Biologic Institute = Tobacco Institute

It turns out that Big Intelligent Design may be following the path blazed by Big Tobacco. For decades Big Tobacco underwrote "science" that seeded obscure scientific journals with articles that purported to show that smoking tobacco doesn't contribute to cancer risk. That "science" was used to defend itself in subsequent liability lawsuits. As a former 3-to-4-pack-a-day smoker, I have no sympathy for people who smoke who say that they didn't know that cigarettes could damage their health and then file bogus lawsuits. But industry (in fact, nobody) is not allowed to lie about scientific results.

The New Scientist reports that Big Intelligent Design (another name for the Discovery Institute ) has established a research lab that, according to the lab's senior researcher Douglas Axe will "contribute substantially to the scientific case for intelligent design." The strategy will be to smuggle a few ambiguous papers into minor peer-reviewed journals, then turn around and use those results to claim that there are "doubts" about Darwinian evolutionary biology. Since there are "doubts" in the scientific literature, some befuddled judges may eventually rule that intelligent design can be taught as a "scientific" alternative in public schools. The scientific community had better keep a close eye on results reported by the Biologic Institute.

Whole fascinating New Scientist article here . Some of my previous reporting on Discovery Institute shenanigans here .

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Biologic?

    Isn't that the blend of seeds that hard-core deer hunters plant to attract game?

  • ||

    Wow, non-state badness.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    some befuddled judges may eventually rule that intelligent design can be taught as a "scientific" alternative in public schools

    One more argument for selling off the public school systems.

  • ||

    This is the trouble with using science as our standard of knowledge. In order to claim the argumentative high ground, people clambor for the "indisputable facts of science" to be on thier side, leading to tendentious, often sloppy, sometimes downright dishonest methods.

    You'll notice how many of our much-maligned government policies are based on the 'troubling conclusions of scientific study.'

  • ||

    I like "Biologic". Not "biological" - "biologic". Reminds me of people always talking about "the Democrat Party".

    It's not that they're being rude - they just can't handle words with too many syllables.

  • ||

    And do my eyes deceive me, or is this a Ron Bailey article disapproving of astroturf? The CEI won't like that...

  • David McElroy||

    There's a huge difference between the cases being cited here. The tobacco companies knew that they were pushing lies (or at the very least didn't care about the truth). The people pushing intelligent design honestly believe that their ideas are the truth. The tobacco industry was simply trying to protect its profits by saying anything it had to say. The people at the Discovery Institute are trying to fund what they believe will give them hard evidence of what they believe.

    I don't agree with the intelligent design people that human life just popped into existence as it is today. I think they're completely and absolutely wrong. But the fact that they're wrong doesn't mean their motives are bad. And (unless you are asserting that they are intentionally lying) it doesn't mean that it's reasonable to compare them to the tobacco industry.

  • ||

    Well its good to see the Discovery institute is finally getting around to collecting some data on the theory they have already proven.

  • ||

    Since there are "doubts" in the scientific literature...

    Errr... Define "doubts," please? Also what "scientific literature" are we speaking of? Darwin's Black Box by Michael "Astrology Is A Scientific Theory" Behe?

    At the risk of breaching Godwin's Law, Michael Shermer in his book Why People Believe Weird Things found parallels between Creationism and another credulous movement, namely Holocaust denial:

    1. Holocaust deniers find errors in the sholarship of historians and then imply that their conclusions are wrong, as if historians never make mistakes.. Evolution deniers (a more appropriate title than creationist) find errors in science and imply that all of science is wrong, as if scientist never make mistakes.

    2. Holocaust deniers of found of quoting, usually out of context, leading Nazis, Jews, and Holocaust scholars to make it sound like they are supporting Holocaust deniers claims. Evolution deniers are fond of quote leading scientists like Stephen jay Gould and Ernst Mayr out of context and implying hat they are cagily denying the reality of evolution.

    3. Holocaust deniers contend that genuine and honest debate between Holocaust scholars means that they themselves doubt the Holocaust or cannont get their stories straight. Evolution deniers argue that genuine and honest debate between scientists means that even they doubt evolution or cannont get their story straight. (1997, 132)

    NOTE: That Shermer DID NOT accuse Creationists of being Holocaust deniers, he merely stated that their...ahem... "reasoning" is the same. However, it is something to think about the next time you run into what passes for an argument from Duane Gish from the Institute of Creation Research or Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind assuming the latter bastard ever gets out of prison for his tax evasion conviction.

  • Lortl||

    But industry (in fact, nobody) is not allowed to lie about scientific results.

    Sorry, but if you believe in the First Amendment as I do then you must allow people to lie about scientific results if they choose to. You're free to choose to believe them, or make up your own, more convincing lies to counter them.

  • ||

    But the fact that they're wrong doesn't mean their motives are bad. And (unless you are asserting that they are intentionally lying) it doesn't mean that it's reasonable to compare them to the tobacco industry.

    Willfully spreading ignorance as part of a broader political agenda aimed at putting America under quasi-theocratic rule isn't bad enough?

  • ||

    "The people pushing intelligent design honestly believe that their ideas are the truth."

    For the most part, I think this is true (although I think there are also some who don't believe but advocate for ID because of what they see as dangerous implications of natural evolution).

