Tuesday, April 17, 2007


This is why I think the 'Frame' is absolutely retarded! Read me! READ MEEEEEE!!!

Censorship at Darwin vs. Design conference

Below is a dialogue through e-mail between Ken Ueda, Sarah Levy and Dr. Wise from 4/11/2007 6:43 p.m. - 4/12/2007 5:20 p.m..

Ken to Dr. Wise:

Hello Dr. Wise. I hear good things about you among my peers. You seem to be very well liked. I stopped by your office earlier today but unfortunately you were not there. I was talking to Dr. Scalise in the physics department and was wondering (since I hear no professor plans on debating against the Discovery Institute) if I were to be able to speak among those 15 minutes that they plan on giving us. I plan on not debating against the Discovery Institute (as this would seem to suggest that I am giving them the same epistemic worth of legitimate science) but giving a speech on the history of Intelligent Design (such as the Dover Area School District trial). I fear that many of my peers may actually believe some of the terrible arguments that the Discovery Institute plans on talking about and since I know that no professor would have anything to do with the conference, I would like very much as a student to be able to speak to the public. I promise it will be in good taste. Thank you.

-Ken Ueda '09

Math, Physics, Philosophy Major

Dr. Wise:


I don't control who gets invited to the DI's event, so I cannot say you can do it. You would have to ask the organizer or perhaps Sarah Levy (slevy@smu.edu) of the Christian Legal Society. Ms Levy invited the DI to come here. There are some biology students who also may attend. I will talk with them today.

Best regards,

J. Wise

Ken to Sarah Levy:

Howdy. I have heard that the Discovery Institute has supposedly invited some of the faculty of SMU to debate against intelligent design. I have also heard from members of the SMU faculty that none of them plan on attending so I was wondering if I may speak on their behalf. All I ask is for really a small amount of time on stage so I may refute their claims and I think that isn't too much to ask since the conference is 2 days and I'm sure they will have plenty of time to argue against me.

-Ken Ueda '09

Sarah Levy:

Mr. Ueda,

I am not in charge of the schedule of events, but have forwarded your message on to those who are in hopes that they will contact you shortly. May I ask if you are a faculty member, or are somehow connected with the university?

Thank you,

Sarah Levy

Ken to Sarah Levy:

I am a student of SMU.

Ken Ueda '09

Anika Smith:

Dear Ken,

Sarah Levy sent your question to me this afternoon regarding your request to debate the speakers for the Darwin vs. Design conference. It is true that we invited representatives from the anthropology, biology, and geology departments at SMU to debate our speakers as fellow scientists and peers. These men are on even footing in education and experience, and we invited them to help illuminate the debate between Darwinism and Design. They have declined to engage in the debate.

These departments were challenged because they had called for the conference to be removed from campus. We wanted to see them put their money where their mouth is, so to speak. While I understand your desire to present your view for 15 minutes, the format does not allow the time or the patience for the audience to do so. I suggest that you attend the conference with your questions and really stick it to the speakers during the Q & A, if you like. Encourage your friends and anyone else who is concerned (including the professors who chose not to debate) to do the same, and hopefully the Q & A will be engaging and provocative.

Whatever you decide to do, I sincerely hope you continue to pursue these questions and wish you well in your education.


Anika Smith

Ken to Anika Smith:

Well that is strange because I believe the reporter from the Dallas Morning News revealed that the Q&A session will be pre-screened. If this is true, I wonder how is it even possible to "really stick it to the speakers" if they are able to dodge the more important questions. It is not just the faculty who believe that the conference should have been removed from this campus but the students as well so I as a student (and I should say at least a somewhat educated one) should be completely adequate to represent this opinion.

-Ken Ueda '09

Anika Smith did not reply back.

So who's doing the censoring?
THIS is a real problem with science communication! THIS is what we need solutions to! HOW are you going to attack a student for 'not leaving his Ivory Tower' to address the Creationists on his back porch when he tried to? HOW are you going to attack a student for 'not fraaaaaaming' his approach to this situation 'better'? HOW are you going to attack a student who never got a chance to 'fraaaame'?

ARG! *stomps off in a multicolored huge font all caps huff**


Blake Stacey said...

Here's a crude, manual trackback to my latest (substantial) post on the fr*ming issue.

ben said...

Debating ID-iots isn't framing, it is largely futile. ;-)

Framing is about trying to connect to those who might be 'saveable.'

It seems to me, that many who attack the soundbite science don't realize that we aren't there yet. Not even close. The whole point is that we need lay the groundwork to get there. The creationists, New Agers and Republicans have had decades of captive audiences.

You might look and critique my posts here, here and here. I'm trying to take a step back. The issue is about winning the meaning of words back. Think about Lakoffs definition of spin, propaganda etc.

The biggest problem I see at the moment is that it is impossible to explain what people want to say in a blog post. You need books. Probably a handbook per issue. This will not be done overnight and is not something to evolve in a heated atmosphere of blog sniping. And no, I don't think you are sniping; You're - um - strident ;-)

I truly understand the frustration. Dealing with purveyors of woo and framing for everyone else is frustrating. But we need to start learning to do it because we are in a soundbite culture. Not because it is science, but because it is necessary and because the ideas are scientific.

ERV said...

Blake-- hehe Dontcha love blogger :P
Thanks for the link back to your place! And Im stealing 'Fr*ming'!

ben-- Ah debating IDiots is futile, but not presenting evidence against ID Creationism to Average Joe IDers :) The kids in that audience were save-able, but the Iron Curtain kept that student out. Its a real problem, and its embarrassing that supposedly 'professional' communicators are afraid of addressing the Iron Curtain.

And thank you for 'strident'! I like that!

ben said...

The professional communicators have all been there, done that.

I know, for example, Ken Miller, Eugenie Scott and Michael Shermer (for example against Kent Hovind) have all debated creationists.

There are a couple of problems with the format.

First, a debate isn't the way to transmit the kind of information you need to get out. A debate is a rhetorical exercise that has nothing to do with transporting information.

Second those debates, especially those presented in universities, won't have an audience with an open mind. It will attract the faithful and the few 'strident' evolutionists. Despite being on a university campus, no one will learn much.

If you go to the event on your campus, it will likely run along the lines of the Shermer debate. These are professional communicators both. But neither the audience nor the communicators managed much.

ERV said...

ben-- Oh I dont think people like Shermer/Scott/etc should be 'debating' Creationists. There are a multitude of things that can go horribly wrong for them.

But children and students should definitely be encouraged to confront Creationists. Even if Ken completely bombed the 'debate', he would have learned a lot about evolution prepping for it, he would have learned a lot about the history of Creationism, he would have learned a lot about dealing with Creationists-- And what was the DI going to do if they 'whooped' a kid in a debate? Theres no glory in that (though IDCs have no shame). It was lose-lose for the DI to let Ken speak. If he did well, a kid smacked down IDC. If he did poorly, they wouldnt get to gloat, and he just would have learned more to smack them down the next time he got the chance.

Let kids deal with them. Its good for 'em :P

Mole Sniper said...

Hey! I wrote that article in the Daily Campus. I'm glad you read it and enjoyed it.

-Ken Ueda