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An apology is due from Why Evolution Is True

When Why Evolution Is True, a Website with about 9,000,000 views a year, voices allegations undermining the reputation of an academic at a state university, it is no light matter. Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez is an Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Ball State University (BSU), who was hired by the university in 2013. In an article dated January 4, 2014, Professor Jerry Coyne not only recycles old allegations about Dr. Gonzalez which have been refuted again and again, but he gives unwarranted credence to new ones made by a man who doesn’t even know Dr. Gonzalez.

Why Dr. Gonzalez was really denied tenure at Iowa State University in 2007

Coyne denigrates the academic achievements of Dr. Gonzalez, noting that he was denied tenure at Iowa State University in 2008 (actually, it was 2007) and suggesting that the reason for this was not his advocacy of Intelligent Design (as Dr. Gonzalez had alleged), but “his lack of scholarship, students, and his poor funding” – a totally false allegation which has been thoroughly refuted in an Evolution News and Views post by John West, a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute, which shows that Dr. Gonzalez had published 68 refereed articles in science journals, that in 2006, the year he was up for tenure, Gonzalez published more total articles than all other tenured astronomers at Iowa State University, and that he managed to attract no less than $172,000 in outside grants while he was at ISU. Coyne’s information is therefore badly out-of-date. Indeed, as far back as December 2007, Evolution News and Views published an article by Casey Luskin, which quoted from a “smoking gun” document, showing that Dr. Gonzalez was denied fair tenure process by hostile colleagues who plotted behind his back, suppressed evidence, and then misled the public. According to Internal e-mails and other documents obtained under the Iowa Open Records Act:

* Dr. Gonzalez was subjected to a secret campaign of vilification and ridicule by colleagues in the Department of Physics and Astronomy who explicitly wanted to get rid of him because of his pro-intelligent design views, not his scholarship.

* Dr. Gonzalez’s work and views on intelligent design were repeatedly attacked during department tenure deliberations.

* Dr. Gonzalez’s colleagues secretly plotted to evade the law by suppressing evidence that could be used against them in court to supply proof of a hostile work environment.

* One of Dr. Gonzalez’s colleagues admitted to another faculty member that the Department of Physics and Astronomy had violated the principle of academic freedom “massively” when it came to Gonzalez, while other colleagues expressed qualms that their secret plotting against Gonzalez was unethical or dishonest.

* Dr. Gonzalez’s department chair misled the public after the fact by insisting that “intelligent design was not a major or even a big factor in this decision” — even though he had privately told colleagues that Gonzalez’s support for intelligent design alone “disqualifies him from serving as a science educator.”

* In voting to reject tenure for Dr. Gonzalez, members of the Department of Physics and Astronomy all but ignored recommendations made by the majority of their own outside scientific reviewers, who thought Gonzalez clearly deserved tenure.

Readers who would like to know more may be interested in reading this background story on Dr. Gonzalez. It is a devastating expose of the academic deceit that took place at a state university, over six years ago.

Dr. Gonzalez: well and truly up to the job

Professor Coyne’s badly misinformed article also cited a report by Seth Slabaugh in the Muncie Star Press (January 2, 2014), in which Dr. Michael J. I. Brown, an observational astronomer at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, was quoted as suggesting that Dr. Gonzalez was not up to the job he got last year, when he was hired as an Assistant Professor of Astronomy by Ball State University:

“An obvious concern is Gonzalez was aware of the job prior to it being advertised, Gonzalez applied immediately, and no/few other candidates were seriously considered,” Brown said. “Gonzalez does have some strong publications … but it seems all .. are from 2001 or earlier. [JAC: 2001 was when Gonzalez was hired at Iowa state. When you begin your first job, the "publication" clock starts anew and your tenure depends on what you accomplish between the time you're hired and when you come up for tenure.] His publication record since then has been solid but unremarkable.”

I have to say that this is pure and utter rubbish. In fact, even if you only look at articles published by Dr. Gonzalez after he arrived at Iowa State University, it turns out he still produced 25 since 2002 – which is 67% more than the 15 articles that were normally supposed to demonstrate research excellence, according to the standards of the physics and astronomy department where he worked.

I’d also like to quote from a paragraph in the background statement regarding Dr. Gonzalez, which was cited in an Evolution News and Views post by the Discovery Institute’s John West on July 9, 2013:

He has published more peer-reviewed journal articles than all but one of the faculty members granted tenure this year at ISU — across the university as a whole, not just his department. In fact, Gonzalez has more peer-reviewed journal articles to his credit than all but five faculty members granted tenure at ISU since 2003. In addition, he exceeded his department’s own tenure standards, which define “excellence” in terms of publications in refereed science journals, by more than 350%…In 2006, the year he was up for tenure, Gonzalez published more total articles than all other tenured ISU astronomers. Moreover, Dr. Gonzalez has more per-capita citations in science journals and per-capita scientific publications than any other tenured astronomer at ISU since 2001, the year he joined ISU. In other words, Gonzalez outperformed the very astronomers that voted against his tenure… Meanwhile, his work has been featured in the world’s most prestigious science journals, Nature in 2002 and Science in 2004. He co-authored a cover story for Scientific American in 2001, and he is co-author of a 2006 peer-reviewed Cambridge University Press textbook, Observational Astronomy. He is clearly impacting the next generation of scientists, as his ideas about the Galactic Habitable Zone have even been incorporated into two astronomy textbooks by other authors.

Aspersions, aspersions?

In his article, Professor Coyne also made several statements about Dr. Gonzalez, calling into question his integrity and insinuating that Ball State University had rigged his appointment as an Assistant Professor:

…BSU’s recent hiring of ID advocate Guillermo Gonzalez may have involved someone in the university who likes intelligent design, as well perhaps a bit of duplicity in the hiring process…

The timing of the hiring is also odd, and the university admitted (see below) that Gonzalez was given advance notice of the job before other candidates heard about it. In fact, he applied for the job before it was even advertised. That’s a sign that the University (or rather, the Department of Physics and Astronomy) wanted him. It’s also strange because the job ad itself that specifies what materials you are supposed to submit, so Gonzalez must have also seen the ad before it was published…

To me, the timing smells fishy. It’s clear that someone at Ball State must have wanted Gonzalez and contacted him before the job was advertised. I don’t know who the other candidates were, so I can’t say whether Gonzalez was the best qualified. All I can say is that someone clearly had him in mind before the search was announced. And now Ball State University is graced with two ID creationists out of the 16 tenure-track faculty in its department of Physics and Astronomy.

