Thursday, March 23, 2006

The story behind the billboard

I've been poking around half-heartedly trying to find out who was behind the billboard in Kansas City (and now one in Olathe) which promoted a creationist website and called evolution "a fairy tale for grownups." Up to now, the only reliable information I could find was this article from Answers in Genesis, and that means "reliable" has to be understood very broadly. Today, Dave Penny came forward as a front-man for the billboard-makers:
“I’m just a point man,” said Penny, who lives in Lawrence and served on the City Commission from 1989 to 1991.

The [Johnson County businessmen] he said, don’t want their names in the newspaper.

“They’re not scientific types,” he said. “They’re businessmen. They don’t want to get beat up like the State Board of Education did.”
Like true thugs, they want to be able to beat up without dirtying themselves.

Penny served on Bob Corkins' transition team, and his website is an extended paean to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, a critique entirely irrelevant to evolution. However, he insists "As far as scientific credentials go, I don’t think we’re in the same ball park. I don’t think they’ve ever produced a thing.”

The "they" in that passage refers to Drs. Leonard Krishtalka – a paleontologist who heads the KU Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, Steve Case – a KU professor and head of the state science standards committee, and Adrian Mellott – a KU physics professor honored "for groundbreaking studies of the origin and evolution of cosmic structure."

Penny is right that he isn't in the same ballpark.