Christian Schools Suing University of California

The Association of Christian Schools International has sued the University of California because UC has refused to certify “science” courses that teach creationism. You just knew this was going to happen, right? The poorly-educated spawn they’re churning out is coming face-to-face with the real world and isn’t measuring up. So naturally, they sue.

From an LA Times article:

According to the lawsuit, UC’s board of admissions also advised the school that it would not approve biology and science courses that relied primarily on textbooks published by Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books, two Christian publishers.

Instead, the board instructed the schools to “submit for UC approval a secular science curriculum with a text and course outline that addresses course content/knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community.”

“It appears that the UC system is attempting to secularize Christian schools and prevent them from teaching from a world Christian view,” said Patrick H. Tyler, a lawyer with Advocates for Faith and Freedom, which is assisting the plaintiffs.

Secularize Christian schools? Bullshit. No one is stopping you from teaching your own little myth. You just gotta teach something that is actually true as well. In reality, these crazed loons can’t do this, of course, without blowing a head gasket, so they have little choice but to sue. Or something.

It’s really these guys that want to dumb down everyone else. Where’s the end of this? You don’t want to teach math but still want to go to a university? And that whole readin’ and writin’ thing is overrated as well. When you start messing with academic standards like this lawsuit it just devalues everyone else’s education – as evidenced by these children’s diplomas becoming worthless because their “school” refuses to actually educate its students.

I kinda feel bad for the kids. For the most part, they didn’t choose these schools, but unfortunately, they are paying the price for the nut-jobs out there who have an agenda.

Buttars in the News Again

State Senator Chris Buttars from West Jordan, Utah is AGAIN in the news for his ridiculous pandering stance on intelligent design. From the AP:

The state Board of Education next week will consider a position statement on the matter. The statement likely will support the current curriculum and include language on teacher sensitivity to student beliefs … Buttars plans to address the board on his stand that evolution should be taught “as an unsubstantiated theory.”

If the board refuses, Buttars said he would request that intelligent design be taught in some sort of humanities class.

“Unsubstantiated theory.” This fool is completely ignorant. If this keeps up we’re going to get as good a reputation as Kansas.

This comes after his July 18th retraction of his bill that would require teaching intelligent design in class. Of course he on did this because “State Board of Education director Patti Harrington assured him that Utah public school curriculum does not teach that man descended from apes,” which is good because we DIDN’T DECEND FROM APES, but a common ancestor. He would have known this previously if he’d actually read a book. I can’t help but imagining Harrington snickering to herself as she assured Buttars that this wasn’t taught, simply because it ISN’T TRUE.

ISU Faculty Opposing Idiocy

This article from the Des Moines Register shows how far intelligent design has infiltrated our educational system. At Iowa State University – a University!!! – they are having a forum “on how the theory of intelligent design should be taught.” Ack! They’re even calling it a theory. Fortunately, 124 of the ISU faculty have signed a petition opposing the teaching of intelligent design as a scientific theory at the school. But get this:

Guillermo Gonzalez , an ISU astronomy professor who is nationally known for his research on intelligent design, said his colleagues are creating a hostile work climate by circulating the petition.

“I’m really taken back by the viciousness of the attack,” Gonzalez said Thursday in an interview with The Des Moines Register. “I’m amazed at the campaign they are orchestrating to try to intimidate me with this petition.”

Well, professor, maybe they’re getting a little fed up with idiots pushing a “theory” that doesn’t have a single piece of evidence backing it up; a “theory” whose only real purpose is to attack the theory of evolution; a “theory” with any merit whatsoever. Perhaps they are tired of fighting a constant battle against the mindless followers of this junk “science.”

Persons supporting intelligent design like Gonzalez always fall back on the “I’m being persecuted” line. This is always their defense when confronted with the fact that there has never been any published evidence for intelligent design. Indeed, Gonzalez’s own book, which he says “argues for design based on evidence drawn from the physical sciences,” is published not by any scientific press, but by Regnery Publishing, a self-described “conservative publisher.” They put out such great works as Unfit for Command, the book that unfairly portrayed John Kerry as a liar during the last presidential election cycle. This same publisher has been linked to white supremacist groups. Perfect place for a scientific treatise, huh?

Gonzalez said he doesn’t want to attend forums because he doesn’t approve of Avalos’ [associate professor of religious studies at ISU] tactics.

