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Letters to the editor

Sept. 21, 2007

More than enough time for ID

Most academic debates are ultimately resolved by the evidence.

Once-marginalized theories like plate tectonics or genetic transposition could no longer be ignored in light of later discoveries.

However, the rules of acceptance are different for intelligent design.

Instead of answering dismissive critics by producing incontestable data, intelligent design advocates resort to juvenile and underhanded tactics to spread their anti-science message.

For the jejune, there's former Baylor professor William Dembski's flash animation of Judge John E. Jones III and others involved in the Dover, Pa. case.

The scholarly-minded Dembski thought it appropriate to intersperse fart noises between comically high-pitched sound bites from the opposition.

Dembski only admitted his connection to the animation after someone slowed down the recordings to reveal his voice.

It should be noted that Dembski was working closely with Dr. Robert Marks before the latter's Web site was removed (unfairly, in my view) from Baylor's servers.

More recently there was an ill-considered letter purportedly composed by President John Lilley posted on Dembski's Weblog, Uncommon Descent, which was later revealed to be a parody.

A source material is usually required for something to be considered a parody, but what are mere literary conventions to Dembski, mathematician-extraordinaire?

For the unscrupulous, there's the quasi-deceitful manner in which some interviews were obtained for the upcoming Ben Stein film.

One ID critic, biologist P.Z. Myers at the University of Minnesota at Morris and author of the popular science Weblog Pharyngula, was interviewed by a production team for a movie called Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion.

Myers later discovered the footage was actually being used in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

He asked the production company why they concealed the true nature of the documentary when he would have been just as upfront about his views had he known what the movie was really about.

Mark Mathis, an assistant producer, responded defensively: "Please know that I strongly disagree with the insinuations and characterizations made in your e-mail to me." No other explanation was given.

Science is about being open and honest.

Criticism is to be expected and, more importantly, encouraged.

Intelligent design advocates have had over 15 years to present real, challenging evidence for their hypotheses.

Instead, they prefer to circumvent the criticism of their qualified peers by appealing directly to a public that they can more easily deceive.

At least we can look forward to a new Ben Stein film.

Here's hoping it has plenty of fart noises.

Cody Cobb

Biochemistry, 2008

Kudos for saying 'no' to ID

Dr. Ben Kelley and President John Lilley are to be commended for making a stand on intelligent design and removing the Web site of Dr. Marks.

The Bible is simply not supported scientifically.

This is going to be a difficult journey as we move ahead without religions, but observations don't lie ... religion is literally killing us and causing more problems than it's worth.

As a former Christian, I can attest to the freeing from sin that accompanies religious deprogramming and the sanity that returns.

Understanding cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1956) and memes (Dawkins, 1976) are good places to start the deprogramming.

Have courage -- just say no to ID.

Richard Schauer

Schauer Global Health Inc.

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