tell anyone who will listen that ideas can't hurt children, even in the lowest grades, so expose them to vulgarity, immorality, perversion, anti-Americanism, etc., since it is good for children to hear different views. However, that does not hold true when it comes to the above hot-button issues. Wonder why? That is one reason why I believe that liberals are the biggest hypocrites in America.

Almost all evolutionists want to start the debate with Darwin's warm little pond where the process is alleged to have started: slime to slug to sloth to scholar. Or to put it another way, from molecules to mollusks to monkeys to man. However, it all didn't start at a warm little pond (for which there is not a scintilla of evidence), but with the universe. When, where, and how did energy, matter, and time start? After I hear a few evolutionists tell me, "Well, we don't know," then we will go to the mythical pond and discuss man's origin.

Major journals have cranked out hysterical propaganda to do damage control for the Americans United for Separation for Church and State (who recently had their annual meeting in a New Jersey telephone booth), PAW, National Center for Science Education, ACLU, and assorted atheists, agnostics, and associates. Galloping to the rescue of overwhelmed evolutionists came Time, Newsweek, USA Today, New York Times, and others spouting untrue, unfair, unscientific drivel to con the gullible public into believing the humbuggery of evolution and that those who advocate creationism are Bible thumping fanatics. (I almost never thump my Bible and when I do it is not really hard.)

Evolutionists trot out weary accusations against creationists, implying all are "funda-mentalists" (gasp!), always denigrating them, often suggesting a belief in a flat earth! Really desperate evolutionists even suggest that we carry a bag of rattlesnakes to church each Sunday! I am shocked, shocked that educated scientists would stoop so low. This is further proof, if it is needed, that many scientists are asinine, arrogant, and audacious bigots in defending their religious philosophy called evolution. Of course, bigots are as easy to find in a secular university as a bowling ball in a bathtub.

ScienceWeek (Jan. 23) displayed obvious bigotry (note their title) with their editorial "Creationism vs. sanity" when they accused creationists of being primitive thinkers who "believe the Earth is as flat as a pancake,…resting on the backs of four giant elephants." To think they killed a tree to print such tripe. How could a responsible scientific journal permit something like that to be published? Of course, it was in defense of their religion—evolution.

Last week, another USA Today writer suggested people of faith could justify "anything in the name of dogma. Let's not teach our children to burn witches, please." That is outrageous plus inaccurate. Not one witch was ever burned in the U.S. Witch burning took place in Scotland, England, etc.

Also New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd mocked a classy 25-million dollar Creation Museum being established near the Cincinnati airport by Answers in Genesis. Mocking Christian creationists is acceptable but mocking a religion of hate is anathema. Wonder why?

Andrew Kantor, columnist for USA Today.com expressed sorrow for the Cincinnati area, calling the creation museum a "national embarrassment," using buzz words such as "lies," "distortions," "gullible," "scary," and "silly." Responsible journalism, huh?

Oxford biologist, Richard Dawkins, a famous proponent of diversity, balance, fairness and civility opined that creationists were "ignorant, stupid or insane—or wicked." He called us feeble-minded, pathetic, and intellectual cavemen in his book, The Blind Watchmaker. In a November 1983 article, published in the Times Literary Supplement, Dawkins called us a "gang of ignorant crackpots." There, isn't that kind, fair, and civil? See what I mean when I say that many evolutionists are as mean as a junkyard dog.

Stephen J. Gould (evolutionist, Marxist, and Harvard professor—three strikes and you're out!) now deceased and no longer an evolutionist, Marxist or professor, called creationists "kooky," "yahoos," and "latter-day antediluvians." But Steve would never consent to debate one of the "yahoos"!

Isaac Asimov showed his hatred and bigotry (hatred and bigotry on the left!) when he wrote that creationists "...are stupid, lying people who are not to be trusted in any way."

With the above vicious libel of creationists, ABC News, after commissioning me to write an anti-evolution piece for their website, refused to use it because I was "too militant!" No, I was too accurate and had too much sting. They wanted a mild piece so they could point to it and say, "See, we are balanced. We provided a forum for the other side." But they did not want a challenging "other side." Evolutionists must never be presented as fools, fanatics, fakers, and frauds but creationists can be presented as inept, incompetent, and insane! That is dishonest and the major media wonder why they have been abandoned by thinking people! Even an Oxford professor can understand the reason.

Copyright 2005, Don Boys, Ph.D.

(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, author of 13 books, frequent guest on television and radio talk shows, and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years His book, ISLAM: America's Trojan Horse! was published last year. His website is cstnews.com.)

NOTE TO THE READER:

Dr. Boys' columns are copyrighted but permission is given for them to be republished, reposted, or emailed providing this column is copied intact and that full credit is given and that Don's web site address is included.

Radio or television Talk Show Hosts interested in scheduling an interview with Don should contact DBoysphd@aol.com

Please visit Don's web site at http://www.cstnews.com.