    But that doesn't mean that they are always honest in their methods. In fact, there's a very strong tradition of "creation scientists" distorting facts and misrepresenting real scientists' statements in order to create the appearance of support for their position or at least of doubt about natural evolution. This has been well-documented in books like "The Triumph of Evolution: and the Failure of Creationism," "Scientists Confront Creationism," "Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism," and "Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism, and the Nature of Science," among many others.

  • ||

    It is amazing how authoritarian alleged "libertarians" will get when one of their sacred cows gets gored. "But industry (in fact, nobody) is not allowed to lie about scientific results" WTF? What do you mean "not allowed" Ronald? Do you want to go shut this place down and send its supporters to reeducation camps? Further, what exactly constitutes "lying about scientific results" and how is that axiom, no matter how well meaning, anything but an excuse for oppressing anyone who disagrees?

    I would say as LORTL pointed out above, last I looked we still had a First Amendment in this country and they are free to do whatever the hell they want and don't need Ronald Bailey's or anyone else's approval for it. No one says you have to listen to them or do anything but call them crackpots, but sure as hell can do it if they want. This post is either really sloppy language by Bailey or just further proof that libertarians like all ideologues cannot be trusted with power.

  • ||

    Akira, you need to go back and read the original post a bit more carefully before you hit your copy/paste. Bailey wasn't claiming that there are actual doubts about ID among scientists or the literature.

    ajay: How is CEI astroturf? They've expressed views which have lost them large corporate donors (viz. the "caffeine delivery devices" campaign).

  • ||

    For the record I am not an intelligent design adherent. That said, I don't think the cause of science is furthered by the idea that some ideas are sacred and any questioning of them automatically suspect. If these ideas are BS, then eventually they will be revealed to even their adherents as such. Oppressing and refusing to engage the adherents of ID on their own terms and just dismissing them as on the same level as the tobacco companies looking to save their asses in court, just makes people wonder why the hell evolutionists are so defensive. Let them run their experiments and do whatever they want. Who knows maybe they will find something of value.

  • ||

    John,

    Why can't Ron Bailey complain about an adulteration of science for a religious purpose. He's not saying someone should muzzle them, he's merely complaining that they're using dishonest tactics against science the way the tobacco firms did. I guess its hard being from a scientific background to calmly ignore attacks against the scientific community.

  • ||

    Excellent! Argument by insult... It works every time.

  • ||

    "But industry (in fact, nobody) is not allowed to lie about scientific results." in a court of law.

  • ||

    John,

    Also, Evolution is not the sacred cow, scientific method is the sacred cow and intelligent design skirts scientific method to reach a pre-determined conclusion, then claiming to be reached through scientific channels to appear more legitimate.

  • ||

    What do you mean "not allowed" Ronald? Do you want to go shut this place down and send its supporters to reeducation camps?

    Deliberately lying or misleading about scientific studies is fraud in my book. We'll sic lawyers on 'em, we will.

  • Robert||

    I write & say "biologic" all the time. When you have that -ic, isn't the -al redundant?

    I don't write "physic", because that means "enema". I don't write "chemic" or "radic" because I'm not consistent. But I do write & say "psychologic", "philosophic", and lots of other -ics that others would have as -ical. Isn't that logic?

    I do write & say "logical" because "logic" is used as a noun. But somehow "chemical" and "biological" wind up as nouns anyway. It ain't scientific. But ain't it terrific?

  • ||

    "he's merely complaining that they're using dishonest tactics against science the way the tobacco firms did."

    Is that really what they are doing? It looks to me like they are building a lab and running experiments to try to disprove evolution. One of three things will happen; they will cheat on their experiments and be discredited, not cheat and get results that confirm evolution, or come up with results that question evolution. I don't see how it hurts evolutionary scientists to have to engage and disprove doubters. This is science not history. Calling a scientific theory into question no matter how established is not the same as questioning known historical facts. I will be the first one to admit these guys are wasting their time and money. That said, I don't think people like Bailey aquit themselves very well by calling them liars and questioning their motives.

  • ||

    John,

    "That said, I don't think the cause of science is furthered by the idea that some ideas are sacred and any questioning of them automatically suspect. If these ideas are BS, then eventually they will be revealed to even their adherents as such."

    For a long time, various forms of creationism were discussed in comparison to natural evolution. There was a legitimate scientific discussion, and creationism legitimately lost. Any adherents of "scientific" creationism who were interested in taking a remotely scientific approach realized it was BS a long time ago. At some point, it's no longer worth continuing to engage an argument that no legitimate scientist makes.

    "Oppressing and refusing to engage the adherents of ID on their own terms and just dismissing them..."

    Don't you think "oppressing" is maybe a bit hyperbolic? And again, for a long time evolutionists did engage creation scientists and their arguments at face value; from any remotely honest, objective, informed point of view evolution won hands down. Unfortunately, the most common techniques used by scientific creationists now are distortion, misrepresentation, and appeals to authority completely outside the realm of science (namely, scripture). There's not much to be gained in engaging creationists on those terms.

  • ||

    John,

    If this was the case of a group of theologians getting together to work with scientists to see about the possibility of the bibles miracles, nobody would have a problem. The problem arises that the group has already tried to claim scientific evidence for intelligent design without using any sort of scientific method. Now they are formalizing their deception. If we thought they'd changed their mind about abusing science and they actually wanted to find answers, then we wouldn't have a problem. But its 99% likely they're just trying another tack and going to continue the same bullshit. I believe that's enough for Bailey to be justified in his groaning over the situation.

