Micheal Cranford When confronted with considerable evidence that his uninformed claims wer

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Micheal Cranford When confronted with considerable evidence that his uninformed claims were false Gene Newman has resorted to even sillier justifications and dissembling. A few examples include claiming non-experts in evolutionary biology are really experts since they have degrees in other (even unrelated) fields, talking about stock prices, and of course, that overwhelming (and perhaps gluteusly inspired) claim that anyone volunteering to have their tail-bone removed would be showing a real statement of confidence in evolutionary theory. Indeed the intellectual vacuousness of his ignorant arguments becomes only more apparent with time. He has thus far been unable to defend even a single one of his claims in any kind of rational manner. In "MORE QUOTES FROM PROFESSIONALS" we find the following drivel : "III. In volume one of THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES REVISITED W.R. Bird treats the scientific complexities of evolution with admirable scholarship. His dispassionate spirit of inquiry is precisely what is needed at a time when evolution has become so politicized and positions so polarized. ... I caution the reader not to dismiss this sober two-volume work simply because its author, though thoroughly informed on the issues, is not a biologist. I believe that Bird, in fact, has two distinct advantages in being an "outsider." First, he brings an objectivity to the topic that is rarely found among those trained from their under- graduate days in a narrow speciality and who are often burdened with unexamined presuppositions." Note the above claims of "admirable scholarship", "dispassionate spirit of inquiry", "thoroughly informed on the issues", and "he brings an objectivity to the topic". Robert Schadewald has pointed out that Wendell Bird used to be an ancient-earth creationist; at least until Jerry Fallwell convinced him that young-earth creationism was the only view acceptable to real (TM) Christians. It is also interesting that Bird is a complete scientific illiterate and has been a member of the ICR (Institute for Creation Research [SIC]) for more than a decade. The ICR unconditionally requires all of its faculty to sign pledges certifying their literal belief in the factual inerrancy of the Bible including all of the creation myths. Although Bird has been peddling "creation science" (an oxymoron) via the legal system for over 15 years, he has lost every single case. This includes McLean vs Arkansas (January 5, 1982), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court (June, 1987). In fact, Arkansas Federal Judge William R. Overton dismissed Bird's argument as having NO legal merit. Robert M. Augros' claim that conventional scientists are "burdened with unexamined presuppositions" is quite an excellent example of backwards thinking. Note that the author of the following tripe (section IV) is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Wofford College in South Carolina (W. Scott Morrow). "IV. To be true to its promises, science must be based on honorable activities, and eschew injustice, intolerance, and the arrogance that all too often accompanies political power." Note the backwards thinking here; creationists refuse to let conventional (i.e. real) scientists into their organizations and schools. When I pointed this out to a local creationist (Dennis Feucht) he replied that the biblical inerrancy pledge is really no different than the requirements that scientific journals place on the papers that they publish (this sure convinced me; how can you possibly argue with such careful stainless-steel-like precision logic.) "... Even in the scientific enterprise, we find execrable individuals who would impose their hubristic ideology on the rest of us through the power of the state." Note the backwards thinking here; creationist are trying to use the legal system to "impose their hubristic ideology on the rest of us through the power of the state" (the scientific community has never done this). "... I say that from my personal perspective as a evolutionist. ... What in the world are my fellow evolutionists afraid of? ..." The claims that some creationists make about either currently being or having once been evolutionists are largely regarded as specious since these people relentlessly misrepresent evolution. They are also frequently unable to give any kind of coherent definition of science. "... Beware, watch out fro [sic] the "army of the night," or we will find ourselves looking at Torquemada all over again. Well, as W.R. Bird definitively shows, the spawn of the Grand Inquisitor are indeed with us, polluting the scientific and educational landscape, denying employment, tenure, and academic degrees, censoring what is published and taught, etc." Note the backwards thinking here; Torquemada was a creationist (the Grand Inquisitor for the Spanish Inquisition) and the "army of the night" is also a creationist invention. Ironically, Morrow is partially correct here (but not for the reasons that he pretends). Creationists have been persecuting each other (and of course, others) for centuries. Also note that creationists refuse to let conventional scientists into their organizations and schools (detailed later). During the 1982 "Balanced Treatment of Creation-Science [sic] and Evolution-Science Act" trial in Little Rock Arkansas, Morrow claimed to have once been an evolutionist and rambled for more than an hour about how closed minded evolutionary scientists were. When Judge Overton asked him for even a single example of a scientifically valid creationist paper's having been rejected, Morrow was unable to respond, but went on to imply that the entire international scientific community was engaged in a conspiracy (in fact, creationists were unable to show a single paper that had even been submitted to a scientific journal). Morrow also said "I know a closed mind when I see one" while referring to scientific colleagues. After leaving the stand, he told reporters that the judge wasn't paying attention and was obviously biased. Eugenie Scott and Henry Cole used SCI-SEARCH to do a 3-year scan of over 1000 scientific and technical journals looking for articles written by creationists. Only 6 papers from creationists were published. None of the papers were about creationism. They then checked submissions to journals and discovered that out of 135,000 submitted manuscripts only 18 covered creationism. All were rejected for several faults including "ramblings", "no coherent arguments", "high-school theme quality", "tendentious essay not suitable for publication anywhere", "more like a long letter than a referenced article", "no systematic treatment", "does not define terms", and "flawed arguments". Does this sound familiar to anyone? Scott and Cole ended up concluding "from the reviewers' comments, it appears that laymen rather than professional scientists are submitting the few articles that have surfaced the last 3 years." "... when only 18 articles are submitted to 68 journals in three years, and those articles are submitted apparently by persons not skilled in established scientific methodology