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  Topic: How Did YOU Get In This ID v Science kookiness?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2006,12:46   

I have no vested interest in biology and I read several books on evolution probably 10 years ago but have given it little thought since then.  I have been a Skeptical Inquirer subscriber for years and  I kept noticing little articles or book reviews concerning IDC over the last couple of years and I'd seen where Georgia began losing their mind ("changes over time") but I never paid much attention to it until the Skeptical Inquirer dedicated a whole issue on IDC.  That was the worst SI issue I had ever read...

I read several of the IDC articles in it and felt I didn't understand anything about it so I went to the trusty web and found the Wiki ID article and ultimately found PT and other pro science web sites.

Next thing I know I am writing letters to editors and elected officials in my state and committing all sorts of other mischief.

Anyhow, that's how I got interested in IDC - a terrible Skeptical Inquirer issue.

Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson


Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2006,13:13   

My father is an ecologist, and I was a paleontology-nut when I was a kid, so I grew up fairly informed about evolution, and I stayed interested in it, from an educated layman's point of view. Kept informed via popular books by Dawkins, Gould, the usual suspects.

Furthermore, I did that growing up in Kansas, so when the most recent outbreak of IDiocy happened there, I decided to get involved, at least nominally. I found the forum at Kansas Citizens for Science ( and from there, lots of other web activity, including Panda's Thumb.

The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G


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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2006,14:27   

i got in because of the comedy. I've always been a physics geek, and growing up in the south, I was occasionally treated to some outrageous confident anti-science claim like "They say the earth is spinning at a thousand miles an hour. But you know that's BS. If the earth was spinning at a thousand miles an hour, we'd all be flung into space." and they were so hysterically funny that I eventually started paying attention to the wackos for the laugh value. I barely know anything about evolution, but there just aren't that many screaming idiots in physics, so I gravitated to the evolution/creation fight. IDiots like Casey Luskin trying to sneak relabelled creationism by the courts via clubs that require christianity?!?!?! That's hilarious. I mean, Jim Pinkowski?? How could you not find that funny? The Discovery Institute going down in flames because of dimbulbs like Buckingham? I love it.

Jay Ray

Posts: 92
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2006,16:08   

Biology 102 at my local community college, spring of '05.

Me, a science loving dude since childhood.
Some charismatic kid--I would later discover was actually studying to be a preacher.

Teacher polls the class for ideas on "end of term class presentations".  She writes them down on the board for us to pick through later.

Wellllll.. this kid raises his hand and says, "Intelligent Design!"

I had never heard of it.  My teacher looked puzzled as well.    

When asked, the kid explained, "Its the theory that biology was the product of an intelligent designer rather than natural processes."

I smirk to myself.  Teacher does a reasonably admirable job of keeping a straight face as she clarifies. "Oh, you mean creationism."

Kid: "No, its different."

Teacher shrugs and turns back to the board.  She writes 'Evolution/ID/Creationism" for all to see.

The next week, everyone has picked a topic but me and a few others.  The evo-id topic was very unpopular--the preacher kid and his ally were the only ones to have chosen it.  Since both of them were creationists, they had reluctantly decided that one of them would have to take the evolution side.  Sensing a disaster, I fought my natural tendency to avoid hard work and signed up for his topic on the pro-evolution side.

Eventually, there were five of us in the group.  Three for evolution, and two for ID.  But the situation takes a turn when I discover that my teammates are also both creationists.  Sort of.  One was an Ethiopian Muslim immigrant-one of the nicest guys you'd ever hope to meet.  I genuinely liked him.  Turns out he was fairly rational about the difference between science and religion, but he was also fairly devout.  I suspect that his devotion was part of the reason that he never spent much time studying evidence for or against evolution.

The other one in my group was this girl who couldn't stand me.  She was too cool for school, and seemed bored by everything.  

At some point early on, I realized that my teammates were not science geeks like myself, so I kinda blinked in surprise and asked plainly, "Well, what do you believe?"

The Ethiopian guy smiled guiltily but admitted, "I'm a creationist."  Ms. Aloofness sort of narrowed her eyes at me and refused to say one way or another.  Was she a creationist?  I've never been quite sure, but I believe she was in exactly the same proportion that she cared at all--which is to say very little.

Anyway, I became obsessed.  Nearly every waking hour during that term was spent researching the topic and preparing my argument.  I found talkorigins, the NCSE, and the Panda's Thumb all essential resources.  I learned all about the Discovery Institute and its major players.  I viewed "The Mystery of Life's Origins."  I was scared ****less by the Wedge Document.  I discovered the joys of the Bacterial Flagellum, and was a little baffled by Dembski's dishonest "filter" BS.  Most of all I came away with the understanding that Intelligent Design was essentially Paley's watchmaker argument with biochemistry in place of the watch.  Its a clever PR campaign.  I had no idea just how insidious the creationists had become--until last year, I held the uniformed opinion that creationists were nearly as fringe as flat earthers.  Turns out that most of America is buying this hoopla.

