Skepdude

From the creator of Video Skepdude

The Louisiana Science (Mis)Education Act

The (Un)Discovery Institute has been very actively reporting here, here and here and countless other articles, on the so-called “Louisiana Science Education Act” which has already passed the Louisiana House of Representatives. Here’s a sample of their postings:

“The bill is a bold statement protecting the freedom of teachers to discuss both the scientific evidence for and against Darwinian evolution and other controversial scientific theories,” said Casey Luskin, an attorney and program officer for public policy and legal affairs at Discovery Institute. “The bill does exactly what it says, which is to allow teachers and school districts to ‘use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.'”

Except that Evolution is not a controversial scientific theory. This is a blatant lie, because it carries the implication that the scientific world is unsure about Evolution, and that is not the case. It is the anti-scientific world that is unsure about it. They are the ones who are up in arms screaming against it. The lawyers, politicians are the ones complaining not the scientists. And just exactly what does “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” mean? This definition is so broad as to include anything a teacher may fancy as “instructional” such as ….oh I don’t know “Of Pandas and People” maybe?

Another implication of the language is that the Scientific community does not seriously “analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.” which is a slap in the face to the many men and women who are tirelessly toiling away to advance science at such personal expense, that the IDiots passing such laws wouldn’t even be able to begin to understand.

It is true that the bill has the following embedded in it:

“shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.”

Just stop for a second and think. Why would an “academic freedom” bill which is supposed to be solely about science even need to say that? Could it be, because it is clear that it can be interpreted in any way one wants to, in order to advance any ideology one may hold? Of course that’s the case. It’s a smoke screen! It’s not about religion, they will say, in fact it specifically forbids any religious connotations. But of course that sort of language is completely useless, because the creationist are hiding under the ID banner now. So effectively, such bill opens the door to Intelligent Design as long as the IDer is not referred to as God. How may of us really think that pro ID teachers will not refer to the IDer as the “Creator” which in itself carries strong religious connotations?

Let’s be clear about one thing here. This bill is not about academic freedom. It is specifically about denying science. It is about replacing science with belief. It is not about academic freedom, it is about academic slavery to Religion.This bill is about granting teachers with strong ideological beliefs, which run contrary to mainstream science, the right to preach them to our children. These are not scientific ideas, these are purely speculative philosophical ideas at best, which now, at least in Louisiana, will be presented under the setting of a science class. Thus the kids will walk out of there thinking that there are in fact two scientifically equal theories of life, evolution and creation. That is very very bad news indeed for mankind in general, and Louisiana in particular.

Effectively, this bill is about introducing religious, creationist beliefs in the classroom. Science is not granted such special treatment during Sunday Mass. Therefore religion will be allowed to continue poisoning young children’s minds at the church and now in the classroom as well. Freedom all right, unlimited freedom to bigoted, stone age, childish beliefs to impose themselves where they don’t belong. Freedom to present scientifically unsubstantiated personal religious beliefs as science. What is Academic about that?

Anyone who is interested in reading the actual bill itself can head to this website.

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June 17, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Intelligent Design, Pseudo-science, Religion, Science | , , | 1 Comment

Skepdude mentioned on The Skeptics Guide to the Universe

This is one of the coolest things yet to happen to Skepdude. A while ago I had written a post in regards to a retarded article by the (Un)Discovery Institute in which they made the “argument” that because cars were designed so were people. Stupid right? Anyway, I e-mailed the SGU Rogues and they did in fact put up a new SGU 5×5 episode, #23, where they talk about this and at the very end, Evan quotes me. THE SGU QUOTES ME! How freaking cool is that! Such an honor is undeserved, I can tell you that much, but much appreciated. This is equivalent to a religious person being spoken to by God, except that these folks actually exist.