Who is Dr. Brown?

To back up his assertions, Coyne cited as evidence allegations reported by Seth Slabaugh in an article in the Muncie Star Press on January 2.

The article by Slabaugh, which was quoted at length by Coyne, reported on allegations by Dr. Michael J. I. Brown, that “BSU’s hiring last summer of Guillermo Gonzalez as an assistant professor in the department of physics and astronomy appears to have been ‘rigged.’” I should point out that in recent years, Dr. Brown has taken an active role in confronting what he regards (rightly or wrongly) as pseudoscience, whether it be denial of the Big Bang or global warming denial (see here, here, here and here). Given his dismissive remarks on “evolution denial” in his article on the Big Bang, it’s fairly easy to surmise what his views on Intelligent Design would be.

Of astronomers and chimpanzees

In the article, Dr. Brown was quoted as saying: “The number of astronomers who believe in ID/creationism is tiny, so it is unlikely that two ID-believing astronomers (Gonzalez and Hedin) would end up at the same university by random chance. It flags a potentially biased job search. It would be equally unlikely … if two astronomers who owned chimpanzees ended up in the same modestly sized astrophysics group.” (Eric Hedin is an assistant professor of physics at Ball State University.)

Nice line, Dr. Brown, but you’re not even close to the mark. According to Wolframalpha.com, there were 1,240 people employed as astronomers in the United States, as of 2009. There are about 80 scientists who are either professional academics or have Ph.D.s in physics and astronomy, and who signed the Discovery Institute’s Dissent from Darwinism statement, expressing their skepticism of “the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.” I’d wager that there are probably many other astronomers and physicists in the United States who are quietly skeptical, but didn’t want to draw attention to themselves or place their careers at risk by signing. While there are over 700 pet chimpanzees in the United States, it is highly unlikely that any of them are owned by professional astronomers, who comprise just 0.0004% of the population. Methinks Dr. Brown was exaggerating more than a bit.

Dr. Gonzalez responds to the allegations made by Dr. Brown

On January 3, Dr. Gonzalez replied to Seth Slabaugh’s article in a letter to the Muncie Star Press, titled, Hiring at Ball State not ‘rigged’. (Dr. Gonzalez also shared the contents of the letter with David Klinghoffer, who reproduced it in an article at Evolution News and Views, published on the same day.)

The letter read as follows:

I feel I need to respond to Seth Slabaugh’s hit piece on me, “Gora’s ‘gag order’ a top story of 2013: The hiring of a second intelligent design prof is also still being talked about.” Seth, via the words of astronomer Michael J. I. Brown, speculates that I knew about the new astronomy position at Ball State prior to its being advertised and that my being hired by Ball State was somehow rigged. I can state categorically that these speculations are false. I responded to a Ball State job advertisement I saw online. No one at Ball State contacted me to invite me to apply to the position. Astronomers use multiple online resources to search for new astronomy jobs; the AAS Job register is just one among several options. As to the claim that I have not published anything of note since 2001, anyone can look up my papers on the NASA ADS abstract search engine and also look up the number of citations of those papers. They will find that I have published many papers since 2001 that have high citation counts. In closing, it is important to note that Seth did not contact me for my comments on his story.

Professor Coyne’s article belittling Dr. Gonzalez appeared on January 4, after Dr. Gonzalez’s letter had appeared in the Muncie Star Press, and after David Klinghoffer, who had reproduced it in his article at Evolution News and Views. But perhaps Coyne hadn’t seen the letter or David Klinghoffer’s article. Would he publish a politely worded retraction, if he was alerted to the existence of these reports? I decided to find out, by informing him about them, myself.

I attempt to alert Professor Coyne – who does exactly nothing

In a comment to Professor Coyne’s article at 9:54 a.m. on January 4, I wrote:

Professor Coyne,

There are two sides to any story. You might like to read this:

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/01/at_the_muncie_s080731.html

The link was to David Klinghoffer’s article at Evolution News and Views, dated January 3. My suggestion was greeted with withering scorn from other commenters.

Professor Coyne cannot claim that he did not notice my comment, as it was placed in moderation after I had sent it. It must therefore have been cleared by him.

Finally, I note that the article in the Muncie Star Press, which was quoted by Professor Coyne in his article, drew attention to the fact that the job that Dr. Gonzalez was hired for wasn’t advertised on the American Astronomical Society’s website until March 1, and that the deadline given for applications was July 1, “which may have resulted in potential applicants not choosing to apply until it was too late.” I am in no position to comment on that claim, which was made by Dr. Brown. But even if it were true, it would in no way reflect on the character of Dr. Gonzalez. He didn’t place the job advertisement; Ball State University did.

It is now 8:47 p.m. on Sunday, January 5, 2014, in Chicago, and 3:47 a.m. on Monday morning in Poland, where he is currently holidaying. Will Professor Coyne have the grace to acknowledge, when he gets up on Monday, January 6, that he got his facts wrong? Time will tell.

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27 Responses to An apology is due from Why Evolution Is True

  1. He will apologize at the same moment he admits evolution is NOT true… right about the time hell freezes over.

  2. Jerry is upset because when he was circumcised he lost everything.

  3. It really irks me that this Coyne fellow has such a ‘grand inquisitor’ complex, trying his dogmatic best to destroy the career of anyone who does not completely submit to his atheistic/materialistic religion (and it IS a religion). Gonzalez is one of the most intelligent, gentle, teachers I have ever watched on the internet. He is a fine example of Christian tolerance as far as I can tell, that many Christians, especially including myself, could do well to emulate. I have never read or heard of him responding in kind to the many hateful words and actions that have been unfairly leveled against him. He has a natural infectious curiosity and wonder of the universe that makes him an excellent scientist and teacher in astronomy.

