A clarification about the pending Gonzalez lawsuit, for Bad Astronomy

Phil over at Bad Astronomy has it a bit backwards, but hey it’s not his fault. He didn’t have to sit through that nightmare of a press conference.

I still stick by my own conclusion too, that by trying to say that Gonzalez’s religious freedom has been curtailed, they are admitting ID is religion and not science, which they vehemently denied with the Dover case. I think if this comes to court, that’ll be a fun issue to grill them about.

From the press conference, the DI is clearly trying to distance religion from ID. The subject never really came up until a reporter asked about it. Even a handout in the DI information packet gives instructions on how to properly define ID, which includes notions like separating it from creationism and religious concepts like “higher power”. They’ve already had their day in court at Dover (and lost) because ID was (correctly) tied to religion. They don’t want to go back there. Another flub of a court case will cement Intelligent Design as a legal failure.
No, this time around they’ll likely try to claim a hostile work environment. They can’t risk having ID identified with religion and not science yet again. Which is unfortunate, because as Phil said, it would be really frakkin’ fun….

The Disco Institute has a press conference on Gonzalez’s behalf

Yesterday the Discovery Institute held a press conference at the capitol building in Des Moines, to announce Guillermo Gonzalez’s plans to sue Iowa State University over their decision to deny him tenure. Supposedly the lawsuit will be filed pending the rejection of an appeal to the Board of Regents, which is virtually guaranteed simply for the fact that the Regents typically uphold tenure decisions. Joining Casey Luskin, Rob Crowther, Gonzalez’s attorneys, and a few other DI folk was state Senator David Hartsuch (R-District 41).

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A dose of woo: Martial Idiocy

Recently Orac took apart the findings of another acupuncture study. Those who administer acupuncture typically insinuate that a mysterious vital energy known as “chi” travels along meridians in the body, and that normal flow of chi is necessary for good health. Orac pointed out that this recent study effectively disproved the notion of meridians in traditional Chinese medicine.
Similar woo also permeates the martial arts. If one’s chi is properly aligned, supposedly the practitioner can make their body do amazing things such as selectively exploding an opponent’s internal organs when struck, or sometimes inducing a time-delayed killing sickness. My old kung fu instructor even tried to demonstrate that chi existed by having us hold our hands right up next to a mirror after a workout, supposedly when our chi is flowing maximally. He claimed you could see the visible effects of chi which manifested as a mist traveling up the mirror away from our hands. He was right: the mirror did fog over. I imagine it had more to do with the mirror being at a significantly lower temperature than our hands, which were sweaty and radiating heat, which caused condensation to appear on the mirror and radiate upward away from our hands with our body heat. Oh well.
So in the Philippines, which is home to one of the arts I currently train in, they don’t necessarily believe in the Chinese concept of Chi but they do subscribe to just as much martial woo. From oraciĆ³n to anting anting, by aligning one’s energy and going through ritualized moves, objects, chants, and breathing, one can prepare his or her mind and body to ward off blows. From swords. It works. Right.
Incidentally, if you don’t like blood, don’t watch. However, you’ll also get a brief dose of Filipino martial history and one of its main figures, Lapu Lapu.

I think we can consider Chi and the like one more debunked philosophical construct. Just because you believe something, that doesn’t make it so. Any nice sharp sword will demonstrate that concept. Interestingly, Tara at Aetiology finds that HIV denialists have the same mentality. Hopefully they’ll learn a thing or two from this video; HIV can be every bit as dangerous.

BREAKING: Christian University Censors Science!!!!!

Ha ha, fooled you!
The Discovery Institute has just issued this on their blog, the inaccurately named Evolution News and Views:

According to CSC senior fellow and leading ID theorist William Dembski, what follows is:

“[A] big story, perhaps the biggest story yet of academic suppression relating to ID. Robert Marks is a world-class expert in the field of evolutionary computing, and yet the Baylor administration, without any consideration of the actual content of Marks’s work at the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, decided to shut it down simply because there were anonymous complaints linking the lab to intelligent design.”

Read on if you care at all about academic freedom and protecting the right of scientists to freedom of scientific inquiry.