Steven also made a clarification in the podcast. In my original blog entry I have written that Evolution is not a guided process. He pointed out that it is in fact a guided process, in the sense that it is not random, it is not picking traits willy nilly, but is in fact “choosing” the traits better suited for the organism to survive. I agree, in the sense he describes it. However, when speaking to creationists, the word guided to them means consciously guided. That is the sense that I was using it in my original post. In that sense Evolution is not (consciously) guided. No one is willingly picking traits to favor. They propagate because they are beneficial not because someone or something is making a decision to pick them. So I guess, in our respective interpretations of the word “guided” we are both right.

June 11, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Intelligent Design | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Un)Discovery Institute breakthrough-cars designed …by engineers!

Read this and bleed! Yes, the geniuses at the (Un)Discovery Institute have discovered that cars were designed by engineers and somehow they think this supports their retarded hypothesis for ID!

Disclaimer – Foul language will be used profusely throughout this post. If you are easily offended by language I suggest you stop reading now! I’m not fucking kidding!

So, where do I start. How about some quotes from the moronic article.

I recently came across this Hyandai car advertisement, stating: “the i30 name has been chosen to reflect the car’s European styling and its all-round intelligent design.” I decided to see if there were other similar examples, and searches uncovered many examples.

The website “CarReview.com” reviewed the Honda Civic SI and praises its “very modern looking interior, with flowing lines and an intelligent design.” Indeed, Honda’s own website has a page with specs on the Honda S2000 roadster which states, “Further intelligent design details, such as lightweight valve springs and the use of low-friction plating, prove the Honda S2000 is a model of engineering perfection.”

A news article covering Nissan’s new “advanced vehicle-to-traffic-light communication technology” is titled, “Intelligent Design, Transportation-Style, From Nissan.” An article about the Toyota Camry states that, “[t]he 2006 Camry redefines global standards for comfort, safety and intelligent design.” Elsewhere Toyota announces an environment-friendly concept car which gets great fuel economy, in part, because “weight reduction is achieved by intelligent design of interior components, such as the instrument panel and heater modules.” Similarly, an article on Toyota.com about Camry Hybrids calls the car “a world-class sedan that not only redefines global standards for comfort, performance and intelligent design, but also is available, for the first time, with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive.”

A news release advertising a line of RV’s announces: “Intelligent Design Features Incorporated Into Fleetwood’s 2006 Bounder Diesel and Expedition RV’s.” Even Lexus gets into the action, reporting on its Lexus.com website that the inspiration behind the Lexus SC430, “was to create an elegant, sophisticated and intelligent design.” Indeed, a Wall Street Journal blog writes about Chrysler’s efforts to improve their products, titling the article, “The Case for Intelligent Design at Chrysler.”

…………………………………….

Finally, if you want a nice example of an irreducibly complex system, try this YouTube video of a Honda Accord commercial. The commercial ends by saying, “Isn’t it nice when things just work?” You won’t find anyone suggesting that the machines in this commercial “work” due to anything other than intelligent design:

Why does this matter? Because:

These advertisements and reviews don’t say “random-variation-and-unguided-selection-based design.” They say “intelligent design.” And when advertisers mention the “evolution” of a product, you can almost surely bet that it’s intelligently guided “evolution,” not the Darwinian processes of random mutation and unguided natural selection.

Oh, but the author doesn’t want us to read too much into this article.

And before you start to nitpick reasons why don’t like this post, don’t forget my words at the beginning: “Don’t read into this post too much, but take it as a series of curious observations.”

That’s fair enough. I won’t read too much into this post, just what it implies. I think even the IDiot author must accept that there is something to read into this post otherwise he wouldn’t have posted the damn thing, right?

So let’s start at the beginning shall we. THIS IS THE STUPIDEST PRO ID ARGUMENT I HAVE HEARD SO FAR, BAR NONE! It is the “Ultimate Boeing 747” argument on freaking stupidity inducing drugs! Why you ask? Well let me elaborate on that?

