Gary Hurd posted Entry 1003 on May 4, 2005 03:57 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1001

Well, at least William Dembski has used an accurate title this time.  Back to the Quote Mines is his latest installment of his professional disintegration. 
He has basically stopped pretending that he has not maligned real scholars and scientists, and has adopted the position of a petulant 10 year-old, “Nah nah nay nah nah- ya can’t catch me.”  This is explicit when he stated,

“The quote by Peter Ward that served as my point of departure elicited the usual reaction from evolutionists, for whom justifying evolution means supplying enough words and irrelevant details to cover their ignorance. My post took a few minutes to write up. Evolutionists wrote detailed responses many times its length on places like the Pandasthumb to justify that the problem with the Cambrian explosion was not really a problem. Look: if it wasn’t a problem, we wouldn’t be discussing it.”

We weren’t discussing the Cambrian, Dr. Dembski, we were exposing your dishonest use of scientific writers.  I am having a hard time understanding why Dembski would be dropping his pretense of being a “serious scholar” this way.  Maybe there is some residual honesty left after all? 

What I find amusing is that the paper Dave and I originally wrote took quite a bit of work.  And hardly anyone noticed.  Nearly a year later, and Dembski has given it more attention than ever, and embarrassed himself in the bargain.

If Dembski wanted to pretend that he has studied Cambrian geochronology, I can hardly imagine that he could have missed Grotzinger, J. P., S. A. Bowring, B. Z. Saylor, & A. J. Kaufman. 1995. Biostratigraphic and geochronologic constraints on early animal evolution.—Science 270:598-604.

There Grotzinger et al analyzed the Namibian Precambrian and Cambrian fossils they discovered, concluding that there was an extended period (nearly 60 million years) where the earlier Vendian and Ediacaran (now they are merged together in the Edicaran) extended well into the Early Cambrian.

Or, Dembski might try some other references used (incompetently) by Steven Meyer.  Such as, Aris-Brosou and Yang (2003).  This is a paper on the statistical analysis of some genetic data which then uses “molecular clocks” to estimate the evolutionary rate of the early Cambrian radiation compared to the geological data. Their abstract is:

Quote:
Multicellular animals, or Metazoa, appear in the fossil records between 575 and 509 million years ago (MYA). At odds with paleontological evidence, molecular estimates of basal metazoan divergences have been consistently older than 700 MYA. However, those date estimates were based on the molecular clock hypothesis, which is almost always violated. To relax this hypothesis, we have implemented a Bayesian approach to describe the change of evolutionary rate over time. Analysis of 22 genes from the nuclear and the mitochondrial genomes under the molecular clock assumption produced old date estimates, similar to those from previous studies. However, by allowing rates to vary in time and by taking small species-sampling fractions into account, we obtained much younger estimates, broadly consistent with the fossil records. In particular, the date of protostome—deuterostome divergence was on average 582 112 MYA. These results were found to be robust to specification of the model of rate change. The clock assumption thus had a dramatic effect on date estimation. However, our results appeared sensitive to the prior model of cladogenesis, although the oldest estimates (791 246 MYA) were obtained under a suboptimal model. Bayes posterior estimates of evolutionary rates indicated at least one major burst of molecular evolution at the end of the Precambrian when protostomes and deuterostomes diverged. We stress the importance of assumptions about rates on date estimation and suggest that the large discrepancies between the molecular and fossil dates of metazoan divergences might partly be due to biases in molecular date estimation. ( Aris-Brosou, S., & Z. Yang. 2003.  Bayesian models of episodic evolution support a late Precambrian explosive diversification of the Metazoa.—Molecular Biology and Evolution 20:1947-1954.)


After all these were also referenced in Steve Meyer’s paper.

He could have just copied the list from Meyer’s paper directly.

Meyer, “The ‘Cambrian explosion’ refers to the geologically sudden appearance of many new animal body plans about 530 million years ago. At this time, at least nineteen, and perhaps as many as thirty-five phyla of forty total (Meyer et al. 2003), made their first appearance on earth within a narrow five- to ten-million-year window of geologic time (Bowring et al. 1993, 1998a:1, 1998b:40; Kerr 1993; Monastersky 1993; Aris-Brosou & Yang 2003). Many new subphyla, between 32 and 48 of 56 total (Meyer et al. 2003), and classes of animals also arose at this time with representatives of these new higher taxa manifesting significant morphological innovations. The Cambrian explosion thus marked a major episode of morphogenesis in which many new and disparate organismal forms arose in a geologically brief period of time.  Stephen C. Meyer, 2004 “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories,”  PROCEEDINGS OF THE BIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON 117(2):213-239.

Of course, Steve Meyer’s  paper is pathetic, and was demolished here in PT’s  articles Meyer’s Hopeless Monster, and “Meyer: Recycling arguments”

But why should that bother Dembski?  He has descended to the status of an internet troll, and as we all know- “Don’t Feed The Trolls.”

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Comment #28176

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 4, 2005 4:54 PM (e)

Dembski

My post took a few minutes to write up.

No … really?

Comment #28181

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on May 4, 2005 5:13 PM (e)

Poor Dembski, he’s trying so incredibly hard to loose what credibility he has left without even realising he already lost it a long time ago. It’s like one of those angry monkies at the zoo that constantly throws its feces at people to get attention.

Comment #28191

Posted by Roger Tang on May 4, 2005 5:41 PM (e)

“My post took a few minutes to write up.”

Shows, too.

If I did what Dembski did for my thesis committee, I’d be kicked out of the graduate program so hard, my ass would still be bouncing (after 20 years).

Frankly, I’m astounded Dembski has the gall to complain about this. He’s being sloppy and dishonest, and he’s rightly being called on it.

Straighten up and face the music. Or show what kind of witness you REALLY are.

Comment #28194

Posted by Michael Thomas on May 4, 2005 5:50 PM (e)

As a relative novice here, I’m wondering if someone could explain the “clock hypothesis” in relation to molecular dating. I have a rough understanding off how this dating occurs, but don’t understand what these reseachers were correcting… is it an assumption that rates of mutation are constant? How does criticism of this affect other predictions of date of divergence for exampple. I thought moleculalr clocks were pretty good estimates. Obviously i’m in way over my head here, but would really like to understand the limitationsa on moleculalr dating. Thanks.

Comment #28231

Posted by shiva on May 4, 2005 7:08 PM (e)

Bill will fool nobody excepting his own factotums with such a poorly written analysis. ID is long past the stage of debate. After a lot of sound and fury ID debates are all but settled with every assertion of the “movement” refuted many times over. The only reason the ID/Cists aren’t hammering away at the table is the fear of having more knowledge emerge in the public domain; rendering their own statements absurd.

Comment #28245

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on May 4, 2005 7:48 PM (e)

Dumbski writes “…… My post took a few minutes to write up. Evolutionists wrote detailed responses many times its length on places like the Pandasthumb to justify that the problem with the Cambrian explosion was not really a problem. Look: if it wasn’t a problem, we wouldn’t be discussing it.”

Indeed, Dumbski is upset that the *evolutionists* actually know how to conduct proper research, which includes examining the primary soruces. Doing actual research, examining sources, documenting claims etc. is indeed time consumming. Dumbski is a lazy ass who won’t bother spending the time to conduct a proper report, so he chastizes those who do.

THanks Dumbski, for further illustrating my earlier claim regarding your research skills.

You’re a slob with research.

WHo died and left you a Ph.D. ?

Comment #28249

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 4, 2005 8:03 PM (e)

“Dumbski writes”

note:

not clever beyond measure.

there, now that we have that out of the way…

Comment #28251

Posted by Paul A. Nelson on May 4, 2005 8:12 PM (e)

Gary,

Do you regard Peter Ward’s position – that the Ediacaran organisms were ancestral to the Cambrian taxa – as correct?

Comment #28253

Posted by Malkuth on May 4, 2005 8:29 PM (e)

William Dumbski wrote:

My post took a few minutes to write up.

Good, good. Goes to show you care just as much about your research as I do about my English assignments. And put in as little effort as well.

Sir_Toejam wrote:

“Dumbski writes”

note:

not clever beyond measure.

there, now that we have that out of the way …

I think we should stop acting like Berlinski is extorting us. It’s true–and quite obvious–that calling him ‘Dumbski’ is not clever beyond measure, but because this is quite obvious, there’s no need to point it out everytime someone calls him Dumbski. Berlinski isn’t some kind of authority figure whom we have to please. Hell, I may as well call Dembski ‘Dumbski’ just to spite Berlinski.