Don Boys, Ph.D. (dboysphd@aol.com)
International Director
Common Sense for Today
P . O. Box 944
Ringgold, GA 30736
Phone : 706-965-5930
Fax : 706-965-5930

Creationism a Science

http://www.dailycampus.com/news/2005/09/08/Commentary/Creationism.A.Science-979237.shtml

Letter to the Editor Published: Thursday, September 8, 2005

I would like to respectfully disagree with Emily Groff's "Creationism is Not Science." It's disappointing to see how many misconceptions exist out there due to lack of information as well as misinformation. Not only do I believe creationism is a science, I believe it is the most thoroughly comprehensive and accurate science that exists. If you examine all the mathematical and scientific evidence, you will discover how interrelated both science and religion truly are. I'm currently a sophomore planning to major in physics and minor in mathematics, and I have found that the deeper I look at the actual evidence, the more emboldened my faith actually becomes.

Medieval philosopher Moses Maimonides stated it well: "Conflicts between science and the Bible arise from either a lack of scientific knowledge or a defective understanding of the Bible." The less we know and understand about the subjects, the more likely we are to make inaccurate conclusions.

Is it just a coincidence that nearly all the greatest scientists of all time all believed in a supreme being having created the universe? I think to regard it as "a coincidence" would be a weak argument with not much support. I believe it's safe to assume that the deeper they all looked at their surroundings, the more they began to see something truly majestic about our universe with our very existence further testifying to that.

To those who argue evolution and reject creationism, take a peek at what Charles Darwin himself said (in his closing of the Origin of Species): "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

It is perfectly acceptable for a rational, scientific mind to also have faith and believe in a creator. To touch again on the idea of "coincidences," what follows are a couple passages from The Science of God by Gerald Schroeder (an applied theologian with doctoral degrees from MIT):

"The renowned Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose quantified the precision needed in nature's quirks for the conditions and energy distribution at the moment of the big bang to have eventually produced an environment suitable for life. The likelihood, or better the unlikelihood, that those initial conditions might produce such a universe, is less than one chance out of 10,123."

"Can we really form a biological cell by waiting for chance combinations of organic compounds? Harold Morowitz, in his book 'Energy Flow and Biology,' computed that merely to create a bacterium would require more time than the universe might ever see if chance combinations of its molecules were the only driving force. In short, life could not have started by chance. Sir Fred Hoyle, the British astronomer, has said such an occurrence is about as likely as the assemblage of a 747 by a tornado whirling through a junkyard. Most researchers agree with Hoyle on this point. Since 1979, articles based on the premise that life arose through chance random reactions over billions of years are not accepted in reputable journals."

The inconceivable fine-tuning of our universe is something that the leading scientists in the scientific community as a whole, believers and atheists alike, have been unable to deny. To simply believe that we just got that lucky would be not only irrational and illogical, but it would make one guilty of the very thing that many secularists accuse believers of: having faith when there is a lack of scientific or mathematical proof. Ironically, it appears that it actually requires a greater leap in faith to be an atheist.

The only other possible scenarios that even exist explaining our existence all have fundamental flaws. Creationism isn't a philosophy of wishful thinking-it is looking at and following where the evidence leads. For British philosopher Antony Flew, one of the world's most widely-known and leading atheists, discoveries in modern science have led him to accept the existence of God. After nearly half a century, he has recently admitted that he now believes in God more or less based on scientific evidence.

- David Hoogewerff


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Evolution and Intelligent Design; could they both be teaching the truth?

http://www.clickpress.com/releases/Detailed/3609005cp.shtml

New Book release - Adam The Missing Link

[ClickPress, Tue Sep 06]

Evolution and Intelligent Design; could they both be teaching the truth?

Author Marshall Klarfeld's new book "ADAM, The Missing Link," gives us evidence to show that both the Creationists and Evolutionists have the right idea; they just couldn't get the puzzle pieces together. Thankfully Mr. Klarfeld was able to, and what emerged was an image of the role Extraterrestrials played in the design of the human race.

It may sound like something out of science fiction, however the evidence, including 145 pictures of the symbols and achievements of the species that lived here on earth over 450,000 years ago. Fiction it is not.

Here is a short story from "ADAM, The Missing Link". It should give some insight into the advanced technical skills that the Anunnaki used to fashion their landing platform. It is one of the major structures, left here on Planet Earth, that is proof that these amazing visitors were here on our planet.

2. (Landing Platform) The colossal Roman ruin at Baalbek, Lebanon was built on a "tel" mound, indicating a place that had long been held sacred. Why the Romans built this largest and tallest temple, to their god Jupiter, 1500 miles from Rome, is the key question? The Roman construction was built on top of an existing 5,000,000 square foot platform. The scale of the Roman project, so distant from the center of their empire, indicates that this site was extraordinarily sacred.

Zecharia Sitchin's research led him to conclude that the original platform was the major landing site of the Anunnaki. Pg.m shows an aerial view of the Roman ruins on top of "the landing platform". The six columns with their capstones still attached, are the remains of the Jupiter Temple. The other temple was dedicated to Venus.

