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Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Famously Open Minded Darwinists

When it comes to discussing the merits of a discussion regarding Intelligent Design vs. Neo Darwinism/TENS, why can't they just air it out in public rather than playing childish games? This link informs us of the following.

"The California Science Center has flagrantly violated California’s open records law in an apparent effort to hide the real story behind its censorship of Darwin’s Dilemma. The Center’s evasion of the law is the reason for the open records lawsuit recently brought by Discovery Institute against the Center. In October, the Institute filed a comprehensive open records request demanding that the Science Center turn over all documents relating to its abrupt decision to cancel the privately-sponsored screening of Darwin’s Dilemma. In early November, the Science Center released 44-pages of documents in response to the records request. At that time, the Center assured Discovery Institute that it had turned over "all documents" and that "no documents have been withheld," apart from a few e-mail addresses that were redacted. The Science Center did not tell the truth. Discovery Institute independently obtained incriminating emails involving Center officials that should have been turned over by the Center but weren’t.

Most importantly, the Institute obtained a smoking-gun e-mail confirming that the censorship of Darwin’s Dilemma was connected to the Science Center’s relationship with the Smithsonian Institution. In an Oct. 6 email to the American Freedom Alliance, Science Center Vice President Christine Sion specifically cited alleged damage to the Center’s “relationship with the Smithsonian” as the reason for canceling the Darwin’s Dilemma screening. In its open records request, Discovery Institute had asked for all documents relating to the screening cancellation that referenced the Smithsonian. The Christine Sion e-mail was clearly covered by that request and therefore should have been produced. It wasn’t. Another email from a Smithsonian official to the Science Center complaining about the screening was likewise suppressed.

These missing emails may be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There is a huge unexplained gap in the documents produced by the Center thus far, raising suspicions that the Center may have suppressed many more incriminating documents. Notably, the Science Center failed to disclose even a single email or document relating to the Darwin’s Dilemma screening written by any decisionmaker at the Center who actually made the determination to cancel the screening. In other words, the Science Center would have the public believe that although there was lively email traffic about the screening by others at the Center, no one involved in making the cancellation decision composed even one email or other document mentioning the screening."

I think that evolutionists, creationists as well as those who subscribe to the theory of Intelligent Design can all agree that the discussion would be best made in an open forum and thus the public could decide which arguments are best.


Ginx said...

Science is thankfully not democratic. Otherwise the sun would still be circling a flat Earth resting under the firmament.

GCT said...

Sorry, but public science centers are under no obligation to give voice to religious apologetics. Sounds like someone needs a Waahmbulance. If the DI has emails, then they should present them. Of course, the DI is responsible for all this since they violated the contract by putting out press releases.

GCT said...

"I think that evolutionists, creationists as well as those who subscribe to the theory of Intelligent Design can all agree that the discussion would be best made in an open forum and thus the public could decide which arguments are best."

BTW, I disagree with this in the sense that the two positions are not equal in terms of logic, reason, rationality, or evidence. I think it is irresponsible to present creationism as at all supported by anything beyond people's faith in their own holy book and surely not as any sort of alternative to evolutionary theory. The jury has already returned, and evolution wins hands down. Evolution is a fact, deal with it. Some of the specifics may be up for debate still, but the fact of evolution is undeniable. Giving creationists a platform and implying that their religious ideas are just as well supported or just as worthy of consideration is tantamount to doing the same for flat-Earthers, holocaust deniers, HIV-AIDS link deniers, global warming deniers, geocentrists, etc. Those ideas are all simply wrong and should not be given a place as an alternative to the results gleaned from empirical science.

Now, if creationist wahoos want to speak their mind on their own, in their own spaces, well they have the freedom of speech to do so.

I would also say that the public is not particularly well suited to judge which idea is best, based on the abysmal denial of evolution and science that we see from US citizens. A huge part of this is, of course, the tendency of creationists to flat out lie in their arguments, as well as a refusal by most people to examine their religious beliefs to see if they really make sense or align with empirical evidence (you are a case in point on that matter). What we should be doing is educating the public on what science actually knows instead of holding useless debates with liars and charlatans about subjects that have long ago been decided.

Ginx said...

I'm curious... if science has to put its theories up to popular opinion among those who do not even study it, should your religion have to do the same?

JD Curtis said...

I would argue that there is a significant percentage of people who are not even aware of alternate theories to the origins of life.

Back on topic. Has anyone seen Darwin's Dilemma? If so, what was so dangerous (or even wrong) about it? It might be available free of charge for viewing on the net.

Ginx said...

Only creationists say their ideas are "dangerous" or "controversial." Scientists just think you're stupid. I know you're just desperately defending your worldview.

It'll be ok, JD. You're not a monkey, you're a human being, and you can still love Jesus AND know you're both descended from apes.

Tracy said...

I have not watched Darwin's Dilemma. Here's a link to a site that discusses it:


My understanding is that the crux of the movie revolves around the issue that Darwin claimed, in On the Origin of Species, that:
“it is indisputable that before the lowest Cambrian stratum was deposited… the world swarmed with living creatures.”
However, the fossil record below the Cambrian strata does not appear to demonstrate the presence of such creatures.

GCT said...

We do have pre-Cambrian fossils (Ediacaran), but they are necessarily few, since the lifeforms from that time were not the type that would easily fossilize.

There are no alternate theories to evolution. As for abiogenesis, there are ideas that are being tested and researched, and none of them are from creationists, because they have yet to figure out how to test "goddidit."

JD Curtis said...

I found the 2 and a half minute trailer for it. Why don't you check it out? I see right off the bat they quote Stephen Jay Gould.

Ginx said...

Don't you see, guys? The only reason we don't think like JD is because we don't know enough...

GCT said...

Too bad belief is no substitute for actual knowledge.

And too bad that creationists are known for quote mining.

JD Curtis said...

Ok, let's examine the statement...

"God was not involved in the origins of life on the planet Earth in any way."

Now, is the above statement a "conclusion" that any of you have reached or a "premise" from which you began your thinking? If it's the former, please explain what criteria you considered before arriving at your opinion on the matter.

GCT said...

It's a strawman and a false dichotomy.

JD Curtis said...

Then how about this?

Origin of Life thoeries must necessarily be 100% naturalistic

Conclusion or premise?

GCT said...

Still don't like it.

Either way, it's called pragmatism. We have no method for investigating anything that isn't natural unless it has an empirical effect on the environment (like prayer studies). Appealing to the supernatural is throwing up your hands and saying, "We can't figure it out, so it was magic." Although it might be true that some sort of magic happened, we would never be able to determine that, because supernatual hypotheses are untestable. This is how science works - seems like you should know about this before you reject it, don't you think?

So, to answer your question, it's neither.