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Public Retraction and Apology to Kevin Padian

This weekend I received the following letter (reprinted here in its entirety) as a pdf file from Kevin Padian:

Dear Bill,

The May 10 posting on your weblog makes a vicious, false, and defamatory accusation against
me based on factual errors and a thorough distortion of my actual statements. Your smear of my
character demands an immediate retraction and apology.

In the first place, you completely distorted what I said by quoting out of context. The contrast
that I drew between the demographics of your audience and mine made a point completely
different than your insinuation. What I said (in toto, not simply in the isolated snippets that you
distorted) is that your audience – which I described accurately and did not criticize in any way
– comes from a very different worldview than the one I addressed, and if scientists and
educators want to reach that audience, they had better understand it and respect it, and not
dismiss it. That meaning, which I made very clear to my audience, is diametrically opposed to
the implications that you drew.

Your statement that I recently lectured in Kansas is a fabrication; I have not been in Kansas in
years. Yet you stated confidently that I gave a recent talk there and made statements that you
described specifically.

I did not “single out an Asian-American church” in my talk for Defend Science at Berkeley. In
fact, I had never heard of it before the vicious allegation that you placed on your blog was
brought to my attention. If you have access to a recording of my talk, you will not find the
words “Berkland Baptist Church,” “Asian-American church,” or anything of the sort. That is
because I never referred to them in any form.

I did not refer to the Berkeley IDEA club in my talk; I do not know any of its members, nor did I
know that any of its members might belong to the Berkland Baptist Church.

Your defamatory accusation was made in haste, on false premises, without complete
knowledge, without checking your sources, and with the motive of damaging my reputation. I
take these offenses seriously.

So here is where we stand. You were factually wrong in the statements that formed the basis
for your vicious and untrue accusation, which was therefore false in all respects. Your
obligation is to take immediate steps to post this statement prominently on your weblog, post a
retraction and an apology at the same place, and remove your previous offensive postings.

Now we will learn something about your character.

Earlier last week I received an email from a Cal Berkeley student that included a letter from him along with two forwarded emails in the body. One of these forwarded messages described a talk by a Berkeley paleontologist at Kansas University that singled out Berkland Baptist Church (a church that had invited me to speak on the Berkeley campus two months ago) for promoting ID and indicated that this church’s membership was changing the classroom dynamics with regard to the teaching of evolution on the Berkeley campus. The Cal Berkeley student who forwarded this email then assumed this paleontologist was Kevin Padian. As it turns out, this was not the case.

In my criticisms of Padian on this blog, I therefore conflated the account of the Kansas incident with Padian’s own remarks at a Defend Science talk he gave in Berkeley. I subsequently attempted to update and correct this blog entry (noting that Padian was not in Kansas), but in looking back I see the Berkeley and Kansas incidents were still entangled in this updated entry and did not accurately portray Padian’s Defend Science talk at Berkeley. I therefore retract the entry as well as two other entries connected with the story (they have been removed from this blog) and issue this public apology for posting it.

In addition to getting certain facts wrong (not all of them: Padian in his letter above does not dispute that he singled out “young” “Asian” “fundamentalists” as supporters of ID), I also wish to apologize for engaging in an ad hominem against him (I called him a “bigot” and compared him to Archie Bunker). I’m not sure that “bigot” is any worse than “fundamentalist” (he apparently thinks “fundamentalist” is an appropriate designation for Christians who hold to ID). Moreover, Padian himself has not been averse to the ad hominem, comparing (see here) my good friend and colleague Jonathan Wells to “the talented Mr. Ripley” (a pathological murderer and impersonator portrayed by Matt Damon in the film by that name).

In any case, I should not have engaged in ad hominems against Kevin Padian and apologize to him for doing so. Perhaps this incident will help persuade both sides in this debate to stay on topic and focus on the issues.