The northwest corner of this platform is anchored by 3 of the largest stones ever used in any construction on our planet! These stones measure 64 feet long by 14 feet by 14 feet and each weigh over 1200 tons. (The St. Louis Arch's stainless steel skin weighs 900 tons.) The builders of the landing platform quarried these megalithic stones, transported them one half mile up hill to the platform site, lifted them 36 feet on top of the carefully prepared foundation course, and fitted them perfectly end to end. It is doubtful that our best 21st Century technology could duplicate this feat 10,000 years ago!

The partial quote from Sitchin's recent book, a translation called "The Lost Book of Enki", found on page 26 is;

"Where a landing Place to establish, a place for the rocket ships, he was seeking.

Enlil, by the heat of the sun afflicted, for a place of coolness and shade was searching.

To snow-covered mountains on the Edin's north side he took a liking.

The tallest trees he ever saw grew there in a cedar forest.

There above a mountain valley with power beams the surface he flattened.

Great stones from the hillside the heroes quarried and to size cut.

To uphold the platform with skyships they carried and emplaced them.

With satisfaction did Enlil the handiwork consider,

A work beyond belief indeed it was, a structure of everlasting!"

If this platform was built pre flood (olden times), then the design should be classified a survival success. Another super large stone has been found under the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It is possible that Solomon's Temple was built on top of another Anunnaki structure.

This very ancient 5,000,000 square foot platform is an engineering marvel made of stone and assembled without the need of mortar. The amazing construction achievements presented at Baalbek qualify this platform as a major S.I.St. (Stored Information Structure).

This is only an example of the of the compelling material held within "ADAM, The Missing Link." As well as a small sampling of the subjects covered extensively on the Book of THoTH website, where outside the box thinkers go to discuss their views in a mature and friendly environment.

Marshall Klarfeld became a member of the Book of THoTH, and discusses "ADAM, The Missing Link" in a thread on the forums titled "Evolution Wars." There Klarfeld and other Book of THoTH members debate the Creationist Vs. Evolutionist theories, as well as the idea that they may both be right.

With such prominent persons, such as President Bush, making their views known about this debate recently, the discussion at the Book of THoTH is bound to bring new views to the table, Marshall Klarfeld's being one of the many.

For more information visit Marshall Klarfeld's site at:
http://www.adamthemissinglink.com/

Or join the discussion of "ADAM, The Missing Link" at the Book of THoTH forums at:
http://book-of-thoth.com/ftopict-3918.html

Board members bash Intelligent Design

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=15168636&BRD=1725&PAG=461&dept_id=45529&rfi=6

By James Borden, CORRESPONDENT09/07/2005

HAVERFORD TWP. - Following a review of curriculum standards and testing, recent school maintenance and the effect of rising oil prices on district transportation costs, the Sept. 1 school board meeting was capped off with a discussion on the instruction of intelligent design in Pennsylvania schools.

Due to a bulk purchasing agreement with 15 other school districts throughout the state, gasoline and fuel oil prices will be protected through the end of the school year, member Tracy Marshall assured the board.

"When doing the budget, we were able to allot for a $45,000 increase, we're locked in, but at least we know what the cost is going to be," she said, adding that unfortunately, the rising prices at the pump may increase shipping costs.

"We ship a lot of heavy materials - textbooks, etc. - but it won't be as bad as if we had to worry about bussing and energy prices for the schools."

Some members raised concern that the contract may fail to be delivered on, given the sudden, unexpected and drastic rise in gasoline prices.

"We're locked in with 15 other districts, it would be a public relations disaster if they were to fail to live up to their end of the contract, we're not concerned about that," member Phil Hopkins said.

Earlier during his legislative review, board member Lawrence Feinberg, addressing the Channel 11 camera, pleaded with, "all the folks in the community who feel strongly about the integrity of science."

"Over the course of the summer, President Bush, and [Pennsylvania] senators [Rick] Santorum and [Arlen] Specter endorsed policies that would require the teaching of Intelligent Design in the science curriculum," Feinberg said. "I can't stress how strongly I object to that, especially at a time when we need scientists in this country. To adulterate the curriculum like this, it's reprehensible."

Intelligent Design is the theory that nature and complex biological structures were designed by an intelligent being and not created by chance.

"I have no problem with people practicing whatever religion they want and believing whatever they want, but it's not like we're going into churches and teaching science," Feinberg said.

Member Philip Hopkins agreed, adding that, "As school board members, we realize they're using seductive language, they want us to think all they're trying to do is get people to 'teach the controversy' - it's a way of tricking us, there is no controversy within the scientific community.

"They want us to give equal weight to wrong ideas, and we're derelict in our duties if we let this happen. They try to use scientific arguments against evolution; but the standard they hold evolution to is one they can't live up to themselves," Hopkins said.

"If you had proponents of this ... theory, who were motivated enough to run some folks for school board, well all it takes is five people to make the change. There's nine on the board and five votes is all it takes," Feinberg said.

The next meeting will be held at 7:30, on Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Haverford High School.

©News of Delaware County 2005


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