Jason Rosenhouse posted Entry 1005 on May 4, 2005 09:23 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1003

In this post from Monday I discussed William Dembski's egregious misuse of a quotation from paleontologist Peter Ward.

Given the facts I presented, it seemed beyond all question that Dembski had basically lied about the point Ward was making in his book. Nonetheless, I was curious to see what sort of defense Dembski would offer for his behavior.

Now I know. Dembski's response is available here. Rather than respond to the simple facts of the situation, Dembski preferred instead to dismiss them as “irrelevant details.”

Following up on Gary Hurd's comments below, I have posted some additional thoughts on the subject over at EvolutionBlog.

Only a diehard ID fanatic could possibly continue to take Dembski seriously after following this exchange. Dembski's blatant dishonesty and breathtaking arrogance have seldom been on clearer display. If there are any ID proponents with consciences reading this, I'd be curious to know if you still want anything to do with this guy.

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Comment #28316

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 5, 2005 3:02 AM (e)

well, Evolving apeman and Dave Scott are still loyal dembskiites.

even now they are posting whines in his blog about how they were treated so badly here, and banned… for no reason!

baby trolls.

that’s probably why you aren’t finding any dembski supporters posting here.. there’s only those two.

Comment #28323

Posted by Dave Cerutti on May 5, 2005 5:17 AM (e)

Recently I was at a luncheon with a scientist who debated William Dembski on one occasion. “I’ve never seen such arrogance before,” he recalled. “He thought I was agreeing with him when in fact I wasn’t.” I’m not sure I should reveal the name of the source, even though it’s a perfectly flat comment and I hold in esteem the man who said it. But, a hint for those really in-the-know, his general comment about IDists was that he “was too nice… they wanted [him] to join their cause” and he works in Complexity Theory.

This latest exchange by Bill Dembski is really low, though–I mean,

WAD: “Ward says there’s a huge problem, and in fact Ward espouses an intelligent design notion.”

PT: “Umm, Bill, knock it off. He explicitly said the opposite of what you just did.”

WAD: “Ah, wonderful to read your feeble, rhetorical ploy. Indeed, other scientists have admitted that there are problems getting evolution to explain the Cambrian explosion.”

PT: “But your point about Ward is still wrong. That was the issue.”

WAD: “I await your petulant response.”

DC: “Umm, no, you’re the one who’s being petulant here.” (appropriate definition of WAD’s choice word: contemptuous in speech or behavior)

Comment #28324

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on May 5, 2005 6:02 AM (e)

I fully support Dembski, and I do not think he is a liar whatsoever. Although I can understand why you perceive the leaders of our movement that way.

It’s hard to be put on the spot, Dr. Rosenhouse, especially by you. You among all the rest here at PandasThumb command the most respect from me, and so it is hard to be put on the spot. I was reluctant to post for fear of angering you more.

My explanations may not be satisfying to you, perhaps you might think we are just blind, since William Dembski, after all is family to us, someone who has been insulted and persecuted like the rest of us IDists…

Surely I can understand your irritation and anger at my leaders. However, if you are truly curious to understand why we do not perceive Dembski as a liar, it’s actually very easy if you are willing to at least try to understand how IDists and creationists see the world. To us, the physical evidence is not convincing, the Cambrian explosion has no satisfying naturalistic explanation, Ward was wrong to even postulate that there is naturalistic solution, and the same can be said of every other naturalistic evolutionist.

I myself, having degrees in math, computer science, and electrical engineering understand the language of information theory. Dembski’s writings are far more correct in my view that the offering of his critics. I have even defended his work at ISCID and responded to his Elsberry and his former teacher Shallit. It was through the process of dealing with Bill’s critics, such as Elsberry and Shallit, that I eventually strongly sided with Bill Dembski.

If one reads my early writings on the net, one will see that I actually was fairly sympathetic to Elsberry at first, and his concept of SAI more than Dembski’s CSI. That changed as I studied the writings of both sides more thoroughly and concluded Elsberry and (Dembski’s former teacher) Shallit were dead wrong in their assessment of CSI.

I have worked in automatic target recognition, the detection of ID artifacts, and from a professional standpoint Dembski’s work makes sense. I know of an IDist/biologist at George Mason who will be in at the George Mason’s national center for bio defense, and I’m confident she sypmathizes with Dembski’s position, as detection of intelligently design bio agents are crucial to her profession…

With respect to the creationists at ICR and AiG, I have posted publicly and at your website where I often agree with you. I have criticized publicly ICR for stabbing fellow YECs in the back, so you need not be troubled that I will defend them before you, even though I myself have strong Young Earth leanings.

However, I consider Bill’s scholarship and conclusions materially accurate. For the theory of naturalistic evolution to be true it must overcome major theoretical and empirical hurdles. You’ve come to my talks at your school, and I’ve explained things at a superficial level (as was appropriate for my audience), and I have referred the students in my group to your website and writings so that they will have access to what I consider the best counter arguments to the ID position.

We have an IDEA member who has worked in molecular phylogeny for 3 years. The amount of molecular convergence she sees argues against naturalistic interpretations, and the explanations she is given for these phenoman theoretically unsatisfying. She was completely troubled by the molecular clock hypothesis which is used as an explanation for the hierarchical patterns in the molecular sequence divergences. That hypothesis, by the way, was likened by Denton to “a principle more like mideaval astrology than a serious 20th century scientific theory”, and explanation of the hierarchical pattern in his view, “amount to little more than apologetic tautologies”. I can see why Sternberg finally sided with the IDists, and so can she, and so can I.

Until serious empirical and theoretical problems are resolved, Ward and others will ultimately viewed as being blind to obvious facts, and people like Kurt Wise will continue to graduate from their mentors like Stephen Gould, and people like Dembski will graduate from Shallit’s classes, and IDEA members from your school will graduate from biology programs, all believing that the case for naturalistic evolution are unsupported by scientific facts.

In the meantime we see what happens to professors of cellular biolgy like Caroline Crocker and that un-named professor who declined and interview with Nature because he was untenured.

Until your side can offer convincing empirical and theoretical evidence that the complexity of life arose through naturalistic processes, Ward statements in favor of naturalistic evolution can not be viewed as anything more than wishful thinking on Ward’s part. Therefore, Ward’s words only serve as an example to us of the amounts of collective wishful thinking out there, and thus, the quotation by Dembski is used to reference the one part of Wards work we believe agree with the empirical facts, namely, the Cambrian explosion is a major problem for naturalistic evolution.

So you were curious why I support Dembski, and I have offered some of my reasons.

Comment #28326

Posted by GCT on May 5, 2005 6:23 AM (e)

Salvador, you agree that Ward sees a “naturalistic solution” to the Cambrian explosion, and you agree that Dembski only referenced “the one part of Wards work we believe agree with the empirical facts” but Dembski is not dishonest? Whether Ward is right or wrong and whether you or Dembski believe he is right or wrong is beside the point. Dembski stated that Ward believes that the Cambrian explosion is a problem for ToE when Ward clearly does not think that. It could have been a mistake the first time and Dembski should have retracted when it was pointed out to him. He did not do that, however. Instead, Dembski re-asserted that he was correct all along in his characterization of Ward’s view and that Ward himself was lying about his own viewpoint.

So, how does this not make him a liar?

Comment #28327

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on May 5, 2005 6:31 AM (e)

Until your side can offer convincing empirical and theoretical evidence that the complexity of life arose through naturalistic processes,

Coming from someone who runs away every time such evidence is asked of ID, let alone simple theories that can make predictions and be tested against the theory, this is particularly rich.

Ward statements in favor of naturalistic evolution can not be viewed as anything more than wishful thinking on Ward’s part.

According to you, and like Paul in the other thread, you’ve completely missed the entire point of this exchange. You gibber off about if Ward was right or not, and never realise that the facts of what Ward wrote are irrelevant to what Dembski was CLAIMING.

That Dembski was being dishonest in claiming that Ward agreed with him that the Cambrian explosion is a problem is what has been showed up as being fraudulent. Your continual denial of this only shows how completely vapid you are as a scientist and how you have no credibility at all.

Therefore, Ward’s words only serve as an example to us of the amounts of collective wishful thinking out there, and thus, the quotation by Dembski is used to reference the one part of Wards work we believe agree with the empirical facts, namely, the Cambrian explosion is a major problem for naturalistic evolution.

Except again, this is not the point and not at all what Dembski claimed at all initially or how he has gone about defending it. Dembski clearly got caught with his pants down and the fact he hasn’t just come clean about it is damaging his credibility. The fact you incessantly defend him only proves you have none as well.

I myself, having degrees in math, computer science, and electrical engineering understand the language of information theory

It’s a shame it’s so hollow and without substance that you’ve never been able to answer any of Dr Flanks challenges (which when he sees you’ve posted he’ll ask again).

As for the number of degrees you have, I could hardly care less what you have to be honest. Having degrees doesn’t prevent you from being a complete twit.

Comment #28328

Posted by snaxalotl on May 5, 2005 6:36 AM (e)

Ward was wrong to even postulate that there is naturalistic solution

how could anybody not notice that this isn’t the point?

the point is that arguments are constructed out of points, and people who construct arguments out of broken points (like the point dembski did make) are hindering the process of determining truth, as are the people who try to move the discussion away from the broken argument under question.

everybody else has stepped away from the details of the cambrian because they are talking about the process of argument.

cordova is now having a lonely discussion at the wrong level.

Comment #28329

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on May 5, 2005 6:43 AM (e)

Ward was wrong to even postulate that there is naturalistic solution, and the same can be said of every other naturalistic evolutionist.

You know, I missed this the first time, probably as I was wretching, that post was rather vomit inducing with all that self-wanking combined with all the hot air coming from that post. But this statement alone proves why IDists are disregarded as psedoscientific hacks and their methodology (or lack there of) routinely criticised. The good old addage that ID is just “God did it” and give up holds true yet again! Of course we should just give up and not bother looking for a naturalistic explanation, because it’s obviously too hard to find now (which apparently it isn’t) so it can never be found.

I explain it with “God did it” and the problem goes away, what a triumph for science!

/insert truckload of sarcasm about here.

