Uncommon Dissent

Monday, October 31, 2005

“The Great Debate” — Scott & Trefil vs. Sisson & Dembski vs. Dembski (0 comments)

“Should public schools teach Intelligent Design along with Evolution?”



Dembski for the affirmative.
"Teach the controversy! Students are being exposed to just one side of a healthy scientific debate! Darwinism is a religion! Talking points! Quote mining!"

Dembski for the negative.
"What would be the point? I've already stated that ID can effectively subsume all the scientific results of evolution, so it's obviously got nothing to add to the discussion, except for some sort of metaphysical baggage about God, er, the Designer, er, the Designer or Designers. Besides, ID isn't a full-fledged research program yet."

Dembski.
"Damn, I'm good."



Filed under: Yes, No, Maybe So

Deteriorata vs. Designorama (2 comments)

Designorama

You are the product of design
Every hair on your head is numbered
Because the designer wants you to eventually go bald
The number is decreasing
You are apparently more valuable than
The thousands of other species that have gone extinct before you
And the thousands that will come after
The designer is inscrutable and yet you are compelled to worship him/her/it
REJOICE!

[Thanks William Dembski, who always provides these bizarro links whenever the pressure gets to him]


filed under: Watch out, Nashville

The Edge of Peer Review (0 comments)

It isn't whether a paper mentions ID, you straw-man-bashing nincompoop. It's whether a paper's content actually supports ID as a scientific theory. Merely shouting "this article refutes Neo-Darwinism!" isn't evidence for Intelligent Design, which you've claimed over and over again could actually subsume all the results of evolutionary theory.

Dumb. Ass.



P.S. Watch out, podnah--"Specified Complexity" has a new rival in town!



Filed under: Truth is but a game we play

"Retrospective Fallacy"? (0 comments)

Ken Miller, if he really made up the term "retrospective fallacy," ought to be hand-slapped for misnaming the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy. Apparently, that's so important to Dembski that he feels compelled to write Miller to correct the egregious error.

Now, who was complaining about obsessive critics?



Filed under: The heat must be gettin' to me

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Shallit Yet Again — P.S. B.S. (0 comments)

"I delete only the comments I find factually irrefutable. When the facts aren't on my side, I make hand-waving assertions and call upon my enemies to vindicate themselves, because, as everyone knows, the burden of proof is on someone else. Hell, I'll keep making these accusations as often as I feel like it, because they obviously don't interfere with my important, vital, paradigm-shifting research."

(Added)

Ed Brayton says it much more eloquently, and gets to the heart of the matter:
This is quite a ridiculous explanation that Dembski has come up with, one based primarily on ignorance (of two different types - A) he hasn't seen the deposition, so he is in no position to presume that it was an "embarrassment" and B) he seems completely unaware that it was the TMLC who fought to keep Shallit off the witness stand, not our side) and wishful thinking. His zeal to invent such fanciful rationalizations when a couple of emails would likely have cleared up the confusion might even be termed...well, obsessive.
(Added to the addition)

It gets worse. Now Mr. Brayton has uncovered the TMLC's motion to prevent Shallit from testifying (pdf). Last word to Brayton again:
I would suggest that Dembski should also be embarrassed to have claimed that the reason Shallit didn't testify was the alleged "embarrassment" of his deposition, especially since Dembski had never seen the deposition. But then, arguments from ignorance seem to be Dembski's specialty and he has never shown the slightest tendency to be embarrassed even when he clearly ought to be.



Filed under: I'm Obsessed With My Obsessive Enemy

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Shallit Yet Again Bullshit Yet Again (0 comments)

Quoth Dembski:
Ask yourself why, after submitting almost 200 pages of materials against me in his expert witness report and after submitting to a deposition with the Thomas More Law Center in July, Jeffrey Shallit did not take the witness stand in Dover for the plaintiffs.
Answer: Because he was called as a rebuttal witness for you, but you didn't show.

Game, set, Matzke.



Filed under: Unintelligent Delusion

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Five Ds of Dodgeball Darwinism Dover (0 comments)

Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge deny.

Yeah, I know, cheap shot.



