Archive for Sunday, November 27, 2005

2nd KU class denies status of science to design theory

November 27, 2005


Intelligent design - already the planned subject of a controversial Kansas University seminar this spring - will make its way into a second KU classroom in the fall, this time labeled as a "pseudoscience."

In addition to intelligent design, the class Archaeological Myths and Realities will cover such topics as UFOs, crop circles, extrasensory perception and the ancient pyramids.

John Hoopes, associate professor of anthropology, said the course focused on critical thinking and taught how to differentiate science and "pseudoscience." Intelligent design belongs in the second category, he said, because it cannot be tested and proven false.

"I think this is very important for students to be articulate about - they need to be able to define and recognize pseudoscience," Hoopes said.

News of the new class provided fresh fuel to conservatives already angered that KU planned to offer a religious studies class this spring on intelligent design as "mythology."

"The two areas that KU is trying to box this issue into are completely inappropriate," said Brian Sandefur, a mechanical engineer in Lawrence who has been a vocal proponent of intelligent design.

Intelligent design is the idea that life is too complex to have evolved without a "designer," presumably a god or other supernatural being. That concept is at the heart of Kansas' new public school science standards - greatly ridiculed by the mainstream science community but lauded by religious conservatives - that critique the theory of evolution.

More controversy

Hoopes said his class would be a version of another course, titled Fantastic Archaeology, which he helped develop as a graduate student at Harvard University.

The course will look at the myths people have created to explain mysterious occurrences, such as crop circles, which some speculate were caused by extraterrestrials.

The course will explore how myth can be created to negative effects, as in the case of the "myth of the moundbuilders." In early American history, some people believed the earthen mounds found primarily in the area of the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys were the works of an ancient civilization destroyed by American Indians. The myth contributed to the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which relocated American Indians east of the Mississippi to lands in the west, Hoopes said.

"It was that popular explanation that then became a cause for genocide," Hoopes said.

That example shows the need to identify pseudoscience, he said.

"What I'm trying to do is deal with pseudoscience regardless of where it's coming from," he said.

But Sandefur said intelligent design was rooted in chemistry and molecular biology, not religion, and it should be discussed in science courses.

"The way KU is addressing it I think is completely inadequate," he said.

Hoopes said he hoped his class stirs controversy. He said students liked to discuss topics that are current and relevant to their lives.

"Controversy makes people think," he said. "The more controversy, the stronger the course is."

Events surrounding course under review

Kansas University is examining circumstances surrounding a religion mythologies course that includes topics about intelligent design and creationism. KU officials need to "review the whole matter and sort things out," Chancellor Robert Hemenway said Saturday. The review was spurred by recent publicity about an e-mail written by Paul Mirecki, chairman of KU's religious studies department, concerning the course Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and Other Religious Mythologies. Intelligent design proponents are unhappy about intelligent design being taught as a myth, and e-mail comments attributed to Mirecki that were posted on a Web site made them angrier. In the e-mail, Mirecki wrote: "The fundies want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category mythology." "All the information we've had has come from the Internet, and so we just need to have time to talk to Dr. Mirecki and make sure things that are attributed to him are things that he actually said or were actually written and also look at the process by which all of this has come to be," Hemenway said.


Jeff Barclay 12 years, 5 months ago

So by inference, are we to assume that ID folks also favor genocide. Somebody in the Kansas legislature needs to step up and pull the financial plug on KU.

failed_ged 12 years, 5 months ago

The religious fanatics readily accept the accounts of the talking burning bush, the parting of the sea, the three brothers getting cooked in any oven and surviving without a single bit a chard flesh, the sky raining with fire pellets, and other mythical accounts of Christian history.

Why can't they accept an equally bizarre thing like evolving from squirrels and monkeys?

It's ironic that the religious fanatics are forcing God's "free will". How blind can they be?

fossilhunter 12 years, 5 months ago

ID supporters really should read the transcript of the Dover trial. Bahe really came off as the non-scientist he is.

Godot 12 years, 5 months ago

KU has a reputation for being a six year college, in part because there aren't enough required courses scheduled.

So, what degree requirement will Mirecki's and Hoopes' new courses fulfill? How much money does it cost KU to offer a class? Are Mirecki and Hoopes so un-busy that they can squeeze new elective classes into their schedules?

These politically motivated professors should be replaced by mathematics or biology or foreign language instructors who can teach courses students actually need to complete a degree in four years.

Godot 12 years, 5 months ago

Question to Chancellor Hemenway: Is this the kind of publicity you envisioned when you iniated the "branding" of KU?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

Interesting juxtaposition of posts there. Macon admits that he's not going to be shaken from his position of fear, ignorance and superstition by a bunch of over-educated geeks, while Godot prefers to shoot the messengers, presumably the geeks Macon was referring to.