William Dumbski wrote:

Look: if it wasn’t a problem, we wouldn’t be discussing it.

Look: if it was a problem, you wouldn’t have to deliberately misrepresent the viewpoints of scientists in order to support your claim that there is a problem. If there wes a problem, then you could’ve honestly said that there was instead of resorting to this.

Comment #28254

Posted by Gary Hurd on May 4, 2005 8:33 PM (e)

Do you regard Peter Ward’s position — that the Ediacaran organisms were ancestral to the Cambrian taxa — as correct?

I think that it is totally irrelevant what I think about the Ediacaran.

The topic is did William Dembski honestly represent what Ward thought, and clearly intended in his writing?

That answer is categorically No.

At least you have acknowledged that Ward understands the Ediacaran to be ancestral to the Cambrian. That ought to mean that you also recognize that Dembski has misrepresented Ward’s writing. Will you come right out and say so publicly?

Comment #28255

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 4, 2005 8:40 PM (e)

@malkuth.

you seem to have a small problem recognizing sarcasm when you see it.

I know, I have the same problem.

Comment #28256

Posted by steve on May 4, 2005 8:41 PM (e)

I think we should stop acting like Berlinski is extorting us. It’s true—and quite obvious—that calling him ‘Dumbski’ is not clever beyond measure, but because this is quite obvious, there’s no need to point it out everytime someone calls him Dumbski. Berlinski isn’t some kind of authority figure whom we have to please. Hell, I may as well call Dembski ‘Dumbski’ just to spite Berlinski.

Hey, Malk, text doesn’t always convey the proper sarcastic tone. Trust me. We’re not doing it to please Berdumbski.

Comment #28257

Posted by Malkuth on May 4, 2005 8:43 PM (e)

Er.. yes, apparently I do. Forget what I said.

Comment #28258

Posted by steve on May 4, 2005 8:49 PM (e)

William Dumbski wrote:

Look: if it wasn’t a problem, we wouldn’t be discussing it.

That’s exactly what they’re trying to convey. They are trying to convey the appearance of a scientific controversy. Actively engaging the details of their criticisms of evolution, assists them in presenting this picture. I submit that the proper way to engage them is to point out their dishonesty, demand their theory (which they don’t have), and refer them and others to preexisting refutations. And of course, mock and berate them, because people need to see that these guys are illegitimate and absurd.

Comment #28259

Posted by Paul A. Nelson on May 4, 2005 8:56 PM (e)

Gary wrote:

I think that it is totally irrelevant what I think about the Ediacaran.

Really? In your original post last year, you cite Peter Ward’s position (that the Ediacaran fauna were ancestral to the Cambrian taxa) as answering Dembski – and thus that the Cambrian Explosion is no longer a problem.

So, does Ward answer Dembski or not? If I say, “X is a problem,” and you reply, “No, Prof. Smith showed that Y answers the X problem,” then it matters whether Prof. Smith is right (or not) about Y.

Are the Ediacaran organisms ancestral to the Cambrian taxa?

Comment #28260

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 4, 2005 8:57 PM (e)

Hi, Paul. Last time you dropped in, I askred you to tell me pleaswe what is the scientific theory of ID and how can we test it using the scientific method. You, uh, never answered. I’m sure it was just an oversight on your part, and not an actual attempt to run away from a question that IDers would rather not answer. So I will ask again.

And again and again and again and again. As many times as I need to, every time you show up here, until you answer.

*ahem*

What is the scientific theory of ID, and whow do we test it using the scientific method?

Something else I’m also curious about — do you repudicate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson? If so, why do you keep taking his money anyway?

Comment #28261

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 4, 2005 9:00 PM (e)

Ya know, I really oughtta start proofreading before I hit that “post” button ….

I cann spel, I jstu cannt tipe.

Comment #28262

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 4, 2005 9:01 PM (e)

Ditto Flank’s question, Paul.

You can attempt to resuscitate Dembski’s career until your lungs implode but what we really would like to know is:

What is the scientific theory of ID, and whow do we test it using the scientific method?

do you repudicate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson? If so, why do you keep taking his money anyway?

Comment #28263

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 4, 2005 9:02 PM (e)

gary asked:

“Will you come right out and say so publicly?”

answer, based on Paul’s last post:

Nope.

Comment #28264

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 4, 2005 9:05 PM (e)

Repudicate should be a word.

Comment #28266

Posted by Apesnake on May 4, 2005 9:13 PM (e)

I realize it is just so very natural to switch that “e” in Dembski for a “u” in Dumbski given that he is going so far out of his way to earn the moniker but the morality-challenged creationists and credibility challenged ID types have thrown this back in the faces of the PT authors before even though these references come from public comments.

Perhaps we should refrain from altering peoples surnames to more accurately reflect their character since they are generally not the only ones using the name. There could be a long tradition of intellectual Dembskis out there of whom the current example is only a random variant who is completely maladapted to academia.

Comment #28267

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 4, 2005 9:19 PM (e)

GWW wrote:

Repudicate should be a word.

To what purpose, though?

To re-zone as a development with individually owned lots plus a community common area?

Or to surgically reverse a bobbetting procedure?

Comment #28268

Posted by Keanus on May 4, 2005 9:22 PM (e)

I don’t disagree with the conventional wisdom expressed here but what does it accomplish other than venting some frustration and making us all quite smug? We forget that the DI isn’t really interested in scientific debate at all. Their published works, like Meyer’s hopeless monster, Dembski’s various theorems and monographs, Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box”, Wells’ “Icons” and Johnson’s assorted publications are not written for biologists. They are written for politicians and ID’s lay followers. They don’t seek or expect approval from professional biologists.

Look at their full court press in the Kansas farce. They’re marshalling a horde of “academics’ all putative experts in “intelligent design science” to testify. They’re playing to their audience of true believers who will read their testimony in the Kansas papers and hear/see their pithiest “truths” on the evening news (and I’m confident the broadcasters will pick just the quotes the DI wants). They’ve got a forum which gives them the official imprimatur they crave. We should recognize that we have to address the same public, not necessarily the true believers—who will never change—but the great mass of the public that doesn’t understand either evolution or science and who doesn’t really care about evolution or ID, and those folks comprise probably more than half the population.

I agree that every public pronouncement of Dembski and his ilk must be countered, but this is politics, not science, where the real audience, who need to buy evolution and science, is the fence sitters.

Comment #28269

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 4, 2005 9:26 PM (e)

“Repudicate should be a word.”

according to the American Anglican Council, it is:

from:

http://www.americananglican.org/News/News.cfm?ID…

“2. We repudicate the actions of General Convention that have rejected biblical truth concerning human sexuality, thereby grieving the Holy Spirit and bringing the Episcopal Church under God’s judgment.”

there ya go. what more authority do you want to be able to use the word?

;)

Comment #28270

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 4, 2005 9:32 PM (e)

Paul Nelson

So, does Ward answer Dembski or not? If I say, “X is a problem,” and you reply, “No, Prof. Smith showed that Y answers the X problem,” then it matters whether Prof. Smith is right (or not) about Y.

Put the goalpost back.

The issue is not what you said, Paul. It’s what Ward said.

Ward started the paragraph from which Dembski mined his quote with the following sentence

The seemingly sudden appearance of skeletonized life has been one of the most perplexing puzzles of the fossil record.

Ward used the words “seemingly” and “has been” for a reason. The reason is obvious when you read the rest of Ward’s piece.

The issue is not what Gary believes about the Ediacaran fauna. It’s about what Ward believes. Dembski quoted Ward as an authority on the subject but completely misrepresented Ward’s views – not only according to Gary but according to Ward as well!

It’s called a screw-up. You can get away with such mistakes once or twice but the ID peddlers have elevated the practice to a form of art. We understand that the reason is done is because you’ve nothing else to work with, i.e., there is no scientific theory of “ID”, only a political catchphrase whose worth is diminishing in direct proportion to its liabilities.

Comment #28271

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 4, 2005 9:32 PM (e)

“ what does it accomplish other than venting some frustration and making us all quite smug?”

works for me.

just kidding.

really tho, you kinda HAVE to laugh at the things these folks try to pull, or you end up pulling your own hair out. anybody who spends any time on PT becomes very clear on the fact that those who spend time here know the issues of which you speak.

As far as i have seen, anyone who comes here and asks a legitimate question, gets a legitimate answer right quick.

those that come here to post deceit and drivel, get the raspberry.