First, they make this wild statement: “We’re often told that Darwinism is like a scientific magic bullet that can solve anything.” Who’s fucking telling them and how often are they being told? Because science says no such thing, about ANY of it’s theories. Nothing in this world solves everything and no scientist ever made that claim. Unless they were crazy as shit that is, and there are a few of those around (some employed at the Discovery Institute no doubt). I think I know what’s happening here. These guys are so ignorant about the basics of Evolution (such as it’s name which is not Darwinism, morons!) that THEY THINK we claim it can solve anything. So they’re just a bunch of stupid, confused fucks who are in fact attacking their own ignorance and stupidity, which is a fruitless endeavor because they’re not getting any smarter any time soon, so they’ll never win that fight.

Then they say that “We’re also told that intelligent design threatens to destroy science.”. Shit they got one thing right! Good job IDiots, keep it up!

Then, they make the observation that cars are INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED by engineers. Good so far, cars are in fact designed by engineers and they tend to be pretty intelligent people (although I don’t know where Kia is getting it’s engineers, but that’s another issue completely!). And they then feel the need to point out that cars did not evolve due to “random-variation-and-unguided-selection-based design.” but are intelligently designed. And this is where the dipshits drown in their own piss!

Now what the fuck does the fact that cars were designed have to day about Evolution? Yes cars were designed, so were computers, ice cream cones and countless other things that Science has created. But what kind of implication does that have for living things? None whatsoever! Because IDiots, cars are inanimate objects. They do not reproduce. They have no DNA. Evolution works on living things, which have DNA. So how the fuck are you gonna make an argument about a living thing by looking at a nonliving thing?

Of course cars don’t evolve in the biological sense. Even pigeon breeding is not evolution dipshits, even if it has to do with living things. Evolution is not a directed process, car building is. But even if you run with their example, it still does not work in their favor. Because cars do go through mutations, what do they think the engineers spit out perfect little models on their first try? Think again assholes! And oh yes there is strong selective pressures in the market. Why do they think they’re not driving a Yugo? The only difference is that Evolution is not guided while this process is. And that is their whole point anyway, it is a guided process, thus intelligently designed.

Claiming that because cars are intelligently designed by engineers means that we were designed by a supreme Intelligent Designer is logically equivalent to claiming that because cars run on gasoline we should be gulping down gallons of gasoline everyday to keep ourselves running! Are they willing to do that first?

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Critical Thinking, Evolution, Intelligent Design, Logic, Science | , , | 4 Comments

The (Un)Discovery Institute and “Academic Freedom” bills

Apparently, the Louisiana House Education Committee unanimously passed SB 733, a so-called “academic freedom” bill. It is not my intention in this post to write my take on the merits, or lack there of, of such bills. What I do want to focus is an article that inevitably the (Un)Discovery Institute put up on its website. Obviously, they are very pleased with the outcome and write in support of this bill.

One biology professor from Louisiana College, Dr. Wade Warren, testified about how during his graduate studies at Texas A & M, the dean ordered him cease discussing scientific problems with students. Another biochemist, Dr. Brenda Peirson, testified about how random mutation and natural selection cannot produce many of the complex biological systems we see in the cell.

Let’s pay close attention to what Dr. Peirson says: “random mutation and natural selection cannot produce many of the complex biological systems we see in the cell.” That is such an unscientific statement, that it is hard to believe it came from a PhD in biochemistry. Any scientist worth two pennies knows that you can never say that something cannot happen. Never, ever under any circumstance can you make such claim. At most you can say that based on the current knowledge it is highly unlikely for something to happen, but you cannot say that something cannot happen period, as this person does. Right away that tells a lot about this person’s scientific skills and the reliability of her testimony.

One of those scientists, Dr. Caroline Crocker, testified about her experience losing her job at George Mason University after she taught students about scientific arguments against neo-Darwinism.

First, just because Dr. Crocker claims that is what happens, does not mean that is really what happens. Just a few weeks ago a bit of sensational news made the rounds on the internet. It was the story of a teacher who got fired for wizardry. The news and blogs picked up and all kinds of comments were written on the story. And as it turns out that was not really the reason this guy got canned, but there were well documented performance issues. Thus, the person who got fired is not the most reliable source to get the straight fact, as they tend to be a little biased.

