Ed Brayton posted Entry 1161 on June 20, 2005 09:08 AM.
Trackback URL: http://degas.fdisk.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1159

I reported yesterday about William Dembski, John Campbell and Stephen Meyer being withdrawn as expert witnesses by the Thomas More Law Center in the Dover lawsuit. There is now developing some contradictory explanations for that withdrawal. The York Daily Record reported that the TMLC refused to allow the three Discovery Institute (DI) fellows to have their own legal representation present during depositions because it was a "conflict of interest":

Dembski, a mathematician and scientific philosopher, said the Thomas More Law Center, which is defending the school board, basically fired him because he wanted to have his own attorney present during the depositions...

Thompson said the problem arose in the past several weeks when the Discovery Institute insisted that its people have separate legal representation.

But last night, Dembski posted on his blog that it was not the Discovery Institute's insistence on separate legal representation that was a problem at all. In fact, Dembski says that the TMLC would allow Stephen Meyer of the DI to have legal representation, but would not allow Dembski to have an attorney with him and that it was the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE), for whom he works as an editor, who insisted on the separate representation:

The Thomas More Law Center, a public interest law firm which had hired me as an expert witness, did not want the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, which publishes the ID textbook that under dispute in the Dover case (Of Pandas and People) and for which I am the academic editor, to provide me with additional legal counsel when the ACLU was to depose me on June 13th. I expect I would have gone along with the Thomas More Law Center, except that they were prepared to let Stephen Meyer have legal representation. This put me in an impossible situation with my employer FTE — how was I to justfiy to FTE my refusal to let their attorney be present when Thomas More was permitting Discovery to have additional legal counsel present for Stephen Meyer? When I indicated that I would need to have FTE’s counsel at the deposition, the Thomas More Law Center fired me as an expert witness.

This makes no sense for several reasons. First, because in the interview with the YDR, Dembski said that the confict was between the TMLC and the DI:

"Discovery and Thomas More have their differences," he said. "I have a lot of loyalty with Discovery."

According to Dembski's post last night, the problems were not between the DI and the TMLC, but between the TMLC and FTE. Or was he referring to some other set of problems between the DI and TMLC? Second, both Meyer and Campbell, who are also DI Fellows but do not work for the FTE like Dembski does, were also fired as expert witnesses by the TMLC. And the head of the TMLC says that he fired them because the DI insisted on separate representation for all three of them. Third, Campbell was actually withdrawn as an expert witness before Dembski was, nearly a full week before, then Dembski, then Meyer. Lastly, if the TMLC insists that it was a "conflict of interest" to have separate attorneys present during depositions, why would they insist this only with Dembski and not with the others? These explanations don't seem to be consistent with one another. Someone isn't telling the truth.

As I said, I think there are very deep divisions between the DI and the TMLC. I suspect the DI is unhappy both with the fact that the TMLC took the case, thus risking a Federal ruling that ends any chance of getting ID into schools, and with the way they're handling it. Thompson's performance so far, which has included a public letter calling for the firing of a tenured university professor who wrote a letter to the school board criticizing their policy, hasn't exactly been inspiring for their side I'm sure. So I'm sure there's a lot more going on behind the scenes than has been made public.

Incidentally, Dembski himself put a plug on his own blog for my article on PT about the situation, and left a comment in reply to that article as well. Unfortunately, he didn't clear up any of these interesting inconsistencies.

Comment #35772

Posted by Flint on June 20, 2005 09:46 AM (e) (s)

To an interested outsider, it sounds like there are at least two and perhaps more strong preferences for how the “Official Truth” should be positioned. Perhaps the risk is that any ultimate court decision might explicitly rule against one perferred version of the Truth over another.

Who knows, maybe we’re seeing the symptoms of what might happen if ID were to win out and be presented in classrooms. Right now, the notion is so vague (”using unstated mechanisms, some unstated intelligence did something unspecified at some unspecified time(s) in the past”) that anyone trying to present this as “science” would face doctrinal difficulties as soon as they tried to answer any students’ questions at all. How WOULD the teacher field questions like: Who was the designer? Did the Designer create entire organisms or just tiny molecular substructures? If there was no Designer, how could we tell?

The teacher would have two choices: play dumb (”Nobody can answer any of these questions, now or ever”) or teach their own denomination’s religious position. Since neither one is suitable for public schools, perhaps schoolteachers should also ask to have a lawyer present.

Comment #35775

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on June 20, 2005 10:07 AM (e) (s)

I wouldn’t put too much stress on a reporter’s condensation of a phone interview with Dembski into a couple of sentences, nor assume that Dembski was privi to all the arguments between law firms.

Comment #35778

Posted by Ed Brayton on June 20, 2005 10:22 AM (e) (s)

Pete, that’s probably a fair point to make. There are inconsistencies here, but they may not be due to intentional deceit.

Comment #35779

Posted by bill on June 20, 2005 10:23 AM (e) (s)

I find this fascination with Dembski, well, fascinating! I mean, really, who is Bill Dembski?

He’s a minor scholar, if that, who has written unremarkable books that have been discredited. He was fired from Baylor, though to be accurate, Baylor did not have the wherewithall to actually fire Dembski, rather, they let him ferment for four years until his contract ran out. Now, the Alfred E. Neuman of Intelligent Design, is employed at a minor Bible college. Also, he edits the vacation Bible school level, scientifically discredited, coffee table picture book “Of Pandas and People” which is laughingly hawked as a “textbook”, although not even the most irrational school board has approved its use.

And, yet, amid all this mundaneness, he’s the focal point of scores if not hundreds of real scientists, engineers and educators who follow his every move.

Dembski has become the Paris Hilton of Intelligent Design; unremarkable for anything he’s produced, but an object of intense curiosity nevertheless. We’ll know I’m on the right track when Dembski starts toting around a little dog. I’d suggest a Beagle.

Comment #35781

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on June 20, 2005 10:44 AM (e) (s)

So who’s the Nicole Richie of ID…Behe? Meyers? Johnson?

Comment #35797

Posted by Unsympathetic reader on June 20, 2005 12:49 PM (e) (s)

Why do expert witnesses need lawyers?

Comment #35805

Posted by Mike Walker on June 20, 2005 01:49 PM (e) (s)

Dembski has become the Paris Hilton of Intelligent Design; unremarkable for anything he’s produced, but an object of intense curiosity nevertheless. We’ll know I’m on the right track when Dembski starts toting around a little dog. I’d suggest a Beagle.

But I thought that Paris Hilton was seriously considering withdrawing from public life….

We should be so lucky.

Comment #35806

Posted by Henry J on June 20, 2005 01:57 PM (e) (s)

Re “Why do expert witnesses need lawyers?”

Maybe they’re afraid somebody else’s lawyer might want to ask them questions that they don’t want to have to answer? (Or was the question rhetorical?)

Henry

Comment #35809

Posted by EmmaPeel on June 20, 2005 02:20 PM (e) (s)

neo-anti-luddite wrote:

So who’s the Nicole Richie of ID … Behe? Meyers? Johnson?

Cordova?

Comment #35810

Posted by Rich on June 20, 2005 02:29 PM (e) (s)

Let’s try and unwind this mess:

1. TMLC (looks like they’re heading to the same place that Thomas More did) does not want separate legal representation.

2. The expert witnesses and the organizations which they are employed want lawyers representing said organizations at the deposition.

3. The witnesses are fired serially and not in parallel.

4. Apparently, at the time that Dembski was fired Meyer was still thinking he could be represented by DI.

Conclusion: TMLC tries to strip each of their witnesses of their personal representation one by one and tells them multiple stories. Dembski has two organizations that could represent him and when DI is stripped, he tries unsuccessfully to have FTE represent him.

If I was them I would want personal representation because of the following.

The opinions offered at trial by expert witnesses are running an increasingly greater gamut of scrutiny. First, they are subject to the judicial scientific reliability tests of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical Inc., 507 U.S. 579 (1993). Once that hurdle is cleared and the opinion given, the experts can be sued by the party who hired them, both in tort and contract, if the opinion did not live up to the party’s expectations.

Comment #35816

Posted by Nomad on June 20, 2005 03:00 PM (e) (s)

Dembski has become the Paris Hilton of Intelligent Design; unremarkable for anything he’s produced, but an object of intense curiosity nevertheless. We’ll know I’m on the right track when Dembski starts toting around a little dog. I’d suggest a Beagle.

Wouldn’t that beg the question of where the Beagle came from?

Comment #35817

Posted by Jeff S on June 20, 2005 03:11 PM (e) (s)

It seems clear that the religious right is quite comfortable with the unrestrained use of lies and deception to accomplish their goals. Maybe TMLC was worried that independent counsel, whose duty it is to work in the best interest of their client, might remind them about, say, perjury ?

Finally, a testable version of the question : “What happens to Christians who lie (under oath) ?”

Comment #35819

Posted by Sean Foley on June 20, 2005 03:13 PM (e) (s)

“Looks like there’s an argument brewing on the Generals’ bench… Oh, my! Dembski’s just taken a swing at Thompson! You know, it’s funny to reflect that going into this game, the Generals said they really thought they could take the Globetrotters this time…”

Comment #35822

Posted by Henry J on June 20, 2005 03:22 PM (e) (s)

Re “Wouldn’t that beg the question of where the Beagle came from?”

The boat that Darwin went on for his trip? Probably came from some shipyard someplace. ;)

Comment #35823

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 20, 2005 03:24 PM (e) (s)

But I thought that Paris Hilton was seriously considering withdrawing from public life …

That just means that she will try to cross her legs more often.

{I’m so bad. I am a bad poster. I should be seen to the ‘wall.}

Comment #35827

Posted by Henry J on June 20, 2005 03:31 PM (e) (s)

Re “TMLC (looks like they’re heading to the same place that Thomas More did) “

Huh? I thought TMLC was Thomas More? (his organization, that is.)

Comment #35829

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on June 20, 2005 03:40 PM (e) (s)

Mike Walker wrote:

But I thought that Paris Hilton was seriously considering withdrawing from public life …

Yes, but the withdrawl method is notoriously unreliable….

EmmaPeel wrote:

Cordova?

Very nicely done. I second that nomination.

Comment #35832

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on June 20, 2005 03:57 PM (e) (s)

More than likely, the TMLC lawyers are not up to the task of defending ID with the obfuscating talking points the DI has developed over the years. They seem to be honestly fanatic. The professional IDists created the Kansas Kangroo Court because the honest fanatics were showing up at the public hearings. Unfortunately, the professional IDists can’t control the TMLC and Dover school board and they’ve either jumped ship or walked the plank.

Comment #35833

Posted by Morris Minor on June 20, 2005 03:58 PM (e) (s)

Henry J:

I like your handle.

Comment #35834

Posted by steve on June 20, 2005 04:00 PM (e) (s)

Why not? Under Daubert, Sal Cordova is as much a recognized expert in biology as is William Dembski.

Comment #35836

Posted by lurker on June 20, 2005 04:15 PM (e) (s)

last night, Dembski posted on his blog that it was not the Discovery Institute’s insistence on separate legal representation that was a problem at all. In fact, Dembski says that the TMLC would allow Stephen Meyer of the DI to have legal representation, but would not allow Dembski to have an attorney with him and that it was the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE), for whom he works as an editor, who insisted on the separate representation

Someone already pointed out that this isn’t the only conflict in the story. Dembski says that he works for FTE, but that FTE has the same address has Dembski! What a lying s.o.b. At least Dembski has a great commute to work!

Follow the money. When Dembski says that the FTE demanded separate representation, that’s the same thing as saying that Dembski demanded separate representation.

The TMLC lawyers only fired Dembski after his publishing company FTE started interfering. TMLC knew that they couldn’t carry a case whose “expert witness” has a financial stake in the outcome of the trial.

Can Dembski open his mouth without telling a lie?

Comment #35843

Posted by harold on June 20, 2005 04:51 PM (e) (s)

This is, of course, exactly an example of what would happen if “ID won”, sleazy details notwithstanding.

There would be an immediate and viscious battle over whose specific dogma to falsely present as “science”, and nobody thinks that “unspecified ‘designer’ who had something to do with the details of the bacterial flagellum” is going to satisfy anybody for long. Especially not anybody looking to make a lot of money selling officially sanctioned books.

This already happened before. It was called “the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries”. It was also rerun as “Protestant prayer forced on Catholic students in US public schools”, and in many other versions.

This is why religion belongs in the Sunday School you choose, and public school, where all the kids are allowed to go, teaches mainstream science.

Why can’t people get this? Because of their faith? No, their faith is better protected when everyone’s freedom of conscience is protected, and in their heart, they know that.

Because of their desire to use power to force others, however grudgingly, to submit to them, and because of their greed. Let’s just not mix those things up with the teachings of Jesus.

Comment #35846

Posted by Mike on June 20, 2005 05:36 PM (e) (s)

from a litigator’s perspective, the whole thing just doesn’t add up. the experts are all supposed to be on the same side, and they all purport to place great importance on winning the case. so, it’s simply hard to imagine a difference of opinion so severe it could not be easily resolved by negotiation within the ID camp.

and anyway, what’s wrong with letting one or more experts have their own counsel present? isn’t their testimony going to be consistent no matter who represents them?

Dembski’s view of events is doubtful, at best. instead, it would be reasonable to infer the disagreement was not a “technical” one over the legal representation as Dembski claims, but the substance of what was to be said. so the lawyers decided to dump their experts.

someone on PT will probably know the answer to this: did any of the science experts who testified against the use of textbook disclaimers last year in Cobb County, Georgia (Selman case) bring their own lawyers to depositions or the court? I would be surprised to hear that was the case.

Comment #35852

Posted by Rich on June 20, 2005 06:18 PM (e) (s)

Re “TMLC (looks like they’re heading to the same place that Thomas More did) “

Huh? I thought TMLC was Thomas More? (his organization, that is.)

Thomas More Law Center is named after Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor for Henry VIII. He ended up being executed for failing to take Henry’s Oath of Supremacy. Ironically, TMLC’s namesake was a victim of theocracy. First there was the wedge, then there was the vise, and now there is the axe.

Comment #35855

Posted by steve on June 20, 2005 06:24 PM (e) (s)

Eh, Dembski feels he needs two lawyers.

If I had called ID a mathematical restatement of a certain part of christian theology, and yet was in court alleging ID is science rather than religion, I’d want as many lawyers as I could get.

Comment #35856

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 20, 2005 06:25 PM (e) (s)

The opinions offered at trial by expert witnesses are running an increasingly greater gamut of scrutiny. First, they are subject to the judicial scientific reliability tests of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical Inc., 507 U.S. 579 (1993). Once that hurdle is cleared and the opinion given, the experts can be sued by the party who hired them, both in tort and contract, if the opinion did not live up to the party’s expectations.

Indeed, the DI-ites have ample reason to fear BOTH of these potential problems. None of their crap can pass ANY “scientific reliability” tests. As for their opinions not living up to the party’s expectations, well heck, DI was blithering for YEARS that they had an “alternative scientific theory”. NOW, after the Dover-ites took them at their word and tried to push this “alternative scientific theory” into classrooms, NOW the DI-ites are changing their tune to “well, you see, we don’t REALLY have any alternative scientific theory after all —- so sorry to give y’all the impression that we DID.”

Not to mention the fact that DI’s, uh, “fundraising appeal” (AKA The Wedge Document) explicitly stated that it had an alternative scientiifc theory that it wanted taught. If, indeed, they DON’T, that sounds an awful lot like “raising money under false pretenses”, which is also known as “fraud”.

Everyone who sent DI a check should sue them.

Comment #35862

Posted by Rich on June 20, 2005 06:51 PM (e) (s)

To the lawyers out there: Am I making a misapplication since Daubert refers to product liability and toxic torts? The Ninth Circuit did have an intersting comment about Daubert concerning their role as gatekeepers, though:

Our responsibility, then, unless we badly misread the Supreme Court’s opinion,is to resolve disputes among respected, well-credentialed scientists about matters squarely within their expertise, in areas where there is no scientific consensus as to what is and what is not “good science,”and occasionally to reject such expert testimony because it was not “derived by the scientific method.”
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (9th Cir.1995) 43 F.3d 1311, 1316. [emphasis mine]

Comment #35868

Posted by Steviepinhead on June 20, 2005 07:10 PM (e) (s)

No, you’ve got it right. Daubert IS the test that federal judges are to use when exercising their “gatekeeper” function over the admission of scientific testimony in ANY kind of case where such testimony is in issue. It’s just that product liability and toxic torts are the kinds of cases that most frequesntly tend to raise those kinds of issues. But the same thing can happen with DNA testing in criminal or paternity cases, or really in any kind of case where a less-than-well-settled issue of science somehow becomes involved.

