© Glendon Mellow, The Flying Trilobite

Up the ladder

(Being the ongoing story of a parent responding to non-science in the science classroom. See also Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.)

skinnerHaving given the teacher ample opportunity to put his strange comments in context, and having watched him bob and weave, I moved up the ladder one rung, dropping a note to the principal.

The principal is your ally in this, and s/he will often know that. You both have strong reasons to want non-science kept out of the science classroom. They’re not always the same reasons, and they don’t need to be. I don’t want to transfer my growing irritation at the teacher onto this more receptive set of ears. Instead, I’ll inform the administrator about the situation and be sure he knows why it matters.

Dear Mr. Weatherbee,

I wanted to bring a recent classroom incident to your attention. I was a teacher for 15 years, and my wife still is, so I hesitated before sending this, knowing the aggravation is seldom entirely welcome. But I also know that administrators need to know what’s going on in the classroom, especially when issues of this kind are involved.

Two weeks ago, my son Connor (grade 10) came home puzzled about a portion of the lecture in Harold Taylor’s Physical Science class. Mr. Taylor took the class through a series of overheads, including one that said (in Connor’s words), “Experiments or evidence in the present can’t tell us about the distant past.” Though a paraphrase, this is a common argument of intelligent design advocates.

Connor then quoted Mr. Taylor as saying that this odd claim is “a big problem for the evolutionists,” who have “a lot of little bits of bone but can never really know what they mean.” And so on, at length.

Assuming my son might have misunderstood, I contacted Mr. Taylor for clarification. We had a very polite exchange of emails in which he added another common intelligent design argument: that eyewitness evidence trumps circumstantial evidence, which is quite simply false.

I asked if he might share the overhead in question, and he has not consented to do so.

I am concerned first of all that Mr. Taylor is undercutting Georgia’s excellent science standards, which include clear instructions for the teaching of evolution. I am also unclear why he is addressing a branch of science unrelated to his course and training.

I know that this is a delicate topic. I’m not interested in creating unnecessary difficulties, including for Mr. Taylor — only in helping to ensure that science at Riverdale High is taught in accordance with the carefully crafted state performance standards and the extremely clear mandates of the courts. This includes Kitzmiller v. Dover, which noted that intelligent design serves only a “blatantly religious purpose” and as such does not belong in the science classroom.

Please accept my thanks in advance for your attention to this.

Warm regards,
Dale McGowan

Disinterested in creating unnecessary difficulties, and perfectly willing to create necessary ones. That’s the balance to strike.

My note was sent at 10 pm. Mr. Weatherbee replied at 6:54 the next morning:

Good Morning Mr. McGowan,

Thank you for your email. You are correct that this can be a very sensitive subject but this is something of which I need to be made aware. Please know that my expectation is that RHS maintains its high academic standards and that the state mandated curriculum is being supported in the classroom. Since your email is my first source of this concern, I obviously cannot comment other than to assure you I will investigate this further. If I find that the standards are not being supported, I will implement corrective action to rectify the situation.

Thank you again for sharing this concern.

Sincerely,
Waldo Weatherbee

That’s a very good reply. I thanked him for his prompt response. I plan to give him a reasonable amount of time, then check in to see what he’s found.

We’re not done, but at this point I’ve already achieved most of what I set out to do. Mr. Taylor has surely been shaken out of the complacent belief that he can spin ID-inspired threads in front of a captive audience without consequence. And Mr. Weatherbee now knows who to watch and what to watch for. That’s a win.

While I wait to hear back, I’ll check in with NCSE to bring them up to date and ask a few specific questions. What should I consider an acceptable resolution in this case? What if Taylor flatly denies it to Mr. W? And is it reasonable to insist on seeing the damn overheads that were trotted out in front of my son?

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This was written on Thursday, 09. September 2010 at 09:32 and was filed under action, Atlanta, belief and believers, Kerfuffles, My kids, Parenting, Science. You can keep up with the comments to this article by using the RSS-Feed.

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  1. Well done! A prompt and *very* encouraging reply from the principal. Sounds like he’s definitely in your corner. It ain’t over till it’s over, but I’d say you can breathe out now:)

    I know I’ve said this several times, but I’ll say it again here. You’ve shown over and over that it is entirely possible to make your point and stand your ground politely, calmly and without rancor. This exchange with Connor’s teacher and the principal is yet more proof that you don’t just talk that Can You Hear Me Now talk–you totally walk the walk. The emails you’ve posted here are proof positive that this is the way to get things *done*.

