2/16/09

Atheism and "The Wedgie" Document

This essay will present merely a hint at the contents of the elusive document, “The Wedgie.”
Atheism and science
What is in view is actually quite understandably, in a manner of speaking, some atheist’s comfort in having history rewritten and science co-opted in order to make atheism free from any stain and absolute materialism the demonstrable outcome of the scientific endeavor.

Thus far, “The Wedgie” Document chronicles consists of:
“The Wedgie” Document
The Second Papyri
The Gemara
Eugenie Scott’s Svengalistic School of Evolution
Corroborating Documentation
Censor Turek, Praise Darwin
And one that was posted before “The Wedgie” Document came to light but certainly belongs within its archives: Protecting the Science Classroom

Some atheists actually argue against academic freedom because, in their minds, otherwise we would have infringement upon their orthodoxy in order to make room for anti-Darwinian infidels. Some excuse atheism, in various forms such as absolute materialism, in public school textbooks that are supposed to teach biology (I provided mere examples in Protecting the Science Classroom). Some approve of having peer-reviewed science journals black-list scientists. So on and so forth.
Atheism and science
Even as I write this I am painfully aware that I will merely skim the very surface, merely examining the dross, of the issue at hand and can only hope to make some basic points.
Atheism and science
To hear some discuss Discovery Institute’s “The Wedge” document you would think that it is tantamount to “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” or even worse since “The Wedge” is a real document (which the Discovery Institute has discussed in detail here and here) the lore of which morphed into that they call an “intellectual urban legend.”
Atheism and science
What I have in view here is “The Wedgie” document which is basically the atheist version of a long term plan to rewrite history and co-opt science towards the service of atheism.
Atheism and science
Some consider that scientists who are theist are biased in their research whilst scientists who are atheist are not only unbiased but indeed, more respectable as scientists due to their atheism. For example, consider the argument from authority in appealing to 93% of atheists in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Incidentally, if I were to employ the reasoning skills that I have learned from Prof. Richard Dawkins I would argue that this number is surely faulty and that there are many theists in the NAS who will not admit it for fear of ridicule, fear of losing their jobs and thus, risking their careers.
Atheism and science

Atheism and science
Neil deGrasse Tyson (director of the Hayden Planetarium) is outraged that the NAS is not composed of 100% atheists and calls for the proselytizing of the infidels and the public at large (he actually employs a percentage of 85%),
“I want to put on the table, not why 85% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences reject God, I want to know why 15% of the National Academy don’t. That’s really what we’ve got to address here…if you can’t convert our colleagues, why do you have any hope that you’re going to convert the public?”[1]
Atheism and science
In his book, “What's So Great About Christianity?,” Dinesh D'Souza wrote:
“Children spend the majority of their waking hours in school. Parents invest a good portion of their life savings in college education and entrust their offspring to people who are supposed to educate them.
Isn’t it wonderful that educators have figured out a way to make parents the instruments of their own undoing?
Isn’t it brilliant that they have persuaded Christian moms and dads to finance the destruction of their own beliefs and values?
Who said atheists aren’t clever?”[2]
Of course, this is virtually passé and a mere plagiarism of Humanist sentiments.
Atheism and science
Author of “Humanism: A New Religion,” Charles Francis Potter wrote:
“Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school's meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?”[3]
Atheism and science
To not miss the point, read “education” as “indoctrination”—not so, you say?
Atheism and science
Consider what John J. Dunphy wrote:
“I am convinced that the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects what theologians call divinity in every human being.
These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level — preschool day care center or large state university.
The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new — the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.
It will undoubtedly be a long, arduous, painful struggle replete with much sorrow and many tears, but humanism will emerge triumphant. It must if the family of humankind is to survive.”[4]
Atheism and science
“RICHARD DAWKINS, the Oxford University professor and campaigning atheist, is planning to take his fight against God into the classroom by flooding schools with anti-religious literature.
He is setting up a charity that will subsidise [sic] books, pamphlets and DVDs attacking the ‘educational scandal’ of theories such as creationism while promoting rational and scientific thought.
The foundation will also attempt to divert donations from the hands of ‘missionaries’ and church-based charities.”[5]

