PZ and company make significant sport of an appearance in Minnesota by historian John West, a shill for the Dishonest Institute. West essentially attempts to put a scholarly veneer on the old "Darwin is responsible for Hitler" trope by focusing attention on the prominent scientists of the past who were enthusiasts for eugenics.

Icky. What about all the non-scientists who were also enthusiasts in what was a popular movement, not one imposed 'top-down' from scientific elites as West implies? Further, albeit non-grammatical cheek: in defense of West's presentation, which is essentially 'one long ad hominem' against biology, DI head honcho Bruce Chapman describes PZ as a "dyspeptic and ad hominem blogger/biologist."

Never mind that Chapman, a lawyer and politician, seems to be confused about the lexical status of the latter, which is a noun, not an adjective---it would be like me describing Chapman as a 'dissipated and ad nauseam blogger/barrister.' I just wonder about the irony of the whole thing: I mean, was it intended, or not? Chapman's a Harvard man, and I'm just a high school biology teacher, but seriously, Bruce, do ya think that maybe, just maybe, that the expression 'dyspeptic' might also qualify as an ad hominem?

As I remarked at PZ's site, you can count on the Disingenuous Institute* to pretty much misrepresent anything that serves their agenda. How doth they mangle the truth? Let us count the ways:

1) (Biology) Evolution is routinely portrayed as entirely the product of chance, or else conflated either with natural selection/abiogenesis, or described as the product of a worldview ("Darwinism"), or based entirely on evidence open to interpretation, etc. etc.

2) (Nature of Science) Scientific practice is routinely conflated with the monotheistic culture in which science emerged ("Christianity's child"), while attempts at delimiting science as practiced from religion are denounced as naturalism/atheism.

3) (Theology) Advocates routinely protest the application of any conclusions about the Designer, to the ludicrous point that they claim that they are not, in effect, proposing a 'God of the gaps' argument. "We're not, we're not! Don't confuse us with facts."

4) (Religious Motivation) The DI routinely asserts that ID is not religious, nor motivated by religion, it's a 'big tent'.

5) (Sociology of Science) There is an enormous CONSPIRACY, dontcha know, to keep critiques of "Darwinism" out of sight, out of mind. Never mind that some of the greatest lights in evolutionary biology (S.J. Gould is a sterling example) made their reputations precisely through such critiques.

6) (Current Events) "We nevah, I repeat nevah encouraged the Dovah School Board to place design in theah curriculum, and the Dovah decision has nothing to do with the validity of ID. Oh, and that conservative Bush-appointed Republican John Jones III, he's a judicial activist..."

7) (Secondary Science Curriculum) Biology textbooks are "laced with Darwinism", are filled with dishonest or misrepresentative 'icons of evolution', says the Rev. J. Wells, who only had to change his name once and schools thrice to acquire (at the expense of the DI and his church) the academic credentials needed to pose as a scientist.

8) (Probability Theory) "For my next trick," says Bill, "I will misappropriate a fellow mathematician's work in this field (NFL theorems), resist all attempts to make the supposed math in my derivations explicit and characterize the source of this imaginary math as an aspect of God's nature. [Didn't get the memo about item #4]

Due to time constraints, this post must end. Point being, why would any of us at this point be surprised that a DI shill who happens to be a historian would misrepresent history, given their track record in other fields?

* For you folk who care about consistency, no, the expression 'Disingenuous Institute' is not an ad hominem. Because, for one thing, it's not addressed to the character of any individual claim or source, but to a population of claims. Secondly, it's true. They ARE disingenuous. All they do is lie, lie and lie some more.

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