Grump tank for disgruntled atheists.

All Concepts are NOT created Equal

“Logical errors are, I think, of greater practical importance than many people believe; they enable their perpetrators to hold the comfortable position on every subject in turn. Any logically coherent body of doctrine is sure to be in part painful and contrary to current prejudices.”
___ Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, 1945

Some debaters like to argue that all opinions have equal value. To put it bluntly, this is utter nonsense because some opinions diverge greatly from truth. I value logic, so I find ridiculous ideas particularly irritating. Similarly, an argument may follow the rules of logic yet be palpably ridiculous because it is based upon unfounded premises. In short, it is pure fantasy. I value truth, as applied to reality, so I find phantasmagorical claptrap irritating unless it admits, as does fantasy or science fiction writing, to being fantasy.

We are daily exposed to cherished beliefs that are without empirical support or logical validity. Religious dogma aside, we are daily exposed to ideas that are without empirical support or logical validity.

The trick, obviously, is to discern the difference and to eschew conceptual detritus. There are some quite good websites that outline the principles of Critical Thinking.

Creationists seem to think that being critical of thinking equates to critical thinking. Needless to say, as in so much else, they are irritatingly illogical in their insistence that any of the various forms of creationism have explanatory merit concerning the origins of life, in particular human life. I'll have more to say on this topic elsewhere because creationism in all its fanciful incarnations is a pet peeve.

Silly Ideas Index:
ɷ Silly Ideas
ɷ Anti-Stupidity Quotes
ɷ Behe Retreats
ɷ Black Sheep are Sheep Too
ɷ Complexity Reductio
ɷ Error Filled Belief Systems
ɷ Free Speech or Propaganda of Hate?
ɷ In God, Distrust
ɷ Moral Absolutism
ɷ Myths Revered and Myths Exposed
ɷ Numbers Games
ɷ One Evolution, Many Creationisms
ɷ Out, Damned Spam!
ɷ Pet Peeves
ɷ un-designed intelligences
ɷ YEC yack

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Silly Ideas

Silly (euphemistically speaking) ideas, for the purposes of this blog, are either
● irritatingly illogical inaninities that are repeated ad nauseam by their devotees
● strongly held opinions about cause and effect that ignore or are ignorant of the facts and that run counter to widely known expert opinion
● ideas that have proved deleterious to their holders or others

● Many if not most ideas connected to an insistence on the 'existence' of one non-existent deity or another are illogical because they insist upon belief despite the lack of supportive empirical evidence when there ought to be empirical evidence. After all, if a purported deity actually created the universe, with or without interference in daily events, then there ought to be unequivocal evidence that links the physical with said deity – just as there is abundant evidence to link known physical laws with the origin of the universe and evolution.

There is no evidence of a deity unless one chooses to label physical laws as being God and to designate scientists as being the true theologians. That is, it is illogical to insist that there is a Creator of the Physical Universe, Life, and Us in the absence of any unequivocal evidence of a single entity capable of creating these tangibles. This illogic includes most perniciously, of course, the various ridiculous forms adopted by insistence upon literal interpretation of the Genesis creation myth.

● Fantasies, such as the supposed existence of the 'soul' or an 'afterlife' that run counter to all that science reveals about the inextricable connection between a functioning assemblage of chemicals and operation of the brain. There is neither evidence for–nor logical grounds for–any claim that the 'soul' has existence outside current-conscious-thought.

● Claims that 'God is Consciousness', such that some cosmic consciousness directs all that transpires in the universe, or even merely here on Earth, are akin to nonsensical claims for brain-independent souls and an afterlife. Those who believe that the sole motive force is 'thought' have applied very little–or nothing–in the way of analytical thought to their illogical beliefs. The meaning of 'thought' inherent in such illogical equivocation must necessarily be so broad as to bear no resemblence to the accepted meaning of 'thought' or of 'consciousness'.

● Insistence by Bible Thumpers on their holier-than-thou, unethical, absolute moral values that were supposedly dictated by their non-existent deity-of-choice. By unethical, I refer to those illogical attacks that harm others who do not fit into the rigid black and white box dictated by the thumpers' dogma-of-choice. While it is reasonable to decry as immoral any action that deliberately harms others, it is immoral to harm others by censuring activities that harm no-one.

● Denial of the fact of global warming despite the agreement of experts (earth and climate scientists) that rising levels of greenhouse gases (fact) attributable to our burning of fossil fuels (fact) have elevated average temperatures (fact) and increased frequency of extreme weather events (fact).

That'll do for starters!

ɷ All Concepts are NOT created Equal
ɷ Anti-Stupidity Quotes
ɷ Autovaccinism
ɷ Behe Retreats
ɷ Besottism
ɷ Black Sheep are Sheep Too
ɷ Canadians Can be Stupid Too
ɷ Claims that Scientists find Extraterrestrial genes...
ɷ Complexity Reductio
ɷ Free Speech or Propaganda of Hate?
ɷ Numbers Games
ɷ Pet Peeves
ɷ Pseudoscience Chicanery
ɷ Shun Spam
ɷ Statistics on Stupidity

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Black Sheep are Sheep Too

Aginners who hold ridiculous beliefs that run counter to received wisdom often cite the fact that others agree with their opinion, claiming that those who concur with the fact-logic-based knowledge of experts are easily-fooled sheep. In other words, other black sheep agree with their anti-expert prejudices.

If one wishes to hold a correct position, one must practice critical thinking, which is not to say that one must be negative about any propositions originating with an expert.

"Critical thinking involves assessing the authenticity, accuracy, and/or worth of knowledge claims and arguments. This process requires careful, precise, persistent and objective analysis of any knowledge claim or belief to judge its validity and/or worth."

It is folly to make the automatic assumption that those who are experts in empirical fields are necessarily, or even likely to be, incorrect in their assertions. Value-based disciplines such as politics are obviously much more vulnerable to personal biases, so the opinions of experts in these fields may be more suspect. Nevertheless, few individuals have the time or luxury to assess all available information in a value-based area, and we must rely upon the expertise of those who have expended considerable time and thought.

