What Sam Brownback thinks about evolution

In today’s NYT

It’s softer than the outright denial of evolution that was assumed when he raised his hand at the debate, and certainly doesn’t sound like young-earth creationism. It seems to be intelligent design creationism without explicitly mentioning intelligent design – although some keywords are present. He, of course, uses many of the classic denialist arguments.

For instance:
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Badscience takes on the Independent

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks the Independent is a joke when it comes to science reporting. The latest idiocy is the idea of “electrosmog”, which I think results from having watched The Ring too many times (just that first scene with the two girls talking about radio signals). It results in a condition known as “electrosensitivity”, which I think is a synonym for “nuts” or “wants attention” or “you have a dumb doctor”.

If you want your eyes to fall out, you can read the Independent article yourself.

The problem, and the real sad part of this is that we are watching the genesis of a new fake disease. All you need to do to create a fake disease is come up with a semi-plausible environmental toxin or infectious disease, describe a bunch of symptoms that hypochondriacs have all the time (as well as several other varieties of crazy that shall remain nameless), and publish it in a newspaper. Within days, a new disease will be created with all sorts of people with non-specific complaints showing up in doctor’s offices complaining of diffuse pain, tiredness, itchiness, insomnia…

Real doctors usually then sadly apply one or more “dustbin diagnoses” just to get rid of these patients, a sad practice that just results in more confusion and crazy for the patient. They then form internet forums, start writing letters, and before you know it Congress will be talking about investigating the scientific conspiracy to ignore the fake disease. I think I sense a “How to create a fake disease HOWTO” coming on.

I think I need to go lay down. My wifi is making me tired.

Denialists’ Deck of Cards: The Queen of Diamonds, “We Need Regulatory Relief”

i-47327bbf2e4aaf956ebc656ad4b9bdb3-qd.jpg Sometimes the success of a consumer intervention will create “blowback,” and allow the industry to not only win but also demand other concessions.

An excellent recent example of regulatory blowback came with the creation of the federal Do-Not-Call Registry. In creating the registry, the Federal Communications Commission also tried to tighten regulations on “junk faxes,” unsolicited commercial fax messages. The FCC ruled that “junk fax” senders had to document that they had consent from recipients of their messages. The junk faxers organized into a huge coalition (the deceptively-named “Fax Ban Coalition”), lobbied Congress, reversed the FCC’s rule and actually make it easier to send junk faxes by having deceptively-named “Junk Fax Protection Act” passed.

A question for Luskin III

Gosh, they just can’t accept that no reputable science department wants an IDer around. They continue to push this academic freedom issue, when it’s perfectly acceptable to consider an applicant’s ideas when they are pursued intramurally, and can’t quite decide whether they want to make it a religious discrimination issue – risking admitting that ID is a theologic concept or actually looking to see if other Christians have had a problem at ISU.

So I think it’s time again to repeat my question for Luskin.

Mr. Luskin, is it the considered opinion of the DI, UD etc., that it is never acceptable to discriminate against a professor in a tenure decision based on their ideas?

Sorry to harp on it guys, but an answer would be of great interest.

Denialists’ Deck of Cards: The Sixth Hand, The Gloves Come Off

If the denialist is on the brink of losing, a number of high stakes arguments can be made. The bear/bull market argument is one of my favorites. Just look at tax policy–no matter what the economy is doing, tax cuts are the solution. And in privacy, if the economy’s weak, there shouldn’t be interventions to protect consumers; if the economy’s strong, interventions could make the market weak!

i-e9c987e71f4415eb0c74e05a507bc833-qc.jpg If there’s a bear market, obviously there shouldn’t be interventions in the market, right?

If there’s a bull market, obviously there shouldn’t be interventions in the market, right?


One month of denialism

We’ve been on for one month now. It was a pretty good start. We got about 110k pageviews, about 54k visitors, 100 entries and 1050 comments on those entries. We’ve gone through what makes a denialist argument, what makes a crank, 3 major categories of denialists (there are many more) and almost a whole deck of denialist cards – only the high cards are left.

If you like the job we’re doing, let us know. If there is something you want more of, we’d be happy to hear about it. As always, if you’re just joining us and you want to read what we’re all about, our “about” page summarizes the major posts to get you caught up to speed.