    A few notes:

    Guillermo Gonzalez and Stephen Meyer on Coral Ridge – video (Part 1)
    http://www.truthinaction.org/i.....=CRH1118_F

    Guillermo Gonzalez and Stephen Meyer on Coral Ridge – video (Part 2)
    http://www.truthinaction.org/i.....=CRH1119_F

    Among Darwin Advocates, Premature Celebration over Abundance of Habitable Planets – September 2011
    Excerpt: Today, such processes as planet formation details, tidal forces, plate tectonics, magnetic field evolution, and planet-planet, planet-comet, and planet-asteroid gravitational interactions are found to be relevant to habitability.,,, What’s more, not only are more requirements for habitability being discovered, but they are often found to be interdependent, forming a (irreducibly) complex “web.” This means that if a planetary system is found not to satisfy one of the habitability requirements, it may not be possible to compensate for this deficit by adjusting a different parameter in the system. – Guillermo Gonzalez
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....50871.html

    The Privileged Planet – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnWyPIzTOTw

    Privileged Planet – Observability Correlation – Gonzalez and Richards – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5424431

    The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.
    – Jay Richards

    The Privileged Planet – The Correlation Of Habitability and Observability
    “The same narrow circumstances that allow us to exist also provide us with the best over all conditions for making scientific discoveries.”
    “The one place that has observers is the one place that also has perfect solar eclipses.”
    “There is a final, even more bizarre twist. Because of Moon-induced tides, the Moon is gradually receding from Earth at 3.82 centimeters per year. In ten million years will seem noticeably smaller. At the same time, the Sun’s apparent girth has been swelling by six centimeters per year for ages, as is normal in stellar evolution. These two processes, working together, should end total solar eclipses in about 250 million years, a mere 5 percent of the age of the Earth. This relatively small window of opportunity also happens to coincide with the existence of intelligent life. Put another way, the most habitable place in the Solar System yields the best view of solar eclipses just when observers can best appreciate them.”
    – Guillermo Gonzalez – Astronomer

    of related ‘observability correlation’ interest;

    We Live At The Right Time In Cosmic History – Hugh Ross – video
    http://vimeo.com/31940671

    Extreme Fine Tuning of Light for Life and Scientific Discovery – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/7715887

    Michael Denton: Remarkable Coincidences in Photosynthesis – podcast
    http://www.idthefuture.com/201....._coin.html

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive.
    It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.1

    “There has arisen a curious consilience between the findings of modern cosmology and some traditional understandings of the creation of the universe. For example, theists have noted that the model known as the Big Bang has a certain consistency with the Judeo-Christian notion of creation ex nihilo, a consistency not seen in other cosmologies that postulated an eternally existent universe. (In fact, when the astronomer-priest Georges Lemaître first postulated the theory, he was met with such skepticism by proponents of an eternal universe that the name “Big Bang” was coined by his opponents — as a term of ridicule.) Likewise, many cosmologists have articulated various forms of what is known as the “anthropic principle” — that is, the observation that the basic laws of the universe seem to be “fine-tuned” in such a way as to be favorable to life, including human life.”
    - Austin L. Hughes, evolutionary biologist – “The Folly of Scientism,” The New Atlantis (Fall, 2012):32-50.

  4. Joe,

    That’s a rather risque comment. I’d appreciate it if you kept your posts G-rated in future. Cheers.

  5. Dr.Vjt,
    Ball State university’s Master Syllabus in Physics and Astronomy (ASTR 151) has references to God and Intelligent design and so, of course, the reading list contains books by Behe, Lennox, Gingerich, Gonzalez et al. So, if you consider ‘Separation of church and state’, Dr.Coyne has the right to question Ball state university’s apparent bias in selecting God and ID proponents, but he shouldn’t misrepresent Dr.Gonzalez scientific output or his funding.

  6. A Coyne apology is unlikely. The zero-concession policy is in full effect. UD would have better luck getting a review of Darwin’s Doubt out of him.

  7. selvaRajan, you have to refresh my memory, exactly where in the constitution does it state that Atheistic Materialism and only atheistic materialism, is to have preferred treatment in the classroom?

    First Amendment
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Zeal for Darwin’s House Consumes Them – podcast
    On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin examines how, contrary to the stereotype, it’s actually the supporters of evolution who encourage violations of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. This podcast is excerpted from a law review article published in Liberty University Law Review. (Linked at site)
    http://www.idthefuture.com/201.....ume_1.html

    The Fallacy Of The Doctrine Of Separation of Church and State – video
    http://www.prageruniversity.co.....State.html

    On the Fundamental Difference Between Darwin-Inspired and Intelligent Design-Inspired Lawsuits – September 2011
    Excerpt:*Darwin lobby litigation: In every Darwin-inspired case listed above, the Darwin lobby sought to shut down free speech, stopping people from talking about non-evolutionary views, and seeking to restrict freedom of intellectual inquiry.
    *ID movement litigation: Seeks to expand intellectual inquiry and free speech rights to talk about non-evolutionary views.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....50451.html

    “Proselytizing for Darwin’s God in the Classroom” (from 2008): John G. West – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEajEwzYwHg

    Here is an atheistic professor who openly and proudly proselytizes his religion in his classroom to his students:

    Dr. Will Provine – EXPELLED – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpJ5dHtmNtU

    “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality,,, Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”
    Darwinian atheist Michael Ruse – Prominent Atheistic Philosopher

    Moreover, the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court, not by public decree, in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

    The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

    you can see the dramatic difference, of the SAT scores for private Christian schools compared to public schools, at this following site;

    Aliso Viejo Christian School – SAT 10 Comparison Report
    http://www.alisoviejochristian.....at_10.html

    It was not just education that took a hit when prayer was removed from school

    United States Crime Rates 1960 – 2010 (Please note the skyrocketing crime rate from 1963, the year prayer was removed from school, thru 1980, the year the steep climb in crime rate finally leveled off.) of note: The slight decline in crime rate from the mid 90s until now is attributed in large part to tougher enforcement on minor crimes. (a nip it in the bud policy?)
    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

    AMERICA: To Pray Or Not To Pray – David Barton – crime and education graphs corrected for population growth
    http://www.whatyouknowmightnotbeso.com/graphs.html

  8. Vince, Jerry Coyne belongs to the growing new establishment of people in science who do not need facts or evidence.

    They need only supporters to incite, of whom they have millions, many tax-funded. Presumably the Ball State admin will just buckle at the thought of those millions, and do whatever it is told.