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28 Responses to Public Retraction and Apology to Kevin Padian

  1. “Perhaps this incident will help persuade both sides in this debate to stay on topic and focus on the issues” is precisely what TinaBrewer, myself and others had been arguing for. Once I found out for myself, from a Christian colleague, that Padian had not done what was claimed, I made it known here. I only wish it had been taken seriously then. I don’t relish having to post *my* apologies on other sites when I offered one to be posted here, but I have made my decision about leaving this forum and don’t wish to belabor the subject. JP

    Padilla, if your “retraction” had been written with a civil tongue I would have let it through. Instead, if you’d bothered to look, I deleted your original comment agreeing with Dembski that Padian made a racist remark. Don’t worry about making a decision to leave this forum. I made that decision for you when you wrote the original nastygram. -ds

    Update: What happened was that the Panda’s Thumb (and antievolution.org) websites were down all day the day you posted your comment so I couldn’t check the accuracy of your reference to their article and I left your comment in moderation until such time as I could verify it. In the meantime you figured I’d deleted your comment and you launched into a hissy fit about what a lying ahole I was etc. in additional comments. So I thought to hell with you and I deleted your original comment (for your “legal concerns) and quashed your retraction (since there was no longer a comment that needed retracting). You acted like a spoiled little kid with nasty little mouth so you got treated like one. Now go away, little kids throwing hissy fits aren’t welcome here. -ds

  2. This is the diference between Evolution critics and Darwinists. While Darwinian skeptics at least try to keep it honest, such mentality is almost (or entirely) absent from the Darwinian camp (The example you gave about Jon Wells is telling).

    For keeping the discussion honest and civil, thank you Bill for your public retraction.
    God bless you, and keep up with the good work, and with the good science.

  3. Stands up and applaudes WmDB!

    It takes a real man to admit his mistake and the humility to apologise. If only he were apologising in kind to another real man. Omission and silence (are not hallmarks of true character) both of which have become all to common on the other side of the fence. A great reminder of how we should ALL stick to the issues at hand and not resort to ad hominems, quite so.

  4. Calling Kevin Padian a bigot isn’t an ad hominem. It’s a simple observation of fact. Padian is bigotted against Christian fundamentalists. Perhaps he isn’t bigotted against Asians in particular but I wouldn’t bet on it. Bigots are as bigots do.

    Here’s a classic example of Padian’s bigotry:

    From the LA Times

    The nation’s top paleontologists find the creation theory preposterous and say children are being misled by dinosaur exhibits that take the Jurassic out of “Jurassic Park.”

    “Dinosaurs lived in the Garden of Eden, and Noah’s Ark? Give me a break,” said Kevin Padian, curator at the University of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley and president of National Center for Science Education, an Oakland group that supports teaching evolution. “For them, ‘The Flintstones’ is a documentary.”

    Here Padian clearly and flippantly states that
    somewhere near half of the U.S. population
    who believe in the biblical account of creation think a popular cartoon show, The Flintstones, is based upon fact. This is bigotry. There’s no getting around it. Padian is a bigot who mocks anyone that takes the bible literally.

  5. DaveScot: I don’t dispute that Kevin Padian has shown some bigoted attitudes towards Christians (eg his SciAm letter posted on this site a few days ago), but equally I don’t think his comment can be read as a *serious* assertion that YECs (I assume this is what you mean by those “who believe in the biblical account of creation”) actually believe that the Flintstones is a documentary.

    Padian was clearly using humour to make a point – namely, “To believe that dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark is as ridiculous as believing that The Flintstone’s is a documentary”. The fact you disagree with his point (and didn’t find his attempt at humour amusing) doesn’t make his remark “bigoted”. If that’s how low the bar is now to be set on “bigotry”, then heaven help freedom of expression and vigorous debate.

    If that’s what you think maybe you shouldn’t read my comment as a *serious* assertion that Padian is a bigot. -ds

  6. Retraction

    Last Tuesday I linked to a negative report by ID proponent William Dembski of a Berkeley talk by evolutionist Kevin Padian. Dembski has now sent Padian a retraction and apology; I’m sorry that I uncritically linked to it….