  • ||

    "And again, for a long time evolutionists did engage creation scientists and their arguments at face value; from any remotely honest, objective, informed point of view evolution won hands down."

    I don't think it is healthy to have scientific debates decided like boxing matches. For a long time people debated the Ptolemaic view of the universe and the skeptics lost. Does that mean Copernicus and Keppler should have never questioned it? This is not to compare ID adherents to Keppler, but it is to say that just because something is "accepted scientific truth" doesn't make it beyond question. I think evolutionists play into the hands of the real crackpot IDers by refusing to engage in the debate and just dismissing them. It makes the evolutionist look condescending and defensive. Terms like "scientific consensus" drive me batty. All that term is really saying is "I wear a lab coat and therefore everything I say is true". There are concrete scientific reasons why evolution, or at least natural selection, works to explain a lot of facts. But it is not ultimate truth. There is no guarantee that at some point in the future there might be a better theory that explains the facts as we know them. Forcing scientists to constantly explain and re-examine those reasons is not a bad thing. Saying that "the debate is settled" is just a prescription for arrogance and sloppy thought.

  • ||

    As a former 3-to-4-pack-a-day smoker, I have no sympathy for people who smoke who say that they didn't know that cigarettes could damage their health and then file bogus lawsuits.



    Ok Ron, you're either an excessive/compulsive for the ages, or this is a slight exaggeration.

    That's practically a cig every ten minutes, and unless you're puffing constantly, you can make it last almost ten minutes.

  • El Skippito Friskito||

    Is that really what they are doing? It looks to me like they are building a lab and running experiments to try to disprove evolution.

    If they were following the scientific method, they wouldn't be trying to disprove evolution. They need to be running test to get evidence that ID is correct. Just because they prove evolution is incorrect, does not mean that their pet theory is correct.

  • ||

    "They need to be running test to get evidence that ID is correct."

    So, what is wrong with that? What if they actually found something? Granted, that is not likly to happen but do a thought experiment and imagine it. What if someone somewhere ran some experiment or series of experiment that totally destroyed evolution as a scientific theory? My guess is that at least initially the guy who did that would be absolutely destroyed by the scientific community. There is too much careerism and too many people whose lives and careers are invested in evolution for that not to happen. I think in the end, if the experiments were legit, the guy would win out, but he would have some really hard times before he did. My only point in saying this is that scientists are people to subject to the same foibles as everyone else. They are not a holy priesthood dedicated to the unvarnished truth. I just wish we would stop treating them like they are.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    IMO, the theory of evolution is a sacred cow that we may never question because it is fact.

    Not coming in with jumper cables to try and start something because Ron Bailey and the rest of you guys are all smarter than me about science and we've done the prolonged debate before.

    However, I remain a bit skeptical of the Theory of Evolution and pointedly skeptical of any theory that espouses something from nothing as in God Created or The Big Friggin Bang that sent the cosmos scattering across what was formerly nothing.

    That doesn't mean I'll be clamoring for the local school board to change the curriculum, but it does mean I will be having a running dialog with my kids about this.

    As with many things that remain to be explained, there is nothing wrong with saying something like: we aren't entirely sure but it appears that............and this is why we think that..........

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen both did five packs a day. So Ron Bailey's just a piker.....

  • ||

    "I don't think it is healthy to have scientific debates decided like boxing matches."

    I'm not sure exactly what this means, but the fact is that at some point a scientific debate can become settled to such a clear degree that it's just not worth indulging in skeptics anymore until they come up with something truly novel. The debate between natural evolution and scientific creationism reached that point long ago. The reason they're "skeptics" is because they're either completely uninformed or intellectually dishonest.

    That's not to say there's no chance that some new theory will come along and challenge some central tenet of current evolutionary theory (although it is pretty hard to see that happening - as scientific theories go, evolution is pretty damn solid; but it's at least a possibility). But it sure as hell won't come from what we now call scientific creationism, ID, etc. Those ideas have all of the scientific credibility of flat-earth theories.

    "All that term is really saying is "I wear a lab coat and therefore everything I say is true"."

    That's not even remotely true. The debate between scientific creationism and natural evolution occurred. It was open and very active, and empirical evidence was overwhelmingly on the side of evolution. To continue to act like there's any legitimate debate is to be so open-minded your brain falls out, or however the hell that saying goes.

    "Forcing scientists to constantly explain and re-examine those reasons is not a bad thing."

    That's true, but that's not really what happening here. What you're advocating is forcing scientists to continue to repeatedly correct distortions and misrepresentations, and repeatedly debunk long-ago discredited arguments about the second law of thermodynamics, lack of information in the fossil record, unreliability of radioisotope dating, irreducible complexity of various organs, blah blah blah. It's already been done. The Discovery Institute and its ilk haven't had anything constructive to contribute for decades. How long do legitimate scientists have to keep humoring them?

  • ||

    Considering how ignorant most people (even many people who believe in evolution) are about the subject of evolution, I actually think it is a good idea for the scientific community to fully engage places like the DI and not simply ignore them. If anything, it simply lets misunderstandings fester.

