Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Misleading articles...frustrating


I try not to rant when I read articles like this, but I'm afraid that may be where this particular post is heading.

Marshall Helmberger, editor of Timberjay Newpapers has a few things to say about "Creationists" resorting to "deception". Let's consider this "deception" while pointing out either his ignorance or dishonesty. I'll try to give him the benefit of the doubt and consider that he just may not have all the facts.

He writes:
What’s most sad, is that this campaign against evolution has been waged largely through deception and distortion. Indeed, the purveyors of creationism were criticized for their “disingenuous” tactics by Judge John Jones III, who ruled in the Dover, Pennsylvania, case. Jones, by the way, was a religious conservative, appointed by President Bush on the recommendation of fundamentalist former Senator Rick Santorum.

Creationist advocates clearly had a sympathetic judge in the Dover case. They had their day in court, but their arguments were so patently flawed that the judge’s 139-page finding of fact was ultimately scathing. He even recommended some of the pro-creationism school board members be investigated for perjury.

Ugh...bets are on that the author of this article has never even glanced at this, this, or this.

Does he even realize that Judge Jones "borrowed" 90.9% (or 5,458 words) of his 6,004-word section on intelligent design as science from the ACLU’s proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” which had been submitted to Judge Jones nearly a month before his ruling? Does the fact that he had to borrow so much of what has been deemed as "his" decision indicate that he actually understood the science that he was considering? Did he have the scientific expertise to understand the issues well enough to deem them "patently flawed"? If he did, why would it be necessary to copy virtually verbatim from another document when putting together the section of his ruling on intelligent design as science?? And, why did he even choose to go so far as to decide whether ID is science or not?

The Dover school board had voted to have a statement read in the science classes before the unit on evolution was to be taught. That's it!! That's what the case was supposed to be about. Yes, there were very colorful and outspoken players on both sides of the Dover fiasco, and I don't doubt for a second that a few of the board members initially would have liked to have seen creation science addressed in some form. But, in the end, that is *not* what they decided to let pass, it had nothing to do with why they were being sued, and it had nothing to do with the court case. The case should have merely decided whether this statement....

The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it is still being tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

Intelligent design is an explanation of the Origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.

With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses up on preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments.

...would be read in the Dover schools.

But, DARWIN FORBID!!... We must not have our students doubting Darwinian evolution in any way, shape or form!!! Apparently these 4 short paragraphs were perceived as such a threat to the theory of evolution that all hell broke loose. So, not only did the Judge decide whether that statement could be read, but he went on to decide whether ID is science or not! The man is a court judge, not a scientist. It sounds to me like he was on a mission rather than being someone who was "sympathetic" to ID. Perks came along with this decision as well. Notoriety...he was featured in Time magazine as one of the most influential people of the year. He was also voted by Wired magazine as one of the “10 sexiest geeks”, and was asked to speak at several graduation commencements. He also hit the lecture circuit and appeared on national television several times. It sounds like his life was pretty exciting after the Dover trial.

Helmberger continues:
Where I draw the line is when such individuals try to force their unscientific and insupportable beliefs into the science curriculum of our public schools. While many of us followed the recent ruling in the Dover, Pennsylvania, case, where the school board was successfully sued for forcing science teachers to teach creationism’s newest incarnation, dubbed “intelligent design,” we should take little solace from the fact that sound science prevailed.

The author of this article has the *audacity* to accuse ID supporters of "deception and distortion" all the while throwing out misleading information like the paragraph above. He should have to make a retraction in regard to this article due to the fact that the Dover school board did not pass anything remotely similar to "teach[ing] creationism's newest incarnation, dubbed "intelligent design"". First of all, the theories (creation science & ID) are completely different from one another other than they both ultimately infer a designer. This indicates that he apparently is not very familiar with either ID or creation science. Second, the board did *NOT* pass *anything* remotely close to "forcing science teachers to *teach* ID".

Reading those four paragraphs before the teachers taught the unit on evolution is certainly *not* "teaching" intelligent design!!!! Helmberger's statement in this regard is dripping with "deception". I could possibly choose to consider that perhaps he was merely ignorant of the facts, but he stated that he followed the trial, so he should know better.

He goes on:
I’ve seen plenty of this kind of truth-twisting closer to home. Just as they advocate in other parts of the country, local creationists routinely attempt to falsely equate evolution with atheism, in hopes that the devout will choose religion over science. It’s a false choice, of course, since there is absolutely no contradiction between religious beliefs and an acceptance of evolution.