He said he is the only “lightning rod” for intelligent design at ISU, which is why he said he feels the petition targets him.

Baldwin said she understands Gonzalez’s reluctance to attend the forum.

“I think the problem here is we have a great number of faculty en masse who have said this is not science,” she said. “Dr. Gonzalez is there, perhaps, alone. I don’t know how many supporters he has in his department.”

I feel so sorry for him. He’s a lightning rod for intelligent design. Poor baby. Maybe if he didn’t support such crackpot theories he’d feel better.

Gates Funding Intelligent Design

This Salon article gives a good summary about something I’ve seen mentioned a few times during the great ID debate: That the Gates Foundation (Bill Gates’ charitable arm) has given over $10 million to the Discovery Institute, the prime pushed of intelligent design around the world. This “think tank” is responsible for just about every piece of ID propaganda in the US. However, they do have other projects, including one called the Cascadia Project, a program aimed at improving transportation in the Northwest. It is to this project Gates’ foundation is providing money. So he’s not directly funding intelligent design research. But he is funding a good portion of the Discovery Institutes’ founder and current director, Bruce Chapman – to the tune of $50,000 a year. Ostensibly for the work on the transportation project.

Check out this quote from the Salon Article:

In an e-mail, Keith Pennock, the program administrator of Discovery’s Center for Science and Culture (which runs its intelligent design work), concurs. “Mr. Martin is a member of the Discovery Board in his individual capacity and does not represent the Microsoft Corporation. Does Microsoft support Discovery’s work on intelligent design? No.”

Kennock ends his e-mail to Salon with criticism over the inquiry into the groups that finance Discovery’s work. “Finally, I have been asked to advise you that it is unseemly for people who dislike one program at a think tank (or a university — or an on-line magazine, for that matter) to try to pressure funders of other programs there,” he writes. “It is illiberal and contrary to the spirit of free speech.”

Yes, well, that’s a nice sentiment, and one I’d be generally inclined to agree with. Except that the Discovery Institute’s pushing of intelligent design is so odious and so contrary to Bill Gates’ statements about the poor quality of science education in the states that it merits special attention.

Maybe this explains why Windows sucks so much – they’re relying on the mythical creator to fix all it’s problems. :-)

Bill Frist Supports Intelligent Design

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist came out in favor of intelligent design recently. Frist is a actually a medical doctor, and someone you’d expect to have a firm grasp of biology. You’d be wrong to expect this, of course. See, Frist doesn’t even know if you can catch AIDS from tears. Or at least he won’t admit it. And he diagnosed Terry Schiavo as being just fine by watching a video tape. Of course later the autopsy proved he was completely wrong.

In all fairness, he recently endorsed stem cell research so he’s not all bad. He’s been taking a lot of heat from the loony fringe over this. The ID endorsement probably leveled things back out. As long as you remain evenly anti-intelligent, you’re OK for a run for president.

Drooling Masses Out in Force

short blurb in Boing Boing (one of the finest places on the web.) Yesterday one of their regular contributors, Xeni, posted another piece about the Flying Spaghetti Monster. In response, she received a bucket of email from ID supporters, including one from someone named Anne Kenny who – get this – challenged the entire world to answer Dr. Dino‘s (aka, Kent Hovind) $250,000 Evolution Challenge, in where he will give you $250,000 if you can provide any evidence of evolution. Of course, there are MAJOR caveats to his offer, which he doesn’t publicize to his mouth-breathing faithful. Read about them here.

Dr. Dino is so discredited, even his fellow creation “science” peers try to pretend he isn’t there. But the mindless masses still listen to his seminars (he gives several a month) and he’s definitely a star on the earth-is-6000-years-old circuit.

Well, Boing Boing has offered up $250,000 to anyone “…if they can produce empirical evidence which proves that Jesus is not the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” Well, $250,000 faith-based dollars.

Get started! May you be touched by His Noodly Appendage! RAmen!

Another Clueless “Analyst”

I should have known what I was going to read when I saw this article. I should have known because the site was called “Renew America”, code for “All you godless heathens need to get out.” But read it I did. The guy who wrote it, Fred Hutchison, actually gives some good scientific philosophy background. Well, he got the people and their philosophy right, but he’s completely out in right field when applying their work to his pet cause. In reality, he’s just using this history to set up an elaborate strawman argument. One COMPLETELY and UTTERLY divorced from reality.