The more education one receives, the more that one realizes how little one knows, and the more that one must rely upon received wisdom. Still, one must assess the level of expertise and level of bias of those who pass opinions. It is not wise to trust opinions posted on a website that has been set up for the express purpose of attacking the opinions or positions of experts. (It could be argued that, in our disgruntlement, we attack the opinions of hate-tankers, junk-tankers, and those who display cognitive disorders. However, our criticisms are directed at illogic and misinformation, certainly not at expertise.)

Credible experts possess the following attributes:
1. sufficient expertise in the subject matter in question.
2. claims made are within area(s) of expertise.
3. adequate degree of agreement among the other experts in the subject in question.
4. not significantly biased by subjective motivations or prejudices.
5. expertise within a legitimate area or discipline (related to the subject matter).
6. the authority must be identified.

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Lending NO authority

We will not provide any direct links to blogs run by and for anti-science, pseudoscience-inventing, religious fanatics, or hate-mongering bigots because to do so would be to unwillingly add to the "authority" of such nonsense. However, we will provide links for anyone interested in googling for such sites.

Search engines, like computers, are blind to the value of content on websites and rank highly those sites that are linked to by more other sites.

To provide a url to a YEC, creationist, hate-mongerer, or any other nonsense, is to inadvertantly appear to be giving that site a vote of confidence, pushing it higher on searches. We will avoid doing this. We suggest that any evolutionist or liberal thinker who agrees with this policy do likewise. It's a start!

Conversely, we will provide urls for sites that, by virtue of supporting truth or being well written, deserve a vote of confidence.

Non-approved creationist sites (junk tanks) are described internally at"
Asses in Genesis, AiG : Discovery Institute : Creation Museum (Cananadian version) :

Non-approved hate tanks:
Family Research Institute :

Persona non grata described internally:
Anti-gay bigot Dr. Paul Cameron :
ID proponent Dr. Michael Behe :
YEC-er Ken Ham, image (see Biblical battle of creation groups) :

The sites that do not deserve any implicit vote of confidence can be googled at:
Answers in Genesis, AiG : Center for Science and Culture : Creation Museum : Discovery Institute : International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, ISCID :

Persona non grata can be googled at:
Paul Cameron : William Dembski : Ken Ham :

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Anti-Stupidity Quotes

The traditional YEC family adheres to anti-reality beliefs founded in illogic and ignorance.Some unfortunates are not intellectually gifted by virtue of genetic endowment or brain injury, through no fault of their own. These individuals lack the cognitive capacity to learn more than rudimentary knowledge or skills, yet they possess value simply by being humans.

Other individuals have sufficient intellectual capacity to be capable of acquiring understanding, yet they chose not to comprehend reality because of emotional biases. I find such willful stupidity so uttely infuriating that I have decided to collect some quotes that accurately denigrate ignorance:

God of the Gaps:
"The history of science shows us that patching the gaps in our knowledge with miracles creates a path that leads only to perpetual ignorance."
~ Jerry Coyne, The Great Mutator, in The New Republic

Intelligent [sick] design theory:
"As the philosopher Philip Kitcher shows in his superb new book, Living With Darwin, the theory of intelligent design is a mixture of "dead science" and non-science. That is, insofar as ID makes scientific claims (for example, that natural selection cannot produce complexity), those claims not only are wrong, but were proved wrong years ago. And ID is deeply unscientific in its assertion that certain aspects of evolution (mutation, in Behe's case) required supernatural intervention. Behe's attacks on evolutionary theory are once again wrongheaded, but the intellectual situation grows far worse when we see what theory he offers in its place."
~ Jerry Coyne, The Great Mutator, in The New Republic

"There is no polite way to say this: people who resist scientific explanations for natural phenomena such as the age of the earth and the fact of evolution are guilty of childish thinking."
~ Sharon Begley in So That's Why Evolution is in Trouble!

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In a fit of logodaedaly inspired by a particularly infuriating aginner, I have just coined this term to indicate the mythonuttical belief in a connection between autism and vaccination.

The aginner in question stubbornly and aggressively clings to a variety of idiotic beliefs that run counter to both evidence and expert opinion, and supports these beliefs with a panoply of fallacies of logic. All in all, this aginner provides a fascinating, if infuriating, nutcase study.

One of his collection of unfounded beliefs concerns the empirically invalidated claim that vaccination causes autism. Most of the authors of a 1998 study that postulated a connection based on woefully few study subjects have since retracted their erroneous interpretations, yet the damage was done and the myth continues.

At 12 months of age, infants receive MMR vaccination against viruses that formerly caused illness, debility, and some deaths (measles, mumps, rubella). This also happens to be the age at which signs of early autism are first recognized in some affected infants. Many other events impact an infant in the first year of life, but a single event, such as vaccination stands out by virtue of its singularity and so is noticed even when there is no causative association. This fallacious assumption that correlation indicates causation arises whenever an unusual event precedes an unconnected event. Epidemiologists must study large numbers of cases to tease out any genuine causative associations from serendipitious associations.

"Other larger studies have found no relationship between MMR vaccine and autism.
For example, researchers in the UK studied the records of 498 children with autism born between 1979 and 1998. They found:

  • The percentage of children with autism who received MMR vaccine was the same as the percentage of unaffected children in the region who received MMR vaccine.

  • There was no difference in the age of diagnosis of autism in vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

  • The onset of "regressive" symptoms of autism did not occur within 2, 4, or 6 months of receiving the MMR vaccine.

"Groups of experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree that MMR vaccine is not responsible for recent increases in the number of children with autism. In 2004, a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that there is no association between autism and MMR vaccine, or vaccines that contain thimerosal as a preservative." (source)

As health professionals have become more informed of autistic symptomatology and are able to recognize milder cases, rates of identification of existing cases have increased. Increased rates of identification do not necessarily indicate increased prevalence.

Research into the etiology of autistic neurobiological disorders continues, but the conditions are almost certainly multifactorial in etiology. Autism subtypes include early onset and regressive (Rett Syndrome, Glutaric Aciduriais). Autism is not a single syndrome and likely results from several different etiologies or combination of pathological mechanisms: genetic, infectious, neurologic, metabolic, immunologic, and environmental.

