If I had to give it a number…

I made a slight oversight in yesterday’s posts about the Biologic Institute.  Specifically, I failed to quantify the exact amount of stupidity in their mission statement using the Hovind Scale. 

Let’s do that now.

Biologic Institute brings together scientists with diverse expertise, unified by the realization that a revolution in biology—with far reaching implications—is well under way. Like many revolutionary ideas, this one is powerful in its simplicity:

The more we learn about the organization of life,
the more clearly it reveals design.

When you realize that living cells store, transmit, and process information, the similarities with human technology are unavoidable. But when you get a glimpse of the remarkable sophistication of the cellular processes—and the almost unbelievably small scale of the molecular systems performing them—you begin to realize that humans are novices when it comes to complex design.

If you’re like us, you also begin to think about the exciting possibility of bringing these two worlds together: the world of human designs and the world of living designs. Biology is already informing technology, and we think the reverse will prove true as well.

Our team of researchers is exploring this from every angle—the experimental, computational, and theoretical—and at every scale, from the molecular to the galactic. It promises to be an exciting journey, and because we believe in doing science for the public good, we welcome you to join us.

The Hovind Factor, you’ll remember, is calculated as follows: HF = (X + S + i + p)(m + 1)

Let’s get started!

Belief in Scripture
X = 0 – No doctrinal belief required

While I seriously doubt that there are many atheist or agnostic creationists, there is no specific mention of a creator god in the biologic institute’s mission statement. There are only vague references of “design,” which of course are meant to imply a designer, which of course is meant to imply God, but as they are not explicit about it, I must go easy on them here.

Scientific Illiteracy
S = 4 – Rejection of basic scientific facts/laws/robust theories and/or denial of any evidence that contradicts scripture

I give them a 4 because the mission statement demonstrates an utter lack of understanding of what is meant by science. Science can only deal with hypotheses that are falsifiable, and as a vaguely defined “intelligent designer” can design the universe any way it please, intelligent design is unfalsifiable. In other words, it is not science, and anyone with an undergrad degree should understand that.

Also, their hintings that cellular “machinery” bespeaks design are rather ludicrous, as Behean irreducible complexity has never been demonstrated for any trait, cellular or not.

I fall short of giving them the maximum score of 5 here because these people clearly have a mastery of some basic scientific principles. (That will reflect strongly in the mendacity score.)

The idiocy scale
i = 4 – rather funny in a slightly worrying way

The writer of the mission statement has a grasp of basic English grammar and syntax, which is more than can be said for many creationists. I had a good laugh, meaning that the level of idiocy wasn’t so high that I was moved to weeping for my fellow humans, but I also felt moved to make several posts about it, so it was somewhat worrying.

Paradox
p = 0 – Statement is logical and self-consistent

The mission statement contradicts several points of observable reality, but I was able to find no self-contradictions within it.

Mendacity
m = 4 – Complete, burn-in-Hell, perjury grade, super-lie – for example, one that is strategically designed to mislead authorities or the general public (e.g. as witnessed in the Dover trial and Expelled).

Yep, the maximum score here. Many of the members of the Institute have phD’s in in biology, which means they are either willfully misrepresenting the evidence for evolution, or they didn’t pay close attention in class. In either case, the only reason to cling to intelligent design, a clearly unscientific proposition, is a predisposition to the notion, such as religious belief.

Combine this with the Biologic Institute’s “respectable” trappings and its claim of “doing science for the public good” (implying that evolution researchers are doing science for the public bad), and you get the maximum rating. The scale gives no quarter to those who would use positions of authority to asssault science.

All right then, the calculation! (0 + 4 + 4+ 0)(4 + 1) = 40%

Rather lower than the rating I gave Expelled (or SAD 59’s Matthew Linkletter), but I believe the high mendacity factor is the one to watch out for. These people are phD’s, and will look respectable to many fence-riders.

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