Comment #28272

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on May 4, 2005 9:35 PM (e)

Nelson writes:

“Really? In your original post last year, you cite Peter Ward’s position (that the Ediacaran fauna were ancestral to the Cambrian taxa) as answering Dembski — and thus that the Cambrian Explosion is no longer a problem.

So, does Ward answer Dembski or not?”

Ward answered that D*mbski misrepresented his position.

Nelson also writes: “If I say, “X is a problem,” and you reply, “No, Prof. Smith showed that Y answers the X problem,” then it matters whether Prof. Smith is right (or not) about Y.”

The question before us is whether or not D*mbski represented Ward’s position correctly, not whether Ward is necessarily correct. If D*mbski felt Ward was wrong, he is free to criticize Ward’s views and offer evidence contradicting Ward’s point of view. He is not free, however, to misrepresent Ward’s POV, no matter how incorrect it may be.

As somebody else wrote, this kind of misrepresentation can get a grad student in hot water. Among professional scientists, it would damage their credibility. But rather than apologize, and present a criticism of Ward’s position, D*mbski taunts his critics that they spent much more time on this than he did. Perhaps misdirection is one of D*mbski’s weapons of mass disinformation.

Nelson writes: “Are the Ediacaran organisms ancestral to the Cambrian taxa?”

Beats the hell out of me.

Did the designer decide the Ediacaran fauna weren’t good enough, scrap them and then start over a few million years later?

Or do you have an actual scientific theory for the Cambrian explosion which is not a dressed up attempt to argue *ignorance* is evidence?

Comment #28273

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 4, 2005 9:38 PM (e)

a political catchphrase whose worth is diminishing in direct proportion to its liabilities.

The absolute rate at which it’s diminishing, anyway. ;)

Comment #28274

Posted by Arun Gupta on May 4, 2005 9:40 PM (e)

If you lose your patience, you’ll lose the argument, regardless of how much science is on your side. You’ll never convince Dembski or make him admit defeat; the battle is for the minds of everyone else.

Comment #28275

Posted by Flint on May 4, 2005 9:43 PM (e)

I sincerely believe that to Dembski, that fact that he is lying about Ward’s intent really IS an irrelvant detail. The fact that he won’t admit it when his face is shoved in it is NOT an irrelevant detail. Lying about what some ‘evolutionist’ said is perfectly fair game to Dembski’s intended audience. Admitting he lied would destroy the very credibility he lies to achieve. Creationists live in a looking-glass world where lies are truth if the intent is correct, and the truth is lies if the correct intent is not ratified.

So far, this only seems to be working on 45% of the American public, but a majority isn’t that far off, once the educational system falls…ur, into line.

Comment #28276

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 4, 2005 9:43 PM (e)

one of the ways of conducting that battle is to continually point out how deceitful and disingenuous these folks are.

the folks that follow them should be aware of the methods they use, don’t you think?

Comment #28278

Posted by Gary Hurd on May 4, 2005 9:53 PM (e)

Nelson, “Really? In your original post last year, you cite Peter Ward’s position (that the Ediacaran fauna were ancestral to the Cambrian taxa) as answering Dembski — and thus that the Cambrian Explosion is no longer a problem.

Your reading ability seems as poor as Dembski’s. The only position I have is that Dembski has misrepresented Ward’s writing regarding the Cambrian fauna and its precursors. The only reason I have quoted Ward has been to demonstrate that in the same section of the same chapter “quoted” by Dembski, Ward’s own words demonstrated that Dembski had lied about Ward’s position.

Your attempt to deflect the point is noted, and declined.

Comment #28287

Posted by Henry J on May 4, 2005 10:41 PM (e)

I hope somebody looks at Michael’s question in #28194, as I wondered about that too. I thought species in different phyla wouldn’t be expected to necessarily have similar mutation rates, so offhand I’d expect a rather large margin of error when using the molecular clock to date divergence of phyla.

Henry

Comment #28288

Posted by Paul A. Nelson on May 4, 2005 10:47 PM (e)

Gary,

Last year, you cited Peter Ward as follows:

“Until almost 1950 the absence of metazoan fossils older than Cambrian age continued to puzzle evolutionists and earth historians alike. Other than the remains of single-celled creatures and the matlike stromatolites, it did indeed look as if larger creatures had arisen with a swiftness that made a mockery of Darwin’s theory of evolution. This notion was finally put to rest, however, by the discovery of the Ediacarian and Vendian fossil faunas of the latest Precambrian age. (Pp 35)”

You then added:

In other words, we learn that science has known for well over 50 years that the supposed “sudden” appearance of Cambrian fossils was invalid, and Dembski has quoted this 12 year-old book in a basically dishonest manner. Ward goes on to explain that the pre-Cambrian fossil assemblage is entirely consistent with evolutionary theory […]

You now say, however, that “the only position I have is that Dembski misrepresented Ward.”

Consider a parallel situation:

1. Smith describes a long-standing mathematical puzzle and says he has solved it.

2. Jones cites Smith’s description of the puzzle, but not his solution, because the solution doesn’t work.

3. Brown scolds Jones: “Hey, Smith solved that puzzle! You can’t cite his description of the puzzle, as if it were still unsolved.”

4. When asked if he thinks Smith actually solved the puzzle, however, Brown says he takes no position about that.

Comment #28290

Posted by RBH on May 4, 2005 10:59 PM (e)

LOL!! Paul Nelson’s doing the same Dembski Dance. They must teach it at those DI get-togethers. Imagine it, all those Fellas gliding ‘round the floor! Do the Senior Fellas lead?

Nelson asks Gary

Do you regard Peter Ward’s position — that the Ediacaran organisms were ancestral to the Cambrian taxa — as correct?

Gary responded

I think that it is totally irrelevant what I think about the Ediacaran.

The topic is did William Dembski honestly represent what Ward thought, and clearly intended in his writing?

That answer is categorically No.

In response to Gary’s rejoinder, Nelson cherrypicks the first sentence, saying

Really? In your original post last year, you cite Peter Ward’s position (that the Ediacaran fauna were ancestral to the Cambrian taxa) as answering Dembski — and thus that the Cambrian Explosion is no longer a problem.

Slippin’ and a’slidin’ off to the dance floor he goes. Keep your eyes off the rotating reflective ball, Paul: it’s hypnotizing you. The issue, quite firmly settled, is Dembski’s repeated misrepresentations of genuine scientists.

RBH

Comment #28292

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on May 4, 2005 11:03 PM (e)

Congradulations Paul, you’ve entirely missed the point.

It’s not that Jones cites Smith’s description of the puzzle, it is that Jones cites Smith as AGREEING with him that Smith’s PERSONAL opinion also agrees with Jones’. In other words, Jones is claiming that Smith thinks the same thing that he does and deliberately cherry picks a quote to prove so. Brown comes along and demonstrates that Smith actually feels that the puzzle is no longer a problem, and that Jones’ description that Smith’s personal opinion on the puzzle is nothing like Jones’.

Jones then rants and raves that Brown is trying to point out something entirely different, because Jones realises that he’s just shot himself in the foot and been exposed.

Paul then comes along, asks a meaningless question, gets ignored for asking a meaningless question, and then reasserts his question with an analogy that demonstrates he hasn’t understood the argument to begin with.

Fun this isn’t it?

Comment #28293

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 4, 2005 11:09 PM (e)

So answer the damn question posed by the thread, Paul!

It seems clear to the rest of us that Dembski DID misrepresent Ward’s view on the issue. Whether Gary agrees with Ward or not is irrelevant.

the question posed to you was:

Do you agree?

it’s a simple yes or no.

to answer that question, shouldn’t you be posting cites from what Dembski pooted, rather than Gary?

You are in the thread about Dembski, not Hurd. or have you already forgotten that?

and you wonder why we accuse you folks of deflecting the issues.

Comment #28297

Posted by Ron Okimoto on May 4, 2005 11:41 PM (e)

The molecular clock is just an observation from the data. There is no established idea of why it holds for many divergent taxa. The fact is that the same clock doesn’t hold for many different taxa. The shorter the time interval the higher the variance. If you want to invoke a molecular clock estimate you have to be able to determine if a given rate holds for the lineage in question. You can’t just assume that if you’ve calculated the rate in one lineage that it will hold in another.

