Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Can Texas remain neutral on origin theories?

* Can or should the State of Texas remain neutral on origin theories? * Can politicians enforce such a principle? * Would remaining neutral violate the First Amendment? Consider the following recent events that offer a remarkable contrast to the case of denying tenure to astronomer Gonzalez: ——————– State science curriculum director resigns Move comes months before comprehensive curriculum review.Click-2-Listen By Laura Heinauer AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF Thursday, November 29, 2007 “The state’s director of science curriculum has resigned after being accused of creating the appearance of bias against teaching intelligent design. Chris Comer, who has been the Texas Education Agency’s director of science curriculum for more than nine years, offered her resignation this month. Chris Comer is accused of misconduct, insubordination. Read More ›

Global Warming Hysteria; Darwinian Certitude

Thank you DaveScott for the post below, which contains some of the most convincing material on the falsification of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis I have seen yet.  I write this separate post to highlight this statement by Professor Carter, the scientist providing the data: “And I started with a picture on my title slide of a Salvador Dali painting.  I forgot to say that being a professional scientist, at the moment, is like living in a Salvador Dali painting.  You are surrounded by these exquisitely detailed scientific interpretations done by scientists who are fellows of the Royal Academy, leading scientists in the world, and they are nearly all imaginary.” I hope those of you who have wondered why we post Read More ›

Climate Change – Is CO2 the cause?

This is a longish presentation at around a half hour but it’s a must see for anyone interested in so-called global warming. Climate Change – Is CO2 the cause?- pt 2 of 4 Climate Change – Is CO2 the cause?- pt 3 of 4 Climate Change – Is CO2 the cause?- pt 4 of 4

E. coli and their evolution

I have been thinking about E. coli and their evolution. E. coli live in the gut. They are passed environmentally from parents to children. When humans and baboons had their presumed common ancestor ~ 20 mill years ago, that should be the last time when E. coli in our bowel had a common ancestor with E. coli in the bowel of baboons in the wild. The following study looked at Baboon and Human E. coli (1985). “The biotype data indicate that the amount and distribution of genetic variation in the E. coli among free-ranging baboon troops are similar to those in isolates from humans. However, E. coli isolates from baboons are able to utilize a greater variety of sugars as their Read More ›

Amazon reviews for THE DESIGN OF LIFE

An interesting thing is happening at Amazon.com under the reviews for THE DESIGN OF LIFE (go here). As of this writing, there are nine 5-star reviews and only one 1-star review (from the inimitable John Kwok). Essentially what’s happening is that the Darwinists aren’t even bothering to read the book. If they actually did, then there might be more actual reviews from them. But there just aren’t any. The one review from Kwok is from a man who gives no evidence of having read the book. The kicker is this, however: The Darwinian sympathizers are simply logging in and voting up the 1-star review and voting down the 5-star reviews (in answer to the yes|no question “was this review helpful Read More ›

No One Ever Admits They are A Nazi Pig

In her post below Denyse is frustrated that the Darwinists are still refusing to admit the obvious about the Guillermo Gonzalez case — that the tenure process was a sham, the reasons used to justify denial of tenure were a pretext, and the decision to deny tenure had been reached before he even applied.  I understand Denyse’s frustration.  As a litigator, getting to the facts of a matter is integral to my job, and it never ceases to amaze me the extent to which people will lie or deny the truth, even when they are under oath and even when everyone in the room (except apparently them) knows what’s going on.  When I was a young lawyer this was especially irritating.  I Read More ›

Darwinists in real time – a reflection

Since the revelations from Monday’s press conference in Iowa regarding the true reason for Guillermo Gonzalez’s tenure denial, I have been studying the comments of Darwinists, to this and this post. The comments intrigue me for a reason I will explain in a moment.

Some commenters are no longer with us, but they were not the ones that intrigued me.*

I’ve already covered Maya at 8, 10, and 12 here, arguing a case against Gonzalez, even though the substance of the story is that we now KNOW that her assertions have nothing to do with the real reason he was denied tenure.

Oh, and at 15, she asserts, “The concern is not about Gonzalez’s politics or religion but about his ability to serve as a science educator.”

So … a man can write a textbook in astronomy, as Gonzalez has done, but cannot serve as a science educator? What definition of “science” is being used here, and what is its relevance to reality?

And getawitness, at 18, then compares astronomy to Near East Studies, of all things. NES is notorious for suspicion of severe compromise due to financing from Middle Eastern interests! I won’t permit a long, useless combox thread on whether or not those accusations are true; it’s the comparison itself that raises an eyebrow.