Vaccines act by priming the immune system to develop a clone of 'memory cells' that can respond rapidly to any exposure to live virus. On first exposure to live virus, the primed memory cells proliferate (as they would otherwise have proliferated on second exposure), pumping out monoclonal antibodies that bind specifically to the virus, enabling the rapid elimination of the infectious agent. The introduction of vaccines has enabled the eradication of smallpox and the virtual elimination of many childhood killers. Happily, vaccination has prevented horrific outbreaks such as the pre-vaccination polio epidemics that paralyzed children for life and forced thousands of children and adults into 'iron lungs'. The image at top left shows iron lungs collect in a gym (courtesy of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center). Image above right courtesy of Ontario March of Dimes.

"Mounting evidence indicates that immune dysfunction along with an environmental pathogen may be factors contributing to the development of some cases of autism. One of the immune deficiencies observed in autism is abnormal T-cell mediated immunity. Another is altered levels of certain classes of antibodies(immunoglobulins), including decreased levels of immunoglobulin A and deficient complement activity, based on the inheritance of a null allele of the C4B gene. In addition to the C4B gene, other genes on chromosome 6 also appear to be associated with autism. In the developing child, genetically determined immune deficiencies might increase the risk for autism in 2 ways: (1) A pathogen or its toxins might damage the brain, and (2) the pathogen might trigger an autoimmune mechanism that would interfere with brain functioning. In the mother, immune deficiency might allow a pathogen to persist in utero, damaging the fetal brain directly or triggering a maternal immune response that creates pathogenesis in the fetal brain." (Immune findings in autism)
These alterations are quite different than the effects observed after immunization.

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Behe Retreats

Michael J. Behe, populariser of pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo for credulous creationists.Michael Behe's illogical arguments for intelligent [sick] design theory are such an embarrassment that Lehigh University has placed a disclaimer on their Department of Biological Sciences website:

"The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of "intelligent design." While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific."

One can only imagine that if Behe had not already had tenure when he began publishing religious pseudoscience, then the university would have sent him packing to knock on the doors of that infamous junk tank, the misnamed Discovery Institute.

In The New Republic, Professor Jerry Coyne has published a good critique of Behe's retreat from disproven "irreducible complexity" into attributing mutations to God's intervention. The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism is Behe's feeble attempt to conjure up creationist pseudoscience for credulous dummies.

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Canadians Can be Stupid Too

Alberta is home to Canada's oil boom, a dinosaur lagerstatte, and Bible Belt Idiots. In the poky little town of Big Valley, a couple of creationist nincompoops have wasted $300,000 on Canada's answer to Ham's Idiocy.

In ungrammatical, deceitful displays, the museum's co-owners claim to demonstrate that the Flood occurred (misinterpreted glacial erratics) but that evolution did not (the notorious and discredited bacterial flagellum). Copying Ham's propaganda, the museum duplicitously claims that dinosaurs were contemporaneous with humans.

Needless to say, this Canadian example of creationist nonsense is arousing detractors from amongst the intelligentsia.

Every such example of Lies-for-God merely serves to underline the errancy of the Bible.

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Complexity Reductio

An Amphimedon sea-sponge of Phylum Porifera.Behe's illogical challenge to biological evolution, the so-called "irreducible complexity" that sells books to science-ignorant creationists, has suffered yet another blow.

"The latest discovery in evolution: DNA needed to make synapses, the sophisticated junctions between neurons, in none other than the lowly sea sponge. Considered among the most primitive and ancient of all animals, sea sponges have no nervous system (or internal organs of any kind, for that matter), notes Todd Oakley, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. But, he adds, they “have most of the genetic components of synapses.”"[source, original on PLoS ONE]

No surprises here–after all, the most primitive nervous system is found in the Cnideria.

[Jones] "found Behe's testimony wholly unconvincing, noting that irreducible complexity was not evidence against evolution, and that the biochemical systems touted by Behe were not irreducibly complex anyway. Behe's credibility was damaged also by his admission that ID's definition of science was so loose that it could encompass astrology, and by his fatal assertion that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God."
~ Jerry Coyne, The Great Mutator, in The New Republic

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Creationism only flourishes amidst Ignorance

I found the following example of ignorance amongst the comments on an article about the museum-of-delusion constructed by oxymoronically labelled Answers in Genesis. Those who are so ignorant as to believe in creationism are not really interested in answers, but I want to vent!

"To all of those evolutionists out there: Can you tell me ONE instance of an organism that proves that NEW information was ADDED to its DNA? NOT a LOSS of genetic info that leads to an environmental advantage, but an actual ADDITION of NEW information to the DNA?"

First, there can be no proof outside special philosophical syllogisms and mathematics. Only the ignorant or emotionally-uncertain demand proof. However, there is abundant evidence, throughout organisms from prokaryotes to humans of the addition/alteration of segments of DNA. There is so much evidence that one could not list it all. See for yourself – running a PubMed search for "DNA evolution" yielded 53983 hits (5/27/07). Of course, not all of these scientific articles will directly address this creationist challenge, so I Googled "DNA evolution" and got 47,100,000 hits. Some of these will be websites set up by creationists as ignorant as the author of that stupid question, but many will provide an accurate answer.

Creationist are correct in stating that DNA contains information, so any alteration of a DNA sequence, even if it is only a single nucleotide polymorphism (point mutation), comprises evidence of the addition of new information to DNA. To ask for "proof" of the addition of new information to DNA is beyond ridiculous. Any organism that develops a malignancy does so because of alterations in their DNA. Childrens' DNA is not identical to that of either parent because of an alteration in their DNA. The diversity of DNA, which is demonstrably currently continuing to evolve, is evidence of addition of information to DNA. No need to go on–there are billions of examples.

"Answers in Genesis' website explains that this is the big obstacle for evolutionary belief. What mechanism could possibly have added all the extra genetic information required to change a one-celled creature into a multicelled organism, then other more "complex" organisms?"

This, of course, is why Answers in Genesis is misnamed. (There are no accurate answers to questions in Genesis, which was, is, and always will be an allegorical creation myth. Nor are there any answers in AiG–merely delusions.)

Again, science has documented abundant evidence regarding mechanisms, which include prokaryotic gene-swapping mechanisms (HGT), serial endosymbiotic transfers, and a variety of internal-mutation mechanisms (duplication, etc.). The very first soft-bodied multicellular organisms died without leaving any fossil trace around 1 billion years ago. It is utterly unreasonable to expect that this step in evolution can ever be exactly replicated. However, the molecular biological mechanisms of cellular adhesion that exist today were likely the same mechanisms that allowed the first co-operative assemblages of specialized cells (the colonial theory providing the likeliest explanation). Serial endosymbiotic transfers rendered this step possible, and the oxygen produced by the first prokaryotes to practice oxygenic photosynthesis both drove and enabled such assemblages.

