When You Haven’t Got a Clue, Call Yourself the IDEA Center!

The IDEA Center

One of the offshoots of the Discovery Institute is called the IDEA Center. Its purpose is to form a lot of little creationism clubs around the country. Just like there are local clubs for photography, single parents, off-roading, and hundreds of other lifestyles and hobbies, now there is a local club for mouth-breathers and droolers!

Officially, “IDEA” stands for Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness. I don’t need a club. I’m already aware of both. Evolution is a valid scientific theory that explains all of the observed data and makes testable predictions. ID creationism is a cynical smokescreen created by religious fundamentalists to weaken public education, destroy the natural sciences, and obliterate the First Amendment. This is not hyperbole. The Discovery Institute’s own Wedge Document admits as much, although not quite as explicitly.

Anyway, the IDEA Center started off as an on-campus creationism club at the University of California, San Diego. I know. It boggles the mind that people that ignorant of science can somehow get accepted to the University of California. Maybe they were all liberal arts majors or something. (We don’t want biology to be a prerequisite for poetry, and vice versa.)

ID creationism was invented by Phillip Johnson, who was a professor at UC Berkeley(!). His qualifications were impeccable: He taught law! This is typical in pseudoscience. Crazy things like chiropractic, chelation therapy, homeopathy, etc., are invented by people who are total buttfuck ignoramuses and have no clue how things really work. Rather than go through all of the time and effort required to find out, they realize that it’s much easier to just dig around inside their ass and see what they can pull out.

So one day in 1999, Phillip Johnson somehow managed to get a speaking gig at UCSD. Why the school didn’t immediately lose its accreditation is beyond me. In the audience were Casey Luskin and some of his fellow brain slugs. Collectively, they had maybe three neurons among them, which they had to pass around in order to have a thought. It was sort of a creationist version of the Graeae from Greek mythology (The Graeae were three witches who had one eye and one tooth among them, which they had to pass around. Fortunately Casey Luskin and his friends have most of their teeth. I think they have all of their eyes, too, but they sure don’t use them to look at the evidence for evolution!).

Luskin managed to earn both a B.A. and M.S. in Earth Sciences at UCSD. It’s hard to fathom how a creationist can get all the way through a master’s program in geology. He’s apparently an old-Earth creationist, but still the mind reels. How does he reconcile the standard geological theory of how the Earth formed and cooled over billions of years with his idea that after the Earth formed, God had to blow on it to cool it off? (Or some such crazy notion. These old-Earth creationists will have to explain their ideas to me some time. I still can’t figure out what they believe.)

Luskin and his friends decided that UCSD was doing too good of a job educating people about the origin of species, so they decided to try to sabotage their fellow students’ educations by forming a creationism club. Thus was born the UCSD IDEA club. They later expanded it into the IDEA Center and spread the cancer to colleges and high schools around the world.

The IDEA Center’s Advisory Board is the same small set of clowns who show up at the Discovery Institute and just about everywhere else ID creationism scorches the Earth: Michael Behe, William Dembski, Mark Hartwig, Phillip Johnson, Jay Wesley Richards, and Jonathan Wells. And as an added bonus, their board also includes a couple of non-DI folks, but they’re real winners: young-Earth creationist John Baumgardner (who has some fancy computer models of Noah’s flood—hoo boy!) and Dennis Wagner of Access Research Network (Kevin Wirth’s boss!).

In the “Truth is Funnier than Fiction” department, here is an actual photograph off of the IDEA Center’s web page:

The IDEA Center's board of directors

Hear no Facts, See no Facts, Speak no Facts

Honest to God! The “Intelligent Designer” Isn’t God!

I found this passage in Wikipedia rather amusing:

The center through most of its existence maintained a requirement that those founding new IDEA Clubs or running existing clubs, so-called “club leaders”, be Christian. The reasoning was given as “the IDEA Center Leadership believes, for religious reasons unrelated to intelligent design theory, that the identity of the designer is the God of the Bible.”

(Irony italics added) It sure is amusing that the Discovery Institute swears up and down that their intelligent designer isn’t God, but it’s almost impossible to find an ID creationist who isn’t convinced that it is God. And if it doesn’t have to be God, then why did IDEA Center insist that it was? But the saga continues:

By January 2006 the requirement had been dropped and replaced by a requirement that club leaders accept the IDEA Center’s mission statement which stated “we consider it reasonable to conclude that the designer may be identified as the God of the Bible.”

