Tuesday, January 30, 2007

ID Organization Begs for Money

The Foundation for Thought and Ethics, the organization that published the intelligent design textbook Of Pandas and People, is getting ready to publish their new ID textbook the Design of Life. There's only one problem: they need $200,000 and they want YOU to donate the money. Why should you support this cause? Well, Jon Buell provides a number of laughable reasons in his fundraising letter. First off, Buell says points to the desperate state of "Darwinists" and their supporters:

The Darwinists believe they are losing. Why else would they politicize an academic debate, take it into courts, and punish skeptics?

Wait a minute. Wasn't it ID supporters who lobbied school boards to change the curriculum of several public school districts? Wasn't it ID supporters who hoped to force the issue in court to overrrule Edwards v. Aguillard? Now, who actually politicized this? As for the punishing skeptics part, the major example IDists push, the whole Sternburg saga, is a situation where the guy deserved to be fired (read more here).

And fascinating facts are surfacing. Careful analysis reveals that 90.9% of Judge John E. Jones's verdict was lifted, almost verbatim, including the errors, from the ACLU's submitted "Findings of Fact." The opinion is not his own analysis at all.

Despite the fact that this claim has long since been dealt with, I'll address it again here for the sake of education. When a judge agrees with one side's findings of fact, then he or she will use it. That is how they regularly operate. They're not writing literature, a historical essay, or a scientific paper, so it's not a matter of plagurism (read more here).

Meanwhile, Interest in Intelligent Design is Exploding!

  • Biochemist Franklin Harold said, ". . .but we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical system, only a variety of wishful speculations."
  • In an MIT Press book, Origination of Organismal Form, the authors admit, "neo-Darwinism has no theory of the generative."
  • Google reported over 24 million hits on the term intelligent design during most of the trial.
  • Two movies are in the works on ID, one from each perspective.
  • Over 4.000 gathered in the Univ. of So. Florida Sun Dome Sports Arena for an ID conference.
  • A Texas Voter's Guide published in the fall reached 6 .4 million, reporting the views of candidates on various issues of public interest. Those favoring the inclusion of ID in biology courses outnumbered opponents by a three-to-one margin.
  • Franklin Harold's quote is a push to remove excessive speculation and focus more on observation when using the theory of evolution. It has nothing to do with ID. Origination of Organismal Form is meant to stimulate research to produce a more comprehensive theory of evolution, which is simply science doing what it's supposed to do: explore the unknown. Once again, it has nothing to do with ID. Google hits? Please. I've Googled Intelligent Design. That doesn't mean I support it. As for the ID conference, if you Google it, you'll get hits from a bunch of ID websites. It seems like it's only a big deal in the minds of the IDists. The actual scientific community didn't even notice. Finally, Buell doesn't provide the source for his "three-to-one margin" data, so that's extremely suspect.

    So we have a couple of lies and overblown or misleading claims. But it gets better:

    The stage is set for The Design of Life:

  • The manuscript is complete. The book itself is a phenomenon.
  • It is scheduled to be released on March 1st, 2007, provided we can secure the funding for this exciting project.
  • We've got a start on booking Dembski to speak at universities with this book.
  • We have hired a marketing and PR firm to work with us and a comprehensive plan for marketing the book is in the works.
  • It has the explosive potential to reach young people, as the recent gathering of young people at the University of South Florida's Sun Dome attests.
  • Christianity Today calls Dembski "Johnson's successor as the informal leader of the intelligent design community." Dembski authored the first ID book by a major university press (Cambridge University Press, 1998). He edited Darwin's Nemesis (IVP), a Festschrift in honor of Prof. Phillip Johnson. His work has been featured on the front page of the New York Times, he has debated top Darwinists at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and has appeared on ABC's Nightline. He lectures around the globe (the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, Cambridge and Oxford, U.C. Berkeley, UCLA, Princeton, Yale, MIT) on ID.

  • Wow. A phenomenon. Well, I can't wait. It's also interesting that the "informal leader of the intelligent design community" is a mathematician, not a biologist. Enough said there.

    Buell then goes into a lengthy allegory about "Darwinists" unknowingly flying upside down, which results in materialism, immorality, etc. Then he finishes by saying, "Darwinism is the most effective engine of atheism ever invented!" Right. Because as an atheist, I really base my morality on the theory of evolution. Like I've always said. Evolution is not a basis of morality, nor should it be. It simply describes an observed natural phenomenon. As an atheist, I base my morality on the principle of empathy, not a scientific theory. Clearly, Buell's diatribe reveals the underlying fundamentalist Christian motives of the ID movement (not like there was any doubt, anyway).

    Next, we have this gem:

    Friends, the time is ripe for the next step-leap, really-in this movement. We can bring what has seemed like a dream to full reality. I urge you to embrace and adopt this vital and noble vision as your own! Are you giving what you can to bring a big and noble vision to fruition? Whether for the sake of the school children you see out romping over the Christmas vacation, or for the future of America, the West, and of civilization, there could be no greater reason to reach out, seize a great vision, and embrace it as the cause that you will fight for, bleed for, deny yourself for, take risks for, and champion among your friends.

    The future of Western Civilization depends on the success of ID? Riiiiight. Too bad it's science that has made the West such a great place to live. What did a completely Christian society bring us? Oh that's right. The Middle Ages and Puritan New England, just to name a couple of examples.

    Then the letter begs for $200,000 with the promise that The Design of Life will triumph over the repressive government. What, was Of Pandas and People not sneaky enough? Did it not sound "sciency" enough. Did you not make a profit of of Pandas? Considering the lies Buell told above to try and convince people to give him money, I seriously doubt this "phenomenon" of a textbook will have an honest representation of evolution. Pandas certainly did not.

    Finally, just in case we weren't sure ID was religiously-motivated movement, the letter ends with:

    Would you prayerfully consider what you are able to do to help? And please also pray for us in this exciting adventure! God bless you!

    You know, if ID could stand on its scientific merit, then it wouldn't need prayer. At any rate, it's good to see that a leading ID organization is strapped for cash.

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