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Do the Australians know what they’re getting, with Nick Matzke?


Enforcement of an orthodoxy engulfed by challenges, from what we know.

Further to the book burner moving to Australian National U, from John West at Evolution News & Views we learn:

Former National Center for Science Education activist Nick Matzke has just published an utterly inane article in Science about academic freedom bills. In the article, he constructs a “phylogenetic tree” to show that various academic freedom bills are related to one another.

If the intention was to show that Discovery Institute has supported academic freedom legislation in various states, or that many of those bills have similar language, Matzke didn’t need to construct a phylogenetic tree. He simply could have followed the reporting here at Evolution News. If I were a Darwinist, I would be more careful: Publishing something like this might lead people to think that phylogenetics is only good for producing trivialities.

Yes, but when an orthodoxy is challenged by evidence, one way to display its power is to force trivialities on the public and demand that they be considered science.

That’s the point.

Forcing the “aren’t I good?” girls (male and female) to believe, propagate, and even admire nonsense is a visible demonstration of power.

Fortunately, such persons are generally easy to persuade. They have no information the world needs to hear, only positions they aspire to. They need to know who to be for or against for that purpose, and how to turn on a dime.

A more serious issue is whether Matzke misappropriated taxpayer funds in order to write his article. Matzke discloses in the article’s acknowledgements that his research was funded by two National Science Foundation grants. But if you look up those grants, they appear to have nothing to do with the article he published.

It won’t make any difference if that is true. Another way of displaying  social power is to heedlessly waste money in a large, unaccountable (preferably tax-funded) bureaucracy, pursuing aims irrelevant to the stated purposes for the funds.  It is a form of conspicuous consumption, but with clout.

If Matzke used taxpayer funds intended to underwrite serious scientific research to produce this silly piece about the politics of the evolution debate, then the National Science Foundation should consider asking for some of its grant money back. More.

But wouldn’t that just provide an opportunity for an endless parade of otherwise obscure mediocrities seeking a mike into which they can grandstand about “science” and “threats to science”?

Today, academic freedom is a threat to science principally because so much of what is called “science” is founded on stuff we have every reason to  doubt. But it is protected by doctrines about what kind of evidence may be counted, what questions may be raised, and by whom.

Entire disciplines are struggling for credibility, yet the only response is closing ranks, astroturf, pious but empty promises of reform, and displays of irresponsible power.

If Australians want a bigger piece of that action, they bought one.

And, let’s face it, in an increasingly bureaucratic world, shutting up people with troubling evidence can seem like an obvious solution. Such societies are much less invested in the advancement of knowledge than some think. More on that later.

See also: Social Calendar: Nick (”book burner”) Matzke now at Australian U? He’s a long-time commenter here on behalf of the Darwin lobby.

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Mung - sorry, I should have explained that more clearly. The book was about biology, but wasn't submitted to editors who work in biology. The editors were evidently not aware of the links to ID, and presumably didn't consult with their biologist colleagues about it. In that sense it was sneaked passed the appropriate review. Bob O'H
Bob O'H:
It was clear that the editors at Springer didn’t know the background of those involved, and the relationship to ID and creationism. They weren’t biologists.
So? Mung
The witness of the bible is a religious conclusion. Its really just a conclusion but the word religious is used to identity it. YEV is not just belief in the bible. its about organized intellectual attempts to defend the bible when folks say science says the bible isn't true. Also to show the bible is true. SO YEC is not a religious conclusion but rather a intellectual conclusion based on religious witness. We are backing up in a court of law a witness by using science and ising science against science used against the witness. Robert Byers
Rex - even the figurative sense of the term is pretty nasty - it implies he'll censor anything he doesn't like. As far as I know, he didn't object to the book being published (neither do I, FWIW), but to the way it seems to have been sneaked into Springer. It was clear that the editors at Springer didn't know the background of those involved, and the relationship to ID and creationism. They weren't biologists. Bob O'H
Well Bob, is Matzke is book burner in the Fahrenheit 451 sense of the term? Of course not. However, to understand what News meant, the below link might help... Figurative Language Let me know if you need clarification. RexTugwell
Rex @ 2 - yes, really. Robert @ 6 - Are you seriously claiming that Young Earth Creationism isn't a religious conclusion? Bob O'H
I don't know about Australia but in America its a natural right to have and deal in the truth. therefore to ensure the truth freedom is mandatory. acedemia must be free because it belongs to the people and is in the peoples nation. Unconditional surremder to freedom of inquiry and teaching same inquiries. In short creationism YEC and iD is morally and legally a right of the people to have taught in the schools. Anyways in america the censorship is not based on a rejection of acedemic freedom but a claim YEC/ID are religious conclusions and so religious methodology behind them and so illegal. All ID and YEC must show is that NO conclusions on subjects taught are illegal period. If some conclusion is illegal in some subject then the state is eITHER saying same conclusion is wrong or if right still illegal. If they say its wrong then its a state opinion on religion and breaks the law it invokes for the censorship. If it says is or might be right BUR still illegal then it makes not only a absurdity of the claim education is to teach the truth but it strips the right of the people to have the truth. ID/YEC should not argue we are doing science but make a greater historic claim that all censorship by the state is ILLEGAL. A worthy dream and fight. of not us who else is smart enough to notice the tyranny. Robert Byers
OT: The Grand Miracle by C.S. Lewis Doodle (Part 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv4kx2QP4UM Hallelujah- Lindsey Stirling- ?#?aSaviorIsBorn? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VzprYCxPBQ bornagain
OT: In The Wall Street Journal, Kate Bachelder interviews Eric Metaxas, a happy warrior for a muscular Christianity, on why faith and science are not opposed, and why the public square benefits from expressions of belief. The Death of God Is Greatly Exaggerated - Dec. 18, 2015 (Eric Metaxas) The happy warrior for a muscular Christianity on why faith and science are not opposed, and why the public square benefits from expressions of belief. http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-death-of-god-is-greatly-exaggerated-an-interview-with-eric-metaxas-1450481540 podcast: "Decade after Dover: Casey Luskin Recaps Trial" http://www.discovery.org/multimedia/audio/2015/12/decade-after-dover-casey-luskin-recaps-trial/ bornagain
Really Bob? RexTugwell
You repeatedly describe Matzke as a book burner, but the link you provide doesn't say he's ever burnt any books. Do you have any evidence to substantiate the accusation? Bob O'H
To borrow a line from Dr. Sheldon Cooper, It's not that Nick isn't good at what he does, it's that what he does isn't worth doing. Mung

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