Comment #28330

Posted by Paul King on May 5, 2005 6:43 AM (e)

The most generous interpretation I can make of Dembski’s original use of Ward is that he rejected Ward’s opinion that the problem was not as great as it seemed - and omitted to explain the situation and offer his counter to Ward because of space considerations. Even that is unsatisfactory because it is misleading and incomplete. A less generous interpretation is that Dembski simply did not bother to read that far and missed Ward’s real views.

If Dembski had chosen to respond to criticism by candidly admitting the weaknesses of the original piece and filling in the gaps then maybe the matter could have rested there.

But he did not. Instead he chose to use the criticism as an excuse to make groundless and false attacks on his opponents and evolutionary biologists in general.

I don’t see how any decent person could defend that.

Comment #28331

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on May 5, 2005 6:49 AM (e)

I don’t see how any decent person could defend that

Salvator is into peddling garbage and inane debating tactics like quote mining, because once you take away the debating manuevers and misinformation what do creationists have left? They certainly don’t have any scientific experiments or claims to fall back on, so they must inherently defend their shoddy debating tactics when they are exposed because that is all they have.

Is it really that unexpected that he defends him?

Comment #28332

Posted by Andrew on May 5, 2005 6:51 AM (e)

Salvador:

You weren’t asked why you supported Dembski’s ideas; that’s apparent from your many posts.

The question is why you support Dembski as a person – in your words, as “one of your leaders” – when he’s clearly a liar.

No one is trying to convince you (in this forum) to jettison ID, but we’re sincerely curious why you would swear fealty to someone who’s just not worth it.

Comment #28338

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 5, 2005 7:25 AM (e)

I fully support Dembski, and I do not think he is a liar whatsoever.

That’s nice.

Dr Cordova, you still have not answered my four simple questions.

As promised, I will ask again. And again and again and again. As many times as I need to, until you answer.

*ahem*

1. What is the scientific theory of intelligent design, and how do we test it using the scientific method?

2. According to this scientific theory of intelligent design, how old is the earth, and did humans descend from apelike primates or did they not?

3. what, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than weather forecasting, accident investigation, or medicine?

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

Comment #28339

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on May 5, 2005 7:29 AM (e)

/inserts obligatory told you so here.

It’s a shame it’s so hollow and without substance that you’ve never been able to answer any of Dr Flanks challenges (which when he sees you’ve posted he’ll ask again).

Comment #28350

Posted by Chris Naylor on May 5, 2005 9:01 AM (e)

Mr. Cordova-

I have to echo the comments of GCT, Jason Rosenhouse, Gary Hurd and others who have criticized Bill Dembski for deceptive and dishonest debating tactics. GCT explains it well and succinctly: whether or not Peter Ward’s explanation of the Cambrian Explosion is correct, Dembski is clearly and deliberately incorrect in mis-stating Peter Ward’s true intent. Bill Dembski did not state, as you imply, that this was the portion of Ward’s writings that he agreed with. Dembski’s clear implication was that the quote represented Ward’s actual opinion.

Wishful thinking or no, mis-representing Ward’s ideas to serve his own purpose is dishonest and I ask you to reconsider your opinion on this issue. In the long run, if ID does have a substantial scientific case to make, then it has nothing to fear and everything to gain by adopting an honest and forthright approach.

Comment #28352

Posted by Chris Naylor on May 5, 2005 9:07 AM (e)

Mr. Cordova-

I have to echo the comments of GCT, Jason Rosenhouse, Gary Hurd and others who have criticized Bill Dembski for deceptive and dishonest debating tactics. GCT explains it well and succinctly: whether or not Peter Ward’s explanation of the Cambrian Explosion is correct, Dembski is clearly and deliberately incorrect in mis-stating Peter Ward’s true intent. Bill Dembski’s implication was that the quote represented Ward’s actual opinion. He did not state, as you imply, that this was the only portion of Ward’s writings that he agreed with.

Wishful thinking or no, mis-representing Ward’s ideas to serve his own purpose is dishonest and I ask you to reconsider your opinion on this issue. In the long run, if ID does have a substantial scientific case to make, then it has nothing to fear and everything to gain by adopting an honest and forthright approach.

Comment #28354

Posted by Chip Poirot on May 5, 2005 9:34 AM (e)

Is Salvador Cordova a real person or a satirical invention?

If he is a real person, then I apologize for giving offense. But I will say that if you are a real person and your goal is to present a defense of ID, simply rehashing every caricatured stereotype of an ID proponent doesn’t get you very far.

Comment #28355

Posted by Les Lane on May 5, 2005 9:42 AM (e)

When your only alternative to quote mining is citing an article in Rivista.. the choice is clear.

Salvador isn’t satire. He’s classic Homo concretus. This is a common species.

Comment #28356

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 5, 2005 9:48 AM (e)

We have an IDEA member who has worked in molecular phylogeny for 3 years. The amount of molecular convergence she sees argues against naturalistic interpretations, and the explanations she is given for these phenoman theoretically unsatisfying. She was completely troubled by the molecular clock hypothesis which is used as an explanation for the hierarchical patterns in the molecular sequence divergences. That hypothesis, by the way, was likened by Denton to “a principle more like mideaval astrology than a serious 20th century scientific theory”, and explanation of the hierarchical pattern in his view, “amount to little more than apologetic tautologies”. I can see why Sternberg finally sided with the IDists, and so can she, and so can I.

Uhmm, let’s see. The molecular clock hypothesis was postulated by Pauling in the early 60s based on empirical data on the rate of substitution in globin genes, and simply stated that the rates of aminoacid substitutions in orthologous genes (i.e. “copies” of the same gene in different species) is constant along different lineages, and therefore reflective of the divergence time. Why this may occur can be derived by rather simple mathematics based on straightforward assumptions, and has been shown empirically to be the case in many, although not all, lineages (see below). The molecular clock is not – emphatically not - used as an “explanation of the hierarchical patterns in the molecular sequence divergences”. Nested hierarchies would exist, as a result of linear common descent, even if rates of substitutions were different among lineages, as long as independent substitutions occurred (indeed, in the cases in which clock rates are know to differ between lineages, nested hierarchies still apply). Thus, either your friend is still confused, after 3 years in the field, about what the molecular clock model entails (given her reported persisting skepticism, that may be the case), or you did not understand what she was talking about, or both. I fear that her (or your) conclusions about the “amount of molecular convergence” she supposedly sees is probably equally uninformed, but I can’t tell without looking at her data.

Now, as for Denton, his original foray (in “Darwinism: a theory in crisis”) into molecular phylogeny was already embarassing enough, and I think it is quite unfair for you to bring it up in public again. Suffice to say that the molecular clock hypothesis is a) theoretically grounded, b) empirically verified in very many instances, and c) has led to some pretty clear predictions that were later verified (e.g., the timing of divergence of human and chimpanzees, first predicted by molecular clock analysis to be around 5-6 Mya, when fossil evidence still pointed to 15-20, IIRC). For Denton to claim that it is akin to astrology (assuming your quote is correct, who knows?) is at the very least just another sign he does not understand phylogenetic methods.

This is not to say that there are no issues with the actual application of the molecular clock for phylogenetic dating. Contrary to the original evidence and proposal, there are now clearcut data indicating that the clock ticks at different rates in certain groups (though it is constant within them). Thus, it has become quite obvious that accurate clock calibration (with appropriate paleontological evidence, for instance) is essential. But what you say above is a sham of current knowledge.

Comment #28364

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on May 5, 2005 10:17 AM (e)

The molecular clock hypothesis is nothing but tautological post dicition. That, by the way is why the theories agrees so well with the data.

I discussed and argued parts of it here:
http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/ubb/get_to…

The chapter in question came from Evolution a Theory in Crisis in the chapter “Biochemical Echo of Typology”. I actually agreed with one of Denton’s critics on a minor point in the ARN discussion, but Denton’s thesis holds.

Denton has since suggested some sort of “directed evolution” which would imply a designed molecular clock.

No, my friend is not confusesd. She’s bothered by the kind of uncritically accepted ideas being passed off as scientific fact. Even if we IDists are wrong, certainly someone working in the field, like Richard Sternberg, PhD PhD, have lattitude to doubt the credebility of prevailing theories.

Convergence, by the way, is in Sternberg’s view, a “Darwinian Epicycle”. Epicycles are indicative of a theory that is fundamentally flawed.

In any case, even if Dembski is wrong, being wrong does not make one a liar. He believes that he is right, and so do I, in his quote of Ward. Even if we are wrong, being wrong does not make us liars. Your side is free to express that you disagree, and just because we don’t agree with your side, it does not make us liars, it makes us disagreeable.

In any case, how many times have I seen Dembski and myself misrepresented here. None of you guys were coming out and calling your comrades liars were you when IDists were inaccurately represented? I pointed out over at ISCID that Elsberry and Shallit (Dembski’s former teacher) did not do justice to Dembski’s work nor represented it fairly. Are any of you coming out and calling them liars? Have I ever called your leadership liars? I convey the fact that I believe they do not accurately represent our opinions, but I do not call them liars, and I have no intention of doing so.

I can appreciate your disgust with our side. I can see the seething emotionalism against IDists evident every day at PandasThumb.

Jason can’t understand why I support Dembski. He wonders why. I’ve laid out my reasons, and Jason may think I’m blind or duped. But having been the prime defender of Dembski work on the net, I can say that his arguments have far more merit than he is given credit for here. Shallit did a good job of grooming and training an ID champion.

Dembski writes in Design Inference:

As for computational complexity theory, I was introduced to it during the academic year 1987-88, a year devoted to cryptography at the computer science department of the University of Chicago. Jeff Shallit, Adi Shamir, and Claus Schnorr were present that year and helped me gain my footing.

Comment #28366

Posted by Flint on May 5, 2005 10:31 AM (e)

Even if we are wrong, being wrong does not make us liars. Your side is free to express that you disagree, and just because we don’t agree with your side, it does not make us liars, it makes us disagreeable.

And the beat goes on. NOBODY is accusing ANYONE of lying because they disagree with Ward’s position. Disagreement is entirely acceptable. What is NOT acceptable is to make believe Ward takes a position opposite to the position he actually takes. What is ALSO not acceptable is, when multiple (including Ward) point out that he is being represented as saying the exact opposite of the position his material takes, to dismiss this misrepresentation as “irrelevant detail.”