  7. WmAD, you are a man of honor. Thanks for keeping our slate clean.

  8. DS – are you in fact saying that your original comment was ironic, not to be taken seriously? If so I’d invite you to look at it again – I can’t have been the only person to have taken it at face value. In contrast to Padian’s remark, the irony in your comment is very difficult to discern on an initial reading.

    If Padian’s remark about the Flintstones wasn’t meant to denigrate creationists then my remark about it being bigotry obviously doesn’t apply either. You be the judge. -ds

  9. It was clearly meant to “denigrate” young-earth creationists and to lampoon their views, but that’s not the same as it being “bigotry”.

    bigot n. One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ. It appears to me that Padian is strongly partial to people who believe in Darwinian evolution and is intolerant of creationist beliefs. Am I wrong? Does he tolerate differing views? If he does tolerate them then what exactly is it that NCSE is doing if not trying to censor creationist beliefs in science education? -ds

  10. WmAD, ditto, you are a man of honor. Thanks for keeping our slate clean.

  11. DaveScot, do you believe that dinosaurs and men once hung out, and maybe even sailed on ships with people?

    If you do, then I can understand why you’d be upset with someone disagreeing with you and go too far in response to them.

    But if you don’t (and I’m pretty sure you don’t), then why is it so hard to see that pointing out that someone being wrong: just plain wrong, isn’t bigotry? Are conservatives bigots against liberals when they point out that liberals are wrong in claiming that Presidents can illegally “leak” information? In fact, even if you believed that Padian is wrong and that dinosaurs and people really did live together, how can him thinking that belief is laughably untrue be itself “bigotry?” That’s stretching the word to an absurd degree.

    Padian didn’t just say they were wrong. He mocked them by saying a ludicrous cartoon where men used dinosaurs as construction equipment and garbage disposals, where they drove cars with stone wheels propelled and braked by foot power, and God only knows how many other stupid things were portrayed in the cartoon. He inferred they held as true things only a small child would believe. Padian is a bigot and he says bigotted things. -ds

  12. Seems likes an honest mistake, and a sincere apology.

    Charlie

  13. Some posters on this blog were already trying to diffuse this issue, by introducing softer Edith Bunker parallels (in which an apology was offered to all sides) and further offering beatitudes (James 5:5 blessed are the meek).

    However, Padian continues to incite these exchanges by seeking to alienate, pre-judge, and offend the research communities which frequent blogs and lectures on both sides of the issues:

    “… your audience – which I described accurately and did not criticize in any way
    – comes from a very different worldview than the one I addressed, and if scientists and
    educators want to reach that audience, they had better understand it and respect it, and not dismiss it.”

    If I read this correctly (in-toto) anyone attending an ID lecture (or participating in blogs of like nature) is unscientific, uneducated, and currently out of reach of scientists and educators. He is also making some kind of dire visionary/prophetic claim that he has some sort of gnostic ability to lead the scientific and educational outreach to ‘that audience’.

    I hope I am not too far off the mark to observe that it is communities such as ID which are leading an outreach to people such as Mr. Padian. A common theme in my own posting is Love. Love for our own communites, and especially Love for those to whom we seek to reach out to.

    Strongly exclusive fundamentalist doctrines such as neo-darwinism always reject this open and inviting approach to discourse, rather meeting it with dismissal, alienation and persecution.

    I can only offer this advice: proceed with the doctrine you believe is written in your heart. Forgive those who are unforgiving, and bear the fruit of your labour as an example to others to show that yours is the true belief.

    And of course apologize when toes are stepped on – we are walking in big footsteps.

  14. 14

    bigot n. One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ. It appears to me that Padian is strongly partial to people who believe in Darwinian evolution and is intolerant of creationist beliefs.”

    DS- There’s a strong difference between being intolerant of a group’s beliefs and being intolerant of the people in that group. I can think that insert-any-belief-here is loony and wacko and should be kept the heck out of any child’s precious ears, but if I allow its adherents to live their lives and don’t actually discriminate against them as people, that’s not intolerance. There are ways to be intolerant of beliefs such that you are also intolerant of the believers, but the two shouldn’t be conflated.