    Go, Dale!

    Comment: yokohamamama – 09. September 2010 @ 9:56 am

  2. I love reading your communications in this regard. Not only do you preach about ‘being heard’, but you clearly practice it as well. 🙂

    Keep up the good work Dale!

    Comment: BrianE – 09. September 2010 @ 10:41 am

  3. I’m not the NCSE, but I think it’s entirely reasonable for you to have access to instructional materials on request. Check your school district’s student/parent handbook – there might already be a policy in place that covers the situation.

    Comment: crwilley – 09. September 2010 @ 10:59 am

  4. “And is it reasonable to insist on seeing the damn overheads that were trotted out in front of my son?”

    It is absolutely reasonable. Teaching creationism in science class is akin to teaching that the Lunar Landing or the Holocaust were hoaxes. Whether they’re teaching falsehoods for political ideological reasons or for religious reasons, they’re still teaching falsehoods. This is contrary to the state and federal science curriculum guidelines, and is contrary to the desires of a society that values honesty.

    I think you’re handling this perfectly, and should continue to seek hard evidence of this apparently willful attempt to interject fringe religious views into a public science classroom.

    Comment: RickK – 09. September 2010 @ 11:11 am

  5. @crwilley: Thanks, I did check that, and there’s no explicit statement to that effect.

    Comment: Dale – 09. September 2010 @ 11:15 am

  6. Well done! I like the principal’s answer a lot. A side-by-side comparison of Taylor’s and Weatherbee’s responses would be an illuminating exercise for a writing or communications class.

    Comment: Michelle Galo – 09. September 2010 @ 2:24 pm

  7. Gadzooks. After (not entirely appropriately) urging Dale to contact NCSE earlier, I just had an episode in which a teacher in the local Career Center (what used to be called a ‘vocational school’) advertised the organization of an “Educators Prayer Group” to meet at a nearby Nazarene college, and encouraged those interested to contact him at his public school phone number or public school email address during school hours. My email about it to the Superintendent was answered within 8 hours and a modification of the contact info to the teacher’s personal phone number and email followed within 12 hours. Amazing how administrators have become sensitized to the issue after a still-ongoing situation (search Panda’s Thumb on “Freshwater”) has cost the public school district over $700K so far, and it’s still not resolved. Unfortunately, that same sensitization has not percolated down to teachers (yet). I cannot understand how “Not on the government’s time, not on the government’s dime” is so difficult to comprehend.

    Comment: RBH – 09. September 2010 @ 3:01 pm

  8. Actually, I see I mis-represented the timing above. My situation occurred a couple of weeks ago, around the same time Dale’s did. And I didn’t contact NCSE either, but rather (like Dale) handled it myself and blogged it. That makes my earlier critique of Dale more than a tiny bit ludicrous.

    Comment: RBH – 09. September 2010 @ 3:09 pm

  9. At this point of escalation, are you only communicating with the principal or do you still keep the teacher in the loop? In other words, did you CC Mr. Taylor on your email to the principal?

    Are there good reason for/against including the teacher in the communication with the principal?

    Comment: nonplus – 09. September 2010 @ 4:24 pm

  10. I didn’t cc him. That gives the principal some control over timing and approach, whereas a three-way conversation would throw him into it abruptly (i.e. he’d probably receive my email and Taylor’s follow-up at the same time). But I can certainly see going either way.

    Comment: Dale – 09. September 2010 @ 7:22 pm

  11. I think it may be a little too early to be encouraged by the principals response. He may be entirely sincere, and might make a good faith effort to investigate this incident & bring the errant Mr. Taylor into line; or maybe not. This is exactly the sort of response one would expect from an honest administrator with a pro-education agenda — but it also cannot (yet) be distinguished from what a creationism-supporting administrator might say.

    The real proof will come from the administrations next steps; whether Taylor is directed to follow the un-embellished science standards; whether this incident & the response kept on Taylors record; whether the administration is willing to share the details of the investigation; and etc.

    Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst — in this case, having to fight the entirety of the school science staff, administration, board, and so forth.