Probably the best way to get some idea of why researchers might think that a molecular clock applies is to look at some real data like the cytochrome c protein data that the creationists are always using. Even with a protein this short you see a clock like behavior in the number of substitutions observed. All the mammals will have about the same number of substitution differences relative to some bird. Birds and mammals will have a similar number of substitutions relative to frogs. All land vertebrates will have a similar number of substitutions relative to some fish. This is due to the fact that the lineages have all been evolving for the same length of time since their shared common ancestor and they have all pretty much accumlated a similar number of amino acid substitutions along each lineage. The number of substitutions along each lineage is not identical compared to some outgroup species, but they are close to each other. You would expect some scatter due to just random chance, but in the same data set you will see some lineages that have a noticably (you might say statistically significantly) higher or lower number of substitutions than expected. A lineage like nematodes can be 1 or 2 orders of magnitude different in the rate of mitochondrial DNA evolution. Obviously the lineages with more than expected number of substitutions would be on a different clock than all the lineages with a similar number of substitutions.

Molecular clocks are only ballpark estimates.

Comment #28298

Posted by Paul A. Nelson on May 5, 2005 12:06 AM (e)

Sir Toejam wrote:

Whether Gary agrees with Ward or not is irrelevant.

But it couldn’t be more relevant.

Gary accused Bill Dembski of misquoting Peter Ward, because Bill didn’t cite Ward’s long 1992 discussion claiming that the Cambrian Explosion was no longer a problem for evolutionary theory. But Bill didn’t misquote Ward. Rather, he cited Ward’s description of an apparent anomaly, the abrupt appearance of the Cambrian taxa. Bill then added, in the very next sentence, that Ward was “not a creationist.”

Meaning: Despite his description of the Cambrian anomaly, Ward does not support a non-evolutionary point of view.

Now, if Ward had actually solved the problem of the Cambrian Explosion in his subsequent 1992 discussion, I think Gary would have a legitimate complaint. To describe an author’s description of a problem, but not his genuine solution, would be to misrepresent that author.

But Ward didn’t solve the problem of the Cambrian Explosion. Indeed not a single contributor to this thread – not Gary, not Toejam, not RBH, no one – thinks Ward solved the problem, or wants to defend his 1992 treatment.

So why is Bill Dembski being excoriated here? He pointed out that the Cambrian Explosion is a problem for evolutionary theory. Not exactly breaking news. Bill cited Peter Ward’s description of that problem. But many other paleontologists have used similar language. Bill did not cite Ward’s non-solution to the problem, for reasons that are obvious: It doesn’t work (certainly no one contributing to this thread thinks so).

Did Bill Dembski misrepresent Peter Ward? No.

Comment #28299

Posted by Timothy Scriven on May 5, 2005 12:18 AM (e)

WHY DOES ID PLAY ITS HAND SO BADLY?

One interesting thing I have noticed about intelligent design is that the more public proponents, i.e Johnson, Dembski and Well’s are the least gifted scholars of the bunch. Meanwhile figures like Alvin , Yockey ( Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life.) And d’Abrera and that guy who headed a Moscow world conference on biology. ( and thats coming from someone who is opposed to ID) Are barely noticed for their work in ID.

Take Alvin, one of the foremost living epistemologists, rare or non existent would be the professional philosopher who is not familiar with his work. Yet the ID people don’t play up his sympathies with their movement. Or take Yockey, in “Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of life. He supports ID! What’s worse for us rationalists the book is actually fairly well written and makes a significant contribution to the study of the intersections of information theory and biology. Furthermore I am almost one hundred percent certain that the book was peer reviewed. Yet when discussions of ID supporting peer reviewed literature come up his name is not mentioned. To quote a scientist “why is this so?”

If the ID movement played on these scholars more they might even get some kind of grudging respect from the scientific and philosophical establishment. Yet they stick to figure heads less then able for the enormous goal they are trying to achieve, over turning one of the best corroborated theories in science. Dembski is renowned for his intellectual dishonesty, Johnson only qualifies as a lawyer and Behe, though a fairly solid scholar, has a very limited publication record.

Comment #28301

Posted by alienward on May 5, 2005 12:24 AM (e)

Paul A. Nelson wrote:

Consider a parallel situation:

1. Smith describes a long-standing mathematical puzzle and says he has solved it.

2. Jones cites Smith’s description of the puzzle, but not his solution, because the solution doesn’t work.

3. Brown scolds Jones: “Hey, Smith solved that puzzle! You can’t cite his description of the puzzle, as if it were still unsolved.”

4. When asked if he thinks Smith actually solved the puzzle, however, Brown says he takes no position about that.

Your situation isn’t parallel at all. Either you didn’t read Demski’s post or you are deliberately misrepresenting the situation and are just as dishonest as Dembski. Let’s present an honest description of the second point you misrepresented:

1. Ward describes a long-standing evolutionary puzzle and says others have solved it.

2. Dembski cites Ward’s description of the puzzle and says Ward “really is saying that the Cambrian explosion poses a challenge to conventional evolutionary theory”.

And let’s add the other quote from Ward you selectively omitted in your failed attempt to cover up Dembski’s dishonesty:

“The long accepted theory of the sudden appearance of skeletal metazoans at the base of the Cambrian was incorrect: the basal Cambrian boundary marked only the first appearance of relatively large skeleton-bearing forms, such as the trilobites and brachiopods, rather than the first appearance of skeletonized metazoans. Darwin would have been satisfied. The fossil record bore out his conviction that the trilobites and brachiopods appeared only after a long period of evolution of ancestral forms (Pp 36-37, emphasis added).

In addition to stating he read the post with these quotes from Ward describing how the Cambrian isn’t a problem for evolution, Dembski also wrote he’s “in this business sticking it to the evolutionists”. It looks like a common business practice is deliberately misrepresenting the work of others. And you’re a business partner with the same complete lack of ethics.

Comment #28302

Posted by Timothy Scriven on May 5, 2005 12:26 AM (e)

Anyway thats just my thoughts, maybe the poor people over at the DI need to find a new representitive after the debacle that Dembski has proven to be, with quote mining and all that.

Comment #28303

Posted by Paul A. Nelson on May 5, 2005 12:35 AM (e)

Alienward wrote, quoting Peter Ward:

The fossil record bore out his [Darwin’s] conviction that the trilobites and brachiopods appeared only after a long period of evolution of ancestral forms.

Is this true?

I’m not asking you if Peter Ward thinks it’s so. I’d like to know what you think is true. Is it the case that “ancestral [fossil] forms” exist for the Cambrian taxa?

Comment #28304

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 5, 2005 12:37 AM (e)

well, according to Nelson, Dembski is just fine. all we need to do is simply restate the conclusions of all of the people he misquotes to a more compatible viewpoint, and then he won’t be misrepresenting them any more! voila! just like magic.

very standard practice among IDers… don’t play by the rules, change ‘em!

Comment #28305

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 5, 2005 12:48 AM (e)

Paul keeps attempting to change the subject:

“ I’d like to know what you think is true. Is it the case that “ancestral [fossil] forms” exist for the Cambrian taxa?”

before anyone thinks there hasn’t been a lot of work in this area, please read this, AND check out the primary literature on the subject (if you have time):

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Evolution/PSCF12-…

go figure, this little review article doesn’t even reference Ward.

Paul is simply trying to bait folks.

Comment #28306

Posted by Air Bear on May 5, 2005 1:05 AM (e)

apesnake’s term:

intellectual Dembskis

sounds an awful lot like an insulting epithet, as in “those intellectual Dembskis in Congress are …”

Comment #28307

Posted by alienward on May 5, 2005 1:06 AM (e)

Paul A. Nelson wrote:

Alienward wrote, quoting Peter Ward:

The fossil record bore out his [Darwin’s] conviction that the trilobites and brachiopods appeared only after a long period of evolution of ancestral forms.

Is this true?

I’m not asking you if Peter Ward thinks it’s so. I’d like to know what you think is true. Is it the case that “ancestral [fossil] forms” exist for the Cambrian taxa?

This is a good lead into Dembski’s attempt to misrepresent the Cambrian by quoting Gould from 1977. Here’s a more recent quote from Gould:

“Recent finds of fossil embryos indicate that the history of complex animals extends as far back as 570 million years - well before the Cambrian explosion, which gave rise to most modern phyla.” (Steven Jay Gould, On Embryos and Ancestors, Natural History, July 1, 1998, p. 20)

Comment #28308

Posted by steve on May 5, 2005 1:11 AM (e)

Posted by Timothy Scriven on May 5, 2005 12:26 AM (e) (s)

Anyway thats just my thoughts, maybe the poor people over at the DI need to find a new representitive after the debacle that Dembski has proven to be, with quote mining and all that.