All that seems to do is drop the requirement that leaders be Judeo-Christian. They’re still saying that their creator is God. But ID creationism isn’t creationism because the creator isn’t God! Right.

As of March 2008, the statement includes both the statements “we consider it reasonable to conclude that the designer may be identified as the God of the Bible” and “IDEA Center Leadership believes that the identity of the designer is the God of the Bible”

So they still haven’t fixed their story. ID creationism is such a feeble smokescreen for the fundie agenda they can’t even keep its motivations secret!

29 Responses to “When You Haven’t Got a Clue, Call Yourself the IDEA Center!”

  1. Rogi Says:

    Gee, these guys must think they are so clever. Shit, they can piss on me and tell me it’s raining any time. I sure hope the hell these people believe in has an ironic punishment division, that way they can spend eternity watching evolution unfold while being told that aliens did it.

  2. Alt Numlock Says:

    Just more proof: Atheism makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled Darwinist.

  3. cipher Says:

    It’s hard to fathom how a creationist can get all the way through a master’s program in geology.

    Please – there are young earth creationists who manage to get PhD’s. A year and a half ago, a young man by the name of Marcus Ross got one in geology and is now at Liberty U, telling his students about the “gaping holes” in evolutionary and cosmological theory.

    Another one managed to wangle one in evolutionary biology from Harvard – under Stephen J. Gould, yet! I understand there was opposition to giving it to him, but Gould argued on his behalf. I imagine he didn’t want to show the bias that creationists do, but really, I think it was a horrible mistake.

    I feel very strongly that fundamentalists do not belong in graduate science programs at secular universities. Ultimately, they capitalize on the degrees, using them to attempt to legitimize whichever cracker factories they go to work for afterward, and, at the same time, they cheapen the degrees for those who come after. And if they earn the degrees honestly, then flip out and become creationists, the degrees should be revoked.

    Yeah, put me in charge. I’ll sort this out in about two minutes.

  4. cipher Says:

    Switching gears – I thought there was some evidence for the effectiveness of chelation therapy. No?

  5. Ron Britton Says:

    Cipher:

    Please – there are young earth creationists who manage to get PhD’s.

    That doesn’t make it any less incredible.

    You’re right about chelation therapy. It’s used to treat heavy metal poisoning. I had forgotten about its legitimate use, because it has been abused so heavily by wackaloons. So it’s actually a bad example. It wasn’t invented by the ass excavation method, merely misapplied by that route.

  6. cipher Says:

    I’ve read that it seems to be useful for removing arterial plaque as well, but, as that article states, the “evidence” is anecdotal. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I don’t find it far-fetched that the medical profession would prefer not to know about it; they make a lot of money from surgical procedures.

    Thanks for converting the link; I hate fiddling around with those damn HTML codes. Hemant has buttons on his site that for it for you! (Hint)

  7. cipher Says:

    Scratch that; I read some more of the articles. I wasn’t aware that EDTA has presented some health risks. I read just a little about it about ten years ago; it seemed promising at the time.

  8. Sue Blue Says:

    Those chimps in the picture probably have higher IQs than anybody in the “IDEA Center.” What a frigging travesty the whole ID movement is. These “people” won’t be happy until we’re all living in huts, flagellating ourselves when when the crops fail or we get sick, and burning old women we don’t like.

  9. Parrotlover77 Says:

    That’s really the problem with woo medicine. There are some very, very legitimate uses of some herbs/procedures/etc. For example, chiropracty and acupuncture can help chronic pain. Now, there is debate to what degree and how much is placebo and so forth, and that really needs better studies. For example, a recent study found that random needle pricking seemed to help as much as following the meridians and both outperformed no needle pricking. So the question is now is it placebo or is just being poked randomly a good thing for pain? I think it’s definitely worth pursuing.

    However, it’s hard to do better studies with some of these procedures because so many practictioners make absolutely insane claims like… adjustments and accupuncture will fix allergies, heart disease — whatever! It’s really annoying.

    On the other hand, one problem with some on the anti-woo movement is that they are too quick to believe the for-profit drug company sponsored studies as much as the pro-woo are too quick to believe that Super Colon Cleanse will make your sex life better (or whatever).