"Natural selection can’t explain it as natural selection involves getting rid of information."

Natural selection operates to increase the frequency of favourable alleles and reduce unfavourable alleles in populations. The amount of information is much the same following selection for the organisms best equipped to survive and produce viable progeny within a particular environment. Only utterly unfavourable mutations will be removed, while neutral and favourable mutations will persist. Natural selection has never been regarded as a mechanism for the alteration of DNA itself.

"A group of animals might become more adapted to the heat by the elimination of those which carry the genetic information to make thick fur. But that doesn’t explain the origin of the information to make thick or thin fur."

Nor, as above, do any evolutionary biologists claim that natural selection, which can only operate on already existent alleles, is the mechanism for producing the genes.

"As a Biological Sciences major in college . . . "

Now this is truly very sad! This poser-of-stupid-questions is better educated than your average creationist, yet clearly does not comprehend even the basics of molecular or population genetics. This sort of ignorance is the reason that critics decry anti-science, deceptive-pseudoscience displays that merely entrench such ignorance.

"I was also disappointed and angry to discover that several of the big "evidences" for evoution given to us in school were NOT true, and that these are still taught to students today as truth."

Where did this person attend college? Presumably a small southern college and not one of the better universities. The above is a truly ridiculous statement. Evidence is evidence is evidence. Scientific theories are formulated on the basis of evidence, which translates to saying that scientific theories begin with the facts. The evidences for biological evolution are FACTS. Whether or not a particular theory best explains the facts is a different question, and this is the entire point of the scientific method.

"It is time students were taught all the facts about evolution, not just the ones that fit the THEORY best! I pray the AiG museum will open a lot of eyes to the deception carried on by the biologists promoting evolution."

The voluminous facts about biological evolution are conveniently ignored by those who believe in creation, in biblical literacy, and in some non-existent necessary-connection between morality and religious dogmatism. The author of the ridiculous comment that I have quoted is clearly incapable of comprehending the facts. As to manipulating information to fit theories, the AiG museum is a transparent example of the sort of distortion of facts that is necessary in order to support an utterly ridiculous two- thousand-plus-year old theory (YEC). Although they do not admit this explicitly, creationist attacks on science implicitly indicate that they are aware that scientific facts disprove the claims in Genesis–proof may not be possible, but disproof is possible. Genesis IS disproven. Dinosaurs did not coexist with hominids, rather the dinosaurs predated hominids by 60 million years. No number of deceptive lie-orama displays will ever alter that fact.

I'd further suggest to the author of the stupid-question that his or her inability to understand something does not render that thing invalid. It merely means that he or she really ought to obtain some education. Given that an ABC News poll indicates that "60 percent of Americans believe God created the world in six days" (a fallacious argumentum ad numeram argument for creationism, incidentally), then it is clear that far too may Americans exhibit a lamentably low standard of science education.

More mutterings about the stupidity that is creationism:
ɷ Myths Revered and Myths Exposed
ɷ un-designed intelligences
ɷ Judge Jones Rules
ɷ The Wedge Document

Elsewhere: Gallup Poll on Evolution, which reveals that the overwhelming majority of religious fundamentalists are ignorant of evolution : comment on Pharyngula : Religion—our maelstrom of ignorance: "Maybe we need to start picketing fundamentalist churches. Maybe it's about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse."

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Claims that Scientists find Extraterrestrial genes in Human DNA

Try googling "Scientists find Extraterrestrial genes in Human DNA" and you will come up with a number of dubious appearing, and even more dubious sounding, websites purporting that a team led by the fictitious Professor Sam Chung claims that human "junk DNA" indicates the operation of apparent "extraterrestrial programmers".

The first clue that this rumor is itself *junk* is the fact that none of these websites provide a reference or url leading back to the purported original work.

The second clue is the nature and name of the websites (though I admit that "Mimble Wimble" may not inspire confidence).

The third clue is the content itself. To quote the ridiculous article: "The alien chunks within Human DNA, Professor Chang further observes, "have its own veins, arteries, and its own immune system that vigorously resists all our anti-cancer drugs.""

Whatever nutbar perpetrated the original hoax, he or she clearly has absolutely no idea of the nature of DNA, which comprises nitrogenous bases attached to a phosphate-deoxyribose (sugar) backbone. Veins, arteries, and the immune system are comparatively enormous systems whose production and operation is coded for by thousands of DNA segments. DNA itself is merely a very large, though essentially simple, molecule and as such it contains only other, smaller, simple molecules.

The hoax-article proceeds from mistake to mistake to mistake. For example, any legitimate scientist at the Human Genome Project would know that "junk DNA" does contain some coding sequences.

No doubt, the Internet community of creationist nutters, themselves usually UFOs* , will eventually latch onto this hoax as "evidence" for the operation of an "intelligent designer". However, one would have hoped that an *intelligent* designer should not have needed to resort to "junk" DNA.

* Uninformed Foolish Objects

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Free Speech or Propaganda of Hate?

I stumbled across this piece of nonsense quite by accident when I googled '"appeal to authority" "acceptable authority"':
“The life span of gays is 20- plus years shorter than the life span of heterosexuals,” states Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute, a Colorado-based think tank. “On average, in Norway and Denmark — where same-sex marriage is legal – married lesbians lived to age 56 and married gay men to age 52."[s]

(Internet searches do generate some unexpected hits!)

The statistics seemed highly improbable, so I read the article and researched the sources. I worry when I read "think tank" because those words typically signify something that only passes for thinking in the mind of the founder of the "junk tank" or "hate tank" in question (here, the FRI). Those who set up special-focus websites for the promulgation of prejudiced disinformation probably assume that labelling their organization as a "think tank" will lend an air of legitimacy. They probably do not care that they convince only those who are already equally biased.

Beware of any 'scientist' who has set up an 'organization' that specifically aims to promote his particular prejudice and claims that his pet organization is intended for research. Legitimate scientific research is typically conducted in association with an established academic facility and is published in an appropriate, recognized peer-reviewed scientific journal. Clinical research might be conducted outside a university setting, but it is only legitimized by publication in a peer-reviewed clinical journal.