Au contraire. Dembski’s got Salvador Cordova. Does Paul Nelson have a Sancho Pa–I mean, a Salvador Cordova?

Comment #28309

Posted by Mike Dunford on May 5, 2005 1:18 AM (e)

Paul Nelson wrote:

Consider a parallel situation:

1. Smith describes a long-standing mathematical puzzle and says he has solved it.

2. Jones cites Smith’s description of the puzzle, but not his solution, because the solution doesn’t work.

3. Brown scolds Jones: “Hey, Smith solved that puzzle! You can’t cite his description of the puzzle, as if it were still unsolved.”

4. When asked if he thinks Smith actually solved the puzzle, however, Brown says he takes no position about that.

The situation is not quite parallel, Paul. A more accurate analogy would be this:

1. Smith describes a long-standing mathematical puzzle and says he has solved it.

2. Jones cites Smith’s description of the puzzle, but not only does Jones fail to cite the solution, he does so in a manner that implies that Smith thought the puzzle was still unsolved.

3. Brown scolds Jones: “If you are going to cite Smith’s description of the problem, you should at least have enough academic integrity to mention that Smith thought he had solved the problem. You should also outline both Smith’s proposed solution and your objections. The way you have things written now makes it look like Smith thought the problem had no solution, and that completely misrepresents what was really happening.

4. Davis asks Brown: “Do you think Smith solved the puzzle?”

5. Brown says to Davis: “It doesn’t matter whether or not I think Smith was right, Jones’ citation completely misrepresents what Smith really says. It will still be a misrepresentation whether or not Smith is actually right.”

The fact is that Dembski’s post blatantly misrepresents Ward’s position. This is a fact, and it is a fact whether or not Ward’s position is actually correct. A discussion of whether or not Ward’s position is correct could be very interesting. It is certainly relevant to claims made by you, by Dembski, and by numerous other Intelligent Design proponents and creationists. The only way that it could be considered relevant to the question of whether or not Dembski misrepresented Ward, however, is if you believe that it is OK to misrepresent someone’s position if you don’t think they are right. If that is what you believe, you and I clearly have different opinions on what constitutes ethical academic behavior.

For the record, I don’t know whether or not Smith was right. As I understand the current state of precambrian research, many of the fossils of Ediacaran age are most likely not directly ancestral to modern forms. However, if I recall correctly there have been several papers that indicate that some Ediacaran-age forms have affinities with modern forms, and appear to represent stem-group orgainisms. I’m heading into finals week, so I don’t have the time to review this in depth right now, but if you wanted to look for some of those papers, I believe that Grahame Budd was an author on several of them. I know he’s been particularly active in the deep phylogeny of arthropods.

I don’t think there’s anyone here who would object to an open and candid exchange on a topic like the Cambrian explosion. Personally, I’d be happy to discuss it with you till the cows come home - after finals, that is. The Cambrian period is not my strong point, and I haven’t yet formulated a strong opinion about whether or not the Cambrian Explosion is more of a real evolutionary phenomena or whether it’s more of a preservational artefact. An in-depth discussion might give me enough of a kick to get me to really research and think about the Cambrian Explosion.

Dembski, however, shows absolutely no signs whatsoever of being interested in a candid and open exchange of ideas. He cited Ward in a manner that very clearly and explicitly implied that Ward believed that the Cambrian Explosion was a problem:

Dembski wrote:

Pretty convincing indicator that the Cambrian explosion poses a challenge to conventional evolutionary theory, wouldn’t you say? Note that this is not a misquote: I indicate clearly that Ward does not support ID and there’s sufficient unedited material here to make clear that he really is saying that the Cambrian explosion poses a challenge to conventional evolutionary theory.

(source)

Dr. Dembski certainly did leave “sufficient unedited material” to make it appear that Ward is saying that that the Cambrian Explosion poses a challenge to evolutionary theory. The problem is that was not what Ward was actually saying. Ward was saying that the Cambrian Explosion appears to pose a problem, but that he doesn’t think it really does.

Dr. Dembski then continues with this gem:

You’d think, therefore, that the evolutionary community might be grateful to evolution critics for drawing their attention to this problem, treating it as an incentive to get the lead out and figure out just what happened during the Cambrian.

There’s simply no reasonable way that statement can be considered to be an effort at honest or open discourse. (It can be considered to be bloody arrogant, but that’s a different matter.) Dembski quotes Ward as saying that there is a problem, then goes on to say that we should be grateful to him (Dembski) for drawing our attention to the problem, and treat it as an “incentive to get the lead out and figure out just what happened”. And he does so without ever bothering to mention that he got the Ward quote from an article that was attempting to do just that.

That’s not honest and open discourse. That’s being a lying sleezebag, and I really don’t know how (or why) you can be Dembski’s apologist for this. Unless Dembski is a complete moron, he knew full well that Ward’s quote came from an article that was trying to “figure out just what happened during the Cambrian”. Yet Dembski goes to incredible lengths to try and make it appear that nobody was really doing that. If I got caught pulling that kind of garbage in a term paper, I’d probably flunk - and rightly so. If I caught a student doing that kind of thing in a class I was grading, I’d flunk them for at least that assignment. Basic academic integrity demands that when you discuss the opinion of someone you disagree with, you do so in a manner that accurately and fairly represents their position. This is an ideal that is not always achieved, but you’d think that Dr. Dembski could at least try.

Comment #28313

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 5, 2005 1:43 AM (e)

you know, it’s hilarious. I see on Dembski’s blog how Evolving Apeman and Dave Scott, banned from here after literally MONTHS of ridiculous trollish posting (geez, ask ANYONE here), have run to Dembski’s blog with tears in their eyes. They are even complaining about the caging of JAD.

waaaaaah.

if anyone noticed over on the bathroom wall, JAD has been labeled the “crankiest” evolutionary crank over on crank.com:

http://www.crank.net/evolution.html

so now we see the true nature of Dembski sycophants.

baby trolls.

Comment #28314

Posted by 386sx on May 5, 2005 1:53 AM (e)

Dembski, however, shows absolutely no signs whatsoever of being interested in a candid and open exchange of ideas.

Of course not. He’s only interested in being Mr. Dembski. Like John Malkovich says about himself in Being John Malkovich: “Hello Ladies and Gentleman, I’m John Malkovich.”

Comment #28318

Posted by outeast on May 5, 2005 3:20 AM (e)

Thanks Mike Dunford (comment 28309). A clearly thought out and thorough response to Paul Nelson. I look forward to his reply.

Comment #28322

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on May 5, 2005 3:57 AM (e)

Nelson writes:”Gary accused Bill Dembski of misquoting Peter Ward, because Bill didn’t cite Ward’s long 1992 discussion claiming that the Cambrian Explosion was no longer a problem for evolutionary theory. But Bill didn’t misquote Ward. Rather, he cited Ward’s description of an apparent anomaly, the abrupt appearance of the Cambrian taxa. Bill then added, in the very next sentence, that Ward was “not a creationist.”

Bawahaha.

You know what this reminds me of? It reminds of the way creationists like to quote Darwin writing in OOS as saying something as complex as the eye could not have evolved. Of course as probably all of us know, Darwin proceeded to give an explanation of how something as complex as an eye could have evolved in the very next paragraph. There’s no point in this case, in saying afterward, oh by the way Darwin is an evolutionist..

Setting up the *problem* is a rather typical rhetorical device. In fact that probably trivializes it, setting up the problem is an indispensable part of a good scientific paper. In science papers, people usually first describe in detail the problem or anomaly that is to be discussed before an explanation/solution is then given.

One can probably butcher half the scientific papers ever published in the manner D*mbski does. And “Oh by the way, he’s a chemist” doesn’t assuage the intellectual hijinx of the perpetrator.

Nelson, if you seriously think no wrongs were committed, then I can only conclude that you are morally incompetent. I can see why the DI dropped “Renewal of Culture”…

Comment #28335

Posted by Arun Gupta on May 5, 2005 7:15 AM (e)

If Dembski had added, after his quote of Peter Ward, that Peter Ward spends the next dozen pages in giving a resolution, which to Dembski is unconvincing, of the Cambrian puzzle, that would have been more honest.

But you see how that undermines the import of Dembski’s note. Dembski was trying to present Peter Ward as a non-IDer who has a problem with evolution. Instead, it turns out that he has a resolution to the Cambrian explosion puzzle, which is unconvincing to IDers. But then evolution is unconvincing to IDers, and that is nothing new.