Just when I thought I had heard everything, Read More ›

Regents asked to consider e-mails: Des Moines Register

Regents asked to consider e-mails By LISA ROSSI • REGISTER AMES BUREAU • December 4, 2007 “Advocates for Iowa State University professor Guillermo Gonzalez, who was turned down for tenure, called on the Iowa Board of Regents Monday to consider the e-mails that show faculty members at ISU were uncomfortable with promoting someone who advocated the idea of intelligent design. Gonzalez, an assistant professor in physics and astronomy, learned this spring he did not achieve tenure at ISU, essentially a lifetime appointment. His position expires at ISU in May of 2008. Members of the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based organization that supports the discussion of intelligent design in classrooms, said the Board of Regents refused to allow certain e-mails between physics Read More ›

Iowa State Daily on Gonzalez tenure emails

Organization attacks ruling to deny tenure E-mails suggest Gonzalez’s beliefs affected decision Kyle Miller and Ross Boettcher “Issue date: 12/4/07  The Discovery Institute, a pro-intelligent design organization, released portions of e-mails of ISU professors and administrators “conspiring” to deny tenure to Guillermo Gonzalez, associate professor of physics and astronomy, in a press conference in Des Moines on Monday. Casey Luskin, program officer for public policy and legal affairs for the Discovery Institute, said “thousands of pages of e-mails” obtained through an Iowa Open Records request from earlier this year hold statements pointing out a possible “hostile work environment” at Iowa State. Luskin said it points to a conspiracy to deny tenure to a “deserving professor” involving not only Iowa State Read More ›

D’Souza – Dennett Debate

Dinesh D’Souza and Daniel Dennett debated a few nights ago on the question whether God is a human invention (did God create man or did man create God). A video of the debate is available at RichardDawkins.net. An agnostic who attended the debate offered some interesting observations about it. Here’s a sample: . . . And here’s the weakness of the entire Atheist movement on display. Argument via ridicule only takes you so far, and only keeps the already converted entertained. Time and again I was disappointed not only by Dennett’s inability to articulate the science, but in his inability to respond to D’Souza’s very interesting thought experiments, analogies and use of example from the history of Philosophy itself. What Read More ›

Reflections on today’s amazing revelations in the Guillermo Gonzalez case

My recent post , two below, on the ISU revelations on Gonzalez’s tenure rejection prompts three reflections: 1. There are two separate issues regarding the rejection of Gonzalez on account of his support for intelligent design. The first is whether ISU can in fact get away with that. The faculty themselves did not seem to believe that they could get away with it, hence the second issue: This second issue – and I believe in this case the more significant one – is that ID was denied as a factor, and came to light mainly through a public records request. In other words, there was double dealing, not transparency. 2. The people in the combox who are trying to come up Read More ›

OU Biochemist Phillip Klebba on the Bacterial Flagellum

My to-do list for some time has included addressing University of Oklahoma biochemist Phillip Klebba’s written response to my September 17, 2007 OU lecture at Meacham Auditorium. Klebba, during the Q&A, asserted that biologists know full well how the bacterial flagellum arose without the need for intelligent design. He then proceeded to describe a four-stage evolutionary process that went from a pilum to the type-three secretory system to an ATP-type motor to the full flagellum. I told him during the Q&A that he was bluffing and that his account of flagellar evolution did not provide the specificity needed to confirm its plausibility. He then lectured me on the fact that I’m not a biologist and thus was not in a position to make such a pronouncement. But the fact is that one does not have to be a biologist to assess Klebba’s claims. Rather, one needs some elementary facility with logic to see whether his claims stack up.

Fortunately, Klebba wrote up his proposal on flagellar evolution in an essay for the OU student newspaper (the essay appeared September 20, 2007 here). I urge UD readers to look at it carefully for it betrays the bankruptcy of evolutionary theorizing when it comes to explaining the emergence of molecular machines. Contrary to molecular and cell biologists such as James Shapiro and Franklin Harold, who regard current evolutionary explanations of molecular machines as spectacularly unsuccessful, Klebba proclaims that the problem is solved:

The evolutionary relationships that led to the bacterial flagellar motor — the poster of irreducible complexity for proponents of intelligent design — are now well-known among scientists studying the biochemistry of bacterial cell envelopes. In brief, the flagellar assembly, which propels bacteria through fluid environments, consists of a long, hollow polymeric filament, a basal body that holds the filament in the cell membrane system, and a molecular motor complex containing a stator and rotor that turn the filament around and around when it is energized.