Filed under: The Truth Hurts

Design Inferences — Keeping Science Honest (1 comments)

As a public service, here's the comment Dembski couldn't stomach.
I’m just wondering what implicit arguments this post is making and if they are actually good arguments for you to be making. It seems to me there are at least two different arguments. The first: we can correctly infer design in data sets published by scientists, i.e. we can tell when data sets are ‘designed’ and when they are ‘natural’. Therefore we should also trust our design inferences when looking at nature too. Two things: this is all fine and good, but do you really need to go to this sort of obscure example? It seems that watches are a perfectly fine example, not to mention tried and true since 1800.

More importantly, isn’t this argument self undermining? It seems that you’re saying data that isn’t ‘cooked’ by the scientist would not allow for a design inference, but this is exactly where you want to use design inferences for the ID program. If an intelligent designer did in fact make the world, we shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between data sets designed by scientists and ‘data sets’, i.e. natural phenomena, designed by some other intelligent designer. Shouldn’t they share the same artifacts of design? The same stamp of conscious thought?

It seems like a second subtle implicit argument is that biologists are dishonest. Are you actually making this argument, which would seem hard to do and be much more involved than pointing out one case of dishonesty, or are you simply relying on this subtle rhetorical technique (namely the wording of the title of this post) to convince the morons that you tend to convince that science is dishonest?

Comment by mattdunn — October 28, 2005 @ 1:33 pm


Filed under: Dissent Uncrushed

Design Detection — It’s Everywhere! (1 comments)

"And its methods are nothing like mine!"



Filed under: Unintelligent Delusion

Thursday, October 27, 2005

NABT trolling for controversy (0 comments)

"Dammit!" Demsbki swore to himself, spilling half a cappucino on his minty-fresh Dockers, knocking a "Prayer Changes DNA" placard from his desk, scattering a pile of chewed pencils. "They're borrowing from our playbook!"

He reached across the desk for the Bat Signal button. Pushed it a few times, and looked out his window at the clouds. Nothing. "Dammit!" he swore again, then meekly offered up a "sorry" to the Intelligent Designer, who, as we all know, abhors a potty mouth.

"I thought I saw the Behe signal!" shouted Michael Behe, barging in to Dembski's office, tripping on a pile of fan mail and bashing his funny bone on a softball trophy. He was wearing a green cape and held a starry wand in each hand. The cape, adorned with glittering letters, read "BIG BANG."

"Nah," said Dembski. "Must be a wire crossed. You're no help to me now."

"Why not?" Behe asked, his chin drooping. "Cause I made a boo-boo at the Dover trial?"

"No, single-handedly setting ID back a decade or more doesn't disqualify you from God's--er, the Designer's--work."

"Really? I'm back on the team?"

"Of course not," Dembski shot back. "Idiot."

Salvador Cordova crashed through the window, breaking his fall on a stack of mathematical manuscripts marked "Proof that God > Doughnuts." He brushed broken glass from his black jumpsuit and stammered, "I thought I s-s-saw the S-s-sycophant S-s-signal."

Behe and Dembski exchanged shrugs. "Go for it, tiger," said Dembski, tossing an email printout to Special Agent Salvador. "We got us another lobbying group to smear."

"Righto, chief," said Sal. "That is, if I may so humbly aid you in your s-s-service of the Great Designer Who Shall Not Be Named."

"Go already," Dembski replied, shaking his head. Salvador climbed back out the window, as Bill and Mike looked on wistfully.

"It was a great run," said Dembski, watching as Special Agent Sal hitched a ride underneath a passing Greyhound bus. "But we're doomed."

Behe nodded.

"Dammit," Dembski added, "Don't chew on my pencils."

“The Compulsory Evolutionists” (3 comments)

He's not being inconsistent, he's just talking out of both sides of his mouth.

In the space of two--count 'em--posts, we have an announcement of a "favorable" court ruling in which a judge will decide if a school board's anti-ID decision will stand, and an editorial denouncing the use of the courts to deny school boards the right to decide their own curricula.

Care to take sides, Bill?