    Comment: JLBrown – 10. September 2010 @ 2:03 am

  12. I don’t think “Mr. Taylor” is spinning “ID-inspired threads” — I think he’s spinning young earth creationist threads. I think there’s a difference – as stated in the first posting, his stuff sounds like classic material out from Answers in Genesis. ID advocates don’t really care about the age of the earth – they just question evolution.

    Interesting stuff – I’m looking forward to subsequent postings on this.

    Comment: Tim Helble – 10. September 2010 @ 10:35 am

  13. “I don’t think “Mr. Taylor” is spinning “ID-inspired threads” — I think he’s spinning young earth creationist threads. I think there’s a difference…ID advocates don’t really care about the age of the earth – they just question evolution.”

    Spoken like an ID advocate trying to distance himself from the young earthers, which I guess I would as well. But one of the central points of the Kitzmiller decision was that ID is “a mere re-labeling of creationism” (p. 43), born out of necessity when the courts closed the noose on the latter. The creationist textbook “Of Pandas and People” that was at the center of the Dover trial was rewritten after the Edwards decision blocked creationism in the classroom. From Kitz:

    “By comparing the pre- and post-Edwards drafts of Pandas, three astonishing points emerge: (1) the definition for creation science in early drafts is identical to the definition of ID; (2) cognates of the word creation (creationism and creationist), which appeared approximately 150 times were deliberately and systematically replaced with the phrase ID; and (3) the changes occurred shortly after the Supreme Court held that creation science is religious and cannot be taught in public school science classes in Edwards…The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates, as noted, that the systemic change from “creation” to “intelligent design” occurred sometime in 1987, after the Supreme Court’s important Edwards decision. This compelling evidence strongly supports Plaintiffs’ assertion that ID is creationism re-labeled.” (32-33)

    This teacher didn’t say anything about earth’s age. If that’s where you draw the line, what’s the basis for saying he’s not spinning ID but something oh so different?

    Comment: cyncere – 10. September 2010 @ 11:54 am

  14. I think that you are overreacting to this teacher. What he said does have some truth — we can draw wrong conclusions from paleontological evidence.

    Also, I think that you misunderstand DNA testing. If a properly performed DNA test says that a DNA sample is not Mary’s, then we can be absolutely sure that the sample is not Mary’s. However, if the test says that the sample is Mary’s, then there is one chance in several billion that the sample actually came from someone else.

    IMO you should forget about the National Center for Science Education — the NCSE is run by a bunch of crackpots. NCSE director Eugenie Scott has said that religion is the only reason for doubting Darwin, and Peter Hess, the director of the NCSE’s “Religious Community Outreach,” has said that doubting Darwin is blasphemy.

    What about that stupid statement in the Florida state science education standards, “evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology”? That’s baloney.

    Comment: LarryFarma – 10. September 2010 @ 11:58 am

  15. @JLBrown: Certainly true, though I have many reasons for confidence in a non-last-scene-of-Braveheart outcome, including past experience in the district and school. It’s a pretty sane place. His reply was good in that it was exactly what he should have said.

    @cyncere: You beat me to it! I was just headed for my Kitzmiller when you rang through.

    @Larry: Hi Larry! Have a nice day.

    Comment: Dale – 10. September 2010 @ 12:08 pm

  16. cyncere – Actually, I don’t know what to make of ID. I accept that evolution is true, but I fit better in the theistic evolution category. I agree that in the Dover case, some young earth creationists on the school board were trying to get YEC’s foot in the door by using ID material. However, in a purely logical sense, Judge Jone’s decision has a flaw. It’s true that Dr. Forrest and the rest of the Kitzmiller team showed that “Of Pandas and People” originally used creationist language, but that only proved that Dean Kenyon was a creationist (which is true – I’ve seen his forward in “What is Creation Science”). To logically prove that ID is always creationism, you’d have to prove that every ID advocate was also a creationist. If one believes creationism = young earth creationism, then it clearly wouldn’t be right to say that ID = creationism, because many ID people don’t believe in a young earth. For example, Behe accepts evolution and an old earth. However, if you define creationism more broadly to include all who believe there was at least a “first cause” for the universe outside the physical reality that we understand, then I suppose you might have a case in arguing ID = creationism.

