FBI raids office of Sternberg defender; files and computers “Expelled!”

May 6, 2008

One of the affairs Ben Stein’s mockumentary covers is the Sternberg affair, in which a creationist bent the rules of the biology society whose journal he was editing to sneak into publication an article purporting to promote intelligent design. Stein claims the guy suffered persecution, though under cross examination in the Dover trial, no ID advocate could remember just what that persecution might be (creationists go quiet under oath . . . hmmm).

The mackarel by moonlight in that story (both shining and stinking at the same time) was a letter from the Office of Special Counsel which, while claiming to have found unspecified evidence of wrongdoing, said that OSC was the wrong agency to prosecute wrong-doers (OSC had an obligation to turn over any evidence of wrongdoing to the right agency, but Stein doesn’t mention that; there never was any evidence turned over to anyone).

Um, don’t look now, but the FBI raided the office of the OSC today, looking for evidence of wrongdoing. FBI and inspector general investigators appear to be looking into charges that the head of the office, Scott Bloch, retaliated against certain employees who, he suspected, had leaked information about political moves he had made in the legally non-political agency.

  • Jim Mitchell, communications director for the Office of the Special Counsel, in Washington on Tuesday. (New York Times caption). AP Photo by J. Scott Applewhite

Will Ben Stein do an update?


Exciting times: House committee subpoenas

May 6, 2008

Living through the Watergate scandals and the Constitutional crises they produced — and spending part of that time in Washington, D.C., working for the Senate — I got a wonderful view of how constitutional government works, why it is important that good people step up to make it work, and a glimpse of what happens when good people lay back and let the hooligans run amock.

Over the last three months it occurs to me that we may be living in a similar time, when great but latent threats to our Constitution and the rule of law may be halted or rolled back by one John Dean-like character who will stand up before a group of elected officials, swear to tell the truth, and then, in fact, tell the whole truth.

Teachers, are you taking advantages of these lessons in civics that come into our newspapers every day?

We live in interesting times, exciting times — we live in educational times.

You should be clipping news stories on these events, and you should be using them in your classrooms today, and saving them for the fall elections, for the January inauguration, for the new Congress . . . and for your future classes.

What other opportunities for great civics lessons come to our doorsteps every day?

Hypocrisy all the way to 11

May 6, 2008

Tom Gilson is a muck-a-muck with Campus Crusade for Christ, and though claiming he is Christian he has no compunction calling Charles Darwin an accessory to murder and otherwise promoting the canard that evolution caused Hitler to go nuts and murder millions.

Making the link to Hitler in an era when Godwin’s Law has a well-visited entry on Wikipedia imposes on one a duty to check the facts.  Doesn’t faze Gilson:  Damn the facts, full calumny ahead.

Which is worthy of comment at the moment only because he’s banned my comments.  I was trying to figure out where he was coming from, and I followed his links to a column he wrote on Chuck Colson’s “Breakpoint” site, in which he discusses his struggles in debating scientists and others who understand evolution.

As one who does a lot of web-based debating against naturalistic (atheistic) evolution, I know I wouldn’t stand a chance if I weren’t studying what the best atheists and evolutionists have written, or without reading the most thoughtful Christian or ID-based responses.

The second protection against such an error is to know what we don’t know, and be willing to admit it. Evolution and ID involve specialized studies in paleontology, radiometric dating, geology, biochemistry, genetics, and more. Does ID challenge some of the prevailing wisdom in these fields? Yes. Can we read about these challenges on the web, or find a good, trustworthy book about them? Certainly! Will that make us qualified to “pronounce” on them? Well, no.

But that’s okay. We don’t all have to be experts. It will take many years (at least) for those who are to work out their differences. We can still know what we do know. We know that God created the heavens and the earth and all that lives in them. The details and the debates go far deeper than that. We should dive into these discussions only as deep as we’re prepared to swim—while at the same time always equipping ourselves to go to greater depths.

Excuse me, but I’d just come from another site that had the works of Hitler, discussing his own struggle — “mein kampf” in German.  I noticed a few parallels, and I called attention to them, sorta hoping Gilson would blush and back away from the claims.  Gilson’s stuff is mild, really.  He’s got a tin ear for science and a very narrow view of history, it appears to me.  Were he not so earnest in impugning others, I’d have just laughed it off completely.  That’s what I expected him to do.

But no.  He got huffy and banned me.  Censorship, refusing to discuss with critics, are just tools Gilson has to use in his struggle against evolution.  Only Tom Gilson can make wholly unsubstantiated claims in error against great men — no one else is allowed to question the Man Behind the Curtain.

If irony killed, there’d be no creationist left on Earth. If irony were science, creationism would win several Nobels a year.  If irony were worth a pitcher of warm [spit], creationism would have a permanent hold on the vice presidency.

But irony is not a response.  Ain’t it odd to hear these guys go on about their struggles, all the while they impugn the reputation of a good man like Charles Darwin, and all the time they have not got an iota of science to back up their position?

Gilson argues evolution played a role in the Holocaust.  He’s not sure how, and he doesn’t know anything about what evolution theory is nor the history of the Holocaust, but he’s sure that if he just reads the Bible earnestly enough . . .

If this completely unsupportable claim is the best we can expect from creationists, isn’t it frightening that anyone gives them credence?

Gilson will see the links.  Tom, if you come here, you’ll find someone who is willing to discuss with you your errors and why you should repent.  Bet you won’t.  Bet you can’t.

Update:  P. Z. Myers found this guy, Jeff Dorchen.  Gilson, he’s got Stein pegged, I think.  What say you?

All Ben Stein would have had to say to support the Nazis back then is what he’s saying right now.

Shut up, Godwin.

Just because George W. Bush won’t be in office next year doesn’t mean we’ve dodged the bullet of a white Christian supremacist dictatorship. We are not out of the woods yet, my darlings. That a man, let alone a Jew, could, without shame, walk on the graves of Holocaust victims and claim the theory of evolution was at fault, let alone a man whose nationalism, social darwinism (which is not Darwinism, by the way), anti-intellectualism, and disregard for the truth are beyond doubt – it’s like some ghastly executioner’s joke. If the message of Expelled weren’t being taken seriously by a religio-political movement that has already caused two presidential elections to end in disaster, it would be merely obnoxious. Instead, it’s chilling.

Can he sink any lower? Never underestimate the depths of degradation a Ben Stein might sound. My money’s on Ben Stein to be the first human being to reach the Earth’s core. 

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