Filed under: A foolish consistency

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Favorable Court Ruling in California Lawsuit re Evolution Debate (1 comments)

Any time Larry Caldwell announces victory, you get the feeling that within seconds someone is going to point out that triumph and triumphalism are as semantically distinct as lightning and the lightning bug.

Take it away, Timothy Sandefur:
The District Court’s decision—which you can read here—says that Caldwell cannot possibly win on his right to petition argument, and that he may not sue the School District itself, and that he may not argue anything based on state law, or seeking nominal damages. (When the court says “with prejudice,” that means the Plaintiff is so wrong that he not allowed to try again by refiling.) And it says that Caldwell may proceed to trial and try to prove his allegations that the school district violated his free speech rights, his free exercise of religion and establishment clause rights, his equal protection, and his due process rights.

But here’s how Caldwell describes this decision: “In an important legal victory for citizens seeking to improve how evolution is taught in public schools [sic], a federal judge has ruled that California citizens have a Constitutional right under the First Amendment to put proposed evolution policies on the agenda of local school board meetings for public debate and potential adoption, and that school officials who refuse such a request are subject to potential civil rights remedies in federal court.” Well, sort of. What the judge really did was say that such rights exist—which the school district did not deny; it simply argued that it had never deprived him of those rights. Nor did the court find that Caldwell had proven that the district denied him those rights; it simply found that, if he can prove that happened, he could win his case. Not exactly what you would call a smashing victory.

Incidentally, I was delighted by footnote 6, in which the judge complains that Caldwell has conflated the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. As I’ve noted many times, this is a very common problem for ID creationists. Because they believe they have the right to use government resources to propagate their religious beliefs, they see it as a violation of their rights whenever government tries to remain religiously neutral. Thus they believe that they have a Free Exercise right to Establish their religion.





Filed under: Unintelligent Delusion

“Not just an American phenomenon” — The recent Prague ID conference (0 comments)

Held in the large hall where the Czech Communist Party used to meet, the conference featured the big guns of the Intelligent Design movement, seven out of an estimated "five or ten" according to conspicuously absent Michael Behe.

Stephen Meyer led off with a brief overview of the controversy and the issues involved (such as what intelligent design is and isn’t--pseudoscience and science, respectively). Jonathan Wells repeated his oft-discredited tripe that the evidence for Darwinism has been highly exaggerated and design has not been ruled out. Charles Thaxton presented a brief history of origin-of-life research, an eight-point critique of materialistic explanations of the origin of life, and the positive case for intelligent design. This last point so stunned the audience that they carried Thaxton off on their shoulders, shouting "We've done it, we've assembled positive design evidence!" David Berlinski gave an eloquent critique of the RNA world hypothesis and showed why RNA cannot explain the origin of DNA and protein; when pressed for the positive evidence for design, he shrugged and pointed to the mob outside.

Cees Dekker then gave a short but well-illustrated presentation on molecular machines. (Michael Behe had originally been scheduled to speak but was currently undergoing humiliating cross-examination in Dover.) Dalibor Krupka, a distinguished physicist and member of the Presidium of the Slovakian Academy of Science, spoke next, apparently about nothing except his impressive titles. John Lennox concluded the day-long conference by addressing the mathematical intelligibility of the universe and the explanatory power of the design hypothesis. The mob outside had to be called back in, lest they miss its remarkable power to explain life, the universe, and everything. Stephen Hawking glowered in a corner of the hall.

The large audience was polite and attentive throughout. Most were scientists and lay people from the Czech Republic and neighboring countries such as Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Germany and Poland. (How many were scientists and how many not was apparently beyond the ken of the conference organizers.) Others came from much farther away. A contingent from Zybron in the Argus Star Cluster protested the link between ID and theology, holding placards that read "The Signs Point to Aliens" and "M. Night Shyamalan is MY HERO." A substantial number approached the speakers during the breaks to determine how they could set up organizations to promote ID in their homelands and usher in a revolution of the proletariat.

The following day the speakers held a three-hour Q&A session for participants who wanted to continue the discussion. Perhaps a hundred people showed up, which, out of 700, ain't bad.



Filed under: The Czechs are coming! The Czechs are coming!