After the class presentation, the preacher-in-training glared at me and did not respond to emails.  So much for a friendly debate.  His partner, much to my surprise, found ID a little offensive.  I don't think she bought it.  My Ethiopian partner was smart, but uneducated, and hampered by a language barrier.  I think he has other concerns on his mind, like his family.  As for Ms. Aloofness, who knows.  She is probably painting her nails.

Since the project, I've been a dedicated "creationist-watcher."  I still regularly visit the NCSE, the Panda's Thumb, and talkorigins, as well as a dozen other evostyle websites.  A heartfelt thanks to all of you, not only for myself but for the role you all have taken in squaring off against the anti-science movement.

Henry J

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Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2006,16:25   

I got my first internet connection 11 years ago with the Prodigy ISP, which at that time had a very good set of online bulletin boards. On the science BB the ev vs. cr argument was already going full steam when I got there. Didn't take long to figure out which side had logic and evidence and which didn't.


Stephen Elliott

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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2006,21:10   

I came from the other side.

Between 18 months and 2 years ago I read Lee Strobel's book The Case for a Creator. Initially I thought it was interesting and convincing. I ended up here by trying to "follow the evidence".

It was stunning to discover that all these "new scientific ideas", where actually pretty old and fairly well refuted.

I was shocked to find that people are willing to tell lies for God. It is still difficult for me to understand how anyone can believe in God yet continue to justify being dishonest (and in some instances, damned intolerant and hatefull).


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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2006,22:09   

I cant remember why I was looking round the web, but found my way to Pandas thumb in January last year.  Or was it Pharyngula first?  Anyway, having been adrguing online on and off since 1999, I have had arguments about science before, and at one point argued a YEC to a standstill.  (It helped he was going on about geology, which I did a couple of module on in university)

So I just side stepped into it from my general interest in science, and stayed because its interesting and fun, and seems like a good place to make a stand against complete bonkerism.

Sheikh Mahandi

Posts: 47
Joined: May 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 16 2006,00:43   

I happened across some article mentioning "Polonium Halos" and through all the follow up's arrived at PT, figured - periodic table of elements/logic on one side, grasping at very wet straws the other. Then found all these other things going on, so basically lurked for ages, but only became emotionally invested in the whole thing when Dover blew up - I mean Georgia phffft, full of wild eyed laying on of hands snake handling charismatics anyway, right, right. Kansas, bible-belt bible thumpers, right, right. Pennsylvania, hey hang on Dover may be at the other side of the state from where we live now, but I have one boy at the the same age as the poor kids getting force fed fundie BS, and one much younger, what if it spread, what if it got here just as Cameron was getting ready for 8th/9th grade science, no, no this just won't do, they are entitled to get up on their hind legs and bray about ID as much as they want in their little temples, or on street corners where we can cross over and ignore them, but to bring it into public schools and try and force their minority BS on the majority - NO WAY.

"Love is in the air, everywhere I look around,.....Love is in the air, every sight and every sound,......"

Julie Stahlhut

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Joined: July 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 16 2006,01:59   

I went back to school in my late thirties because I'd started reading Stephen Jay Gould and Carl Sagan for fun, and reading the popular literature on evolutionary biology made me remember that I'd always wanted to be an entomologist (slap upside the head -- how did I ever forget to do what I loved for 25 years?)

It was through Gould's writing that I learned about MacLean v. Arkansas Board of Ed.  I was mystified -- I had no idea that such things still went on in the U.S.  When I was a kid, my mother had told me about the Scopes trial.  I remember her laughing when she told the story.  Incidentally, she's Catholic and has only a high-school education -- and she thought that banning the teaching of evolution in schools was silly.  Then again, in 1960s New England, that kind of thing was something that only happened somewhere else 40 years earlier.  Imagine my surprise to find out that it was still going on in the U.S. in the 1980s!

So, although I've never been a public activist on this issue, I've been interested in it for 20 years.  I actually encountered creationist students for the first time when I was a grad student and biology TA at Western Michigan.  Now that I'm a postdoc thinking about an eventual full-time academic job, I've realized that I'd better keep up with the problem more closely.  

My own research interests are more on the scale of population and community ecology, but like all of biology, all of this makes sense only in the light of evolution.  The educational problem is much broader, of course.  Most adults don't make direct use of evolutionary concepts on the job, for instance -- but the deliberate mis-education of children and college students about science is not just dishonest, but inflicts on them a severe impediment to understanding the world.


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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 16 2006,04:01   

Ever since reading it in high school (some 20-odd years ago), I've been a fan of "Inherit the Wind".

