Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Nothing to Do With Religion

World Magazine has profiles of five people who spent 10 days in Seattle at the Discovery Institute's summer seminar learning about intelligent design. Try and find the difference between ID and religion:

David Brown (a pseudonym):
As a physics teacher, he doesn't talk about biology, but introduces the concept of fine-tuning in the universe. ...

Brown used to teach origins by telling students how some people believe the universe was created, and others believe it just popped into existence. At the Discovery Institute's intelligent design seminar this summer, though, science research coordinator Casey Luskin advised him that approach was technically considered teaching intelligent design—and therefore illegal.
Note that he wasn't told that ID has nothing to do with creation. Instead, he was told that mentioning creation is "teaching intelligent design," demonstrating that ID is intended to promote creationism.

Phoebe Johnson (a pseudonym):

When her public school principal complained she weren't teaching the curriculum on evolution, she moved to a position at a Roman Catholic school:
Johnson soon realized her new job environment would not be drastically different. While the school does believe the Bible is true, Pope John Paul II encouraged Catholics not to abandon science, which many took to mean embracing Darwinism. In her advanced biology class, she is allowed to teach the criticisms of Darwinian theory, but can't supply students with alternative possibilities. She can say, "Isn't God amazing?" while studying the design of kidneys, but can't say that it didn't come by evolution.
Instead, she'd like to abandon science and teach the "alternative possibility" of creationism.

John Ferrer:

A Ph.D. in the philosophy of religion, he "sees himself as an evangelist for the redemption of universities."
Ferrer believes Christians need to be the best students in the classroom. Then after they graduate, they should enter top-notch grad programs and places of influence in politics, business, and academia. Once Christians become professors or even college presidents, they have more power to change what is taught to the country's future leaders.
In other words, ID has nothing to do with science but has to do with the political advancement of Christianity, both inside and out of academia. Oh, wait a minute, we already knew about that.

Lugo Martinez (a pseudonym):
Martinez said attending the intelligent design seminar at the Discovery Institute this summer strengthened his faith: "I believe in the biblical frame of the origin of life. I think God came and put the conditions on Earth for life to begin." Martinez personally believes that biological life is young, perhaps 6,000 to 10,000 years old, but that the Earth itself is old. He believes Noah's flood was responsible for creating the fossil record.
Of course ID intends this effect, as explained by both Phillip Johnson and Paul Nelson.

Lori McKeeman:

The lead ... cough ... science teacher at The Potter's School, an online Christian school popular among homeschoolers and missionary and military families, she says:
She coaches students through experiments like extracting DNA from peas and fruit, and uses science to demonstrate the Bible's accuracy. (One example: Hyssop, a cleansing agent in the Bible, contains thymol, an antiseptic used in mouthwash.)
Ohhh! People have found natural substances that are useful. Strange, I don't remember any Bible verses about willow bark relieving pain. I guess Aspirin wasn't intelligently designed.

If there was any question about ID being religiously, instead of scientifically, motivated, the very people who attend DI's seminars dispel any such doubt.

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My mother was a teacher for many years of young children between the ages of five and seven. She was a moderate Christian in the Anglican tradition. She would never under any circumstances have attempted to promote her personal beliefs to her students and would have considered it a betrayal of her duty as a teacher to do so. She would have been very uncomfortable, to put it mildly, with what some of these so-called Christians feel entitled to do in the classroom.

To me, some of it sounds seriously unconstitutional and those teachers should be called to account but I suppose the problem is that there is no one with standing willing to do so.
To me, some of it sounds seriously unconstitutional and those teachers should be called to account but I suppose the problem is that there is no one with standing willing to do so.

That is always a problem. We see it in things like that "portrait" of Jesus that hung in a public school for decades or the banner that did the same until Jessica Ahlquist objected. John Freshwater got away for it for a long time until he burned a cross into a kid. Constitutional rights only exist when people are willing, often against great resistence within your own community, to enforce them. You can see the effect on an Oklahoma Baptist preacher who is a lead plaintiff in the ACLU's suit to remove a 10 Commandments monument from the state capitol grounds.
You can see the effect on an Oklahoma Baptist preacher who is a lead plaintiff in the ACLU's suit to remove a 10 Commandments monument from the state capitol grounds.

It's people like that who go some way to restoring my faith in human nature or the better side thereof.
Can it be any more obvious that the Discovery Institute has never really cared about advancing the "science" of ID? It has always been about stoking religiously-motivated fears about evolution to impel donations from their sympathetic supporters.

It is interesting to find out that even Casey Luskin now advises sympathetic teachers that teaching ID is "illegal." Apparently, a single court decision in the middle district of Pennsylvania effectively dismantled the DI's nationwide "Wedge Strategy." In the end, it doesn't matter how sharp your wedge is if you don't put much effort into driving it.
Great to have some information about what is really going on in these courses. Reports from alumni from earlier courses were reluctant to give too much detail:

2009: Alan Shlemon, with a picture of the books/articles required for the course (you'll find a list at antievolution.org)

2010: Max Andrews, with lecture topics
That thing about hyssop got me thinking it's uncanny how the Bible mentions wood and stone as construction materials. I mean, what other than divine inspiration could account for that insight!
All I see here is a whole lot of hate. You haven't given good, science based, counter arguments.
If, as you say, science and religion then the only alternative is the hypothesis of macroevolution, which is struggling on shaky foundations as more and more scientists of both creationist and atheist viewpoints abandon it as being impossible.
Sorry realized a mistake in my previous comment I meant to say "If as you say, science and religion can not coincide, then..."
Hello, my name is Coretta Hedstrom, age 15. I am a student in Ms Lori Mckeeman's Biology class with The Potter's School. I found your opinion of World Magazine's interview with my teacher very interesting. In response to your objections to her statements about hyssop, I understand your viewpoint. However, simply because God did not instruct humankind on EVERY herbal medicine does not undermine the fact that he instructed the Israelites in the Bible on medicinal practices which were scientifically ahead of their times. You are correct that "Aspirin" is not intelligently designed, however, God created the willow bark which men later discovered was useful for relieving pain.

I would like to close with a quote from Ms McKeeman's "Beyond The Textbook" curriculum, which she posts once every two weeks. This bi-weekly article includes examples of science affirming the scriptures.

“London, that great cesspool….” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1887
Why would Conan write this? Well, England had a sewage problem causing human death from such diseases as cholera, dysentery and typhoid. Science has shown we prevent illness through sanitation. Who instituted the first sewage system? God.
“Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover it up your excrement. “
Deuteronomy 23:12-13 NIV

Coretta Hedstrom
^I agree with your sentiment, yet you can not just come on here and make un-backed remarks. Please, if you are going to say something like that then at least back it up with well worded, fact based arguments.
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