More Even-Handed Treatment of ID at Cornell (0 comments)

Put yourself in Provine's shoes. How would you respond?
"When I asked [Phillip Johnson] about humans and chimpanzees — 'Do they share a common ancestor?' — he immediately offered up the theory that genetic similarity offers no guide for relations,” Provine said. "He said it doesn’t make any differences if chimpanzees have 99 percent of the same genome."
Yep. Doesn't make any difference. Welcome to the grand theory of Intelligent Design. What is any serious biologist to do with such a statement? Laugh? Cry? Call for help?

When Intelligent Design offers a more parsimonious explanation than common descent for the remarkable similarity between apes and humans--in fact, when it offers any explanation at all--then we'll talk about "even-handed" treatment.


Filed under: Theory? What Theory?

Stephen Jay Gould — Master of Equivocation (7 comments)

Or, William A. Dembski — Master of Hypocrisy

Next we'll have Salvador Cordova calling someone a sycophant.


Filed under: Pot, Meet Kettle

Prague Conference on ID (0 comments)

It's all here.

Filed under: Blogging Frenzy

ID breaking into the music industry (0 comments)

Don't know much about history
Don't know much about biology
Don't know much about science books
Didn't listen in that class I took
But I do know that Darwin's bad
And he makes baby Jesus sad
And that's all that matters to me

Don't know much about cell mutation
Don't know much about fossilization
Don't know much about symbiosis
Or, for that matter, mitosis or meiosis
But I do know that Dawkins drools
He's a lame atheistic fool
And that's all that matters to me


Filed under: Midnight is the bitching hour

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

“Monkey Claims Copyright on Hamlet: Film at 11.” (0 comments)

If the Isaac Newton of Information Theory thinks it's worth reading, it's good enough for us slobs.


Filed under: The Heat Must Be Gettin' To Me

Dover Trial Transcripts (0 comments)

Or, Michael Behe, Comic Genius


Filed under: Thank God I Didn't Embarrass Myself

Will Anything Ever Be the Same Again? (0 comments)

Here’s a note from a colleague in the biological sciences:
Dear Dr. Genius,

I'm barely qualified to make this observation, but it seems to me that Intelligent Design is the shit! Kuhnian paradigm stuff, hell, I'm talkin' Thomas F. Kuhn! Paradigm shift, activate!

I don't know, in fact, I have no effin' clue, but it sure seems big and now I can drop names and get in on the action! Hot damn!
Here’s what Dr. Genius wrote back:
I could see this furor spending itself in the academy if there were nothing to keep it going. But thanks to some rich Christian types with cash to burn, and a huge marketing campaign well underway, plus our allies in the old school, if we can win 'em to our side, plus a lot of cool young people like Sam Chen who aren't afraid to shame themselves for our cause, we'll be around for a while.

Paradigm shiznit!

WmAD


Filed under: Unintelligent Delusion

Cornell’s IDEA Club Counters Hunter Rawlings (0 comments)

On October 22, Mr. William A. Dembski pointed to a critique of ID, indulging in his traditional habit of quoting only the favorable passages. Looks like the IDEA club at Cornell read the whole thing--that's them, waving their hands, whining about ad hominem attacks, forgetting that calling someone a "non-scientist" and declaring their ideas henceforth invalid is a classic ad hominem.

Again, to quote: D'oh.

Filed under: Fun With Fallacies

Monday, October 24, 2005

Open Letter to Samuel Chen on Dover (0 comments)

Dear Mr. Chen,

As you mentioned, the issue of intelligent design and evolution has continued to escalate in various settings across the United States of America, to the point that I've had to wake up after a century of quiet rest and start communicating these postings from the grave.

The Dover trial has continued for four weeks and as the fifth and final week begins, I, being both a phantasm and a scientist, can no longer stay silent. Adults and even self-declared “experts” surround the debate with scientific jargon and legal lingo, while arguing as to the constitutionality of mandating the a disclaimer that mentions intelligent design and endorses Of Pandas and People in the public school science classroom.

Basically, evolution is a fact.

Consider some eminent scientist-types who've weighed in on the controversy.

