Friday, 16 December 2016

It's nearly Kitzmas!

I answered a question on quora ( here ) and the person who posted the question later admitted to be trolling. I liked my answer and wanted to keep it handy.

If evolutionists get "creationists" from gibberish like "cdesign proponentsists", how can we trust them to use scientific evidence reasonably?

Brian Dean
Brian Deanevolution proponent who reads a lot

Answering: “If evolutionists get "creationists" from gibberish like "cdesign proponentsists", how can we trust them to use scientific evidence reasonably?”
For reference, the question is based on the Dover ID Trial of 2005 - the eleventh anniversary of the end of that trial is in four days. Merry Kitzmas, everyone!
At the heart of the trial was an Intelligent Design textbook, Of Pandas and People. The earliest versions of this book used the word “creationist” and later versions used the words “design proponent”. Sometime in 1987, US courts ruled that teaching creationism was a form of promoting religion and so could not be told. Here is the relevant portion of the book from before that trial (images of text from Kitzmiller v. Dover: Intelligent Design on Trial):
Early 1987:
Soon after that trial:
Later versions had the error fixed and read, “…….former is correct, design proponents accept the latter view…”

In direct response (but not exactly answer)to the question, the conclusion from the evidence seems warranted. Getting “creationists” from “cdesign proponentists” is indeed silly. But seeing that the word used in earlier copies was ‘creationist’, the word used in recent copies was ‘design proponent’ and “cdesign proponentists” was used in between really supports the conclusion that the “c” and the “ists” were from “creationists”.
These transcripts from the trial ( July 14 Hearing: Jon A. Buell )show the publisher of the book, Jon Buell, explaining that the company is not Christian based company. However, the plaintiff lawyers then shared the IRS charitable tax exemption. From the transcript:
Q And if you go about 60 percent down the page, there's an entry for Statement of Organization's Primary Exempt Purpose.
A Um-hum, um-hum.
Q And the explanation that the Foundation provides to the IRS is that its primary exempt purpose is promoting and publishing textbooks presenting a Christian perspective, isn't that right?
A That's what it says.
Q Okay. And Pandas is one of those publications, isn't it?
A No, Pandas doesn't fit this because this is not an accurate statement.
Q Okay. This --
A This statement was -- we had a new CP A do our 990 and audit we had never used before.
Q Now, your counsel brought up your articles of incorporation and I'd like to show those to you as well.
These are the articles of incorporation that the Foundation filed with the state of Texas.
THE COURT: I'm not sure that was recognized as a question.
THE WITNESS: Oh, I'm sorry, yes, I'm sorry.
THE COURT: Let's keep this moving.
MR. ROTHSCHILD: Sorry, Your Honor.
Q And on the second page of the document there's a signature space with your signature on it?
A On the second page of the document? Yes, uh-huh, I see it.
Q If you go to the third page of the document, it identifies the purposes for the -- for which the corporation was formed?
A Right.
Q And what it states is that the primary purpose is both religious and educational, and then it talks about making known the Christian gospel and understanding of the Bible?
A Yes.
Q Is it your testimony that that's also an inaccurate submission?
A It was boilerplate that the attorney that was helping us become established used. I felt that it was inappropriate. He said we need to be clear in identifying yourself as having a genuine nonprofit purpose, and so the language that originated with me is the phrase, "but is not limited to."
Q And everything else was the attorney's?
A Yes, most of it, I think nearly all of it, possibly all of it.
Q So the accountant got it wrong and the attorney got it wrong?
That Christian publishers chose to publish the book does not make it creationist but that they lied - and they either lied about being Christian for tax reasons or they lied when they claimed not to be Christians -must show they were hiding something. On its own, maybe the publisher was only guilty of tax fraud (and incorporation statement fraud, if that is a thing), but when added to the changes in the book, it appears they were hiding its creationist origins.
To the person who posted the question, I have two of my own. How can you trust the authors and publishers of the book considering their dishonesty? And how is the ‘cdesign proponentists” = ‘creationists” conclusion unreasonable?

Brian Dean

Mr Anonymous, evidence is gibberish? Do you dispute that earlier editions of the book used the word, “creationist”? Do you dispute that later versions used, “design proponent?” How can you dispute that?

Brian Dean

I hit wrong keys all the time. I have even had my fingers shifted one key to the left to many words were gibberish. I’m sympathetic.
Wait, wait, wait. You wrote, “ He meant to say creationist…” I’ve already written that I am sympathetic to lapses or errors. I fully accept that you might have made a mistake. I just need to confirm this. Your original question was “If evolutionists get ‘creationists” from gibberish like “cdesign proponenists…” and now you are saying “he meant to write ‘creationist”. I accept that you could have made a mistake. Please clear this up for me. Because if you are did not make an error, then you would seem to be agreeing with me.
Earlier versions of the book had the word “creationist”. It is clear the ‘guy’ made a simple mistake while editing but did this guy, or other guys, accidentally type “creationist” in the earliest editions?
Please recall that there was not simply one edition in the trial. I am not certain which editions were used and displayed in the trial. But we know that in 1983, the book had the word, “creationist”. We know that in early 1987, the book had the words, “cdesign proponentists” and we know that later in 1987, the book had the words, “design proponent”. Did all the book prior to mid-1987 have clumsy fingered editors, who first accidentally typed “creationist” and then later accidentally typed “cdesign proponentists?”
Brian Dean

I also need to jump in regarding “atheists”. Many of the plaintiffs were Christians, they simply belonged to Christian groups that accept evolution. As does Dr Ken Miller, a lead witness for the plaintiffs.
Throughout the case, ID proponents earned themselves a bad name.
And also, you, just like ID proponents, are trying to have it both ways. “ID isn’t religious.” And “if you attack ID, you are anti-religion.“ If ID isn’t religious, isn’t a form of creationism, then attacking it cannot be an attack on religion and so can’t be (exclusively) blamed on atheists.