KU_Grad_But_Hates_KU 12 years, 5 months ago

What the KU community, particularly the powers that be, forget is that the university's seal has Moses kneeling before the burning bush. Does this mean they will change the official seal too? Perhaps Chancellor Hemenway should step down and be replaced with someone who has morals before every KU tradition is sold to the highest bidder.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 5 months ago

This entire issue is simply an extension of the "culture war" that is frequently referenced by some commentators. The plain unvarnished fact is that ALL religion is myth, supposition, heresay, fantasy and legend. NONE of it is supportable by fact. Most religions will tell you that by FAITH you are made whole. (Mine does) So matters of FAITH should be taught in church or whatever building your religion holds it' services in. It is NOT a topic for formal education, period. But there are those hysterical, emotional people who, in lieu of fact, reason, rational, and concrete facts, have placed their psyche almost solely on reliance on some "great creator" to guide their lives. This is the most favored way for the uneducated, suspicious, semi-literate millions who would rather have someone dictate to them how their lives should be lived rather than make the effort to think, ponder, reflect and learn. So it is no surprise that many of these folks will feel their ox is being gored by the "godless commies", "pencil-nosed geeks" and a host of other derogatory labels. These individuals want to be led, told, dictated to by a "higher power", and will willingly follow, obey, and kill to their religious icon of choice. The events of September 11 should be stark realization of my last sentence, the glory-seeking followers of a vengeful religious myth version of Islam caused the deaths of over 3000 people who were "infidels" of their "religion". This is an extreme example, but the idea is noteworthy. NO religion is based on fact, NO NOTION OF DIVINE POWER is provable, factual or scientific. ALL RELIGION is a matter of FAITH, not fact, and if you feel that yours is, then I am sure there are some more people who want to fly airplanes into buildings that would consider your minds a fertile field for their plans. ID is a myth. It does not belong in public education. Science is based on provable fact and supportable theory from many observable experiments. The hysterical right wing zealots want to force their mythology on all of us, because they realize these facts that I have just voiced.

james bush 12 years, 5 months ago

Mirecki and Hoopes should not use the university's curriculum to advocate personal beliefs.

BrianR 12 years, 5 months ago

Mirecki and Hoopes are using the University's curriculum to advocate science and dispel mythology and other people's agendas and personal beliefs.

ID needs to get slapped back into the dark ages where it came from.

james bush 12 years, 5 months ago

money, that's what makes Mirecki's attitude seem wrong minded.

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

And the means by which one tests and falsifies macro-evolutionary theory would be.................?

The problem at KU is that we have a Chancellor who is as bigoted as kooks like Mirecki and they're empowered by his bigotry. Get an adult in as Chancellor and maybe KU won't be such a haven for intolerance and bigotry.

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

nathanbooth 12 years, 5 months ago

Throwing up your hands saying; "Whelp this is just too complex for me to figure out. Let's just give up and say God did it!" How is this science?

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 5 months ago

John, if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black I don't know what is. One of the American Taliban - the ilk of arrogant, hostile, narrow minded, hypocritical zealots trying to jam their religious beliefs, disguised as the pseudoscience ID, down the throats of everyone else - is now calling other people Nazis? ROFLMAO!!! That is so rich! Now all we need are more stories of modern day spectral evidence like we gad the other day.

hammysammy 12 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately, for those of you who would punish all the students of KU because you believe your hilarious views on ID are being made a mockery of, the funding KU receives from the state is decided by the Board of Regents, and is not very much. Which is why KU has the largest endowment in the Big 12 and one of the largest in the country. Thankfully, students don't have to rely too heavily on the elected officials in this backwater.

lucid_vein 12 years, 5 months ago

I can't know from the words of that email if Mirecki and the guest lecturers will teach the class with bias or not, and neither can anyone else.

Crying "intolerance" is necessary for the anti-science movement because tolerance is the first step toward acceptance and toward the collaboration of the apathetic and those who've been hoodwinked by the "fair and balanced treatment" and "teach the controversy" ploys. ID has been and will continue to be examined with fair and balanced treatment, and is proven to be 100 percent vacuous as a scientific theory. It is a mythology-inspired theological argument for God's existence (whatever lies the Discovery Institute's Fellows tell about only looking for the fingerprints and not knowing whose fingers they are), and that's the honest way to teach it.

There's more than just a difference of opinions here, so it doesn't reduce to bigotry when someone reacts against the anti-science movement. The politically active creationists are not on a par with other "maligned minorities" as they want to paint themselves, because rather than being maligned for physical, cultural or religious issues, they're resisted because they push a program of lies in the public arena. And so intolerance (within legal limits) is the only appropriate response to a real threat against both science education in America and to the Constitution's Separation Clause. The IDist's and other creationists pretend to represent all Christianity and are only a minority of that religion; which must be embarrassing for the moderate Christians.

This political Lying for Jesus movement is going to be exposed for what it is more and more in schools, in the media, in political activism. They can complain about bigotry and intolerance till the sky falls -- or until they remove the malicious propaganda out of the public school systems. But their Wedge strategy to revitalize America into something it never was, and that it can never be without making it utterly unAmerican, will fail.

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 5 months ago

If you don't like KU's course offerings, send your kids to Bob Jones Univeristy.

hammysammy 12 years, 5 months ago

Besides, KU isn't forcing anyone to take these classes. And you can rest assured that unless the fundamentalists plant people in these classes like they did for Dennis Daileys classes on human sexuality, not even a murmur will be felt across the campus.

ryanjasondesch 12 years, 5 months ago

Of course the ID proponents are so upset at this because now they no longer have a monopoly on the study of Intelligent Design. ID is no longer only studied in their 'laboratories'. ID hasn't been allowed into the field of science for a very long time for obvious reasons, i.e. it's NOT science.

