Monday, January 26, 2009

The IDEA Dodo Tries to Fly...

AUTHOR: Allen MacNeill

SOURCE: Original essay

COMMENTARY: That's up to you...

URGENT: Really big news from the national IDEA Center: They aren't dead...yet!

Well, that's nice. But if you follow the link, you will find that according to their own report, the IDEA network currently includes
"...about [sic-1] a dozen IDEA Club chapters that are active or in-formation.[sic-2]"
Interesting; back in December 2005, Dr. William Dembski wrote that
"...there are thirty such centers [sic-3] at American colleges and universities..."

From 30 "centers" (i.e. "clubs") in December 2005 to "about a dozen that are active or in-formation" in January 2009. To me (and admittedly I'm not a mathematician...more's the pity), that indicates a decline of at least 60% since 2005. And that assumes that all of the clubs included in the "dozen that are active or in-formation" now actually exist. That is, they meet now and then, and a few people show up for their meetings.

Of course, we have no way of empirically verifying whether any of the "about a dozen" clubs actually exist or not. However, what anyone with a web connection can empirically verify is that the links to "active" IDEA clubs posted at the national IDEA Center have not changed. They are all either dead (i.e. they return a 404: File Not Found message) or they lead back to old press releases from the national IDEA Center.

A spokesperson for the national IDEA Center (could it be Casey himself?) claims that they are diligently updating these links and will soon post a new map and list with new hot links to new active IDEA clubs. Well, could be; they will be able to do this if such clubs actually exist and are meeting now and then.

So, I propose a new empirical investigation (that's what science is all about, right?). Let's all return periodically to the page at the national IDEA Club that lists the links to "active" IDEA clubs and see if they have been updated. If they have, and they include information on recent activities at those clubs, then we can conclude that the IDEA club movement really isn't dead, it's just restin' on account of bein' tired and shagged out after a long squawk (like the Norwegian blue; beau'iful plumage...).

But, if the links don't get updated, or they are but there are no new activities listed, then we can conclude that their self-reports of their non-demise will have been greatly exaggerated.

As always, comments, criticisms, and suggestions are warmly welcomed!


Oh, and here's the explanation of the sics:

[sic-1] "...about a dozen..." Odd, most people don't have trouble counting up to twelve. Is it "a dozen" or eleven, or six, or one, or what? If anybody should know, it should be the people in charge, right?

[sic-2] "in-formation" Would that have anything to do with Dr. Dembski's soi dissant "Law of Conservation of Information"? Or does it mean that a couple of people have been thinking about getting together to talk about ID sometime? Just curious...

[sic-3] Dr. Dembski's "ID centers", would those be the little group of two or three ID supporters huddled in a corner of the student union cafeteria, talking about the "evilutionists" and ending their "center's" activities with a prayer? Sounds like a major "ID research center" to me...

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At 1/27/2009 12:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've only heard about two clubs: Madison, South Dakota and the University of Oklahoma. The former seems to be in the planning stages, the latter is a new development. Perhaps "about a dozen" is two?

At 2/10/2009 03:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still no updates...

At 2/10/2009 03:55:00 PM, Blogger Allen MacNeill said...

And there won't be any, because all of the clubs are as dead as the dodo.

Meanwhile, here in Ithaca, we're hosting almost a dozen events for Darwin Week, featuring talks by Massimo Pigliucci, Frank H. T. Rhodes, Donald Prothero, and Warren Allman, among others.

Hmm, I wonder who's winning...

At 2/16/2009 12:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might be interested to know that the active website for the University of Oklahoma IDEA Club, is actually registered to Mario Lopex at The Apologia Project in San Diego.



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