Some state courts follow that test too, where others continue to follow an older test having to do with whether the testifying expert is appropriately qualified and whether the scientific opinion proffered is generally accepted by experts in the field. The two tests can, at times, yield different results, but generally both tests are intended to ensure that “junk” science is kept out of the courts—of course, different experts can still reach differing conclusions starting with roughly the same set of facts…and unlike science, the courts don’t get to revisit the same observations and hypotheses again and again until they get them “right.”

Comment #35870

Posted by harold on June 20, 2005 07:22 PM (e) (s)

Rev Flank wrote:

“Everyone who sent DI a check should sue them.”

To which I add - I’m not an attorney, but it sounds to me as if even a small number of people who did so could initiate a class action law suit on behalf of everyone else who wanted to do so.

This is a highly reasonable suggestion, in terms of Dover County and any other place where the misleading claims of the DI have led to substantial waste of public money, as well as in terms of anyone who sent the DI money because they thought that DI REALLY DID have a scientific theory.

What happened in Kansas in 1999 was different - that was literally an effort to censor evolution out of the curriculum, without replacing it with anything. It was probably legal, but proved unpopular when elections rolled around. But in Dover County, they’ve bought the DI’s claims of a scientific theory, wasted a good deal of money and time as a result, and are about to be disappointed.

And it is indeed highly ironic, even offensive, that the name of Thomas More, who died because he refused to bend his conscience to the dictates of the official state religion, is being attached to efforts to force an “official religion” onto children in public schools, regardless of their families’ wishes.

Comment #35874

Posted by Jeff S on June 20, 2005 07:49 PM (e) (s)

Lenny wrote:

Everyone who sent DI a check should sue them.

If there really is a good legal basis here, this could be a very important opportunity for two reasons :

1) It would bring a lot of much-needed publicity to the fact that ID is scientifically vacuous, and

2) All the fundies who donated would get their money back to donate to other worthy causes. Like the “Christian Nation” movement, perhaps…

Comment #35875

Posted by William Dembski on June 20, 2005 07:54 PM (e) (s)

To Ed Brayton:

Dear Ed. I have nothing to hide in this matter. If you like, give me a call at 1-254-710-4928 (leave a message with a number where I can reach you if I’m not in). I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

WmAD

Comment #35880

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 20, 2005 08:23 PM (e) (s)

I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

How about my questions — are you happy to answer those too?

1. What is the scientific theory of intelligent design, and how do we test it using the scientific method? And please don’t give me more of your “the scientific theory of ID is that evolution is wrong” BS. I want to know what your designer does, specifically. I want to know what mechanism it uses to do whatever the heck you think it does. I want to know where we can see these mechanisms in action.

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?

5. Do you repudiate the dangerous lies of HIV/AIDS denial published in Crux Magazine on whose Editorial Advisory Board you serve? If so, why do you continue to serve on it?

Comment #35881

Posted by WCD on June 20, 2005 08:23 PM (e) (s)

Dr. Dembski,

Why not here????

Comment #35882

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 20, 2005 08:25 PM (e) (s)

Dear Ed. I have nothing to hide in this matter. If you like, give me a call at 1-254-710-4928 (leave a message with a number where I can reach you if I’m not in). I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Is there any particular reason why you can’t answer them here, in writing, publicly?

Comment #35883

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 20, 2005 08:30 PM (e) (s)

Some state courts follow that test too, where others continue to follow an older test having to do with whether the testifying expert is appropriately qualified and whether the scientific opinion proffered is generally accepted by experts in the field.

Oh well, ID can’t pass that one either. “Experts in the field” think their arguments are crap. Every one of them. Not to mention the fact that no ID argument exists that hadn’t already been made thirty years ago by the ICR-ites (and already ruled by the SOCUS to be religion and not science).

Comment #35885

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on June 20, 2005 08:40 PM (e) (s)

Wm A Dembski wrote:

I have nothing to hide in this matter.

I see no reason to doubt this at all.

Comment #35888

Posted by steve on June 20, 2005 09:25 PM (e) (s)

My question for Dembski is, what’s the plan for after the disaster? Whether it comes at Dover, or somewhere else, I’m sure you guys have seen the fate of ID. The sophisticated-sounding mumbo-jumbo math, and IC jibber-jabber, in the hands of the school board rubes inevitably turns into “let’s put Jesus back into the classroom!”. It’s a matter of time before ID is legally held to be creationism, and prohibited as high-school science.
So what’s the plan for after? This has been a long contrivance, and it’s about to go down in flames. What are you guys going to do? Change the name again? Advocate private schools?

Comment #35889

Posted by Ed Brayton on June 20, 2005 09:29 PM (e) (s)

William Dembski wrote:

Dear Ed. I have nothing to hide in this matter. If you like, give me a call at 1-254-710-4928 (leave a message with a number where I can reach you if I’m not in). I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

I have no reason to doubt that you have nothing to hide in this matter, but I’d prefer to have that conversation here in public. I’m really not at all interested in playing the “gotcha” game wherein one strains to find some conflict in the story so I can say, “A ha, he’s lying!” But there are some inconsistencies at least in what is being reported, I think you’ll agree, and they raise some interesting questions. There are also ways that they can be reconciled or explained and I’m just curious to know what really happened here.

I think you’ll agree that it makes no sense for the TMLC to say that Meyer and Campbell can have their own or the DI’s attorneys, but you cannot. In claiming this was the case yesterday on your blog, you are essentially accusing the TMLC of being either irrationally inconsistent or dishonest in claiming that having outside counsel is a conflict of interest. It raises the question of what the real reason is for these dismissals. You’ve made the case that for you, it was simply a matter of them not allowing you to have outside counsel and you insisting on it. But in so doing, it makes the dismissals of Meyer and Campbell make far less sense because you also state that they were willing to allow them to have their own counsel.

Add to this the fact that Campbell was dismissed as a witness a week before you were and Meyer after you and the whole things seems rather confusing. It might have made sense if they had drawn a line with you first, leading to your dismissal, then they realized that they couldn’t allow anyone else to have outside counsel either and informing Meyer and Campbell of that, leading to their dismissal. But that’s not the order in which it happened. So given what you’ve said, and given the timing of it all, it makes the TMLC’s behavior and their explanation for that behavior seem quite convoluted. That doesn’t mean that you have to answer for them, of course, but if there is something here that I’m missing that might make sense out of it all or explain the inconsistencies, we’d certainly like to hear what it might be.

The larger reason for my post, of course, was to point out the clear friction that exists between the DI and the TMLC over this matter and the ID movement’s catch 22 regarding the Dover lawsuit. I certainly don’t expect you to comment on that, but I think it’s reasonable for someone who has been a close observer of your movement from the start to think that perhaps this is visible evidence of a much deeper rift under the surface in this matter.

Comment #35891

Posted by bill on June 20, 2005 09:36 PM (e) (s)

It was a refreshing surprise to rediscover this article written by Isaac Asimov over twenty years ago:

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/azimov_creat…

It’s like deja vu all over again. The same arguments, the same plan, the same players. Only the dance is “intelligent design” instead of “scientific creationism.”

The article is ripe for quote mining, so to save the IDiots some time, how about this:

Because the evolutionary view is not perfect and is not agreed upon by all scientists, creationists argue that evolution is false and that scientists, in supporting evolution, are basing their views on blind faith and dogmatism.

To an extent, the creationists are right here: The details of evolution are not perfectly known.

Nice nugget from the quote mine.

However, Asimov continues to say:

The details of evolutionary theory are in dispute precisely because scientists are not devotees of blind faith and dogmatism. They do not accept even as great thinker as Darwin without question, nor do they accept any idea, new or old, without thorough argument. Even after accepting an idea, they stand ready to overrule it, if appropriate new evidence arrives.

And concludes the section with this:

However much scientists argue their differing beliefs in details of evolutionary theory, or in the interpretation of the necessarily imperfect fossil record, they firmly accept the evolutionary process itself.

So, check out what Asimov has to say. In light of what’s happening in Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states you’ll find it very interesting.

Comment #35896

Posted by snaxalotl on June 21, 2005 12:16 AM (e) (s)

This is so much fun. Average creationists have taken DI spin at face value for years. Confident that evolution has been debunked for anybody who considered the evidence, they saw a profound tragedy in diehard ignoramuses continuing to teach it.

So when the indignant peasants finally march into town with their torches and pitchforks, it’s kind of like slogging all the way to the emerald city to find that the wizard is fake, or Life of Brian where Brian’s cult takes on a life of it’s own, or … someone help me out here … there’s got to be some famous old weepy where the kid talks up his father to all his friends only to find out at the worst possible moment that he was making it all up

Comment #35897

Posted by FL on June 21, 2005 12:37 AM (e) (s)

I don’t believe this. Ed, you’re getting a straight shot at talking to Dr. Dembski one on one, even geting the phone number to dial up so you can get your particular concerns addressed, and you apparently want to turn it down?

If that’s the case, that doesn’t make sense.
I honestly believe you should take advantage of the offer. Not everyday a person gets an offer like that one.

If you’re sincerely “just curious to know what really happened here”, the sensible thing to do is dial up the source, listen and learn, and then go from there. Firsthand info always trumps 2nd and 3rd hand.

I can understand how some of the PT’ers want Dembski to open himself up for X number of questions, followup questions, and comments from X number of posters on the PT blog. (Notice that Rev has already sloshed five questions on the table, actually it’s 12 if you count the sub-questions.)

Let’s see. Take just four or five PT’ers who each have a total of 12 questions (five plus followups, just like Rev) and suddenly Dembski has to make time for 48 to 60 questions, plus plenty more questions and comments generated therefrom.
Not a time trap I’d want to get into.

And that’s only one issue. I notice the contrast of the tone and wording of your particular piece, Ed, with the tone and the wording of some PT posters like steve and Rev and others here in this and other threads. There is a respectful tone in your words there; it makes you sound sincere about wanting to get answers.

But I cannot imagine Dembski trying to spend a bunch of time here at PT, sloshing through what one PT’er correctly termed the “obvious sneering hatred” that is often present here towards Dembski and other ID advocates. Can’t speak for Dembski, but it would seem like such a total waste of time.

Besides, the PT’ers really worth responding to, he’s responded to already, in print or online, and they’ve responded to him in print or online as well, so that’s that.

At any rate, Ed, you got a shot. It’s your shot, not anyone else’s.
You’re wasting valuable time, imo, trying to get Dembski to throw aside his valuable time with other folks who may not have earned their shot, haven’t really done their homework either, but want to throw their questions and attitudes at him all the same.

So may I suggest? Just take the shot and then do your postings. This is how I’d do it whether I agreed or disagreed with ID and Dr. Dembski.

Maybe it’s just my journalism background, but if a source gives you a shot, you take the shot. Gain the additional information while you can, then go from there.

FL

Comment #35898

Posted by RBH on June 21, 2005 12:40 AM (e) (s)

snaxalotl wrote

This is so much fun. Average creationists have taken DI spin at face value for years. Confident that evolution has been debunked for anybody who considered the evidence, they saw a profound tragedy in diehard ignoramuses continuing to teach it.

According to a couple of observers, in testimony before a Pennsylvania State Legislature committee today, Behe told the committee that the most recent evidence for ID that we have is about 200 million years old; and that humans are descended from apes (perhaps with ID help). I’m trying to locate a recording or transcript of that testimony. Any Pennsylvanians know of one? PCN, the Pennsylvania public access channel, apparently video-taped it and showed it earlier this evening, so at least that exists. It’d be great to get a copy or transcript before it’s taped over by a 4th of July parade in Harrisburg.

RBH

Comment #35903

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on June 21, 2005 03:35 AM (e) (s)

I wonder if this is a simple misunderstanding between TMLC and the three ID witnesses in question. It is possible that one of them thought they were going to be allowed representation but in reality weren’t going to. That could explain why William Dembski went for his own representation, probably thinking quite rightly that he should be allowed to as his colleages were (or so they thought). That miscommunication somewhere down the line probably led to a large internal dispute and them being fired out of spite.

I don’t think there is some evil conspiracy here, despite the ID movements past record.

Comment #35904

Posted by OFFTOPIC on June 21, 2005 04:11 AM (e) (s)

Jan Peczkis’ (aka “John Woodmorappe”) recent long reviews of the Holocaust books (such as Finkelstein’s “Holocaust Industry”) are quite interesting:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A3Q0…

Certain passages (e.g. “Ironically, Polish anti-Semitism festered and grew primarily because Polish Jews had been so successful in the first place-actually and perceptively at Polish expense”) really make one wonder about “Woodmorappe”’s view of the Jews…

And - he defends “John Birch Society”.

Comment #35905

Posted by Paul King on June 21, 2005 04:17 AM (e) (s)

There certainly is a need for clarification and I am surprised that Dembski hasn’t done so on his blog.

It is possible that the TMLC were more averse to having lawyers representing FTE than lawyers representing DI

It is possible that TMLC only decided to allow DI lawyers in after Campbell walked or was dismissed.

It is possible that Dembski’s comment to the press was made before Meyer was allowed a lawyer (although that would seem to invovle some tight timing).

But if the solution is that simple, why isn’t it being explained publically rather than over the telephone ? Indeed, why didn’t Dembski expain the differences between his account and the comments he is reported as making in the blog entry where both appear ?

Comment #35906

Posted by OFFTOPIC on June 21, 2005 04:29 AM (e) (s)

And here’s the whole page with his reviews:

http://www.glaukopis.gross.pl/?ids=7

Comment #35907

Posted by OFFTOPIC on June 21, 2005 04:37 AM (e) (s)

Woody again: his review of Shahak’s book:

http://www.glaukopis.gross.pl/pdf/shahak.pdf

“For instance, when Martin Luther wrote his infamous tract about Jews, he raised many of the same themes raised by the Jewish author Shahak: Jews taught to spit whenever they passed by a church, the Talmud misrepresenting and slurring the Christian religion, the use of the word Jesus as a curse word, Jews thanking God in prayer that they are not gentiles, Jewish males thanking God in prayer that they are not women, the overall condescending attitude Jews were imbued with against gentiles, etc. To this we can also add that Jews were taught that it is OK to cheat gentiles, as well as the aforementioned tendency for Jews to think that their suffering is to be exalted above the sufferings of all other peoples. Shahak is also skillful in pointing to ways that the Talmud had been deliberately mistranslated at times in order to soften or conceal these aspects from gentiles. Personally, whatever residual anti-Jewish feelings I have are weakened, rather than reinforced, by seeing a Jewish author willing to own up to the faults emanating from the Jewish side. Shahak, you have done a true mitzvah!”

Comment #35909

Posted by GCT on June 21, 2005 06:51 AM (e) (s)

RBH, it seems you can order tapes from PCN online. Here is their website.

For the more legally minded among us, what are the chances that a judge decides that ID doesn’t meet the test of what is a science simply because it doesn’t pass the peer review test? If that were to happen, could the IDers simply turn around and say, “Of course it doesn’t, yet. That’s why we simply want to ‘teach the controversy.’ When ID is more mature, then we can mandate it in the schools.”

Also, if ID is ruled not science by the courts, what does that mean for other states that have ID as an optional lesson? If the court doesn’t explicitly say that ID is religion, would the optional teaching of ID be legal?

Comment #35913

Posted by steve on June 21, 2005 08:44 AM (e) (s)

Hey, FL, here’s a quiz:

David Wolpert, author of the NFL theorems, says Dembski’s use of them is crap.

The biology community says he’s utterly wrong about biology.

As we saw on here last year, real Information Theorists laugh at him.

Given those facts, under Daubert, is there any scientific topic in which Dembski would qualify as an expert, and be permitted to testify?