    Larry – I don’t think that’s fair to say that the NCSE is run by a bunch of crackpots. I don’t know Dr. Scott or any of the other leaders there, but I’ve seen her speak and she is very knowledgeable and she doesn’t just shoot from the hip. You obviously disagree with her, but that doesn’t make her a crackpot. BTW – do you have a link to an article, audio, or video where she stated that doubting Darwin is blasphemy? Knowing the context might be helpful.

    Comment: Tim Helble – 10. September 2010 @ 1:52 pm

  17. Re: Young Earth Creationism versus ID – the teacher asked the “eye witness” question. The implication is “God wrote the Bible through Moses, God was there to see the creation of the Earth, therefore we should treat the Bible as eye witness testimony (and so phooey on all your DNA and fossil evidence).”

    I think that is YEC, not ID.

    Either way, both assume divine magical intervention in the development of life on Earth – a leap based on faith, not evidence.

    Remember, ID proponents claim certain features are irreducibly complex, and therefore couldn’t have evolved without divine or supernatural intervention. And they claim DNA couldn’t have evolved naturally without divine or supernatural intervention. That requires a divine or supernatural entity to “create” something that they claim couldn’t possibly have evolved. That is creationism.

    Here’s a good test question – if the teaching of Christian Biblical Creationism were allowed in American public school science classes, would there be anyone advocating “Intelligent Design”?

    Comment: RickK – 10. September 2010 @ 3:04 pm

  18. cyncere says (#16) —

    >>>>>> Larry – I don’t think that’s fair to say that the NCSE is run by a bunch of crackpots. . . . .

    . . . .– do you have a link to an article, audio, or video where she stated that doubting Darwin is blasphemy? <<<<<<

    That was Faith Project (or Religious Community Ourtreach) director Peter Hess, not Eugenie Scott — it is discussed here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2010/04/is_id_blasphemous.php

    And in her last statement in the following interview, Eugenie Scott said, "antievolutionism is uniformly the product of religious opposition":

    http://www.ucpress.edu/blog/?p=5276

    Comment: LarryFarma – 10. September 2010 @ 3:48 pm

  19. I must say the irony of Larry Fafarman accusing others of being crackpots delicious. Though it appears I’m not the only one who can appreciate it.

    >>>”However, if the test says that the sample is Mary’s, then there is one chance in several billion that the sample actually came from someone else.”

    Of course he’s being disingenuous here, the problem then would not be with the science behind the concept of DNA testing, the problem would be with the DNA test itself. Though as an evolution denier (among other things) I’m not sure why he would even consider a DNA test to be valid in the first place.

    Tim Helble and RickK, ID is nothing more than unscientific creationism, designed specifically to bypass court rulings in order to teach religion in public school science classes. ID can cover both Young Earth and Old Earth Creationism, as part of their “big tent” strategy – which was to make evolution the enemy of God (the designer). That way they could garner support (and money) of OEC’s, YEC’s, heck even the Raellians, all as long as it helped their primary objective – remove evolution from public schools and replace it with religious apologetics. Behe may accept common descent, but like the rest of the DI is capable of dishonesty. Irreducible Complexity is after all nothing more than an anti-evolution argument. The DI has both OEC’s and YEC’s in its ranks.

    And as for Eugenie Scott saying: “antievolutionism is uniformly the product of religious opposition”, so what? She is correct. Take Larry for example.

    Please.

    Comment: Darth Robo – 10. September 2010 @ 5:06 pm

  20. >>>>>>> Of course he’s being disingenuous here, the problem then would not be with the science behind the concept of DNA testing, the problem would be with the DNA test itself. <<<<<<>>>>> And as for Eugenie Scott saying: “antievolutionism is uniformly the product of religious opposition”, so what? She is correct. Take Larry for example. <<<<<<

    Now I have heard everything.

    Comment: LarryFarma – 10. September 2010 @ 10:35 pm

  21. Sorry, apparently the inequality signs gave the wrong signals to the blog software, screwing up my comment. Here is my comment again:

    “Of course he’s being disingenuous here, the problem then would not be with the science behind the concept of DNA testing, the problem would be with the DNA test itself.”

    I was talking about properly performed DNA tests — testing labs reported that there was apparently a DNA match but that there was one chance in a few billion that the DNA sample in question actually came from someone else. So I assumed that this was the error inherent in DNA testing.