LOL...I wonder if the man has ever spent any time in "science" forums or blogs. There is certainly a direct link between atheism and Darwinian evolution. The vast majority of Darwinian activists I've run across on line are hard core atheists. He should spend a little time surfing atheist blogs, science blogs and forums, and humanist websites. The first thing you encounter is their overwhelming awe for science and their acknowledgement that evolution supports their atheism. You'll also find endless examples of religion bashing. Here's just a little example I ran across just today:

Scientology is an obvious piece of fraudulence and (to take an example at {cough} randomn) the foundational religion behind a series of diverse sects pretty much all of whom believe that the eternal intelligent entity, who supposedly created the entire awesome expanse of the universe and every creature in it, sent one part of his threefold yet singular self disguised as an ape to this insignificant planet in a "remote" part of the galaxy to be born to a female ape who'd never had sex, and for who's species there was little to no evidence of parthenogenesis, live like a tit and die nailed to a bit of dead tree two-ish thousand years ago just so some apes could feel good about cornholing their neighbour's wife and coveting a golden calf ISN'T an obvious piece of fraudulence?

Add the "send me your money" organisations and you have the greatest scam ever sold! Tom Cruise would cream his oh-so-heterosexual shorts for their budget.

Don't get me started on non-existent global floods, winged fiery chariots, the evils of shellfish, reincarnation, anti-reason, paedophile prophets, wee-wee chopping, the universe being formed out of some milk, a deity for every hobby, human sacrifice, fucking unicorns, and the Dream Time. The amount of starkly obvious bollocks devised by those people professing religion of one type or another is hardly subtle or small.

I run across this stuff all the time in "science" forums. Religion bashing is just par for the course with these people, and atheism is certainly connected with Darwinian evolution. After all, Richard Dawkins says that "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist". So, let's not be coy and act as if there is no connection whatsoever.

Helmberger continues:
In addition, creationists falsely claim that Darwin’s theory suggests life began on Earth on its own.

The author is from Minnesota...perhaps he's familiar with the University of MN's biology professor and militant proselytzing atheist, PZ Myers. Maybe he should ask Myers whether the theory of evolution suggests that life was created in a simpler form by a Creator. Better yet, ask the majority of Professors at our Universities whether they believe there was a Creator and you're likely to get a "Nay". Because...

The fact is that a professor at an elite university is as likely to be
an atheist as a suicide bomber is to be Muslim; a 2006 paper by Neil Gross of Harvard and Solon Simmons of George Mason University reported that 72.9 percent of the professors they polled described the Bible as “an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts,” compared to 17.5 percent of the general population. In the same paper, 34 percent of all university professors described themselves as “not religious” and 31.2 percent specified “none” when asked about their current religious preference. -The Irrational Atheist/pg. 15

The ToE does not address abiogenesis, but it certainly implies that there is no need for a designer because *any* consideration of design is banned from the classroom...that leaves only one consideration...naturalism. The ToE gets off easy because it's advocates merely wave away the massive problems between the connection as to how the mechanisms of evolution got started on that first simple cell (wherever it came from). WE MUST SIMPLY IGNORE THOSE MASSIVE PROBLEMS, BECAUSE THAT'S NOT PART OF DARWIN'S THEORY!! But, that doesn't stop them from telling us that their theory is a "FACT". So, we are to consider the theory already fully functioning to the point where much of nature is already well established. Then we add millions upon millions of years, and WHALA! works like a charm (or so they tell us). Darwinists simply can't be bothered with all those complex problems regarding how their theory originated. Nor can they explain why we have no empirical evidence supporting these supposed macroevolutionary changes. The entire concept of common descent is based on inference and common *design*. So which is it?

Darwin, in fact, suggested that life was created in simpler form by a Creator, but that evolution has led to the remarkable diversity we see today. That’s a view that’s held today by many scientists, and many non-scientists, who are also individuals of faith.

Hmmm....As his theory evolved, Darwin's Christian faith also blatant agnosticism. But, let's not burst the author's bubble about that one. So, unless this author is selling agnosticism, Darwin is not a good example to point to in regard to suggestions that life was created in a simpler form by a Creator unless he's considering comments made by Darwin in his early years....before "reality"[sic] and full blown agnosticism set in.

I do so abhor these type of articles primarily due to the fact that the author has set out to deem "creationists" as dishonest, deceptive, and guilty of distorting facts. The thing is, that when I read through their accusations, their blatant hypocrisy leaps from the page. It really makes you wonder whether they even have a clue that they are relaying horrifically misleading information to the public.`

Post Note.