Check this out:

Recurring statement of evolutionists: “We do not have to respond to criticism from intelligent design people because they are not of science.” Truth: It is a fallacy to say they are not of science because they do not subscribe to a philosophy of materialism. It is contrary to an essential principle of science that inconvenient criticism can be disregarded. One of the time-tested principles of science is that the science community must attempt to “falsify” the results of research. Only conclusions that cannot be falsified should be accepted as sound research. The refusal of evolutionists to answer serious criticisms might be an evidence that they have no answer and prefer to silence the conversation.

This comes toward the middle of the article. He spends most of his words creating a random chain of reasoning that somehow science is all about materialism. Well, that’s nice. But what does that have to do with being able to falsify results? Materialism is a philosophy that that everything comes down to basic matter and it’s interactions. Something most scientists would agree with, I’d bet, but it isn’t necessarily a core tenant of science. Being able to falsify results is, and is something that the ID theorists (and the author of the article) need to throw out. See, with no way of testing their hypothesis (that an outside “being” or “force” (code for God in most of their minds) guided the creation of all life) they need to resort to tearing down science itself, by getting rid of one of it’s key tenets. Their whole “theory” is nothing more than a random conjecture if you can’t test (falsify) it. It’s no better than Last Tuesdayism.

But it gets even better:

Recurring statement of evolutionists: “There is no evidence to support intelligent design and no evidence that challenges evolution.” Truth: Such a statement can only be made by a liar, or one who has never read what the intelligent design scientists are saying. Evolutionists get away with the big lie tactic by suppressing the works of intelligent design scientists.

Yes, it’s all the big bad evolutionists suppressing the poor freedom fighters of intelligent design. I’ll give you a leg up here. The ONLY “evidence” that the intelligent design people have is this: Their own disbelief that something complex could come about without outside help. That’s it. There is absolutely NOTHING more to it than that. Everything else is just frosting on their cake of incredulity. In other words, they can’t believe their eyes, so they turn to making up invisible beings. For some reason, this makes more sense to them, but just don’t ask them to tell you where these invisible beings came from.

And we come last portion of the article where the author goes and dumps out some well-worn and well-rebutted creationist/intelligent design arguments against evolution. We’ll get to those in a moment, but I’d like to point something out (again.) Intelligent design doesn’t give any real evidence of it’s truth. It’s only purpose it to attack evolution, and we can see this in this article. Instead of putting forward a rational argument for intelligent design and show why it explains the facts as they have been observed better than evolution, it’s proponents only attack the the theory of evolution itself. And do it badly, as we’ve seen time and time again. On to his attack:

So in order, we have the old Cambrian Explosion “mystery”:

All nine phyla of complex animals appeared suddenly in the Cambrian rock in China. No complex animals appear in Pre-Cambrian rock. No transitional forms of simple creatures evolving into more complex creatures appear in Pre-Cambrian rocks. Some Chinese scientists have rejected Darwinism because of these findings. The American evolution establishment has suppressed the information, so that many American scientists and students of science have never heard of the “Cambrian explosion.” Scientists in Communist China have significant freedom of thought and publication. Biological science in democratic America is under the dictatorship of the evolution establishment. However, if President Bush has his way, high school children will be allowed to hear about the “Cambrian explosion.”

Well it’s nice that someone read a book and regurgitated the nine phyla fact. But it isn’t quite true about the complex animals missing from Pre Cambrian rock. See this for more information. And I like the dodge here: “No transitional forms of simple creatures evolving into more complex creatures appear in Pre-Cambrian rocks.” Notice that he doesn’t say Post-Cambrian (or even during the Cambrian explosion itself!) These transitional fossils are well documented. As to these mysterious Chinese scientists, well, good for them. As we’ve seen, being ignorant isn’t just an American thing. And it’s well known that President Bush is a well-respected micro-biologist and paleontologist when he’s not saving the world from the evil horde of evolutionists.

Claim two I cannot even begin to address here. It’s so full of mistakes, misconceptions, and misunderstandings of basic biology it’s truly amazing. Dogs can’t evolve into cats? Well, ok then. “A society of breeders can start with poodles and after thousands of generations of selective breeding wind up with a Saint Bernard. All the information in poodle DNA is also in Saint Bernard DNA.” Ahh, I bet their DNA isn’t identical. They’ve evolved. And somehow this turns into a rant about micro-evolution and macro-evolution, with some sort of assumption that the evolutionists don’t want our children to hear because it might make them question the God of Evolution and the Posse of Darwin. Or something. But again, President Bush to the rescue: “It is very easy to conceal the difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution from students. The evolutionists do not play fair. If President Bush has his way, students will be allowed to hear about the difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution.” Nobody is hiding anything. Read this for the real info.