    If they say Gonzalez did not publish papers, those papers magically disappear.

    Skimming the files, I found this from Barry Arrington in mid-2012: Jerry Coyne’s Statements Turn Out To Be Uninformed Blithering

    Jerry Coyne has a Ph.D in evolutionary biology from Harvard. Good for him. Bad for everyone else, because Coyne wraps his opinions on non-scientific topics in the mantle of his academic credentials. He seems to think his Ph.D in biology allows him to speak with authority on subjects about which he is clueless. I caught Coyne at this when he spoke a couple of days ago on a topic about which I know a great deal and he apparently knows nothing – the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School. In his blog “Why Evolution is True” Coyne writes:

    In 1999, two students in Columbine, Colorado went on a shooting rampage, killing 13 students and one teacher, and injuring another 24 before committing suicide. That started a needed national debate about gun control and other issues, but there were also the religious nuts who blamed the whole thing on, well, evolution . . . Of course there was no evidence at all that Darwinism or evolution had motivated the shooters. They were disaffected and troubled boys who, thanks to America’s lax gun laws, were able to acquire an arsenal of firearms.

    Coyne may be an expert in biology, but I am one of the world’s leading experts on the facts of the Columbine case. You see, I am a lawyer and in the months and years after the shootings I represented several families of the slain students. In the course of my investigation of the case I spent hundreds of hours in a detailed review of every page of the journals Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold left behind. I also listened to countless hours of their audiotapes and viewed over and over the many videotapes they left behind, including the infamous “basement tapes.” Finally, I spent a week in a closed room in the Denver federal courthouse deposing under oath Harris’s and Klebold’s family members.

    In the course of that exhaustive, painstaking investigation I learned a great deal about the killers and their motivations, and those motivations were clear. Eric Harris especially was quite vocal about what he was thinking in the months prior to the shootings.

    And there cannot be the slightest doubt that Coyne is completely, utterly, indisputably wrong — there was evidence that Darwinism motivated the shooters. In fact, Harris was a worshiper of Darwin and specifically saw himself as acting on Darwinian principles.

    But, you see, it doesn’t matter what the facts are.

    The fact that Arrington happens to be a world class expert on the Columbine shooters’ views and knows Coyne to be mistaken makes no difference. Coyne makes his views true simply by uttering them. Ball State bureaucrats, you’d best call him to find out what you are to do next.

  9. Hi selvaRajan,

    I’m glad you agree that Professor Coyne shouldn’t misrepresent Dr. Gonzalez’s scientific output or his funding.

    Regarding Dr. Eric Hedin’s Master Syllabus in Physics and Astronomy (ASTR 151) at Ball State University, the reading list strikes me as very one-sided, but the references to God strike me as unproblematic. Page 1 speaks of “possible indications of the nature and existence of God”; that’s modest enough. Page 2 mentions “Beauty, complex specified information, and intelligent design: what the universe communicates about God”: that’s rather more up-front. But if you’re going to object to that kind of language, then how about Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, 1st edition (1859, London: John Murray) at http://darwin-online.org.uk/co.....ageseq=506 :

    To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual. (Chapter XIV, Conclusion, p. 488)

    Would you keep The Origin of Species out of the classroom, too? Or what about Professor Coyne himself, in his book, Why Evolution Is True? Here he is, talking about the argument from imperfection:

    the argument from imperfection — i.e., organisms show imperfections of “design” that constitute evidence for evolution — is not a theological argument, but a scientific one. The reason why the recurrent laryngeal nerve, for example, makes a big detour around the aorta before attaching to the larynx is perfectly understandable by evolution (the nerve and artery used to line up, but the artery evolved backwards, constraining the nerve to move with it), but makes no sense under the idea of special creation — unless, that is, you believe that the creator designed things to make them look as if they evolved. No form of creationism/intelligent design can explain these imperfections, but they all, as Dobzhansky said, “make sense in the light of evolution.

    Not a theological argument, eh? Pull the other leg!

    See this post by Casey Luskin, which critiques how he explains the recurrent laryngeal nerve: http://darwins-god.blogspot.jp.....enial.html .

    And see this post, which explains why the recurrent laryngeal nerve is a poor argument for evolution: http://www.ideacenter.org/cont.....hp/id/1507

    Would you ban Coyne’s books from evolution classrooms, too, on the grounds that they violate the separation of Church and state? Just wondering.

  10. 10

    The fact Coyne lies without remorse speaks volumes about the ironic title of his blog.

  11. VJT:

    Pardon, but the syllabus you link is for a reflection on cosmology and related themes, in light of the issue of boundaries of science.

    While it contains a scientific briefing [cf my own 101 survey here on in context . . . BTW, currently due for updates on things recently seen on the 1600's sci revo (also cf. my own set of readings here)], it is going over into worldview level reflections, including by implication Lewontin’s idea that the general public should have the impression that science is the only begetter of truth. Which is a self referentially incoherent epistemological — thus philosophical — assertion being made while wearing a lab coat.

    In addition, it is a 100-level, thus basic introductory, course. It explicitly says so, and in general tone seems to be an appreciation breadth course, similar in some ways to the older “Physics for Poets” courses or the like.

    I would have probably added a more balanced set of readings but in context, what is listed will probably serve its purpose.

    KF

    PS: I think a major problem we are facing is that truth is being redefined in an ultara-modernist, cynical era, as more what I am willing to push and assert expecting sufficient support than that which says of what is that it is and of what is not that it is not. In such a world, if you can create the perception that something is so, to your advantage, the benumbed in conscience seem to feel but little compunction about asserting it with confident manner. And if they can drown out or isolate corrections on the merits, they seem to feel justified on ends justifying means. Thereby revealing themselves to be exactly the sort of nihilists Plato warned against 2350 years ago in The Laws, Bk X.