Comment #35916

Posted by Ed Brayton on June 21, 2005 10:20 AM (e) (s)

FL wrote:

I don’t believe this. Ed, you’re getting a straight shot at talking to Dr. Dembski one on one, even geting the phone number to dial up so you can get your particular concerns addressed, and you apparently want to turn it down?

For crying out loud, you sound like something out Tiger Beat magazine - Justin Timberlake wants ME to call him! It’s not as though getting an opportunity to talk to Dembski on the phone is going to give me bragging rights on the junior high school playground or anything. Please get a grip. I asked him to address these concerns publicly becuase the inconsistencies have been made publicly. That seems entirely reasonable to me.

I notice the contrast of the tone and wording of your particular piece, Ed, with the tone and the wording of some PT posters like steve and Rev and others here in this and other threads. There is a respectful tone in your words there; it makes you sound sincere about wanting to get answers.

But I cannot imagine Dembski trying to spend a bunch of time here at PT, sloshing through what one PT’er correctly termed the “obvious sneering hatred” that is often present here towards Dembski and other ID advocates. Can’t speak for Dembski, but it would seem like such a total waste of time.

I agree with you that there is a lot of just random nastiness and juvenile one-upsmanship that goes on in the comments here. I’m sure that is just as annoying to Dembski as it is to me when I see the same things on ID message boards and blogs. We have our Great White Wonders, he has his DaveScots. They are best ignored (or in the case of both of those people on this site, banned). I would encourage Dembski to ignore the catcalls and poo-flinging comments and just address the serious questions seriously. He made a choice to reply here publicly in the first place when he could of course have emailed me his phone number in private, so asking him to address these questions publicly is hardly unreasonable or unwarranted.

Comment #35917

Posted by Ed Brayton on June 21, 2005 10:27 AM (e) (s)

Joseph O'Donnell wrote:

I wonder if this is a simple misunderstanding between TMLC and the three ID witnesses in question. It is possible that one of them thought they were going to be allowed representation but in reality weren’t going to. That could explain why William Dembski went for his own representation, probably thinking quite rightly that he should be allowed to as his colleages were (or so they thought). That miscommunication somewhere down the line probably led to a large internal dispute and them being fired out of spite.

This is certainly possible. One need not jump to a sinister conclusion about these things to point out that there are inconsistencies in the public stories. But to me, the far more interesting aspect of this is the obvious catch-22 that the DI is in regarding the Dover case and the obvious friction between them and the TMLC. I really do think they wish the TMLC would have not offered to defend the school board and the board had simply been forced to retract its policy under the threat of an ACLU lawsuit. That would have allowed them to point the finger at the Grand Darwinian Orthodoxy busily censoring ID from schools without having to defend the actual policy that was passed, and it would have allowed them to avoid a potential movement-ending Federal court ruling over which they have virtually no influence or control. And yes, our side would have felt the same way if the tables were turned.

I’m even more curious to see if the TMLC is reckless enough to file suit here in Gull Lake on behalf of the teachers.

Comment #35918

Posted by steve on June 21, 2005 10:46 AM (e) (s)

you’re getting a straight shot at talking to Dr. Dembski one on one…and you apparently want to turn it down?

Hey FL—if someone’s posting his phone number in the comments of a popular, public blog, talking with him is probably not the most exclusive opportunity in the world.

If I were Dembski, I wouldn’t post my phone number around the Lenny Flanks, but hey, I don’t need the attention.

Comment #35919

Posted by steve on June 21, 2005 10:50 AM (e) (s)

BTW, I don’t mind Lenny’s tone, I mind his wordiness. But tone or no tone, the fact is, IDers run from Lenny’s questions, because they have no good answers. Spin that however you want.

Comment #35920

Posted by steve on June 21, 2005 10:56 AM (e) (s)

I want an answer to my question—after the rubes ruin the legal strategy, what will the IDers do? Change creationism’s name again, advocate for sectarian schools, a constitutional amendment, christian exodus(1), or what? Sadly, the Dembskis can’t answer that question, because if they admit the case is terminal, the checks would soon stop cashing.

[hr]1 http://christianexodus.org/

Comment #35921

Posted by steve on June 21, 2005 11:02 AM (e) (s)

speaking of that site, check out the blog. I want someone to explain to me what the hell this means:

Before you spend four years and $75,000 to learn Charles Darwin’s philosophy of law, take four days to get the Founding Fathers’!

Charles Darwin’s philosophy of law? I feel an intemperate tone coming on…

Comment #35922

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 21, 2005 11:11 AM (e) (s)

GCT said:

For the more legally minded among us, what are the chances that a judge decides that ID doesn’t meet the test of what is a science simply because it doesn’t pass the peer review test? If that were to happen, could the IDers simply turn around and say, “Of course it doesn’t, yet. That’s why we simply want to ‘teach the controversy.’ When ID is more mature, then we can mandate it in the schools.”

Also, if ID is ruled not science by the courts, what does that mean for other states that have ID as an optional lesson? If the court doesn’t explicitly say that ID is religion, would the optional teaching of ID be legal?

Judge Overton offered a way by which creationism could get around peer review completely. In the Arkansas trial, in 1981, Overton asked creationists to submit to the court, for the court record, several of the more important articles establishing creationism which had been submitted to scientific journals and rejected. By putting them into the record it would have established that such a body of scientific literature existed, and it would have provided a basis for Judge Overton to rule that there was, indeed, scientific basis to creationism, and that consequently teaching creationism in science classes would not be prohibited as an illegal establishment of religion by teaching religious dogma that has no basis in science.

Creationists were unable to submit a single research article.

Worse, creationist expert witnesses, to a person, all stated in sworn depositions that they knew of no such science backing for creationism, and that creationism is instead grounded in scripture.

If ID were established as science by actual research and publications in science journals, no judge would rule otherwise. Were a judge to rule ID is not science, that ruling would be effectively vitiated were ID later to be established by research and publications.

Here is what you need to keep in mind: Real science does not require an order from a school board to get into the textbooks. Real science does not require an order from a court to be taught as real science. Only pseudo-science, crank science and rank crackpottery need a court order or school board resolution or state law to require it be taught as science instead of what it is. ID advocates ask for special privileges to rank ID as science when it cannot earn that rank in the laboratory and field.

Because ID is driven by religious belief and not science, it is illegal to teach it as science under the constitutions of all 50 states. Whether those laws are enforced is a quite separate matter.

The easiest way to get ID into schools would be to devise experiments to test it, perform the experiments and write them up. That would establish ID as science. That would be entirely outside the purview of the courts, and it requires only dedication and real thinking on the parts of creationists.

And that is why I keep asking ID advocates when they will start on that project. For more than 14 years they have avoided doing the work that would qualify their ideas as science.

I think I know why they avoid the work, but I could be persuaded otherwise, were ID advocates to do some real science work.

Comment #35923

Posted by Rilke's Grand-daughter on June 21, 2005 11:12 AM (e) (s)

This is certainly possible. One need not jump to a sinister conclusion about these things to point out that there are inconsistencies in the public stories.

“Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by simple stupidity.” Molly Ryan

Comment #35924

Posted by FL on June 21, 2005 11:37 AM (e) (s)

It’s not as though getting an opportunity to talk to Dembski on the phone is going to give me bragging rights on the junior high school playground or anything.

It’s not about “obtaining bragging rights”, it’s simply about obtaining the information you suggested you’d like to obtain concerning this topic.

I know what my choice would be as an information-gatherer, but it’s up to you.

FL

Comment #35925

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 21, 2005 11:44 AM (e) (s)

I want an answer to my question—-after the rubes ruin the legal strategy, what will the IDers do? Change creationism’s name again, advocate for sectarian schools, a constitutional amendment, christian exodus(1), or what? Sadly, the Dembskis can’t answer that question, because if they admit the case is terminal, the checks would soon stop cashing.

I think the answer to this has been pointed out here over the past several days. There are strong hints that some factions are already starting to bail on ‘Intelligent Design’, and pinning their hopes on ‘Teach the Controversy’. That seems to be how they’ve slimed into Ohio public schools. Plus, it’s so legally amorphous, it’s harder to fight.

However, time has shown us that abolutely nothing that gets used in the Creationist/ID arsenal ever gets totally thrown out, so expect to see people here and there still using the old terminology and old arguments forever.

If science has any hope, it’s that the Creationist/ID crowd can’t all stick to one story to save their lives.

Comment #35927

Posted by GCT on June 21, 2005 12:41 PM (e) (s)

Ed, I guess I was wondering whether a judge could (or would) rule that the specific case in Dover is illegal since they are mandating ID in the classrooms, but might stay mute on whether optional teaching of ID is legal or not. Could a judge rule that way, and how likely is a ruling like that? If the judge simply says, “ID is not science,” but does not specify that it is religious in nature, how does that affect states like Ohio? If the judge says, “ID is just religious arguments dressed up as science,” then I would expect that the ACLU or somebody would jump on any place that does teach it.

Comment #35928

Posted by Ed Brayton on June 21, 2005 01:12 PM (e) (s)

FL wrote:

It’s not about “obtaining bragging rights”, it’s simply about obtaining the information you suggested you’d like to obtain concerning this topic.

I take him at his word that he has nothing to hide (and that is genuine - I really don’t think he has anything to hide in this regard). Thus, there is no reason to hold that conversation in private and then report back here on what he says. Best to have it in public in his own words than to work through a middle man.

Comment #35929

Posted by Ed Brayton on June 21, 2005 01:19 PM (e) (s)

GCT wrote:

Ed, I guess I was wondering whether a judge could (or would) rule that the specific case in Dover is illegal since they are mandating ID in the classrooms, but might stay mute on whether optional teaching of ID is legal or not. Could a judge rule that way, and how likely is a ruling like that? If the judge simply says, “ID is not science,” but does not specify that it is religious in nature, how does that affect states like Ohio? If the judge says, “ID is just religious arguments dressed up as science,” then I would expect that the ACLU or somebody would jump on any place that does teach it.

The first thing to understand is the substance of the legal case. The plaintiffs in this case are the parents who object to having ID taught in science classrooms. In order to win, they must show that the school board’s policy is unconstitutional, in this case that it violates the Establishment clause. In order to do that, they must show that ID is inherently religious in nature, that the school board was motivated by the desire to endorse or prop up a religious viewpoint, and so forth. So no, the judge could really not rule the way you suggest. If the plaintiffs fail to establish a violation of the Establishment clause, they will lose the case and the policy will be upheld. If they do establish such a violation, then it will be unconstitutional either to mandate it or to allow it to be taught.

Comment #35936

Posted by Keanus on June 21, 2005 03:04 PM (e) (s)

Brayton is right. The Dover case boils down to the plaintiffs demonstrating to the judge’s satisfaction that ID is inherently religious; the defendants must demonstrate not only that it’s not but that it fits the definition of scientific. The issue of ID’s scientific validity, to this non-lawyer, will be mostly a sidebar, but will surely aid in answering whether ID is religiously rooted or not.

The contretemps between TMLC, its original “expert” witnesses, and the latter’s right to have their lawyers attend their depositions and advise them at the trial (I assume the latter) is probably a manifestation of fundamental difference in both strategy and the emptiness of ID’s scientific quiver. It has no arrows to shoot other than faith, and faith isn’t admissible in scientific or legal debate. And there’s also the probable wide range of theologies subscribed to by the supporters of ID. In fact one strategy the ACLU and Pepper Hamilton (pro-bono counsel for the plaintiffs) could follow would be to call as witnesses a sampling of a dozen of so ID promoters and creationists and take them through their scientific views for the judge and the public to see. Such a trial would be like the sideshow at the circus, very much akin to the Kansas hearings, but with a real judge and adult in charge. But then I suspect that plaintiff’s counsel will achieve the same end cross-examining the witnesses the defense calls

Comment #35939

Posted by H. Humbert on June 21, 2005 03:30 PM (e) (s)

As many have already pointed out, the “designer” must necessarily be supernatural, since aliens (often thrown out as an alternative) could not evolve naturally without themselves being designed by some supernatural diety.

It seems to me this incontrovertible fact should be enough in and of itself to prove in court that ID is a religious statment at heart. It doesn’t matter if IDists are loathe to name the designer—it’s the unavoidable logical conclusion of their claims.

Comment #35941

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 21, 2005 03:56 PM (e) (s)

Any opinions out there on Judah Landa’s latest work titled IN THE BEGINNING OF, A New Look at Old Words, in which he seems to convincingly demonstrate that the perception of conflict between the Bible and science is entirely based on the popular but sloppy and inaccurate translations of the original Hebrew Bible? Landa’s science is rigorous, the linguistics is sound, the analysis is incisive and the conclusion is inescapable - that the original Bible, if translated carefully and correctly, does not conflict with science even if it is interpreted literally! This should come as a big surprize to our fundamentalist friends. I found the book at www.Amazon.com and it made a great impression on me. This is an important development. I would like some commentary.

Carol Clouser

Comment #35942

Posted by Mike on June 21, 2005 04:05 PM (e) (s)

if honest answers will be provided, the questions to Dembski and/or the Dover lawyers boil down to (1) why did the witnesses feel they needed separate legal representation, and (2) regardless of whether the witnesses had valid reasons for this, why was it not possible to arrive at a negotiated solution to such a request (as typically happens even in complex, multi-party cases)? I would have thought all the witnesses were appearing voluntarily to support ID, so the underlying substance of an irreconcilable conflict is, well, hard to fathom except as an expression of severe disagreement over the content, credibility, or purpose of the testimony.

Comment #35945

Posted by Raven on June 21, 2005 05:26 PM (e) (s)

Hi, Carol—

Any opinions out there on Judah Landa’s latest work titled IN THE BEGINNING OF, A New Look at Old Words, in which he seems to convincingly demonstrate that the perception of conflict between the Bible and science is entirely based on the popular but sloppy and inaccurate translations of the original Hebrew Bible? Landa’s science is rigorous, the linguistics is sound, the analysis is incisive and the conclusion is inescapable - that the original Bible, if translated carefully and correctly, does not conflict with science even if it is interpreted literally! This should come as a big surprize to our fundamentalist friends. I found the book at www.Amazon.com and it made a great impression on me. This is an important development. I would like some commentary.

Comment #35946

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 21, 2005 05:38 PM (e) (s)

I think the answer to this has been pointed out here over the past several days. There are strong hints that some factions are already starting to bail on ‘Intelligent Design’, and pinning their hopes on ‘Teach the Controversy’. That seems to be how they’ve slimed into Ohio public schools. Plus, it’s so legally amorphous, it’s harder to fight.

However, time has shown us that abolutely nothing that gets used in the Creationist/ID arsenal ever gets totally thrown out, so expect to see people here and there still using the old terminology and old arguments forever.

If science has any hope, it’s that the Creationist/ID crowd can’t all stick to one story to save their lives.

Alas for them, “teach the controversy” has already lost in Cobb County.

And you are right —- the one fatal flaw in the entire anti-evolution movement is that no matter HOW they try to spin it legally, any strategy they choose requires everyone to shut up, indefinitely, about the one thing they care about most in the world —- their religious opinions.

They can’t do it.

They don’t WANT to do it.

And that’s why their crap will never see the inside of a science text or classroom.

Comment #35948

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 21, 2005 05:42 PM (e) (s)

If I were Dembski, I wouldn’t post my phone number around the Lenny Flanks

“Dr” Hovind kept pestering me to call him, too.

I prefer to have my conversations in public. And in writing.

What can Dembski say on the phone that he can’t just say here?

Or have the IDers learned a belated lesson from the whole Wedge Document fiasco —— “don’t put anything in writing if you don’t have to”.

Comment #35949

Posted by Raven on June 21, 2005 05:47 PM (e) (s)

Hi, Carol—-

Any opinions out there on Judah Landa’s latest work titled IN THE BEGINNING OF, A New Look at Old Words, in which he seems to convincingly demonstrate that the perception of conflict between the Bible and science is entirely based on the popular but sloppy and inaccurate translations of the original Hebrew Bible?

I had not heard of the book, nor of Professor Landa, but it was my privilege to study classical Hebrew with a profound scholar of the language. I believe my teacher would agree with Landa’s assertion, as he has a fine ear for nuance and meaning. He continually got us to look at the text in different ways, and to analyze and account for what was actually there on the page.