    “And as for Eugenie Scott saying: ‘antievolutionism is uniformly the product of religious opposition’ , so what? She is correct. Take Larry for example.”

    Now I have heard everything.

    Comment: LarryFarma – 10. September 2010 @ 10:52 pm

  22. How do I tell if a DNA test is performed properly? Certainly the police don’t – instead of 1 in a billion, the odds of a false match can be 1 in 3 or lower. See for example:

    http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/GeneWatch/GeneWatchPage.aspx?pageId=57&archive=yes

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2010/1003.bobelian.html

    http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/science_law/2009/04/taking-liberties-with-the-numbers.html

    jah

    Comment: jahigginbotham – 11. September 2010 @ 3:14 am

  23. Fafarman is a very strange creationist. While they are typically nutty, he comes across as a roaring loud belligerernt drunk. He may not actually touch a drop — but every time he speaks, I hear whiskey talking.

    Comment: mrg – 11. September 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  24. Hi Darth,

    I don’t think the original ID folks were sitting around back in the ’90s trying to come up with some way creationism could be sneaked into the public high schools. I think they were trying to find an intellectually satisfying alternative to young earth creationism. Irrespective of that, from my limited exposure to ID, it still seems like it relies on a “God in the gaps” approach, and I don’t think it belongs in high school science classes. Perhaps it could be discussed in college philosophy classes, but I don’t think anyone has made a convincing case that it is science. I still think this “Mr. Taylor” that Dale is dealing with is getting his information from YEC sources, and he should be dealt with as such.

    Comment: Tim Helble – 11. September 2010 @ 12:13 pm

  25. jah said: “How do I tell if a DNA test is performed properly? Certainly the police don’t – instead of 1 in a billion, the odds of a false match can be 1 in 3 or lower.”

    Is there anything we can do to ensure that an eyewitnessing was “performed properly”? Unlike DNA, there’s very little you can do to improve confidence.

    “The odds can be 1 in 3″ is not terribly meaningful. Cherry-pick the sample enough and the odds of anything “can be” 1 in 1 — like calculating the odds of a hot day and drawing the sample entirely from August. The question is whether in a given case, DNA evidence yields exceptionally high confidence, far beyond the eyewitness, and the answer is yes.

    Comment: Dale – 11. September 2010 @ 1:04 pm

  26. @RBH: I just saw your comment about the parallel with your own situation. You are too funny and honest. Cheers for that.

    Comment: Dale – 11. September 2010 @ 1:07 pm

  27. It’s interesting that commenters are flogging away at DNA without saying a word about the near worthlessness of eyewitness accounts.

    Comment: cyncere – 11. September 2010 @ 1:24 pm

  28. “Unlike DNA, there’s very little you can do to improve confidence [in eyewitness acounts].”

    Not exactly “do” but … only one witness, Howard Brennan, saw Lee Harvey Oswald shooting at President Kennedy, but Brennan was able to give police a description of the shooter that led to Oswald’s arrest.

    About six sets of independent witnesses saw Oswald gun down Dallas police officer Jaydee Tippit, or leaving the scene of the shooting with a pistol in his hand. The shooting was in public in broad daylight, and Oswald was soon arrested not very far away
    with a pistol whose cartridges matched the spent cartridges he had left at the scene of the crime. I think confidence is in order in that case.

    Comment: mrg – 11. September 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  29. A good example, mrg — one of countless eyewitness accounts that yielded great results.

    I’m not talking about individual cases. I meant that much has been done to improve the integrity of the path DNA takes from crime scene to court room, but that very little can be done to improve that path for the eyewitness account. So many more uncontrollable variables.

    Comment: Dale – 11. September 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  30. “So many more uncontrollable variables.”

    Ah, but one of the points I was making was that eyewitness evidence acquires more credibility when coupled to physical evidence. The attempt by creationuts to drive a wedge between the two is, as usual, an exercise in deception.

    Comment: mrg – 11. September 2010 @ 3:27 pm

  31. (#24) — “Fafarman is a very strange creationist. While they are typically nutty, he comes across as a roaring loud belligerernt drunk.”