    I mean, who cares really? These people are using their own money. It isn't as if there is some huge torrent of papers being put out by these people that are overwhelming the scientific community.

    I'm no fan of the type of 'science' put out by these people but I really think it is best to engage them rather than ignore them.

  • ||

    El Skippito Friskito,

    However you cannot really prove that biological life was designed / created unless the designer left a signature or other provenance. (Maybe they'll look in the mitochondrial DNA for a "Jahweh was here" graffiti.)

    Instead they'll be looking for things that are unexplained by current evolutionary theory. Trying to find God in the gaps. Er, sorry, I meant the designer.

  • ||

    Wine,

    I think that people confuse "evolution" with "natural selection". Natural selection certainly is fact. One need only look at domestic animal breeding to see that. Evolution though is more than just natural selection. It is the whole thing from the first quarks after the big bang all the way to Beethoven's 9th. For me as a theist, I have yet to see anyone explain how the universe went from a world of inanimate chemical compounds to having life and how life went from being animal to having consciousness. The day someone takes a chemical concoction in a lab and creates life where there was none before or breeds a chimp with existential anxiety, I will seriously start to question my theistic beliefs. I am not saying they won't someday, just that they haven't. Until that time, I look at evolutionary biology as the study of God's handiwork more than a denial of God. I have never quite understood why the IDers don't see it that way.

  • El Skippito Friskito||

    John,

    There is nothing wrong with that, but if you follow the ID/Creationist's trail, you will see that they have no interest in testing ID at all. They have no model from which to even test.

    I understand the frustration of scientist being treated as the new priesthood, but all available evidence gathered since Darwin first theorized evolution by natural selection has shown his basic ideas to be correct. The theory has changed, becoming more refined over time, some ideas being thrown out completely, and new ones introduced, but this was all done by having supporting evidence based on testing.

    Creationism, ID's direct descendant, has been around for just as long as the theory of evolution. They still have gathered no evidence to support their theory, and, based on their past behavior, I don't believe that this new lab will be doing any gathering of evidence either.

  • ||

    Deliberately lying or misleading about scientific studies is fraud in my book.

    Its not actionable fraud unless you can show that (a) you suffered damages because (b) you relied on it (reasonably).

    Good luck with damages part.

  • ||

    "I look at evolutionary biology as the study of God's handiwork more than a denial of God."

    There are many practicing evolutionary biologists who would agree 100% with this statement. Admittedly belief in God is less common among evolutionary biologists than the country at large, but theistic evolutionists definitely exist.

  • ||

    I think that people confuse "evolution" with "natural selection"



    John, I think you're actually confusing evolution with abiogenesis.

  • ||

    Its not actionable fraud unless you can show that (a) you suffered damages because (b) you relied on it (reasonably).

    I have thought that through. If they somehow get their textbooks into my kid's school curriculum, be it a public or private school, they have harmed me.

  • ||

    I don't think you can have evolution wihtout abiogenesis. The fact is that there is life now and at some point in the distant past there wasn't life. Life had to come into existance somehow someway. As yet, the natural explanations of it are pretty incomplete. At very least it is just damned hard to create life where there was none before.

  • ||

    Highnumber
    You better have a lot of paper to list all the harm and damage the school system will/has done to you kids. I would have to say the evolution vs. creationism "harm" would be pretty low on the damage scale compared with the, "The State is here as your friend" and "Western civilization is evil" philosophies that are indoctrinated into school kids all the way through post-graduate.

  • ||

    ellipis & TCW: On my smoking--remember cigarette machines, they used to give you a pack of 20 matches with every pack of cigarettes. I never ever ran out of matches. Basically, I lit one cigarette off another for hours at time while working at my desk. But Yul certainly beats me. ;-)

    Evolution as "sacred cow." It is not and nothing in science is. Why do I question the motives of the Discovery Institute folks? Just take a look at the Wedge Document which outlined their plan to seek "nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies" engendered by pernicious evolutionary biology. Read their response and make up your own minds.

    It may be the case that the researchers at the new Biologic Institute do not believe that they are "lying," but I have my doubts. For more detail see my article "Origin of the Specious" where I explain my doubts about the veracity of supporters of ID.

  • ||

    You smoked 3- to 4-packs a day??? How is that even logistically possible? When did you find time to eat?

    (Glad you quit.)

  • ||

    John,

    In the scientific community, evolutionary biology deals strictly with organisms changing from one form to another. The big bang and other such hypotheses are cosmology, and a separate branch of science.

    I'm just saying what the common usage is, feel free to define it however you see fit.

  • ||

    Screw 'em. Let the rubes teach each other that the earth is flat. My child will have a competitive advantage.

  • ||

    True enough elipsis. I guess I just find evolution without an expanation of the origen of life itself pretty unsatisfying.

  • ||

    For the record, "Science" is full of Sacred Cows. Ultimately it's a political animal controlling the flow of funding. Woe be unto he who seeks money to test an unpopular hypothesis.

  • ||

    The biggest concern here isn't that they're going to do science and suddenly disprove evolution and find God.

    That would be pretty cool, though utterly unlikely.

    The biggest problem that I see is that they will do real science, then glue a veneer of ex post facto creationism on the top of it before stepping in front of a bank of microphones to crow about how they've disproven evolution.