The Family Research Institute (which solicits donations on its website), "was founded in 1982 with one overriding mission: to generate empirical research on issues that threaten the traditional family, particularly homosexuality, AIDS, sexual social policy, and drug abuse. FRI believes that published scientific material has a profound impact, both in the United States and around the world."

This reader of that "Mission Statement" very seriously doubts that the FRI has any interest in published scientific material–beyond deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation, that is. I feel that such doubt is reasonable in view of the the FRI's stated goals, and its printed questions such as "Can Anything Be Done to Stop Gay Rights?". The website's main page contained (as of April 23, '07) only comments on homosexuality. (By contrast, the main page ignores drug abuse, which legitimate sociological research implicates in considerably more harm.)

On to the numbers: Are such figures accurate when the average lifespan in developed nations is increasing? If such purportedly shortened lifespan were attributable to AIDS, this could apply only to gay males because lesbians have the lowest HIV infection rate when compared to gay males, heterosexual males, or heterosexual females. Remember that HIV infection is not confined to gay males despite its having been labelled "the gay disease".

On the topic of AIDS, which made it onto the FRI's attack list: AIDS killed an estimated 206,037 in America between 1995 and 2002. By contrast cancer claimed 557,271 in the US in 2002 alone. Amongst cancer deaths, 31% of cancers in men and 27% in women were attributable to cancer of the lung and bronchus, which are almost invariably secondary to cigarette smoking. Also in 2002, diabetes caused 73,249 deaths, and accidents took 106, 742. If Dr. Cameron is truly concerned about AIDs per se, he ought to be much more concerned about smoking, diabetes, or accident-prone behaviours.

As to the "lifespan" numbers, Dr. Cameron appears to be attempting to monopolize on a combination of small national populations and the sample's very much smaller population of self-reported homosexuals (chosing legal marriage rather than cohabitation). Why else would an American be so interested in life expectancy in Scandinavia?

Is this man claiming that making gay marriage legal leads to early mortality in Scandinavia? Is he concerned that those Scandinavian homosexuals who died quite young would have lived longer had they not legally married a same sex partner, but had chosen instead to stay single or to cohabit? Is he claiming that those same people, whatever their sexual preferences, would have lived an extra twenty years had they chosen heterosexual marriage? Is this man worried for the health of homosexuals? Is he merely concerned about the well-being of adopted children in Scandinavia? You'd be correct to guess that this is not his reason for stating those highly dubious statistics.

To evaluate what is really at play behind Cameron's claims, let's look at the man. (This is legitimate ad hominem and not a fallacious ad hominem.) In 1982, Dr. Paul Cameron co-founded the "Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality" in Lincoln, which pretentiously title organization later became–you guessed it–The Family Research Institute.

By 1983, Dr. Paul Cameron of Nebraska (clue!) had been dropped from membership in the American Psychological Association for a violation of the Preamble to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists.

What kind of violation? Probably something related to American Sociological Association's 1985 resolution asserting that "Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism." The ASA noted that "Dr. Paul Cameron has repeatedly campaigned for the abrogation of the civil rights of lesbians and gay men, substantiating his call on the basis of his distorted interpretation of this research."7

Cameron's work has also been repudiated for alleged misrepresentation of data by the Canadian Psychological Association.

It is theoretically possible that the violation of "Ethical Principles" committed by Dr. Cameron that elicited 'dis-memberment' by the American Psychological Association were different issues than those cited by the ASA, but if this is the case, then Dr. Cameron has been a very naughty fellow indeed.

Whatever his reasons for anti-gay bigotry, it certainly appears that Dr. Cameron has made hate propaganda his life's mission.

If Dr. Cameron were truly concerned that expected lifespan is a valid criterion on which to base decisions concerning prospective adoptive parents, then his time would have been better spent in campaigning against adoption by parents who smoke. After all, it is well established that smokers are statistically likely to die about 7 years younger than nonsmokers. Further, the adoptive children of smokers would be exposed to the known health risks of second hand smoke.

However, since Dr. Cameron mentioned no other areas of concern regarding the health or longevity of adoptive parents, and since his mission statement proudly avows an anti-homosexual stance, and since the quoted statistics were for a completely separate nation, and since three professional agencies have criticised Dr. Cameron for biased misrepresentation of data, I believe that I was quite correct to view those improbable statistics with scepticism.

The question of whether or not adoption should be equally accessible to gay couples as to heterosexual couples would prove an interesting subject for reasoned and informed debate. I think that the most important factors to be considered are those relating to the child's psychological well-being.

My personal opinion is that there is no particular reason to believe that a gay couple would be necessarily be a worse choice than a heterosexual couple in terms of their potential to be good, loving, adoptive parents. However, potential adoptive parents currently seem to outnumber available babies. So, given that society remains prejudiced against homosexuals, to place babies in a household headed by a homosexual couple might place those infants at some avoidable risk of psychological discomfort concerning societal prejudices (once they are old enough to be concerned about societal attitudes). On the other hand, since older children are far less likely to be placed in any adoptive home, those children would probably be far better off being adopted by loving, gay parents than remaining in fostering or an orphanage.

Regardless, biased misrepresentation of inaccurate and irrelevant figures should play no role in such a debate when all information on Dr. Cameron and his "hate tank" quite clearly indicate that he is highly prejudiced. Had Dr. Cameron provided reliable statistics that were relevant to the question, then his hateful agenda per se should not mitigate against his argument.

My knee-jerk reaction to obvious hate propaganda is to adopt a view that is diametrically opposed to that of the bigot. This reaction does not persist long, and I prefer to return to assessing the argument on its merits as dispassionately as possible. However, hate propaganda does pique my interest to look for more fallacies of logic and misrepresentations in the diatribes spewed by bigots. This is how I came to be interested in the otherwise pointless ‘intelligent [sick] design theory’, and I just might eventually get around to some research on gay bashing.

The article that I stumbled across was Gays Die Sooner: Implications for Adoption, which was quoted on March 27, 2007 from Christian Newswire on the Blog, which stated that "Comments and Pings are both off."