Salvador, there is a very large difference between someone disagreeing with your position, and someone extracting bits and pieces of what you say to make you look like an ENEMY of ID and Dembski, and then claiming they just can’t see how this might be a misrepresentation of what you wrote. Disagreeing with what you say is one thing, lying about what you say is quite another.

I don’t know what’s more discourating: watching everyone trying to explain basic elementary integrity to a creationist, or watching the creationists fail to grasp even a hint of the principles involved.

Comment #28367

Posted by Michael Finley on May 5, 2005 10:32 AM (e)

Only a diehard ID fanatic could possibly continue to take Dembski seriously after following this exchange.

The great thing about arguments is that they stand alone. An argument is valid or sound (invalid or unsound) on its own. The motive or integrity of the proponent of an argument is irrelevant.

After reading your analysis of Ward’s comment in context, as well as Dembski’s treatment of it, I think it’s obvious that the quote was taken out of context and doesn’t support the conclusion Dembski draws from it.

That said, Dembski’s arguments can be taken seriously if they are serious. That he made an error here (for whatever reason) does not affect the status (whatever that status is) of his other arguments. Again, they stand alone.

Comment #28369

Posted by SteveF on May 5, 2005 10:42 AM (e)

To some extent the situation exposed here does affect the status of Dembski’s arguments. In science we have to be able to trust what people say when they are constructing an argument and detailing their case.

Next time I read one of his essays and see a quote contained within, I might be less inclined to take it at face value. This becomes a major problem for me as Dembski writes in areas that are outside my own particular branch of science. In most cases I’d be able to chase up a quote and ascertain its validity, in others its possible that I may lack the requisite expertise to judge.

Anyway, this series of threads has been a thoroughly depressing experience. We expect such dishonesty from the traditional YEC crowd, but I’d have hoped for better from the IDists.

Comment #28376

Posted by Bill Ware on May 5, 2005 11:10 AM (e)

Well no wonder some people misspell Dembski’s name.

Comment #28378

Posted by bill on May 5, 2005 11:12 AM (e)

According to Harry Frankfurt, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Princeton University, a lie is a deliberate act to mislead from the truth or what the liar believes to be the truth.

One interpretation, and the one I accept, is that Dembski is trying to deliberately mislead the reader from Ward’s true conclusion by presenting a quotation out of context that indicates the opposite conclusion.

Ironically, Dembski is resorting to an Appeal to Authority in using Ward (the authority) to bolster his (Dembski’s) incorrect proposal. What is ironic is that Dembski doesn’t need to appeal to authority because the data that supports his view (or not) is freely available.

Unfortunately for Dembski, the data does not support his proposition, he creates a falsehood using an appeal to authority to support his position and, therefore, commits a lie.

The fact that Dembski allows the lie to persist in light of overwhelming evidence to the contrary supports the proposition that he has not simply made a mistake or oversight. Intent to lie is demonstrated.

The intelligent design creationist movement is rife with intellectual and moral dishonesty, hypocracy, stealth and humbug which they use with abandon. No different, really, than Rael and the human cloning fraud.

Comment #28379

Posted by Flint on May 5, 2005 11:14 AM (e)

Finley:

The great thing about arguments is that they stand alone.

I think you are missing the point. Dembski wasn’t making an argument (at least, that’s not the thrust of this discussion). He was telling a lie. Now, you might claim that reputation doesn’t matter, and that just because someone can’t be trusted to tell the truth on one claim (or admit it when called on it), doesn’t mean he might not be telling the truth on another claim. But I (and most people, I suspect) have begun to see a pattern here. Dembski wrote an extensive article entitled something like “answering the tough questions about ID” in which he in fact DODGED every tough question while answering “questions” nobody asked. Entire books have been written pointing out errors in his assumptions and his logic, and he has either ignored these or CLAIMED to be responding to them while clearly not doing so at all.

After a while, it becomes very clear that Dembski is not trustworthy AT ALL. By now, he’s reached the point where if we assume every statement he makes is false or misleading, we are right nearly every time. This propensity is significant, meaningful, and falls across every argument Dembski constructs. Saying that each argument stands alone is like saying that just because the midget couldn’t dunk the ball last time doesn’t say anything about the next time. But in fact, there is a pattern of failure to dunk, and a reason for that pattern. Dismissing it as irrelevant does you no credit.

Comment #28383

Posted by JRQ on May 5, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

At the risk of taking Sal’s bait and falling for a thinly-disguised misdirection:

SALVADOR: Surely I can understand your irritation and anger at my leaders. However, if you are truly curious to understand why we do not perceive Dembski as a liar, it’s actually very easy if you are willing to at least try to understand how IDists and creationists see the world. To us, the physical evidence is not convincing, the Cambrian explosion has no satisfying naturalistic explanation, Ward was wrong to even postulate that there is naturalistic solution, and the same can be said of every other naturalistic evolutionist.

I find this an extraodinary statement…Salvador makes clear his view is that he indeed “understands” our irritation at his leaders, but that we are not even trying to understand how he sees the world (otherwise it would apparently be crystal clear why he is defends Dembski’s shoddy scholarship). What an astounding display of egocentrism! Salvador absolutely cannot fathom that he and the other non-evolutionary-biologist DI-ers haven’t got evolutionary biology all figured out.

At least Paul Nelson occasionally ASKS questions when pops in.

SALVADOR: No, my friend is not confusesd. She’s bothered by the kind of uncritically accepted ideas being passed off as scientific fact.

Salvador, what exactly is your view of what constitutes “scientific fact”? Do such things exist in your world? What is your operational criterion for determining that an idea has been accepted critically on account of the evidence?

Comment #28384

Posted by Michael Finley on May 5, 2005 11:35 AM (e)

Dismissing it as irrelevant does you no credit.

I’m not after credit. What I am interested in is whether Dembski’s arguments have any merit.

Determining whether a particular argument has merit involves (among other things) an investigation into the truth-value of its premises. To make such a determination one need look no further than the statement and the facts. Whether or not Dembski is a pathological liar (and I’m not saying he is) is of no consequence. To argue otherwise is a rhetorical move - “You see! He misrepresented Ward et al., therefore, his account of the explanatory filter is a house of lies!”

Comment #28386

Posted by Michael Sprague on May 5, 2005 12:02 PM (e)

Okay Michael, if you’re so intrested in arguments, here’s one:

1. For all x and y, if x intentionally misrepresents a quote from y in order to make it appear that y believes the opposite of what y believes, then x is a liar.

2. Dembski intentionally misrepresented a quote from Ward in order to make it appear that Ward believes the opposite of what Ward believes.

Therefore,

3. Dembski is a liar.

Having looked at the premises of this argument and the facts, I’ve decided it has merit. Now if you think that whether someone is a liar or not is “of no consequence,” we’ll just have to disagree. But the point of this discussion all along has been this: Dembski is a liar. That’s information that a lot of people may find useful.

Comment #28388

Posted by Michael Finley on May 5, 2005 12:14 PM (e)

One “point” of this discussion is whether any of Dembski’s comments can be “taken seriously.”

For your little modus ponens to answer that question, you must move from instances of Dembski’s errors (willful or negligent) in one area, Dembski’s universal error in all areas. Needless to say, that move won’t be a logical one.

It is possible for, say, the basic argument of the design inference to be correct, and for Dembski to be incredibly malicious when dealing with his opponents.

Comment #28392

Posted by Colin on May 5, 2005 12:38 PM (e)

Finley, I believe that I understand your desire to treat arguments as ideal forms, and I can certainly sympathize with it. This dialogue is not taking place in a vacuum, however. Dembski’s credibility matters in the real world, especially because this is a debate that turns on expert knowledge. Since few, if any, of the participants in the discourse can be expected to have that knowledge on every field that will be invoked, participants that pin their arguments on obscure or difficult facts must ask their audience to take them at their word. This makes a debator’s credibility a valid part of the practical discourse.

For instance, I have very little mathematical training. When Dembski makes complex statistical and mathematical arguments, I must accept that he is presenting a rational and honest argument on faith, because I am not equipped to follow every step of that argument. When other mathematicians challenge him, I must also take their arguments (to a limited extent) on faith. This is problematic, but the only practical alternative is to disengage entirely from any discourse that hinges on expert knowledge. That is not an acceptable alternative.

Therefore, at some point Dembski is comparing his credit to the credit of his competitors in the marketplace of ideas. If I can abuse the analogy for a second, he’s coming to a point where he must write checks that his credibility can’t cash. His unethical behavior has bankrupted him, and many consumers of his ideas will simply stop accepting those parts of his arguments that they don’t personally understand on faith. The result will be a disengagement of non-experts from his dialogue, which will seriously diminish its value. He will be sharing ideas exclusively with other experts and with committed ideologues, which is not a pragmatically productive process.

Comment #28395

Posted by PvM on May 5, 2005 12:42 PM (e)

Is Salvador Cordova a real person or a satirical invention?

To understand Sal, one has to understand that he is willing to ‘take a grenade for uncle Bill’ so that Uncle Bill can continue to ignore responding to his critics…

His ‘arguments’ make Sal one of the best critics of ID so I can understand why some may perceive him to be a plant. In addition he has called for the ex-communication of Denis Lamoureux and seems to be proud of the banning of ID critics at ARN.

He has this silly notion that he rebutted Elsberry and Shallit’s paper. When confronted with tough questions, he quickly resorts to taunting and changing the topics. Check out ARN for some good examples.

Sal wrote:

In any case, how many times have I seen Dembski and myself misrepresented here. None of you guys were coming out and calling your comrades liars were you when IDists were inaccurately represented? I pointed out over at ISCID that Elsberry and Shallit (Dembski’s former teacher) did not do justice to Dembski’s work nor represented it fairly. Are any of you coming out and calling them liars? Have I ever called your leadership liars? I convey the fact that I believe they do not accurately represent our opinions, but I do not call them liars, and I have no intention of doing so.

The problem is that Sal ios wrong about having show that Elsberry and Shallit did not do justice to Dembski’s work nor reporesented it unfairly. In this case the issue of quote mining and Dembski seems straightforward and Sal seems to be unwilling to address the issue heads on, instead he tries to deflect the discussion.
In most of his discussions he has given little reasons for me to believe that he is familiar with either the arguments of ID as well as evolutionary science. Even after being corrected on issues of the Cambrian explosion or nested hierarchies and evolution, he continues to show what I see as an inability to learn from his mistakes.
Is he a plant? Is he a troll? Or is he for real?….

