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Intelligent Design Event in Dallas

I was a little late in hearing about this, and then it took me a little while to blog about it, but I recently learned that there's going to be an Intelligent Design event not too far from me at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Not too surprisingly, the anthropology, geology, and biology departments at the university weren't too happy about it, and all sent letters to the school administrators expressing their dismay. The administrators responded with their own statement, part of which said, "Although SMU makes its facilities available as a community service, and in support of the free marketplace of ideas, providing facilities for those programs does not imply SMU's endorsement of the presenters' views."

For now, I'll just take that statement at face value, and assume that SMU would also lend its facilities to the KKK, holocaust deniers, or flat-earthers. After all, it's in the interest of the "free marketplace of ideas," right? What I'd rather focus on in this entry is the response by William Dembski. For anyone who's followed Intelligent Design (ID) at all, Dembski's name should be very familiar - he's one of the main ID "theorists," a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, and has become infamous for his use of information theory to try to support intelligent design.

Part of Dembski's response was, "Doesn’t the 'M' in SMU refer to 'Methodist' and aren't Methodists believers in God? Is SMU's anthropology department committed to hiring anti-God faculty?" Okay, I know that for most, ID really is religiously motivated, and I've heard that proponents had been slipping more recently, but isn't the standard line still supposed to be that ID is a purely scientific concept (oops, I mean, "theory"), and that the identity/intentions of "the designer" are irrelevant to detecting design. I mean, haven't people (like Dembski himself) even said that the designer could be sufficiently advanced aliens? Nice to see that they're finally dropping the facade and just coming right out and saying that it's religious. I'd be willing to bet, though, that all those believers in theistic evolution would be a little upset at being called "anti-God."

Anyway, I'm tempted to actually go see this conference, just to see what it's like (in a slowing down to see a car wreck kind of way), but two hours away is just a little too far to go. Plus the fact that they're actually charging for tickets, and there's no way I'd ever give any money to support these hucksters.

Addendum: I forgot to mention this originally, but I just wanted to make it clear. Even if you ignore that ID is religiously motivated and just look at it scientifically, it still has no real evidence to back it up, and shouldn't be taken seriously. Just go browse Talk Origins for some of the evidence for evolution, or better yet, just go read some science magazines.

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