In any case, I really think IDers should pay some attention to the history of science. No scientific explanation is complete or final. Newton’s theory of gravity was spectacularly successful in describing the motions of the bodies in our solar system, and yet many scientists felt queasy with the mysterious action at a distance of gravity. Models were proposed which reproduce the inverse square law without action at a distance. Ultimately, around 1910-15, Einstein answered all these questions - there is no actiona at a distance - and also showed that Newton’s theory was only an approximation that works well, when the bodies involved are moving slowly compared to the speed of light. Modern research may end up showing that Einstein’s theory itself is an approximation to a more complete theory of gravity.

There are at least two points to note:

1. The time span over which science operates to eliminate unsatisfactory aspects of its
description of nature should be measured in centuries.

Nitpicking with evolution is not going to convince scientist.

2. Successful theories explain why the supplanted theories seemed plausible. Einstein’s
theory of gravity includes Newtonian gravity as a limiting case.

Similarly, if IDers have a better theory, that theory would explain why nature presents
an appearance of evolution.

As to the scientists, I’d remind them that the enormous prestige of Sir Isaac Newton and
his undoubted and unparallelled genius and his accomplishments in science nevertheless
did not convince anyone in his more theologically-minded era, to adopt his theology.
I don’t think IDers have a millionth of Newton’s firepower. No need to get worked up about
them.

Comment #28340

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 5, 2005 7:31 AM (e)

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Comment #28341

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 5, 2005 7:35 AM (e)

You know what this reminds me of? It reminds of the way creationists like to quote Darwin writing in OOS as saying something as complex as the eye could not have evolved.

Not surprising, since *all* ID arguments are simply sanitized and recycled versions of the same old boilerplate that the creation, uh, “scientists” used for decades until they lost in Arkansas and Louisiana.

Comment #28342

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 5, 2005 7:38 AM (e)

But then evolution is unconvincing to IDers

But then, Dumbski DID say that ID could accomodate anything that evolution found.

And Behe DID say that he accepts common descent, including the evolution of humans from apelike primates.

So if IDers say they have no ID to teach, and also say they have no problem with evolution, I am left wondering just **what the hell it IS that they are bitching about** …. …… ?

I’d ask Paul or Salvador, but alas, they seem to have some sort of lethal allergy to answering direct questions.

Comment #28344

Posted by Flint on May 5, 2005 7:59 AM (e)

In a nutshell, Ward writes “A total ignoramus might think the Cambrian represents a puzzle for evolutionary theory, but even a cursory examination of the literature shows this position is baseless.”

From this, Dembski extracts “The Cambrian represents a puzzle for evolutionary theory”, omits the rest of the sentence, and represents this as a valid statement of Ward’s position. This extraction is in turn used to build the argument that even evolutionists recognize this serious problem, so it must be fatal after all just like ID proponents claim.

Now Nelson comes along and says there is nothing he can see the slightest bit dishonest about this extraction or the interpretation placed on it, because the issue isn’t whether Dembski is misrepresenting Ward, but rather whether Ward is correct! And how about Dembski’s excuse that the omitted material is “irrelevant detail”? Nelson is silent.

Once again, when conclusions are foregone and unquestionable, anything in support of them is defined as correct (including lies) and anyone telling those lies is not to be questioned. If Paul Nelson could genuinely see that Dembski is lying, he could not be a creationist.

Comment #28357

Posted by Paul A. Nelson on May 5, 2005 9:51 AM (e)

Lenny, I’m on record as saying there is currently no well-articulated theory of biological design. I said that about as plainly as I could to 2,000 people in the Biola gymnasium last year (at an ID conference; Nick Matzke was there as a reporter), and have repeated it since. Thus there’s no point in dangling your question in front of me, like it’s a big fat worm and I’m a dopey catfish. (I may be a dopey catfish, of course, but let’s say on other grounds – like rooting for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA playoffs, for instance [sigh].)

About Howard Ahmanson. Can you document for me, with evidence, which of his currently-held views I should repudiate?

Look – I broke one of my own rules (about the wise use of time) last night with this thread. But it was a useful exercise anyway. “Quote-mining” is one of those charges whose merit is very much observer-dependent. Years ago, when I was a newly-wed and penurious graduate student, I made a little extra money by helping Wendell Bird with his two-volume The Origin of Species Revisited (Academic Press, 1989). To try to forestall the objection of misquotation, Wendell attached an asterisk to every single appearance of any evolutionary scientist’s name. That’s a hell of a lot of asterisks in a two-volume work. On page 1, where the first asterisk appeared – attached to Charles Darwin’s name (!) – Wendell wrote:

Scientists cited in this book, unless otherwise indicated, are not proponents of, and their quoted statements are not intended as endorsements of, either the theory of abrupt appearance or the theory of creation.

Didn’t make a bit of difference…and Wendell was scrupulous about accuracy.

Should Bill have added a sentence saying something like “Nevertheless, Peter Ward thinks that he has a solution to the problem of the Cambrian Explosion”? Maybe. Would that have made a difference to how Bill is treated here? Almost certainly not.

Wisdom from Fleck:

The greater the difference between two thought styles, the more inhibited will be the communication of ideas…. The principles of an alien collective are, if noticed at all, felt to be arbitrary and their possible legitimacy as begging the question. The alien way of thought seems like mysticism. The questions it rejects will often be regarded as the most important ones, its explanations as proving nothing or missing the point, its problems as often unimportant or meaningless trivialities.

Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact (University of Chicago Press, 1979), p. 109.

To my mind, the relevant issue is whether Ward is right. The formulation of a problem and its correct solution, while related, are nonetheless logically and evidentially separate matters. But it’s clear that we’re going to have to disagree about this. And there I’ll take my leave.

Comment #28360

Posted by Flint on May 5, 2005 10:07 AM (e)

To my mind, the relevant issue is whether Ward is right.

Absolutely amazing. This entire thread is about whether or not Dembski correctly represented Ward’s position, and has absolutely nothing to do with whether Ward’s position is right. Dembski lied about Ward’s position. Nelson simply refuses to face this. When challenged, Nelson repeatedly changes the subject. Why would Nelson even bother posting here, if he can’t understand that everyone is talking about an issue he won’t recognize?

Comment #28362

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on May 5, 2005 10:12 AM (e)

Lenny, I’m on record as saying there is currently no well-articulated theory of biological design.

Then give us the poorly-articulated theory then, unless of course there isn’t any theory to begin with and this is just more obsfuscation (as always).

Even Paley 200 years ago did better than you lot.

Comment #28363

Posted by rubble on May 5, 2005 10:14 AM (e)

Paul A. Nelson wrote:

To my mind, the relevant issue is whether Ward is right.

Then why haven’t either Dembski or yourself directly addressed Ward’s remarks regarding resolution of the Cambrian/Precambrian data? If the issue here is greater discussion of evolutionary theory, as ID proponents allege regarding the recent Kansas State BoE actions, why aren’t you or Dembski discussing that particular aspect of Ward’s remarks?

Comment #28365

Posted by Paul King on May 5, 2005 10:18 AM (e)

Disclaimers are not adequate. Consider the commonly misrepresented quote of Darwin on the evolution of the eye. The effect of a disclaimer would be to give the impression that Darwin believed in evolution despite the absurdity. In reality Darwin’s view was that it was not absurd at all and he pointed to evidence to support his view.

To my mind the real issue here is not whether Ward was right, or even Dembski’s initial misrepresentation. It is Dembski’s reaction to having his misrepresentation exposed.

Comment #28387

Posted by Jon Fleming on May 5, 2005 12:02 PM (e)

Should Bill have added a sentence saying something like “Nevertheless, Peter Ward thinks that he has a solution to the problem of the Cambrian Explosion”? Maybe. Would that have made a difference to how Bill is treated here? Almost certainly not.

So FREAKIN’ what?

Wuuld adding such a statement have indicated that Dembski is not a dishonest con-man? Maybe. As the evidence stands, all we have indicates he is a dishonest con-man.

Comment #28410

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 5, 2005 1:28 PM (e)

Paul

To my mind, the relevant issue is whether Ward is right.

Perhaps it’s a “worldview” thing.

LOL!!!!

Comment #28411

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 5, 2005 1:31 PM (e)

Paul Nelson

About Howard Ahmanson. Can you document for me, with evidence, which of his currently-held views I should repudiate?

Does anyone know a mindreader who isn’t reluctant to get inside the head of a Tourette’s patient?

Comment #28431

Posted by Steve on May 5, 2005 2:27 PM (e)

Did Bill Dembski misrepresent Peter Ward? No.

