Why scientists get angry with ID proponents

The latest phase in the creationism debate centers around "ID," or "Intelligent Design." Basically, some Creationists have figured that if you change the word "creator" to "designer," you can get around all of those pesky limitations on teaching religion in science class. A lot of real scientists in the field get angry with ID proponents when they start making their arguments. A recent article in Creation Watch by Jason Rosenhouse explains why:

[I]f the evolution/ID dispute were simply a discussion of rival scientific claims, say about whether known evolutionary mechanisms are capable of explaining the formation of complex systems, then the discussion would be far less acrimonious. In reality, however, ID proponents spend most of their time leveling bogus charges against evolution. Professionals in the relevant fields possess the expertise to see immediately that the charges are scientifically untrue, but the lay audiences to which these charges are directed are unlikely to be similarly equipped. The result is that ID proponents present a picture of modern biology that is completely unsupported scientifically and disingenuous. And this is what causes ID proponents to be so reviled by scientists.

He goes on to give examples, such as that of ID proponent William Dembski misquoting real scientist Peter Ward:

Dembski tried to imply that the non-creationist Peter Ward nonetheless agrees with Dembski’s view that the Cambrian explosion is a problem for evolution. In reality, Ward’s clearly stated view is that while the Cambrian explosion used to be viewed as a problem for evolution, recent fossil discoveries actually show that it is a vindication for Darwin. Hurd and Mullenix pointed this out, showing in great detail that Dembski had not only distorted Ward, but had done likewise to Gould. They also showed that Dembski’s version of the facts was simply wrong. Dembski ignored what Hurd and Mullinex had said and repeated his earlier error about Ward’s intentions.

Of course, if the ID proponents were really about doing science, they would be presenting their findings to the scientific experts. Rosenhouse explains why they don’t do that:

This [is] why ID proponents rarely make any attempt to present their case to professionals. In front of such an audience their distortions would be immediately obvious. They are on far safer ground in lobbying school boards and state legislatures. When making your case in front of audiences that do not know the facts of the situation, it is easier to lie with impunity.

You can read the entire article here.

Who’s really outsourcing?

Over on my Issues page, I have an article explaining why so many jobs have been lost. I attribute most of the job loss to government regulation. This has been confirmed by new research compiled by the Cato Institute:

We hear lots of talk about exactly why (and if) [outsourcing] is happening, but rarely do pundits and commentators look at the relationship between companies moving plants overseas, and the kinds of tax and regulatory policies employed by the states they’re moving away from. As it turns out, states with business-friendly public policies attract and retain jobs. States with policies hostile to business tend to lose them.

So, do all states experience outsourcing? Hardly:

How well are states with business-friendly public policy doing at attracting and retaining jobs? The evidence suggests they’re doing well. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the only state that actually gain net manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2003 was Nevada. Nevada ranks 2nd on the SBSC’s business-friendly list. It ranks 3rd on the Tax Foundation list. It ranks in the top four of CFO’s list.

Which really only leads to one conclusion:

So the next time a local politician blasts NAFTA or greedy corporatism for the loss of local jobs, it might not hurt to take a look at just how friendly that politician’s state or city tax, and regulatory and labor policies are toward business. It’s likely that same politician’s policies are a big reason those jobs left.

You can read the entire article here.

Willey teach you science? I think he will!

Smashing, isn’t it?

I’ve been a big fan of David Willey for years. He’s a physics instructor who does really cool and dramatic science demonstrations such as walking on broken glass or lying on a bed of nails while a cinder block is smashed on his chest with a sledgehammer. Whether he’s making soda bottles explode or enclosing unsuspecting volunteers in giant soap bubbles, he does a great service by not only teaching science, but making his students want to learn it.

The reason I bring him up is, I’ve just received an announcement that he will be on The Tonight Show on Wednesday, May 11. If you’ve never had a chance to see this guy before, make sure you tune in!


I guess moving to a new server every three years isn’t a bad thing…except, in this case, I’m no longer on a Linux box and on Windows instead (waaah!), and no more PHP scripting; only ASP is available (double waaah!), but it’s really not so bad. I’ve got a bigger pipe, access to a nice, huge database, and a host of other advantages.

Since I was having to translate all of the code anyway, I took advantage of the server move to make a lot of changes. You’ll notice that the site pretty much looks the same, except I think the blog is a little more nicely formatted. And did you notice? Comments! You can now post comments at the bottom of every blog entry. It’s nice to get feedback from the visitors to your site, so this was a welcome addition. I deliberately did not give myself the ability to edit the comments that people write, since I wanted to avoid the appearance of censorship. I can delete comments, however, and will do so if people abuse the system, though flooding, posting links to illegal material such as viruses, etc. (the links won’t be live anyway). Somehow, I don’t think that’ll be a problem with the people who come here. Please don’t prove me wrong on that.

Oh, and the whole site is now made with XHTML 1.0. It’s also a bit sleeker under the hood. But, for the most part, the site is pretty much as it has been for years. Enjoy!