I’m afraid that after all these years in the ID business, I’m still not entirely used to the brazenness of evolutionary theorists in proclaiming that its unsolved problems are solved. Klebba continues: Read More ›

Gonzalez tenure case: University admin’s credibility in shreds as truth emerges

UPDATED! Well, the jig is up now, re the Guillermo Gonzalez case. I’ve just seen the whack of documents Discovery Institute is releasing.

1. It appears that the decision had been made to turn Gonzalez down for tenure at Iowa State University before he had actually applied for it, and the reason was his advocacy of intelligent design.

Read this story in the Des Moines Register last week by Lisa Rossi

ISU President Gregory Geoffroy said in June that Gonzalez’s advocacy of the “intelligent design” concept was not a factor in the decision to turn down his request for tenure.

Geoffroy said he focused his review on Gonzalez’s overall record of scientific accomplishment as an assistant professor at ISU.

and then this one, after the Register got hold of the e-mails via a public records request:

The disclosure of the e-mails is contrary to what ISU officials emphasized after Gonzalez, an assistant professor in physics and astronomy, learned that his university colleagues had voted to deny his bid for tenure.

[ … ]

In response to a question about why the influence of intelligent design in the physics and astronomy tenure decisions was not acknowledged publicly by the university earlier, McCarroll said, “I can’t speak for every one of those individuals” who voted on Gonzalez’s tenure.

 (Clarification December 6, 2007: John West of the Discovery Institute (DI) has written to advise me that the Record did not make a public records request, but was shown the documents by ISU after DI had announced that it had obtained them and that they would be made public. It appears that, by ignoring the embargo, the Register scooped the other media, not DI. Still,  to their credit, they know a story when they see one. – d.)

2. The alleged tenure review was in fact a fishing expedition whose purpose was to find any grounds at all for denying tenure to a man who emerges clearly an outstanding scientist (in flat contradiction to some of President Geoffroy’s other claims), and far more so than the colleagues who were doing the fishing. For example, the fact that some of his widely cited papers were cited less often than others was grounds for a focus on the less widely cited ones. The fact that he published a textbook was dinged as an unwise use of his time.

Much of the most damaging stuff won’t make it to Gonzalez’s Regents’ appeal on a technicality, but it’s now going to be out there for all to see.

Anyway, brava! to journalist Lisa Rossi for exposing the vast credibility gap between what President Geoffroy was claiming to the media and the facts of the case. When oh when will administrators learn, do NOT tell stretchers to the media. Even journalists who support you get mad if they think you are lying. As I said, more later.

– Actually, Rossi for the Register scooped Disco on the e-mails business, publishing on Saturday what they were going to reveal at a press conference the following Monday. Both groups had filed public records requests but the newspaper won. But the Disco package is pretty amazing anyway, and brings out a lot of stuff that’s not in the Register. Read More ›

Gil’s Involvement With The EIL

In a previous UD thread Leo Stotch commented and inquired:

I see that you are now part of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, Gil. That must be exciting, to now be part of the scientific work associated with ID. Any previews of coming features for us?

Exciting indeed. The only preview I can offer is that I plan to use my software engineering experience, expertise, and knowledge to shed light on proposed Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms and their potential efficacy in the real world.

Interestingly enough, my first inklings that the blind-watchmaker thesis was a con game began with my research into computational search algorithms and obstacles presented by combinatorial explosion. Further experience with real-world computer simulations (guidance, navigation and control software in aerospace R&D, and most recently with finite-element analysis programming) has convinced me that Darwinists are living in the dark ages, promoting a quaint 19th-century notion that has nothing ultimately meaningful to say about biological reality beyond finch-beak variation and bacterial antibiotic resistance.
Read More ›

Mary Midgley: “ID is going to give us a great deal of trouble”

Mary Midgley’s “A Plague on Both Their Houses” purports to set the record straight about ID and evolution. ID is bad science, and evolution, when used to justify atheism, is bad philosophy. If both sides in this debate could only recognize the proper limits of science and philosophy, we could dispense with this needless controversy. Midgley’s analysis is disappointing. For it to work, ID’s scientific critique of and its counterproposal to standard evolutionary theory must fail. And for Midgley it does, as follows: Biologists have pointed out the feebleness of the mechanical analogy, of course. Organisms and their parts do not consist of separate items that must be put together deliberately in the workshop, but of continuous tissue, areas of Read More ›