Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Dan Ely: Victimhood is Next to Sainthood in the ID Pantheon

"We can add Dan Ely to the names of Richard Sternberg, Guillermo Gonzalez, Michael Behe, Scott Minnich, William Dembski, Nancy Bryson, Caroline Crocker," writes intelligent design "theorist" Salvador Cordova on William Dembski's Uncommon Descent blog.

Cordova is responding to a letter to the Kansas Board of Education, published by RSR yesterday, from three of Dan Ely's colleagues at the University of Akron. In that letter, Dr. Stephen C. Weeks, an evolutionary ecologist, Dr. Peter Niewiarowski, evolutionary ecologist, and Dr. Lisa Park, a paleontologist, called attention to the "profound misconceptions" in Ely's testimony before the Topeka science hearings last May.

ID theorists are delicate creatures. Public criticism of their views is extremely painful to them. Invariably, they react to such criticism by claiming that their ideas are being censored. This is a bit strange for a political and cultural movement whose publicly stated aim is to brand all those who support science education in public schools as atheists.

Cordova, speaking on behalf of intelligent design victims everywhere pulls a quote out of the letter to suggest that such persecution is contemplated by Weeks, Niewiarowski, and Park:
Indeed, if undergraduate majors in our biology department revealed such profound misconceptions about basic evolutionary biology we would have serious misgivings about conferring their degrees in biology.

As always, this quote has been ripped from its context. It relates, not to some nefarious plan to deny graduation to the ID faithful, but to Ely's lack of knowledge about basic facts of evolution, as readers can easily verify for themselves by scrolling down to read the letter.

Even so, we might ask, does Cordova seriously advocate granting degrees in Biology -- or any other subject -- to students who fail to grasp the basic concepts of their area of expertise. Would Cordova subject himself to surgery by a medical student who didn't know a heart from a liver?


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