  12. Semi related: Dr. Weikart responds to the Darwinian hit piece on his work:

    “Was Hitler a Darwinian?” Reviewing Robert Richards – Richard Weikart – January 6, 2014
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....80761.html

  13. bornagain77 @7,
    I can’t compete with your ability to ferret out information on any field :-) ,so I will just quote the Ball state university President’s letter to faculty :

    Courts that have considered intelligent design have concurred with the scientific community that it is a religious belief and not a scientific theory. As a public university, we have a constitutional obligation to maintain a clear separation between church and state.

  14. selvaRajan as to your quote

    “As a matter of law, Gora is wrong that expressions by BSU faculty of their personal views violate the Establishment Clause. However, if this is now BSU’s position, its ban on faculty speech has to be applied equally to all faculty members, not just faculty supportive of intelligent design. Thus, if BSU faculty are banned from expressing support for intelligent design in the classroom, they must also be banned from attacking it, and they certainly must be banned from endorsing atheism.”
    Clarifying the Issues at Ball State: Some Questions and Answers – John G. West September 13, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....76591.html

  15. Dr.Vjt @9

    Would you keep The Origin of Species out of the classroom, too? Or what about Professor Coyne himself, in his book, Why Evolution Is True? Here he is, talking about the argument from imperfection
    Would you ban Coyne’s books from evolution classrooms, too, on the grounds that they violate the separation of Church and state? Just wondering.

    I won’t ban any theories coming from the scientific community. I might only argue against them. There are hundreds of unconventional models of universe and origin of multiverse theories floating around in cosmology-all those theories have advanced our understanding of universe in some ways, so banning a book or theory or hypothesis is not fruitful at all.

    We have to look at this issue from the perspective of the law. If you are a judge, would you ban Coyne or Darwin’s book – given that it contains few sentences, vaguely referring to the creator ? In other words, would you look at the big picture or ,let’s say, look at a spot in the frame of that picture?

    On the other hand, you would have to ban a book specifically representing God as the creator of life because all religions don’t agree with that concept(one of the problems of Democracy). In some religion there is no God or there are many Gods.

    Here is quote from Ball state university’s President’s letter (Dr.Jo Ann M. Gora) giving the reason for banning Hedin’s ID course:

    Courts that have considered intelligent design have concurred with the scientific community that it is a religious belief and not a scientific theory. As a public university, we have a constitutional obligation to maintain a clear separation between church and state.

    So it is an obligation because it is legally required.Of course you may argue ID is not creationism, there is no specific mention of God, but that is not what came out in Dover trail. We know the famous word count chart by Barbara Forrest which proved words ‘creation’ were replaced by ‘intelligent ‘design’ or ‘design proponent’ and then there is the famous ‘transitional’ word: ‘Cdesign Proponentsists’.

    In a perfect world, no one should ban or have the right to ban any thing at all. Unfortunately we don’t live in such a world.

    Another question implied in OP is – Is Dr.Coyne justified in suspecting Ball state universities ‘stealth’ appointments ?
    Dr.Jerry Coyne bases his blog on Slabaugh’s report, so its hearsay and shouldn’t be used as a proof, but it can (morally it shouldn’t) be used informally in a website or blog post.

  16. bornagain77 @14,

    In a perfect world, no one should ban or have the right to ban any thing at all. Unfortunately we don’t live in such a world.

  17. selvaRajan, actually ‘Origin’ contains far more than a few sentences in relation to God. In fact, Origin can primarily be considered a poorly framed argument for Deism from Theodicy:

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):

    1. Human begins are not justfied in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.

    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.

    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.

    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.

    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.

    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.

    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.

    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.

    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.

    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    The Descent of Darwin – Pastor Joe Boot – (The Theodicy of Darwinism) – article
    http://www.ezrainstitute.ca/ez.....spring.pdf

    In fact, to this day, even though Darwinists themselves fail to realize it, Theodicy is a major cornerstone of Darwinian argumentation:

    The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning – Paul A. Nelson – Biology and Philosophy, 1996, Volume 11, Number 4, Pages 493-517
    Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science. Furthermore, the arguments themselves are problematical, employing concepts that cannot perform the work required of them, or resting on unsupported conjectures about suboptimality. Evolutionary theorists should reconsider both the arguments and the influence of Darwinian theological metaphysics on their understanding of evolution.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....34/?MUD=MP

    Dr. Seuss Biology | Origins with Dr. Paul A. Nelson – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVx42Izp1ek

    Here, at about the 55:00 minute mark in the following video, Phillip Johnson sums up his, in my opinion, excellent lecture by noting that the refutation of his book, ‘Darwin On Trial’, in the Journal Nature, the most prestigious science journal in the world, was a theological argument about what God would and would not do and therefore Darwinism must be true, and the critique from Nature was not a refutation based on any substantiating scientific evidence for Darwinism that one would expect to be brought forth in such a prestigious venue:

    Darwinism On Trial (Phillip E. Johnson) – lecture video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwj9h9Zx6Mw

    And in the following quote, Dr. John Avise explicitly uses Theodicy to try to make the case for Darwinism:

    It Is Unfathomable That a Loving Higher Intelligence Created the Species – Cornelius Hunter – June 2012
    Excerpt: “Approximately 0.1% of humans who survive to birth carry a duplicon-related disability, meaning that several million people worldwide currently are afflicted by this particular subcategory of inborn metabolic errors. Many more afflicted individuals probably die in utero before their conditions are diagnosed. Clearly, humanity bears a substantial health burden from duplicon-mediated genomic malfunctions. This inescapable empirical truth is as understandable in the light of mechanistic genetic operations as it is unfathomable as the act of a loving higher intelligence. [112]” – Dr. John Avise – “Inside The Human Genome”
    There you have it. Evil exists and a loving higher intelligence wouldn’t have done it that way.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....it-is.html

    What’s ironic is that Dr. John Avise’s theological argumentation from detrimental mutations for Darwinism turns out to be, in fact (without Darwinian Theological blinders on), a very powerful ‘scientific’ argument against Darwinism since no one can seem to find truly beneficial mutations that are on their way to building up functional complexity above and beyond what is already present in life:
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....7430067209

    Even the name of the Darwinian blog ‘Panda’s Thumb’ reflects this theological argumentation:

    From Discovering Intelligent Design: Two Thumbs Up – May 27, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould argued that “odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution — paths that a sensible God would never tread.” Likewise Miller claims that an intelligent designer would have “been capable of remodeling a complete digit, like the thumb of a primate, to hold the panda’s food.”
    It turns out that the panda’s thumb is not a clumsy design. A study published in Nature used MRI and computer tomography to analyze the thumb and concluded that the bones “form a double pincer-like apparatus” thus “enabling the panda to manipulate objects with great dexterity.”
    The critics’ objection is backed by little more than their subjective opinion about what a “sensible God” should have made.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....72531.html

    In fact, Intelligent Deign is far less concerned with overall theological issues than Darwinism is, as Dr. Craig points out here:

    Refuting The Myth Of ‘Bad Design’ vs. Intelligent Design – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIzdieauxZg

    Here are some quotes on the theological premises of Darwinists from the now falsified ‘Junk’ DNA argument:

    “The human genome is littered with pseudogenes, gene fragments, “orphaned” genes, “junk” DNA, and so many repeated copies of pointless DNA sequences that it cannot be attributed to anything that resembles intelligent design. . . . In fact, the genome resembles nothing so much as a hodgepodge of borrowed, copied, mutated, and discarded sequences and commands that has been cobbled together by millions of years of trial and error against the relentless test of survival. It works, and it works brilliantly; not because of intelligent design, but because of the great blind power of natural selection.”
    – Ken Miller

    “Perfect design would truly be the sign of a skilled and intelligent designer. Imperfect design is the mark of evolution … we expect to find, in the genomes of many species, silenced, or ‘dead,’ genes: genes that once were useful but are no longer intact or expressed … the evolutionary prediction that we’ll find pseudogenes has been fulfilled—amply … our genome—and that of other species—are truly well populated graveyards of dead genes”
    – Jerry Coyne

    “We have to wonder why the Intelligent Designer added to our genome junk DNA, repeated copies of useless DNA, orphan genes, gene fragments, tandem repeats, and pseudo¬genes, none of which are involved directly in the making of a human being. In fact, of the entire human genome, it appears that only a tiny percentage is actively involved in useful protein production. Rather than being intelligently designed, the human genome looks more and more like a mosaic of mutations, fragment copies, borrowed sequences, and discarded strings of DNA that were jerry-built over millions of years of evolution.”
    – Michael Shermer

    Thus Darwinism is rife with Theological issues, indeed Darwinism is dependent on them. Thus if one were to be consistent in his demand to keep theologu out of science class then Darwinism should be the first theory to pack up its bags an leave! :)

    Of related interest:

    Many times atheists will claim that Intelligent Design is merely a negative argument against Darwinian evolution. And in that regards it is interesting to note the nature and history of the negative form of argument that Darwinism itself takes to try to refute the design hypothesis. The ‘Design hypothesis’ was overwhelmingly accepted as true during Darwin’s day. Both classical neo-Darwinism and modern neo-Darwinism hold that natural selection action on random genetic variations (and mutations) can produce not only new biological form and structure but also the ‘appearance of design’ in living organisms (i.e. The “blind watchmaker” hypothesis). This was, and is, clearly a negative form of argument against design. Darwin argued for this idea in ‘The Origin of Species’ as well as in his letters. Thus Darwin himself sought to ‘explain away’ the appearance of Design, as Darwinists to this day still do. The late Ernst Mayr, and other evolutionists, have put the negative argument against design like this:

    “The real core of Darwinism,, is the theory of natural selection. This theory is so important for Darwinian because it permits the explanation of adaption, the ‘design’ of the natural theologian, by natural means.”
    Ernst Mayr

    “design without a designer”
    Francisco Ayala

    “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
    Richard Dawkins – The Blind Watchmaker (1996) p.1

    “Organisms appear as if they had been designed to perform in an astonishingly efficient way, and the human mind therefore finds it hard to accept that there need be no Designer to achieve this”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 30

    living organisms “appear to have been carefully and artfully designed”
    Lewontin

    “The appearance of purposefulness is pervasive in nature.”
    George Gaylord Simpson

    i.e. The main purpose of Darwinian evolution in the beginning, and always has been, to ‘explain away’ the overwhelming ‘appearance of design’ in life! Thus the next time someone tells you that Intelligent Design is just a negative argument against evolution, remind them that it is, in fact, evolution which started as, an still is, the negative argument against the overwhelming ‘appearance of design’ which is pervasive in nature.

  18. Blue-Savannah, Coyne isn’t lying. The point of view he adopts – Darwinism – does not need facts. Once it is asserted, whatever the preservation of the theory needs to be true is.

    Thus, Gonzalez (an astronomer, let’s not forget) did not really publish any papers even if the record shows he did. The Columbine shooters were not motivated by Darwin even if the documentary record shows that they were. And don’t be surprised if the Ball State admin decides to adopt Coyne’s point of view in order to demonstrate that their commitment is to Darwin, not to facts.

    Seldom does anyone put the matter so clearly as Coyne. Once they capitulate, there will be no lingering reservations, no holding back. Facts don’t matter.

  19. Hi selvaRajan,

    Thank you for your post. You write:

    Of course you may argue ID is not creationism, there is no specific mention of God, but that is not what came out in Dover trial. We know the famous word count chart by Barbara Forrest which proved words ‘creation’ were replaced by ‘intelligent ‘design’ or ‘design proponent’ and then there is the famous ‘transitional’ word: ‘Cdesign Proponentsists’.

    Even if she were correct, my response would be: “So what?” The source of the textbook and the motivation for the alleged substitution are irrelevant; all that matters is whether the new textbook breached the boundary between Church and State or not. By refraining from using the term “God” and “creator,” the authors of the revised text were simply trying to keep within the bounds of the law. So why criticize them for it?

    I might add that you have been deceived by an urban myth about the Dover trial. If you have a look at this document at http://www.fteonline.com/The-Untold-Story.pdf (The Untold Story of the Kitzmiller Trial, by the Foundation for Thought and Ethics), you’ll see that the facts tell a different story.