Finally someone is putting this ridiculous 'theory' where it belongs, in a religion class as a myth. Funny how ID followers want their stuff taught alongside evolution in science classrooms, but they can't even follow the rules agreed upon by true scientists.

And to label KU, its faculty, and its alumni (myself included), as ignorant and bigoted is like trying to look through the reflective side of a one-way mirror, you're attempting to look at us, but in reality all you see is yourself. What a joke it is to compare KU to the Gestapo, anyone throwin that out there should never be taken seriously.

But whatch out or the Kansas University SS and I will be forcing anyone who doesn't believe evolution to wear a special patch depicting an intoxicated clown. In our final solution we will sacrifice those wearing that patch, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster will feast on their blood. Resistance is futile!!!! Come on, seriously. . .

Everyone's entitled to their beliefs, but that doesn't preclude them from being complete idiots. . .

Jamesaust 12 years, 5 months ago

"And the means by which one tests and falsifies macro-evolutionary theory would be.................?" of the most common ways theories are falsified is by positing a different theory that explains the evidence better. Unfortunately, mumbo-jumbo isn't a theory (although it is apparently a convincing argument for the BOE).

BTW - the fire on KU's seal as noted on KU's website "symbolizes knowledge in many stories and MYTHS." Moses does not represent a lost world where KU once was a religious institution as some would wish for everyone to believe.

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

As much as I enjoy the hateful ramblings on here I take note that there is nothing in this article that would suggest that this course has anything to do with religion, or an assault thereon.

I certainly have no problem with a course that objectively defines science and pseudoscience and I'm not sure what brought out the brownshirt contingent of religious bigots today.

Anthopology is a legitimate scientific endeavor and if they feel they have a case, let them make it. I don't think this course has any connection with Mirecki's hatemongering assault on people of faith at all.

BrianR 12 years, 5 months ago

A neutron walks into a bar and asks the bartender, "Hey, how much for a beer?"

The bartender says, "For you, no charge."

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 5 months ago

For a topic (ID) that is supposedly non-religious, it is funny how the religious fundamentalists all cry "foul" when ID is subject to academic study. They equate academic study of ID with religious bigotry.

As John1945 himself pointed out, there is nothing in this new course description that makes any mention of religion or christianity in particular.

Hmmm, there is something rotten in the state of Denmark...

While scientists and moderates have long known of the religious nature of ID, the proponents of ID have tried to obscure the connection to the point of outright prevarication.

You may find Mirecki's strategy distasteful and reeking of political maneuvering, but Mirecki recognizes the religious connection to ID and has put forth his own "wedge strategy" to combat the intrusion of religion into public schools.

Mirecki's "slap in the big fat face" is equivalent to the ID "wedge strategy". Turnabout is most assuredly fair play, although the radical fundamentalist ID creationists don't like their own medicine.

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

I am a radical fundamentalist and I'm not crying foul.

The issue with Mirecki (and Miller and the Department of Religious Studies) is far more complex than an e-mail, or a college course.

Universities abound with silly courses. Who has time to track them all, or even give a hoot if you did. The kids who take them are already in the choir, or are simply looking for an easy "A" for their transcript since such courses seldom involve any meaningful work.

As the article says, this is similar to the standard anthropology course, it's just been altered to get a crowd. Quite frankly, you could have a college course on sex and it would be boring. Who cares?

Shardwurm 12 years, 5 months ago

So many thought that the question of Evolution would make Kansas a laughing stock.

This move by KU makes it even worse.

My daughter will be attending school elsewhere. KU was amongst her choices but not now.

I'm not saying I believe one way or another...but to mock people like this is inexcusable.

usaschools 12 years, 5 months ago

Whether Intelligent Design (creationism) is science or not is not an opinion. It is not science by definition.

Do intelligent design proponents use science in their arguments? Yes, but only to discuss the theory of evolution, never to discuss ID itself. The criticism of another theory does not make ID a form of science. ID can never be tested in a laboratory. It cannot be tested anywhere. It is not science.

Science can never prove anything with absolute certainty, but it can disprove things with absolute certainty. Mitochondrial Eve and other arguments of this type have been disproven with absolute certainty, yet ID proponents just continue to bring up old arguments that have long since been shown to be false beyond any doubt. They have no new arguments that cast serious doubt on the theory of evolution. They cannot disprove evolution, in part or in whole.

Similary, the earth is not 9000 years old. This is a fact. When we are asked to be "sensitive" to the views of people who want to believe this, and pretend that there could be any validity to this ridiculous claim, we may be polite, but we hurt society at large. We are granting a status to their arguments which is undeserved. We know that the earth is billions of years old. We don't need to play politically correct games to pretend it might not be. Similarly, we do not need to play PC games to pretend that ID, in its present form, might be science "in someone's opinion." What is and is not science is not really a matter of opinion. If the scientific method cannot be applied, it is not science.

Personally, I believe God created the earth. I also believe ID is creationism. We should never pretend it is science. We should never pretend it did not "evolve" directly from creationism. We know better.

bige1030 12 years, 5 months ago

I am happy to see that the professors at KU are making a big effort to show this nation and the world that KU knows what science really is. That way, when I graduate, my degree will be worth something. It won't be looked at as a worthless piece of garbage just because it says "Kansas" on it.