Dr. Kenneth Miller, Ph.D. of Brown University wrote in an open letter:
The scientific case for evolution is, indeed, overwhelming, and at the trial I gave several hours of detailed testimony documenting that fact. You are, of course, welcome to claim that there is “not a shred” of evidence for evolution. But had you been present in the courtroom, I suspect you would not make that statement.
Dr. Robert T. Pennock, Ph.D. of Michigan State University testified that (from the York Daily Record):
Intelligent design proponents’ ultimate goal is to create a revolution in science, taking it back to the days when epilepsy was believed to have been caused by divine possession and gravity was thought to be the result of “spooky action at a distance.”
Others, including Dr. Barbra Forrest, Ph.D. of Southeast Louisiana University and Dr. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education are offering their testimonies against the "intelligent design statement" of the Dover Area School District.

Consider also William Dembski, who has consistently claimed that intelligent design can accommodate all the results of evolutionary theory. Where's the beef?

The issue is whether non-science has any place in a science class in any official capacity--whether teachers can be forced to read a statement endorsing a textbook that is explicitly religious, whether there is any demarcation between science and non-science, whether, if Michael Behe is right, astrology is a science, and teachers ought to mention it in a disclaimer before starting the Planets Unit.

Overwhelmed by decades of research advances, science teachers across America teach evolution as a scientific fact. As the National Science Teachers Association states, "There is no longer a debate among scientists about whether evolution has taken place. There is considerable debate about how evolution has taken place." This is a solid and honest science education. Individual teachers are certainly allowed to talk about Intelligent Design, or answer their students' questions--but districts that try to force teachers to promote an "alternative" are not only tyrannical, but silly.

You write,
After reading much on both sides of the debate, I have concluded, as an inquiring student, that evolution is not sufficient enough to explain certain aspects of our current universe. Intelligent design has emerged as the better explanation for the origin of the universe.
Well, sorry, young and vital Mr. Chen, that evolution is inadequate to explain the Big Bang. Not exactly within its purview. Keep inquiring, and someday you'll get it.

We agree on one thing: "However, personal opinions do not matter in this case, the truth does." Your misrepresentation of the facts of the case makes this claim exceedingly ironic. Merely mentioning intelligent design isn't being "banned from schools," just as individual prayer hasn't been "banned from schools." Rather, school-endorsed pseudoscientific religious tracts and school-led prayers are out. Students still have access to a robust science education, and can ask all the questions they want about Intelligent Design.

Sincerely,

TH Huxley

The Charge of Duplicity (0 comments)

ID won't, can't, shouldn't, never wanted to, didn't mean to, had no idea it might have accidentally, I didn't say that did I, probably doesn't have any specific intelligence in mind when talking about design in nature. Design theory is like CSI without a suspect, with no hope of ever finding a suspect, just slapping ourselves on the back and high-fiving because we've proven that if a murder was committed, it wasn't committed with a knife.

In other words, we are not duplicitous because we are vacuous.

Thank you.



Filed under: Theory? What theory?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

“We shouldn’t dismiss questions, even if some are ill-intentioned.” (0 comments)

Okay, it’s finally becoming clear why all the backlash against my homeopathic miracle machine. No, it's not that homeopathy is raising the wrong questions. No, it's not that homeopathy has been shown to be false (after all, it can accommodate all the results of modern medicine, so what would be the point?). It's that homeopathy's proponents are obnoxious. Ah, yes, the old "argument from botheration," a favorite tool of scientific refutation.


Filed under: The Art of the Non-Response

The Plausibility of Life (0 comments)

Evo-devo evolutionists, talkin' 'bout nonrandom adaptation on the phenotypic level, think they're completin' Neo-Darwinism, while they're really bashin' it into the ground, heh-heh! Because if somethin' is nonrandom, it's obviously designed, heh-heh!

Huh? You mean there's a three-pronged Explanatory Fork that says otherwise?

This Explanatory Fork is the brainchild of William Dembski? Whazzat?

Oh, snap.