The first word of Genesis, which becomes the English phrase “in the beginning”, is one of his favorite examples of interpretation. After you brought up the subject, I went to Amazon and viewed the first couple of pages. His points about “in the beginning”, while not the same as the ones my teacher raised, are of a similar kind of analysis.

Landa’s science is rigorous, the linguistics is sound, the analysis is incisive

Again, I am only speaking of the first two pages, so I can’t comment on the science or linguistics as a whole, but I did like what analysis I saw there. He does use a non-standard transliteration of the Hebrew words, though, which makes me wonder about his linguistics—but I have too small a sample to comment.

and the conclusion is inescapable - that the original Bible, if translated carefully and correctly, does not conflict with science even if it is interpreted literally! This should come as a big surprize to our fundamentalist friends.

yes—there is no one-to-one correspondence between English and Hebrew syntax and semantics, and translation always has some ambiguity built in. And the New Testament has similar issues, only with Greek, rather than with Hebrew or Aramaic. There is (and I hope Andrea will correct me if I am mistaken) an Italian proverb, “Traduttore, traditore”: who translates, betrays—because you can never elegantly convey all the aspects of the other language. You may get close to the meaning, but lose rhythm, internal rhyme, etc.—or you may go for similar poetic structures, but thereby change the meaning. How one can be a literalist about a translated text has always mystified me. But people do, and we are now living with the consequences of that fact, not only in science but in other public arenas as well.

I found the book at www.Amazon.com and it made a great impression on me. This is an important development. I would like some commentary.

It seems interesting, but realistically, I probably will not get around to reading it for some time, just because of all I have to get done in the near future. It will definitely go on my “to-read” list, and the first couple of pages do yield some interesting analysis.

(and if any administrator would be kind enough to delete #35945 by mistake, I’d appreciate it—I hit “Post” instead of “Preview” by mistake.)

—Raven

Comment #35950

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 21, 2005 05:50 PM (e) (s)

Who knows, maybe we’re seeing the symptoms of what might happen if ID were to win out and be presented in classrooms.

More generally, we’re seeing what will happen if the fundies are allowed to gain real political power. Blood will flow in the pews. Metaphorically, and literally. Heretic-hunting has always been a favored fundie pastime. And by golly, there’s no enemy like the “enemy within”.

Me, I think we should do everything we can to exacerbate and aggravate the internal ID splits. Let’s see how big their tent REALLY is. I say we point out all the internal doctrinal schisms and conflicts at every opportunity. The YECs hate the OECs. The fundies hate the Moonies. They also hate the Catholics, and Behe also bears the sin of accepting the evolution of humans (they hate that too). The DI’s luminaries have all exposed themselves as heretics by declaring that the Creator might be a space alien and not God at all. The “ID is religious” kooks (like ICR) hate the “ID is science” kooks (like DI).

I say, encourage all the fundies to do what, deep down inside, they really WANT to do anyway —- kill all the heretics. There’s nothing like a good internal religious war to destroy the ID movement’s effectiveness as a political organization. Let them slit each OTHER’S throats. It saves *us* the trouble.

Comment #35951

Posted by harold on June 21, 2005 05:51 PM (e) (s)

Carol Clouser -

I have no familiarity with the book you mention, but I will offer some commentary.

1) In my view, the Bible is intened as a spiritual work, and has been since its earliest inceptions. Its role is not to provide scientific explanations of the material world, any more than the role of a Chemistry book is to provide spiritual commentary and guidance. It is obvious to any honest reader that the Bible in any translation is full of symbolism, parables, and deliberate exaggerations of emphasis.

2) Therefore, I don’t consider any translation of the Bible to be at odds with science. Nor do I consider the spiritual works of other religions I am familiar with to be at odds with science either.

3) So if your claim is that the Bible is “compatible” with science, it already was, so I strongly agree and encourage you in your quest for spiritual fulfillment.

4)If your claim is that the Jewish Bible alone among spiritual works is consistent with science, to the exclusion of other religions’ texts, I object to that on three grounds -

a) it sounds unlikely, because the Bible has been studied for centuries already, and was never intended to be a science textbook b) it sounds as if someone might be trying to use false claims of a “scientifically accurate” Bible to “force” people of other beliefs to “admit” that one particular stance is the “true” faith, which is reprehensible and c) it is clearly in contrast with the actual message of the Bible, most pointedly in the Book of Job but also throughout the Old Testament, and the New Testament as well, that God demands faith, and does not provide superficial physical “proof” of his existence for the convenience of his followers.

A widespread cultural phenomenon, more or less the reason for the existence of this board (or at least, most of the posts on it), is the false claim that Christianity commands some “conservative” political action such as cracking down on homosexuals etc, followed by the false claim that the existence of God has been “proven”, so that the aforementioned political claim must be valid. “Intelligent design” is entirely a variation on this theme. An abandonment of the true moral teachings of Jesus is characteristic of those who follow this strategy, as is, usually, an effort to make a great deal of money by peddling “proof” of God. I sincerely hope the book you mention is in now way related to this phenomenon. I freely concede that I have not even looked at it yet.

Comment #35952

Posted by SEF on June 21, 2005 05:54 PM (e) (s)

What’s the legal status of recorded phone calls then (eg which might later be transcribed and/or held as evidence)?

Comment #35954

Posted by harold on June 21, 2005 06:03 PM (e) (s)

Based on what I now see posted, I may have pre-judged Landa too harshly. I stand by my comments, but apologize if the speculation parts were way off. Yet one more thing to add to the list of negative consequences of ID/Creationism…

1) ID/creationism weakens the moral fiber of America, by teaching children that dishonesty is okay if you don’t get caught, or can get a bunch of people to agree with you, or use equations.
2) ID/creationism weakens science in America, thus sowing the seeds of economic decline.
3) ID/creationism has parallels with Lysenkoism, which was promoted by Stalin.
4) ID/creationism wastes public funds, and contributes to budget deficits.
5) ID/creationism clogs America’s courts, at a time when judges are reported to be stretched thin. This could indirectly promote crime, or disrepect for the law. And lastly…

6) ID/creationism promotes cynicism - just look at what it’s doing to me!

Comment #35957

Posted by Ed Brayton on June 21, 2005 06:15 PM (e) (s)

Lenny Flank wrote:

“Dr” Hovind kept pestering me to call him, too.

Hey, I have talked to Kent Hovind on the phone, more than once. Talk about a frustrating experience. I spent weeks negotiating the particulars of a debate that he challenged me to, only to have him pull out of it after finally agreeing to everything.

Comment #35960

Posted by Steviepinhead on June 21, 2005 06:41 PM (e) (s)

SEF, in Washington state, and I expect in a good many others, it is illegal—under various “privacy” provisions and, in some cases, under descendants of wire-tapping laws—to record a private telephone conversation. An illegally-taped conversation usually cannot be used as evidence.

One major exception, at least here, is where the intent to record the conversation is disclosed ahead of time, and permission to record is obtained. One example would be when you call in to report a claim to your insurance company, and they ask your permission to telephonically interview you about the circumstances.

Similarly, when you call in to the various customer service lines and, as you fritter your life away working through the menu, at some point they inform you in advance that “in order to monitor the quality of service,” the conversation that you are about to have—once you finally get through to the live person!—may be recorded.

Thus, surreptitiously recording a phone call WITHOUT obtaining the other conversant’s permission could subject the person making the recording to civil and criminal liability on top of being “inadmissable” as evidence.

It is tempting to speculate that this is exactly WHY some of the ID fellers don’t want to come here, and prefer to discuss controversial matters on the phone. It confers the illusion of transparency without the substance, since if you don’t record the conversation with them, they are in a position to deny anything you say about it, and if you do record it, you can’t ever safely admit that you did so. Of course, you could ASK for permission to record and transcribe the conversation, but who wants to take a bet that the persons we’re talking about will actually agree to THAT…

Comment #35961

Posted by Raven on June 21, 2005 06:51 PM (e) (s)

Based on what I now see posted, I may have pre-judged Landa too harshly. I stand by my comments, but apologize if the speculation parts were way off.

Or you may be quite right, Harold—I only saw two pages, hardly a representative sample. I, too, would strongly object if it turned out to be the kind of polemic you described.

It’s one thing to use metaphor—I once opened a class paper on apoptosis with a description of different Navajo views on death, in order to more evocatively contrast apoptosis (cf. peaceful death in old age) and necrosis (cf. untimely, violent death). But I was not seriously arguing that necrosis then resulted in angry, vengeful ghosts. It was a useful device in this paper, though, and succeeded in its intended purpose—and to see literalists beat the use of metaphor, simile, and allegory to death is a very sad thing.

(I have been privileged to have had many wonderful teachers; my Navajo professor was another of them.)

6) ID/creationism promotes cynicism - just look at what it’s doing to me!

there’s a lot of that going around—when real life holds this much absurdity, it’s hard to tell what’s parody anymore.

Comment #35962

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 21, 2005 07:24 PM (e) (s)

Of course, you could ASK for permission to record and transcribe the conversation, but who wants to take a bet that the persons we’re talking about will actually agree to THAT …

Well heck, let’s find out … .

Mr Dembski, do you have any objection to having the phone conversation you have issued an invitation for, recorded and transcribed?

Comment #35963

Posted by steve on June 21, 2005 08:04 PM (e) (s)

Bill would not feel comfortable posting much here. No chance to edit the comments.

Comment #35964

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 21, 2005 08:15 PM (e) (s)

Brayton is right. The Dover case boils down to the plaintiffs demonstrating to the judge’s satisfaction that ID is inherently religious; the defendants must demonstrate not only that it’s not but that it fits the definition of scientific.

On this matter:

Let’s be blunt. There IS NO scientific theory of ID. When pressed, the best they can do is recite a long list of criticisms of evolution — all of which are baloney, none of which is accepted by the scientific body at large, and most of which are simply restatements of the same tired old “criticisms” that creation “scientists” have been making for almost 50 years now. By declaring that “evidence against evolution, equals evidence for design”, the IDers are just continuing the very same “two models” idea that the creation “scientists” tried to argue. Alas for them, the “two models” argument was decisively and explicitly rejected by the 1982 Maclean v Arkansas case, and also in the 1987 Edwards v Aguillard Supreme Court ruling.

Furthermore, and VERY significantly in the legal sense, in the 1982 Maclean v Arkansas case, the federal court listed the characteristics of what constituted “science”. That list consisted of:

“More precisely, the essential characteristics of science are:

(1) It is guided by natural law;

(2) It has to be explanatory by reference to nature law;

(3) It is testable against the empirical world;

(4) Its conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word; and

(5) Its is falsifiable. (Ruse and other science witnesses)”

Let’s see how Intelligent Design “theory” measures up to those criteria, shall we?

1. “It is guided by natural law.” Alas, the IDers lose already. Not only is ID ‘theory’ NOT “guided by natural law”, but ID “theorists” explicitly, clearly and plainly REJECT the idea that science SHOULD be based on “natural law”. Indeed, their most fundamental complaint (pardon the pun) is that science in general and evolution in particular are “philosophical materialism” (their code word for “atheism”) and that this, they say, unfairly rules out the IDers’ NON-materialist or NON-natural “explanations”. Hmmm. It sure seems to ME as if the only entity that is even capable in principle of using “non-materialistic” or “super-naturalistic” mechanisms is a deity or god (and if the IDers want to argue with a straight face that the space aliens are capable of using supernaturalistic methods, I’d pay good money to sit in court and watch that). Now I’m no theologian, mind you, but I’m pretty sure that “deities” and “gods” and other “supernatural entities” are religious in nature. I’m no lawyer either, mind you, but I’m also pretty sure that arguing that a supernatural entity or deity designed life using non-materialistic methods, has the intent and effect of advancing religion. Hence, not only is ID “theory” NOT based on natural law, it explicitly REJECTS natural law in favor of supernatural methods. I.e., in favor of religious doctrine. The IDers lose right out of the starting gate.

2. “It has to be explanatory by reference to nature law”. See above. ID loses again. Not only does it NOT explain anything by reference to natural law, it tries to argue that it DOESN’T HAVE TO. What the IDers are complaining about in the first place is that science, they say, unfairly rejects anything BUT reference to natural law — i.e., that science rejects religious explanations. By arguing AGAINST the need for science to be “explanatory by reference to natural law”, the IDers are doing nothing more (or less) than arguing that science should be forced by a court order to accept references to NON-natural or SUPER-natural mechanisms. I.e., they are arguing that science should be forced to advance religion. Like I said, I’m no lawyer, but I’m pretty sure there’s a law against that.

3. “It is testible against the empirical world”. ID loses again. ID ‘theory’ makes NO testible statements. None at all. It can’t tell us what the designer did. It can’t tell us what mechanisms the designer used to do whatever it did. It can’t tell us where we can see these mechanisms in action. And it can’t tell us how to go about testing any of this. ID ‘theory’ consists simply and solely of various random arguments against evolution, coupled with the already-rejected-by-the-courts “two model theory”. ID makes no effort at all to produce any positive arguments on its own that can be tested. Indeed, ID ‘theory’ can’t (or won’t) even make any testible predictions about how old the earth is, or whether humans evolved from apelike primates. The best ID can do is declare “evolution can’t explain X, Y or Z, therefore we must be right”. I.e., the same old “two models” that the courts have already rejected.

4. “Its conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word”. Well, we don’t know whether ID passes this test, since ID ‘theory” refuses to MAKE any conclusions. As I noted before, ID can’t even give a coherent hypothesis, or even tell us how to form one. What do they think the Intelligent Designer might be? They, uh, don’t know. What do they think it did? They, uh, don’t know that either. What mechanisms did it use? Beats the heck out of them. Heck, ID “theory” can’t (or won’t) even reach conclusions on such basic questions as “how old is the earth” —— billions of years, they say. Or maybe it’s just thousands of years. We, uh, aren’t sure. “Did humans evolve from apelike primates?” Yes. Or, uh, maybe not. Does ID think its conclusions are “the last word”? Well, I guess we won’t know until ID actually MAKES some conclusions.

5. “It is falsifiable”. Well, again, we don’t know if ID’s conclusions are falsifiable, because they go to great lengths to avoid MAKING any conclusions that might be capable of being falsified. I suspect that is deliberate.

However, the core argument of ID ‘theory’, that God — er, I mean “An Unknown Intelligent Designer” — created life, is inherently unfalsifiable. After all, if we know nothing about the Designer, nothing about its nature, and nothing about what it can or can’t do, then there is simply no way we can falsify any statement made about it. If I say that the designer does not have the physical or technical capability of manipulating biomolecules, how the heck could we know whether it really did? On the other hand, if I say that the designer HAS manipulated biochemicals, what sort of evidence could we point to which would indicate that it DIDN’T? The whole idea of ID is unfalsifiable. After all, the entire “argument” of ID boils down to “we think an unknown thing did an unknown thing at an unknown time using unknown methods”. How the heck can anyone falsify THAT? How the heck can anyone, in principle, demonstrate that an unknown thing did NOT do an unknown thing at an unknown time using unknown methods?

So there you have it. ID does not meet ANY of the criteria listed by the federal court in determining what is or isn’t “science”. In every conceivable legal sense, ID simply is not science.

Comment #35965

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 21, 2005 08:21 PM (e) (s)

And, since I’m in the mood to pontificate (grin), here’s some of my thoughts specifically on the Dover statement and its legality, or lack thereof:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/doverstatement.h…

Comment #35967

Posted by caerbannog on June 21, 2005 08:40 PM (e) (s)

Sorry about the off-topic post here, but Dembski is crowing about the outcome of legal action against the California Academy of Sciences and the NCSE. Details at http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archive….

Anyone know anything about this? (Perhaps it deserves a separate article/thread here)

Comment #35969

Posted by Air Bear on June 21, 2005 08:50 PM (e) (s)

Posted by caerbannog on June 21, 2005 08:40 PM (e) (s)

[quotes] Sorry about the off-topic post here, but Dembski is crowing about the outcome of legal action against the California Academy of Sciences and the NCSE. Details at http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archive… … . [/qoute]

It includes some comments by someone using the name of PT’s dear departed friend, DaveScot. He’s such a sweetie. I won’t sully this board with a direct quote.