and theory, it is inappropriate to invoke censorship." An interesting side-note : During the 1982 trial Harper's reporter Gene Lyons referred to Morrow as a "pompous faculty lounge-lizard type". He also noted that British reporters covering the trial were very quickly able to distinguish creationists from legitimate scientists solely by appearance. "Creationist go in for synthetic fabric, styled hair, or toupees, while evolutionists sport khaki, wool, and facial hair." In creationism, appearance is everything. "However, our teachers have seldom underlined Malone's arguments that all sides of an issue should, indeed, must be taught." Although flat-earthism is an alternative viewpoint, it does not deserve equal time in the science classroom (yes, there still are flat-earth creationist to be found - that movement isn't yet extinct). Likewise, geocentrism, disease is caused by demons (or is an illusion), bad weather is caused by Witches, and the nearly endless list of other non-scientific views do not deserve equal time in the science classroom because they have already failed as science. And why, if creationists are so eager for equal time, do they so carefully exclude modern science from their own organizations and schools? The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), and the Creation Science Research Center (CSRC) all require some kind of biblical inerrancy pledges while not even one scientific organization requires such a prejudicial view from its members. Note that it is not safe to conclude that creationist organizations are in agreement because they all require some kind of inerrancy pledge. Infighting in the ASA (which originally formed in 1941 to "scientifically" combat evolution) resulted in a splinter group forming and subsequent infighting ultimately resulted in the three groups named above. A couple of examples of creationist schools that refuse to allow any conventional scientists on their faculty as well as prohibiting the teaching of evolutionary science in their classrooms include both Liberty Baptist University and Bob Jones University (this is also true of numerous smaller creationist schools located throughout the entire US). "... Further, we have failed to learn over the 63 years since that famous (or infamous) media event the truly important lessons which we could have learned from it." ... Russel L. French Russel is absolutely correct here; he hasn't learned the truly important lessons. "Dr. French is one of America's leading nonevolutionist [sic] educators, and teaches curriculum and instruction at University of Tennessee. He was the executive director of the Tennessee Certification Commission from its establishment in 1983 to 1987; it was the "master teacher program" supported as a national prototype by President Reagan." Although your attempt was clearly to imply that French is fully qualified to speak about education issues you have, in fact, actually provided evidence for the opposition. Reagan's department of education was literally bursting at the seems with creationists. Reagan also cut the science education budget to ZERO (claiming that the government had no right telling people how to educate their children, among other things). "There will be many comments I'm sure about Dr. French's opinion on matters scientific. His opinion here is as an educator in general and the importance of teaching all available theories and letting the student make a decision on their [sic] own." How valid is the student's conclusion likely to be when the teacher expends a negative effort to distinguish science from superstitious nonsense? How likely is the student to understand what science knows, and even more importantly, how it knows it, when all possible views must be presented on an equal basis? Will every presentation in science classrooms become a 24 hour day, year long event? It would take at least this long to present just all known origin "theories", let alone all known disease "theories" and all known weather "theories". Could the real goal be to destroy all public science education? Could the real goal be to indoctrinate children in a primitive superstitious view discredited over 150 years ago? And please note that 12 of the 23 plaintiffs (i.e. testifying AGAINST the Arkansas equal time act) were members of the clergy. So, even some members of the clergy recognize the fallacy of equal time for a non-scientific view in the science classrooms. Since Gene Newman apparently regards Stephen Jay Gould as an authority and has even gone to the trouble to quote him at least two times in an effort to support a clearly anti-science view, I am offering the following two relevant quotes from Gould (suitable for framing - pun intended). [Remember to cut OUTSIDE the lines Gene.] ********************************************************************* * "Creation science" has not entered the curriculum for a reason * * so simple and so basic that we often forget to mention it: * * because it is false, and because good teachers understand exactly * * why it is false. What could be more destructive of that most * * fragile yet most precious commodity in our entire intellectual * * heritage -- good teaching -- than a bill forcing honorable * * teachers to sully their sacred trust by granting equal treatment * * to a doctrine not only known to be false, but calculated to * * undermine any general understanding of science as an enterprise? * * * Stephen Jay Gould * * ********************************************************************* ********************************************************************* * The argument that the literal story of Genesis can qualify as * * science collapses on three major grounds: the creationists' need * * to invoke miracles in order to compress the events of the earth's * * history into the biblical span of a few thousand years; their * * unwillingness to abandon claims clearly disproved, including the * * assertion that all fossils are products of 'Noah's flood;' and * * their reliance upon distortion, misquote, half-quote, and citation* * out of context to characterize the ideas of their opponents. * * * Stephen Jay Gould * "The Verdict on Creationism" * ********************************************************************* An Amusing PS When I checked the spelling of this document with WordPerfect (Ver. 5.1) it reported that "inerrancy" was misspelled and suggested that "ignorance" was the preferred spelling (no, I didn't make this up - try it out for yourself). REFERENCES Creationism in Schools The Decision in McLean verses the Arkansas Board of Education. Science, February 19, 1982, volume 215, pp. 934-943. Crusade of the Credulous California Academy of Sciences Press, 1986. Evidence for Scientific Creationism Science, May 17, 1985, Vol. 228, page 837. Repealing the Enlightenment, about the 1982 Arkansas equal-time trial. Harpers, April 1982, pp. 38-78. Science as a Way of Knowing - Evolutionary Biology American Zoologist, volume 24, number 2, 1984. UUCP: uunet!tektronix!sail!mikec or M.Cranford uunet!tektronix!sail.labs.tek.com!mikec Principal Troll ARPA: mikec%sail.LABS.TEK.COM@RELAY.CS.NET Resident Skeptic CSNet: mikec@sail.LABS.TEK.COM TekLabs, Tektronix


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