Wednesday, July 06, 2005


The Meme that Roars

From the bottomless pit of self-pity that is intelligent design comes a plaintive cry of rage from the anonymous "bipod" on the Telic Thoughts blog. Cornelia Dean's article "How Quantum Physics Can Teach Biologists About Evolution," which ran in the New York Times yesterday, is sooo unfair cries bipod because Dean reaches into:

the BuzzBox 3-5 times (the BuzzBox is the container of heavily recycled memes that address people at a 5th grade reading level, most of which have been well refined and propogated (sic) by the NCSE, an organization which seems to enjoy pandering to its 5th grade audience)…

BuzzBox Meme 1: Guilt by (irrelevant) association: lump the intelligent design theorists in with the creationists by making the age of the earth seem like a point of
Those of us who live in Kansas and who followed the Discovery Institute's intelligent design roadshow, which played recently before the Kansas State School Board, will have an interesting reaction to bipod's claim that lumping intelligent design "theorists" with their country cousin creationist counterparts is somehow not cricket.

Some of the witnesses had no problem saying they think the earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old, others – and remember these witnesses were handpicked by Discovery Institute and the ID Network – had big, big problems.

For example, there’s ID witness Roger DeHart who taught biology at the high school level for 28 years -- 20 of those years being in public schools. Mr. DeHart taught intelligent design for about 10 years, and is is the author of Icons of Evolution- A Study Guide.

PEDRO IRIGONEGARAY: "How old, in your opinion, is the world?"

ROGER DEHART: I'm going to answer like Dr. Sanford earlier, I would say between probably a lot younger than most people think.

PI: That doesn't say anything to me. What is your opinion in years the age of the earth?

RD: I'm fine with 5,000 to 100,000.

Then there’s Daniel L. Ely who holds a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. Since 1976, he has been Professor of Biology at the University of Akron in Ohio.

PEDRO IRIGONEGARAY: … What is your opinion as to the age of the earth?

DANIEL ELY: In light of time I would say most of the evidence that I see, I read and I understand points to an old age of the earth.

PI: And how old is that age?

DE: I don't know. I just know what I read with regards to data. It looks like it's
four billion years.

PI: And is that your personal opinion?

DE: No. My personal opinion is I really don't know. I'm struggling.

PI: You're struggling with what the age of the earth is?

DE: Yeah. Yeah. I'm not sure…

[Skipping ahead through more back and forth as Irigonegaray attempts to extract an answer from Ely – RSR]

PEDRO IRIGONEGARAY: Mr. Abrams, please instruct the witness to
answer the question.


PEDRO IRIGONEGARAY: The question was-- and winking at him is not going to do you any good. Answer my question. Do you believe the earth may be as young as 5,000 years old?

DANIEL ELY: It could be.

And let’s not forget Stephen C. Meyer, Ph.D. who, according to his bio, is nationally recognized for his work on the scientific, philosophical, educational and legal aspects of the biological origins controversy. Dr. Meyer is currently Director and Senior Fellow of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle.

PEDRO IRIGONEGARAY: I have a few questions for you first that I want to establish for the record. In your opinion, your personal opinion, what is the age of the earth?

STEPHEN MEYER: Do you want my personal-- why are you asking me about my personal--

PI: You're here to answer my questions. First of all, what is your personal opinion as to what the age of the earth is?

SM: I understood I was being called as an expert witness.

PI: What is your personal opinion as to what the age of the earth is?

SM: I'm unclear. I understand--

PI: The question is simple. What is, in your opinion, the age of the earth?

SM: Well, I'm just wanting to clarify the ground rules here. I thought I was being called as an expert witness, so why are you asking me about my personal--

PI: That's not the issue. Now, please answer my question. What is your personal--

SM: I would like to understand the ground rules first. Why am I being asked about—

PI: Mr. Chairman, if he's not going to answer my questions, I'd ask that his testimony be stricken from the record.

SM: I'm happy to answer your question. I'd like to know why you're asking about—

[and on, and on, and on it goes -- RSR]

These intelligent design "theorists" themselves – contrary to bipod's assertion -- seem to take the age of the earth debate quite seriously.

The sample above, by the way, is by no means all that we might have selected from among the Discovery Institute's bible college biologist witness list for the Kansas science hearings. And, this is from the leadership of the ID movement. If we look at the ranks, we'll find that nearly all are young earth creationists who embrace ID solely as a legal strategy to return creationism to science classrooms.

If, like Red State Rabble, you can't get enough of this stuff, you can read all the transcripts on line here.

Bipod, you might want to check it out for yourself.


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