    It's delightfully postmodern.

  • biologist||

    John | December 19, 2006, 2:55pm | #

    "I think that people confuse "evolution" with "natural selection"."

    true, but natural selection is one mechanism for evolution to occur

    "Natural selection certainly is fact."

    agreed. so is evolution, if properly understood, and if you know what a "fact" is in the scientific sense. cf: gravitational theory and gravity

    "One need only look at domestic animal breeding to see that. "

    actually, we call that "artificial selection", but it is analogous to natural selection - the agent of selection is the only difference

    "Evolution though is more than just natural selection."

    true

    "It is the whole thing from the first quarks after the big bang all the way to Beethoven's 9th."

    false. you don't get to define evolution for your convenience. evolution has a commonly agreed upon definition and meaning.

    "For me as a theist, I have yet to see anyone explain how the universe went from a world of inanimate chemical compounds to having life and how life went from being animal to having consciousness."

    there are a number of competing hypotheses for the origin of life, but none is particularly favored or well established. origin of the universe: talk to the physicists.

    "The day someone takes a chemical concoction in a lab and creates life where there was none before or breeds a chimp with existential anxiety, I will seriously start to question my theistic beliefs. I am not saying they won't someday, just that they haven't."

    true, they haven't, but those experiments are ongoing

    "Until that time, I look at evolutionary biology as the study of God's handiwork more than a denial of God. I have never quite understood why the IDers don't see it that way."

    no problems here. biology and science in general doesn't deny God, but can't invoke him or any other supernatural being as an explanation.

    John | December 19, 2006, 3:14pm | #

    "I don't think you can have evolution wihtout abiogenesis. The fact is that there is life now and at some point in the distant past there wasn't life. Life had to come into existance somehow someway. As yet, the natural explanations of it are pretty incomplete. At very least it is just damned hard to create life where there was none before."

    true, life apparently originated at least once by abiogenesis, but not currently. why? not known definitively, but probably a combination of too much oxygen in the environment for long-chain organic molecules to assemble spontaneously and the presence of life that would probably just eat anything of that sort that started to develop before we could detect it and recognize it as living

  • ||

    mediageek: Bingo!

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Ron, that's a lot of cigarettes. I quit 15 or more years ago but every once in a while when I walk past someone sitting on a bench smoking I think: hmmmm, that smells kind of good. How about you? Ever miss 'em?

    BTW, I'm not defending those guys at Discovery Institute any more than I would offer up the Jehovah Witness literature campaign against evolution as proof that evolution is wrong.

    Maybe Evolution isn't a sacred cow, but some of us lay people do get the feeling that questioning the theory of evolution would be something like having red wine while dining on shellfish, I mean, Good Heavens, Man, have you taken leave of your senses? It's just not done.

  • ||

    Highnumber
    You better have a lot of paper to list all the harm and damage the school system will/has done to you kids.


    Thanks for the heads-up. I will start my list early. Too bad the boy won't be starting school for a few years.

  • ||

    "The biggest problem that I see is that they will do real science, then glue a veneer of ex post facto creationism on the top of it before stepping in front of a bank of microphones to crow about how they've disproven evolution.

    It's delightfully postmodern."

    Yeah it kind of is. Somehow I doubt it is much of a threat one way or another. Really, if a few crackpots want to believe in them, they can have fun. I just wish all of the people who are dogging these people who claim to be so "concerned about science" would be as concerned over the increasing acceptance of outright superstitions like the fear of Nuclear Power, the danger of minute traces of pesticides in food and the danger of genetically modified food and the like. Those superstitions, unlike this one, actually do real harm.

  • Rhywun||

    Ron,

    I'm curious how you managed to quit that much smoking. For future reference, of course.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Media, nice post......

    It's delightfully postmodern.

    Exactly. Just like those unending traffic jams in the middle of the desert. Well, I guess that little bit of postmodernism isn't particularly delightful, but you catch my meaning.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Ryhwun, I know you weren't talking to me about quitting smoking but I'll barge in anyway.

    I tried several times way back when. Each time was utter failure and I was back to a pack a day inside of three days. I mean how can you have a cup of coffee without a smoke? You know the drill. And forget about beer, by drink number two you're buying smokes outta the machine, two packs at a time.

    I even tried hypnosis, that was better than cold turkey but didn't completely stick. Then I'd have a smoke here or there at a party or when some drinking buddies who smoked came around.

    Then one day it just wasn't important any more and it was really easy to quit. No problem at all.

    Strangest damn thing to go from a jones that makes it impossible to go four or five hours without sneaking out back for a hit off a cigarette to being at a place where it just don't matter a fig.

    That's one reason I figure it isn't really addictive.

  • ||

    You know, I'm actually kind of excited about this plan to start a creationist lab. I've shot most of the fish in my barrel, I could use a few more for target practice.

    Seriously, yeah, they'll try to paint some thin veneer of credibility on themselves by publishing in a few obscure journals. They'll probably do something like, say, measure the rate of a particular type of mutation process or whatever, get a perfectly reasonable number for this particular process, and get it published in a legit journal.

    So far, so good.

    Then they'll take this data and extrapolate from it, and argue that since this single process can't account for all of the observed genetic diversity, it means evolution is wrong. Conveniently ignoring other processes.