    “I’m always kicking their butts — that’s why they don’t like me.”
    — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Comment: LarryFarma – 11. September 2010 @ 5:17 pm

  32. Don’t like you? Larry sport, you’re very amusing.

    Comment: mrg – 11. September 2010 @ 5:38 pm

  33. 34. PS: apologies to all for feeding the troll. I swear I won’t do it again.

    Comment: mrg – 11. September 2010 @ 5:45 pm

  34. [quote=Tim Helble] However, in a purely logical sense, Judge Jone’s decision has a flaw. It’s true that Dr. Forrest and the rest of the Kitzmiller team showed that “Of Pandas and People” originally used creationist language, but that only proved that Dean Kenyon was a creationist (which is true – I’ve seen his forward in “What is Creation Science”). To logically prove that ID is always creationism, you’d have to prove that every ID advocate was also a creationist. [/quote]

    This is incorrect. Judge Jones was asked to rule on the nature of ID itself, and he found that it was impossible to disentangle ID from its origin as religious apologetics. What the various pro-ID lying weasels say, and what the various pro-ID deceived dupes believe is entirely irrelevant. This ‘universally prove something irrelevant’ moving-the-goalposts maneuver doesn’t help you at all; I hope I am mistaken, but it is something to be expected out of a profoundly dishonest and all-too-familiar playbook.

    [quote=Tim Helble] I don’t think the original ID folks were sitting around back in the ’90s trying to come up with some way creationism could be sneaked into the public high schools. [/quote]

    Well, 1987 — not the nineties. But yes, this is precisely what the originators of ID were doing — and what proved so damning at the Kitzmiller trial. The entire purpose of the cut-and-paste operation on ‘Of Pandas and People’ was to use the intelligent design phraseology as code
    to sneak creationist propaganda into science class.

    [quote=Tim Helble] I think they were trying to find an intellectually satisfying alternative to young earth creationism. [/quote]

    Nope, ID is entirely content-free, it is vacuous, just a smoke screen. It’s entire existence is to provide legal obfuscation to cover religious apologetics. The attempt to use scientific methods to prove scripture was the genesis of ‘scientific creationism’ — an attempt which understandably, and rapidly, failed. In the absence of actual evidence in favor of scripture, scientific creationism fell back to the standard creationist canards.

    [quote=Tim Helble] Irrespective of that, from my limited exposure to ID, it still seems like it relies on a “God in the gaps” approach, and I don’t think it belongs in high school science classes. Perhaps it could be discussed in college philosophy classes, but I don’t think anyone has made a convincing case that it is science. I still think this “Mr. Taylor” that Dale is dealing with is getting his information from YEC sources, and he should be dealt with as such.[/quote]

    YEC and ID sources are basically indistinguishable, except when the ID folks think they are being watched. This preach-to-the-believers and deny-ever-preaching approach is one of the main characteristics of ID.

    The other major characteristic (take no positions at all, that way none of your positions may be attacked) allows the big tent, and is convenient in using pseudo-science attacks on evolution. If someone using long-disproven creationist chestnuts gets caught out, ID proponents can claim that the just-demolished argument wasn’t part of ID — but that there really are (unspecified) valid attacks on good science. Rinse & repeat with the next canard.

    Comment: JLBrown – 11. September 2010 @ 8:37 pm

  35. Proponents say: “Intelligent Design is the scientific search for evidence of design in nature.”

    In theory, that may be true. In practice however, ID is an advertising campaign and a tool for fundamentalist Christians who see it as a wedge with which to drive Genesis back into science classes and public policy.

    The actions of the ID proponents are not the actions of scientists. They do not attempt to convince their scientific peers with weight of evidence. They treat criticism as an attack, as a shunning, rather than as part of the gauntlet that any new scientific idea must run. The ID proponents appeal directly to the public with scientific-sounding books like “Signature in the Cell”, using math and terminology that the vast majority of the general public is not equipped to critique.

    And they use lawyers and press releases. The Discovery Institute in Seattle is promoting intelligent design with a media machine that is churning out several press releases every week. Using funding from Young Earth Creationists, the lawyers and politicos who head the Discovery Institute keep the ID “manufactroversy” in business.
    Actions speak louder than words. If there are any actual honest ID “scientists”, people actually trying to study something scientifically and trying to devise actual falsifiable tests, they are lost in sea of bamboozle and mis-direction that is the heart and soul of the “Intelligent Design” lobby.