    Sounds like you’re a bigot too but are afraid to admit it. It’s okay. We are all bigots towards some people. I won’t tolerate people who think there’s nothing wrong with being cruel to animals. I’m bigotted towards those people and if you ask I’ll say as much because I’m honest and feel it’s justified bigotry. Padian is bigotted towards Christian fundamentalists. If he were tolerant of them he wouldn’t be opposed to letting them even mention critcism and beliefs contrary to Darwinian evolution in a classroom. He’s completely intolerant. There’s nothing illegal or immoral about that but if he’s going to be that way he can’t expect everyone to pretend they’re okay with it. I’m not okay with it and when it comes to people like Padian I’m a bigot there too – I have no tolerance for people like him who want to shut out the creation beliefs of half the population in a democracy founded upon a belief in a creator. In other words his right to hold his atheist beliefs stop short of excluding all other beliefs where my child’s education starts. -ds

  15. There was a time when we believed in (though didn’t always practice) arguing ideas but not denigrating people. But now many folks no longer believe this: If you don’t celebrate sodomy you hate the sodomite! There is in our postmodernist world no distinction between an idea and the person who holds it. I think it’s all part of our rejection of the old belief in the sanctity of life. We’re all sinners and none of us have all the truth. But evil is evil and truth is important, so we don’t mince words while at the same time we extend honor to our fellow man because we do not see him as incorrigible but rather as bearing the image of God.

  16. Amen, DS! Let’s call it like it is. Forgot to say that in above. In certain ways I appreciate people like Richard Dawkins. He may not play by the same rules as we do, but at least you know where he stands. Should he ever see the error of his ways he’d be a valuable warrior. David Horowitz is an example of a fighter who changed. Some folks don’t like fighters but I suspect that maybe the Deity does.

  17. Anti-ID bloggers are claiming that your apology is insincere because of the following:

    In this entry you said,

    “In addition to getting certain facts wrong (not all of them: Padian in his letter above does not dispute that he singled out “young” “Asian” “fundamentalists” as supporters of ID)…”

    However in the message from Padian:

    “If you have access to a recording of my talk, you will not find the
    words “Berkland Baptist Church,” “Asian-American church,” or anything of the sort. That is because I never referred to them in any form.”

    While I can imagine that “young” and “fundamentalist” may have been part of Padian’s actual speech (I haven’t heard the recording), I’m puzzled by the “Asian” comment. Did he really mention Asians? Why would he have mentioned them if not in connection to the Berkland Baptist Church?

    Anti-ID bloggers are taking this as you purposely ignoring the facts. I recommend editing the post to correct the error. Since these bloggers also tend to save copies of your posts before you edit them, I’d also recommend that you show them (in your edited post) that you’re willing to admit this mistake, too.

    According to Panda’s Thumb, Padian did indeed mention Asians. -ds

    7. At the Berkeley Defend Science panel in April, Padian did note that Dembski’s audience had been much larger than the Defend Science event, and had been predominantly asian-american and fundamentalist.

  18. Thanks for the info, DS.
    I’m still not sure about “singled out,” but I do concede that there was mention, so I have been proven wrong.
    Again, thanks.

  19. I remember when Padian made those comments about J. Wells… I’m stunned he’s so shocked in his letter to W.Dembski.
    This is laughable. This is like when the bully gets picked on, he draws all the attention to the infraction that befell him; yet conveniently forgets everything that he did/said that was in a similar manner.
    Not only does K.Padian come across as being bigoted towards those who would consider themselves religious; he’s also comes across as a sore sport when someone address him on his playing field.

    Once again, laughable.

  20. Bill said, “Perhaps this incident will help persuade both sides in this debate to stay on topic and focus on the issues.”

    I hate to be cynical, but we’ll see. The opposition is notorious for its venomous diversionary propaganda. Does it betray a lack of substance to their claims? I think it does.

    Rude said, “Amen, DS! Let’s call it like it is. Forgot to say that in above. In certain ways I appreciate people like Richard Dawkins. He may not play by the same rules as we do, but at least you know where he stands. Should he ever see the error of his ways he’d be a valuable warrior. David Horowitz is an example of a fighter who changed. Some folks don’t like fighters but I suspect that maybe the Deity does.”