The State of Kansas was a laughingstock once for doing this (1998) - which caused it to be rescinded. Now, the State of Kansas is once again a laughingstock. At least people will now know that KU doesn't believe in the things that make the State of Kansas a laughingstock. Now, I won't have to endure geographic discrimination when I go to search for employment since people will know that KU is a real school that teaches objective truth, not pseudoscience as science.

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately what they, and many of you, are demonstrating is the bigotry and intolerance of the KU academic community. But then again, that seems to be the norm at instututions dominated by those of a liberal/left persuasion.

Perhaps they could offer a course that would examine why bigotry and authoritarianism are such an intrinsic part of liberal/left ideology. Now that would demonstrate their tolerance.

So far, from what we've seen in the papers the past few days it appears that KU = Hate U.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 5 months ago


I'm sure KU will miss your $4000/year. It might break them financially. I hear KSU is accepting students.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 5 months ago

Oh John1945, I so much enjoy your rhetoric. If you say it enough, it might make it true.

For the sake of my enjoyment, please keep trying.

bige1030 12 years, 5 months ago

So it's "preservation of tradition" and not bigotry when the definition of "marriage" is defended, but it's outright bigotry when the definition of "science" is defended. I see how the religious Reich thinks.

Godot 12 years, 5 months ago

John1945, just slightly amend your statement to read, "KU=Hate U, the vast majority of Kansans," and you have nailed the new, improved, branding of KU. Kudos.

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

How does ridiculing someone's religioius beliefs "defend science? What other theory besides macro-evolution defends its credibility with ad hominem assaults on its critics' religious faith?

I don't give a hoot about the substantive issues here, but I keep looking for the answer to that question and I get none.

Look at the "defense of science" in these forums and with extremely rare exception it's all an attack on the critic and not a response to the questions raised.

Mr_Christopher 12 years, 5 months ago

ID proponents are for the most part liars and charlatans. It is difficult to point out this fact without seemingly attacking them personally.

The book Pandas and People is dishonest, purposefully misleading, and lies about what evolution is and what is known.

I have never seen a more dishonest group of people than the ID cult. How can one who is informed and educated NOT notice that?

If the ID folks want to be treated nicely, stop lying about evolution, stop pretending ID is science, stop misleading the public and stop trying to change the definition of science.

In short, don't preach your gospel in our public science courses and we won't think in your Sunday school. Fair enuff?

Hey shardworm, send your daughter to Bob Jones Univerity where everyone agrees with Bob Jones and there is no debate or dissent (and they all love god). Your daughter could learn the finer points of being an atomaton there.

And you ID folks, have ANY of you read the Dovber trial transcripts? ANY of you? Under oath your little theory looks like nonsense and your supporters mindless evangelicals. Be brave, be informed, read the transcripts.


John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

And thank you Mr Christopher for once again demnstrating the bigoted foundations of KU's academic community. Yours may well be the worst posting of the day.

"don't preach your gospel in our public science courses and we won't think in your Sunday school."

That statement isn't bigotry? Tell me there Massah Christopher, what aspect of that statement demostrates the veracity of macro-evolutionary theory to us ignorant peasants.

"Your daughter could learn the finer points of being an atomaton there."

Really, and the class, as described by Herr Mirecki was designed for real thinkers like yourself?

"The book Pandas and People is dishonest, purposefully misleading, and lies about what evolution is and what is known."

Really, and with all you "know" about macroevolution that isn't just unfalsifiable you still have to attack your critics rather than offering something substantive of value.

"ID proponents are for the most part liars and charlatans."

Yet more ad hominem attacks without any evidence other than your word? Please, given the BS that's eminated from Baghdad Bob and the Provost's office this week, who at KU has any credibility?

Days after Mirecki himself has admitted writing the letter, Baghdad Bob is trying to convince us that he's still clueless. Sadly that may be the only truthful thing that's come out of this administration.

Fire Hemenway, transfer the bigots (note plural) out of the department of Religious Studies and have someone from KU actually answer the questions the critics of macro-evolution have put forth. Unfortunately we don't have a snowball's chance in hell of seeing any of that happen and KU's culture of hatred, ignorance and intolerance will continue unabated.

KU's ratings as an academic institution have been slipping under Baghdad Bob's tenure and his farcical response to even a minor crisis like this only demonstrates haw far in decline KU is by any objective academic standard.

lucid_vein 12 years, 5 months ago

John1945 asks: "How does ridiculing someone's religioius beliefs "defend science?"

Interesting question. So, intelligent design is "religious beliefs" and, as such, belongs in a religious studies class and not in science, yes?

Then he asks: "What other theory besides macro-evolution defends its credibility with ad hominem assaults on its critics' religious faith?"

No scientific theory "defends its credibility." It attacks its own credibility with tests and survives as a theory because it passes ALL the tests. And why are evolution's critics, without fail, of a religious faith and not people pursuing actual scientific criticisms? Your question helps demonstrate that the controversy over evolution is, indeed, a religious controversy and not a scientific one.

And then he states: "I don't give a hoot about the substantive issues here, but I keep looking for the answer to that question and I get none."

How could you not care about the substantive issues, unless you are merely a political ideologue with no substantive positions? Your question is too stupid to answer; ad hominems aren't what establishes macroevolution as fact; it's directly observed evidence that does that. It makes predictions and they are found, always, to be accurate. Young-Earth "Creation Science" makes predictions, and all are falsified. ID makes no predictions because there's no theory there, only a vague religious sentiment: "It looks complex, so god musta done it."

