Summer Seminars in Pseudoscience

During last week’s public hearing on proposed science standards, evolution deniers on the Texas State Board of Education insisted that they had no intention of promoting “intelligent design”/creationism in public schools. Stephen Meyer, co-founder of the anti-evolution Discovery Institute in Seattle, echoed the claims of the board’s anti-science faction. They just want kids to learn “all of the evidence” about evolution, pro and con, we were told.

Oh, talk to the hand.

Why was Meyer invited to serve on a special science curriculum review panel and to speak at the hearing? It certainly wasn’t because of his science credentials — he’s not a research scientist.

Meyer was on the panel because the Discovery Institute is the biggest shill for “intelligent design,” which the Disco folks puff up as a “scientific” alternative to evolution. But because there isn’t a shred of real scientific evidence to support “intelligent design” (essentially creationism dressed up in a lab coat), the Disco Institute spends most of its time attacking evolution.

One of the ways it does this is by hosting “Summer Seminars” for college undergraduates and graduate students. This year’s seminars include “Intelligent Design in the Natural Sciences” and “Intelligent Design in the Social Sciences and Humanities.”

Past speakers have featured such luminaries in the scientific world as:

  • Meyer, co-founder of the Discovery Institute
  • Casey Luskin, a lawyer and Disco’s program officer in public policy and legal affairs
  • William Dembski, who holds doctorates in mathematics and philosophy and a master’s of divinity; served as the director of the short-lived Michael Polanyi Institute, which he described as an “intelligent design think tank” at Baylor University; currently serves on the faculty of the fundamentalist Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth
  • John West, who holds a doctorate in government, serves as associate director of the Discovery Institute’s¬†Center for Science and Culture and vice president for public policy and legal affairs
  • Paul Nelson, who holds a doctorate in philosophy and is a fellow at the Discovery Institute
  • Bruce Gordon, doctorate in the philosophy of science, former associate director of the Polanyi Institute at Baylor, currently a research director at the Discovery Institute
  • Jonathan Witt, doctorate in English and currently a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute
  • Robert Marks, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Baylor

Yes, the list includes a smattering of folks who do have doctorates in research science, but accomplished research biologists they’re not. Of course, the Disco Institute also notes this about the seminars:

Each seminar will also include frank treatment of the academic realities that ID researchers confront in graduate school and beyond, and strategies for dealing with them.

Uh huh. We bet that means the anti-evolution movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” (click¬†here and here) will be required viewing.

Please. The argument that teaching “weaknesses” of evolution in public schools has nothing to do with promoting “intelligent design”/creationism is a sham. Perpetuating that fraud is why creationists on the Texas state board put Meyer on the science curriculum review panel. It’s why they invited Meyer to speak to the board last week. And it’s why stopping this nonsense is one of the most important things all of us can do to promote a 21st-century science education for Texas students.

You can help. Click here to Stand Up for Science.

4 thoughts on “Summer Seminars in Pseudoscience

  1. Defining scientific: .”…a theory should be considered scientific if and only if it is falsifiable.” …Karl Popper

    This statement is widely accepted in the scientific community. Science is a study of constants and an inquiry of probabilities. Evidence plus concensus of opinion does not produce a fact. Scientific theories are not absolutes but sre ongoing inquiries of falsifiabilities. We must not demand more of science than its limiting parameters dictates.
    ..James E Gambrell