Prof. Richard Dawkins seeks to divert money from religious charities which provide life’s little luxuries such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens, disaster relief organizations, hospitals, adoption agencies, foster homes, etc., etc., etc. in favor of “charities free of ‘church contamination’” (perhaps to purchase bus ads).
Atheism and science
In my parsed essay, Scientific Cenobites (beginning here) I have been providing some examples of that which the pure scientific method seeks to cut through in order to be as successful an endeavor as it: professional rivalries, schools of thought, worldview adherence, biased interpretation of evidence, arguments from authority, etc.
Atheism and science
I recently attended a lecture by Jonathan Wells on DNA and embryo development. At the end of the lecture one of the attendees asked him what the lecture had to do with Intelligent Design. The answer was instant, succinct and quite clear, “Nothing.” He is a biologist lecturing on biology—period.
Atheism and science
Yet, he went on to explain that he submitted an article to a peer-reviewed journal on the topic of his lecture. The article had gone through the process and the referees had all approved. Then, just prior to publishing, he was contacted and asked if he was THAT Jonathan Wells.
Even though the article had nothing to do with ID, did not mention ID, did not imply ID, and was approved by the referees, it was rejected because he is, you know, an infidel, one of those people. He, and others, are being black-listed to the point that they cannot simply function within their fields of research even when they do not tread upon the orthodoxy de jour.
Atheism and science
“Infidels” is going too far, you say?
Atheism and science
Prof. Richard Dawkins has made voluminous disparaging remarks about non-atheist scientists, and otherwise “creationists” (a term under which he includes ID), one such example is his correlating creationism with Nazism and any evolutionist who is not as fundamentalistic as himself as an appeaser of creationists, whom he correlates with Hitler (“the Neville Chamberlain school of evolutionists” as he terms these evolutionists[6]).
Atheism and science
Thus, this is not about academic freedom to teach YEC, astrology or abiogenesis in the public schools it is about blind-unrestrained-censorship.
Atheism and science
This, of course, is nothing new. Consider the sentiments of another scientist:
“Contrary to almost all astrophysicists my education had taken place in a laboratory…Instead of treating hydromagnetic equations I prefer to sit and ride on each electron and ion and try to imagine what the world is like from its point of view and what forces push them to the left or to the right. This has been a great advantage because it gives me a possibility to approach the phenomena from another point than most astrophysicists do, and it is always fruitful to look at any phenomenon under two different points of view.
Atheism and science
On the other hand it has given me a serious disadvantage. When I describe the phenomena according to this formalism most referees do not understand what I say and turn down my papers. With the referee system which rules US science today, this means that my papers rarely are accepted by the leading US journals. Europe, including the Soviet Union, and Japan are more tolerant of dissidents…
Atheism and science
What is more remarkable and regrettable is that it seems to be almost impossible to start a serious discussion between E [a very strong Establishment] and D [a small group of Dissidents]. As a dissident is in a very unpleasant situation, I am sure that D would be very glad to change their views as soon as E gives convincing arguments. But the argument ‘all knowledgeable people agree that…’ (with the tacit addition that by not agreeing you demonstrate that you are a crank) is not a valid argument in science. If scientific issues always were decided by Gallup polls and not by scientific arguments science will very soon be petrified forever.”[7]

“Europe, the Soviet Union, and Japan are more tolerant”—simply stunning.
Atheism and science
But who was this scientist and what were his crimes against science? Was he one of those crazy creationists? Was he one of those wacky ID proponents? No.
Atheism and science
This was written by Hannes Alfvén, plasma physicist and winner of a Novel Prize in Physics (amongst his many accolades), and the issue was whether cosmic rays are a galactic phenomenon or subject to heliospheric confinement.
Atheism and science
The editors of American Scientist made the following comments about Hannes Alfvén’s Memoirs of a Dissident Scientist:
“Alfvén’s anecdotes remind us how personalities influence ideas, and his irreverent comments about peer review are as relevant today as they ever were.”