So Dembski takes a step down in status, returning to the place that canned him once already. He comes crawling back as a postdoc, and is somehow surprised when the University doesn’t want to see him around anymore? Shocking. Who does that??? When you’re a professor and you want to do research, you do it in your lab. If you can’t do it in your lab, you go on sabbatical so you can bring it to your lab someday. Then you get grants to fund said work in your lab. If your institution won’t support said work, you find one that will hire you. But stepping back into a postdoc is like going back to trade school for something you’re already certified to do. And there but for the grace of God go I.
Is this really about academic freedom, or is it about the University not wanting to deal with some flunky they already pink-slipped? Because if it’s the former, the DI is basically admitting that even devoutly Christian schools, like the esteemed Baylor University, don’t find Intelligent Design stealth creationism to be very compelling. Methinks if the DI’s strategy is actually to win people over, throwing the egomaniacal Dembski under the bus on this one might be a better option.
I mean really. Can you say “I’m hell bent on using you for the affiliation” any more clearly?

Creationists up to no good in Chesterfield County, VA

It looks like somebody either never heard of Dover, or refused to learn from their lesson. It seems the local ID supporters of Chesterfield County aren’t happy:

So far, the official actions of the CCSB have been limited to issuing a rather vague and confusing statement. ID proponents had hoped to influence the selection of science textbooks, but they started their campaign too late, and the CCSB approved the selection of standard biology texts. But there is still much concern about the situation in Chesterfield. ID supporters, backed by a local conservative group called the Family Foundation, are energetic and well-organized, as evidenced by their ability to deliver a petition with more than 1,100 people who questioned the use of “evolution-only” science texts.

Energetic and well-organized supporters of pseudoscience… sounds like a one-way ticket to another budget-busting, unwinnable multimillion dollar lawsuit. Virginia, you can do better than these guys.
The Alliance for Science has the full story. If you are a Virginia resident and want to get involved, please contact them. Also, visit the link to learn much more about the story, and also about Shawn Smith’s blog that tracks the Intelligent Design Creationism movement in Chesterfield County. Let’s keep sound science in Virginia science classes and get the jump on things before the anti-science ID creationist movement can stir up trouble.

Creationists up to no good in Chesterfield County, VA

It looks like somebody either never heard of Dover, or refused to learn from their lesson. It seems the local ID supporters of Chesterfield County aren’t happy:

So far, the official actions of the CCSB have been limited to issuing a rather vague and confusing statement. ID proponents had hoped to influence the selection of science textbooks, but they started their campaign too late, and the CCSB approved the selection of standard biology texts. But there is still much concern about the situation in Chesterfield. ID supporters, backed by a local conservative group called the Family Foundation, are energetic and well-organized, as evidenced by their ability to deliver a petition with more than 1,100 people who questioned the use of “evolution-only” science texts.

Energetic and well-organized supporters of pseudoscience… sounds like a one-way ticket to another budget-busting, unwinnable multimillion dollar lawsuit. Virginia, you can do better than these guys.
The Alliance for Science has the full story. If you are a Virginia resident and want to get involved, please contact them. Also, visit the link to learn much more about the story, and also about Shawn Smith’s blog that tracks the Intelligent Design Creationism movement in Chesterfield County. Let’s keep sound science in Virginia science classes and get the jump on things before the anti-science ID creationist movement can stir up trouble.

Creation Museum and Public Perception: Tepid Waters

The Alliance for Science, a wonderful group of which I am a member, has a link about a survey that examines public perception of the new Creation Museum. Having recently visited the Propoganda Ministry Museum myself, I was very underwhelmed. I will report my experiences there in a future post replete with pictures. I feel bad because I haven’t been keeping up on the evolution/science activism side of my life for a very long time now, aside from this post and pushing the Alliance for Science’s Evolution Essay Contest, I have done very little this year to even address the issue. Might have something to do with my dad dying and whatnot, I’m not sure.
The interesting part of the survey is that “white evangelicals” or “fundamentalists” weren’t particularly approving of the intellectual travesty Museum either. Maybe there is hope for America after all. Or, maybe the “Museum” really is such a shoddy, transparent attempt at evangelizing that nobody is fooled.
Do stop by and check it out.