    The pseudo-scientific advertising machine of the Discovery Institute most closely resembles the ad campaigns by Big Tobacco in the late 60s. But where Big Tobacco were (by their own admission) marketing doubt in the science that showed smoking causes cancer, the Discovery Institute (by its own admission) markets doubt in the materialist science of evolution.

    These are not the ACTIONS of people of science. They are the actions of people of politics and religious ideology.

    Never confuse what Intelligent Design should be and what Intelligent Design is.

    Some interesting links:

    Young Earth Creationist foundation of “Intelligent Design” movement:
    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/01/06/ahmanson/
    http://www.au.org/media/church-and-state/archives/2000/07/from-genesis-to.html

    Secret “Intelligent Design” marketing campaign strategy paper leaked by a copy shop operator:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy
    http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html

    “Creation Science” becomes “Intelligent Design” via cut & paste
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Pandas_and_People#Pandas_and_.22cdesign_proponentsists.22
    http://www.expelledexposed.com/

    Funding of creationist propoganda:
    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/laurilebo/2718/funding_of_creationist_organizations_doubles

    Comment: RickK – 11. September 2010 @ 9:54 pm

  36. Great series of posts, Dale. I learn a lot reading about the tactics you use.

    But I think RBH, has made a serious mistake at KCFS by coming out strongly as a non Christian, bluntly stating that he does not believe any of it and giving the iimpression that he never has.

    Back in 2006 he and other leaders over here kept these views to themselves and presented their position as simply one as being for good science education.

    To now mix it with a strong non Christian position is going to mean they won’t be able to be as effective if some attemtps are made in 2012 for a comeback by the other side, which I have reason to believe is in the offing.

    Again, thanks, as I like being kept informed about the tactics that are being used “behind the scenes”.

    Your blogging this matter has been very helpful.

    Comment: JD – 12. September 2010 @ 10:23 am

  37. I hasten to add that I always found KCFS to be a very useful site, but it is now has a discussion board that is dominated by, frankly, what I can only describe as propaganda for atheism.

    We all know atheism does not equal science, but the organizer of some local “free”thought groups who can’t seem to maintain his own discussion board had now decided that the Kansas Citizens for Science board is an ideal stomping ground.

    Quite unfortunate, actually, and it will undoubtedly be brought up by the opposition if KCFS tries to be as effective as they were in 2006.

    Comment: JD – 12. September 2010 @ 10:28 am

  38. (#27)
    Cyncere seems to be laboring under the misapprehension that anyone commenting on the reliability of one technique must also comment on another deemed less reliable. In which case, cyncere could have mentioned the reliability of psychics (which presumably would merit a rating of lower than “near worthlessness”). Partial atonement could be made contributing to the crocodile sanctuary people:
    http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-los-angeles/crocodile-sanctuary-destroyed-by-mob-inflamed-by-psychic

    jah

    Comment: jahigginbotham – 13. September 2010 @ 12:01 am

  39. dale said: Is there anything we can do to ensure that an eyewitnessing was “performed properly”?

    I suppose you could train people to be better observers; training improves almost any skill. But why ask me? I said nothing about eyewitnessing.

    dale said: The question is whether in a given case, DNA evidence yields exceptionally high confidence, far beyond the eyewitness, and the answer is yes.

    But studies seem to show that the confidence of DNA evidence is (often) overstated. In addition to the earlier links I provided, this is the first one I was pointed to: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2010/1003.bobelian.html
    So in addition to built-in biases of crime labs (which don’t seem to run very scientifically), there are deliberate misrepresentations of data by lab technicians, unreliable results obtained by poorly trained lab technicians, and (purposeful) misrepresentations by prosecutors/scientific experts.

    In short, it seems that the unwarranted belief in the reliability of eyewitness testimony has been replaced in some by a perhaps unwarranted belief in the reliability of scientific evidence, as presented in the court room.

    jah

    Comment: jahigginbotham – 13. September 2010 @ 1:17 am

  40. @jah: “Cyncere seems to be laboring under the misapprehension that anyone commenting on the reliability of one technique must also comment on another deemed less reliable…cyncere could have mentioned the reliability of psychics”

    Oh how tedious. Psychics were not mentioned by the teacher. Eyewitness accounts were.

    Comment: cyncere – 13. September 2010 @ 5:33 am

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