Commentary on the so-called Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design Debate and Right-Wing nuttery in general - and please ignore the typos (I make lots!)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sal Cordova just keeps sticking his foot in his mouth...

Many moons ago, Salvador Cordova, with BS in physics (music minor), was interviewed by writers from the scientific journal Nature. They were doing a story on the rise of creationism and its cloaked newer version, Intelligent Design. Cordova had been instrumental in establishing what are called 'IDEA' (Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness) clubs at a few universities. These clubs are basically an offshoot of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowships (they are not affiliated or associated with each other, rrather, I am commenting on the membership and discussions therein) that focus on the so-called creation-evolution debate and advopcate a pro-Intelligent Design alternative (the IDEA club at Cornell University , and presumably elsewhere, had requirements that its officers be bible-believing Christians. So much for 'just the science', eh? After much uproar, that requirement was removed...).

One of the mantras of the ID movement is that it is all about the science, not the religion. Cordova used to espouse this position emphatically. Yet, in his interview, he made it quite clear that the primary reason behind his ID advocacy was religion. This did not stop him from spamming numerous discussion boards and email groups with 'news' of his appearance in "the presigious journal Nature" (see here and here for but two of probably dozens of such examples).

But on to more recent Cordova effects.

It seems that Cordova attempted to address a post written by Ed Brayton regarding the true nature of the ID movement. Brayton had remarked that it seemed more intent upon 'converting' the uneducated masses than it did about engagingin scientific pursuits. Well, read how Cordova all but gave Brayton a cigar for being right about it all along... I suggest the reader follow the link to see the twisted 'logic' of a prolific ID advocate in action. Just a taste (note the simpleton's analogy-as-evidence that Cordova uses in bold):

The issues that come up are what empirical evidence exists and which framework gives a more adequate explanation. For example, I met a couple computer science students entering junior year who were Christians. I pointed out the cell is a computer with operating systems and software and compilers. I simply posed the question, "do you think Darwinian evolution can make that? You design computer systems, do you think Darwinian evolution can make something like a computer system?" They shook their heads and laughed that evolutionary biologists actually believe that Darwinian evolution can create such systems! And I can guarantee you there ain't an evolutionary biologist on the planet who can take first principles of information science and computer science and make a case that Darwinian evolution can account for these systems. Do you think someone like Richard Dawkins or PZ Myers will have any persuassive effect on these highly intelligent future citizens of society?

Brayton replies:

The fact that you, and the people you're talking to, actually find this analogy to be a persuasive argument that overthrows 150 years of productive scientific research in evolutionary biology only confirms my argument all the more. I'm sure that someone without any understanding of how such functional complexity can be built up through numerous evolutionary processes finds it a very compelling argument, but this is an artifiact of their ignorance, not of the validity of evolutionary theory.

Well said, Ed.

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