    In 1986, Thaxton developed a paper titled Origin Science: New Rules, New Tools for the Evolution Debate, for circulation during the Annual Meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation at Houghton College in New York (see Timeline below). It reflects a rigorous, judicious, and disciplined approach to the origin of life:

    With the new data from molecular biology we can now argue for an intelligent cause at the origin of life based on the analogy between the DNA code and a written language. Notice I did not say we can argue for the divine creation of life. Many creationists make the mistake of jumping from the event under investigation straight to the biblical God. From scientific data alone we can conclude only that a plausible explanation of the event is a primary cause. We cannot identify that cause any further and say whether it is transcendent or immanent, whether it is the biblical God or some other intelligent being. I cannot look at the DNA molecule and say, God made that. What I can say is that, given the structure of a DNA molecule, it is certainly plausible to conclude that it was made by an intelligent agent. We may be able to identify that agent in greater detail by other arguments — by philosophical or theological ones, for example — but from scientific data alone we can argue only to a primary cause.15

    Note that he used a number of terms, “intelligent cause,” “primary cause,” “intelligent being,” “intelligent agent.” Recall the chronological order of Judge Jones’ central narrative, a chronological order that is the indispensable lynchpin to his assertion that the term intelligent design replaced creation science “after the Supreme Court’s important Edwards decision”16 and notice that the Thaxton paper in which this paragraph appears was delivered in 1986, not the year after the Edwards decision, but the year before it.… So nearly twenty years before Kitzmiller and a year before Edwards, the Academic Editor of Pandas and the guiding figure in its line of argument, expression, and writing, was making clear his perception that design in nature was real but did not entail creationism or creation science.

    See also this:

    But let’s turn briefly to address four specific terms Judge Jones cites in his decision. The first of these is
    “creation science.”
    Why was this term used in early drafts of some chapters of Pandas when, as claimed above, we had disavowed its use? Here is the answer: FTE brought Percival Davis and Dean Kenyon to Dallas, Texas for a meeting on August 18-19, 1982, to plan the project. Early in the discussions, Thaxton described the approach taken by Mystery and stated that FTE’s vision for the biology book was to treat biological origins in much the same way he and his co-authors had treated the origin of life itself in Mystery. (Having written the Foreword to Mystery [The Mystery of Life's Origin - VJT], Prof. Kenyon was already very familiar with it.)

    The project planning for Pandas [Of Pandas and people - VJT] exceeded the time available, leaving portions to be completed from three separate locations. Without the benefit of conceptual language that could only be worked out later, the new band of authors and editors dispersed, agreeing that Percival Davis would clarify his ideas in writing and send them to FTE. While Davis used the terms “creation science” and “creationism” in a document fleshing out his idea, FTE chose not to use them or the often articulated concept behind them. The legal relationship of the authors to FTE was that of contract labor. It was a “work made for hire,” so FTE was free to leave these terms in place on a temporary basis while it thrashed out the final conceptual language that ultimately would replace them. What FTE valued most in Davis’s work was his knowledge of biology and distinguished track record. He had coauthored with Eldra Solomon and Harvard biologist Claude Villee the best-selling college biology textbook for biology majors of the day…

    Therefore, just as McGraw-Hill and W.B. Saunders had happily accepted Davis’s work even though he didn’t accept evolution, so too FTE decided to let his chapters out for review with the simple stipulation that the terms “creationism” and “creation science” would be replaced once an epistemologically sound case was developed, subjected to authoritative criticism, and refined. Soon after the original drafts were sent to us, dozens of copies were mailed to readers.

  20. Hi Kairosfocus,

    Thanks for your comments (#11), arguing that the course can be regarded as a critique of modern scientific thinking and its narrow epistemology, with science often regarded as the only road to knowledge. Taken that way, the course textbooks can be seen as a counter-balance to the reigning Zeitgeist.

  21. F/N: I think I need to add to the mix on just what the US Const 1st amendment means in context.

    1 –> The grand statement structure of the US constitution, immediately preceding the Bill of Rights, which were passed with it:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America . . . . [Main Body, Arts I - VII] . . . . Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. . . . . [AMENDMENTS].

    2 –> Blessings is a covenantal — theological — word, and takes its place and meaning in light of inter alia, say this from the national call to prayer of May 1776, which led up to the DOI of July:

    May 1776 [over the name of John Hancock, first signer of the US Declaration of Independence]: In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity. . . . Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; . . . that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis—That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.

    3 –> There are of course several more, and ther eis a wider context, but the key point is that he Constitution directly echoes this call to prayer issued by the Continental Congress on the eve of the DOI. Indeed, this is a covenant with God, a manifestation of understanding that there is a dual covenant of nationhood under God and just government under God.

    4 –> I cite this to underscore through a sample — there is much more cf here on — just how twisted has been the reading of documents and the presentation of history in our time.

    5 –> This, I say to the shame and dishonour of those who, having access to the corrective information, refuse to acknowledge its cumulative force and so will not let the truth be spoken freely and fearlessly. Many of these being all too willing to tax the Christian Faith, the scriptures and God with all sorts of one-sided cavils, accusations, litanies of alleged wrongs, evils and worse.

    6 –> Now, let us read the 1st amdt as it is, in its proper context — ad not as it has been wrenched, tortured and twisted beyond reasonable recognition:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    7 –> It is helpful to see this in light of the American Founders’ tendency to look for and adapt or adopt successful precedents as far as possible for their own experiment in liberty — and not just parochially in the history of the American colonies or the British motherland, either. For, as the Federalist papers reveal, they had a wide sweep of historical understanding (gaps in it notwithstanding). Likewise, they looked to the Dutch founding and other cases for useful precedents. For they valued history as a record of hard-bought lessons that only a fool ignored, and that to his bitter cost.

    8 –> That brings to focus, the events in the aftermath of the reformation and the resulting sad and horrendous wars over religion, which were finally settled through the religious principles of the 1555 Peace of Augsburg and the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, especially the point therein, that (as a part of the broader principle of non-interference in local affairs) the religion of the local state would be that of the local prince (cuius regio, eius religio).

    9 –> As even so humble a source as Wikipedia notes of this and associated treaties: “[t]he peace as a whole is often used by historians to mark the beginning of the modern era . . . . The Treaty established a framework of international law [resting on: [1] the sovereignty of nation-states and the fundamental right of political self determination; [2] (legal) equality between nation-states; [3] internationally binding treaties between states; [4] non-intervention of one state in the internal affairs of another state] . . . intended to establish a durable peace between the parties involved. This was revolutionary at the time, because it relied on international agreements between sovereign states rather than military strength.”