Atheism and science
Co-opting science towards their ends to the point of ridiculing those who disagree and seeking to convert them, making inroads into the public classrooms via the back door and blacklisting scientists are, as sadly admitted, a mere meek and meager sampling of the contents of “The Wedgie” document.

[1] Beyond Belief 2006 conference session 2 (beginning at the 40:47)
[2] Dinesh D'Souza, The Atheist Indoctrination Project, October 15, 2007 (adapted from his book “What's So Great About Christianity?”)
[3] Charles Francis Potter, Humanism: A New Religion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930), p. 128
[4] John Dunphy, “A Religion for a New Age,” The Humanist, Jan/Feb 1983, p. 26
[5] Steven Swinford, “Godless Dawkins Challenges Schools,” The Sunday Times, November 19, 2006
[6] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006), p. beginning at 66
[7] Hannes Alfvén, “Memoirs of a Dissident Scientist,” American Scientist, 76(3):251, May-June 1988, pp. 250-251, reprinted from Early History of Cosmic Ray Studies, ed. Y. Sekido and H. Elliot, pp. 421, 427-31

14 comments:

  1. This is a really interesting article. Thanks for the good read.

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  2. "I recently attended a lecture by Jonathan Wells on DNA and embryo development. At the end of the lecture one of the attendees asked him what the lecture had to do with Intelligent Design. The answer was instant, succinct and quite clear, “Nothing.” He is a biologist lecturing on biology—period."

    Was it this talk?

    "Even though the article had nothing to do with ID, did not mention ID, did not imply ID, and was approved by the referees, it was rejected because he is, you know, an infidel, one of those people. He, and others, are being black-listed to the point that they cannot simply function within their fields of research even when they do not tread upon the orthodoxy de jour."

    Dude, you reap what you sow. I can not feel sorry for Wells.

    "But who was this scientist and what were his crimes against science? Was he one of those crazy creationists? Was he one of those wacky ID proponents? No.
    Atheism and science
    This was written by Hannes Alfvén, plasma physicist and winner of a Novel Prize in Physics (amongst his many accolades), and the issue was whether cosmic rays are a galactic phenomenon or subject to heliospheric confinement."


    Alfvén would be turning in his grave if he knew that he was being used by creationists as a theistic argument for "academic freedom." Alfvén was a brilliant scientist who had to face a difficult audience with some of his ideas - not the first, nor the last, to go through this. IDers should follow his example rather than use him as an excuse. To even mention his name in the same context as intelligent design - I ought to kick you for defiling Alfvén's memory like that.

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  3. Prof. Richard Dawkins seeks to divert money from religious charities which provide life’s little luxuries such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens, disaster relief organizations, hospitals, adoption agencies, foster homes, etc., etc., etc. in favor of “charities free of ‘church contamination’” (perhaps to purchase bus ads).
    What that of course, means, is that instead of people giving any money to any church, that any money given would all be given to charity instead.

    Of course, in your eagerness to demonize the man, you don't bother to think of that. Or, more likely, you hope that your readers don't.

    I love how you complain about atheists taking out bus ads, yet you've no problem with xians having done such things for decades before atheists did.

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  4. Mariano,

    You missed Neil deGrasse Tyson's point. He is not outraged that there are theists in the NAS. He's actually criticizing those atheists who think that scientific ignorance completely explains theism.

    Tyson shows no mercy to bad science like Creationism/ID, but he's not particularly interested in converting theists. He's just challenging those of his colleagues who believe that teaching more science will eliminate faith to come up with an explanation for the significant number of theists in the NAS. Their naive hypothesis fails.

    He makes a good point--and one with which I'd think you'd agree.

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  5. kuhlmann,

    I tried to comment making your exact point, but I guess I goofed it somehow.

    Anyway, yes, Tyson is being misinterpreted by Mariano. Although I admit I misinterpreted Tyson initially as well.