Second, what the hell is neo-Darwinism? There is no such thing as Darwinism to begin with, so what is this Neo thing? Biology does not teach Darwinism, nor Neo-Darwinism, but Evolution. This is a typical strategy of the ID movement, the straw-man attack. These guys are fighting Darwin, they always mention how he was a racist and such to point out that his theory is wrong. These IDiots claim you are something you are not (i.e. a “Darwinist”) and then proceed to attack it. In fact they’re attacking a fictional thing, something they created. It’s hilariously stupid, if it wasn’t so successful when they’re dealing with less sophisticated people, such as …..oh let me see….politicians.

One LSU Darwinist biologist, Dr. Bryan Carstens, who opposed the bill had the temerity to claim: “let us be clear that there is no controversy among professional biologists about fact of evolution.” The glaring weakness in his false argument was not lost upon members of the legislature: he was immediately pressed by one legislator on the committee who asked the following:

In the document you just read and gave to us, in bold print it says, ‘let us be clear there is no controversy among biologists about the fact of evolution.’ Did you hear the testimony of the other professors we had here that were speaking before this committee?

Uuhhh yes, so what? These people can’t seem to understand that finding a few nut cases, does not constitute controversy in the field of biology. So let us be clear: THERE IS NO CONTROVERSY AMONG BIOLOGISTS ABOUT THE FACT OF EVOLUTION. There may be disagreement about the various mechanisms, various details, but the field of biology as a science has no problem with evolution. Does that mean that every last biologist accepts it. No! But none of them has been able to make a scientific case against it. That’s key and the IDiots don’t want to understand that. So what, if some biologists are so attached to their religious beliefs that they reject biology? Hypocrisy yes, controversy not even close, morons!

Just as if to make my point they went on to say:

But to testify that there is “no controversy” among “professional biologists” implies that scientists who doubt Darwinism do not exist.

Bzzzzz, wrong wrong IDiots! There are scientist who doubt Evolution. But they do so based on their own religious beliefs not their science. These people don’t have a scientific argument against it. All they offer is the argument from personal incredulity, or as I refer to it the “I’m too stupid to understand, thus it must be wrong” logical fallacy.

Moral of the story-Academic freedom does not mean freedom to do whatever you want and say whatever you want without answering to anyone. That’s what these people want. They want to be allowed to go in a classroom and say whatever crap they happen to believe in. That’s akin to cops making their own laws, because they may happen not to agree with the current ones. Would any of these IDiots fight to get the cops this freedom? Somehow I doubt they would!

May 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

On Darwinism!

We are hearing the terms Darwinism/Darwinist being thrown around quite a lot lately. Everyone who opposes the ID theory (what I like to refer to as the Ignoramus Desperatus theory-not real latin by the way unless by chance) is labeled as a Darwinist. The thing is that there is no such thing as a Darwinist, not in the scientific world anyway. There is no branch of biology called Darwinian Biology. There is not PhD in Darwinism, you can’t get a “Distinguished Darwinist” Certificate anywhere, unless you make it up yourself and print it out at Kodak.com or something.

So what is this fracas about Darwinism about? Long story short, IDiots have made up this term, they’ve created an enemy that does not exist in order to attack it, so they feel they’ve won. It is what is known as a “straw man” fallacy.

The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of “reasoning” has the following pattern:
¨ Person A has position X.
¨ Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).
¨ Person B attacks position Y.
¨ Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.

The way this would work in this case is as such. Start with an evolution supporter (what I like to refer to as a realist). Label them Darwinian. Attack Darwin, mostly on how most of the ideas he wrote about at the time of the Origin of Species were wrong (ad hominem attack on Darwin). Conclude that Darwin did not know what he was talking about therefore everything he said is wrong. Conclude that anyone who clings to Darwin’s ideas must be wrong. Therefore all Darwinists and Darwinism in general are wrong. Therefore you win.
Funny right? Well, no it’s actually kinda scary if this sort of sick reasoning is coming from the President of the United States or a Supreme Court justice or a member of a school board. That is really scary.

April 22, 2008 Posted by | Critical Thinking, Evolution, Intelligent Design, Logic | , , , | Leave a comment