And finally, John1945 whines: "Look at the "defense of science" in these forums and with extremely rare exception it's all an attack on the critic and not a response to the questions raised."

I don't believe you. But address the substantive issues and stop lying and perhaps you can get some more substantive answers.

lucid_vein 12 years, 5 months ago

Mr_Christopher wrote: "And you ID folks, have ANY of you read the Dovber trial transcripts? ANY of you? Under oath your little theory looks like nonsense and your supporters mindless evangelicals. Be brave, be informed, read the transcripts."

They've read them, and recognize their failure there (though probably can't admit they stabbed the poor idiots on the Dover BoE who trusted them in the back). That's why they've completed their retreat from Dover, and are planning their next bungling anti-science/pro-ignorance maneuvers here in Kansas and elsewhere.

admills 12 years, 5 months ago

This is new class could be a good thing. What did KU have that even mentions Creationism before this? I should re-apply for admission just to take it.... Except the class was probably full before the LJW even got wind of it. Isn't this what college is all about, learning what you did not know before? If KU did not offer a class like this before, and now it does, it seems like a step in the right direction. Baby steps everyone. Soon everyone will realize that Creationism is the truth.

admills 12 years, 5 months ago

Oh no! Academia can not allow these silly religious fanatics into the last bastion of this hill-billy state. First this then what? "Money doesn't really exist. It's just a 'theory'." Gawd, I can't stand it. When will someone simply stop listening to these red necks and just let the educated go on making the world go around while the rest of you simply go on leeching for what you can get, only complaining when things don't go your way. Get to the library, do some reading and get a clue.

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

Yet another litany of ad hominems.

"I don't believe you. But address the substantive issues and stop lying and perhaps you can get some more substantive answers."

Unless you can demonstrate which of my comments is a lie I suggest that you avoid libelous statements. Suffering fools and bigots are not my strong points.

Most of my comments are substantive comments directed at the points I'm making. Perhaps if you took a course in reading for comprehension you'd understand that.

I've never said ID was religion. You did. Indeed, for six years I've watched the clowns of KU's so called "scientific" community try to tar every critique and question as somehow religiously motivated.

I don't care who asks the questions either you can answer them, or you cn't, and once again, you apparently can't. Why don't you wipe the spittle off your face and tell all us "mindless evangelicals" what you actually know. So far all I've seen from you and Christopher are ad hominems and BS. I'm beginning to think that's what the hill KU sits on is made of.

admills 12 years, 5 months ago

Academia needs to be taught a lesson. Open minded people do not simply shrug off newly revived cultural ideals. It seems odd that an institution which touts acceptance of others ideals will not admit that Intelligent Design is God given truth. Someone needs to get inside the halls of KU and change this from the inside. If only we could get the Kansas BoE some sort of foothold on higher education. Then we could get some real work done.

admills 12 years, 5 months ago

This is kind of fun. Which side should I argue next?

admills 12 years, 5 months ago

i think the best part of this whole forum thing is that some of ya'll actually take yourselves seriously. Don't take life too seriously, it's not permanent.

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

So far you haven't "argued" any side of the issue, so I'm thinking you should probably join the KU folks. I suspect it'll be a better fit.

Mr_Christopher 12 years, 5 months ago

Here is the bottom line:

Intelligent Design is not science, it is creationism. Argue all you want but that is a fact.

Creationism is NOT science and therefore does not belong in a science class. Argue all you want but that is a fact.

I predict these classes in Kansas and Ohio and Idaho are only the tip of the iceberg as far as higher learning centers exposing ID for what it is.

You ID folks wanted to see "teach the controversy" in action, no? Well you are getting what you asked for and I cannot think of a more deserving group.

The ID cult should be ashamed for their misleading and often dishonest comments, books and papers.

Enjoy your 15 minutes while it lasts!

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

If you can make your case and demolish the other theory in a logical and thoughtful manner, more power to you.

All I'm asking is that scientists behave as such rather than a batch of refugees from a White Aryan Resistance meeting. If they do that, there will be no ad hominems, no attacks on religion and no one will shed a tear.

And, incidentally, I have no attachment to any of the substantive positions in this debate. The behavior of the combatants is what intrigues me.

lucid_vein 12 years, 5 months ago

John 1945 wrote: "Yet another litany of ad hominems."

False. Only the word "whines" and the accusation of lying might be construed as ad hominems. Nothing else in my post is remotely close to ad hominem.

He proclaims: "I've never said ID was religion. You did. Indeed, for six years I've watched the clowns of KU's so called "scientific" community try to tar every critique and question as somehow religiously motivated.

The religious belief being scorned is ID creationism. And you've responded by complaining about intolerance and bigotry toward creationists ("people of faith") and their religious beliefs. It's clear from your posts that you (hypocritically) see criticism of creationism as bigotry.

And then he states: "So far all I've seen from you and Christopher are ad hominems and BS."

And that's a lie.