Comment #35970

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 21, 2005 09:17 PM (e) (s)

Raven and Harold,

The intriguing thing about IN THE BEGINNING OF by Judah Landa is that it undermines the case of the anti-evolution forces in a different way. It does so not by defending or attempting to prove evolution, but by negating the reasons many people have for seeking to oppose evolution and the teaching thereof in the first place. Let us face it, the prime motivation for opposing evolution is that it appears to contradict a literal reading of the Bible. Landa’s message is: fine, let us accept (at least for the sake of argument) that the Bible is meant to be interpreted literally and that it cannot be wrong. But let us look at the original. After all, nobody disputes the proposition that the English Authorized Version is a second or third generation translation of the Hebrew original. Well, if we translate the original accurately and correctly (but literally) there is no conflict with science.

Here is not the place to review the entire 196 page book, covering the first eleven chapters of Genesis. But I can say that the physics, biology, geology and linguistics are presented to the layman, clearly, succinctly and correctly (as far as I can discern). The transliteration system Landa uses is explained in a short section at the beginning of the book, and is designed to make the process easier for the non-Hebrew-speaking masses.

It seems to me that we ought to support this effort. It will animate any reasonably open-minded fundamentalist to take another look at the major assumptions underlying his or her opposition to evolution.

CAROL CLOUSER

Comment #35971

Posted by H. Humbert on June 21, 2005 10:22 PM (e) (s)

It will animate any reasonably open-minded fundamentalist to take another look at the major assumptions underlying his or her opposition to evolution.

Isn’t “open-minded fundamentalist” an oxymoron?

Personally, I think a new (even more accurate) translation will do little to disuade creationists from believing that evolution is a lie or that their god specially created them inside a perfect garden. As Harold has said, alternative interpretatations have already been presented with little affect. You really think they’ll accept a late revision to their most prized text? Never gonna happen.

Comment #35972

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on June 21, 2005 10:38 PM (e) (s)

Carol -

How on earth can Landa (or anyone) make, say, the Deluge story “compatible with science” (other than by declaring the whole thing a metaphor or somesuch literary device)?

Comment #35975

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 22, 2005 01:12 AM (e) (s)

H. Humbert,

I think you confuse ‘translation’ with ‘interpretation’. Yes, alternate interpretations have been proposed but these have been rejected by fundamentalists because, well, they are fundamentalists. They see these alternatives as contrived. Landa is proposing to interpret literally but translate (the original)accurately. That is an entirely different matter. He treats the Bible exactly as they claim it ought to be treated, taken seriously and literally at its word, and yet there is no conflict with science.

As a good example, Landa demonstrates that the original Hebrew Bible does not speak of seven sequential days of creation, but of seven overlapping periods of (evolutionary) development, not in chronological order. The Bible does not say, ‘the first day’, ‘the second day’, and so on, but ‘one era’, ‘a second era’, etc. And the point is that this is WHAT THE WORDS MEAN, not your or my theory. The only way to disagree with this is to argue the meaning of the original (Hebrew) words.

Pierce,

The deluge, according to Landa’s translation of the original words of the Bible, occured in the plain of ancient Sumeria (approximately present day southern Iraq) where much of the rest of early Genesis takes place. There is substantial evidence that the area was indeed flood prone in ancient times when the major rivers there were more active.

Folks, there is no way around this but to read the book!

Carol Clouser

Comment #35976

Posted by H. Humbert on June 22, 2005 01:25 AM (e) (s)

No, Carol, I’m not confusing “translation” with “interpretation,” I’m saying it makes no difference to fundamentalists. It has been previously pointed out that the Hebrew word in Genesis does not literally translate into the English word “day.” This is not a novel observation. It’s just that this has absolutely no affect on those who already have it in their mind that it happened in a “day.” They will reject Landa’s translation on principle.

Maybe I’m wrong. I’ll gladly acknowledge as much if I see a great many fundamentalists adopting this new translation, but I’ll not hold my breath.

Comment #35977

Posted by Timothy Scriven on June 22, 2005 01:37 AM (e) (s)

I know this is only loosely related to the topic at hand but I’d like to know, why is the posting pace at ISCID so slow lately?

Comment #35978

Posted by H. Humbert on June 22, 2005 01:40 AM (e) (s)

I should add why they reject new translations. There is indeed a certain amount of interpretation in translation. For instance, a particular word can mean “day” or simply “period of time.” The translator chooses the word which he thinks best fits the passage.

The fundamentalists already believe that their translation is correct. That there exists enough linguistic wriggle-room in the original text to be alternately translated into terms which are vague enough not to directly contradict scientific fact misses the point. They aren’t remotely interested revising their bibles to coexist with science. Remember, they believe that the bible is a holy book whose integrity god has protected through centuries of various translations. Messing with it now is blasphemy.

Comment #35980

Posted by Mark Perakh on June 22, 2005 02:31 AM (e) (s)

Re: Comments 35970 and 35975 by Carol Clouser.

I have not read Landa’s book, but the very idea that the contradiction between the Bible and scientific data is only due to a bad translation is ridiculous. Has Landa discovered in the Hebrew Bible anything that has not been known hitherto? This is utterly implausible: the original text of the Tanach (the Hebrew scriptures) is well known in every detail to thousands of rabbis who have spent years on studying it without resorting to any translation. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli school kids for whom Hebrew is the mother tongue study Tanach in the Tanach classes likewise without a need for a translation. There are numerous books, papers, dissertations, etc. devoted to the analysis of literally every word in the Tanach from every angle imaginable, all by Hebrew native speakers or by scholars who spent endless hours on studying Hebrew. Among these sources there are many specifically discussing the contradictions between science and the Bible, including endless arguments purportedly “proving” that the contradiction is an illusion. Books by Schroeder, Aviezer, Carmell & Domb (eds), and many more, are in this vein. All these writers are fluent in Hebrew. (Btw, all these books happen to be much more popular than that by Landa.) All of them have in fact failed to prove their thesis. The reason is simple — it is not because they are not as smart as Landa but because the thesis is wrong: the biblical story hopelessly contradicts scientific data. (See, for example, articles posted to Talk Reason, ( http://www.talkreason.org/ ), the section “Faith vs.Reason.”) I also apologize for taking the liberty of pointing to my book Unintelligent Design (where part 2 deals with Schroeder, Aviezer, Spetner, Heeren, Ross, Carmell & Domb, etc.)

Regarding the (often discussed) example with the six days of creation (referred to by Carol Clouser) whatever Landa says must be an unfounded interpretation because the word actually used in the Hebrew text is “yom” which unequivocally means “day” and not any other period of time, and the structure of phrasing unequivocally points to a sequential order of days. Just this example (referred to by Carol Clouser) shows that Landa’s linguistic contortions are designed for gullible readers who’d swallow any nonsense if it fits their preconceived beliefs.

Btw, I am a professional physicist with many years of experience and I am fluent in Hebrew (I’ve read the entire Tanach several times in original rather than relying on a translation).

Comment #35981

Posted by H. Humbert on June 22, 2005 04:18 AM (e) (s)

Good post, Mark. So “yom” does literally mean day. Well there you go.

Comment #35982

Posted by Ron Okimoto on June 22, 2005 06:55 AM (e) (s)

Tim wrote:
I know this is only loosely related to the topic at hand but I’d like to know, why is the posting pace at ISCID so slow lately?

What do they have to discuss? The political faction doesn’t want to expose how lame ID is, so they aren’t going to address the basic problems. Until they start dealing with the problems they are never going to make any headway. The serious ID thinkers are probably tired of being used as cannon fodder by the Wedgies that don’t bother to try and defend their ID junk in the forum. There is the fact that the scam artists have given up using ID as the Wedge and have admitted that it doesn’t make the grade in places like Ohio, so all you have trying to “discuss” ID are guys like Jerry and Sal. When the scam artists have abandoned it and refuse to defend it where it needs defending (like in Dover or Ohio) why should the rubes keep taking the heat? Just because they may have been taken in by the scam, doesn’t mean that they can’t figure out when they have been scammed.

Where is the scientific theory of ID to discuss? Is anyone trying to test an ID hypothesis? Has anyone tested one? You need test results before you can discuss them. You have to be able to form your questions in a way that you have some chance of figuring out an answer. Until ID can do this there is literally nothing to discuss except the fact that ID can’t do these things.

Comment #35985

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 22, 2005 07:52 AM (e) (s)

I know this is only loosely related to the topic at hand but I’d like to know, why is the posting pace at ISCID so slow lately?

Well, as Curly sang to Judd Fry, “It’s summer, and they’re runnin’ outta ice!”

Comment #35987

Posted by Boyce Williams on June 22, 2005 08:38 AM (e) (s)

re: Comment 35960

According to Summary of Consent Requirements for Taping Telephone Conversations, Washington is a “two party consent” state regarding telephone call recording. Others are one party consent states. federal law seems to be a one party consent, but the interaction of federal/state laws appears pretty complicated. For us non-lawyer types, it’s best to get a two party consent to be completely safe all around.

Comment #35988

Posted by GCT on June 22, 2005 08:41 AM (e) (s)

Thanks to all who helped with my legal question(s).

Comment #35989

Posted by Flint on June 22, 2005 08:54 AM (e) (s)

Reinterpreting the Tanach seems to be yet another strategy towards bring the scriptures in line with observation. It doesn’t surprise me that this strategy has been added to the list, which now reads:

1) Regard Genesis as the sacred fictions of yet another primitive tribe, as anthropologists have found all over the world. All such tribes have some imaginative tale to answer the question “where did we come from.”

2) Reject scientific observation and theory altogether, in favor of regarding (one’s chosen interpretation of) scripture as God’s Absolute Truth. Fundamentalists use this approach. A classic example of choosing certainty over correctness.

3) Reinterpret the Biblical Hebrew creatively enough to eliminate contradictions between the actual words in their contexts, and what has since been learned that contradicts them. If the bible is declared to be correct and is prima facie wrong, we must be misreading it.

4) Try to understand our universe without reference to the sacred writings of any particular religion. Presumably there are parts of the world attempting to do this, who are not culturally bound to cram observation into the context of ancient myths. There may even be individuals in the Western world whose exposure to Biblical texts is indirect, minimal and ignorable.

Amazing that this one book has done more damage than every other book ever written taken all together. This probably says something profound about human nature.

Comment #35993

Posted by Greg Peterson on June 22, 2005 12:26 PM (e) (s)

That an all-powerful God took even seven days to create is ridiculous. Why not blink the cosmos into being, mature and complete, in Planck time, rather than using any number of days whatever—much less millions of years? The notion that an all-good, all-powerful divinity would have “created” through a process that necessarily “sculpts” using starvation, disease and predation is pretty insulting to the whole notion of a god.

I was an evangelical Christian for around 20 years, have a degree in Bible from a conservative fundamentalist college, worked for Billy Graham for a while. I guess I tried just about as hard as anyone to reconcile Genesis with reality. It cannot be done. Genesis, like the rest of the Bible, is OK mythology. But we need to grow up and start taking things on evidence rather than letting our perceptions of the world conform to Bronze Age ignorance.

Comment #35994

Posted by Matt Young on June 22, 2005 12:44 PM (e) (s)

I do not entirely agree with Professor Perakh - we do not know every word in the Tanakh because the text was not stabilized until the invention of the printing press. Additionally, we do not know the meanings of all the words in the Tanakh, some of which survive nowhere else. Neither statement bodes well for Biblical literalism.

My Hebrew is probably 20 decibels lower than Professor Perakh’s, but it seems clear to me that he is completely correct in claiming that yom means day and nothing else. For example, yom-yom means every day; ha-yom means today; yom tov is a holiday. It is hard to see how yom could also mean an era, though I admit that certain Jewish holidays sometimes seem interminable.

Contrary to Ms. Clouser, I can see no evidence that chapter 1 of Genesis is intended as anything but chronological order. At the end of each day, Chapter 1 says, “One day [oddly, not ‘first day’], … second day, … third day,” and so on. Interpreting these days as eras is to interpret the Bible allegorically, not literally, and is a device often used by liberal clergy to preserve the authenticity of the Bible. It is nice, in a way, to see that Biblical literalists can also understand allegory.

Comment #35997

Posted by tytlal on June 22, 2005 01:59 PM (e) (s)

Cannot the Bible be interpreted to mean just about anything, and if so, what good is it if that is the case?

In other words, many people place their faith into a book that can be (mis)interpreted for their own use.

Sounds like a dangerous and ignorant piece of work.

Comment #35998

Posted by Flint on June 22, 2005 02:31 PM (e) (s)

tytlal:

That’s part of what I meant about human nature. It’s been pointed out ad nauseum that the Bible is internally inconsistent, that much of what it is absolutely clear and explicit about is simply ignored (much of Leviticus), that the historical context of important chunks has been lost so we don’t know the whole truth behind the words, and so on. This is over and above the issues of archaic languages of the original and multiple translations. Not to mention the many times the book has been redacted, with some chapters added, others omitted, and much of it subjected to heavy editing at a time (perhaps not different from any other time?) when fiction that made converts was considered more pleasing to God than uncongenial fact.

The adage that the devil can quote scripture to his purpose was old centuries ago. But the only practical way to quote scripture is to pick and choose. Combine this with the broad range of plausible interpretation of so many verses, and the ONLY way to read scripture is with your self-interest uppermost in mind. Would Mark Perakh’s hundreds of generations of Talmudic scholars keep at it if there were no scope for creativity?

Biblical literalism doesn’t really mean taking the Bible literally — as has been pointed out, this isn’t really possible. Instead, it means being so inflexible and learnproofed in your self-interest that you can’t afford to see any interpretation but your own. It’s not God’s word that’s being considered infallible, it’s the interpretations of the literalists. And this says something important about human nature.

Comment #36000

Posted by Mark Perakh on June 22, 2005 02:37 PM (e) (s)

I believe my friend Matt Young, stating (in comment 35994) that he “not entirely agrees” with my comment, in fact addresses a point I did not mention at all, which is the question of the historical transmission of the Tanakh’s text. Of course it is common knowledge that the text of the Tanakh (or Tanach) has undergone multiple modifications in the course of its long history (see for example the excellent essay by Prof. Cohen at http://www.talkreason.org/articles/sanctity.cfm . However, from Carol Clouser’s comment seems to follow that Landa’s discourse is not about this point.

Rabbis who spend years on studying Tanach normally deal with the Masoretic text which, although substantially differing from earlier versions (e.g. Qumran manuscripts) has acquired a reasonably stable shape in the last ten centuries. Anyway, this point has little to do with the meaning of the word “yom” and other points where the Bible is at odds with science. Likewise, although the exact meaning of certain words in the Tanach may be ambiguous (for example there is no firm view as to the actual length of the “ama” which in KJV is translated as “cubit”) such words have been subjected to a detailed discussion and rabbinical sources provide an interpretation more or less adopted by almost all Orthodox rabbis.

Comment #36002

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 22, 2005 03:38 PM (e) (s)

Re: comments by Mark Perakh.

I must disagree with you. You are utterly wrong in many respects.

First, you ought not criticize or analyze what you have not read. I realize that much nonsense has been written on this subject and I cannot blame you for getting a bit annoyed by it all, but we must maintain an open mind. Landa is not Aviezer, just as Aviezer is not Schroeder and Carol is not Mark. Their approaches are VERY different.

Second, let us discuss the merits of the ideas proposed. I for one am at all not impressed by mud slinging, touting your own horn, pulling rank, lumping together (otherwise known as card stacking) and similar devices, all of which your comments (#35980) managed to include.

Third, your argument that Judah Landa cannot possibly be right because nobody thought of it up to now, is prima facia nonsense. Had Einstein had that attitude in 1905, special relativity would not have seen the light of day. And I submit to you that if you consulted all those experts in Hebrew you cite they would confirm that each of Landa’s assertions pertaining to Hebrew usage is correct.

Fourth, getting to some substance here, you are wrong about ‘yom’ in Hebrew. As Judah Landa cites in his IN THE BEGINNING OF, there are many places in the Hebrew Bible where yom appears and where all the medieval commentators, some of whom lived about 900 years ago, translate those words to mean era. Surely you cannot even remotely consider that they were motivated by scientific discoveries of enturies later. I personally checked these references and they indeed are there. You claim to have read the entire Bible in the original several times. Well, apparently you haven’t read carefully enough. Why not check out Hosea 6:2 and Paslms 86:3, to cite just two such references.