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Furor over Stupidity

Poster for Inherit the Wind -- America has not progressed very far since the Scopes Monkey Trial.It's high time that scientists and the educated organize against attempts by the dogmatically ignorant to undermine education in America. AiG's deceptive junk-tank monument to stupidity, aka the Creation Museum, has squandered $27 million in order to promote their LIES against scientific fact.

YECs appear not to be a particularly bright group, so it seems unlikely that many budding geniuses are being misled into ignorance. However, this is no reason not to decry the damage done to average children by causing deliberate confusion about science and reality.

The Founding Fathers were wise to separate Religion and the State, though not necessarily for prescient reasons. Whether or not they foresaw the likelihood that organized stupidity would attempt to undermine education, the Constitution should be used to protect education from superstition and ignorance. The mere fact of "scientists'" having signed a document against Darwinism demonstrates the desecration of science, critical thinking, and logic wrought by religious dogmatists. Polls indicate that far too high a percentage of Americans are so ignorant of the facts on which scientific theories are based that they hold a strict creationist view of origins.

Modern politicians, concerned more for their political ambitions than for truth, are all too aware of the vocal agitators who sway religious dogmatists on voting day, so they abrogate their responsibility to uphold the Constitution. To make matters worse, the most stupid president ever not-to-actually-be-elected resorts to claims of communication with God. It's intriguing to ponder how America came to be a nation that largely reviles knowledge while protecting organized stupidity. America has not come very far since 1925!

Statement of Concern
"We, the undersigned scientists at universities and colleges in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana, are concerned about scientifically inaccurate materials at the Answers in Genesis museum. Students who accept this material as scientifically valid are unlikely to succeed in science courses at the college level. These students will need remedial instruction in the nature of science, as well as in the specific areas of science misrepresented by Answers in Genesis."

National Center for Science Education petition:

"One of the petitions, started by the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, a Washington, D.C., group that focuses on church and state issues, says the museum is part of a "campaign by the religious right to inject creationist teachings into science education."'

Campaign to Defend the Constitution:

Elsewhere: Gallup Poll on Evolution, which reveals that the overwhelming majority of religious fundamentalists are ignorant of the fact of biological evolution : comment on Pharyngula : Religion—our maelstrom of ignorance: "Maybe we need to start picketing fundamentalist churches. Maybe it's about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse."

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Numbers Games

Used correctly, statistics are an invaluable aid to correct reasoning.

The discipline called 'statistics' is a mathematical science that establishes criteria and techniques for meaningful, mathematical evaluation of numerical data (descriptive statistics, inferential statistics). This discipline is not to be confused with the vernacular meaning of statistics, which merely refers to any collection of numbers connected to a topic.

"Statistics can be made to prove anything - even the truth." ~Author Unknown

"Statistics may be defined as "a body of methods for making wise decisions in the face of uncertainty."" ~W.A. Wallis

As applied within the softer sciences, statistical methods provide the means by which to ascertain whether or not data have arisen purely by chance or whether they accurately reflect that which they are intended to measure. That is, inferential statistics provides confidence limits that indicate the probability that the data have not arisen purely by chance.

"The theory of probabilities is at bottom nothing but common sense reduced to calculus." ~Laplace, Théorie analytique des probabilités, 1820

However, as for so many other areas that are abused by what passes as human reasoning, statistics can be manipulated and misinterpreted to serve the special prejudices of hate-tankers and junk-tankers. The fact that numbers can be manipulated and misinterpreted does not mean that statistics always lie or even that statistics often lie. It is people who lie, and people who are mistaken either through simple ignorance or deliberate self-delusion.

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts - for support rather than for illumination." ~Andrew Lang

"Statistics are like women; mirrors of purest virtue and truth, or like whores to use as one pleases." ~Theodor Billroth

"Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." ~Mark Twain, autobiography, 1904 (there is no actual record of this under Disraeli's authorship)

The oft-cited "Borel's Law" is prime example of the sort of manipulative numbers games to which creationists resort in an attempt to discredit the enormously likely probability of biopoiesis. Here's an example of creationist nonsense:

"...Mathematicians generally agree that, statistically, any odds beyond 1 in 1050 have a zero probability of ever happening.... This is Borel's law in action which was derived by mathematician Emil Borel...."

Rot and twaddle – only a zero probability is a zero probability.

Whenever there are close to or more than 1050 possibilities that the particular event will occur, then the event cannot have zero probability. Even if there was a single chance for that event to occur, the event could occur, so its probability is not zero.

Of course, since for whatever deluded reasons creationists choose to take Genesis literally, those who are already convinced that they are the product of special creation will be enamoured of such a ridiculous argument. No matter how stupid or unlikely an idea, those who dogmatically cling to that idea for emotional reasons will be unmoved by reason, logic, facts, or legitimate statistics.

The other form of illogic that attaches itself to numbers lies in two related but separate fallacies of logic – argumentum ad numerum and argumentum ad populum.

The reverse of these recognized fallacies is a form of fallacio fallacy, namely that just because a large number of credible authorities state something, this does not make the assertions of experts well-founded. Such an assertion is a fallacious argument against authority. The faulty reasoning runs, "I don't like this idea, therefore no matter how many genuine authorities say that such-and-such is true, because I don't want to believe it, all the authorities are incorrect."

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Pet Peeves

Here's a partial list of infuriating things that people do:
Obviously at the top of any such list come egregious crimes against humanity such as child abuse, child pornography, etcetera. In this category come those acts of deliberate harm to others that are committed out of selfishness combined with weakness. These are the acts that are universally despised by all except the perpetrators. Not much need for discussion about these, and most of us are fortunate enough to escape or avoid these.

However, we more commonly encounter daily irritants like spam, pop-ups, and junk websites that arise out of human greed and an unwillingness to work for an honest living. I despise these scum because they all want something for nothing. The search engines rank those websites that are not to be trusted – be careful about clicking on any that are dubious and boycott businesses that you know to spam or to advertise on junk-sites. (For example, never click on Nizkor because those scum have made it impossible to close their junk window, as I discovered to my chagrin.)

If we all boycotted spammers and invasive advertisers, the scum could not profit. Fight back – drive them out of business!

