Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fundamental dishonesty... An e-mail from my wife...

In which the liars of Expelled try to, what, trick people a thousand times smarter and more educated on the subject than them?
I got this in mail today. I'm trying to express why it is offensive and fraudulent, but I'm rather annoyed about their attempted trickery. Apparently the producers of expelled can look up emails on public sites. It seems to me that they are trying to impersonate the NIH Office of Scientific Integrity. That office is involved in investigating fraud and in teaching of scientific ethics. The suggestion that this is NIH implies that the source is a trusted one and a message you should listen to. The email attempts to imply that NIH endorses the book mentioned and recommends viewing the movie, but instead it is creationists pretending to be the NIH. Instead of financing their harassment of us, they are just going to annoy the cats with thumbs who have much better things to do with our time.
Dear Vanderbilt Department of Biology,

As educators, you will want to be aware of Ben Stein's documentary EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED ( www.expelledthemovie.com), which recently opened in theaters across the United States. The film examines the destruction to careers and reputations of scientists who question the conventional wisdom about life's origin and development and instead hold to some form of intelligent design.

Intelligent design is widely regarded as the idiot-savant stepchild of creationism. Whether you think this is the case or not, the Center for Scientific Integrity would like to draw your attention to the controversy this film is likely to engender and to encourage you to use this film as an occasion for generating light rather than heat. The producers of this film clearly meant it to be controversial. It has the potential to greatly exacerbate the ongoing culture war. With the influence you wield, we ask you to encourage reflection and restraint.

For all the movie's flaws, it underscores the need for greater openness in the discussion of biological origins. We live in a free society that cherishes rational discourse. We are committed to arguing our ideas across the table from others without fear of reprisal or coercion. Science most of all should exemplify freedom of thought and expression.

The movie's chief flaw, in our view, is its failure to argue that intelligent design possesses real intellectual and scientific merit. The Center for Scientific Integrity has learned that to remedy this defect, the producers of EXPELLED have officially endorsed a book by William Dembski and Jonathan Wells titled THE DESIGN OF LIFE ( www.thedesignoflife.net). We urge that you watch this movie and read this book before weighing into the national debate that Ben Stein is initiating.

Biologist Massimo Pigliucci wrote almost a decade ago: "Neocreationism [intelligent design] should be a call to arms for the science community. The battle is already raging, and scientists and educators are still not sure if they should even bother paying attention." (BioScience 50(1) (2000):79-81) Pigliucci is right that we need to be paying attention. But let's put aside his warfare metaphors and emphasize instead civility and dialogue.

Sincerely,

Jake Akins, Executive Director Center for Scientific Integrity ( www.centerforscientificintegrity.org) (Website under construction)
Advancing Freedom of Thought and Expression in Science
It's a lie and a fraudulent representation of the facts. What, personally, kills me the most, for all the "Ten Commandments" crap they beat around, they sure don't follow them.

6 comments:

James F said...

Wow. It takes concern trolling to a whole new level.

Eamon Knight said...

Wow. I see the CSI website is still "under construction" -- ie: domain is still parked at godaddy.

You should start a pool for how long it will be before the site appears. I'll put $20 on "When hell freezes over".

Citizen Z said...

I'm rather curious as to what domain name is in the email address they used.

RBH said...

Sounds kind of like the National Association for Objectivity in Science. That site was referenced by the ID creationists as an authoritative source during the Ohio Board of Education wars a couple of years ago. I took the trouble to get its IRS Form 990 (it's a 501(c)3) and it's an "association" whose executive director is a Washington, D.C., tax lawyer, which has no dues-paying members, no employees, and whose only revenues were tax-deductible donations from its executive director. Gack.

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Scientific Integrity said...

I am Jake Akins, the sender of that email, and I never even so much as hinted to any affiliation with the NIH. I don't know where you got this information, other than a personal assumption of your own. There is no disingenuine attempt at any affiliation with anyone else. I don't really appreciate the charge. You have my email, why didn't you email me and ask these questions before you published erroneous information?