Special Interests Gets Rebuked Over False Claims

What is the role of special interest groups like the NCSE? It’s an organization which gets paid to lobby lawmakers on a full-time or part-time  basis into passing certain policies that it supports. For example, Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, known as the Louisiana Science Education Act, was passed and enacted in 2008. The fight for a particular slant of a law doesn’t stop there. Three years later lobbyists push lawmakers into filing a bill which is to repeal the law.

Why are special interest groups like the NCSE opposed to the Louisiana Science Education Act? Here is what they claim

“The LSEA features language that could be used for the insertion of religious or unscientific views in science classrooms. The bill disingenuously implies that particular theories, including evolution, are controversial among scientists.”

Isn’t “critical thinking” a common practice among scientists who endorse evolution? So why can’t students in the United States do the same? There is a great deal controversial ideas within evolution, however this bill doesn’t question whether or not evolution is a true ‘theory’ but rather it specifies that evolution is only to be taught in the public schools.

Here is another accusation which expands on the previous one against the bill implying a ‘conspiracy theory’…

“Since 2008, antievolutionists have not only sought to undermine the law’s provision allowing challenges to unsuitable supplementary materials but have also reportedly invoked the law to support proposals to teach creationism in at least two parishes — Livingston and Tangipahoa — and to attack the treatment of evolution in biology textbooks proposed for adoption by the state. Meanwhile, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology urged Louisianans to repeal the law in 2008, and the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology decided to hold its conferences elsewhere while the law remains on the books.”

Then there is California’s attorney Larry Caldwell who Eugenie Scott targeted for her ‘conspiracy theory’ accusations back in 2005. She wrote an article entitled “In My Backyard: Creationists in California,” which appeared in such places as online editions of the Academy’s California Wild magazine, and was also linked on the NCSE website.

Here is Caldwell’s rebuke found on Post-Darwinist

“Contrary to false statements and implications in Scott’s article, I never asked the district to ban or limit the teaching of evolution in biology classes, or to present the Bible or the Genesis account of creation in biology classes, or to teach creation science, or young-earth creation, or intelligent design theory in biology classes, and our district’s board of trustees never considered implementing any such policy for its biology classes. Contrary to Scott’s claim, our board also never “declared that . . . [any] creationist materials would be ‘recommended’ but not required.”

Eventually Eugenie Scott was sued, and she had to retract her false accusations against Caldwell, but did the likes of Eugenie learn her lesson. Remember, this is something special interests get paid to do on a full-time basis and provide information to lawmakers as well as the public. Here is a story which started back in 2009, which has been brought to the forefront…

“It was guest-edited by Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, and James H. Fetzer, a former editor of the journal. They included an essay by Barbara Forrest, of Southeastern Louisiana University, condemning the work of the philosopher Francis J. Beckwith, who believes it is constitutionally permissible, although not advisable, to teach intelligent design in public schools.”

“But Dr. Beckwith says he is no ally of the intelligent design movement, whose mainly Christian proponents argue that certain features of the universe are best explained by a “designer,” perhaps a god or deity, rather than by natural selection or other scientific theories.”

The Beckwith-Forrest-Synthese controversy escalated when Forrest invoked the ‘conspiracy theory’ using circular reasoning based on her bias much like Eugenie Scott did with Caldwell.

“Dr. Forrest said this week that she suspected that intelligent design theorist William A. Dembski “was involved in this, because his work was mentioned” in her article, too. Reached by phone, Dr. Dembski said that he had not contacted Synthese and knew of no specific campaign to influence the journal.”

The philosophy journal disassociated itself and rightfully so with the tone and ‘conspiracy theory’ used in the article. It was great to see false accusations such as these exposed for what they are. This doesn’t mean, these types of special interests have learned a lesson, it just restrains them from carrying out more outrageous false claims. Here is Eugenie Scott’s ‘conspiracy theory’ which is an embarrassment to the pro-evolution community that ended in retraction when she wrote this to the editor…

“Further investigation suggests that the books Refuting Evolution and Life: How Did It Get Here? were submitted to the Roseville school board by other residents, not by Larry Caldwell, and were not considered after submission.

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13 thoughts on “Special Interests Gets Rebuked Over False Claims

  1. What is the role of special interest groups like the Discovery Institute? It’s an organization which gets paid to lobby lawmakers on a full-time or part-time basis into passing certain policies that it supports. For example, Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, known as the Louisiana Science Education Act, was written by the Discovery Institute and enacted in 2008.

    Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, Michael. You might also note these facts:
    > $4,000,000 = Annual budget for lobbying by Discovery Institute.
    > . .$800,000 = Annual budget for lobbying by the NCSE.
    Amazing the Disco Tute spends five times as much to argue for these laws as the NCSE does to argue against them. And yet almost all of the bills ultimately fail

  2. . . . . . .Special Interests Gets [sic] Rebuked Over False Claims

    So, what exactly were these “false claims”?

    The person who submitted a book and the subject of an opinion were misidentified as someone else. But the ID book was submitted, and the opinion was justified. That is, the subject matter of the claims was true, and no one disputes that.

    Compared to creationists’ blatant disregard for truth, this incident is risible.

    We do expect scientists to be truthful, and hold them to a high standard. When a scientist violates this expectation, it is news.

    On the other hand, we take little notice when the Discovery Institute singles out evolution for “critical thinking,” disingenuously claiming that they do not, no never, seek thereby to introduce their own pseudoscience, or protest that their motivation is not—heaven forfend!—religious. In other words, everyone expects ID and creationists to lie. No news there.

    Keep on crowing, Michael. The laughter will drown it out.