You decide, I see Sal as ‘the best thing that ever happened to ID and its critics alike’ :-)

Comment #28396

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 5, 2005 12:46 PM (e)

It is possible for, say, the basic argument of the design inference to be correct

Do not feed.

Comment #28397

Posted by PvM on May 5, 2005 12:47 PM (e)

FInley wrote:

That said, Dembski’s arguments can be taken seriously if they are serious. That he made an error here (for whatever reason) does not affect the status (whatever that status is) of his other arguments. Again, they stand alone.

Indeed, and as such they have fallen alone as well. Perhaps that explains the recent outbursts? In one of his speeches at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003, Dembski stated:

Dembski wrote:

In my case my cards have been on the table, my career is ruined so (laughter) it doesn’t matter at this point but eh I say just what I want in this regard but it’s a real problem.

Does this help?

Comment #28398

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on May 5, 2005 12:55 PM (e)

It is possible for, say, the basic argument of the design inference to be correct, and for Dembski to be incredibly malicious when dealing with his opponents.

It is certainly possible that Dembski’s arguments have merit - but extensive analysis over a number of years indicates that they don’t. In addition, we are now faced with the problem that no statement of Dembski on anyone else’s position can be accepted at face value.

Given the combination of lack of rigor in his arguments, and an inability to be factually correct in his statements, Dembski has lost whatever possible opportunity he might have of engaging the scientific community in an actual dialog around the virtue of his arguments.

As has been pointed out, Dembski is merely making it crystal clear that he is not writing for the intelligent and the educated - he’s writing for the religiously deluded and intellectually bankrupt.

Comment #28401

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 5, 2005 12:57 PM (e)

Salvador Cordova actually said this:

However, if you are truly curious to understand why we do not perceive Dembski as a liar, it’s actually very easy if you are willing to at least try to understand how IDists and creationists see the world.

Can there be any clearer admission that ID is not science and has nothing to do with science?

I sure hope that someone is documenting Salvador’s strange statements so the readers of Nature, e.g., can be fully informed.

Notably, one could substitute “Rush Limbaugh,” “Pat Robertson” or “Jim Jones,” in for “Dembski” and the significance of the statement would not be changed in the least.

Comment #28402

Posted by Steve Reuland on May 5, 2005 1:01 PM (e)

Salvador wrote:

I know of an IDist/biologist at George Mason who will be in at the George Mason’s national center for bio defense, and I’m confident she sypmathizes with Dembski’s position, as detection of intelligently design bio agents are crucial to her profession …

If she truly sympathizes with Dembski, then she believes that all organisms she might potentially study were intelligently designed, and furthermore, that the identity, motives, and methods of the designer cannot be aduced from the designs themselves.

If that’s the case, then she’s perfectly useless when it comes to trying to detect designed biowarfare agents, since according to Dembski’s position, they cannot be distinguished from any other organism.

For the good of our nation’s security, you should ask her to resign.

Comment #28404

Posted by SteveF on May 5, 2005 1:04 PM (e)

GWW, I think its called lying for God.

The end (apparently) justifies the means.

Of course, whats a little white lie? After all, there is no such thing as lying; its all about how you ‘see the world.’

Comment #28424

Posted by Jason Rosenhouse on May 5, 2005 2:07 PM (e)

Salvador-

I beg you to address the issue at hand.

Nothing in my two posts about this subject had anything to do with whether evolution or ID is a better explanation for the facts of biology. I was not discussing the facts of the Cambrian explosion (except very briefly at the end of my second post), molecular clocks, evolutionary convergence, or Michael Denton’s book.

And I’m very aware, thank you, of how people on your side of this view the world. I understand in great detail the arguments Dembski, Behe, and their supporters are making.

We are also not discussing explanations for the Cambrian explosion, or whether Peter Ward’s clearly stated opinion in On Methuselah’s Trail is correct or not.

I would be happy to discuss any of those issues with you another time. But right now we have before us a very specific situation.

Dembski wrote an essay in which he made it appear that Peter Ward was supporting his conclusion that the Cambrian exposion is a gaping hole in evolutionary theory. But Ward was completely unambiguous in his book that not only does he not support that conclusion, but actually he believes that the Cambrian explosion is a non-issue.

Again, we are not discussing whether Ward is correct in that judgment.

It was also clear that the sentence Dembski used was merely a device employed by Ward to set up his presentation of the history of attempts to explain the Cambrian explosion. He was not describing his own opinion, or the opinion of any contemporary scientist. He was describing how things looked before Darwin arrived on the scence.

Had that been the end, I would have accused Dembski of poor scholarship, and not lying. In the comments to my previous post I offered the possibility that someone simply told Dembski about the quote and he did not bother to check it out for himself, even though I doubt that is actually what happened.

But Dembski escalated. Gary Hurd and David Mullenix wrote a lengthy essay showing in great detail that Dembski had misrepresented Ward’s views of the subject. We know Dembski read that essay. So he could no longer claim to be unaware of Ward’s views on the subject. How did Dembski respond? He did not apologize for giving his readers an entirely false impression of what Ward had said. He did not offer an argument to show that Ward’s conclusion was false. He did not present any facts to show that the Cmabrian explosion remained a serious problem for evolution.

No. He defended his use of the quotation and reiterated his claim that Ward’s statement supported his conclusion. That is where error and poor scholarship became lying.

So Gary Hurd and I wrote follow-up posts showing once more that Dembski was wrong. In response did Dembski address any of the facts of the situation? No. He dismissed the facts as irrelevant details. He gloated about provoking responses to his blog entry that were longer than the entry itself.

He then lied further by claiming that the posts by Gary and myself were intended to show that the Cambrian explosion was a nonproblem for evolution. That is what we both believe, but that is not what our posts were about.

As you know, I have defended your integrity both in the comments to my previous post and over at EvolutionBlog. I think you are sadly confused about many aspects of science, but I have been impressed in your talks both by your willingness to let me speak and your own criticisms of certain aspects of ID. That is why I have put you on the spot here. You have all the facts in front of you. Keep in mind it was Dembski who decided to bring this issue up at his blog. He is obviously quite proud of his behavior in this case. I want to know if you, as someone who has described Dembski as providing the best ID has to offer, are proud of his behavior here.

I suspect you are not. I suspect the reason your previous comments to these posts have addressed every issue except the one at hand reflects your understanding that Dembski has behaved badly here, but you have trouble saying so because you generally support his work.

So let’s be clear. I’m not asking you to abandon ID, or criticize Dembski’s mathematics, or pass judgment on complex specified information or irreducible complexity. I want to know if you believe it is intellectually respectable for Dembski to use Ward’s quote in the way that he did. I want to know if you think his smug, dishonest blog entries on this subject reflect well on the ID movement.

Comment #28441

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 5, 2005 2:48 PM (e)

Mr. Cordova said:

I myself, having degrees in math, computer science, and electrical engineering understand the language of information theory. Dembski’s writings are far more correct in my view that the offering of his critics. I have even defended his work at ISCID and responded to his Elsberry and his former teacher Shallit. It was through the process of dealing with Bill’s critics, such as Elsberry and Shallit, that I eventually strongly sided with Bill Dembski.

Perhaps you can explain to me why it is appropriate to treat DNA as if it were an electrical signal in a wire. I have no degrees in electronics, just a lot of experience with amplifiers, microphones and other stuff like that.

I have difficulty understanding why Shannon’s model is considered an appropriate analog for a cell’s replication. It seems to me that Old Man Fender’s amplifier plant would be a more apt analogy, but even that doesn’t work.

And I think this is rather foundational, since if Shannon’s modeling is inappropriate for living things, the entire output of Dr. Dembski is off the mark.

Why do you think a living being is like a signal in a wire, Salvador?

Comment #28445

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 5, 2005 2:53 PM (e)

Mr. Cordova said:

I have worked in automatic target recognition, the detection of ID artifacts, and from a professional standpoint Dembski’s work makes sense. I know of an IDist/biologist at George Mason who will be in at the George Mason’s national center for bio defense, and I’m confident she sypmathizes with Dembski’s position, as detection of intelligently design bio agents are crucial to her profession …

Now we’re getting somewhere. I’ve frequently criticized ID for its utter inability to get involved in anything useful, especially with regard to the war against terrorism.

So, does this woman use Dembski’s filters to explain which anthrax affliction is natural, and which “intelligently designed?” Can she determine a human-engineered gene from a naturally-engineered gene, using any of the ID methods?

Or are you just blowing smoke up my pant leg again?

Recognizing the usefulness of determining engineered biohazards from natural ones is a long way from agreeing that Dembski is right, or that evolution has anything wrong. You’re arguing from analogy, without data, once again. Can you make the links that show cause and effect here?

Comment #28448

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 5, 2005 2:58 PM (e)

Why doesn’t somebody put it to the National Debate Tournament folks? The sort of quote-doctoring Dembski is doing used to be serious enough to get debate teams disqualified, once upon a time.

Angus Campbell probably hasn’t severed all of his ties to practitioners of rhetoric (though from his anti-science book, he might have) – why not have him take Dembski’s stuff up with last year’s national champions, or a few highly-qualified debate judges, and see what they say?

Comment #28453

Posted by Palo on May 5, 2005 3:26 PM (e)

Salvador Cordova was prominently featured in Nature last week. Among other nonsense, he actually said this:

“The critical thinking and precision of science began to really affect my ability to just believe something without any tangible evidence.”

One of the most beautiful definition of an IDer I have seen.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v434/n7037/…

Comment #28455

Posted by Jim Anderson on May 5, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

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Comment #28467

Posted by PvM on May 5, 2005 4:06 PM (e)

Or are you just blowing smoke up my pant leg again?

Sal is just confusing Dembski’s explanatory filter with how real science detects design.

Comment #28470

Posted by Les Lane on May 5, 2005 4:16 PM (e)

Like Bill Dembski I enjoy inferring and generalizing. I infer from Dembski’s views on the “Cambrian explosion”, that he doesn’t understand evolution. Am I safe to generalize that he doesn’t understand anything? Or should I limit my generalization to “he doesn’t understand what he doesn’t want to believe”?

Are my conclusions publishable science (or publishable philosophy)? Or are they only apologetics?