    I agree, Rude. Dawkins has his faults, but at least he is willing to go against the tide of popular opinion to tell one thing the way it really is–that a universe without any trace of intelligent design is favorable for atheism. This certainly doesn’t help his materialist colleagues who insidiously try to pacify the religious masses with crap like, “religion and science occupy two completely separate intellectual spheres”. :roll:

    Monimonika,

    Anti-ID bloggers will never be satisfied with anything Bill has to say as long as he defends ID. The reason for this is that he is a leading proponent of an idea which, if accepted, would topple a religious ideology from its position as established scientific orthodoxy. History has shown that people tend to become quite desperate and reactionary when their religious worldviews are at stake.

  21. “The reason for this is that he is a leading proponent of an idea which, if accepted, would topple a religious ideology from its position as established scientific orthodoxy.”

    But not only a religious idea. Think of all the thousands of books, papers and articles that have been written in support of neo-Darwinism, and all the money that has been spent in support of this project. Careers, institutions, reputations and life-purposes are undermined when the reigning orthodoxy is undermined.

  22. Its hard to apologize to a blind man directing traffic into a head on collision.

    I commend Dr. Dembski for doing so in this case of a bad informant or bad information. Lesson I learned from this is to get two independent sources. I also learned a quick response and apology is good as well. No reason to draw it out.

    But, lets review the ignorance of Mr. Padian’s grasp of the current world situation, the global crisis and the ineptitude of translating these issues to the public by a supposed learned scholar to a major Science Magazine…

    Mr. Padian in his article to SciAm states,
    “Rather than succumbing to despair and depression, they are committing what they consider affirmative acts of faith.”

    Buzzer Alarm!

    Obviously if Mr. Padian had a clue about how Madrassa’s work, how children are brainwashed starting as early as 5, he would know that its not a choice after 10 years. They are puppets to puppet Masters. He would have seen the pictures of children dressed in war cloths, watched the TV cartoons which promote death and destruction to children of one specific race, listened to music that does the same, and read the educational books which preach hatred and xenophobic fear. This is far different from a person growing up in a free society.

    “In short, they are religious fanatics, hardly different from the murderers of abortion doctors, except that the latter zealots don’t kill themselves as well.”

    Wrong again, and any FBI/CIA profiler will tell him there’s a huge difference between a brainwashed individual and one who makes a choice. Dave pointed it out a few differences. Plus, lets remember that the suicide bomber has to be trained, given a bomb, given directions where to blow the bomb. He’s not acting as an independent agent. Rarely if ever. Most importantly, the suicide bomber is following orders to murder multiple innocents not associated with the personal plight of the bomber or the puppet master.

    Whereas a single individual who murders a Doctor that daily murders(by law) innocent babies is directly related to the cause the individual is trying to stop. This does not make any action good by either individual. Both are committing grave acts of sin. But if Mr. Padian wants to compare oranges to oranges he needs to think of McVeigh, or the bomber of Atlanta. The blind man directing traffic however comes in here, calling good evil, evil good. He refuses to acknowledge the death of over 35 million babies, many of which had a heart beat, blood running thru its tiny little veins, pain receptors reacting to the burns, the cold steel touch, the killing fields of America. He neglects to undertand that while Europe taught people to wear a condom, not get married, they would eventually pay the consequences in old age, and a vast shift in cultural changes. The same secularist views are true in America, except we are fortunate in that the vast immigrants into our socienty share our faith.

    Continuing…
    “Shermer cites Princeton University economist Alan B. Kreuger’s finding that some countries that have spawned many terrorists (Saudi Arabia and Bahrain) are economically well off yet lack civil liberties, whereas poor countries that protect civil liberties are unlikely to spawn terrorists.”