Filed under: Unintelligent Delusion

Saturday, October 22, 2005

ID bashed also in Germany -- Why can't we all just be friends? (0 comments)

ein Lied auf Deutsch
zugeschrieben Herrn Wm. A. Dembski

nach der Melodie "Edelweiss"


Stierscheisse, Stierscheisse
Ich mag jeden Tag spucken
Stierscheisse, Stierscheisse
es ist einfach als Kuchen

Ich bin der leuchtendste Mann
der leuchtendste Mann lebendig

Stierscheisse, Stierscheisse
mein Genie ist zeitaufwendig




[translation compliments of Babelfish]

Bullshit, Bullshit
I like to spew it each day
Bullshit, Bullshit
It's as easy as cake

I am the most brilliant man
most brilliant man now living

Bullshit, Bullshit
My genius is time-consuming




Filed under: sie kauern in Deutschland

Cornell State of the University Address -- 90% Devoted to ID (7 comments)

Cornell's interim president recently gave a State of the University Address acknowledging the cultural import of ID.

Of course, let's highlight the sections that Dembski left out.
The answer is that intelligent design is not valid as science, that is, it has no ability to develop new knowledge through hypothesis testing, modification of the original theory based on experimental results, and renewed testing through more refined experiments that yield still more refinements and insights....

We should not suspend, or rather annul, the rules of science in order to allow any idea into American education. I.D. is a subjective concept. It is, at its core, a religious belief....

I.D. is a religious belief masquerading as a secular idea. It is neither clearly identified as a proposition of faith nor supported by other rationally-based arguments....
As the paragon of critical thinking, Homer Simpson, puts it:

D'oh.


Filed under: And now, the rest of the story

ID Slammed in Aussie Media (2 comments)

And for good reason. The money quotes:

The Ever-Popular Argument from Personal Incredulity
Prof. Michael Behe: It’s very hard to see how something like a mousetrap could be put together by the tiny steps that Darwin envisioned with each step being better than the last.
The Growing Watershed-Type-Movement Thingie
Prof. Michael Behe: There are not that many people who are actively involved in it. Probably, oh maybe a handful you know, five to ten, something like that.
And this chap's the one they put on the stand?


Filed under: Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Origins Institute at McMaster University in Canada (0 comments)

Will ID get a fair hearing at this institute?

Since we (the royal we) are fond of answering rhetorical questions, the answer is obvious:

Yes.

If ID shows up with an actual theory of origins, that is, rather than "It's too complex to have evolved through any known mechanism, therefore it was zapped into existence by a Designer about which we must remain completely agnostic."

It's not exactly science's fault that ID's theory of origins is so vacuous.


Filed under: Theory? What theory?

Robustness and Evolvability in Living Systems (PUP, 2005) (0 comments)

Debate within the evolutionary community? Fie! Squash! Blatherskite! After all, Darwinists are rigid, orthodox dogmatists who are completely close-minded and...

Oh, shut up.


Filed under: If I show you my martyr card, can I get a discount?

Aristotle -- Creationist in a Cheap Toga (0 comments)

No one reads Aristotle in science classes, for good reason: science has, shall we say, progressed just a teensy bit since the fourth century BCE. Plants, for example, are no longer considered the lowest form of life. That designation belongs to the publishers of Of Pandas and People.


Filed under: The Great Chain of Being.

My Life's Work Dispatched in a Mere Four Pages (0 comments)

It wouldn't be the first time.


Filed under: I got nothin'.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Will the real testable theory please stand up? (0 comments)

Read it. If you are a biologist, weep.

Neurode has it right
:
Why do I get the impression that very few of those sounding off on these matters have any idea what they’re talking about?
Dr. Dembski, if you think this putative experiment is a valid test for either evolution or intelligent design, please forfeit forever your right to be taken seriously.

Filed under: Theory? What theory?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Evolution Indoctrination Minor at Northwestern University (0 comments)

Northwestern University proposes a new minor in evolutionary studies that doesn't include the theory of Intelligent Design. And why should it? After all, as Paul Nelson has admitted,
"We don't have such a theory right now, and that's a problem. Without a theory, it's very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we've got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as 'irreducible complexity' and 'specified complexity'- but, as yet, no general theory of biological design."
Or, in other words
"...there is still a long way at hammering out ID as a full-fledged research program."
Now, who said that?


Filed under: Theory? What theory?