Comment #28472

Posted by Steven Laskoske on May 5, 2005 4:27 PM (e)

Salvador Cardova wrote:

In any case, even if Dembski is wrong, being wrong does not make one a liar. He believes that he is right, and so do I, in his quote of Ward. Even if we are wrong, being wrong does not make us liars. Your side is free to express that you disagree, and just because we don’t agree with your side, it does not make us liars, it makes us disagreeable.

Using a quote to suggest that a person has a different view than what he does is dishonest. Denying this even after pointing out the discrepancy is a lie.

Comment #28474

Posted by Flint on May 5, 2005 4:34 PM (e)

Steven Laskoske:

Salvador has made it pretty clear that he just doesn’t see any difference between disagreeing with what someone said (honest), and lying about what someone said (dishonest). Just like Dembski, he has been instructed in elementary integrity at great length. It doesn’t take.

Comment #28477

Posted by Gary Hurd on May 5, 2005 4:42 PM (e)

Or are you just blowing smoke up my pant leg again?

I actually needed someone to do that for me once. About 35 years ago, I was a summer camp counselor for the YMCA. My main weekday job was looking after kids, and doing a nature talk now and again. It got to be a habit that I never could shake.

Once when I was on my way to work, I met with some kids in a Riverside CA park. They had some tarantulas that they had caught. They intended to set the spiders on fire. I wanted to stop that by convincing the kids to keep the critters as pets, or to let them go free.

To that end, I showed them how they could let the tarantulas crawl around on them. I talked about how in the movies they used tarantulas on the actors because basically trantulas were safe, but because they were so big people would freak when they saw them crawling around loose. So, I argued, these kids should take care of the spiders and use them as pets- and just to be fair- they should let them go after they had freaked their friends, parents and teachers. I won the kids over in a short while, and it was time to get moving. We collected the trantulas back, but one was missing.

I asked if anybody had seen where it had gone, and one of the boys said that it had crawled up my pant leg. Inside my pant leg. Opps!

Tarantulas can bite- hard!

But like all spiders, they are terribly sensitive to nicotine. One of the boys was a smoker, and I had him blow smoke up the leg of my pants. The spider some began to convulse (it was just above my knee) and then lost “conciousness.” After about 15 minutes, the tarantula came back around apparently none the worse.

Comment #28479

Posted by Steven Thomas Smith on May 5, 2005 4:44 PM (e)

Ed Darrell wrote:

Perhaps you can explain to me why it is appropriate to treat DNA as if it were an electrical signal in a wire…. I have difficulty understanding why Shannon’s model is considered an appropriate analog for a cell’s replication…. And I think this is rather foundational, since if Shannon’s modeling is inappropriate for living things, the entire output of Dr. Dembski is off the mark.

Ed – FYI – Shannon’s theory of communication is concerned primarily with the transmission of (discrete) alphabetical symbols, and nonstandard but intriguing examples include the 4-letter DNA alphabet, the 64-letter mRNA alphabet, and the 20-letter amino acid alphabet. With this theory, one can quantify how much information is contained within a random sequence, how efficiently information may be transmitted across certain random channels, and so forth.

Dembski and other creationists display either profound misunderstanding or profound dishonesty about information theory, but the general idea of applying Shannon information theory to biological sequences is perfectly reasonable and important. Regarding the disuse of information theory by creationists, please see:

  1. comments about Shannon information at NCSE
  2. How to Measure Information

And, of course, the errors inherent in the DNA communications channel coupled with selective pressure would thwart any intelligent designer, were such to exist.

Finally, Claude Shannon’s original paper is a masterpiece in exposition, and should be more widely read—the math is accessible to people who know freshman calculus. See A Mathematical Theory of Communication.

Comment #28481

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 5, 2005 4:47 PM (e)

“The critical thinking and precision of science began to really affect my ability to just believe something without any tangible evidence.”

Evidently, the idea of organisms engaging in activities which result in their imperfect reproduction isn’t “tangible” to Salvador.

At one time, such people were known as “eunuchs.” Today, we call them “creationists”.

Comment #28489

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 5, 2005 5:54 PM (e)

I can appreciate your disgust with our side.

Are you going to answer my simple questions, Dr Cordova? Or are you going to continue to add to that well-deserved “disgust for your side” by continuing to evade my simple questions. Publicly.

Comment #28490

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 5, 2005 5:58 PM (e)

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Comment #28493

Posted by Frank J on May 5, 2005 6:14 PM (e)

I know that the topic of this thread is whether William Dembski misrepresented Peter Ward, and that one can decide that whether or not the Cambrian explosion is a “problem” for evolution. But since IDers seem more comfortable rehashing the “problem” than defending Dembski, let’s help them stay on topic by settling the “problem” once and for all:

On Evolutionblog, Jason wrote:

But for Dembski it means something quite different. For him a “problem” with evolution is something that is fundamentally impossible to explain by naturalistic causes alone.

Evolution has plenty of open questions. That is why people continue to do research after all. But the problem evolutionists face is never “How could this possibly be explained naturally?” but rather “Of the many possible naturalistic explanations, which is the correct one?” That is precisely the situation with the Cambrian explosion.

Of course the usual IDer response is “Why limit it to ‘naturalistic’ explanations?” That bait-and-switch evaporates when one simply asks, “How did the designer do it?” Whether the designer is God, an alien, or “Nature” the question of “how” still begs to be asked. Real scientists ask “how” and keep obtaining answers, knowing quite well that the answers will always be incomplete. IDers and other pseudoscientists pretend that we know enough about Nature to be certain of what it cannot do, so they pretend that there is an alternate category of “explanation” that is not “naturalistic.” One can quibble over whether a “designer” explanation like “Bill copied Mike’s homework, errors and all” can be called “naturalistic,” but the fact remains that IDers aren’t even asking how the the designer did it with respect to the Cambrian and other questions relevant to biology, let alone attempting to answer it.

As Jason says, the Cambrian explosion is a “problem,” as in “opportunity,” for evolution. But what IDers don’t want the public to know is that it is an even bigger “problem” for other “explanations”. That means greater opportunities, of course, but also greater risks, including possible undesired support for the prevailing explanation (I have my own humbling experience with that!). So IDers choose the less risky (with the public, at least) “some designer did something, sometime” approach, even though they seem to know that it explains nothing. A potentially competing explanation would be something like: “many phyla originated by independent abiogenesis of many eukaryotes over a 5 million year period.” Replace “independent abiogenesis” with “descent with saltational modification” or “5 million year” with “6 day” and you get more potential explanations. All are “naturalistic,” and like evolution, none rule out a designer (as if any can). Or to paraphrase Dembski, ID can accommodate the results of all of them.

Had the Cambrian explosion been the only line of evidence available - imagine that there were no such things as mutations or other fossil record – it’s possible that one of the alternatives might have been a better explanation than evolution. But as it stands, with all the lines of evidence taken in context, the alternatives all fall apart. Because of their steadfast refusal to confront those alternatives, or even evolution without attaching unnecessary “naturalistic” labels, I strongly suspect that most major IDers know that those alternatives are unsupportable. But I stop short of calling any one a liar just in case there is a chance that he is honestly deluded. Cynics might say that I am just borrowing an ID tactic by leading the audience to infer “liar,” and letting myself off the hook. Let’s just say that I won’t call the cynics liars either. ;-)

Comment #28505

Posted by whatever on May 5, 2005 7:45 PM (e)

“Salvador Cordova was prominently featured in Nature last week.”

It didn’t mention he’s sympathetic to YEC.

Comment #28539

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on May 5, 2005 11:31 PM (e)

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Comment #28541

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on May 5, 2005 11:58 PM (e)

Ed asked:

So, does this woman use Dembski’s filters to explain which anthrax affliction is natural, and which “intelligently designed?”

The fact that you phrase the question the way you did does not represent the explanatory filter correctly. Every successful design detection process is an instance of the EF. To “use the EF” is equivalently and perhaps more clearly described as using an instance of the EF. The EF faithfully represents ordinary practice.

Can she determine a human-engineered gene from a naturally-engineered gene, using any of the ID methods?

If the an independent specification is given, such as is done in detection of bio-engineered products, yes. Such a detection method is conducted by www.genetic-id.com

If you do not see that this is an instance of the EF, then that shows, you’re still going by the misconceptions of the EF that are commonly promoted.

But the point of me mentioning her, is that she is a creationist, she see’s design, and design detection at the molecular level will be her job.

The EF faithfully represents the ordinary practice of detecting design. In one of the nastiest threads at ARN, I went over that in brutal detail, and in the process discovered, not only did Dembski’s critics at ARN misrepresent his work, most of them didn’t even read it!

Comment #28542

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on May 6, 2005 12:00 AM (e)

So Salvador, despite the fact that is has been demonstrated quite conclusively that Dembski lied, and engaged in knowing misrepresentation of a scientist’s position - and persists in that lie in public, knowing full well that his position can be demonstrated to be false at any time, you can still claim

With the provision that I cannot agree with you that he is dishonest…

And that amidst all that blather, you are still unable to answer a simple question yes or no…..

I have another question for you: do you think that you have any intellectual credibility with anyone except your IDEA group and proven liars such as Dembski?

Just curious, of course - your cognitive dissonance and hero worship are fairly clear to see.

Comment #28545

Posted by alienward on May 6, 2005 12:28 AM (e)

Salvador T. Cordova wrote:

In any case, even if Dembski is wrong, being wrong does not make one a liar. He believes that he is right, and so do I, in his quote of Ward. Even if we are wrong, being wrong does not make us liars. Your side is free to express that you disagree, and just because we don’t agree with your side, it does not make us liars, it makes us disagreeable.

Dembski says he read the post with this quote from Ward:

“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).

And then he says:

“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.”

If you have also read that quote and continue to be Dembski’s ditto then you are also lying.

Comment #28561

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 6, 2005 4:38 AM (e)

As I said, I do not believe he is fundamentally dishonest

Nice unintentional pun.

Now answer my questions.

Comment #28578

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 6, 2005 7:35 AM (e)

Salvador is going to be in dire need of a chiropractor, tying himself in knots as he is.

I just have a couple of comments on an old post:

The molecular clock hypothesis is nothing but tautological post dicition. That, by the way is why the theories agrees so well with the data.

Wait a minute, first you approvingly quote Denton claiming the molecular clock hypothesis is like astrology, now you say it’s in perfect agreement with the data, and so obvious it’s a tautology?