Landa also brilliantly demonstrates that just a few verses after the alleged ‘first day’ the Bible uses yom in a manner that must mean era. I refer to Genesis 2:4. Read Landa’s book, page 21.

The other side of the coin is also pertinent. The only word for era in ancient Hebrew is yom. ‘Tekufa’ does not quite make it because it refers to cyclical time, as in the seasons. Your proposed ‘sefira’ and ‘minyan’ (Talk Reason) mean counting, not era, and will not do AT ALL.

Even in ordinary conversation in English the word day may mean era, as in “in the day of George Washington”, meaning the era of George Washington.

It is important to bear in mind that Hebrew is a language known for its unusual brevity, relatively few words and words with multiplt and borrowed meanings. Yom is one such word. The fact that it is used more frequently in the Bible to mean day than era is reflective of the fact that the Bible more frequently has occassion to speak about days than eras. This has no bearing on its meaning here, in Genesis 1:5. This cannot be decided by a vote.

The reason the fundamentalists opt for the ‘day’ translation is because the verse begins with, “and there was morning and there was evening.” Sounds like a 24 hour day. But that is very simplistic. As Landa demonstrates convincingly the Bible frequently employs the singular as an intentional understaement that implies an enormous plurality. The Bible means to say, “and there was many an evening and many a morning”.

Bottom line, Mark, you are doing yourself a disservice by jusr sniping from the sidelines. Read the book (it is easily available on Amazon, I will helpfully provide you with the ISBN # 0963971611) then we will eagerly listen to your reasoned comments. Otherwise your ranting just rings hollow (at least to me).

Fifth, Landa proceeds to demonstrate that ‘echud’ means ‘one’ not first. The Hebrew word for first is ‘rishon’. So ‘yom echud’ could very reasonably mean ‘one era’. Now, ‘yom shainy’, instead of ‘ha-shainy’, means ‘a second era’, not ‘the second era’. As Mat Young (comment # 35994) noticed, this is odd. Why not just say, the first, the second, the third, and so on? Why one era, a second era, a third era? This sounds like the Bible is steering us away from a sequential interpretation. Landa also provides additional persusive arguments that the eras were never meant to be sequenmtial. That was just sloppy translating.

This has turned out to be a bit longer than I intended. In conclusion, Mark, and Pierce and H. Humbert and Raven and Harold and everybody else, we cannot discuss this intelligently in a vacuum. I have read the book and was most impressed. Could the Bible be translated in a manner that leads to conflict with science? Of course it can. Landa’s point is that it can JUST AS REASONABLY be translated and not lead to said conflict. If we can agree that a good case has been made here perhaps we can plant some doubt in the minds of some (dare I say many or all) of our fundamentalist fellow americans, thereby animating them to stop contesting evolution and the teaching thereof.

And that would be progress indeed! Don’t you think?

Carol Clouser

Comment #36003

Posted by Mark Perakh on June 22, 2005 04:04 PM (e) (s)

Re: Carol Clouser, comment 36002. Since you seem to know beyond doubt that Landa is correct while I am wrong, your appeal to keep an open mind sounds odd. Those arguments in favor of the word “yom” meaning “era” or some other period of time you suggested in your comment are quite far from being original or new - they have been suggested many times before and repudiated as many times as well. If these arguments are representative of Landa’s discourse, this only reinforces my reluctance to waste time on reading one more attempt (by Landa) to prove the unprovable thesis by means of linguistic acrobatics. You are entitled to believe anything you like and to stay confident that I am wrong - just your pretense to keep an open mind and avoid “mud slinging” etc. is hardly convincing to those who indeed keep an open mind. This exchange of comments has led beyond the topic of this thread, so if you choose to respond once again, I’ll not reply any more. Best wishes.

Comment #36004

Posted by tytlal on June 22, 2005 04:11 PM (e) (s)

“Could the Bible be translated in a manner that leads to conflict with science? Of course it can. Landa’s point is that it can JUST AS REASONABLY be translated and not lead to said conflict.”

Where can the Bible be translated to not conflict with science?

Comment #36005

Posted by Flint on June 22, 2005 04:31 PM (e) (s)

tytlal:

As an ignorant outsider, I’m willing to venture a guess without fear of understanding the right answer! What I suspect is, we have someone here who desperately wants BOTH science and the Bible to be true. Some way must therefore be discovered to interpret some version of the texts in such a way as to evade any conflict, yet without forcing interpretation to become so metaphorical as to deprive these texts of any real meaning.

Landa seems to have produced Yet One More of a line of analyses making this attempt. But I’m not sure I follow Mark’s claim that these are “repudiated”, since all of these different interpretations seem to repudiate one another, and whatever position you take depends not on the quality of the scholarship but on whether the findings meet your needs. I’m glad Carol has found Landa, who seems to be saying what Carol wishes to hear.

Now, back to why the DI seems to have dropped out of the Dover lawsuit. Have we run out of speculations?

Comment #36006

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 22, 2005 04:32 PM (e) (s)

Mark,

Sounds like your feelings have been hurt. You are taking your marbles and leaving the game. That was most certainly not my intention.

But again you make claims but don’t provide the substance. Where is the beef?

Carol

Comment #36007

Posted by Mark Perakh on June 22, 2005 04:45 PM (e) (s)

Flint (comment 36005): When saying that the alleged proofs of the allegoric meaning of the word “yom” all have been repudiated, I simply stated the fact without revealing whether or not I agree with any particular repudiation. My own view of this matter has been explained in detail in my book and in the essays posted to Talk Reason. That is where the “beef” is while this thread is not the place to repeat all that stuff. Cheers.

Comment #36008

Posted by Mark Perakh on June 22, 2005 04:47 PM (e) (s)

Flint (comment 36005): When saying that the alleged proofs of the allegoric meaning of the word “yom” all have been repudiated, I simply stated the fact without revealing whether or not I agree with any particular repudiation. My own view of this matter has been explained in detail in my book and in the essays posted to Talk Reason. That is where the “beef” is while this thread is not the place to repeat all that stuff. Cheers.

Comment #36009

Posted by Amiel Rossow on June 22, 2005 05:24 PM (e) (s)

Some food for a curious mind: The tone of admiration of Landa’s book so evident in Carol Clouser’s comments sounded a bit suspicious in regard to the real source of her attitude to that book, so some fast investigation seemed in order. Here it is: the book in question as of today has on Amazon the rank of 354,000. Compare it with Schroeder’s book published in ‘91 - its rank as of today is 12,178 which means it is still immensely more popular than Landa’s recently published book (despite the egregious errors in Schroeder’s output). While usually there are dozens of readers reviews of various books on Amazon, there is only one anonymous reader’s review of Landa’s book whose wording is almost identical with Carol Clouser’s comments to this thread. The most curious detail is perhaps that one of Landa’s books was published by an otherwise obscure publisher named Jae-El publications. Now, the email address of Carol Clouser as given in her comments is [Enable javascript to see this email address.] . Is it where the real beef is? Is it still suprising that Carol was so much impressed by Landa’s book?

Comment #36010

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 22, 2005 05:54 PM (e) (s)

If we can agree that a good case has been made here perhaps we can plant some doubt in the minds of some (dare I say many or all) of our fundamentalist fellow americans, thereby animating them to stop contesting evolution and the teaching thereof.

Umm, good luck with that … …

I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting if I were you.

Comment #36011

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 22, 2005 05:59 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #36012

Posted by SEF on June 22, 2005 06:37 PM (e) (s)

Would that be Jae-El/jayel as in Judah Landa (JL)?

Comment #36014

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on June 22, 2005 07:03 PM (e) (s)

I’m cracking up. If you go to Amazon, there is only one (1), glowing review of Mr. Landa’s book, by someone signing as “Enlightened”.

It is not only the most important work on the subject ever written, I dare believe it provides the decisive analysis we all looked for….
The author, great scholar and incisive thinker that he is, clearly shows how the accumulation of errors in translation in the Authorized Version has led to a grotesque distortion of the plain meaning of the Bible. Make no mistake about it - the science in this book is rigorous and so is the linguistics. As far as I am concerned, the debate is over….
This is MUST reading for all who care!

If you click on enlightened, you find out his/her nickname: jayel923.

It should probably go to the bathroom Wall, though.
Ed: beam us up.

Comment #36017

Posted by Flint on June 22, 2005 07:14 PM (e) (s)

The implication seems to be that Jae-El publications is the vanity press. Kinda tawdry.

Comment #36019

Posted by Raven on June 22, 2005 07:27 PM (e) (s)

Well, Harold, perhaps you were right after all to be suspicious, and I was wrong to be trusting.

Amiel makes a most interesting observation:

While usually there are dozens of readers reviews of various books on Amazon, there is only one anonymous reader’s review of Landa’s book whose wording is almost identical with Carol Clouser’s comments to this thread. The most curious detail is perhaps that one of Landa’s books was published by an otherwise obscure publisher named Jae-El publications. Now, the email address of Carol Clouser as given in her comments is [Enable javascript to see this email address.] … . Is it where the real beef is? Is it still suprising that Carol was so much impressed by Landa’s book?

You know, Carol, I engaged in a discussion with you because I thought you were honestly seeking an answer to a question. I did not suspect that you were marketing the book as anything more than a (perhaps a little too-enthusiastic) lay reader.

Just so you are totally clear on this point: under no circumstances do you have my permission to quote any of my casual conversation above as an endorsement or positive review of the book in any way whatsoever. I made it very clear that I had not read the book, and was just giving an off-the-cuff impression of the pages Amazon made available. You may not use any of our discussion to endorse the book in any way whatsoever.

If that was not your intent, well, then, I am sorry that the discussion has turned out this way, but I, too, will withdraw from engaging with you any further at this point, because now I cannot be sure that I can trust you. But if that was your intent, I am very disappointed that you would use other people’s collegial discussion in such a crass way.

Comment #36021

Posted by Zim on June 22, 2005 07:44 PM (e) (s)

Amiel Rossow wrote:

While usually there are dozens of readers reviews of various books on Amazon, there is only one anonymous reader’s review of Landa’s book whose wording is almost identical with Carol Clouser’s comments to this thread. The most curious detail is perhaps that one of Landa’s books was published by an otherwise obscure publisher named Jae-El publications. Now, the email address of Carol Clouser as given in her comments is [Enable javascript to see this email address.] … .

Congratulations! Just shows what a brief bit of elementary research can do. Shame the IDists haven’t cottoned on to that yet. :-)

However, you may have put the cart before the horse, so I’d like to see Carol’s response before crying “foul”. She could have chosen her email address as a result of having read the book, rather than being part of the publishing company. Or she may have become a part of the company, in whatever capacity, having seen the ideas proposed and accepted them.

I have no idea what sort of stuff Jae-El publishes, or how big it is, so it’s obscure to me, too, but I also have no idea how obscure it is to other people.

Comment #36024

Posted by JohnK on June 22, 2005 08:31 PM (e) (s)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #36026

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 22, 2005 08:57 PM (e) (s)

Folks,

Before some of you get carried away congratulating yourselves on your great detective work, here are the simple facts:

I am the Scholarly Book Editor at a small publishing firm whose name is Jay El Publications. I was enthusiatic about Dr. Landa’s book when I first saw it in manuscript form and still am. My email address at work therefore begins with the letters jayel and 923 is my personal number. I wrote to Amazon for the same reason I wrote to Pandasthumb and other places - I think highly of the book and think it could make a difference in the ongoing cultural war which is only getting lauder with each passing week. And I intend to continue to do so. I make no money from books sold, I am on fixed salary. Is there anything wrong with all this? And I hope you will see fit to read this important work and see for yourselves.

Raven, I DID have an enjoyable conversation with you and did want to solicit opinions. It never entered my mind to use your or anyone else’s words here for commercial purposes, nor am I in a position to do so. You saw just two pages of the book on Amazon and I think you were positively impressed. I think you and everybody here will be equally impressed when you read the entire book. IT IS AN EYE OPENER!

Carol Clouser

Comment #36028

Posted by harold on June 22, 2005 09:34 PM (e) (s)

Raven -

Yes, my cynicism, or should I say skepticism, appears to have been at least partially justified. Although the level of transgression here may be mild.

I have never read any part of the Bible in anything other than traditional English translations (the only other languages I can even come close to reading in are French and Spanish, at any rate). I make no claim of theological expertise, to put it mildly, even though, of course, I have my own private religious opinions. With that rather strong caveat, it always struck me that the authors knew perfectly well that they were speaking metaphorically, in a sense. Genesis is simply not written in the way that someone who intended a pedantic, concrete description of physical reality would write. It draws on deeply rooted and psychologically powerful cultural material to express profound thoughts (even if you don’t agree with them) about the relationship between humans, God, and an imperfect-seeming physical world. In fact, its apparent influence, whether for good or ill, is testament to its literary and psychological power, as is the fact that its translations have sometimes been literary masterpieces in themselves. I repeat that, except if a deliberately obtuse viewpoint is adopted, it is not and cannot be in conflict with science.

A lot of the “good guys” who post here have been conditioned by obnoxious “Christians” to take any positive statement about anything Christian, or “religious” in general, the way a cat takes having its fur rubbed the wrong way, and I don’t blame them. This can create confusion, though. It’s important to remember that science is, to a large degree, one of the things that people of many different religious perspectives can agree on.

I don’t think many people believe in a “literal” Bible, at any rate. There’s always an ulterior motive behind such claims. Creationism and ID are political, not sincerely religious, creations. The essential idea is to force people to accept harsh political policies by making them think that God is on the side of the harsh politicians, so they’d better choke down their objections and go along. A while ago, I asked creationists how they can square cheating with Christian morality, and the result was sound of crickets chirping> registered trademark R. L. Flank>. I’ve made a few comments about the ultimately political nature of the “ID” phenomenon, and gotten the same response. I’m fairly confident that no creationist will honestly tell me that he or she would support ID or creationism if it were associated with “liberals”. This really is the bottom line.

Comment #36029

Posted by Henry J on June 22, 2005 09:35 PM (e) (s)

Re “Had Einstein had that attitude in 1905, special relativity would not have seen the light of day.”

A perhaps minor point here, but Einstein’s conclusions were based on recently acquired data, rather than a rereading of data that had been around for 1 and a fraction millinia.

Henry

Comment #36031

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on June 22, 2005 09:43 PM (e) (s)

Carol Clouser wrote:

I make no money from books sold, I am on fixed salary.

Just because someone at a publishing company is not earning royalties or commissions does not imply that the money they earn is separate from the sales of books published by that company.

Try again.

Comment #36032

Posted by harold on June 22, 2005 09:47 PM (e) (s)

Carol Clouser -

Well, you’ll probably be banned, but I don’t think you’ve done anything outrageously wrong, and you did stimulate some interesting discussion. No doubt some more critical interpretations will be posted, though.

As a general rule, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, commercial relationships can simply be revealed at the initiation of a discussion. There’s nothing inherently wrong in having a commercial stake in something you’re genuinely enthusiastic about, at least in many cases, but it’s obvious that such a stake can bias most of us. Just putting all cards on the table right at the beginning is usually the best way to go.

Comment #36033

Posted by harold on June 22, 2005 09:59 PM (e) (s)

Creationists -

Please stop using Albert Einstein as a prop, ever.

1) Einstein had an excellent and complete understanding of the branch of science he proposed new ideas in.
2) Einstein would never have done anything so foolish as denying the basic success of Newtonian physics at most levels, nor denigrating the great physicists who preceded him, nor suggesting that all scientists were blinded by a bias against his ideas, etc.
3) Einstein presented his ideas in the mainstream physics literature.
4) Before Einstein presented his ideas, almost all mainstream physicists already agreed that the issues he addressed were then-current problems for physics.
5) Einstein presented ideas that had no supernatural component.
6) Einstein presented ideas that not only were testable, but WERE TESTED before they were fully accepted.
7) Einstein presented ideas that represented his true interpretation of scientific data, and were not disguised efforts to promote a political agenda (as is obvious from “6”).

Einstein was, in short, the opposite of a creationist, and really, really the opposite of an ID creationist.

Comment #36034

Posted by Bill on June 22, 2005 10:03 PM (e) (s)

To wrap this all up, I think that Carol’s pitiful masquerede is typical of the behavior we have all come to know and love from our Desparately Seeking Salvation friends like Behe and Dembski, whose exclusion from the Dover Debacle started this thread.