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  6. Mariano, Is right. Whether you disagree with his references or not you cannot argue the premise. The Public school system has been attempting to secularize children for years.

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  7. "The Public school system has been attempting to secularize children for years."

    Yes, following the precedent of those evil founders of America. But the brave religionists have been fighting back by trying to get all of the kids in school, no matter what their own religion or the religion of their parents to pray according to a state-scripted prayer. Too bad that evil O'Hair lady objected, or we would be having our way every day with those secularists.

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  8. Oh boy! Another parade of quotes! Everybody loves a parade!!

    I don't think I've seen you write a single paragraph about any non-creationist anywhere near science that isn't dripping bile, accusing them of crimes, fraud or some lesser turpitude. From what you've written its a wonder scientists haven't all died off from the clap, stewed in depravity as we all are (according to you).

    Do you ever even try to confront the substance of the ideas that are in play instead of going straight to character assassination? At least you're consistent.

    That Wells lecture sure does look like a five alarm hoot! If that's what he has been shopping around to the journals its no wonder it hasn't been accepted. Does he ever do any research himself, or does he only carp about what others do?

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  9. "Yes, following the precedent of those evil founders of America. But the brave religionists have been fighting back by trying to get all of the kids in school, no matter what their own religion or the religion of their parents to pray according to a state-scripted prayer. Too bad that evil O'Hair lady objected, or we would be having our way every day with those secularists."

    Any argument that the founders were trying to form a secular country is historically baseless. It is true that they did not want the federal government to impose a federally approved sect (they did not place this limit on the state governments), but they were far from secular. For example, the very men who drafted the Bill of Rights asked the president to declare a day of hanksgiving to God. I could go on, but instead I suggest you check The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States by B. F. Morris. It provides hundreds of pages of documentation in support of religious foundations of the US.

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  10. "I could go on, but instead I suggest you check The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States by B. F. Morris. It provides hundreds of pages of documentation in support of religious foundations of the US."

    Then how come that support is not in the Constitution? (not for want of attempts) Maybe there's something wrong with your history, or your interpretation of it. Here are even some Christian theologians who seem to disagree with your creative history: Notes on the Founding Fathers and the Separation of Church and State.

    You've got the wrong idea if you think that "not secular" means "Christian." The founders meant to secure equal rights for everyone, believers and infidels of all creeds. Secularism isn't a creed; it's the absence of a religious creed, treating them all equally. The public school system doesn't preach secularism: it merely follows the separation of church and state because that's the only neutral stance that denies nobody's constitutional rights.

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  11. "Oh boy! Another parade of quotes! Everybody loves a parade!!"

    Actually, everybody loves smartass agnostics. Look at George Carlin.

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  12. Unlike thiests who do "parades of quotes", at least Carlin was honest.

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  13. Carlin was an honest ass, sure.

    More honest than certain Canadians, I take it.

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  14. In spite of all the witless, dead from the neck up, atheist twit responses given here, there are some very revealing things presented in this post.

    By far the most revealing thing was that written by British atheist astrophysicist, Fred Hoyle: "Because the old believers said that God came out of the sky, thereby connecting the Earth with events outside it, the new believers were obliged to say the opposite and to do so, as always, with intense conviction. Although the new believers had not a particle of evidence to support their statements on the matter, they asserted that the rabbit producing sludge (called soup to make it sound more palatable) was terrestrially located and that all chemical and biochemical transmogrifications of the sludge were terrestrially inspired. Because there was not a particle of evidence to support this view, new believers had to swallow it as an article of faith, otherwise they could not pass their examinations or secure a job or avoid the ridicule of their colleagues. So it came about from 1860 onward that new believers became in a sense mentally ill, or, more precisely, either you became mentally ill or you quitted the subject of biology, as I had done in my early teens. The trouble for young biologists was that, with everyone around them ill, it became impossible for them to think they were well unless they were ill, which again is a situation you can read all about in the columns of Nature [magazine]." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.3-4).

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