I discussed and argued parts of it here:
http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/ubb/get_to…

The chapter in question came from Evolution a Theory in Crisis in the chapter “Biochemical Echo of Typology”. I actually agreed with one of Denton’s critics on a minor point in the ARN discussion, but Denton’s thesis holds.

Denton has since suggested some sort of “directed evolution” which would imply a designed molecular clock.

Aha! I see, Denton also now thinks, apparently, it fits the data so nicely, it must be designed. Just like astrology, I guess?

No, my friend is not confusesd. She’s bothered by the kind of uncritically accepted ideas being passed off as scientific fact.

Your friend must be confused, if she really believes, as you said, that the molecular clock is used as an “explanation of the hierarchical patterns in the molecular sequence divergences”. But judging from the thread at ARN you link to, it would seem your understanding of molecular phylogenetic methods is so limited, I would give her the benefit of the doubt, and think it is you who completely misunderstood her and the issue.

I can appreciate your disgust with our side. I can see the seething emotionalism against IDists evident every day at PandasThumb.

I am not “disgusted” at “your side”. I am appalled that people with a less than rudimentary understanding of biology, as you show here, but otherwise intelligent and educated, feel entitled to make public pronouncements about what is and is not supported by evidence and theoretically justified in that field. I cannot even imagine what kind of resistance to self-embarassment one has to have to make this kind of activity a profession, or a personal mission. As for where fundamental cluelessness ends, and self-delusion or sheer lying begin, I think it’s almost impossible to decide.

Comment #28597

Posted by Mark D on May 6, 2005 9:42 AM (e)

However, if you are truly curious to understand why we do not perceive Dembski as a liar, it’s actually very easy if you are willing to at least try to understand how IDists and creationists see the world.

Yep, you’ve made it quite clear in this thread. For Creationists/IDists, lies are perfectly acceptable as long as they’re in service of the cause. You’re ludicrous dancing around the issue of Dembski’s obvious dishonesty only shows that Dr. Rosenhouse’s defense of your integrity was sorely mistaken. You appear to have none.

Comment #28600

Posted by Flint on May 6, 2005 10:25 AM (e)

Wait a minute, first you approvingly quote Denton claiming the molecular clock hypothesis is like astrology, now you say it’s in perfect agreement with the data, and so obvious it’s a tautology?

Just tell me what the molecular clock hypothesis is being used to support, and I’ll tell you whether Salvador finds it a valuable tool or a useless tautology. And I don’t need to know anything whatsoever about the molecular clock hypothesis itself.

Comment #28603

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on May 6, 2005 10:45 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'url'

Comment #28608

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on May 6, 2005 11:01 AM (e)

Part of the reason why it’s so easy to ‘misunderstand’ your position is because ID never gives a clear position (Such as a theory) to begin with. If they stood up and actually did some proper science and provided some decent solid theories and predictions that ID can make, we’d go a lot further. But alas…

Comment #28613

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 6, 2005 11:15 AM (e)

Salvador

I have offered that we may be on the verge of finding more emprical refutation of the prevailing paradigms, but I’m afraid unless the political climate changes, these studies won’t be pursued with sufficient vigor.

Have the effects of distant prayer been studied with “sufficient vigor” Salvador?

That was also an attempt to refute the “prevailing paradigms”, was it not?

Refresh my memory on what happened with the distant prayer studies, Salvador.

I think it would be an educational experience for you.

By the way, with respect to your little friend whose confused about evolutionary biology, why not send her here so she can sharpen the rhetorical skills she’ll need to sell her bullcrap down the line?

Or are her ideas on the subject not yet “fully formed”?

Comment #28619

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 6, 2005 11:37 AM (e)

Salvador

I don’t accuse you guys of lying.

Not any more. Is that what you mean?

Comment #28621

Posted by SteveF on May 6, 2005 11:47 AM (e)

I’d be slightly more impressed if all these dissenters from the current paradigm actually got off their arses and published something to challenge the current paradigm. Instead, all we get is suggestions of shadowy deceit. A hidden plot here. A conspiracy there. Its like being in a crappy Robert Ludlum novel.

Comment #28630

Posted by PvM on May 6, 2005 12:41 PM (e)

sal wrote:

If you do not see that this is an instance of the EF, then that shows, you’re still going by the misconceptions of the EF that are commonly promoted.

or more likely a misconceptiuon of EF on your part? THe EF has been show to be useless due to its false positives. That some believe that pattern recognition is an example of the EF seems rather silly.

Comment #28694

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 6, 2005 5:09 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'URL'

Comment #28706

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 6, 2005 5:41 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'URL'

Comment #28718

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 6, 2005 6:04 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #28719

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 6, 2005 6:07 PM (e)

“Salvador Cordova was prominently featured in Nature last week.”

It didn’t mention he’s sympathetic to YEC.

A letter might rectify that oversight.

Comment #28734

Posted by Mateo on May 6, 2005 7:25 PM (e)

Does anyone know at what point this quote-lying stuff becomes libel? Would the victim have to show that they were injured by the offense (denied a job opportunity, etc) before they could sue for libel?

Comment #28771

Posted by alienward on May 6, 2005 9:27 PM (e)

Salvador T. Cordova wrote:

Dembski could be wrong, but unless he knowingly believes he is wrong, then it is arguably a disagreement or a mistake. I have already said, perhaps a little amending of his comments would clear up the matter. But for the record, here is what Bill said:

Dembski writes:

(Ward is a well-known expert on ammonite fossils and does not favor a ID-based view):

and quoting Dr. Hurd:

Professor Ward was not at all pleased, and wished us to convey to Dr. Dembski his displeasure at his writing being manipulated in this fashion. We consider this as done herein.

Dembski claims Ward was admitting the Cambrian is a problem for evolution and Ward is being critical of evolution. He, and you , know he is lying because “for the record, here is what Bill said”:

Dembski writes:

“Next thing I read on the web is a piece (co-authored by Hurd) twice as long as my original piece focused on the sin of quote-mining (go here). And, as is now standard operating procedure, the original author of the quote is contacted for comment on being “quote-mined.” Predictably, the author (in this case Ward) is shocked and dismayed at being quoted by evolution critics for being critical of evolution.”

and quoting Dr. Hurd quoting Ward in the piece Dembski said he read in the link he gives us in “(go here)”:

“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).

It’s true that Ward is displead. But I see what I say and other IDists say manipulated in ways displeasing to us. I do not make charges of lying or dishonety, I’ve come to expect that’s just the way things go, and I’ll grant you guys some lattitude in the fact that if you misunderstand our position even after repeated correction, you misunderstand it. I don’t accuse you guys of lying.

It’s true that Dembski knows, and you know, he is lying when he says Ward “really is saying that the Cambrian explosion poses a challenge to conventional evolutionary theory” and Ward is “being critical of evolution”. Rather than whine about other people lying, why don’t you just admit Dembski is lying and go ask him to retract his bogus claims so you ID creationists don’t look so dishonest?

Comment #28779

Posted by shiva on May 6, 2005 9:41 PM (e)

Salvador,

It is clear beyond any possible doubt that you IDCists are way out of depth on all matters scientific. All yours and Bill’s (and his flunkies’) diplomas aren’t worth the paper they are printed on if you can’t acknowledge a deliberate distortion of a quote. The first time it happens it is a mistake. Insisiting that it is not is a plain lie. As for your sweet talking on PT it has never fooled anyone. It is one thing to talk things over a drink. It is entirely something else to carry jocular doubt beyond the point of scientific validity. The folks you meet on PT are a small fraction of a fraction of the scientific community and many others such as me aren’t even scientists. Folks like us aren’t interested in a red carpet from Bill (as you claim he has rolled out for Michael Ruse). Some of us are glad that Bill’s swagger and your sweet talk become flaky on sustained refutation. While your “leader” lost his credibility a while ago his “followers” are now going thru the same process. Today’s events at the Kansas Kangaroo Court give us a good idea of the state of IDC quackery. I have read Xipts of Bill’s debates and even watched him on streaming video. If this is the best your side can come up with you guys don’t need opponents! After you have answered Rev Frank please answer my questions. What is design? What is Intelligence?

Comment #28836

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on May 7, 2005 11:54 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'URL'

Comment #28840

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on May 7, 2005 12:06 PM (e)

Far from wanting to curl up in a corner when attacked, I’m grateful for my critics. Truth be known, their attacks are my idea of a good time. Indifference is a far worse form of violence.

William Dembski

Comment #28842

Posted by Joe McFaul on May 7, 2005 12:17 PM (e)

Well Salvador can help out matters considerably to stop the belittling.

All he needs to do is two things:

1. Have Dembski apply the explanatory filter to a series of, say 10, real world objects, showing the calculations set out in his writings i.e. NFL theorems.

2. Have Behe list 100 irreducibly complex biological organisms identifyignthe exactly what characteristic is irreducibly complex.

Very simple. Otherwise, all else is hot air and whining.

Comment #28843

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 7, 2005 12:19 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #28844

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on May 7, 2005 12:19 PM (e)

We do not judge William Dembski’s honesty or dishonesty by some disagreement over an interpreteation of Ward’s quote. We will give him the benefit of the doubt because of the deadly accuracy of everything else he has said on the major issues…
Exactly what Dembski wrote is the way I’m treated here by detractors like GWW and Lenny Flank. The kind of misrerpresentation and ridicule we receive from your side is exactly as I was told it would be!

Awesome, so all I need to do to get a bunch of people who blindly accept any lies or similar I come out with, is make a prediction that a vacuous ill-supported scientific claim will meet with general dismissal from the scientific community?

Woo-hoo, I’ve always wanted to have my own followers who disagree that the earth is round so here goes:

Our critics have, in effect, adopted a zero-concession policy towards a flat earth. According to this policy, absolutely nothing is to be conceded to flat earth theory and its proponents. It is therefore futile to hope for concessions from critics. This is especially difficult for novices to accept. A bright young novice to this debate comes along, makes an otherwise persuasive argument, and finds it immediately shot down. Substantive objections are bypassed. Irrelevancies are stressed. Tables are turned. Misrepresentations abound. One’s competence and expertise are belittled. The novice comes back, reframes the argument, clarifies key points, attempts to answer objections, and encounters the same treatment. The problem is not with the argument but with the context of discourse in which the argument is made. The solution, therefore, is to change the context of discourse.