I’d like to suggest that we spend a few “yoms” trashing Dembski’s career, but that begs the question: What career?

Comment #36036

Posted by H. Humbert on June 22, 2005 10:28 PM (e) (s)

Personally, I believe Carol when she says she was honestly excited about what she felt was a ground-breaking piece of scholarship (that she just happened to be familiar with because it was published at her company) and that she hoped might open a few eyes. It’s just that it isn’t and it won’t. If anything, she might be guilty of being a bit naive.

Then again, it’s quite possible I am.

Comment #36043

Posted by Amiel Rossow on June 23, 2005 01:17 AM (e) (s)

Wesley wrote to Carol Crouser (comment 36031): “Try better.” It says all. Was there anything wrong in what you’ve done? What about posting a rave review on Amazon pretending to be a reader while in fact representing the publisher? There are on Amazon two distinctive categories of reviews: editorial reviews and readers’ reviews. This distinction has a good reason: editorial reviews are by definition always positive (and therefore editorial reviews do not include rating the reviewed books by assigning stars) while readers’ reviews may vary in their estimation of books’ quality from very negative to very positive. By posting your review as allegedly written by a reader and assigning it 5 stars you’ve committed fraud, dear Carol. Then, your publishing house is rather parochial as it publishes religiously motivated books (mainly related to Judaism) arguing in favor of religious views. Concealing this fact both from Amazon readers and from this blog’s commenters you’ve committed fraud again. All this shows that your comments extolling Landa’s book and pouncing on its critics are worthless and deserve to be ignored.

Comment #36046

Posted by djmullen on June 23, 2005 03:27 AM (e) (s)

Posted by Timothy Scriven on June 22, 2005 01:37 AM (e) (s)

I know this is only loosely related to the topic at hand but I’d like to know, why is the posting pace at ISCID so slow lately?

From http://www.iscid.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_…

“Open viewing, invited posting”

“Moving forward, Brainstorms is implementing a new discussion board policy. This policy is an attempt to improve the quality of our forum’s postings while at the same time slowing down the pace.”

“Active participation at Brainstorms is now limited to:

(1) An invited group of participants who we feel have generally been productive community members and who have generally remained congenial unless provoked (and sometimes despite being provoked)
(2) Suitably screened emails sent as thread-starters to [Enable javascript to see this email address.] (if someone’s email is accepted, then he or she automatically becomes a probationay participant).
(3) ISCID members

Posting at Brainstorms, for any of these three groups of people, is a privilege that can be revoked if abused.”

“After saying that we’d post a list of approved posters, some issues have arisen that we did not anticipate which prevent us from doing so.”

“The primary reason for this is the added administrative overhead which we do not have the resources to stay on top of.”

Salvador T. Cordova: “I want to thank you for your policy as we need place where respected scientists on both sides can discuss the issues dispassionately.”

djmullen (Picking shards of broken irony meter from clothing): It’s the old ID dream: If those pesky evolutionists will just stop “attacking” (i.e. asking intelligent and pertinent questions and pointing out the more grevious errors) for a while, the ID wisdom will flow abundantly. Doesn’t seem to be working too well on ISCID. Doesn’t seem to work very well on ARN with the Rule 9 threads and the new “ID Observatory”, either. Hmmm… wonder what the problem could be?

P.S. What on earth is so hard about making and maintaining a list of approved wingnuts? Don’t have the resources to stay on top of it? But such a list has to already exist so the BBS software or the moderator knows who can post!

Comment #36047

Posted by djmullen on June 23, 2005 03:32 AM (e) (s)

Posted by Amiel Rossow on June 23, 2005 01:17 AM (e) (s)

Wesley wrote to Carol Crouser (comment 36031): “Try better.” It says all. Was there anything wrong in what you’ve done? What about posting a rave review on Amazon pretending to be a reader while in fact representing the publisher? There are on Amazon two distinctive categories of reviews: editorial reviews and readers’ reviews. This distinction has a good reason: editorial reviews are by definition always positive (and therefore editorial reviews do not include rating the reviewed books by assigning stars) while readers’ reviews may vary in their estimation of books’ quality from very negative to very positive. By posting your review as allegedly written by a reader and assigning it 5 stars you’ve committed fraud, dear Carol.

Didn’t Dembski get caught doing something similar a few months ago? Wasn’t he posting anonymous negative reviews to drive the rating of books opposed to ID down?

Comment #36048

Posted by djmullen on June 23, 2005 03:38 AM (e) (s)

Comment #36070

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 23, 2005 09:41 AM (e) (s)

Amiel,

For your info, Jay El Pub produces a wide array of material on a wide array of topics, and is not at all limited to the areas you described. There goes fraud #1.
If you would like a catalogue I will be happy to send you one.

Also, I was not representing the publisher in my comments on Amazon pertaing to Landa’s IN THE BEGINNING OF, just myself as one who read the book. Amazon policy allows for this. There goes fraud #2.

And my comments here can in no way be described as “pouncing” on the critics. I was very respectful throughout, unlike the attitude of one of those critics who looked down from his high horse and used words like gullible and ridiculous, then made catagorical claims that were based on ignorance. When these points were made by me, this individual suddenly announces that he is discontinuing the discussion. Then you come to his defense by looking for fraud in the messenger (me). What a great demonstration of scientific open mindedness!

I wonder what your colleagues think about such behavior.

Carol Clouser

Comment #36075

Posted by Flint on June 23, 2005 10:05 AM (e) (s)

Carol:

Whatever Mark is, it’s not ignorant. He knows what he is talking about in great detail, unless he says otherwise. His reputation is well deserved. Dismissing him as closed-minded or ignorant does you no credit at all. Instead, you seem to be someone who has divided the world into two groups of people: those who agree with your opinions, and those who are ignorant and closed-minded. This is not respectful, despite your protests.

It appears that Landa’s interpretation is in just as much a minority among scholars as creationist biologists are among biologists. This material has been examined, as Mark says, from every possible perspective by countless people who have devoted much of their lives to the effort. The overwhelming majority of such people disagree with Landa. If you yourself can read the original as a native, you haven’t said so. What makes you so much more of an authority that those who can and have?

It seems reasonable to speculate that Landa has taken a position you very much wish to hear, since so many MORE authorities of AT LEAST equal weight oppose his views. Alternatively, perhaps Landa’s book is the only one with which you are so familiar, so you lack the context Mark Perakh possesses. In which case, I have some advice for you: Those who know a great deal more than you do and disagree with you probably do so not out of their ignorance, but rather your own. At least, that’s always the way it’s been with me. As Mark Twain wrote, when he was 17 he couldn’t believe how ignorant his father was. By the time he was 21, he couldn’t believe how much the old man had learned in only four years!

Comment #36079

Posted by Matt Young on June 23, 2005 10:26 AM (e) (s)

Ms. Clouser asks what Mr. Rossow’s “colleagues” think of her behavior. I am very sorry, but I think it is wholly unethical for anyone who has any connection with a book to publish a “review” of that book - let alone disguised as “a reader” - without disclosing that connection. The ethical obligation to avoid even the appearance of impropriety is so serious that many magazines will not even invite a review from anyone who has written a jacket blurb. The latest issue of Biblical Archeology Review, for example, enforces precisely that policy, and the editors freely disclosed their reason for making a specific exception. Ms. Clouser needs desperately to take a leaf from their book.

Comment #36080

Posted by steve on June 23, 2005 10:26 AM (e) (s)

Didn’t Dembski get caught doing something similar a few months ago? Wasn’t he posting anonymous negative reviews to drive the rating of books opposed to ID down?

Huh. I don’t remember that. I remember him posting anonymous glowing reviews of his own book on Amazon.

Comment #36081

Posted by Amilel Rossow on June 23, 2005 10:27 AM (e) (s)

Re: comment 36070 by Carol Clouser. Your awkward attempts to somehow justify your unseemly behavior only drags you deeper into unenviable position of dubious honesty. Ed Brighton shows a substantial tolerance letting your comments stay in this thread despite being a clear case of misusing the thread for advertizing a book published by your outlet. (Its list of publication is available on Google, for all to see what kinds of books it offers). I think the readers of this thread have had enough of your pretentious escapades; each reply to you causes another shot from you. If you respond to this I’ll not reply any more.

Comment #36092

Posted by SEF on June 23, 2005 11:06 AM (e) (s)

No, Carol, you were the one who “made catagorical claims that were based on ignorance” - your ignorance and Landa’s.

Carol Clouser (#35941) wrote:

the perception of conflict between the Bible and science is entirely based on the popular but sloppy and inaccurate translations of the original Hebrew Bible

False. There’s no getting around all the unscientific biblical rubbish with translation tricks, eg having fruit trees before animals.

Carol Clouser (#35941) wrote:

Landa’s science is rigorous

Evidently false if he missed the former pieces of biblical rubbish.

Carol Clouser (#35941) wrote:

the linguistics is sound

False. Whatever else he got wrong he missed the fact that having evening and morning confirms that day means day.

Carol Clouser (#35941) wrote:

the analysis is incisive

Only to another ignorant fool.

Carol Clouser (#35941) wrote:

and the conclusion is inescapable

False since he’s already got the basics wrong. He can’t proceed from false assertions to a conclusion (even if the conclusion were accidentally to be right - which it isn’t).

Carol Clouser (#35941) wrote:

the original Bible, if translated carefully and correctly, does not conflict with science even if it is interpreted literally!

False. It doesn’t matter how you slice it, the Bible is inconsistent, unscientific, historically inaccurate, morally corrupting and just plain wrong.

Carol Clouser (#35970) wrote:

it undermines the case of the anti-evolution forces in a different way.

False. It’s been tried before by similarly clueless people.

Carol Clouser (#35970) wrote:

It does so not by defending or attempting to prove evolution, but by negating the reasons many people have for seeking to oppose evolution and the teaching thereof in the first place.

An obvious approach, worth considering and already considered, which nonetheless fails because it relies on being as clueless or dishonest as many of the religious people - and some of them are smart enough to spot your rubbish just as we are smart enough to spot yours and theirs.

Carol Clouser (#35970) wrote:

Let us face it, the prime motivation for opposing evolution is that it appears to contradict a literal reading of the Bible.

A plausible guess but the perceived offence of being shown to be just another species of animal is more often the case from my experience. The literalism is more a grasping at old straws thrown away by other people who already lost the evidence draw.

Carol Clouser (#35970) wrote:

Landa’s message is: fine, let us accept (at least for the sake of argument) that the Bible is meant to be interpreted literally and that it cannot be wrong. But let us look at the original.

Old hat and still wrong. Song of Solomon has some bits which are clearly not literal. The Jews, whose culture this was, have long known it was allegory and have devoted much scholarship to looking for the subtle (non-literal) meanings behind it.

Carol Clouser (#35970) wrote:

After all, nobody disputes the proposition that the English Authorized Version is a second or third generation translation of the Hebrew original.

You’d think that was a given, wouldn’t you. Unfortunately you are also ignorant of the extent of the ignorance, stupidity and sheer luncay of the extreme religious fringe.

Carol Clouser (#35970) wrote:

if we translate the original accurately and correctly (but literally) there is no conflict with science.

False - as already demonstrated.

Carol Clouser (#35970) wrote:

I can say that the physics, biology, geology and linguistics are presented to the layman, clearly, succinctly and correctly (as far as I can discern).

Your own ignorance of these is very clear, which makes your opinion worthless. Science is not obliged to include the opinions of fools as equally valuable.

Carol Clouser (#35970) wrote:

It seems to me that we ought to support this effort. It will animate any reasonably open-minded fundamentalist to take another look at the major assumptions underlying his or her opposition to evolution.

No. Backing something already known to be false (from many previous occasions) would merely make the science supporters look as incompetent and/or dishonest as the religious people who promote known falsehoods.

Carol Clouser (#35975) wrote:

I think you confuse ‘translation’ with ‘interpretation’. Yes, alternate interpretations have been proposed but these have been rejected by fundamentalists because, well, they are fundamentalists. They see these alternatives as contrived. Landa is proposing to interpret literally but translate (the original)accurately. That is an entirely different matter. He treats the Bible exactly as they claim it ought to be treated, taken seriously and literally at its word, and yet there is no conflict with science.

No, it’s been done before and it doesn’t help because the bible is still wrong! Just because you are too ignorant of (religious) history to know of these previous attempts and too ignorant of scienc to spot the mistakes for yourself, doesn’t suddenly make Landa any more plausible to the rest of us who are better informed.

Carol Clouser (#35975) wrote:

The Bible does not say, ‘the first day’, ‘the second day’, and so on, but ‘one era’, ‘a second era’, etc. And the point is that this is WHAT THE WORDS MEAN, not your or my theory. The only way to disagree with this is to argue the meaning of the original (Hebrew) words.

Already done on many counts - and Landa is wrong.

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

I must disagree with you.

Of course you must because your hero-worship is under threat and you are not rational enough to re-evaluate it.

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

You are utterly wrong in many respects.

Not by my accounting - unless you want to redefine the word “many” (or “wrong”).

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

First, you ought not criticize or analyze what you have not read.

Normally, that would be a good guide but you’ve already told us some things which are obviously wrong. So unless you are badly misreporting Landa, he too has got them wrong.

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

we must maintain an open mind.

An old one :- not so open that your brains fall out.

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

Landa is not Aviezer, just as Aviezer is not Schroeder and Carol is not Mark. Their approaches are VERY different.

It doesn’t matter because Landa is still wrong - and wrong in ways in which many other people have been wrong before him (even though you personally haven’t noticed this).

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

let us discuss the merits of the ideas proposed.

We were - and they are meritless as already demonstrated for the few which most convinced you. If the other examples were worse …

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

your argument that Judah Landa cannot possibly be right because nobody thought of it up to now, is prima facia nonsense.

False. Our argument is that he isn’t right because: (a) he’s wrong on the details; (b) this has all been thought of before. It is so old it ought to be a fossil museum exhibit - except evidently too many people (like you) don’t visit this museum and are consequently ignorant of its contents.

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

Had Einstein had that attitude in 1905, special relativity would not have seen the light of day.

A ridiculously flawed attempt by you to pull rank.

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

I submit to you that if you consulted all those experts in Hebrew you cite they would confirm that each of Landa’s assertions pertaining to Hebrew usage is correct.

You assume we haven’t and yet again you are wrong. Landa is wrong too.

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

there are many places in the Hebrew Bible where yom appears and where all the medieval commentators, some of whom lived about 900 years ago, translate those words to mean era. Surely you cannot even remotely consider that they were motivated by scientific discoveries of enturies later.

They were already aware that the prophecies hadn’t come true as expected and required some significant tinkering over time-scales to try and rescue them. That sort of apologetics can lead to very creative (= dishonest) re-interpretation. I don’t see your specific biblical references as being particularly noteworthy either.

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

This sounds like the Bible is steering us away from a sequential interpretation.

Nice wriggle attempt but even re-ordering the days/eras won’t save the bible from being unscientific rubbish. It has fish and birds together in one (5) and land beasts in another (6) whereas land beasts have to come between fish and birds. Did you genuinely not know this? Was Landa similarly ignorant or just(!) careless and dishonest?

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

I have read the book and was most impressed.

Why should we be impressed that you can be impressed by it?

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

Could the Bible be translated in a manner that leads to conflict with science? Of course it can. Landa’s point is that it can JUST AS REASONABLY be translated and not lead to said conflict.

No, it can’t. Landa is just plain wrong. So are you.

Carol Clouser (#36002) wrote:

If we can agree that a good case has been made here perhaps we can plant some doubt in the minds of some (dare I say many or all) of our fundamentalist fellow americans, thereby animating them to stop contesting evolution and the teaching thereof.

We can’t agree because a good case has not been made. A feeble and flawed case has been presented and rightly kicked out of court. They don’t need any more animating. They are already being controlled by puppeteers. What they need to do is engage their lazy, empty brains for once to learn something worthwhile and show some good judgement and morals for a change.

