Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


Can Wikipedia be fixed? (And, should we care? [Is it time to walk away and lock it out like a virus?])

By 2012, the longstanding Encyclopedia Britannica had published its last print edition. Microsoft’s Encarta has long since bitten the dust, and so has Collier’s notable effort. Wikipedia, like it or lump it — mostly the latter — seems to have taken over that go-to first source slot. Indeed, for a great many subjects a Wikipedia article will dominate a Google search (or the like), to the point where one gets the impression that if it is not in the top three or so references, that was programmed in by the search engine’s programmers. And yet, as PJ Media reports, co-founder and original author of Wikipedia’s “neutral point of view [NPOV]” policy, Larry Sanger has gone on record, regarding Wiki’s entrenched Read More ›

2018 March for Life in Washington, DC: 45th annual response to the 1973 Abortion on Demand US Supreme Court Decision

Today is the March for life in Washington DC. Speakers include: Rep. Paul Ryan, Pam Tebow, Matt Birk and others. We have someone on the ground from the UD family and will be giving updates as we get them across the day. Remember, globally, the abortion holocaust toll rises at a million or thereabouts per week, on Guttmacher-UN figures. The total since the early 1970’s exceeds 800 millions. For shame! So, developing: U/D No 1: I found a live stream here. (I won’t even try an embed with this one.) U/D 2: US Pres Trump is to address the MFL by satellite feed, 100,000 expected. A first. U/D 3: Live address is to be at 1 pm EST, and will Read More ›

Would Newton be allowed to teach science in public schools?

Sir Isaac Newton once said,

“In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”

The USA’s Founders required the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, including:

make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Yet now we have US Senators coercing government officials of establishing atheistic materialism in public education, by accusing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of supporting Intelligent Design in schools. Read More ›

Why There Is (And Should Be) No Legal Right To Transgender Protections

Transgenderism is when a person considers themselves to internally be the opposite sex of their physical body. They mentally “self-identify” in contradiction to the physical fact of their body sex. Transgender law advocates insist that self-identified “transgenders” be given legal right to have unfettered access to all public facilities currently reserved for one sex or the other (male and female restrooms, lockers, showers, women’s shelters, etc.) Obama has recently decreed that all schools that do not fully adopt transgender protections and policies will face the revocation of federal funding. Usually, when a person believes they are something in contradiction to the physical facts (such as believing one is Napoleon, or believing one is a horse), we call that view delusional, Read More ›

The “ID is Creationism in a cheap tuxedo” smear championed by Eugenie Scott et al of NCSE is now Law School Textbook orthodoxy . . .

From ENV  — even as Dr Eugenie Scott of NCSE retires (having championed the ID is Creationism in a cheap tuxedo smear for years and years in the teeth of all correction . . . ) — we see a development, courtesy a whistle-blowing Law School student: The latest attempt to insert creationism into the classroom is what is known as the Theory of Intelligent Design. The theory is that all of the complex natural phenomena could not have happened randomly; there had to be a design and a designer. Since the concept of the designer does not require a biblical interpretation, its advocates believe that it could possibly pass constitutional muster. Some states have proposed that science standards be Read More ›

Slate.com in a Dither Over non-Repeal of LSEA

Slate.com is all upset that repeal of the Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008 was was rejected yet again in a 3-2 vote in the State Senate. 19 year old Rice University Student Zack Kopplin has been leading the charge to get this “outrage” done away with once and for all, with help from the usual suspects. What’s interesting to note is the reason that one Senator, Elbert Guillory, D-Obelousas, who essentially cast the deciding vote, gave for his vote against repeal. Sen. Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas, said he had reservations with repealing the act after a spiritual healer correctly diagnosed a specific medical ailment he had. He said he thought repealing the act could “lock the door on being able Read More ›

Wiki’s F – – on ID, 5: Subtly distorting the truth on Discovery Institute’s policy on Education in public schools, multiplied by a failure of due disclosure on judge Jones’ Kitzmiller/ Dover ruling

( To comment, kindly go here) Last time, we showed how Wikipedia’s article on Intelligent Design flagrantly distorts the history of the origins of ID as a modern movement. Today, our focus is on a subtler distortion: From the mid-1990s, intelligent design proponents were supported by the Discovery Institute, which, together with its Center for Science and Culture, planned and funded the “intelligent design movement”.[16][n 1] They advocated inclusion of intelligent design in public school biology curricula, leading to the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, where U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that intelligent design is not science, that it “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents”, and that the school district’s Read More ›

A tale of two tragedies, in China and the US — reflections and suggestions

Yesterday was a hard day, even for those like me who were quite late to the news. We woke up here to the news on BBC — a Caribbean tradition — that someone in China had attacked a classroom with a knife of some kind and had slashed twenty-two children. This, in a country where there is a very harsh one child per family law, backed up by forced abortions etc. And, apparently, it is not the first such recent attack in that country. (Cf article in the Hartford Courant — and yes, that is tragically close to home.) Then, across the course of the day, news emerged of a similar attack in an elementary school in Newtown Connecticut, USA. Read More ›

So what will you do when your turn comes?

Nathan Black reports for Christian Post “Intelligent Design Proponent Fired from NASA Lab” (Jan. 26 2011).

