Monday, March 13, 2006


ID's Keystone Cops

Creation scientists and intelligent design theorists disdain evidence gathered from observation of the natural world, but they're right at home with assumption, inference, and baseless speculation.

Perhaps that is why William Dembski's blog, Uncommon Descent, continues to publish posts speculating on a link between the readership of the pro-evolution group blog, Panda's Thumb, and the arrest of three college students for a string of church arsons in Alabama.

Last week, Benjamin N. Moseley and Russell L. DeBusk Jr., both 19, from Birmingham-Southern College, a private four-year college affiliated with the United Methodist Church, and Matthew Lee Cloyd, 20, a student at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, were arrested for setting the fires. Cloyd recently transferred from Birmingham-Southern to UAB.

Shortly after the arrests, DaveScot, who posts on the Uncommon Descent blog, asked, "These three guys been reading the hate speech at Panda’s Thumb too long?" Following protests in the comments to that post, DaveScot provided the following update:
To those of you saying PT does nothing to encourage things like this I will remind you of PZ Myers (Panda’s Thumb author and Professor of Biology) saying scientists are not angry enough, not martial enough, and these [Christian fundamentalist] lunatics deserve responses involving righteous fury and butt-kicking. Maybe he got more than he wanted in this church burning incident. Then again maybe that’s just what the doctor ordered.

Today, Salvador Cordova returns to the issue writing that he thinks "the probability is very remote that they [the arsonists] were PandasThumb Denizens." However, Cordova feels the media have been too quick to dismiss the notion that there was a religious motive behind the arsons.

Were law enforcement officials and the media too quick to dismiss a possible anti-religious bias among the three arsonists, or was it simply that they could find no evidence of such a link?

Red State Rabble doesn't pretend to know what the motivations of these three troubled young men were, but there is absolutely no evidence that any of them were even aware of -- much less active in -- the debate over science in the public schools.

The posts at Uncommon Descent do, however, follow a time honored tactic developed by the right. Raise an outrageous and absolutely baseless charge against your opponent. Provide no evidence whatsoever to back it up, and then flog the issue remorselessly. In this case, even a debate over whether the post should ever have been written in the first place serves to keep it alive.

Cordova does manage, as Christian fundamentalists so often do, however, to give the game away by commending DaveScot for being "quite a headline grabber" and asking "how’s our hit meter doing."


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?