I also find telemarketers and charities that phone to solicit contributions – junk mail is bad enough, but dashing for the phone when it's an unsolicited intrusion is infuriating. If I want to buy or contribute, I will do so, and there is no shortage of businesses willing to sell or charities willing to accept donations, so I have no difficulty finding them should I wish to. I have an effective policy on those who invade my privacy – I tell the person who is selling or soliciting that I make a point of never doing business with, or donating to, any business or agency that phones me and I stick to my word. Why should I reward any business or agency that invades my privacy? If they want to advertise, let them support television and printed magazines or newspapers by paying for their advertizing.

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Out, Damned Spam!

How best to avoid spam –
Don't trust just anyone with your email address – beware particularly of websites that offer a free widget or newsletter in exchange for your email address. If you must provide an address, equip yourself with a free email address such as you can obtain through yahoo or msn. That way, you can easily close the address if it attracts junk.

It's impossible to completely avoid spam, so I set up my email browser to delete dubious 'senders' or even entire countries. (I don't have any buddies in China, for example, so I simply blocked all emails that come out of China and other such countries.)

Domains seem to be a dime a dozen or are completely free, so lots of scum abuse free addresses provided by yahoo etcetera. You may not want to block all yahoo- or hotmail- senders, but some of the less popular freebie providers will not be a loss. If you get spam from, then it's better to block the entire domain rather than just greedyjerk, who will have e-morphed to by next week.

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Myths Revered and Myths Exposed

Different Views of Dinosaurs – the Ham-headed-dinosaur, a genetically altered relic of ignorant thinking. Two very different museum exhibits have hit the news recently (5/26/07).

First the bad news: "Creation Museum juxtaposes dinosaurs, Noah's Ark"
This monument to stupidity in Petersburg, Kentucky was erected under the direction of Ken Ham. He's the expatriate Queenslander who founded the oxymoronically-titled Answers in Genesis ministry. Ham's "non-profit" organization came up with $27 million to build a 60,000-square-foot museum devoted to biblical literacy and creation mythology.

Says Ham, "The Bible doesn't talk about fossils, but it gives you a basis for understanding why there are fossils around the world."

Understanding? Ham is not interested in understanding, Ham is interested in promoting nonsensical insistence that Genesis is not allegorical. Of course the Bible doesn't mention fossils – the ancient tribesmen of Israel who invented the Genesis-creation-myth knew nothing of fossils.

"Christians across this nation see this place as a rallying point," Ham said. They "recognize that we live in a culture that no longer believes the Bible is true."

Misleading! Only some Christians are so deluded that they believe that the Bible is literal, though I suppose that religious dogmatists are spread across America. The museum is actually a rallying point only for those Christians who are so ignorant as to insist upon Special Creation. The only good news is Ham's admission that most of the "culture" no longer takes the Bible literally.

Ham said the museum received three gifts topping $1 million, which only goes to demonstrate that the deluded may become rich. On the other hand, perhaps chimpanzees have funded this inanity in order to divorce themselves from the deluded amongst their cousins.

Ham has filled the museum not with dioramas but with lie-oramas, displays that lie about paleontology. The dinosaurs disappeared some 65 million years ago, when the only evidence of mammalian ancestors comprised tiny insectivores. Hominids did not evolve until the Miocene.

Why dinosaurs in such an exhibit? Children love dinosaurs, and if you wish to inculcate creation myths into another generation you must con the kiddies.

To demonstrate that two can play at the game of deceptive imagery, I have created the Ham-headed-dinosaur to illustrate "Different Views of Dinosaurs".

Some good news is that Ham's lie-oramas have excited well-deserved criticism and that protests are planned.

The other exhibit deals with the phenomenon of myth building in a realistic way:
Dragons and other mythic creatures featured in NYC museum exhibit

"What's going on? Has one of the pre-eminent science museums in the world made a find that would show these creatures are real? No, no, the exhibit actually looks at how people have come up with all kinds of myths and stories to account for things they didn't understand.

The exhibit shows how cultures around the world came up with such strange, mysterious creatures. Dragons, for instance, can be found both in the East and West, although they're considerably more benevolent in Chinese culture than they are in Europe. "

That's more like it – display that consititutes an acknowledment that ignorance promoted fantasy.

More mutterings about the stupidity that is creationism:
ɷ Creationism only flourishes amidst Ignorance
ɷ un-designed intelligences
ɷ Judge Jones Rules
ɷ The Wedge Document

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Pseudoscience Chicanery

The Fiction Lie-See-Um or AiG's Creationist Museum presents falsehoods about natural history in order to promote ignorance of science in the US.Pseudoscience masquerades as science, usually to promote some commercial scam or to promote religious beliefs for which there is not, nor ever will be, supportive evidence.

The subject matter of pseudoscientific claims ranges from astrology and the occult to anti-science, religiously motivated falsehoods.

By my definition, to lay claim to being legitimately within the sphere of scientific knowledge, the claim must:
A) For physical evidence that is not subject to experimental verification: exist as tangible evidence that is uncovered under controlled conditions and is interpreted in accordance with current knowledge – for example, a paleontological fossil, an anthropological artefact, an archeological find. That same fossil, artefact, or ruin cannot be considered to fall within the realm of science when it has been unearthed without any attention to its context, or experimental verification of its associations and age.

B) For experimentally generated empirical data: the scientific method can be applied to physical data that is experimentally testable, repeatable, and, ideally, falsifiable. The experimental data must be logically interpreted in accordance with current knowledge.

Talking or writing about science is not science. Criticizing or critiquing science is not science. Elaborating mumbo-jumbo about supposed medical treatments without clinical testing is not science. Concocting falsehoods designed to protect unjustified belief in disproved Special Creation is definitely not science.

In order to ignorantly support illogical, indoctrinated religious mythology, creationists deny scientific knowledge, attack a straw man version of science, and falsify science as lie-oramas in the Fiction Lie-See-Um, or tout Misleading Pseudoscience for Dummies on junk tanks. " Creationism has been discredited, however, by indisputable physical evidence – carbon dating, for example."[SW]

External : Science Week editorials : Creationism vs. Sanity : SCIENCE POLICY: ON THE TEACHING OF PSEUDOSCIENCE :

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Rigidity and Religiosity

Scene from D.W. Griffith's 1916 movie Intolerance. The film was intended as a sermon against the hideous effects of intolerance.  Intolerance interweaves a contemporary melodrama about the hypocrisy of well-off do-gooders set in the United States, with three parallel stories of earlier times: Christ at Calvary, the razing of Babylon by Persians, and the persecution of the Huguenots in France.In a 2002 study, researchers at the University of Nijmegen examined the relationship between moral attitudes and religiosity. Individual educational attainment also affects moral attitudes, typically resulting in more liberal and tolerant attitudes. These results are nothing new because many studies have demonstrated moral rigidity in the religious and the less educated.