    We need more studies done in academia and we need not-for-profit medicine. The less our medical industry relies on the ability to patent drugs to make money, the easier it will be to find the real herbs that actually do something and the cheaper it will be for all. Maybe. Depends where the research goes. :-)

    Okay, I’m getting off my soapbox now. ;-)

  10. Ron Britton Says:

    I hate fiddling around with those damn HTML codes. Hemant has buttons on his site that for it for you! (Hint)

    I’m way overdue to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress. I assume it can do some of that stuff, or I can find a plugin to do it. I just despise upgrading so much. WordPress is an architectural disaster.

  11. cipher Says:

    We need more studies done in academia and we need not-for-profit medicine.

    Yup. That’s the key. As long as the pharmaceutical companies are funding pretty much everything, we aren’t going to get anywhere. Unfortunately, I don’t see this changing any time soon.

    WordPress is an architectural disaster.

    Really? I know it can be a nightmare to switch from one platform to another – I’ve heard stories of people who’ve lost all of their comments, etc. – but I’d have thought that upgrading to a newer version of the same platform would be easier.

  12. Lindsay Says:

    I agree PL77. I have a tendency to believe that we are an overmedicated society. For example, there are many legitimate cases where anti-depressents are needed…but it really doesn’t truly “fix” your issues. I have friends that genuinely tried to get through therapy who needed pills to get their hormone levels back to normal as much as I know people who would rather take a happy pill than try to go through their issues with a therapist.

    Speaking of interesting…this was on CNN today. Old news, but the comments are an interesting read.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/12/05/atheists.christmas/index.html

  13. Chuck Says:

    This was an entertaining post, to be sure, but I have two issues with it:

    1) Chiropractic, while it was started by a couple of crazy, crazy people, is a valid form of pain management. I suffer from a very rare spinal disorder (kyphoscoliosis), and were it not for my chiropractic treatment prior to corrective surgery I have no idea (short of narcotics) how I would’ve coped with the pain – so I urge you not to group modern chiropractic with totally worthless woo like homeopathy.

    2) I’m not sure if you were serious about not understanding Old Earthers, but since I used to be one I think I can offer a bit of help. Basically, I believed everything I learned in science class, I just believed that the first cause was God (specifically Yahweh, too, not just some abstract ‘god’). Really, in the grand scheme of things, Old Earthers wouldn’t do too much damage if they were left alone. It’s the Young Earthers you’ve gotta take out back and shoot.

  14. Ron Britton Says:

    Chuck:

    Chiropractic, while it was started by a couple of crazy, crazy people, is a valid form of pain management.… I urge you not to group modern chiropractic with totally worthless woo like homeopathy.

    You’re right. The other 99% are making the 1% look bad.

    Basically, I believed everything I learned in science class, I just believed that the first cause was God

    I actually have no problem with that whatsoever, if by “first cause” you mean something had to start the Big Bang but then stood back and let everything take its course. There are multiple flavors of old-Earth creationism. It’s these interventionist-God believers that throw me, because many of them come up with some pretty crazy explanations to reconcile selected facts with the parts of the Bible they choose to believe in.

  15. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I agree PL77. I have a tendency to believe that we are an overmedicated society. For example, there are many legitimate cases where anti-depressants are needed…but it really doesn’t truly “fix” your issues. I have friends that genuinely tried to get through therapy who needed pills to get their hormone levels back to normal as much as I know people who would rather take a happy pill than try to go through their issues with a therapist.

    It goes both ways. I have no childhood trauma or issues to work through, nor do I have stress any greater than anybody else in my life, yet I have (and have had since I can remember) chronic general anxiety. And it runs in the family — grandfather, father, and brother. I never knew how… amazing life could be until I finally stopped worrying about every damn thing. And I have to thank Big Pharma for that little miracle in my life in the form of an inconspicuous little white pill that costs way too damn much, but is worth it for what it gives me.

    On the other hand, there are those with real trauma, abuse, fears, and stressors that need therapy to overcome their depression/anxiety/etc and throwing a pill at them for the rest of their lives may not ever truly make them happy, deep down, even if they do appear functional.