Actually yes. I read Dembski’s 5 questions essay and the implication is quite clear with the quote. The implication is:

Here is an evolutionist who admits to the problems with the precambrian explosion.

A more accurate description of what Ward wrote would be:

At first glance the precambrian explosion looked to contradict evolutionary theory. Now, however this no longer is the case because….

What Dembski wrote was dishonest. His responseshows quite plainly how dishonest he is (and in my view always has been).

Comment #28457

Posted by Evil(tm) Evolutionist on May 5, 2005 3:36 PM (e)

If anyone is interested, Dembski will be speaking on Tuesday, May 24th at Seattle Pacific University starting at 7:30 PM in Demaray Hall 150.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NWCreationNews/mes…

I’m sure he would be more than happy to revisit his uproariously hilarious misquotes in front of a large audience.

-Evil™ Evolutionist

Comment #28492

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 5, 2005 6:11 PM (e)

Lenny, I’m on record as saying there is currently no well-articulated theory of biological design.

OK, so IDers are simply lying to us when they claim there IS one.

That raises another question, then — given that there IS NO SCIENTIFIC THEORY OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN, then what the hell is this “controversy” about that IDers keep blithering about. How can oen have a “scientific controversy” if one side HAS NO SCIENCE TO OFFER.

Oh, and if IDers are lying to us when they claim ID is science, are they also lying to us when they claim ID is NOT RELIGION?

If ID isn’t science and isn’t religion, then, uh, what the hell IS IT ??????

Oh, and hey, if there is no such thing as “intelligent design theory”, they why does the “intelligent design” movement call itself the “intelligent design” movement? Since there IS NO SUCH THING AS “INTELLIGENT DESIGN THEORY”, why doesn’t the ID movement chan ge its name to something more accurate, like “The Anti-Evolution Movement” or “The New Creationist Movement”. Or does ID continue to use the name ID just to dishonestly imply to folks that there is a theory of ID even though there is not? Is the ID movement just looking to score all the benefits of implying that they have an “alternative side”,w ithout the liabilities of actually having to PRESENT any?

About Howard Ahmanson. Can you document for me, with evidence, which of his currently-held views I should repudiate?

Don’t bullshit me, Paul.

Comment #28494

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 5, 2005 6:18 PM (e)

If anyone is interested, Dembski will be speaking on Tuesday, May 24th at Seattle Pacific University starting at 7:30 PM in Demaray Hall 150.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NWCreationNews/mes…

I’m sure he would be more than happy to revisit his uproariously hilarious misquotes in front of a large audience.

Sadly, you’re probably right about that. It’s much easier to dissemble orally than in writing. The way to approach this would be to depose Dembski with yes or no questions and cut him off as soon as he tried to change the subject.

Do you admit to misrepresenting Dr. Ward’s views? Do you admit to taking a quote of Dr. Ward’s that was intended to show what people believed in the past and presenting it without any attempt to explain Ward’s views?

etc., etc.

Then you might want to mention something about defecating on Ken Ham’s grave. ;)

Comment #28499

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 5, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

Rev Flank

Since there IS NO SUCH THING AS “INTELLIGENT DESIGN THEORY”, why doesn’t the ID movement chan ge its name to something more accurate, like “The Anti-Evolution Movement” or “The New Creationist Movement”.

I prefer “The Mysterious Aliens Did It” Movement.

Comment #28500

Posted by Intelligent Design Theorist Timmy on May 5, 2005 7:12 PM (e)

Paul Nelson Said:

Lenny, I’m on record as saying there is currently no well-articulated theory of biological design.

There is no theory of biological design. “no well-articulated theory” is intentionally evasive.

Comment #28501

Posted by steve on May 5, 2005 7:16 PM (e)

Damn autocomplete.

Comment #28516

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 5, 2005 8:47 PM (e)

I prefer “The Mysterious Aliens Did It” Movement.

So do the Raelians.

Oddly, though, the IDers don’t seem very happy to have the Raelians as allies…. . I wonder why that would be. I’m quite sure it has nothing to do with religion reasons. Nothing at all.

Comment #28517

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 5, 2005 8:50 PM (e)

There is no theory of biological design.

No SCIENTIFIC one, anyway. But the IDers are not interested in a SCIENIFIC one. The kind of “design theory” that THEY have in mind does them lots of good politically and economically, but alas, they must be evasive and dishonest about it in court.

“no well-articulated theory” is intentionally evasive.

Indeed, they CAN’T tell us what their “theory” really boils down to, since every judge in the United States of America would toss it out on its holy little ass.

Instead, they MUST lie about it. They have no choice.

Comment #28521

Posted by steve on May 5, 2005 9:31 PM (e)

You might want to cool it with the caps. Capitalizing whole words really doesn’t improve writing.

Comment #28526

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 5, 2005 10:00 PM (e)

Capitalizing whole words really doesn’t improve writing.

Just so you don’t feel like your spinning your wheels, steve, I took this peave of yours to heart a while back. It’s good advice.

Comment #28527

Posted by Henry J on May 5, 2005 10:11 PM (e)

Timothy Scriven,
Re “If the ID movement played on these scholars more they might even get some kind of grudging respect from the scientific and philosophical establishment.”

My guess is that their most vocal representatives are self appointed.

Henry

Comment #28543

Posted by alienward on May 6, 2005 12:03 AM (e)

Paul A. Nelson wrote:

Should Bill have added a sentence saying something like “Nevertheless, Peter Ward thinks that he has a solution to the problem of the Cambrian Explosion”? Maybe. Would that have made a difference to how Bill is treated here? Almost certainly not.

Let’s see. We’ll take a look again at one of the quotes from Ward that both you and Dembski are well aware of:

“The long accepted theory of the sudden appearance of skeletal metazoans at the base of the Cambrian was incorrect: the basal Cambrian boundary marked only the first appearance of relatively large skeleton-bearing forms, such as the trilobites and brachiopods, rather than the first appearance of skeletonized metazoans. Darwin would have been satisfied. The fossil record bore out his conviction that the trilobites and brachiopods appeared only after a long period of evolution of ancestral forms (Pp 36-37, emphasis added).

Ward is saying there wasn’t even a problem in the first place. You’re just proposing another dishonest misrepresentation of Ward.

To my mind, the relevant issue is whether Ward is right. The formulation of a problem and its correct solution, while related, are nonetheless logically and evidentially separate matters. But it’s clear that we’re going to have to disagree about this. And there I’ll take my leave.

The issue is Dembski’s is claiming Ward is being critical of evolution and you know it. From Dembski:

“Predictably, the author (in this case Ward) is shocked and dismayed at being quoted by evolution critics for being critical of evolution.”

“Word of advice: if you are an evolutionist and don’t want to be quoted by evolution critics for being critical of evolution, resist the urge — don’t criticize it.”

This isn’t something we’re just disagreeing over. Dembski is deliberately misrepresenting Ward, you know it and are trying to cover it up by pretending its some other issue.

Comment #28556

Posted by Timothy Scriven on May 6, 2005 2:05 AM (e)

Has their ever been a conference along the lines of “counter creationist tatics”? It’s difficult, I’ve tried debating a few creationist friends and from my experience I can see how hard it must be to convince an entire country that Darwinian evolution is a better hypothesis then ID or biblical creationism. On one hand ID advocates are master data manipulators, its easy to turn to any page in a scientific textbook that ID advocates could use for their position, and its impossible to explain the complexities of biochemical explanations to a audience in a hour long debate. So the natural impulse seems to be to criticise the sociology and philosophy of ID, but then we look like intolerant bigots who won’t even give ID a fair scientific hearing.

Take Dembski for example, this forum is devoted to pointing out his numerous academic dishonesties ( its amazing he even managed to get his six- count em six, degrees from proper universities.) Would it be wise while debating him to bring up, just in passing, his quote mining etc? Or would that be “against the man” It’s getting urgent. Rationalists need to get their tactics together. At the beginning of this year their were 13 idea centres, now, only halfway through there are 20. At this rate the number of universities with a IDEA club will double in this year alone, and the rate will probably be even faster next year.

Considering this I propose that some interested academics get together and have a counter creationist seminar. Indeed they could even set up their own peer reviewed journal to counter ISCID, which examine not just the arguments against ID but the how ( and the why ) of debating them.

