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Those Defensive Darwinists
The Seattle Times ^ | 11/21/05 | Jonathon Witt

Posted on 11/22/2005 12:44:07 PM PST by Michael_Michaelangelo

THE first court trial over the theory of intelligent design is now over, with a ruling expected by the end of the year. What sparked the legal controversy? Before providing two weeks of training in modern evolutionary theory, the Dover, Pa., School District briefly informed students that if they wanted to learn about an alternative theory of biological origins, intelligent design, they could read a book about it in the school library.

In short order, the School District was dragged into court by a group insisting the school policy constituted an establishment of religion, this despite the fact that the unmentionable book bases its argument on strictly scientific evidence, without appealing to religious authority or attempting to identify the source of design.

The lawsuit is only the latest in a series of attempts to silence the growing controversy over contemporary Darwinian theory.

For instance, after The New York Times ran a series on Darwinism and design recently, prominent Darwinist Web sites excoriated the newspaper for even covering intelligent design, insulting its proponents with terms like Medievalist, Flat-Earther and "American Taliban."

University of Minnesota biologist P.Z. Myers argues that Darwinists should take an even harder line against their opponents: "Our only problem is that we aren't martial enough, or vigorous enough, or loud enough, or angry enough," he wrote. "The only appropriate responses should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some teachers, many school board members, and vast numbers of sleazy far-right politicians."

This month, NPR reported on behavior seemingly right out of the P.Z. Myers playbook.

The most prominent victim in the story was Richard Sternberg, a scientist with two Ph.D.s in evolutionary biology and former editor of a journal published out of the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. He sent out for peer review, then published, a paper arguing that intelligent design was the best explanation for the geologically sudden appearance of new animal forms 530 million years ago.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel reported that Sternberg's colleagues immediately went on the attack, stripping Sternberg of his master key and access to research materials, spreading rumors that he wasn't really a scientist and, after determining that they didn't want to make a martyr out of him by firing him, deliberately creating a hostile work environment in the hope of driving him from the Smithsonian.

The NPR story appalled even die-hard skeptics of intelligent design, people like heavyweight blogger and law professor Glenn Reynolds, who referred to the Smithsonian's tactics as "scientific McCarthyism."

Also this month, the Kansas Board of Education adopted a policy to teach students the strengths and weaknesses of modern evolutionary theory. Darwinists responded by insisting that there are no weaknesses, that it's a plot to establish a national theocracy — despite the fact that the weaknesses that will be taught come right out of the peer-reviewed, mainstream scientific literature.

One cause for their insecurity may be the theory's largely metaphysical foundations. As evolutionary biologist A.S. Wilkins conceded, "Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superfluous one."

And in the September issue of The Scientist, National Academy of Sciences member Philip Skell argued that his extensive investigations into the matter corroborated Wilkins' view. Biologist Roland Hirsch, a program manager in the U.S. Office of Biological and Environmental Research, goes even further, noting that Darwinism has made a series of incorrect predictions, later refashioning the paradigm to fit the results.

How different from scientific models that lead to things like microprocessors and satellites. Modern evolutionary theory is less a cornerstone and more the busybody aunt — into everyone's business and, all the while, very much insecure about her place in the home.

Moreover, a growing list of some 450 Ph.D. scientists are openly skeptical of Darwin's theory, and a recent poll by the Louis Finkelstein Institute found that only 40 percent of medical doctors accept Darwinism's idea that humans evolved strictly through unguided, material processes.

Increasingly, the Darwinists' response is to try to shut down debate, but their attempts are as ineffectual as they are misguided. When leaders in Colonial America attempted to ban certain books, people rushed out to buy them. It's the "Banned in Boston" syndrome.

Today, suppression of dissent remains the tactic least likely to succeed in the United States. The more the Darwinists try to prohibit discussion of intelligent design, the more they pique the curiosity of students, parents and the general public.

TOPICS: Editorial; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: darwin; evolutionism; intelligentdesign
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To: Cicero

' but a candle in a cavernous
foyer of a castle with infinite rooms.

The sum total of all that mans
science "understands" is but a
thimblefull of that which even
man can comprehend that we do
not know about the world around us.

These "scientists are as arrogant and
ignorant as the priests and Dojes
who mocked and pesecuted Copernicus.

41 posted on 11/22/2005 1:29:22 PM PST by Baby Driver
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To: 2nsdammit
"Have you actually READ any advanced biology textbooks, let alone followed up reading the footnotes?"

No. I am not a biologist. My information comes from a survey of college biology textbooks that appeared in one of the ID books. I could look it up. The survey found that the theory of evolution received only passing mention in the textbooks.
42 posted on 11/22/2005 1:33:13 PM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: The Old Hoosier

"I'd love to see the scientific establishment be as rigorous about teaching that homosexual activity causes AIDS and should be avoided, as they are about evolution. "

So you are in favor of Sex Education in our schools, then?

43 posted on 11/22/2005 1:33:15 PM PST by 2nsdammit (By definition it's hard to get suicide bombers with experience.)
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To: Steve_Seattle
I could look it up. By all means, do so. And post it here, so we could read it. Then we could debate the specific claim, rather than the paraphrased interpretation of it. That's all I ask for....
44 posted on 11/22/2005 1:36:02 PM PST by 2nsdammit (By definition it's hard to get suicide bombers with experience.)
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo

Ah Darwinists, just another group of lefty wanna-be control freaks.

45 posted on 11/22/2005 1:41:22 PM PST by vpintheak (Liberal = The antithesis of Freedom and Patriotism)
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To: balrog666; PatrickHenry
Yet another example of anti-Evo dishonesty, this time by omission. The posted article would appear to be a news article published by the Seattle Times.

