Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Kansas Bobble-Heads Society

Job 38:1-7 (New International Version)

Job 38

The LORD Speaks
1 “Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
2 Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
4 Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-
7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels [
a] shouted for joy?”

Kansas is making national headlines these days. According to Patrick Kelley, the Emporia Gazette’s resident expert on all things that matter it’s all about the Kansas Board of Education and a bunch of wacky “theologians of intelligent design”:

“The Kansas Board of Education has been running Bobble-Head days in Topeka,”

“The theologians of intelligent design have been pronouncing windily on the sins of Charles Darwin, nodding sagely as they airily dismiss 150 years of science.”

For those of you not familiar with what’s going on in Kansas the roaring debate is really all about whether or not anyone, be it a layman like me or a scientist with standing within the scientific community, has the right to question Darwinism.

There are two sides in this debate. First, there are the proponents of investigating, scientifically, the theory of intelligent design. To Patrick Kelley and Darwinists opposing their efforts to be heard they are known, euphemistically, as “bobble-heads.”

What is that makes them “bobble-heads?” They have the temerity to question some of the science of Darwinism, based on science itself. One Intelligent Design website, Intelligent Design Network, describes the theory of Intelligent Design this way:

“The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection -- how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences.”

The debate, as they see it, is framed in the following manner:

“Thus, a disagreement continues to exist within the Science Writing Committee with
respect to very substantive issues relating to the inherently controversial issue of teaching
students about the origin of life and its diversity. There is general agreement that standard
biological evolutionary theory must be presented. However, Draft 2 continues to implicitly discourage any critical analysis of the theory that would “weaken” it. This implication is reinforced by the absence of any learning objective that would inform students of important evidence inconsistent with evolution’s critical assumptions and historical narratives. This is in spite of agreed upon standards that explicitly state that students should critically analyze all scientific theories and consider competing alternatives.”

In layman’s terms it means this – continue to teach the theory of evolution and also allow for discussion of Intelligent Design as a competing theory.

Then there are the Darwinists. We all know what they believe. They’ve held a monopoly in the academic arena for quite a while now.

Interestingly, they have decided to boycott the School Board hearings. Why? Basically, according to these paragons of education and science, the hearings would be a sham. Patrick Kelley, who’s a journalist but plays a scientist in commercials for Holiday Inn Express, put the objections of the Darwinists succinctly:

“But the current state school board trying to pass judgment on what constitutes acceptable science is like a group of average seventh graders demanding to grade the final exams for the KU School of Medicine.”

What I find really fascinating in this debate is the willingness of the proponents of Intelligent Design to discuss science while the Darwinists have decided on a different strategy. Liz Craig, a spokesperson for Kansas Citizens for Science, described it this way;f=3;t=000017
posted February 10, 2005 06:53 PMFebruary 10, 2005 07:53 PM
“I admire your attitude. I feel the same way. However, the BOE answers to no one. They have no reason to resign. They are in the cat-bird seat, they have all the power, and they will do what they want to do.”

“My strategy at this point is the same as it was in 1999: notify the national and local media about what's going on and portray them in the harshest light possible, as political opportunists, evangelical activists, ignoramuses, breakers of rules, unprincipled bullies,etc.”

“There may no way to head off another science standards debacle, but we can sure make them look like asses as they do what they do.”

“Our target is the moderates who are not that well educated about the issues, most of
whom probably are theistic evolutionists. There is no way to convert the creationists.”

There’s science for you! There’s intelligent inquiry. I wonder if Ms. Craig learned her science at the same Holiday Inn Express as Patrick Kelley.

In case you think that Ms. Craig is a rogue, I’ll cite a few other snippets from the Kansas Citizens for Science website. There’s this:
“Biology is chaos. Biological systems are the product not of logic, but of evolution, an inelegant process. Life does not choose the logically best design to meet a new situation. It adapts what already exits.”

And this:

“I remain aghast at the prospect of science and religion becoming a single subject. When are we due to rewrite the laws of physics, chemistry? Are we going to be burning books next? Geez, these people have truly lost it.”

Then there’s this gem:

“The arguments against evolution are but a symptom of the real problem, which is acceptance of religion as AUTHORITY FOR MORAL GUIDANCE. We should no more allow ourselves to be guided by this criminal cabal than we should allow ourselves to be governed by any society of career criminals.”“It's time to remove the tax exempt status for religion. Ignore these smaller battles and fight the one that matters and is the cause for much of the financial and political influence this group has, in spite of their psychotic and far right beliefs.”

To their credit, there was one Darwinist who seemed to get the point of the debate:

“I will say, however, that I was troubled by the lack of direct response by our side to the allegations made by the "witnesses" presented by the other side. It seemed to me that Mr. Irigonegary did more in the way of attacking the witnesses and citing various people's opinions of them and their work than directly rebutting the information they presented.” “I understand that it's probably because Mr. Irigonegaray is an attorney, not a scientist and didn't want to wade into unfamiliar waters. But why aren't we bringing forward our own witnesses to blow these guys out of the water? What are we afraid of? I mean, the evidence is clearly with us -- not them. It comes off as a little shallow when the best we offer the public is to snipe at the other side's witnesses for the church they attend or attended and/or the degrees they earned. It would be far more effective, in my view, to take their allegations head-on and rebut them using hard, scientific evidence.”

I can say unequivocally that I’m not an expert on either theory. But I can also say that I have questions for the Darwinists that they’ve not answered to my satisfaction. I have questions about “punctuated equilibrium.” I have questions about “social Darwinism.” I have even more mundane questions like “How does a duckbilled platypus fit into a Darwinists scheme of things?” or “What principle drives all those monarch butterflies to wind up flying thousands of miles to a little field in Mexico every year?”. And my problem is that I never get answers from the Darwinists. I’m only told to keep God out of the debate or that I’m a fool or a bobble-head.

I’d really like to get the proponents of Darwinism and the Intelligent Design proponents in a room to hear what they both have to say. A lot of folks, a majority in fact, in Kansas would like to hear it too. If that makes us bobble-heads, so be it. We stand in good company. Christopher Columbus, who believed in the face of reputable science that the world was round, was a charter member of our club. Those who resisted the science of “Der Fuhrer’s men in white coats (eugenics, etc.) were also charter members. Seeing the nature of how the Darwinists are framing the current debate, it’s much better company to keep.


James Fletcher Baxter said...

Most supporters of the Darwinian legacy are humanists first and scientists (pick a number). They look to fields other than their own to support their preconceptions as 'hoped-for' science.

Let alone, the strength of intelligent design, the total (Total) lack of transitional forms, and the presence of Laws of Statistical Probability regarding design elements in DNA, removes the possibility of intricacies beyond the possible 'by chance.'

The longer 'science' holds to the Darwinian fraud the bigger the fool
will its individual supporters be defined and classified.

The year is 2005. Remember...

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