Biochemical and Metabolic Pathways (0 comments)

Filed under: We don't yet understand it, therefore GodDidIt

Or, It's a science-stopper

Or, Yeah, it's a science-stopper

Or, I am completely ignorant of molecular biology, but it's obviously impossible

Or, Pardon my ignorance

Or, Read my blog!

Or, I can't hear you, I have these bananas in my ears

Or, God-of-the-enzymes

Or, Science is hard.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Barbara Forrest on Religion and Human Origins/Destiny (0 comments)

Barbara Forrest, smartypants, from "The Possibility of Meaning in Human Evolution," Zygon, Dec. 2000, p. 862 (bold text indisputable):
We have established scientifically some disquieting facts: (1) human beings have evolved from nonhuman life forms, meaning that (2) at one time we did not exist, and that (3) according to paleontological and astronomical evidence, at some time in the future we shall cease to exist. Furthermore, from a scientific standpoint, there is no discernible reason that we had to evolve in the first place, and there is no guarantee that we shall continue to evolve successfully; more hominid species have become extinct than have survived. The price of such knowledge has been the gnawing question of whether human existence has genuine meaning if it was constructed with cranes rather than supported by skyhooks, as Daniel Dennett says.

The problem of meaning is easily resolved for those who embrace a preconstructed system of meaning such as religion. However, religion cannot help us find meaning in any honest sense unless it can assimilate the truth about where human beings have come from, and the only real knowledge we have about where we came from we have acquired through science.


Filed under: Facts are stubborn things.

The Scopes Trial (0 comments)

Because, um, it's a slow news day.


Filed under: I got nothin'.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Donald Wise's Pandora's Box (0 comments)

Dr. Dembski,

As you already know, that supposed "Pandora's Box" has been opened before many times--even by my pal Charles Darwin 150 years ago.

All my best,

TH


Filed under: Lather, rinse, repeat.

Michael Ruse in Playboy (0 comments)

This just in from a fine fellow who sometimes delights, sometimes frustrates:

Dear Dr. D.,

"Heff" asked me to crank (get it?) out a piece (get it?) attacking ID, because, in his words, it's a "growth industry." (Get it?)

Ah-hahahahahahahahahaha, ha-ha! ah-hahaha! ah-hahahahaha! hee-hee, ho-ho-ho, ah-hahahahahahahahaha!

Cheers,

Michael Ruse

P.S. Are you writing for Playboy?


“If my first name were Theodosius, I'd quote myself”


Filed under: If I Wrote For That Sinful Rag, I'd Get Fired

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Denis Alexander vs. ID (0 comments)

Denis Alexander is underwhelmed by ID. There's no other way to put it. He's eviscerated Dembski in the past, and now offers a fresh look at the weakness of ID as a theological venture--throwing Dembski's own words back at him [pdf]. Dembski, despite oodles of time to blog, says that since he's a busy, he'll leave the response to his Brit allies.

As a temporary measure, Demsbki has thrown up a smoke screen, a critique of Alister McGrath which happens to be completely unrelated to the substance of Alexander's article.

Or perhaps Dembski meant to link here.

Filed under: The Art of the Non-Response

[Off Topic:] "The Center of the Centre" (0 comments)

Greeks may appreciate this; secularists will be sure to dismiss it [to view the slide show, you’ll need to keep clicking your mouse]: http://www.ihud.com/file.php?file=1129327794/the_center_of_the_centre.ppt


Filed under: It's Mathemagic!

"The Miracle of Design in the Cell" (0 comments)

God-of-the-gaps is alive and well. (Or not.)

[Thanks, Bombadill, for the reminder.]

Filed under: Argumentum ad Incredulam

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Not With Our Tax Dollars You Don't! (0 comments)

Finally, even evolution's foes have bought into the separation of church and state. Let's hope the lawsuit is successful, and on its merits, judges across the land rule that any discussion of religion or God is entirely inappropriate for a science class. Laplace will finally be satisfied, the old French snob.

Say it with me: "backfire."

Filed under: I Know You Are, But What am I?