    And he is spot on – correct. Saudi Arabia produces a virolent strain of Islam from the Wahhabi sect. The Sauds are responsible for one of the most oppressed societies in the world and they controlled all religious doctrine thru the clerics. They begain exporting this extremist ideology to other nations. In fact, in our own nation, the documentation collected has shown this to be true. So yes, closed societies, without free media, education brainwashing of a child until adulthood is effective in creating a hateful killer. Pakistan is suffering from this now as its out of control there. But Mr. Padian refuses to acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of 1.5 billion muslims are peaceful. While I do not agree with Islam, I can still recognize that people are the ultimate decision makers and when given freedom, usually do not choose hatred.

    continuing…
    “That might be a good correlation, but a better factor than civil liberties is probably the degree of fundamentalist religious extremism present in a country.”

    Buzzz Alarm again!

    Its an excellent correlation and in fact the only correlation. You cannot have religious extremism present in an open, pluralistic society Mr. Padian. Where were you in Civics Class 101? The professor seems to not understand the very country he lives in in opposition to Dictatorships/Tyrants/Authoritarian regimes of closed societies.

    This is not a chicken and egg scenario Mr Padian. It is a Master/puppet scenario.

    The religious extemist fundamentals of Yeshua Ha Moshiach(Jesus, Messaiah) are Love, Mercy and Justice. It is the flock who gets lost, not the shepherd. Mr. Padian in his ignorance evidently does not understand the teachings of Christ in his comparisons of religious ideologies to that of Atheist values – which of course have none. They make them up as the go along. This is why their laws and values change. Its not that they are more enlightened. Its that they follow their lust and desires.

    “The murderers of 9/11 were Islamic jihadists first, citizens of their various nations second.”

    Big Buzzer!

    Wrong, wrong, and wrong Again! They were children first Mr. Padian, educated by Kings and Dictators trained to hate one people, one nation, and one ethnic race – in the case with Islam and especially Arabic countries – Israel. Then they were trained to hate the Great Satan – that would be you Mr. Padian, and Dembski, myself, Mickey Mouse, Doroth and Toto! Everyone in America simply because we are an ally and refused to allow people like the current psycho in Iran “wipe Israel off the map”. These people were all children first, raised in nations by Tyrants who used religion for hatred and brainwashing in a closed society, a closed media, and no free speech. It did not matter that the children grew up and received advanced degrees. Because they never saw the outside world without jaundiced eyes from their childhood. You cannot reverse 20 years of brainwashing in just a few months/years. Its a long process.

    And this is why pseudo-intellectual talking brain farts will not work. Simply talking to dictators and madmen do not work. It only slows down the inevitable clash. Chamberlain and England learned this the hard way Mr. Padian. Pressure must be applied. And in the end, if all else fails, you must kill the beast at the top so the children of a new generation can rise up without being brainwashed. Children that have access to free and open media, free speech, freedom of religion, freedom to convert, freedom to be atheist or agnostics. Ahaaaa… now, how about that? Free to be “atheist or agnostic”? Yes, of course, this is what Christ taught. You have a right not to believe. But it appears Mr. Padian is ignorant of Christ true teachings.

    But, lets examine atheist. What happens when that is the only thing you can be? You get communism! Marx cursed millions when he turned from God and then Lenin and Stalin ruthlessly executed the Communist Manifesto. March comrade, march!

    This is what’s wrong with atheist and spiritually blind people.
    They can see a problem with religion extremes, but they cannot see the true reason. That all dictatorships, tyrannical rulers, autocratic governments produce extreme ideology. It has nothing to do with religion per say, but of closed societies prevented from the top of making their own choices. He refuses to see the past experience of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, North Korea(today), Cuba, Venezuela…. grrrr. He refuses to acknowledge the death of millions upon millions at the hand of atheistic dogma converted into extremist anti-God killing fields, Gulags, and Red China. Hundreds of millions dead at the hand of his secular/humanist ancestors and current brothers today. He fails to point this out in his letter. So, he is as blind as Dawkins.

    I thought professors new how to study, think, and find facts.

    I thought publications like SciAm recognized a terribly lame argument when they received one. But evidently, in their rush to defend evolution, they too are blind.