    Or something like that. The point is that what creationists do best is take data out of context and draw unsupported conclusions. If they can generate the data before drawing unsupported conclusions from it, they give themselves more credibility by saying "Look, we're doing actual measurements here. I suggest you read all of our published work explaining the experiments before you continue the criticism." It throws people off balance.

  • ||

    "The point is that what creationists do best is take data out of context and draw unsupported conclusions."

    That is what a lot of people do best; people who believe OJ was innocent, evironmentalists, and consumer advocacy groups just to name three. Of course the latter two have a lot of alledged "scientists" helping them. I just wish people would kick them around as much as the do IDers.

  • ||

    Highnumber
    Always leave a little extra energy to do de-programming after homework.

  • ||

    John:
    Isn't it amazing how some get the sh** kicked out of them for voicing a different belief such as the IDers. Yet, others are turned into high, holy prophets, such as the environmentalists, advocates and public health tyrants.
    Scientific truth doesn't seem to play a big part in this game.

  • ||

    Where is the proof that is actually what this institute is set up as. Just the word of this "journalist"? I have seen, read and studied reports on tabacco that refutes much of the hype concerning it "link" to cancer. Sure it can't be good for you but even the Surgeon General has been recently caught lying on this subject by making the claim that second hand smoke is more dangerous then first hand smoke. Silly. And the actual researchers that did the study that the Surgeon General refered to in the silly claim came out and stated that was not what thier paper said. Don't believe everything you read.

  • ||

    John,

    Even though I agreed with your basic initial idea about engaging the IDer people I find this post:

    "That is what a lot of people do best; people who believe OJ was innocent, evironmentalists, and consumer advocacy groups just to name three. Of course the latter two have a lot of alledged "scientists" helping them. I just wish people would kick them around as much as the do IDers."

    ..a bit silly. Especially since you started your initial comments in this thread by attacking Ron as harboring authoritarian tendencies and how this may reflect poorly on libertarians in general (your 'futher proof comment').

    OJ is a weird outlier considering it is a single murder case..but I doubt that the average Reason staffer or HNR commentator feels he was innocent. Environmentalists? People tend to attack environmental hype here on this site far more often than evolution or intelligent design gets mentioned.

    I wouldn't be surprised if CAGs also take more heat more often.

  • ||

    Darwin was an idiot and we are all suffering from is bizarre theory. True science has been set back by this crack pot by many many years. Show me the eviendence!

    Yeah, each creature can magically change into another creature with right formula of time and eviromental stress. Presto! Give me a break.

    Not that I agree with Itelligent Design either.

  • ||

    Yeah, each creature can magically change into another creature with right formula of time and eviromental stress. Presto! Give me a break.

    Well, you just showed that allegedly advanced primates can create men made of straw and then set fire to them. So that's something.

  • ||

    Um, yeah, I'm having trouble figuring out if that's just a parody post like Jane, or if it's sincere.

    Because that's some brilliant reasoning right there.

  • ||

    Though a lot of the IDer movement in the States has religious influence, one thing I was reminded of the other night when watching some show on UFOs is that a lot of UFO-types are obsessed with their own version of "intelligent design" that features aliens instead of God.

    I wonder if they'll ever have an opportunity to find common cause and team up with places like the DI. A Discovery Institute-Raelian alliance!

  • ||

    "Yeah, each creature can magically change into another creature with right formula of time and eviromental stress. Presto!"

    Don't forget the part about how evolution is like dropping a bunch of bricks and expecting to end up with a house. You want to make sure you have all your bases covered in terms of ignorance and misrepresentation.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Always leave a little extra energy to do de-programming after homework.

    Art wins the thread.

  • ||

    TWC
    Thank you

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    aliens instead of god

    Finally. The blue-eyed people and Siamese cats came here from the 12th Planet (guess that would be the 11th planet now that Pluto has been demoted) to mine the riches of Africa. They cloned Adam and then Eve who essentially discovered sex (the tree of knowledge) and started their own race. It's even in the Bible.

    There were giants in the earth in those days........when the sons of God (the aliens) came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

    There you have it.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Art, you're welcome. I just had to chuckle at that because that's exactly what it is. Deprogramming. We do it constantly, little here, lot there.

    As my good buddy Col Hogan always says Do we really want public education to do a better and more efficient job of indoctrinating our kids on the blessings of statism?

  • Rhywun||

    Then one day [smoking] just wasn't important any more and it was really easy to quit. No problem at all.

    May I ask at around what age that occurred? It seems that a lot of folks I know quit in their 40s. I've often pictured myself following that pattern too, but fact is, I rather enjoy it still (I'm 37).

  • grylliade||

    That said, I don't think the cause of science is furthered by the idea that some ideas are sacred and any questioning of them automatically suspect.

    It isn't that I (and others) object to questioning the validity of evolution. That's perfectly acceptable, and necessary; without questioning, the theory will never improve, nor will it be proven false if it is false. But that's not what ID and scientific creationist proponents do. As John Derbyshire (I think) said, they argue the same points over and over again. You disprove argument A, they bring up argument B. You disprove B, they bring up C. You disprove C, they bring up A again. Repeat ad nauseam.