We have to take the threat seriously. Not the threat that the ID “hypothesis” will turn out to be correct but the threat that a significant number of Christian biologists might accept it as true instead of one of the more liberal accounts of god’s actions in the biosphere such as Kenneth Millers. Think about it, Christian biology undergraduates join IDEA movements, people meeting in groups to reinforce each others beliefs have a tendency to maintain those beliefs. We could see a significant portion of 2025’s postgraduates believing in ID, their might even be research fellowships for this sort of thing. This could do incalculable damage to such emerging fields of Darwinian medicine and cognitive science ( though some might count that as a emerged field I suppose)

We shouldn’t just look at this as the battle for a few outback schools, it’s a battle for the very future of the enlightenment. In the papacy that may be remembered as the ID papacy we need to create our battle plans. Some topics that could be covered in a forum would be, counter creationist rhetoric, how to simplify scientific facts without lying, and constitutional law and creationism. It could be ran as a counter to the conference Dembski is planning to hold on the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the origin of species ( 2009). A counter creationist anthology could also be produced to commerate the origins’ anniversary.

Comment #28562

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 6, 2005 4:40 AM (e)

“So the natural impulse seems to be to criticise the sociology and philosophy of ID, but then we look like intolerant bigots who won’t even give ID a fair scientific hearing”

ahhh, you now see the problem the dems have when bill frist stands up in the middle of a house lrgislative hearing and announces that the dems are “anti-faith”

why do you think the right wing has glomed onto the evangelical bandwagon? think they really have any more “christianity” to them than the dems? nope, they just play the religion card first and louder, and how do you attack that position here in the US?

if you are a democrat and knock bill frist, the religious right will say you are anti-faith, if you don’t knock bill frist, he asks why you are standing in his way.

damned if you do, damned if you don’t

this problem will not go away until one of two things happen:

people STOP thinking religion belongs in politics, or

politicians STOP taking advantage of religion for their own aims.

creationism is just the tip of the iceberg.

Comment #28564

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 6, 2005 4:54 AM (e)

About Howard Ahmanson. Can you document for me, with evidence, which of his currently-held views I should repudiate?

I see, so your argument is “Ahmanson isn’t as nutty now as he has been for the past 20 years.” Is that it?

I am not aware of *any* public statement by Ahmanson or any of his mouthpieces wherein he repudiates any part of the views that he held and funded for over two decades as a Rushdooney groupie. Can you point me to one?

I *am* aware of some recent PR puff pieces (no doubt prompted by the public reaction to his nuttiness once it became generally known; after all, politicians have returned checks from him once they found out who he was – a sign of integrity that DI apparently lacks), wherein he tries to soft-pedal his views and paint himself as a “kinder, gentler” lunatic. Alas, though, even in those puff pieces, Ahmanson seemed unable to flat out repudiate things like, say, stoning people he thinks are sinners.

Ahmanson was still supporting the Chalcedon Foundation in 1996 when he put up the seed money to form the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture …. Didn’t any IDers pipe up and say “Hey, ya know, this guy is kind of a flake, and maybe we shouldn’t be taking money from someone who wants to, ya know, stone people, or abolish the minimum wage, or place the US under Biblical law, or legally punish people for blasphemy, or tear down the wall of separation of church and state. I’m not accepting any money from nuts like this.” ? Did any IDers pipe up and say that? Why not?

Perhaps you would be so kind as to give us a list of the nutty views that Ahmanson held for 20 years that he has just recently and suddenly repudiated, and why. After that, perhaps you can list the ones that he has NOT repudiated, and why not.

Or would DI simply prefer not to talk about the fact that it gets much of its funding from a sole wacko billionnaire who for twenty years advocated the same sort of program as the Islamic nutjobs we are currently dropping bombs on in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sort of like the Harun Yahya kook who is testifying in Kansas on ID’s behalf – ID *does* seem to have some sort of soft spot for religious nuts, doesn’t it?

I wonder why that would be ….

Comment #28565

Posted by 386sx on May 6, 2005 4:55 AM (e)

To my mind, the relevant issue is whether Ward is right.

Yah. “Consider the following admission by Peter Ward” - Bill Dembski

So then what was Peter Ward admitting? And Dembski wrote that after having been reminded about what Peter Ward was really talking about. Obviously Dembski was pulling a fast one, and probably taunting his critics too. Get real.

Comment #28567

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 6, 2005 4:59 AM (e)

the conference Dembski is planning to hold on the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the origin of species ( 2009).

“Intelligent Design” will be dead by then. It won’t survive court challenges in Dover or Kansas.

Indeed, as its supporters admit, “intelligent design” is ALREADY dead. They’ve already backpedalled from any “alternative scientific theory”, and have been forced to retreat to whining about some vague undefined and unspecified “controversy” that they want to teach instead. I find it amusing to see how, as the IDers are forced to backpedal more and more, they also begin to sound more and more like the creation “scientists” who were crushed so badly in the courts back in the 80’s.

I can understadn their desperation. After all, if ID has no science to teach, if ID isn’t religion (coughcoughbullshitcough), and if ID is capable of accomodating anything found in evolutionary theories and can’t be distinguished from evolution, that doesn’t leave them with a whole lot to argue about, does it …. .

Even an earthworm is capable of learning from previous experiences. Apparently IDers can’t reach that level.

Comment #28570

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 6, 2005 5:09 AM (e)

Lenny, please stop comaparing annelids to IDers. It’s insulting to the annelids.

they told me to tell you so.

Comment #28571

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 6, 2005 5:28 AM (e)

Lenny, please stop comaparing annelids to IDers. It’s insulting to the annelids.

they told me to tell you so.

My apologies to annelids everywhere.

What would you suggest a comparison to instead? Something spineless, slimy, blind and parasitical ….

Comment #28615

Posted by Henry J on May 6, 2005 11:20 AM (e)

steve,
Re “Damn autocomplete.”
LOL

Somebody or other,
Re “There is no theory of biological design.”
Unless one counts the effects of natural selection as designs. Personally, I think excluding them from things meant by “design” is a somewhat artificial restriction on the meaning of the word. But maybe that’s just me? Oh well.

Henry

Comment #28636

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 6, 2005 12:46 PM (e)

“What would you suggest a comparison to instead? Something spineless, slimy, blind and parasitical ….”

hmm, no… keep going… lower…

Comment #28639

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 6, 2005 1:01 PM (e)

“Consider the following admission by Peter Ward” - Bill Dembski

You can almost hear the Twilight Zone theme in the background.

Comment #28640

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 6, 2005 1:02 PM (e)

warning, the following should be considered extremely insensitive. Don’t continue if you have a sensitive dispostion.

I would add “intestinal” before the parasitical part, and think it a good area to select from.

How about Giardia?

http://www.aafp.org/afp/20040301/1161.html

“G. lamblia is a pear-shaped, flagellated protozoan (Figure 2) that causes a wide variety of gastrointestinal complaints. “

this fits; creationists often give me ulcers.

“Giardia is arguably the most common parasite infection of humans worldwide, and the second most common in the United States after pinworm.8,9 Between 1992 and 1997, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that more than 2.5 million cases of giardiasis occur annually.”

this fits; creationists are also arguably the most common parasite infecting rational thought worldwide.

“Because giardiasis is spread by fecal-oral contamination, the prevalence is higher in populations with poor sanitation, close contact, and oral-anal sexual practices.”

this fits; creationists usually only speak from the position of having their head up their own *ss, or someone else’s.

“The disease is commonly water-borne because Giardia is resistant to the chlorine levels in normal tap water and survives well in cold mountain streams.”

this fits; no matter how much bleach we use to try to wash the taint of their lies away, it just keeps coming back. Moreover, if we consider ignorance to be a lack of knowledge, creationism seems to survive quite well under extreme oligotrophic conditions.

so my conclusion based purely on correlation, is that the two are equivalent.

Comment #28645

Posted by steve on May 6, 2005 1:23 PM (e)

Lenny said: “Indeed, as its supporters admit, “intelligent design” is ALREADY dead. They’ve already backpedalled from any “alternative scientific theory”, and have been forced to retreat to whining about some vague undefined and unspecified “controversy” that they want to teach instead. “

On the bathroom wall I just posted an old article by William Saletan which talks about this. His opinion is that ID is creationism going out with a whimper instead of a bang: they’ve jettisoned all the religion and YEC nonsense they can, and they’re left with nothing.

Comment #28650

Posted by Gary Hurd on May 6, 2005 1:55 PM (e)

OK

When the more appropriate comment is linked from the Bathroom Wall, it is time to move on.

Thanks to all of you for your cogent remarks, and special thanks to William Dembski without whom we could not have had so much fun.