Post-script: (That the lawsuit has no merit, of course, has been demonstrated quite nicely by a fine fellow named Timothy Sandefur.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Creationism's Reluctance to Enter ID's Big Tent (0 comments)

Remember that crazy uncle who always livened up family outings with his ramblings about the yeti and the chupacabra and alien autopsies? Most folks found him entertaining, except that nerdy scientist from State U. who would get surly under the collar every time Uncle Crackpot started spouting his, well, crackpot theories.

Well, now Uncle C's son is all grown up and is a chip off the old crank. Except now he's a little less grating, a little more subtle in his presentation. The chupacabra and the yeti are just different manifestations of a larger Conspiracy Inference, he'll argue with a smile. He has a lot of sciency-sounding mathemagical formulas, too, that impress the unlettered.

His persistent refusal to specify how or when or where the Conspiracy Inference operates has frustrated Uncle Crackpot to no end. Any wonder, then, that Uncle C is a little peevish and won't attend the family reunion this year?

Filed under: Why We Can't Be Friends

Monday, October 10, 2005

Flamboyant Theological Quotes (0 comments)

It is obvious that quotes about the theological implications of ID do nothing to undercut ID as a scientific program. Why? Because it isn't a scientific program in the first place.
Actually, one will be hard pressed to show that ID is religion based on my logos quote. Many biblical scholars agree that the author of John’s Gospel drew inspiration from the Stoics in identifying Christ with the logos. The logos of the Stoics was an intelligence operating in nature that gave form to the world of matter — this parallels ID’s refutation of materialist reductionism and its emphasis on the indispensability of intelligence in structuring the natural world.
Or, in other words, if ID is reanimated Stoicism with a dash of Johanine philosophizin' about the Cosmic Christ, no one in their right mind would refer to it as "science"--even if it ain't "religion." (The American idiom is so quaint.)

Barbara Forrest is right. Dembski "...[w]ould have done ID better service by never getting a seminary degree or exploring what [he takes] to be the theological implications of ID." He could then focus solely on developing an actual scientific program known as Intelligent Design, and dispense himself of the delusion that it "holds up under general scrutiny," or that its claims "stand on their own merits."

Fair-minded people, of course, understand the point.

Filed under: It's science! It's metaphysics! It's scientific metaphysics!

Paul Nelson at Stanford Tonight (0 comments)

It's tough to strike a martyr pose whilst standing in a pulpit.

Filed under: Doublethink

Detroit Free Press on ID (0 comments)

ID isn't a "God of the gaps" theory. Oh, wait, yes it is.

Even I get confused.

Filed under: Theory, What Theory?

Daily Californian on ID (0 comments)

Oh, did I mention that not every college campus is on an ID witch-hunt?
Still, despite the views held by his colleagues, Johnson said he did not feel ostracized for his belief in intelligent design during his 35-year teaching career at UC Berkeley.
Filed under: Sometimes I Overstate My Case

Sunday, October 09, 2005

"How Stuff Works" on Evolution (0 comments)


http://people.howstuffworks.com/evolution.htm/printable


Filed under: Theory, What Theory?

The Lesson of H. pylori (0 comments)

Robin Warren and Barry Marshall had to go to absurd lengths to disprove the widely-held belief that stress causes ulcers. This theory was just as deeply entrenched as evolution, and just as dogmatically championed for over a hundred years by scientists and laypeople alike, but it toppled as soon as a gutsy biologist downed a beaker of nasty bacteria.

Obviously, Darwinism is one clever stunt from total collapse.

Intelligent Design theory needs a similar public-relations coup. Please list your IDeas in the comments!

Filed under: Unintelligent Delusion

Career Opportunities Attacking Darwinism (0 comments)

Attacking Darwinism has become an academic growth industry. Where would William Dembski's, Michael Behe's, Phillip Johnson's, Ken Ham's, Duane Gish's, William Dembski's, Salvador Cordova's, Jonathan Witt's, Stephen C. Meyers's, John G. West's, David Berlinski's, Jonathan Wells's, Paul Nelson's, William Dembski's career be without Darwin?

Filed under: Unintelligent Delusion

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I'm back (0 comments)

I was rolling in the grave for 110 years -- hence the paucity of postings.

Filed under: Miraculous Recovery