To answer your question about macro-evolution (and I'll have to assume you mean "speciation" when you say "macro-evolution" because your question is extremely vague, and most "radical fundamentalists" have a bone to pick with speciation), speciation has been observed and that demonstrates macro-evolution (see Also, the prediction of fossil finds and morphological similarities and genetic sequences all demonstrate macro-evolution, and there are no naturalistic alternatives to evolution to explain these; evolution does it superbly. Supernatural explanations are outside the realm of science and natural science courses. Please read the topic, and a good place to start is here:

You might also be interested in this short "Evolutionary Knowledge Test" that I found for you: Enjoy!

lucid_vein 12 years, 5 months ago

Tell me, John1945, what is the other theory that should be demolished in a thoughtful manner? I want you to state what that theory is, and once you've described the theory adequately I will address its problems in more detail than people have already done for you.

BTW, if you didn't notice that ID has been addressed abundantly by philosophers, scientists and theologians, taking every claim from the prominent "theorists" of this supposed alternative to "Darwinian" evolution and examining each one in detail, then you should look at these books:

Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution - Kenneth R. Miller

Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism - Robert T. Pennock

God, the Devil, and Darwin: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory - Niall Shanks

Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism - Matt Young

Unintelligent Design - Mark Perakh

Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design - Barbara Forrest

That's just a partial list.

I've done plenty to help inform you, John, and now I have questions for you:

Which of the creation myths from around the world are true? Those of the Greeks, the Japanese, the African bushmen, the ancient Hebrews? Or some others? All cultures have stories about how things began; which are literally true and which are not historically accurate retellings of nature's beginnings? One, some or all?

And which criticisms of these religious beliefs are bigotry, and which are legitimate questions about the literal historical accuracy of various creation myths? How does one tell the difference?

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

Absent the idiotic assertion that I've lied (I suggest you have an attorney explainto you the laws of libel) this would be a fairly decent post.

The other exception I take is the nonsense that I've said ID is religion. Only in your warped logic, which puts a strain on the rest of what you've said, have I made such a statement. What I've pointed out is that your response to critique is to often falsely label it as religion and that's simply hate-mongering.

For instance, I object to biologists who claim that Darwinian theory is a "fact". I do so based on my understanding of epistomology. I don't think you're going to find a philosophy of science type who will tell you any theory is to be considered as a fact. There is no religious component of that argument. For that matter, there is no insult intended or inferred by that statement. Epistomologically speaking, theories aren't facts. To say that there is a religious component is shear bigotry and hate-mongering.

If I've misunderstood my epistomological grounding, then prove that, don't sit there and pound out libelous statements and hateful pronouncements about my faith while building fallacious straw men about how I accept your definition of ID as religion. That's BS and your so-called science should be under attack.

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

Finally, a complete post with no insults, no libelous statements, just information. Where has that been for the past six years in the public pronouncements of the academic community? It's certainly not evident when someone puts on a monkey suit to ridicule somone's faith.

I'm not sure what you're getting at in the beginning of your last post, and I think you've misunderstood what I was trying to say so I'll pass on that and jump right to the bottom where you ask about the difference between scholarship and bigotry.

Go way up to the beginning of today's comments and you'll see that I've expressed no concern for the anthropolgy course being offered if the purpose is to educate rather than indoctrinate.

I have no problem with cultural anthropological studies of creation myths that are motivated by sincere intellectual curiosity. That's a far cry from slapping someone in their fat face so you can deliberately upset them. One is scholarship, the other bigotry.

Let's move to race. You tell me, what's the difference between a study of race that's bigoted and one that's not? I think the same principles apply in both cases.

I would love to see a cultural anthropologist analyze both sides of the past six years of this debate. I think it would be fascinating. And we may be getting close to that. The first time around the media were atrocious, this time we're seeing a journalism that's giving both sides a bite at the apple. If you guys respond with comments like the one you gave me with a list of books you may get somewhere. If you keep up the Christian bashing crap and send the SOMA crowd out to do your arguing for you, I think you're in trouble.

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago

Here's my bottom line.

Which battle do you want to win?

Do you want to be considered scientists and treated with respect? Or do you want to slap people in the face, insult their faith and upset them.

You're can't win both those battles, and if you did, I don't think you'd want to live in a country where you could.

If you want to upset people, follow Mirecki. Tell people how perfect your theory is and that there is nothing wrong with it. tell them how stupid they are for embracing their faith and ridicule it. If you do, I suspect you'll wind up as he is going to wind up, as a poster child for bigotry and intolerance.

If you want to be treated with respect, give respect. Make your case in a respectful manner, lay out your factual presentation, admit the flaws, or gaps, in your knowledge in an honest and above board manner and I think you'll be a long way down the road from where you are now, and we'll still be proud to root for the same team.

I would contend that a good start would be to get a real Chancellor. I wasn't fond of Gene Budig, but I respected him. This guy is a schmuck IMHO.

lucid_vein 12 years, 5 months ago

John1945 wrote: "I object to biologists who claim that Darwinian theory is a "fact". I do so based on my understanding of epistomology. I don't think you're going to find a philosophy of science type who will tell you any theory is to be considered as a fact."

If you know of any statement by any biologist, asserting that a theory is a fact, then please quote it or at least (for now) name the biologist. What people mean when they say evolution is a fact is that things evolve, we have plenty of facts that establish that. The explanation of those facts (of evolving life) constitutes the theory formulated first by Darwin and expanded on ever since. The theory of evolution is not a fact but it successfully explains the fact of evolution. Likewise, germs are a fact, germ theory is not but it explains the fact. Like evolution, germ theory is so certain that calling it a fact is no big huge vicious mistake, like you are misrepresenting it.