David Coppedge is an information technology specialist and system administrator on JPL’s international Cassini mission to Saturn, the most ambitious interplanetary exploration ever launched. A division of California Institute of Technology, JPL operates under a contract with the federal space agency. Coppedge held the title of “Team Lead” System Administrator on the mission until his supervisors demoted and humiliated him for advancing ideas that superiors labeled “unwelcome” and “disruptive.”

He favoured intelligent design and talked about it, and one superior didn’t like that.

There was no workplace policy that forbid discussing private opinions at work, and claims that Coppedge harassed fellow employees proved unsubstantiated.

Here’s columnist David Klinghoffer on the case:

What did Coppedge do to get himself in trouble? He occasionally chatted with interested colleagues about the scientific case for intelligent design, he passed around a couple of pro-ID DVDs, which made good sense since JPL’s officially defined mission includes the exploration of questions relating to the origin and development of life on earth and elsewhere. His supervisor severely chastised him for this, humiliated and demoted him.

Now he’s been fired. JPL claims it was a cost-cutting measure. … The truth will emerge when Coppedge’s lawsuit comes to trial, but the appearance here certainly suggests a final strike at Mr. Coppedge for his offense of introducing fresh ideas to co-workers.

In the light of this case and the recent, similar Martin Gaskell case, one hardly knows what to make of doubt that Ben Stein was right. There is an Expelled factor. Today, you can doubt anything except Darwin, and you must contrive not to know about or speak of the growing mass of evidence that contradicts the stuff government forces students to learn in tax-funded schools.

But there is no freedom for adults either, it turns out. Darwinism today has nothing to do with the science and everything to do with protecting the cultural status of an icon that has given government everything from compulsory sterilization to scientific racism to … the right of tax-funded institutions like JPL to run inquisitions powered by devotion to that icon.

Sadly, Klinghoffer writes,

It’s bad enough when private universities clamp down on the free exchange of ideas. But public institutions have often seemed to be the worst offenders of all in this respect, and that is something taxpayers have every right to protest.

Klinghoffer suggests that Americans phone: 202-358-1010 or e-mail Charles Bolden, charles.bolden@nasa.gov Yet will they?

I’ve covered ID stories for about a decade now, and on the way, I learned something interesting: What is keeping Darwinism alive right now is not evidence; the evidence is leaning sharply against Darwin’s “information for free” mechanism.

What keeps Darwinism alive is the awful passivity of the taxpayers who doubt it, yet continue to fund its long, persecutory march through the institutions.

Christians are the worst, incidentally.
Read More ›

Open Records Lawsuit

Rob Crowther reports: California Science Center to Pay Attorneys’ Fees and Settle Open Records Lawsuit by Intelligent Design Group

The California Science Center (CSC) has agreed to settle a lawsuit with the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute and release records that it previously sought to conceal regarding its cancellation of the screening of a pro-intelligent design film last year.

“After months of stonewalling by the Science Center, this is a huge victory for the public’s right to know what their government is doing, especially when the government engages in illegal censorship and viewpoint discrimination,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.
Read More ›

California Lawmaker demands answers over museum censorship

Apparently round two of the controversy over the California’s Science Center’s cancellation of Darwin’s Dilemma is getting ready to take place. This was reported and discussed here back in October, as well as here and here in December.

Now, a California State Senator is calling the constitutionality of the censorship into question. Read More ›

O’Reilly: Dawkins’ evolution only is fascism

O’Reilly told Dawkins”

you insist you can’t even mention it, that is fascism, sir.

Was he right? Is it constitutional/scientific to insist that only materialistic evolution can be taught?
See: O’Reilly vs. Atheist Author Richard Dawkins

O’REILLY: . . . It’s not fair to leave it out of the science class if the science class is incomplete. And you, by your own admission, say we don’t know how it all began. So if the science class is going to say evolution only, but I really don’t know how it started, that gap has got to be explored. Read More ›

Academic freedom for creation explanation

Reuben Kendall, freshman at UT-Martin, has written a thoughtful view point regarding Evolution vs Intelligent Design. He raises important points on metaphysical presumptions vs data. He raises the question of Academic Freedom which incorporates the foundational unalienable freedoms of speech and religion. May I encourage readers to write editorials and viewpoints raising such issues and standing up for our inalienable rights.
Academic freedom for creation explanation
Reuben Kendall, Issue date: 3/17/09 Section: Viewpoints

As a freshman, I haven’t been at UT-Martin for very long. But some problems are so obvious that they don’t take very long to notice.

In my studies I quickly realized that when it comes to the theory of evolution, Darwin is the only one who gets to answer questions-or ask them.

I want to question this theory-to test it; check its credentials. And I want honest, thoughtful answers to my questions, not pre-formulated quips and deflections.
But I have learned that if I’m not an evolutionist, my questions don’t get credited, or even heard.
Read More ›

Science’s Rightful Place Redux

Back in January I posted this comment to ask what is science’s “rightful place.” Now it seems we’re getting a clearer picture of the answer as far as the President is concerned. Fox News is reporting that President Obama to issue an executive order on Monday that would lift the restrictions on embryonic stem cell research put in place under President Bush.

Regardless of one’s opinion or position on this issue, there are a couple points of concern with respect to this story. First is this comment Read More ›