Now I can have people who blindly support any lies or distortions of other peoples arguments I care to make.

Thanks for opening my eyes to this wonderful idea!

I encourage the bio students in my IDEA chapters to study evolutionary biology,

Blah blah etc. I happen to notice you’re like some sort of broken record player, continually coming out with the same sort of thing (in different language) never answering the specific objections posed to you. For example, what a working ‘theory’ of intelligent design is and if there are any testifiable predictionst that would make ID science.

Comment #28845

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 7, 2005 12:22 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #28846

Posted by RBH on May 7, 2005 12:25 PM (e)

Salvador wrote

Thank you for pointing out the research related to Parson’s study. The reason I brought up the technical points is that, the fundamental question is why we would support Dembski. We give him the benefit of the doubt because his science, in our view, has been right on the mark, more so than his critics.

But Salvador’s examples are all about public relations, with no examples of that “right on the mark” science. Dembski has in fact never done any science. He has done flawed math, confused philosophy, and bad theology. Even his examples of his own techniques don’t follow the very methodological requirements he himself defines. See, e.g., No Free Lunch, where he skips the actual procedures he earlier described for determining specificity in his E. coli flagellum analysis, which is supposed to be an example of how to determine specified complexity.

RBH

Comment #28847

Posted by steve on May 7, 2005 12:38 PM (e)

Have Behe list 100 irreducibly complex biological organisms identifyignthe exactly what characteristic is irreducibly complex.

I’d settle for 1.

Comment #28850

Posted by 386sx on May 7, 2005 1:12 PM (e)

Far from wanting to curl up in a corner when attacked, I’m grateful for my critics. Truth be known, their attacks are my idea of a good time. Indifference is a far worse form of violence.

William Dembski

Yes, we all know he wants attention. But he and his pals want to turn public schools into Sunday school class where one can interpret things however one sees fit according to whatever mood one happens to wake up to on any one particular given day. But I don’t know why you would post that quote because I could picture any number of people saying the same thing and it would carry the same amount of relevance as to whether or not Dembski is a crackpot.

“Far from wanting to curl up in a corner when attacked, yada yada yada…” - Uri Geller

“Far from wanting to curl up in a corner when attacked, yada yada yada…” - Adolf Hitler

“Far from wanting to curl up in a corner when attacked, yada yada yada…” - Bigfoot

“Far from wanting to curl up in a corner when attacked, yada yada yada…” - Celine Dion

So what does the good book say about posting stuff merely to be spiteful while avoiding the real questions the people are putting before thee? Answer: it says any damn thing you want it to say, depending upon whatever it is you want to say, or depending upon which mood you happen to be in.

Comment #28851

Posted by Russell on May 7, 2005 1:16 PM (e)

Cordova wrote:

Dembski could be wrong, but unless he knowingly believes he is wrong, then it is arguably a disagreement or a mistake.

I’m not at all convinced Dembski is a “liar” so much as a “bullshitter”

Comment #28871

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 7, 2005 3:48 PM (e)

Thank you for pointing out the research related to Parson’s study. The reason I brought up the technical points is that, the fundamental question is why we would support Dembski. We give him the benefit of the doubt because his science, in our view, has been right on the mark, more so than his critics.

And this has to do with Parsons’ research how, exactly? You have just shown you can quote a scientific paper without having a clue about its contents and context. Perhaps that’s what you think Dembski normally does?

Dembski writes:
“A bright young novice to this debate comes along, makes an otherwise persuasive argument, and finds it immediately shot down. Substantive objections are bypassed. Irrelevancies are stressed. Tables are turned. Misrepresentations abound. “
Exactly what Dembski wrote is the way I’m treated here by detractors like GWW and Lenny Flank. The kind of misrerpresentation and ridicule we receive from your side is exactly as I was told it would be!

Sorry to burst your martyr bubble, but as far as I see it in this thread (and in all those in which you have ventured any claim about biology), you have no made any persuasive argument, and all the bypassing, table-turning, irrelevancies and misrepresentations have come from you. You can’t get straight what the molecular clock is and implies. You don’t undertand molecular phylogenetics. You cite an irrelevant paper whose only merit for your side is that it can be misinterpreted to support a YEC position, and then it turns out that probably not only you have not read the original, but your source of information about it was entirely from YEC web sites. You are the one who makes pompous pronouncements about “paradigm shifts” in biology, and about changing the minds of future generations about what biology says, when you clearly couldn’t come up with a sensible, informed argument about biology if your life depended on it.

In contrast, after I took criticisms of not having sufficient biology knowledge, I now have a bookshelf of titles on population genetics and information theory in biology. I have been plugged into to cricles of professors of biology, information theory, physics, chemistry, biotechnology, molecular genetics, etc. who can provide a flow of information.

Well, I am sorry to tell you: it’s not working. Perhaps you may want to study those books, rather than just keeping them of your shelf. I hear serious work does wonders for one’s education. As for the professors, I hope they are not aware of how you mangle whatever information they are trying to convey to you.

Comment #28895

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 7, 2005 6:21 PM (e)

look at the effect that IDists have on others, an effect that I witness first hand in my work on the campuses:

But Dr Cordova does NOT get to see what happens AFTER he cons some kid into singing Hosannas … Sal doesn’t see what happens when that kid learns some fourth grade science and finds out that not only are IDers wrong, but that IDers are *LYING* to him. ID lies when it says it has an alternative science. ID lies when it says that science is atheistic. ID lies when it says that evolution is incompatible with faith.

And what do these kids do when they realize that IDers are lying to them? They take the IDers own advice —– if any of ID is wrong, the IDers say, then there is no God.

Sal and his ilk do nothing but manufacture atheists, by the score. Alas, Sal and his ilk are not at all interested in the tremendous harm they do to Christianity by making it look silly, stupid, medieval, backwards, uneducated, simple-minded and pig-ignorant. Sal and his ilk aren’t at all interested in dealing with crises of faith in kids who find out that Sal and his ilk have lied to them. Sal and his ilk don’t have to try to UN-do all the tremendous damage they’ve done. OTHERS have to deal with that. Not Sal. Sal can just move on to the next herd of prey and spout his bullshit all over again.

And that is what pisses me off the most about Sal and his ilk.

Comment #28896

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on May 7, 2005 6:27 PM (e)

Beautifully said Dr. Flank, absolutely beautifully said.

Creationism and ID does more to produce atheists than anything else, because when you see the blatant ignorance of these people, you can’t help but deny a God that would have such followers.

Comment #28899

Posted by PvM on May 7, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

Salvador wrote:

We do not judge William Dembski’s honesty or dishonesty by some disagreement over an interpreteation of Ward’s quote. We will give him the benefit of the doubt because of the deadly accuracy of everything else he has said on the major issues.

You’re priceless Sal… Take the grenade once again and distract with some irrelevant examples… Goodness sakes, ID should squirm with you on their side. Abandon logic and common sense at all cost… Is it worth it?

Comment #28922

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 7, 2005 10:24 PM (e)

sal quoted dembski:

“Truth be known, their attacks are my idea of a good time.”

Isn’t this exactly what JAD says all the time?

I think these folks share a common delusion.

Comment #28925

Posted by alienward on May 7, 2005 10:32 PM (e)

Salvador T. Cordova wrote:

We do not judge William Dembski’s honesty or dishonesty by some disagreement over an interpreteation of Ward’s quote. We will give him the benefit of the doubt because of the deadly accuracy of everything else he has said on the major issues.

Yes we do. Catching someone in a lie about even one quote is enough to warrant questioning anything they say. And you know Dembski is lying yet continue to pretend this is just some kind of disagreement. You’re damaging your own credibility while you continue to be some kind of ditto for Dembski. Get a clue dude. You’re trying to pretend Demski wasn’t lying while trying to claim he’s accurate about everything else. Well, since we know you’re wrong about the lying thing it’s likely you’re wrong about the accuracy thing too.

Now, Dembski claims Ward says the Cambrian is a problem for evolution and Ward is critical of evolution when he quotes Ward in some “piece” creationists are gobbling up like candy:

“This happened when I quoted from the above passage by Ward in a popular piece titled “Five Questions Evolutionists Would Rather Dodge” (go here).”

and from his “piece”:

“The Cambrian Explosion so flies in the face of evolution that paleontologist Peter Ward wrote, “If ever there was evidence suggesting Divine Creation, surely the Precambrian and Cambrian transition, known from numerous localities across the face of the earth, is it.” Note that Ward is not a creationist.”

and the quote from Ward provided by Hurd 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).

And of course Demsbki, in his anti-evolution pamphlet, is dishonest again in the very next quote he gives us. How do we know he’s dishonest again? Because the person he quoted says he is. Both you and Dembski know this. I think you might want to avoid further damage to your credibility and go run and hide like Nelson did after about two posts on this topic.

Comment #28926

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 7, 2005 10:34 PM (e)

sal said:

“Dembski is followed and revered bacuase he is perceived as being accurate on many matters”

see, sal, that is the difference. nobody here “follows” an individual, we follow where the evidence leads.

that is the difference between a scientist and an acolyte.

you have lost your way, so need to follow the path of others.

we have not, so we only need to use our eyes to show us the way.

Comment #28927

Posted by Jim Harrison on May 7, 2005 10:49 PM (e)

You’d think the Christians would be unhappy to be identified with the anti-evolution groups since the only conclusion to draw from their behavior is that Christianity leads to dishonesty and other forms of bad behavior. It’s corrupting.

Comment #28945

Posted by Jason Rosenhouse on May 8, 2005 3:26 AM (e)

Salvador-

First of all, there is no question of interpretation here concerning Ward’s quote. We’re not talking about a situation where Ward meant one thing, but because of sloppy writing could be interpreted as saying something else. The reality is that Ward stated his point unambiguously in the book. The point was that the Cambrian explosion, once seen by some as a problem for evolution, no longer is. Dembski knows that was Ward’s point. He nonetheless told his readers that the quote he cited was a pretty clear indicator that the Cambrian explosion was aproblem for evolution. Are you following this? Let me put it in simpler terms:

Ward’s point was X. Dembski knows this. Dembski told his readers that Ward’s point was (not X). Therefore, Dembski lied.