John1945: "There is no religious component of that argument. For that matter, there is no insult intended or inferred by that statement. Epistomologically speaking, theories aren't facts. To say that there is a religious component is shear bigotry and hate-mongering."

There is a religious component to that argument. The creationist's peculiar theology deals with absolutes, and so anything that isn't a fact is considered untrue; to a fundamentalist, it's either God's Truth or it's not. But theories are based on facts and are the ultimate knowledge that science attains to. So the creationists repeatedly obfuscate what a theory is. They'd like to level the playing field by pretending that their beliefs are of equal status with scientific theories. But religious beliefs are of a different nature altogether; not necessarily false, but not demonstrably true in the scientific sense. However, if people put their religious beliefs out to air in public, and proclaim them to be demonstrably true, as evolution is, then they are inevitably going to be affronted when natural facts and their beliefs happen not to conform.

So did you want evidence for macro-evolution, or was it all about your epistemological quibble?

Please sue me if you truly believe you haven't deliberately misrepresented people's statements in some of your posts; I have my statement for the court already prepared in my mind. If I've misrepresented you, maybe it's because I don't understand a self-proclaimed "radical fundamentalist" who doesn't care about the "substantive issues" regarding the evolution/creation debate but is repeatedly calling everyone a religious bigot who takes exception to the propaganda of the Discovery Institute casuists and the Creation Science half-wits. These people are not representative of religion, but they are religious, and that inspires their politics which is dangerous to public science education and to the Constitution's Separation Clause.

lucid_vein 12 years, 5 months ago

John1945 wrote: "I'm not sure what you're getting at in the beginning of your last post, and I think you've misunderstood what I was trying to say so I'll pass on that and jump right to the bottom where you ask about the difference between scholarship and bigotry."

John, here's what I was getting at: There is no Intelligent Design theory. Not Behe, not Dembski, not anyone, has formulated a coherent theory. I was challenging you to state what it is, because I don't think you or anyone can do it.

When Behe was asked to clarify ID theory in Dover, he stumbled until he finally spilled out a stinky turd of a statement that allows even astrology into the natural science class.

John1945 12 years, 5 months ago


With these last two posts you've done all that I've ever ask of the scientific community. Come out and defend your work in a straight forward manner.

It's clear to me that you are informed and passionate about your work. If the science community did more of that and a lot less of Pedro Irregonegaray and nasty e-mails we'd be a lot better off as a community.

I'd love to see you debate John Calvert, or one of the other guys who know something about ID theory. As I said before, my concern is not so much with who wins or loses the debate, and my faith isn't predicated on a victory in this arena, but how the debate is waged. I wish that I would see more discussion like you've presented here in your last two posts. They were very informative and very articulate.

And with that I'm going to bed, the weekend is over. Thank you for your time and information. This is not an area where we have to shout at one another and I look forward to chatting with you on here again.

I particularly like your statement "But religious beliefs are of a different nature altogether; not necessarily false, but not demonstrably true in the scientific sense. " That statement of our differences alone could move the discussion down the tracks on many days. Thanks again for your time and information.

LarryFarma 12 years, 5 months ago

I think that this nonsense will end when some KU professor steps forward and offers a course on evolution theory with a title labelling this theory as a mythology, pseudoscience, or religion. Then we will really see how open-minded the KU administration is about course titles. The Discovery Institute should offer a big, irresistible financial reward for the offering of such a course.

The way that Mirecki and the KU administration have been bellyaching about the exposure of a bigoted message that he posted on a public Internet forum, one would think that his phone lines had been wiretapped or that his home or office had been bugged. And the chancellor made himself look ridiculous by pretending that he was the only one who didn't know that Mirecki confessed to posting the message.

The hypocrites who argue that Mirecki's and Hoopes's motives should not be an issue here have made a big deal about the alleged religious motives of the proponents of intelligent design. Mirecki and Hoopes have made a mockery of the university's role as a place of open-minded inquiry.

KU could well take a tip from Kansas's neighbor, the "Show Me" State --- "I'm from Missouri. You'll have to show me." (Willard Duncan Vandiver, US Congressman from Missouri)

To me, the big issue here is not evolution vs. intelligent design, or science vs. religion -- it is academic integrity.

Mr_Christopher 12 years, 5 months ago


A religion?

Recycled creationism?

We've got to Teach the Controversy and then YOU decide!

And for those ID cult member and apologists - have you read the trial transcripts yet? Probably not :-)

Pay close attention where Behe is exposed as a pretend scientist and where Pandas and People is exposed as wholesale junk science (read Dr Kevin Padian's testimony).

And fear not, Pat Robertson will not issua a fatwah against you for simply reading the transcripts. See the entire transcripts here

Hey even the Discovery Institute has a page on the trial

From what I can tell it appears Intelligent Design is a theory in crisis...The Discovery Institute seems to be developing a serious case of heart burn as well....


JS 12 years, 5 months ago

I am not in the habit of debating with people who repeatedly enter the statistic under the 'Godwin's Law' heading. However, John1945 (who should, by the way, take a walk through Downtown Berlin - that would hopefully teach him not to cheapen the lesson taught there) has made several claims so repeatedly that I feel they cannot stand unadressed.