Claim three is the old punctuated equilibrium theory, but muddled into a complete mess. He begins with a quick (and partly erroneous) introduction to PE, then inexplicably goes on to imply that the (evil) evolutionists wanted to suppress Gould’s theory: “Gould was too famous and too widely published for his theory of punctuated equilibrium to be suppressed. However, the evolution establishment has enough clout to prevent school children from hearing about punctuated equilibrium.” Again, we see the attacks against evolution. PE has been left by the wayside because it didn’t fit the facts well enough. But to these crusaders, is a suppression of the Truth. Or something. See, they don’t really care about what’s really fact or fiction. All they really want is a way to tear down the theory of evolution. Intelligent design or discredited theories – it doesn’t matter to them what the truth really is, as long as they can continually heap scorn on evolution. It’s they who want to suppress the truth about the world, and no one else. Apparently PE is too much for old Bush; the author doesn’t mention that he’ll be pushing this theory personally to the students of the world. (For more info on PE, see here and here.)

At the bottom you have these rather astounding closing paragraphs:

Like the theory of evolution, intelligent design science has links to a philosophy, namely the philosophy of Deism and natural law. However, intelligent design science is protected from corruption by its careful adherence to the empirical disciplines of Francis Bacon.

In conclusion, whether one believes in evolution or intelligent design science, one is obliged to consider that at present, the intelligent designers are operating at a higher level of integrity than the evolution establishment.

Ack! Bacon would eat these idiots for lunch. For all practical purposes, he FREAKING CREATED the methods of scientific inquiry being used today. The very same method being dismissed in the beginning of the article. Somehow, it’s the scientists with an enormous body of evidence for evolution that are in the wrong here. This author should be ashamed of himself for writing such obvious and utter falsehoods. A higher level of integrity? Bullshit. This article is the epitome of lack of integrity.

Idiocy at Home

Here in the great state of Utah, a state senator, Chris Buttars R-West Jordan, is trying to cram intelligent design down the throats of the local school board, who is unanimously against the idea. Buttars, apparently not one to take no for an answer, says that if the two sides can’t compromise (read as, “I get my way”) he’ll introduce a state bill to force the issue: “Legislation is a last resort,” Buttars said. “I’m still working on it, but I’m really not highly hopeful we’ll come to a consensus.”

Someone needs to stand in the corner. Despite the religious domination of the LDS church here, to their credit, there does seem to be some separation of church teachings and the classroom. State board chairman Kim Burningham:

“As I understand and as I read, the intelligent design concept is a concept that many of us have sympathy with, but it’s not one based on science, and to put it in a science curriculum seems to me would be a misplaced position,” Burningham said. “We always (try to) separate in this state very carefully our religious beliefs (from state operations). That general philosophy, it seems to me, needs to continue.”

Well spoken. Buttars: GET A CLUE. This crap you’re promoting is only being pushed because people don’t understand the science, and pandering to these drooling mouth-breathers doesn’t make you look very good.

However, to be fair, Buttars has stated he would consider teaching intelligent design in a mandatory philosophy or humanities class. Sounds better than teaching it alongside the theory of evolution in science class; but pushing this nonsense in any form is just another slide down the slippery slope. I notice that these people pushing ID wouldn’t consider teaching it along side all the other creation myths of the world. ‘Cause they’re wrong.

Link to Deseret News article about the issue.

Clue Free Columns for Today

There are so many people penning misinformed missives about evolution every day, both in print and on the web, it’s nearly impossible to keep up the critiques. But here are some links for today, if you like either inflict pain on yourself or write ranting, angry letters to editors and authors. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out why these guys are clueless, but that shouldn’t be difficult.
  J. Grant Swank, Jr., The Conservative Voice, Evolution: “Intelligent Design? Why Not God?”   Thomas Dawson, American Chronicle, Intelligent Design and Evolution   Joseph G. McCormack, Gilroy Dispatch, Letter to the Editor  Read and try to breath between your fits of laughter and/or rage.