This is hardly an isolated occurrence with Dembski, but since he chose to bring this one up, and since the facts were so simple and so clear in this case, I thought it would be a good chance to see how you would a handle a clear instance of your hero caught in a lie. Now I know.

Now, as Andrea Bottaro has pointed out here, it is obvious that you haven’t the faintest idea what you are talking about when it comes to molecular clocks. I thank him for writing at such length. I have pointed out to you during your talks that you are incredibly confused about Carl Woese’s work, among many other things. It would have required a talk as long as yours to correct all of the false statements you made during the talk you gave here.

But when confronted with your own ignorance, you don’t make any attempt to correct yourself or to get it right the next time. Instead you blather about your credentials. Or you complain about intemperate remarks from other commenters. But it is not your credentials that are at issue. The reason you are treated so shabbily here is that you make it clear over and over again that you are talking about things you do not understand. You cite technical papers such as Woese or Parsons, without seeming to have any understanding of what those papers actually say.

You go on to talk about Dembski’s “deadly accuracy” on all sorts of issues. But what examples do you give? A quote from Dembski about people on my side having a zero-concession policy toward people on yours? That’s total nonsense. People on my side concede nothing to people on yours not because of some policy but because every argument coming from the Dembskis of the world is wrong. Most of his arguments are wrong for truly obvious reasons. The anger comes from being distracted from more serious work to have to deal with religiously-motivated frauds who don’t actually have any interest in doing science.

So when it comes time to document your assertion that Dembski has been deadly accurate about so many things, you make no mention at all of any particular scientific accomplishments. You do not, because you can not. Instead you go on and on about converting the next generation or sowing the seeds of doubt in children. From this I conclude that the science means nothing to you. This is all about public relations. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t take such pride in being able to bamboozle fifteen year-olds, or brag about winning the support of people who know nothing about science, but like their religion a great deal.

But where things get really creepy is when you talk about Dembski being “revered,” or people “following” him. That’s not how scientists talk. That’s how cultists talk.

The pattern is clear. Most of the time you argue credentials, or polls, or how many freshmen bio majors you can claim for your side. When you’re not doing that you are writing about William Dembski as if he were the Second Coming. Every once in a while you actually write something about science, and when you do you inevitably embarrass yourself. When it is pointed out to you that you have embarrassed yourself you immediately return to your boasting about your credentials or the books on your shelf or how much smarter you are than those who are criticizing you, or how your side is winning the PR battle.

In short, I feel I have learned a lot about you from your comments on this thread. I’ve learned that my previous willingness to give you the benefit of the doubt was misplaced. I’ve learned that you are just another ID hack who sees this as a religious campaign. The facts of science are apparently irrelevant to you. You are willing to discard the most basic standards of scholarly integrity if upholding them would require you to criticize William Dembski.

I’m disappointed in you, but mostly I’m disappointed in myself for not having seen through you more quickly.

Comment #29115

Posted by andrew on May 9, 2005 3:31 AM (e)

So how is ID any different from Marxism in the ’60s? Just because you get a bunch of young people to believe something doesn’t mean it’s true. Especially if the reason they’re doing it is because of a taste for “rebellion” rather than the merits.

Comment #29178

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on May 9, 2005 1:28 PM (e)

Well, Dr. Rosenhouse, I’m sorry you feel that way about me. I clearly disagree in your assessment, but I respect your freedom to offer your opinions. I do thank you though for keeping our dialogue civil between you and me, both here and before the students of your school.

regards,
Salvador

Comment #29185

Posted by steve on May 9, 2005 2:04 PM (e)

Hey Sal, here are some quotes from the Father of ID, Phil Johnson:

Observing this consistent refusal to reason scientifically convinced me that HIV-science is pseudo-science, and that its inflated claims are unworthy of belief….
A candid discussion of HIV and AIDS statistics would make clear that the extent of the “epidemic” has been exaggerated, and that the incidence of HIV infection in the United States is not increasing…… . the closed mindset and intellectual dishonesty that rules HIV research….
In short, the problem with HIV-science is not that any single piece of evidence conclusively falsifies the theory that a pandemic caused by HIV is ravaging the planet. It is that evidence is piling up in all directions that cumulatively calls every aspect of the theory in question. The HIV-scientists respond with the usual weapons of pseudoscience: unexamined assumptions; ad hoc, question-begging arguments; reliance upon the least reliable evidence rather than the most reliable; manipulation of statistics, and even outright misrepresentation. It is time for the scientific community to insist that HIV- science be abandoned, and that real science take its place.

You agree with Johnson’s assessment of biology. Do you also agree with Johnson on medicine and HIV?

Comment #29187

Posted by Great White Wonder on May 9, 2005 2:15 PM (e)

Salvador

I’ve done what I can to give your side as much of a fair hearing in their eyes, and I will continue to do so. That said, the presence of Great White Wonder and Lenny Flank are God’s gifts to the ID movement, they help burn what little bridges PandasThumb may be seeking to build toward the young

Poppycock.

When I was young I discovered Kurt Vonnegut who, along with Mark Twain and other staples of public school libraries around the country, built an intellectual bridge from the fairy tales and Santa Claus stories of my childhood to what I have come to know as “the real world”.

That bridge is indestructible, Salvador.

You underestimate the hearts and minds of young people, Salvador, when you pretend that they need to be shielded from frank discussions about the reprehensible behavior of adults like yourself and your fellow peddlers.

As others here have pointed out, none of this would be necessary if you simply learned to (1) tell the truth and (2) understand the difference between religious beliefs and a scientific understanding of the universe.

It’s never too late to simply admit your errors, apologize, and turn over a new leaf. I know that some evangelicals find this logically impossible, but atheists are just as good at forgiving as Christians.

Comment #29311

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on May 10, 2005 9:40 AM (e)

In regards to me telling the truth or me being mistaken about the facts, I’ll let my audiences at the university decide.

I well mention several bio majors graduated from Jason’s school this last Weekend, disbelieving Darwinian evolution.

Dr. Bottaro only demonstrated the reasons that the students are turning a deaf ear to the Darwinist side by his responses to position.

There are empirical inconsistencies between the predictions of the molecular clock when mutation rates are directly obvserved. The presumption is the experiments were somehow wrong becuase the grand claims of Darwinian evolution are a fact. None of the publishers of those papers was willing to say perhaps the grand theory of Darwin was wrong, their research some how happened upon an anomaly, when in fact there is a good chance they only uncovered a major, un reparable flaw in Darwinian evolution.

If anyone is ignoring the empirical evidence, and sound theoretical reasoning, it is the Darwinists.

It is becoming clear which side has the demographic advantage in terms of sympathy. The recent graduation of bio majors graduating James Madison University and other secular universities who believe in ID is a taste of things to come. They may be few in number, but there is a strong prospect that will change.

The students should have a chance to decide for themselves, and I’m happy to report a postive trend toward belief in design.

The graduation of ID friendly biology majors from James Madison this last weekend is enough to keep many like myself excited about the prospects for “ID, the future.”

Comment #29312

Posted by bill on May 10, 2005 9:46 AM (e)

Let’s settle this controversy once and for all. The only reason the molecular clock runs fast and slow is because it was designed wrong.

The clock I got from K-Mart has the same problem.

Comment #29314

Posted by PvM on May 10, 2005 10:12 AM (e)

Sal wrote:

There are empirical inconsistencies between the predictions of the molecular clock when mutation rates are directly obvserved. The presumption is the experiments were somehow wrong becuase the grand claims of Darwinian evolution are a fact. None of the publishers of those papers was willing to say perhaps the grand theory of Darwin was wrong, their research some how happened upon an anomaly, when in fact there is a good chance they only uncovered a major, un reparable flaw in Darwinian evolution.

Please continue sharing your ignorance with us Sal. Tell us about the Cambrian explosion and use some of those graphics which misrepresent fact as well as the Darwinian theory.
Setting up students for later disappointments is only going to do a disservice to religious faith. It seems that you are happy to be a part of poor science eventually causing a crisis in faith.
Many ex-YECers have gone through a similar finding.

Sal, you continuously show your ignorance of evolutionary theory. Keep up the good work my friend.

Comment #29315

Posted by PvM on May 10, 2005 10:18 AM (e)

And remember, Sal is on the record as willing to take a grenade for Dembski so that Dembski can avoid answering his critics…
At all cost the ‘Messiah’ has to be protected from criticism and exposure. Luckily enough Dembski seems to be unable to stay quiet and on his own blog presents much evidence of why ID is scientifically vacuous. On PT he is ‘helped’ by Sal who shows an unwillingness to learn about the Cambrian or phylogeny. My prediction? He will start rambling about some irrelevant topics again.

Comment #29316

Posted by PvM on May 10, 2005 10:25 AM (e)

A good example is the exchange on ARN

Sal quoting:
One of the Doctoral students I know doing research in the field said, “What if I put random data into these algorithms [phylogeny software]. What would happen in that case.” He generated a lot random data, put in the software and they created trees.

Myrmecos trying to educate Sal:

Of course they did. These programs can’t not create trees, unless there isn’t any data at all or some form of syntax error in the input file.

A better question is, do the nodes produced with random data have statistical support? If not, Ryland’s point is trivial. Those of us who make trees routinely assess them statistically to show that the underlying data has phylogenetic signal.

Sal’s response?… Well, avoidance of course…

But in Nature he is more upfront about ID

Intelligent design, Cordova notes, does not even attempt to prove the type of deity involved, it just points to some sort of supernatural intervention.

Supernatural intervention…. Right on Sal…

Sal wrote:

“The critical thinking and precision of science began to really affect my ability to just believe something without any tangible evidence,”

Seems that the abandonment of critical thinking and precision explains Sal’s belief in ID…

Comment #29322

Posted by steve on May 10, 2005 11:19 AM (e)

Sancho Cordova is

1) helping point out that ID is religion in disguise
2) “do[ing] a disservice to religious faith”

I call that a two-fer.

Comment #29375

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 10, 2005 9:26 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #29377

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 10, 2005 9:30 PM (e)

The graduation of ID friendly biology majors from James Madison this last weekend is enough to keep many like myself excited about the prospects for “ID, the future.”

Maybe you should have had them all testify at Kansas.

Comment #29383

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 10, 2005 9:58 PM (e)

“So how is ID any different from Marxism in the ’60s? “

marxism makes more sense.