At one point in 1992 I was going to grad school to prepare for a career in teaching.  I ended up taking a different path, but I learned a lot about teaching and schools in the process.  Anyway, I was in a masters program at Vanderbilt - which, at the time, was the top-rated university for teaching and education.  In one class we were discussing various issues about ethics and curiculum choices.  For demonstration purposes, the professor took a poll on what should be taught - evolution, creationism, or both.  I raised my hand for evolution, but I was in the minority.  And maybe 1/3 of the class was for creationism only.  That totally floored me - I suddenly felt like I was surrounded by cult members.  I mean, I wasn't even a science person.  I was an English major, planning to teach English in high school.  But even I knew that you shouldn't be teaching creationism instead of evolution.

Anyway, I didn't really do much research until recently, when the whole "ID" movement started to gain popularity in the news.  When I first heard it, "teaching the controversey" seemed so, well, reasonable.  So I decided to dig a little deeper on my own and figure out why so many people objected to it.  It became obvious to me quickly what was going on: on one side you had mountains of research papers and hard evidence, and on the other side you had quote mining.  The dishonesty was palpable.

I became somewhat obsessed with the issue after that.  See, I am very much a typical "Libra" in that I tend to see both sides of an issue.  Especially with politics, I see most things as shades of gray.  But this "kookiness" was different - one side was clearly right, and the the other side was clearly wrong.  I think that's what ultimately got me hooked.  It blows my mind that so many people can be so clearly, objectively, and demonstrably wrong.

Quote (afdave @ Oct. 02 2006,18:37)
Many Jews were in comfortable oblivion about Hitler ... until it was too late.
Many scientists will persist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator ... until it is too late.

Chris Hyland

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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 16 2006,04:59   

I cant remember exactly when I first heard about ID, it was sometime last year a couple of months before the Dover lawsuit, when I was browsing google news at work. Id heard of creationists before, but just brushed them off as weird religious people that werent really that important. This article talked about a large number of scientists who dissented from evolution, and that it was now possible to empirically detect design in biological structures. Specifically it mentioned the works of Behe and Dembski. So I looked them up on pubmed, and the only recent papers I found were comments and letters defending their books, or talking about how the 'Darwinians' were censoring them.

It turns out my university library had Darwins black box and No Free Lunch, so i decided to see what the fuss was all about. After deciding that they either needed a refresher course in evolution or they had some ulterior motive, i decided to check the internet, and found the NCSE website.

What really got me interested in the arguments was Behes statement to the effect 'Now that we can see inside cells we see that they are full of machines that have the characteristics of design', whereas most of the work in my field of bioinformatics shows that proteins and biological systems have distinctive characteristics of non-design. The fact that they seem to ignore this, and continually state 'design is obvious in nature' is of constant amusement to me.


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Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 16 2006,09:04   

Well I have always loved a good argument(especially if I am drinking) and I have been a skeptic all of my life.  I moved to Lubbock, TX for college...and quickly met a number of people that scared me to death.  I had at one point considered becoming a priest, so my knowledge and understanding of theology and philosophy was never lacking.  These people(fundamentalists) seemed lacking in every intellectual category.  I argued with them, hung out with them, and even dated one.  I eventually decided that ignorance was bliss for these simple folk and just left it alone.

About 1-2 years ago I started to hear the words "Intelligent Design" pop up all over the place.  I did what everyone does...I read up on ID.  Now...Ive always liked the idea of Intelligent Design.  If you asked me for my rationalization for my belief in God...I would probably point to the design of our Universe.  This is why I was so upset to find out about ID.  It is an absolutely wonderful philosophy....but a horrible scientific theory.  I also became fascinated with Dembski.  I have an undergrad degree in math, and I could not understand why he was acting like this.  I mention Pascal alot when I talk about Dembski.  They both tried to rationalize their belief in God through statistics.

Anyways....I still live in Texas...and when I found out one of the EE professors at Texas Tech was advocating Intelligent Design....I decided that I was going to rip him a new one.  Im an EE by the way. He perhaps made the worst arguments I have ever heard....and they all sounded really, really familiar.  They were all old creationist arguments.  I eventually left it alone, because the "debates" turned into "witness" sessions for Christ.

I have no problem ignoring creationists and fundamentalists....but I become incredibly concerned when they try to influence every major field of empirical study.  

So....I got into this whole fun event because I was offended that ID was basically raping a wonderful philosophical idea.


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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 17 2006,06:38   

I broke my ankle falling off a boat in Astoria Oregon last October. I decided to start a blog since I was laid up and out of work for a while.

I found Pharyngula because PZ had put up pics of the giant squid!!! and it took me to PT. Since it was semi-relevant to my blog and since it is nominally related to my work (Fisheries) I lurked for a day or two. Since there seemed to be no punishment for posting, and since I can't really control my urge to speak, even when I have nothing to say, I posted something.

Now I'm back at work but I work about half the time from home so I have a lot of time to post and, until they (PT) make me stop, I will probably keep posting.

Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

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