    10 –> In effect, the Framers adapted the cuius regio, eius religio concept to federal-republican circumstances, by stipulating:

    [1] there would be no federal church of the USA (contrast, say, the Anglican Church in Britain, and Lutheran, Calvinist/Reformed and Catholic churches in Europe) — in fact

    [2] Congress and associated federal bodies have no proper jurisdiction on establishment, so can make no law on that subject;

    [3] Congress may not prohibit the free exercise of religion and commonly associated behaviours: speech, publication, assembly, petition for redress.

    (It is helpful — this side of the Civil War — to recognise that there is a reason why the founders sometimes spoke of “these united States.”)

    11 –> Thus, in a republican context, the right of the local state to establish its own state church was protected [nine of thirteen states has just such state churches at the time], and the rights of dissenters were protected.

    12 –> Backing this up, the 10th Amendment reserves rights not explicitly delegated to the Federal Government to the states and their people.

    13 –> The intended effect — sadly, long since materially subverted through activist courts imposing and in effect establishing decidedly minority secularist opinions on matters where the courts often have no proper jurisdiction [and thus are building up exactly that tidal wave of hostility that the Framers sought to avert!] — would be that in the local community, the majority sentiment would shape its general religious tone, but the minority down to the individual would be heard and protected.

    14 –> In this context, Prof Hedin, is a qualified academic, teaching what is an interdisciplinary course which properly touches on philosophical and therefore also theological issues connected to origins science and the various schools of thought.

    15 –> So, what the president of the university tried to do was to exert a one sided gag order, in favour of evolutionary materialism. Which, frankly, is censorship by a secularist establishment.

    16 –> This is indefensible and it shows the dangers of the tamperings with the framework of liberty that had been set down over 200 years ago.

    17 –> And I must take particular issue with the attempt to stigmatise, brand and stereotype then scapegoat the design inference on the world of life and in cosmoslogy as “religious.”

    18 –> Whether there are evident signs of design in these features of the world is an issue for empirical investigation, and when those who wish to trace origins to blind chance and mechanical necessity in a wholly material world can show cause that reliably FSCO/I originates by blind chance and mechanical necessity then they can say fairly that the design inference has been falsified on the merits.

    19 –> Notoriously, empirically they cannot, and the needle in haystack analysis of requisites of FSCO/I in config spaces and the search challenges on the gamut of the solar system or observed cosmos back that up. On teh vera causa principle of explaining traces of the unobserved past on forces observed in the present to be competent causes, design is the best explanation of such FSCO/I in the world of life, and the fione tuning of the observed cosmos that enables it to sustain such life is a further strong sign of purposeful design.

    20 –> If the state of the case on its merits were a primary concern, that would be decisive. that it is not, speaks volumes about the sad and perious state of the academy in our day.

    21 –> And to see the sort of smear tactics that Mr Coyne and co have resorted to should raise a red warning flag to any person of honour and concern for liberty including academic freedom and the protection of innocent reputation.

    FOR SHAME!

    KF

  22. VJT: Thanks, you have put up an important post. KF

  23. After reading this post, I must confess that my fleshly side got the best of me. I found myself actually hoping he doesn’t apologize! Why? Because these types of issues show the Darwinists real color. It is a bad reflection on them and helps to break down trust that people have placed in them.

    BUT, assuming that an apology is in order here, I found myself wishing that Dr. Coyne remains in his sin and does NOT do the right thing – simply so that my side comes out looking better. I am wrong. I do hope Dr. Coyne chooses to do what is right, admits his mistake, and apologizes.

    I Corinthians 13:6
    Love is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it (K)does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but (L)rejoices with the truth,”

  24. F/N: Wiki on lying, circa 23, July 2011, nb the reference to willful deceit by half truth, omission and continued misrepresentation:

    To lie is to state something with disregard to the truth with the intention that people will accept the statement as truth . . . . even a true statement can be used to deceive. In this situation, it is the intent of being overall untruthful rather than the truthfulness of any individual statement that is considered the lie . . . . One can state part of the truth out of context, knowing that without complete information, it gives a false impression. Likewise, one can actually state accurate facts, yet deceive with them . . . . One lies by omission when omitting an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. Also known as a continuing misrepresentation . . . . A misleading statement is one where there is no outright lie, but still retains the purpose of getting someone to believe in an untruth . . .

    Those words speak for themselves, with power.

    Those who have insistently smeared Dr Gonzalez and Dr hedin in the teeth of patent duties of care to accuracy, balance, fairness, truth, and conscience have much to answer for.

    And the silence in this thread of those who are ever so quick to attack and dismiss design thought and thinkers, speaks volumes.

    Volumes on the theme: ENABLING behaviour.

    Moreover, there is obviously also a deeper misrepresentation of the Christian faith and its contributions across history to the rise of learning, humanitarianism, social justice, liberty, modern democratic self government and not least science. And, when we see in that context a one sided litany of the real and imagined sins of Christendom, a pattern of caricature and demonising stereotyping of Christians, and an ill-informed disrespect for the Hebraic-Christian Scriptures, leading to a toxic and polarised, delusional and angry environment, those are sobering signs.

    It is high time to wake up, in the name of basic decency, and before we revisit some of the worst chapters of history, again — with the ghost of Nero looking on and laughing.

    This is kairos, a watershed.

    For good or ill, and we must decide.

    For inaction or weak words not backed up by sustained deeds in the face of patent injustice is a decision for enabling of evil.

    There is an old poem and hymn:

    Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,
    In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
    Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,
    And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light.

    Then to side with truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust,
    Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and ’tis prosperous to be just;
    Then it is the brave man chooses while the coward stands aside,
    Till the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied . . .

    KF

    PS: Video.

  25. Of semi related note to eclipses:

    The Prophetic Significance of the Four Blood Moons – 100Huntley – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK4O0um1gwo

  26. F/N: The continued silence from Darwinist objectors speaks volumes. KF

  27. And the chirping crickets tell us a lot about what is going on . . .

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