    It’s a real case-by-case thing. The treatment of psychological diseases has come a long way, but certainly has a long way to go. I don’t know to what degree we are “overmedicated,” even though I do believe there are some (many?) doctors that are quick to prescribe a pill instead of digging deeper. My point was that on the road to treating your illness intelligently, rejecting old wives’ tales medical treatments that really are ineffective is good. But, you know, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. :-)

    Of course, the woo practitioners don’t make it easy to NOT be cynical. Did you know that if you put a special (expensive) piece of tape on your foot, sleep with it on, then take it off in the morning and dirt comes off with it, it’s actually pulling heavy metals out of your entire body?!?!!? OMFG! WHO KNEW?! EAT ALL THE SUSHI YOU WANT!

  16. Parrotlover77 Says:

    1) Chiropractic, while it was started by a couple of crazy, crazy people, is a valid form of pain management. I suffer from a very rare spinal disorder (kyphoscoliosis), and were it not for my chiropractic treatment prior to corrective surgery I have no idea (short of narcotics) how I would’ve coped with the pain – so I urge you not to group modern chiropractic with totally worthless woo like homeopathy.

    That was my point earlier… I have a real love/hate relationship wtih chiropractic medicine. A friend of mine from a while back had a Chiropractor that thought he could cure allergies through some weird woo treatment where he holds the allergen in his hand and passes some energy to you. Yea…

    But then later on I met a Chiropractor that treated my wife for neck pain (after trying like 10 other doctors with no success) and he had no woo anywhere to be found in his office. He worked on my wife similar to a physical therapist, but with adjustments. He also did massage and had a lot of machines for various forms of physical therapy. He had some success with my wife, but since he wasn’t having as much success as he liked, he referred us to pain management MD. How much of the success was due to adjustments and how much to more conventional physical thereapy, I just don’t know. But, all in all, this was a good doctor with his patients in mind before anything else. He was also remarkably low-priced, which was great because our insurance at the time had limited chiropractic coverage.

    If only the woo advocates would stop being so annoying and conduct real scientific double blind studies. It would help everybody as we cast off the alternative crap that doesn’t work, and focus on alternative stuff that might actually work.

  17. Ron Britton Says:

    Parrotlover:

    I don’t know to what degree we are “overmedicated,” even though I do believe there are some (many?) doctors that are quick to prescribe a pill instead of digging deeper.

    This is largely the result of our poor medical coverage in this country. We pay more per capita in health care costs than other developed nations, yet we get much worse care (when you factor in all of the uninsured and underinsured people). The “normal” health coverage that most of us have reimburses doctors so little that the docs are forced to see as many people per hour as they can. They do not have time to dig into your case as thoroughly as they should. They have to rely on the probabilities. If you have symptoms X and Y, most of the time that’s caused by affliction Z. So they treat you accordingly. If you don’t respond to that, then they’ll try something else.

    In the case of the psychopharmaceuticals, those drugs tend to have very broad effects, so they’re useful in many cases. That’s why doctors throw them at you at the slightest provocation.

  18. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Indeed, the medical system is very flawed in this country. I’m pretty good friends with my current doctor where she tells me lots of “behind the scenes” things that doctors probably don’t normally discuss. It’s amazing the battles they wage with insurance companies for simple things like x-rays and MRIs. The insurance companies do not want to pay for anything. Of course that makes sense. They can’t turn a profit if they actually pay.

  19. Sarah Says:

    My aunt performed acupuncture on me a couple of years back when I slept on my neck wrong. It was fairly effective, but the sight of it was…well, I’m pretty sure you know where I’m going with this.

    Parrotlover: I saw the commercial for that magic tape. Wow, that’s just fucking pathetic….I thought I had seen the worst with homeopathy.

  20. Ron Britton Says:

    PL & Sarah:

    Bing McGhandi wrote about this fraud a couple of weeks ago. I noticed that my local Walgreens is selling them too. Shameful!

  21. Sarah Says:

    Seriously? Oy vey…Don’t tell me you need a prescription.

  22. Ron Britton Says:

    Seriously? Oy vey…Don’t tell me you need a prescription.

    I wish. If you had to go to your doctor to get a prescription for those things, that would give him the chance to smack you for being an idiot.

  23. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I’m curious about something regarding those products…

    It’s obvious they turn black overnight due to normal perspiration and the fact that something pretty sticky will probably hold onto what comes out of your skin during perspiration and skin cell shedding on your foot. And the average foot (especially if you go around barefoot outside a lot) is likely pretty darn dirty, even after showering. Also, they obviously get less black each night as more of the built-up ickiness in your thick calloused foot skin sheds away each night onto the sticky surface. So who knows — they may be an effective foot exfoliator for all I know!