    More importantly, they never argue for their own position. They claim to disprove evolution, which leaves their own theories as the only possible ones. Never have I heard an ID proponent admit the possibility that, e.g., the Hindu creation stories might be true. No, it's always a very Western, theist view that is advocated in place of evolution, without any acknowledgment that if their basic argument is true, then disproof of evolution would allow any creation story to be true.

    My ex-wife did a report on creation science for her English class ten years ago. I drove her crazy the whole time questioning her rips on creationism, because she was being dogmatic about evolution. She got pissed at me for being a creationist, which I haven't been since I was at most eleven. :-) I learned a great deal about the dishonesty of the creation science movement from that experience. My favorite was that evolution somehow violated the second law of thermodynamics; easily refuted, but to the lay person it seems to do just that. So the creation science proponents "win" the public debates, even though they lose them by any objective criterion, because their arguments sound plausible. It's intellectually dishonest, and any person who works at this sort of place knows it. I think that they engage in a sort of doublethink, where they know they're being dishonest, but it's excused by the greater dishonesty of their opponents, so they're really being honest, or something.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Rhywun, at 37 I think I was still smoking pretty regular. By 42 I am pretty sure I was done. There was an in-between time where I would smoke maybe a pack a week and another period of time where I would smoke only at parties, but the exact time frames are fuzzy. That's odd as well because most people remember exactly when they stopped smoking.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    At any rate, at some point I cut way, way back. From a carton a week to maybe three cigarettes a day. That was much easier than cold turkey.

    While writing these comments it just now occurs to me that probably what happened is that once I cut it way back maybe the rest was just a slow weaning process until I noticed I hadn't smoked for a while. Hmmm. How about that, I said.

  • grylliade||

    For me as a theist, I have yet to see anyone explain how the universe went from a world of inanimate chemical compounds to having life and how life went from being animal to having consciousness.

    Well, there's some good indications that complex organic compounds necessary for life aren't all that rare in the universe. And remember that life needn't develop spontaneously into cells; it could have started (and probably did start) as self-replicating protein molecules, similar if not identical to prions. Nucleic acids could have developed later, as a better carrier of self-replicating information. And remember that there has been a long time for all this to have happened. Life appeared on Earth about a billion years after its formation, and although conditions were unsuitable for life for much of that time, a billion years is still a pretty long time. It's longer than multicellular life has probably existed on the planet.

    I think from your comments that you're a libertarian, or at least believe that free markets are overall a good thing. A market is a vastly complicated mechanism, involving all sorts of people doing all sorts of things, all for their own ends. Yet all of it is organized by the principles of supply and demand, at its heart. It's a self-organizing system, one that comes about because of interactions of simpler elements following simple rules. It requires no designer, no matter how complex it may be. Life may very well be the same way, and as far as I can tell is.

    As to being a theist . . . well, so am I. I can't personally see how people can demand that their theistic God be the only possible answer to the problems of life. If God is the only possible answer to the problem of how life came to be, what use is faith? Then it's just recognition of reality. The same with a lot of problems of ethics and such. I believe not because everything demands that I do so, but because I choose to do so. For me, it is essential that there be alternative explanations to "God did it." I also think it much more likely that God set the universe in motion and waited for its self-organizing systems to create conscious life by its own mechanisms, with only maybe a nudge here and there to help things along. What fun is a meeting of minds if the minds you meet you created? Much better to be surprised by what you meet, I think. Much more satisfying, and this is about the only solution to the problem of evil that I've come across that makes any sense whatsoever.

  • ||

    The debate is over.

  • ||

    My brother assures me that the numbers are correct.

  • Darwin||

    As all good progressive citizens know Science-praise be its name-should be used to inform public policy.Evolution+Policy=Eugenics.
    We have been partway down that road before.
    If ID is the same thing as Creation Science why is it a "dangerous idea" while CS is just ridiculous nonsense?

  • ||

    "Evolution+Policy=Eugenics."

    No, evolution plus policy does not equal eugenics, most importantly because natural evolution has nothing at all to say about the proper role of government, individual rights, and so on. The fact that some people have tried to misrepresent it by claiming otherwise doesn't change that fact. This is to say nothing of the poor science that was the foundation for eugenics movements in the US and elsewhere in the early-mid 20th centuries (the extremely vague definitions of various behavioral traits, the lack of understanding of what if any genetic basis those traits had, etc). But even if those policies had been based on completely sound science, the study of evolution says nothing at all about whether it's appropriate for governments to institute them.

    "If ID is the same thing as Creation Science why is it a "dangerous idea" while CS is just ridiculous nonsense?"

    No one here has actually called ID a "dangerous idea," but as it turns out they're both ridiculous nonsense, ID is just a little more subtle about it. ID is also arguably more intellectually dishonest, because it continues to rehash some of the same arguments from creation scientists that have long since been debunked. They were at least slightly less stale when they were called creation science.

  • Rhywun||

    From a carton a week to maybe three cigarettes a day.

    Yeah, I tried that strategy when I was like 24. I drew up a schedule - that probably doomed it right there. (It didn't work.)

  • Matt Phillips||

    Using phony science to support an anti-eugenics argument undermines an anti-eugenics argument.

    ID is rooted in an essentially anti-scientific world view, fed by a view of the Bible that the people who wrote it would find strange.

