Thursday, September 04, 2008


Only Driven on Sunday

Yesterday I pointed to an article in the Fort Worth Weekly by Laurie Barker James and today Rob Crowther of the Discovery Institute's Ministry of Misinformation is in high dudgeon. Crowther complains about Ms. James statement that:

The [Center for Science and Culture's] leaders have advanced degrees — but they aren't scientists: Director Stephen Meyer has a Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science, while Associate Director John G. West holds a doctorate in government.

But instead of countering it, Crowther delivers a non sequitur:

Discovery Institute has as Fellows nine PhD biologists or biochemists. Additionally, there are several who are chemists, physicists or astronomers. To imply that Discovery's PhD credentialed Fellows are only in philosophy or some other non-hard science area is untrue, and a disservice to readers.

But they are not the leaders.

Also, as the DI is wont to do, Crowther quibbles about the definition of creationism, trying to limit the term to young-Earth creationists. But creationism is a theological position broader than the claim that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. It includes various old-Earth creationists and it clearly includes a view, as described by William Dembski, another of those DI Fellows, that:

Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.

There is more disingenuousness about the events in Dover, the obligatory trotting out of a scientist, Stanley N. Salthe, who disagrees with ultra-selectionist versions of evolutionary theory but who definitely also opposes the central claim of ID that any evidence against the current consensus is evidence for design.

But the funniest part of the screed is this:

Barker's article is wrong about Discovery Institute, misrepresents what evolution and intelligent design are, and misleads readers about the evidence related to Darwinian evolution. Perhaps she should stick to what she knows enough about to have an informed opinion: restaurant reviews.

And that assertion of disexpertise is based on what? Why, the characterization by "science reporter Susan Mazur" of the so-called "Altenberg 16" meeting as "a gathering of 16 biologists and philosophers of rock star stature ... who recognize that the theory of evolution which most practicing biologists accept and which is taught in classrooms today, is inadequate in explaining our existence."

One slight problem: one of those rock stars, indeed one of the organizers of the meeting, Massimo Pigliucci, flatly contradicts Mazur, except in the trivial sense that science is never finished and always open to change.

Maybe Crowther should consider getting a media position better suited to his talents: like writing copy for used car dealer ads.

John. Even used car dealers have standards.
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