    What I want to know is this: are the toxicity reports they mail you just pulled out of their collective asses, or is there really detectible trace amounts of heavy metals in normal foot-skin due to the feet’s presence on, well, the Earth? Just curious how deep this fraud extends. If they mail you completely made-up toxicity figures, that’s a felony on several levels, including mail fraud, right?

    Yes, you can mail in your dirty footpads for a toxicity analysis.

  24. Ron Britton Says:

    PL:

    I had no idea that’s what they did. I never looked at the product beyond seeing that it’s a scam like ear candling and such.

    Modern humans are fairly polluted. Your liver collects a lot of stuff that it doesn’t know what to do with. This is the problem of being a top-level predator. Why do you think they tell you not to eat certain types of fish too often? Plus, of course, there’s the stuff blowing around that we inhale.

    I used to have a job analyzing soil and water samples for heavy metal contamination. It’s pretty scary how many toxic sites there are. Anyway, one sample we had was from a poor neighborhood in Oakland. The soil was high in lead. The kids in that neighborhood had high lead levels in their blood, which leads to all sorts of developmental problems. The neighborhood was near a freeway. The lead was from the leaded gas. This was during the Bush 1 administration. Reagan had halted all efforts to get lead out of the gasoline, so you can thank him for much of the lead those kids breathed in. Eventually California got tired of waiting for the federal government, so we banned leaded gasoline on the state level. Eventually the federal government followed, with the Republicans screaming bloody murder the whole time. They were only off by a little. It wasn’t murder. Just slow poisoning.

  25. Ron Britton Says:

    So to answer your question (which I forgot to do), I don’t believe that the skin is a major avenue of shedding toxins. However, there’s bound to be some just because we live in a contaminated world. Those tests probably do find some stuff. It’s just the amount that would have been sloughed off anyway, irrespective of the tape. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if they jack up the numbers just for effect. After all, they’re already lying to you about what their product does.

  26. Parrotlover77 Says:

    That’s pretty much what I thought. Not that the users were “shedding” toxins from within, but that it was toxins that just sort of naturally is in the skin on your feet since your feet spend so much time, well, touching the polluted ground.

    Being a top-level predator isn’t really a problem when your prey isn’t poisoned from modern industry. Eating too much fish is only a problem because of Mercury introduced into waterways from things like Coal Plant emissions. Again, you can thank your Free Market Is Always Right legislators (mostly Republicans or their international analogs) for the current state of affairs. Of course, lots of pollution was done before we knew it was bad, but lots more continued after we discovered it was bad.

    It sucks when science discovers something bad about something you hold dear. The proper solution, of course, is to put your hands over your ears and yell, “LALALALALALALALA.”

    On an aside… Color me shocked but… Ear candling doesn’t work? I mean I thought all it was purported to do was remove ear wax build-up? Hearing loss due to built-up ear wax is actually a problem I get at least once per year. I’ve never tried candling because, well, I’d rather have a trained professional, like an ENT, clean me out. Are there some extraordinary claims I’m not aware of? Or is it just dangerous for the same reason Q-tips are dangerous when jammed in the ear?

  27. Ron Britton Says:

    Most of what I know about ear candling I got from Dave Barry’s column. I tried to find it on the internet, but I don’t think it’s legally posted anywhere.

    As far as I know, it’s usually harmless. I can imagine all sorts of ways the process could malfunction when you mix fire, hot wax, lying on your side, and shoving something in your ear.

  28. Parrotlover77 Says:

    LOL, good point. I guess when you mentioned it above, I was half-expecting you to tell me that some woo practitioners use it to cure cancer or some such nonsense.

  29. Lindsay Says:

    Ahh…Kinoki! Those commercials make me laugh so hard…well duh you’re going to have black crap stuck to the strip when you attach them to big ole’ sweaty feet! I can’t imagine what type of sucker it would take to buy those believing they truly remove “toxins” from your body.

    However, I’m curious now to try them as someone mentioned it could just be a really great exfoliator. As a runner my feet are in awful shape…it might do the trick to make them look and feel nice for sandal weather.