  3. @Lance Ponder:

    You say:

    NCSE is nothing by an anti-Christian hack group. **sigh**

    You should not make such an uninformed claim, since thee NCSE has no religious leaning:

    From the NCSE FAQ section:

    What is NCSE’s religious position?

    None. The National Center for Science Education is not affiliated with any religious organization or belief. We and our members enthusiastically support the right of every individual to hold, practice, and advocate their beliefs, religious or non-religious. Our members range from devout practitioners of several religions to atheists, with many shades of belief in between. What unites them is a conviction that science and the scientific method, and not any particular religious belief, should determine science curriculum.

    Link: http://ncse.com/about/faq

    It should also be noticed that many Atheists have gone after the NCSE lately calling it “too pro-Christian,” or “anti-Atheist” simply because it takes no religious position.

  4. NCSE is nothing by an anti-Christian hack group. **sigh**

    NCSE has been beleaguered for a long time by atheists such as PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne for their “accomodationist” policies toward religion NCSE bends over backward to respect religious opinions and beliefs.

    .

    The title of this post is “Special Interests Gets Rebuked Over False Claims.” As I mentioned in a previous comment,

    In other words, everyone expects ID and creationists to lie.

    So I guess we should expect that Lance will lie as well.

    It sill does surprise that creationists, who purport to follow Christian moral precepts, have such a reputation for lying about science. Especially when, as here, they attempt to hold scientists to to a standard that they themselves routinely trample underfoot. There is a name for this: It’s called HYPOCRISY.

  5. Have you guys ever heard Eugenie Scott speak?

    Yes.. Not in person, but a number of presentations to various organizations on-line.

    Scott personally went from Christian Science to Congregational to secular humanist. Although she makes her own beliefs known, she shows no personal disrespect to religion—as, say, PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins do.

    Scott does disrespect creationism, because it claims to be scientific and makes false statements about scientific subjects. If this is anti-Christian, then Catholic priest and Templeton prize winner Francisco Ayala, who bashes creationism regularly, is also anti-Christian.

    Eugenie Scott’s talks cannot be construed anti-Christian unless Lance believes that only creationists are true Christians. Apparently he does.

  6. @Lance Ponder

    Have you guys ever heard Eugenie Scott speak? Believe what you will.

    Even if Eugenie Scott were anti-Christian himself, he is only ONE single member of the NCSE. You cannot damn an entire organization based on the views of one member.

    As I pointed out, Atheists have condemned the NCSE for being Anti-Atheistic simply because it does not come against Theism. — One Atheist named Jerry Cone wrote an open letter to the NCSE saying the following:

    The official policy of your organizations—certainly of the NCSE—is apparently to cozy up to religion. You have “faith projects,” you constantly tell us to shut up about religion, and you even espouse a kind of theology which claims that faith and science are compatible. Clearly you are going to continue with these activities, for you’ve done nothing to change them in the face of criticism. And your employees, past and present, will continue to heap invective on New Atheists and tar people like Richard Dawkins with undeserved opprobrium.

    We will continue to answer the misguided attacks by people like Josh Rosenau, Roger Stanyard, and Nick Matzke so long as they keep mounting those attacks. I don’t expect them to abate, but I’d like your organizations to recognize this: you have lost many allies, including some prominent ones, in your attacks on atheism. And I doubt that those attacks have converted many Christians or Muslims to the cause of evolution. This is a shame, because we all recognize that the NCSE has done some great things in the past and, I hope, will—like the new BCSE—continue do great things in the future.

    Please notice that Cone accused the NCSE of attacking Atheism.

    Wow, if we have Creationists and “New Atheists” attacking the NCSE for either being “too pro-Christian” or “anti-Atheistic,” then I think it is more likely that the NCSE is neither of those two things.

  7. Why do you visit this site olorin, eelco and krisssmith for years if your not into creationism?

  8. Kris, Eugenie Scott is not simply a member of NCSE. She has been its Executive Director since 1987. She was also one of the leading consultants in the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial in 2005.

    Your other remarks are entirely correct. By no stretch of anyone’s imagination is she, or NCSE, anti-Christian.

  9. @tictac

    Why do you visit this site olorin, eelco and krisssmith for years if your not into creationism?

    For the benefit of those who read the comments we put up that debunk Michael’s drivel. — Sad thing, most reputable creationists at AiG and ICR likely not be thrilled with Michael’s arguments.

  10. Why do you visit this site olorin, eelco and krisssmith for years if your [sic] not into creationism?

    Michael can express anything he likes as a religious belief. When he claims that it is SCIENCE, and then lies about the science, then I must object. And, it’s so easy. Michael is abjectly ignorant of the basics of every field of science, and of how science works in general. Once, he called zinc a “complex organic compound,” and wondered how it could have been created. This is typical.

    In fact, almost two years ago now, Michael challenged Eeclo and me to lay out our backgrounds in science. Which we did, and then challenged Michael to tell us his scientific resume. Michael has never done so, despite repeated, ahem, reminders.

  11. @Olorin

    In fact, almost two years ago now, Michael challenged Eeclo and me to lay out our backgrounds in science. Which we did, and then challenged Michael to tell us his scientific resume. Michael has never done so, despite repeated, ahem, reminders.

    Over two years of reminding him. It becomes clear that he has none, or he would have said otherwise. — I have none, but I never pretended otherwise, and I have a much better understanding on Evolution than Michael… Indeed, I dare say I understand Creationism much better than he does as well.

    — Asking us why we are commenting here since we object to Creationists comes across to me as another way of saying, “Since you are not creationists, why do you care?” We could turn the question on its head on any creationist commenting on Panda’s Thumb by asking “You are not into evolution, so why are you commenting.?” People comment because they feel they have something to say for the benefit of others reading…Well, I hope that’s the main reason anyway, since many trolls tend to leave comments as well.

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