Friday, May 25, 2007

Who Started the Conspiracy Theory About Hector Avalos?

According to one blog post, someone is making the accusation that Hector Avalos "spearheaded an atheist plot in Iowa." The suggestion is that the Discovery Institute is the culprit. Sounds like a horrible accusation of a sinister conspiracy theory. Who started that rumor? From all I can see, Hector Avalos did.

Avalos makes reference to the "atheist plot" here. He cites to nothing. Commenters cite to this post. But no such accusation is made in that post.

If Avalos is indeed referring to that post, he has missed the main points of it, and failed to respond to the main points. It appears that he has chosen rather to misrepresent the writer in order to portray himself as a victim of extreme accusations.

At the same time he accuses the DI of a "smear campaign." How ironic.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Has Iowa State Violated the Establishment Clause?

I am speculating here, and one would need far more information than I have to decide. However, the US Supreme Court had this to say in interpreting the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution in Epperson v. Arkansas:

Government in our democracy, state and national, must be neutral in matters of religious theory, doctrine, and practice. It may not be hostile to any religion or to the advocacy of no-religion; and it may not aid, foster, or promote one religion or religious theory against another or even against the militant opposite. The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.

It does not matter whether you consider philosophical naturalism to be a kind of religion, a kind of non-religion, the opposite of religion, or the "militant opposite of religion." It seems clear that philosophical naturalism is, at the least, a competitor of religion in the marketplace of metaphysical ideas. It also seems clear that the founders and the the Supreme Court in Epperson intended the Establishment Clause to avoid the establishment of any metaphysical beliefs as the official beliefs of the government.

Some questions:

It seems that there has been a lot of activity by the administration and faculty to promote, endorse and/or establish philosophical naturalism and/or philosophical materialism on campus. Is it enough to constitute a violation of the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution?

A very large number of the faculty seem to have confused methodological naturalism (which is arguably neutral as to metaphysics) with philosophical naturalism (which is definitely not neutral as to metaphysics). Has the administration done the same thing?

It seems that Hector Avalos has actively and openly spoken out and written with a goal of converting people from a theistic worldview to atheism or some other worldview. He seems to have promoted open hostility to traditional religions. Has he done this in class?

Has Iowa State been neutral towards the use of science to support inferences to debunk or attack religion, as opposed to the use of science to support inferences favorable to theistic worldviews?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Evidence of Darwinian Fundamentalism and Its Effects

More evidence of Darwinian fundamentalism on university campuses from William Dembski:
I had an interesting conversation today with a tenured scientist who is on faculty at a research university. He was recently invited to defend ID at a public forum at the university. He declined to do it. Here’s why. Although he is a proponent of ID, he has never taught it in his classes. He is afraid that if he defends it on campus, even in a public forum arranged by one of the science departments, he will be branded as “having taught ID on campus.” This, he fears, will be used against him down the line — and he is right. He therefore told the department chair that tried to get him to speak at the forum that he would do so only if it were off-campus. The chair understood and agreed that this was the prudent course to take.