    Divine inspiration makes the Bible, for those who find it to be so, spiritually useful. It does not turn theology and mythology into history and science.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Rhy, Well, I didn't make a schedule. :-) Not sure why it worked out exactly. I made it a point not to smoke in the house or in the car. I knew two girls at the time that both smoked and I'd get hits from them here and there (like a joint) to take the edge off. I'd smoke OP's and then buy those guys a pack here and there to replace the ones I bummed. I was good at home but I'd have a smoke or two with my smoking friends or at a party.

    In Dead Again Robin Williams said, Someone is either a smoker or a non-smoker, there's no in-between. The trick is to find out which one you are and be that.

  • Darwin||

    I'm not pro-theism I'm anti-science.
    ID is not creation science as it does not require a belief in a specific faith/god or any faith/god at all for that matter.It is not "bad science" as it is not science at all.As a philosophical idea,ID seems to have struck a nerve.All the indicators are there-the ferocity of its opponents,resorting to straw man attacks on the laughably absurd creation science.Attacking the idea by attacking its proponents as biblically informed.

    Evolution as a process (science) is entirely different then the frothing at the mouth desk pounding assertions that "it is all random damnit! And anyone who says otherwise is a superstitious idiot!" Evolution as an idea has resulted in such "science informed policy" as social darwinism and eugenics.

  • ||

    "it is all random damnit! And anyone who says otherwise is a superstitious idiot!"

    Nice flame troll,

    And your above quote is one of Scientology's greatest memes.

    I like how you used "Darwin" as a 'clever' moniker Mr. Cruise.

    Or is it Mr. Travolta?

    Please return to your volcano clam...

  • Russell||

    CEI or your average State Climatologist would never dream of salting papers into minor peer reviewed journals to afford polemic ammunition in the Climate Wars, would they Ron? It would lead to editors resigning and expose' articles in Reason , would it not , if a disproporionate fraction of such folks bibliographies were self-referenential.

    Such a daft gambit would be as vulnerable as The Discovery Institute's efforts , for if one were to fire up Scirus , or log onto Science Citations and enter the names of a few of the Wash Times , NR and Weekly Standard climate irregulars ( just a minute while I open another web page) one would ... Oh Dear !

    Je suis choque', tres choque'

  • ||

    Hi Russell: This thread is probably dead but I'm curious-do you have evidence that CEI and/or certain State Climatologists have so "salted" the climate change literature with bogus results? My impression is that any results that might cast doubt on the man-made climate change hypothesis get MUCH higher scrutiny before they get published (and there are far fewer journals dealing with climate than there are bio and biomed journals so the strategy of "salting" is more likely to work in areas of science that rely heavily on epidemiological methods). And it certainly wouldn't be the case that proponents of catastrophic man-made global warming would exaggerate their data and model results,would it? Shocked indeed.

  • ||

    I'm just glad that parties with a financial or ideological interest in denying global warming don't engage in this sort of behavior.

    Mr. Bailey.

  • ||

    Hi Ron
    hat I am hammering on the RS for its less than areopagitic approach to squelching climate policy debate does not mean I give carte blanche to Op-ed arguments that quote only the convenient parts of articles published in seriously peer reviewed journals, or pop articles that impute equal credibility (What's the scientific equivalent of truthiness ?)to unvetted abstracts or work deposited in the wide open Letters to the Editor columns of professional society journals( Does the AAPG suit ? when what they auce can't cut the mustard as scientific correspondence under serious peer review.

    If they can't stand the heat, they shouldn't preach from the pantry. Rea a years worth of Pat and you will see each and every anecdote serving to distract the proverbial intelligent layman from the stuff in the hard science journals served up smoking hot, then dropped as fast as it is fisked . That does not stop the rejects from becoming K Street fodder. Do you think _Energy & the Environment_ or the CO2 newsletter out of Arizona sprang into being to absorb the overflow of from the maybe 300 journals in and around the atmospheric sciences ? The new ones content is as predictable as the science coverage in next months TAS-

    I think you will agree that is precious little being done atmospheric chemistry or physics wise by the usual suspects at Marc Morano's flying circus , and that one side's credibility is rapidly perishing because of their meager publication rate - which can only tempt the true believers on the other side to redouble their fibbing. The bottom line is that what you get from Pielke MacCracken and Schmidt tends to be a lot more diverse,impressive and scientifically robust than what journals that lack science editors can provide.



    I wish you had gone to Frisco instead of Nairobi, and hope you will review what went down at the AGU meeting - Dick Linzen had some few new things to present , but then so did a lot of other people.

  • ||

    And thank you for not smoking out the real deal with The Tobacco Institute- the creeps were instrumental in reducing the active ingredient concentration in cigarette leaf to the point where 3 packs a day became possible.

    There is no Tobacco Institute in Malaysia, and among their better brands ,three cigarettes equal a pack of Whatever Lights or half a Cohiba

  • ||

    er... I beleive that Russell was refering to the AGU fall meeting, a Cliamte science conference:
    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm06/
    when he referenced San Francisco WRT to Nairobi. More science, less politics.

  • ||

    "I beleive that Russell was refering to the AGU fall meeting, a Cliamte science conference:"(sic)

    Describing that locus of paradigm change ,the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union as a climate conference is rather like calling the Congress of Vienna a coffee klatsch.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement