Junk debunked

å Anti-IDiocy resources
å Behe Retreats
å Complexity Reductio
å Dawkins refutes Behe
å Jones' Kitzmiller vs Dover decision
å Ken Miller on Collapse of Intelligent Design
å Panstupidity and Jumbo-Mumbo
å Reducible Illogic
å Tick Tock
å Un-designed Intelligences

Anti-IDiocy resources

Intelligent Design? a special report reprinted from Natural History magazine :

Links recommended by Kenneth R. Miller, Ph.D.
» "Behe's Empty Box"Extensive material dealing with the flaws of Michael J. Behe's argument about "irreducible complexity."
» Brown University evolution resources
Additional resources on the intelligent design issue and calendar of talks on evolution on Kenneth R. Miller's evolution web page at Brown University.
» "Design on the Defensive"Kenneth R. Miller responds to Michael Behe's ideas about design. Includes links.

Review of Behe on NCSE

Links recommended by Robert T. Pennock, Ph.D.
» Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New CreationismRobert T. Pennock's book criticizes the arguments of intelligent design theory. This link downloads a PDF file of the first chapter, which discusses the relationship of intelligent design to other kinds of creationism.
» Articles and books by Robert T. PennockInformation on other publications by the author that analyzes intelligent design, including his anthology Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics: Philosophical, Theological and Scientific Perspectives which collects key articles by ID leaders together with critical responses.
» Michigan Citizens for ScienceProvides information to "promote quality science education in Michigan," and to defend against attempts to insert intelligent design in the curriculum.

Links recommended by Eugenie Scott, Ph.D.
» National Center for Science Education (NCSE)Nonprofit membership organization NCSE is "a nationally-recognized clearinghouse for information and advice to keep evolution in the science classroom and 'scientific creationism' out." The first link takes you to its home page; the second to Eugenie Scott's review of Robert T. Pennock's book Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism.
» "Antievolution: The Critic's Resource"This site "is for the critical examination of the antievolution movement. ...aims to provide links to both the antievolutionists making their own arguments and also to the critics who provide mainstream science answers to those arguments." The first link is to the home page and the second link is to an examination and critique of Jonathan Wells' views.
» "Talk Origins: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy"This site is "devoted to the discussion and debate of biological and physical origins." The first link takes you to numerous links examining Michael J. Behe's hypothesis of "irreducible complexity." The second link is a chapter-by-chapter critique of Jonathan Wells' book Icons of Evolution.
» Review of Icons of EvolutionMassimo Pigliucci, Ph.D., provides a critical review of Jonathan Wells' book and provides suggestions on how education should be improved so that students can understand the controversy better.

Useful links/resources for educators
» National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT)
NABT's current "Position Statement On Teaching Evolution" is presented.
» Evolution
This PBS site provides supplemental material to each of the seven episodes of the Evolution television series (9/01). Also available are video, web activities, lab activities, and teaching resources related to evolution.
» Triumph of Life
This PBS site is based on the six-part miniseries Triumph of Life (1/01) presented as part of the Nature series. The series describes the history of life on Earth and the best scientifically understood mechanisms for its current diversity. An evolutionary timeline and other web-based instructional resources are provided. A teacher’s guide in PDF format is available for download.
» Understanding Evolution
Contains an extensive section especially for teachers, giving advice on teaching evolution, lesson plans, ways to avoid confusing students, and answering common student questions. From the University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education.

Useful links for student research
» Botanical Society of America's Statement on EvolutionA clear explanation of evolution as a scientific theory is given. This is contrasted with the ideas of Intelligent Design/Creationism.
» Evolution Website: BBC This 1998 site includes the full text of Darwin’s Origin of Species and an illustrated guide to the book. There are essays on Darwin and Darwinism for beginners to experts. Also included is the transcript of a question & answer session and a “Darwin Debate” with a panel of experts.
» Evolution Update: Research Center for Students and Teachers of BiologyAn extensive resource site, including links to "major news and scientific reports in evolutionary biology" and "web sites by topic."
» Creation vs. Evolution
This message board also includes links to “mainstream science press” as well as “advocacy sites” dealing with Creation Science and Intelligent Design.
http://crevo.bestmessageboard.com/» Creation Science
The website for the Institute for Creation Research, a self-described “Christ-focused Creation Ministry."
» Intelligent Design
The website for the Access Research Network offers articles and educational materials from an Intelligent Design viewpoint.

Debunking IDiocy

The best news that I have recently heard about intelligent [sick] design came from an acquaintance who asked, "What's Intelligent Design?" It's nice to know that the IDiocy campaign to dupe everyone is faltering somewhat, though the aquaintance is not the best informed of individuals when it comes to controversy.

In case you have never heard the term, intelligent design creationism is a gussied up remake of an old apologetic argument from design, which began with an old platonic argument.

"For is there not a true beauty and a true good, which is always beautiful and always good?" ~ Plato, Dialogues.

Next, in 1802, the Reverend William Paley argued from design in Natural Theology that a watch must have arisen through the agency of a watchmaker. We'd probably accept this section of the analogy, but Paley fallaciously extrapolated the complexity of a mechanical device to the complexity of nature.

"Every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature; with the difference, on the side of nature, of being greater or more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation."
Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins responded to Paley's science-ignorant analogy, writing in The Blind Watchmaker (1986):

"Paley's argument is made with passionate sincerity and is informed by the best biological scholarship of the day, but it is wrong, gloriously and utterly wrong. The analogy between telescope and eye, between watch and living organism, is false. All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind force of physics, albeit deployed in a special way. A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future porpose in his mind's eye. Natural selection, the blind unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind's eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker."
Prompted by lawyer, Phillip E. Johnson, the modern intelligent [sick] design proponents have dressed up the old apologetic analogy in fancy new clothes, but the emperor is still naked.

The tired old apologetic analogy now is disguised by pseudoscience and numbers games, but it remains no more valid than Plato's ancient appeal to truth, goodness, and beauty. Biological evolution is a fact, evolutionary theory seeks the best explanation for that fact.

There are two modes of attack possible for intelligent design creationism and creationism–scientific understanding and exposure of the fallacies of logic employed in apologetic arguments and arguments for creationism. I believe that both forms of attack must be used whenever and wherever ridiculous arguments for supernatural creators are trooped out.

å Anti-IDiocy resources
å Behe Retreats
å Complexity Reductio
å Dawkins refutes Behe
å Jones' Kitzmiller vs Dover decision
å Ken Miller on Collapse of Intelligent Design
å Panstupidity and Jumbo-Mumbo
å Reducible Illogic
å Tick Tock
å Un-designed Intelligences

Blogs Elsewhere : The only debate on Intelligent Design that is worthy of its subject (pointed humor) : Kenneth Miller on Intelligent Design :

William Paley, Natural Theology - or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity Collected from the Apperances of Nature, 1802

Dawkins refutes Behe

The following piece of biased ignorance was written, you guessed it, by a self-proclaimed "Evangelical Presbyterian Church Planter":

"In the July 1 New York Times, evolutionist and atheist evangelist Richard Dawkins reviews Michael Behe’s new book, The Edge of Evolution. Behe is a professor of biological science at Lehigh University and the author of Darwin’s Black Box, one of the first and most influential works on intelligent design. Dawkins’ review is full of invective, ridicule, and ad hominem attack–in other words, the kind of stuff he’s good at, especially when he has nothing particularly substantive to say. Behe responds in a blog on Amazon.com that strikes me as pretty effective, as well as remarkably restrained considering the extraordinarily rude treatment he gets from the Oxford don. I don’t know enough biology to know who gets the better of the scientific argument (what little there is in Dawkin’s review, that is), but I still think it’s worth a read, as I’m sure Behe’s book is."

No surprise that the writer is an evangelical. No surprise that the writer admits to ignorance of science. (One wonders what a "planter" is. Someone who spreads seeds of creationism?)

Richard Dawkins can word the truth too strongly for religionist sensitivities, I admit, though he takes a measured stance by anyone else's standards, pariticularly in comparison to those who rant that he will burn in hell for eternity. Dawkins, like most rational scientists, is clearly tired of the stupid pseudoscience that is invented in an attempt to attack the fact of biological evolution.

Actually, contrary to the fundamentalists accusations, Dawkins does not resort to invectives in the New York Times review. To label Behe's ideas "moronic" would be to resort to invectives. Nor does Dawkins make any ad hominem attacks. To call Behe a "misguided idiot" would be to resort to a fallacious ad hominem, true or not.

The fact remains that Lehigh University has posted a disclaimer about Behe's views on its website. (One suspects that if Behe had not already achieved tenure, then he might well have been forced to knock on the doors of the so-called Discovery Institute for a job.) The fact remains that the intelligent design camp makes refuted pseudoscientific claims to promote religious views. The fact remains that Behe has been forced to retreat from his earlier "irreducible complexity" chicanery. The fact remains that Behe adds nothing to scientific understanding in this book and that he resorts to distortions.

Sensible Christians view science and religious belief as being compatible; only Biblical literalists invent pseudoscience to attack well established empirical facts. If you wish to decrease your ignorance of science, then Michael Behe will never be worth reading because his intention is to distort science in order to sell his religious convictions.

I find popular science, such as Dawkins writes, rather slow going because I am past requiring that level of explanation that is necessary for those without postsecondary education in biological sciences. However, anyone who wishes to understand reality would be well advised to read Dawkins. As a start, despite negative claims by the evangelical, there is a good scientific refutation of Behe's flimsy argument in Dawkin's review.

Complexity Reductio

An Amphimedon sea-sponge of Phylum Porifera.Behe's illogical challenge to biological evolution, the so-called "irreducible complexity" that sells books to science-ignorant creationists, has suffered yet another blow.

"The latest discovery in evolution: DNA needed to make synapses, the sophisticated junctions between neurons, in none other than the lowly sea sponge. Considered among the most primitive and ancient of all animals, sea sponges have no nervous system (or internal organs of any kind, for that matter), notes Todd Oakley, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. But, he adds, they “have most of the genetic components of synapses.”"[source, original on PLoS ONE]

No surprises here–after all, the most primitive nervous system is found in the Cnideria.

[Jones] "found Behe's testimony wholly unconvincing, noting that irreducible complexity was not evidence against evolution, and that the biochemical systems touted by Behe were not irreducibly complex anyway. Behe's credibility was damaged also by his admission that ID's definition of science was so loose that it could encompass astrology, and by his fatal assertion that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God."
~ Jerry Coyne, The Great Mutator, in The New Republic

Behe Bashing Elsewhere : Behe and the California Creationism Case

Ken Miller on Collapse of Intelligent Design

If you landed on this post because you are looking for the image at left, click on the image to redirect to the website you want. I don't know how the mis-direct happened.


Cell biologist, Kenneth Miller Ph. D. of Brown University gives a talk on The Collapse of Intelligent Design, at Case Western University:

These comments include my explanation interspersed with descriptions of Miller's talk:

Dr. Kenneth Miller is a Roman Catholic believer, who opens the talk with an explanation of the distinction between evolutionary data and the value of evolutionary theory. He explores the role of methodological naturalism in moving our understanding from data to naturalistic explanation. Absent the scientific method, and our understanding devolves to other pseudosciences such as astrology.

He debunks the intelligent design movement, exposing it, as Judge John Jones ruled, as repackaged creationism that reveals the intellectual dishonesty of any who evangelize ID-creationism.

The issue with IDiocy is not a matter of missing scientific evidence–how else would creationists know what areas to distort into pseudoscience?–the issue is deliberate misinterpretation of available scientific data to IDiotic ends.

(Because intelligent design creation is dishonest, religiously-motivated pseudoscience, I will refer to it as IDiocy and to its proponents as IDiots, though to be fair, YECers are even greater idiots.)

IDiots attempt to support anti-Darwinian arguments in fallacious arguments based on a false dichotomy–that the explanation is either Darwinian natural selection or God-did-it. Yes, the IDiots lied (at the Dover trial) that they 'don't speculate on the identity of the designer', but nobody, including Judge Jones, is fooled. IDiots don't care about some unspecified designer, they care about 'proving' the religionists' God. Early versions of IDiotic books include the term 'creator', whereas editions published after a 1987 court decision exhibit editorial alteration of 'creator' to 'designer' in subsequent printings. Incomplete conversions resulted in the revealingly erroneous 'cdesign proponentsists'. The duplicitous IDiots who conceived of this misleading substitution of terminologies must have assumed that everyone else is as credulous as ID devotees.

Dr. Miller refutes the IDiocy charge that 'we have no intermediate fossils' by describing the inner ear of Ambulocetus natans (the whale that walks).

Kenneth Miller debunks the irreducible complexity argument, explaining why the purported examples of irreducible complexity (eye, blood clotting cascade, bacteria flagellum) are explicable by modern evolutionary theory. (ID proponents don't care about the bacterial flagellum, they care about themselves as examples of Special Creation by SkyDaddy.) Miller describes the 10 proteins of the Type III secretory system, and the fact that all 40 proteins of the bacterial flagellum are homologous with other functional bacterial proteins. Similarly, the blood proteins of the clotting cascade are homologous. The independence of function and separate functions of homologous proteins destroys the basic precept of Behe's claims for irreducible complexity of ID-selected systems.

Of course, irreducible complexity is mere ID prestidigitation that arises not out of any concern for realistic explanation for the bacterial flagellum, but out of mytholiteralism. The ID proponents hoped that these examples would convince the science-ignorant that ID has some validity as criticism of scientific explanation.

Humans and great apes evolved from a common ancestor, as revealed by evidence from endogenous retroviruses and the fused chromosome pair that ensured human-ape speciation (We have 23 pairs and they have 24 pairs of chromosomes, ensuring that our post-fusion ancestors could not have produced viable offspring with their post-fusion ancestors, and this is the definition of speciation according to Ernst Mayr. Our chromosome #2 resulted from fusion of two primate chromosomes.)

The evolution of the eye on David Attenborough's BBC program "Charles Darwin and The Tree of Life"

The entire point of the intelligent [sick] design movement is not to conduct science, not to expand our understanding, not to refine scientific explanations, and certainly not to improve the standards of science education in high schools or universities. Instead, their purpose is to push the ancient non-explanation that reduces to the God-myth. Why? Religionists can only retain the illusion of Special Status by believing in Biblical Inerrancy, Special Creation, and an Eternal Afterlife in the Loving Embrace of SkyDaddy.

Kenneth Miller does predict that following exposure of their pseudoscientific frauds as unconstitutional, IDiots will next attack science by insisting upon teaching of the supposedcontroversy.” IDiots are attempting to discredit evolution by holding it to an impossible burden of proof – irreducible complexity is a failed example of this attempt. However, science-ignorant believers are blind to the illogic of these arguments and fooled by the pseudoscience, so those sitting on school boards must be alert to the egregious, theocratic ambitions of IDiots.

VIDEO: A Rotary NanoMachine — Understanding the Structure and Dynamics of Bacterial FlagellaPlay (36MB 34 Min.) or Windows Media Player is required to view this video. The animation of the reconstructed flagellum begins approximately half-way through the video.

PBS has divided the Judgment Day program into twelve video chapters complete with transcripts.

Sites Elsewhere NOVA’s Intelligent Design on Trial Now Online, Dembski and Human Origins, Comparison of the Human and Great Ape Chromosomes as Evidence for Common Ancestry,

Blogs Elsewhere The Discovery Institute lies to educators, At last…a specific Intelligent Design hypothesis, The morning after Judgment Day, Professor, you fail!, Celebrity endorsement acknowledged by Creation Science Evangelism, “What evolution predicts…”, The Discovery Institute doesn't like smart college students, 10262: the number creationists can't write, Debating creationists, Depressing stats, The counterintuitive nature of evolutionary biology, on AiG lies It's like they're accomplished, professional liars

Wedge Document

The Wedge document was posted some time ago on the Internet, and it explains the paranoia behind IDiocy and the Religious Wrong's conservative political activism.

The New Yorker: PRINTABLES:
"In 1999, a document from the Discovery Institute was posted, anonymously, on the Internet. This Wedge Document, as it came to be called, described not only the institute’s long-term goals but its strategies for accomplishing them. The document begins by labelling the idea that human beings are created in the image of God “one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.” It goes on to decry the catastrophic legacy of Darwin, Marx, and Freud—the alleged fathers of a “materialistic conception of reality” that eventually “infected virtually every area of our culture.” The mission of the Discovery Institute’s scientific wing is then spelled out: “nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.” It seems fair to conclude that the Discovery Institute has set its sights a bit higher than, say, reconstructing the origins of the bacterial flagellum."

This IDiotic document employs a number of paranoid fallacies of logic. IDiocy is not science, and the Wedge Document is not accurate history, psychology, or sociology.

See the original at: The Wedge Strategy : The Wedge: A slideshow of the Discovery Institute's 1998 document outlining a strategy to promote intelligent design : Birth of a Theory:
A brief history of intelligent design
: Discovery's Creation : Creationism's Trojan Horse by Barbara Forrest & Paul R. Gross (in a day that will live in infamy, creationists at TEA fired Chris Comer for passing on an email notification of a talk by Barbara Forrest, Will more Texans open their eyes?, Official Leaves Post as Texas Prepares to Debate Science Education Standards, Evolution and Texas, 1, 2, 3) :

Blogs : The True History of the Wedge : TEA The real scoop on the Texas science curriculum director's resignation, Things are heating up all over the place, Signs that they've overreached?, Forrest addresses the politicization of the Texas Education Agency, Chris Comer on Science Friday, DId you all catch Comer on Science Friday? : Florida too This must be some kind of race :