• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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Evil Darwinists Attempt to Ban The Truth of Intelligent Design

Unsurprisingly, the cry of “censorship!” has gone up now scientists have dared to respond to Stephen Meyers’ 26-page academic paper in support of Intelligent Design. According to Agape Press:

A pro-Darwin lobbying group is being accused of trying to censor a published and peer-reviewed scientific article that deals favorably with the theory of intelligent design.

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) claims the article by Dr. Stephen Meyer is “substandard science” and should not have been published by the peer-reviewed biology journal, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.

Clearly, such “claims” amount to a call for ID literature to be banned.

Proceedings is a journal that ordinarily deals in descriptions of new species. Meyer specialises in history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University, although he also has a background in geophysics. Since the article’s appearance in August, biologists at The Panda’s Thumb, Pharyngula,  and elsewhere have been offering critiques and raising questions about the review process: questions that have led the board associated with the journal to also make critical remarks. Now Dr John West, associate director of the Discovery Institute‘s Center for Science and Culture (CSC) and Meyer have responded to Agape reporters:

Dr. John West…says the NCSE has flip-flopped just like a politician.

Oh, I wonder if he has any particular politician in mind? But let us proceed:

“The refrain of Darwinists up till this point has been intelligent design isn’t science because its proponents don’t publish peer-reviewed articles,” West says. “That has always been false; in fact, scientists have been publishing peer-reviewed articles about their ideas on intelligent design.” Now, however, he says the scientists who want to exclude intelligent design and promote Darwinist science cannot ignore West’s paper, because it has appeared in “a very standard, peer-reviewed biology journal.”

Eh? Have they been publishing in peer-reviewed journals before or not? Seems West is making two contradictory statements (a flip-flop?). What’s more:

The Biological Society of Washington has distanced itself from the article and from [Richard] Sternberg [the editor of the journal], accusing him of bad judgment. Meanwhile, a recent report in Nature describes Proceedings as a “low-impact journal” and quotes a Brown University biologist as saying “peer review isn’t a guarantee of accuracy.”

Dr. Meyer himself has noted the double standard being applied to his article. “Until a few days ago,” he says, “Darwinists have argued that intelligent design isn’t science because it hasn’t been published in peer-reviewed journals. But now that an increasing number of scientists are making their case for design in scientific publications, Darwinists are ready to disown peer review — temporarily, I’m sure.”

Actually, the review piece in The Panda’s Thumb (by Alan Gishlick, Nick Matzke, and Wesley R. Elsberry) hardly “disowns” peer review or dismisses the paper:

We congratulate ID on finally getting an article in a peer-reviewed biology journal, a mere fifteen years after the publication of the 1989 ID textbook Of Pandas and People, a textbook aimed at inserting ID into public schools. It is gratifying to see the ID movement finally attempt to make their case to the only scientifically relevant group, professional biologists. This is therefore the beginning (not the end) of the review process for ID. Perhaps one day the scientific community will be convinced that ID is worthwhile. Only through this route — convincing the scientific community, a route already taken by plate tectonics, endosymbiosis, and other revolutionary scientific ideas — can ID earn a legitimate place in textbooks.

Apparently, such sentiments are in fact a call for ID to be “censored” by Darwinian fundamentalists…

However, Meyer and his editor Sternberg have another complaint that Agape declines to mention, but is noted in an article in The Scientist, and reported via WorldNetDaily (where Meyer has previously published):

Sternberg told the journal he and Meyer have falsely been labeled creationists by the scientific community, noting: “It’s fascinating how the ‘creationist’ label is falsely applied to anyone who raises any questions about neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. The reaction to the paper by some [anti-creationist] extremists suggests that the thought police are alive and well in the scientific community.”…

“Dr. Meyer is a well-known proponent of intelligent design and that is what his paper is about,” Crowther told The Scientist. “To try and characterize him as a creationist is just an attempt to stigmatize him and marginalize his paper, all the while avoiding the scientific issues that it raises.”