    Millions have died in North Korea Mr. Padian, but I see you did not write to SciAm about that. Hundreds of thousands died in Cuba, millions suffer below poverty while Castro is a billionaire. Thousands have flocked to America. You’re lost Mr. Padian on one side of the equation. There’s a healthy balance you refuse to see. And while not all religions are equal in my opinion. I’ll only speak for Judeo-Christian values. It is not religion in this case that is evil Mr. Padian, its is people who are evil. People who do not allow dissent. People who want to tar and feather entire groups like you do Mr. Padian. You Mr. Padian are every bit a fundamentalist when you look in the mirror every day and refuse to allow free dissent of Darwin, free and open optional classes on religion.

    Your extremist ideology and that of your comrades is the result of our current public schools that are now the worst in the world of industrialized nations. By locking out other opinions, you have allowed only one in. By controlling schools paid for by citizens of this country you now have 35 million dead babies, millions of dysfunctional people, depressed, taking medication for symptoms instead of identifying the problem, feeding drugs to small children, all in the name of scientism, secular society, and government dictated schools who are no longer Of, By, or For the people.

    The letter to SciAm is uninformed, misleading, uneducated, drivel which a high school debate team would shred to pieces.

    11 million people in Iraq voted to end the brainwashing in their country. I wonder if Mr. Padian supports them.

    My apologies if this is to long a response. But you cannot expose such ignorance and blindness within a few short lines.

  23. I couldn’t agree more with Russ. Darwinian fundamentalists won’t be happy as long as we keep the origins debate alive, and keep a critical eye on a religious belief posing as science (Darwinism).

    Dembski did his part as a man of values and retracted his position. However, I can think of some examples in which, for example, Dr Eugenie Scott has mischaracterized ID scientists and Creation scientists with no apology at all. Not that it matters much to me, but it does reveal that moral diference between Darwin worshipers and Darwin skeptics.

  24. 24

    crandaddy, russ, Mats,
    By what definition of “religion” does acceptance of biological evolution qualify as such?

  25. Michael,

    I don’t like this definition in toto, but for general discourse, I define one’s religion as one’s metaphysical worldview. Could you please define “biological evolution”?

  26. 26

    Hello crandaddy,
    Thanks for your response. At the risk of being branded a “Darwinian Fundamentalist”, I would define biological evolution as Darwin did: descent with modification. I have found this to be a useful and empirically well-supported definition in the course of my own observations of the fossil record. Empirical evidence has bolstered my faith in the truth of descent with modification but I don’t see this as being equivalent to religious faith. I believe that your definition of religion as simply “one’s metaphysical worldview” is incomplete. Religious belief differs from other belief systems in its embrace of the supernatural. The supernatural plays no role in my belief in Darwin’s fundamental hypothesis of descent with modification. Belief in evolution is not equivalent to belief in the supernatural.

  27. Over at Panda’s Thumb, Padian has written what appears to be an acceptance of Bill’s apology. It’s not perfect (I disagree with his critique of fundamentalism.), but it’s a definite improvement over the usual hemlock-saturated drivel they produce. Maybe this Kevin Padian guy isn’t so bad after all.

  28. Hi Michael,

    Sorry for the delay; I was unable to see your comment before because it was caught in the moderation queue. Let’s look at religion first. Ideally, I would define it as such: the manner in which a person behaves in accordance with his or her metaphysical worldview. The reason I don’t like the definition I provided in comment #25 is that it is synonymous with how I like to use the words faith and worldview, and I consider behavior or practices to be important to an ideal definition of religion. I don’t think it’s necessary to believe in the supernatural to have a religion; one only has to have a belief about it. It follows that I consider everybody–including atheists–to be religious. If one is to call biological evolution merely common descent with modification, then I consider that to be well-grounded in empirical science (no faith or religion involved). If what one means by the term is common descent with modification entirely by way of random variation and natural selection, then I do think that if one is to hold such a position, she must do so from a position of faith since all the empirical evidence I know of is woefully inadequate to justify it as sound empirical science. Furthermore, the zealous, dogmatic adherence to such materialistic evolution suggests to me that there are metaphysical worldviews at stake which undergird it.

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