"What other theory besides macro-evolution defends its credibility with ad hominem assaults on its critics' religious faith?"

Fallacy. Macro-evolution* isn't defended by assaults on critics. It is defended by the abundant evidence, some of which is at


*Which BTW is one of those Disco Institute buzzwords that raises the hackles of any remotely informed observer.

Finally, if you look up the definition of ad hominem, you'll see that your use of the term is actually wrong. Furthermore, you'll see that the ad hominem arguments that have been proposed here are actually valid. Questioning a story because it is reported by Fux News or the Itar Taz is ad hominem, but is justified and valid because Fux News and (though to a lesser extend) the Itar Taz has been shown to make stories up out of whole cloth.

Similarily, the questioning of the usefulness of Dembski et al as supporters of your cause is, while technically ad hominem, perfectly valid because their duplicity is a well-documented fact. In fact a quick search for 'Dembski AND duplicity' over at returned about 30 hits, a few of which are sampled here:

The creationist/fundie/reconstructionist/IDist movement has, however, turned this issue into a political battle, since they don't have a snowflake's chance in a blast furnance of winning the scientific debate.

Fine. If it's a political debate, then we'll play by the politcos' rules. And the ayatollah-wanna-bes have set those rules themselves. Can you say Carl ('Scooter' Libby) Rove and Pat(wa) Robertson?

It was never the scientists who wanted to play the political game. It was never the scientists who wanted to play it Carl Rove style either. But if that's the set of rules the fundies want to play by, the least they can do is damn well quit whining when the scientist wise up to that fact at last and start responding in kind.

"For instance, I object to biologists who claim that Darwinian theory is a "fact"."

Already covered here:

JS 12 years, 5 months ago

I also take particular objection to this statement:

"If you want to be treated with respect, give respect."

Respect is not something to be bargained, granted, or taken by right. Respect is earned by acting respectably. I am under no obligation - moral or otherwise - to respect someone who is not respectable. I am specifically not under any kind of obligation to respect, take seriously, or even humor anyone's religious views just because they hold them and have a strong faith in them.

I view that particular line of rethoric as dangerous and damaging to a free society, since it states implicitly that we must tolerate, even humor, anyone who holds his religious beliefs dearly, no matter how insane he is.

I submit that this is harmful to society, and I cite the disgraceful inactivity of the West when the fascists in Tehran issued death threats to Salman Rushdie as proof of my claim.

There were actually people - so-called 'intellectuals' to boot - who argued that Rushdie shouldn't have been so 'provocative and disrespectful' towards Islam.

Please explain how your demand that no-one be 'provocative and disrespectful' towards what is for all intents and purposes Christian Reconstructionism in a clown suit differs from the demand that Rushdie allow his freedom of press and speech to be restricted by a bunch of bearded, Bible-thumping* lunatics.

*"The most militant of the Ayatollah-wanna-be's are the members of the "Reconstructionist" movement. The Reconstructionists were founded by Rouas J. Rushdoony[.] [...] According to Rushdoony's view, the United States should be directly transformed into a theocracy in which the fundamentalists would rule directly according to the will of God. [...] The Reconstructionists propose [...] ruling directly according to the laws of God as set out in the Bible---they advocate a return to judicial punishment for religious crimes such as blasphemy or violating the Sabbath, as well as a return to such Biblically-approved punishments as stoning."

**Q'Ran-thumping actually, though it's sometimes - no, let's be honest and say usually - hard to tell the difference.

LarryFarma 12 years, 5 months ago

I would just like to point out that there are some criticisms of evolution theory that have little or nothing to do with "design," intelligent or otherwise. Some of these criticisms involve the following matters -- (1) the propagation of favorable mutations, (2) the mathematical probability of evolution, and (3) the co-evolution of two co-dependent organisms, e.g., bees and flowering plants (though this co-dependence could be a kind of "irreducibly complex" design consisting of two organisms).

Mr_Christopher 12 years, 5 months ago

Hey Larry, why not actually learn something about coevolution prior to making nonsense of it? Start here

Also, please keep the 12 step religious speak out of this subject please (co-dependency).

Hey john 1945 go read the Wedge Strategy document and then come back and tell us how naughty we are to reject the DI and ID cults.

LarryFarma 12 years, 5 months ago

HEY, FOLKS !! There is now a serious shortage of posted questions and comments for the Lawrence Journal-World's Wednesday chat on the controversy !! Time's a-wastin' !! To post yours, go to --

          By the way,  regarding the preceding post here -- I discuss co-evolution in one of my posts on the preceding webpage.

DuQuesne 12 years, 5 months ago

I had me a look at them there transcrips you been talking about. Look like a trick to me - mebbe de debil made 'em up. I know de worl' ain't as old as so-called science types say it is - otherwise how they git Fred and Barney and Dino in the same scene together? And another thing...

JS 12 years, 5 months ago

@ Larry: Please at least check the Index of Creationist Claims, located here:

before you post 'criticism' of the ToE.

Your points are rebutted in these files:*

(1) CB 100 though 180, esp. 150 (2) Too vague to come up with a specific reference in response. I presume that you refer to the 2LoT argument or the probability of abiogenesis. See CF 001-011.2 and CB 010, respectively. (3) CB 630

  • Which took about 15 min. to find, BTW - surely not an insurmountable task for anyone interested in informed debate.

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