Lee Jae-Rock: Germans Must Repent

I like the Charismatic Christian news service ASSIST Ministries. It often contains very interesting information unavailable elsewhere, and usually its news journalists try to bring in various views and perspectives, rather than just push a particular line. Also, in a world where most of the religious wingnuts have been snapped up by Pete at the Dark Window and SZ at World O’Crap, its opinion pieces have provided one or two just for me, such as Tom Snyder and Tom Marsland. However, for some reason the writers have completely fallen for extremely dodgy South Korean faith healer Lee Jae-Rock, who for months has been reported in nothing other than gushing terms. Back in November it described at length a miracle rally in St Petersburg:

Soon, people were moving out of the audience to stand on the stage and give witness to their healing. One of them was a 44-year-old who had not walked since his childhood. As he came on stage, it was obvious that his leg was bent like the letter Z. Soon he was walking across the stage and holding up his crutches. Scores of others follow him including a woman who threw away her crutches and walked and there were several people who were blind and deaf who were healed. (Pictured: 44-year-old man walks for first time since childhood).

In fact, the accompanying picture was completely underwhelming (James Randi agreed with me). As we can see, the man is still clearly disabled in both his left leg and arm:

supposed-miracle-by-jae-rock-lee

ASSIST also added that:

There were two medical teams on hand – one led by Dr. Vera [Samarina], a professor at a St. Petersburg university and also a radio personality and writer – and Dr. Nikolai [no apparent surname], who is a psychiatric professor at the Naval Academy.

“Dr. Nikolai is going to write a paper about the miracles that have taken place during the crusade,” said Johnny Kim. “And Dr. Vera is planning to have a special seminar in which she will bring some of those who were healed before the medical community so that they can personally see what God has done! She is also planning to form a Christian doctors association in St. Petersburg.”

In May I contacted ASSIST to ask about the academic paper proving Jae-Rock’s supernatural powers. They forwarded my question to Johnny Kim, Lae-Rock’s assistant. After a while, having received no response there, I wrote back to ASSIST suggesting the need for a bit of scepticism, and perhaps some input from someone like Peter May (a British Christian who opposes irresponsible claims of miracles). That received no reply (perhaps I shouldn’t have also mentioned Randi), and neither did my query about what they thought about some odd beliefs attributed to Jae-Rock. Some of these are (as reported on a hostile website):

The prophets, disciples, apostles, God and Jesus all appeared in photos he took with his camera after he imposed his hands on it in prayer.
(July 17th 1998 at a Friday all night prayer meeting)

Sin resides in the blood of the human. The blood of Jesus shed on the cross had no original sin or committed sin. Jae Rock explained that he himself shed all of his blood in 1992, so the sinful blood from his parents was done away with and he was refilled with new blood that does not have any original or committed sin.
(July 5th 1998 Sunday evening service)

When Jae-Rock calls any of the prophets, disciples or Patriarchs they appear before him just like an executive will appear when the president calls. Jae-Rock says they come and greet him.
(July 5th, 1998 Sunday evening service & July 17th,1998 Friday all night prayer meeting)

Jae-Rock has accomplished all the words in the 66 books of the Bible except walking on water.
(June 21st, 1998 Sunday service)

There is also some strange stuff about UFOs. Back in 1999 the BBC reported that a critical South Korean TV documentary on Jae-Rock was forced to postpone after his followers invaded the television station.

Now, ASSIST reports that Jae-Rock is planning a new “Miracle Healing Festival” in Düsseldorf, and this has inspired his assistant to make what must be the ministry’s most crass statement yet:

We have come to believe that God the Trinity wants the Manmin ministry to have a conference in Germany so that firstly, God wants to show his great love by giving a chance to German people who did something really bad towards His chosen people, the Jews, in the Second World War to repent before the return of Jesus Christ.

Yes, Germans are still all Nazis. They have done absolutely nothing to mend their ways since 1945, and it’s high time Jae-Rock got them to repent. Plus, the Germans didn’t just kill anyone, they killed people chosen by God, which is worse.

(More of Jae-Rock’s “evidence” for miraculous healings can be seen here)