However, the researchers also observed variation in the moralism-religiosity relationship within different countries. They found that the correlation between individual religiosity and moral attitudes was stronger in the more religious countries compared to the more secularized countries. The liberalizing impact of education was stronger in more religiously heterogeneous countries compared to religiously homogeneous countries, and stronger in long-standing democracies compared to short- standing democracies. [s]

A scene from D.W.Griffith's 1915 movie The Birth of a Nation, which glorified the KKK and white supremacy.When compared to other Western nations, including neighbouring Canada, religiosity and moral rigidity in the United States ranks alongside the developing nations. Contrary to its self-congratulatory hubris, the US has very little to brag about because its citizens display a level of ignorance that places it at the bottom of the Western intellectual totem pole.

The image at top left is from David Wark Griffith's 1916 movie "Intolerance". In ironic contrast, the image at right is a scene from Griffith's 1915 movie "The Birth of a Nation", which epitomizes American intolerance toward blacks and glorifies the Ku Klux Klan. I doubt that Griffith ever saw the irony.

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Error Filled Belief Systems

It is quite extraordinary to me that some people hold collections of unfounded beliefs while denying fact-based realities. I suppose that these alternative "thinkers" believe that it is better to hold as true that which they wish to believe, and as untrue any fact-distorted information that they choose, for whatever misguided reason, not to believe.

Here are some ridiculous world-views that I have encountered in some illogical and personally unpleasant (for many reasons beyond ridiculous beliefs) individuals:

B (for Bible Biased Bigot): God, also pretentiously called the "Intelligent [sick] Designer", dictated Absolute Moral Truths. All liberal and compassionate views, including tolerance of others' behaviors, and any behaviors that differ from the straight and narrow will lead to inevitable moral mayhem. B's knowledge of sociology ranks with B's level of empathy and compassion somewhere close to zero.

W: Global warming is a myth. W's "reasoning" runs that because the planet has previously had ice ages, then global warming must be attributable only to normal fluctuations. Knowledge of the existence of prior ice ages is the sum total of W's knowledge of paleoclimates and climatology. W finds scientists dull because they say the same things as one another. (I think that the planet would be a very scary place if all scientists concocted ideas based on a personal need for variety!) W knows virtually nothing about medical science, but firmly believes that most disease is a creation of the mind. The Nazi holocaust, according to W, either did not happen or is greatly exaggerated (the latter being a concession to the horrifying film footage). W believes that Jews have exaggerated the holocaust because they suffer a persecution complex. It does not seem to have occurred to W that the Jews have indeed been scapegoated and persecuted repeatedly during European history. W doesn't believe in God (so far, so good) and so does not believe that Jesus was the son of God (fine, since a man cannot be the son of something that does not exist). However, W considers that Jesus the man is a myth and that Jesus never lived (apparently, the Gospels are utter lies rather than exaggerations). Does W the-fact-buster believe in anything? Yes, W believes in the sort of mythical creatures that exist only in fantasy novels .....

There seems, as evidenced by these two, to be an association between truly silly or nasty belief systems and more generalized personality defects. This makes some sense in view of the fact that our personalities are the outward manifestation of our general belief system, and further, that what we choose to believe, when we diverge from evidence-logic-based beliefs, will be greatly influenced by our temperament and general attitudes to the world and others.

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un-designed intelligences

In my opinion, the concept quoted below warrants lower case and reaction to the concept ought to evoke UPPER case refutations.

"Objectivity results from the use of the scientific method without philosophic or religious assumptions in seeking answers to the question: Where do we come from?"

So far, so good. This is the whole point of scientific investigation as embodied in numerous branches of empirical and experimental investigation. The trouble is that the writer is not really interested in learning where we come from, rather he or she is interested only in promulgating an older-than- two-thousand-years creation myth.

Of course, the above quote would not have evoked mimbling if subsequent statements were not contradictory:
"We promote the scientific evidence of 'intelligent [sick] design' because proper consideration of that evidence is necessary to achieve not only scientific objectivity but also constitutional neutrality."

There is no scientific evidence that points directly and incontrovertibly to the operation of an "intelligence" behind the evolution of biological complexity. Creationists choose to interpret the physical evidence as sign of the operation of a deity, just as the creators of other creation myths have done.

However, mainstream science involves not merely collection of data, it also demands that acceptable inferences be made from the data toward expert-scrutinized scientific hypotheses, theories, and laws that reasonably explain physical mechanisms. Most creationists appear to be ignorant of the content and the process of science. Merely discussing science, as I am here, does not constitute science.

Science, by definition, can only investigate the physical, and scientists can only speculate about the natural world in light of physical principles. The purpose of science is the elucidation of mechanisms that operate in the physical world, so legitimate science speculates neither on the supernatural nor on the existence or nonexistence of purported deities.

This said, unbiased, scientific understanding objectively points away from the existence of a supernatural intelligent designer toward mechanisms that select blindly for inherently successful mechanisms. If this were not the case, Christian literalists would not attack scientific understanding of the origins of life and the evolution of biological complexity, instead they would espouse mainstream science.

Further, "neutrality" behooves a lack of bias, a lack of ulterior motive or hidden agenda. No matter what their duplicitious protestations may be, those who promote the concept of "intelligent" design do have an agenda that is unrelated to scientific objectivity – they wish to promote creationism and their right-wing social agenda by pushing thinly disguised religion into the science classroom. It is a credit to many American parents, educators, and judges that the invidious inroads of ‘intelligent [sick] design' propagandists are being overthrown.

It has been my unhappy observation that few people know more than a smattering of scientific facts and even fewer understand scientific principles. However, many reasonable thinking Christians are not so closed-minded as to deny the expertise of scientists in order to protect their emotional need for a belief in a deity. Recognition of biological evolution does not preclude personal religious belief. Religionists, however, exhibit not only different sectarian beliefs they also exhibit different degrees of obtuseness.

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. . . launched (sans champagne, alas) 10/22/06