It isn't.

It's a guest editorial written by, you guessed it, a functionary from the anti-Evo and misnamed "Discovery Institute" :

"Jonathan Witt is a senior fellow with Discovery Institute and co-author of "A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Science Reveal the Genius of Nature" (IVP 2006)."

But in as much as the anti-Evos were caught lying through their teeth under oath in the Dover Trial, it would be of little surprise that their apologists here on FR would resort to milder forms of deception, such as camouflaging the TRUE source of the posted article, by way of omission.

46 posted on 11/22/2005 1:42:33 PM PST by longshadow
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To: kimosabe31
This statement was in response to me saying that people should be taught what we know thus far and then be able to decide for themselves. Evolution is a Generalization, we do not yet know all the specifics of it and probably never will.

""Look're wrong. Darwinism has long ago been shown to be pure mythology. It's only supporters are the phoney profs that use it as a vehicle for dumbing down the naive student population and applying for federal grants, AND gullible followers. Tell me, when's the last time you saw a half man-half ape OR a half man-half fish? You suggest: Tell the truth and people can decide. It seems to me people are deciding and the darwinist "groupies" view this independent thought as encroachment on their turf. Since they cannot bear detailed scrutiny, they make haste to silence the opposition.""

You have got to be kidding me. No really, are you serious? Because I hate to tell you but that whole story about Adam and Eve- that's mythology. You are basically taking the position that the whole field of Anthropology is mythology. Do you not believe in Dinosaurs either?

47 posted on 11/22/2005 1:42:57 PM PST by LauraleeBraswell
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To: 2nsdammit

Read his self-identifying statement. He's some kind'a squish.

48 posted on 11/22/2005 1:43:02 PM PST by (The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense.)
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To: RogueIsland
Intelligent questions are allowed. When ID has a couple, let us know.

You are quiote right. The only use ID has ever developed is to spur more research into what they call 'holes' in evolution. The flagellum is a great example. After the issue was raised by the IDer's, in particular Behe, biologists did their homework and learned a lot. And the information still supported evolution adn gained us more insight right down to the genetic level. The IDer's think they find 'holes' in evolution, but they are really promoting research opportunities that favor evolution.

THe only problem is that planning research like this is like playing a never ending whack-a-mole game.

49 posted on 11/22/2005 1:44:39 PM PST by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
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To: The Old Hoosier; 2nsdammit
The problem with sex education is that many schools don't teach the truth. There is nothing to fear in the truth. Truth educates. Now, we would have less of a public health problem if it was taught that anal penetration, a frequent practice of homosexual men, is the primary way AIDs is transmitted. That condoms were not made for anal sex, that condoms are 70% effective, and if young school age adults were shown the horrible effects of STDs.
50 posted on 11/22/2005 1:47:06 PM PST by LauraleeBraswell
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To: wyattearp
It is a gross exaggeration.

Of course it is. And therefore worthy of being shouted down.

51 posted on 11/22/2005 1:47:44 PM PST by TN4Liberty (American... conservative... southern.... It doesn't get any better than this.)
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To: proxy_user
"Could it be that the 'junk DNA' found in the genome is actually meta-DNA that can 'think' and design useful, instead of random, mutations?

Actually, 'junk' DNA was termed that because it was non-encoding and carried left overs. But now information is showing that this DNA may have regulatory functions.

52 posted on 11/22/2005 1:48:49 PM PST by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
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To: Coyoteman
I wonder if she believes in Dinosaurs?
53 posted on 11/22/2005 1:49:15 PM PST by LauraleeBraswell
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To: 2nsdammit

I am opposed to public schools period. But that's all irrelevant to this topic.

54 posted on 11/22/2005 1:49:55 PM PST by The Old Hoosier (Right makes might.)
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To: Boxen

And you get HIV by...

55 posted on 11/22/2005 1:51:02 PM PST by The Old Hoosier (Right makes might.)
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To: doc30; RogueIsland

There are many things that The Science of Evolution will never explain and it's up to people to decide for themselves what they want to believe. I say teach evolution as it is. Teach it because it's the Truth.

56 posted on 11/22/2005 1:51:50 PM PST by LauraleeBraswell
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To: TN4Liberty
I have observed that despite their claim as scientists, the "Evo Only" crowd wants no other alternative to be discussed and respond to such with insults, attacks, and attempts to suppress both the speaker and the points.

The problem is that ID presents no evidence that can be reviewed. Evolution is an open book with the supporting facts in plain sight for everyone. ID has no evidence except the excuse of "it's too complicated to be understood so goddidit." ID is an abdication.

57 posted on 11/22/2005 1:51:51 PM PST by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
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To: The Old Hoosier

Then where do you propose that said education (regarding homosexual activity and AIDS) should be imparted?

And you don't get to dismiss my questions out of hand - you brought it up!

58 posted on 11/22/2005 1:52:58 PM PST by 2nsdammit (By definition it's hard to get suicide bombers with experience.)
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To: wyattearp

Evolution tells us something but it cannot explain everything, And we're still learning. And Evolution doesn't and will never explain why we're here, it can tell us how we came here or how we descended to our present state. But there will always be gaps here and there. It's up to people to learn the Scientific truth and philosophize for themselves.

59 posted on 11/22/2005 1:54:40 PM PST by LauraleeBraswell
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To: RogueIsland
Well, if you had posted sooner, you would fulfilled your own prophecy.
60 posted on 11/22/2005 1:55:22 PM PST by GLDNGUN
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