Comment #36138

Posted by Steviepinhead on June 23, 2005 06:30 PM (e) (s)

Here’s a book that Carol might like (and, no, I neither am, nor am I affiliated with, the author or the publisher, although I am an individual member of the book club I swiped this blurb from):

The Preservationist by David Maine

When God informs 66-year-old Noah (Noe, here) of an imminent flood, he sets out to procure lumber from desert-dwelling giants. He appoints eldest son Sem to find his siblings Cham (a skilled carpenter) and Japheth (an Old Testaament erotomaniac) and commence building the ark. Meanwhile, the older brothers’ wives, Bera and icy Northerner Ilya, are given the unenviable task of gathering the menagerie, while Noe’s former teen bride questions the old man’s sanity. Drawing on the actual narrative of Genesis—e.g. mythical creatures, ancient cities, and bizarre social rites—Maine brings a vivid, often hilarious clarity to the mundane difficulties of Noe and his family’s epic task in this remarkably inventive story of faith and human folly.

Maybe this is the “authoritative text” that at last will answer the kinds of questions that Lenny asks of Blast! At a minimum, maybe we’ll find out whether 40 “days” really meant 40 days or 40 “eras”…

Comment #36161

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on June 23, 2005 10:07 PM (e) (s)

Carol writes “I am the Scholarly Book Editor at a small publishing firm whose name is Jay El Publications. I was enthusiatic about Dr. Landa’s book when I first saw it in manuscript form and still am. My email address at work therefore begins with the letters jayel and 923 is my personal number. I wrote to Amazon for the same reason I wrote to Pandasthumb and other places - I think highly of the book and think it could make a difference in the ongoing cultural war which is only getting lauder with each passing week. “

Now thats rich. A moral defective trying to make a difference in the culture war.

Does the expression “ Avoid the appearance of impropriety” mean anything to you?

If the fact that you work for the publushers is not a big deal, then it should not have been a big deal for you to disclose that information.

Comment #36169

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 24, 2005 12:27 AM (e) (s)

Now that the dormant venum and intolerance has begun oozing out of the woodwork (#36092 by SEF and others) perhaps it’s time for me to leave.

It is now 72 hours since I presented three specific citations in the Bible where all the medieval commentators translate ‘yom’ to mean era and all I have seen are attempts to kill the messenger and run away from the message. Except for the gentleman on the high horse who asserts that it has already been repudiated but refuses to talk about it (#36003 and #36007). He tells us it is discussed in his postings on “talk reason” but these references are not even mentioned there.

The greatest of all the ancient commentators is one that goes by the acronym RASHI. He elucidated not only the entire Bible but also almost the entire Talmud. By universal agreement, he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, expert on ancient Hebrew and Aramaic. He lived about 900 years ago, so he knew nothing about recent scientific discoveries. Yet he translates ‘yom’ there as era.
And the context there includes the phrase “third era’ as it does in Genesis. So there is significant evidence from this and the other citations that the Bible’s Hebrew could turn to the word ‘yom’ for era. Scientists are supposed to face evidence squarely and forthrightly, right? So why do you refuse to deal with this? Because the gentleman on the high horse said it cannot be? The same gentleman who says that ‘sefira’ and ‘minyan’ mean era? Why not check that in any Hebrew-English dictionary? If you wish to verify my citations you can visit the “artscroll” website (in the interest of full disclosure, I do some occasional consulting work for them - see I have been chastened) and order the appropriate Biblical volumes with Rashi’s commentary translated into English? Could it be that you are afraid of what you might discover?

I feel like I have wandered into a den of pseudo-intellectuals acting like a pack of wolves.

If we cannot talk substance and this becomes my last comment here, what will you do when you no longer have Carol to kick around anymore?

Carol Clouser

Comment #36172

Posted by Paul on June 24, 2005 01:49 AM (e) (s)

Who’s taking their marbles and going home? C’mon you’re salty because these Ph.D professors, scientists, etc called you on your hustle.

Comment #36173

Posted by SEF on June 24, 2005 02:17 AM (e) (s)

Carol Clouser wrote:

Now that the dormant venum and intolerance has begun oozing out of the woodwork

Translation: now that people have done what Carol asked in considering the arguments and demonstrated them to be old and linguistically, historically, scientifically and morally flawed (ie every bit as wrong and vacuous as they always were) and that Carol herself has been shown to be ignorant, gullible and somewhat dishonest, Carol is going to throw a hissy fit and accuse her betters of being rude pseudo-intellectuals instead of recognising her own rudeness and Landa’s pseudo-intellectual status and her own inability to tell the difference.

Seems about normal. Roll on the next stupid, ignorant, incompetent, dishonest, nasty creationist or apologist. There does seem to be an endless supply, since they are still breeding and indoctrinating the new ones with the same old lies.

Comment #36183

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2005 06:44 AM (e) (s)

If we cannot talk substance and this becomes my last comment here, what will you do when you no longer have Carol to kick around anymore?

You, uh, seem to have an awfully inflated sense of your own self-importance.

It does seem to be a trait amongst those who are arrogant, self-righteous and holier-than-thou (literally) enough to think that their religious interpretations are the Only True and Correct Ones ™©.

You and the fundies have lots in common.

Comment #36190

Posted by JohnK on June 24, 2005 09:29 AM (e) (s)

Clausen wrote:

It is now 72 hours since I presented three specific citations in the Bible where all the medieval commentators translate ‘yom’ to mean era… the Bible’s Hebrew could turn to the word ‘yom’ for era.

No one doubts yom can mean era in context. Present one example from ~340 uses of a number+yom where yom means era.

By universal agreement, RASHI is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of all the ancient commentators on ancient Hebrew and Aramaic…visit the “artscroll” website (I do some occasional consulting work for them) and order the appropriate Biblical volumes with Rashi’s commentary.

No need to purchase products. Rashi’s commentary on Genesis 1 is on-line here.

Yet he translates ‘yom’ there as era. Could it be that you are afraid of what you might discover?

Readers will discover Rashi’s Gen.1 commentary says “day”. Nothing regarding “era”. Could liars want to sell products?

Comment #36217

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on June 24, 2005 03:02 PM (e) (s)

Carol, for myself I have no argument with Rashi on this point, nor what the Rambam writes in his first chapters of “Guide of the Perplexed”, and in Judaic traditions, the days of Genesis have long been understood to be “days of God”, not necessarily of man.

But there is also no evidence of a Noachian deluge. You can’t treat Genesis as scientific primer.

Back to what I came down hard on you for. It is not up to you to decide if you are biased or not. You make a disclosure and let the reader decide. Thats the way its done.

Comment #36239

Posted by Matt Young on June 24, 2005 05:19 PM (e) (s)

The greatest of all the ancient commentators is one that goes by the acronym RASHI. He elucidated not only the entire Bible but also almost the entire Talmud. By universal agreement, he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, expert on ancient Hebrew and Aramaic.

Unless Hebrew scholars have learned nothing in 900 years, citing Rashi as an authority on Hebrew is like citing Galileo as an authority on physics.

Yet he translates ‘yom’ there as era.

He knew English?

Comment #36243

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 24, 2005 05:44 PM (e) (s)

John K,

You asked for an example in the Bible of a number + yom where ‘yom’ means era. Please check out Hosea 6:2. The phrase there ‘yom ha-shilishi’ is identical to its usage in Genesis. See Rashi and other ancient commentators there (not the error prone Authorized Version).

Rashi does interpret yom in Genesis to mean day, he had no reason to suspect otherwise! But since yom can definately also mean era, that (era) could easily have been the Bible’s real intent in Genesis. Rashi would be wrong then in Genesis, not on the Hebrew but on the science.

Is Rashi’s commentary on the other citations (I have so far mentioned no fewer than five of them) also available? If so, great! Check them out!

Stuart,

I recommend you read Landa’s work to see how he deals with the flood. And its all based on sound ancient Hebrew. No gimmicks, no acrobatics!

It may have been ‘midrashic’ to interpret yom as God’s days. But that has not been the commonly perceived literal translation in Judaism and certainly not in fundamentalist Christianity. They are real literalists. Landa’s point is they too should see no conflict with science.

There is much more to the issues between religionists and secularists than just ‘yom’. The entirety of the first eleven chapters in Genesis are in contention.

I get your point about disclosure and accept your criticism. It is extreme post watergate morality in this case, but I accept it for what it is.

Carol Clouser

Comment #36256

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2005 06:31 PM (e) (s)

It is extreme post watergate morality in this case

Ahhh, is THAT what we are calling “honesty” these days … ?

Comment #36257

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2005 06:33 PM (e) (s)

I recommend you read Landa’s work to see how he deals with the flood.

Why? When did Landa become infallible? Why are his religious opinions (or yours) any more authoritative than anyone else’s?

Other than his (and your) say-so … …

Comment #36258

Posted by Flint on June 24, 2005 06:50 PM (e) (s)

I think (hard to tell) I share with Lenny some curiosity at a slightly different level: Why is what the Bible says important, in any scientific sense? Yes, I’m painfully aware that in the Biblicized western world, the Bible stands as a guidepost/foghorn/roadblock too obtrusive to be ignored within the culture. But cultural issues aside, it’s irrelevant. So Landa thinks there’s no conflict between the Bible and science, Landa happens to be a member of a very tiny minority in his interpretation (and make no mistake: ANY meaning ascribed to ANY words is an interpretation), and the vast majority of scholars arguably more authoritative than Landa (a large number in and of itself) cannot avoid the finding of clear and present conflict. But so what? Let’s say that Landa’s ideas are so persuasive that if only a few thousand qualified Hebrew scholars would only buy the damn book, there would no longer be the slightest doubt, and Landa’s insightfully limpid obviousity carries the day. Would scientific knowledge change even a little bit? Nope, it would not. Do Chinese biologists really NEED to care whether or not Italian biologists ponder the enuncifications of the Vatican?

Whether or not what Dawkins calls the local origin myths of an ancient tribe of mid-Eastern camel herders can or can not be interpreted as congruent with science is surely beside the point. WHO CARES what those camel herders believed? Surely not the Chinese. Is their biology any less biological?

Comment #36275

Posted by Paul Flocken on June 24, 2005 08:46 PM (e) (s)

Flint,
In regard to your query over the possibility of a vanity press publication. One of the three jobs I hold to keep food in my cat’s bowl is in a bookstore. I thought to try and order this book since I could peruse it and try to add comment here(hopefully without stepping on copyright too much) without actually having to give money to this shill. My store is one of the three largest brick-and-mortar corporate chain booksellers in the country. If this book could be got then I should be able to get it. And I can’t. I have two different systems for looking up and ordering books and one does not even list the book. The other acknowledges the existence of the book, but again, ordering the book is not possible. This must be a very small publisher. If the book had any kind of credentialed academic reputation I should be able to get it. Of course if that was true the author could have gotten a bigger publisher to begin with.

I am reminded of the monthly visits my store has from publisher marketers and (less frequently) authors who ask if we could please put their books on the shelves. Yes, they have made the request through the proper corporate channels, but that takes so long, or they were turned down, and they just know the book will sell if we just put it on the shelves. Conversations on PT may be the best marketing this poor book has gotten.
Sincerely,
Paul

Comment #36434

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 25, 2005 09:19 PM (e) (s)

Flint,

The point of Landa’s book is not to reconcile scientists to the Bible, but to reconcile fundamentalists to science. In this endeavor the support of scientists vis-a-vis the cultural war going on is crucial.

Paul,

Surely you can access all the info you need for ordering the book via Bowker. But I am not here to market the book. I came here to solicit opinion.

In this era (no pun intended) of the internet, Jay El Pub has chosen to bypass the archaic book store scene in favor of direct marketing through the websites of Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others. We can offer a much better price to the consumer this way. All our books are marketed this way except for bulk sales of educational products to schools, for which we don’t need book stores. Landa’s book is very recent but has already received two very positive reviews (London Chronicle and Jewish Book World magazine). Ads in various media outlets are also planned. For the size of the publisher the book is doing quite well, thank you.

Carol Clouser

Comment #36522

Posted by Paul Flocken on June 27, 2005 11:38 AM (e) (s)

The shill speaks.

Comment #36434
Posted by Carol Clouser on June 25, 2005 09:19 PM

Surely you can access all the info you need for ordering the book via Bowker.

Indeed, it was only through Bowker that I was able to discern that the book existed at all. Going direct to the publisher is always possible, but the big chain stores have lines of supply and distribution specifically so that every book order does not become bogged down that way. Just for S’s & G’s I called around to my friends in the other two chain stores in my town and the two independent bookstores. All but one independent couldn’t find the book either, and of course, it was Bowker she found it in. I note that through Bowker, I could not find any books published by Jay El that were not written by Judah Landa, and there were only two of them. When I look up the publishers of other of Landa’s work they have many times the offering of other authors(sometimes many hundreds). Pending evidence to the contrary, I still think the assertian that Jay El is a vanity press of Landa’s is a pretty good one: you haven’t been able to get any chains to pick up your book, and nine months after publication you have been reduced to shilling on internet blogs…

In this era (no pun intended) of the internet, Jay El Pub has chosen to bypass the archaic book store scene in favor of direct marketing through the websites of Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others. We can offer a much better price to the consumer this way.

How nice, did you copy that off a marketing brochure? I guess that explains why I can’t find your book, but nobody sneezes at the exposure a brick-and-mortar establishment gives them if they don’t have a choice. Yes, the internet sites sell ooodles of books and bookstores may be technologically archaic in concept, but we haven’t reached dodo status yet. In the past year the Wall Street Journal has had three front page articles about bookstores, and they certainly wouldn’t pay attention to a dying concern. People like to hold a book before buying it. To peruse it, mull it over, and wander the stacks. No internet site can replicate that. The crowds in my town’s five new book and four used book stores bespeak to our resilience.
I have any number of people in a given day asking me to find books for them because they want somebody else to do the work for them. Something they can’t get from an internet site. If someone asked me about this book I wouldn’t be able to help them. And, except for creationist apologetics, I love helping people find books.
(An aside regarding pricing; your book’s 24.50 list price on Amazon doesn’t compare either favorably or unfavorably with the prices of the books in the religious subject section of my store, which is one of the top five bestselling sections. Perhaps cutting out middleman bookstores just means you make a better profit.)

Landa’s book is very recent but has already received two very positive reviews (London Chronicle and Jewish Book World magazine).

I could be a truly cruel flaming troll and ask if you wrote those reviews as well, but I won’t. I will merely point out that, when I see a review in the New York Times Book Review, I will look for a copy.

For the size of the publisher the book is doing quite well, thank you.

If the shill does say so herself.

But I am not here to market the book.

Well let’s see,

Comment #35975: Posted by Carol Clouser on June 22, 2005 01:12 AM
“Folks, there is no way around this but to read the book!”

Much easier to do if you buy it first.

Comment #36002: Posted by Carol Clouser on June 22, 2005 03:38 PM
“Bottom line, Mark, you are doing yourself a disservice by jusr sniping from the sidelines. Read the book (it is easily available on Amazon, I will helpfully provide you with the ISBN # 0963971611)”

Why don’t you just fill out the order form for Dr Perakh while your at it, too.
(Oh and a nitpick as well, the pound sign(#) after ISBN is redundant.)

Comment #36002: Posted by Carol Clouser on June 22, 2005 03:38 PM
“we cannot discuss this intelligently in a vacuum. I have read the book…”

Implication; buy the book so you too can read it.

Comment #36070: Posted by Carol Clouser on June 23, 2005 09:41 AM
For your info, Jay El Pub produces a wide array of material on a wide array of topics… …If you would like a catalogue I will be happy to send you one.

No, that’s not marketing, in this country of capitalism gone crazy, where even high school students regard college applications as marketing tools, that’s not marketing.

All this not marketing is coming from someone who knows the book is not in bookstores and probably in very few libraries. How else could anybody read the the book except to buy it.

Comment #36524

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 27, 2005 11:50 AM (e) (s)

Am I missing something here?

Isn’t it obvious that “Jay El” is the phonetic spelling of JL, which coincidentally happen to be the initials of Judah Landa?

…of course, maybe the company founder was a Mrs. Jane Lovejoy… but somehow I doubt it.

Comment #36525

Posted by Paul Flocken on June 27, 2005 11:55 AM (e) (s)

Before I leave you to shaking your fist in the empty air, there were a few other things that rankled me, which I did not see others mention.
Comment #36002
Posted by Carol Clouser on June 22, 2005 03:38 PM

Third, your argument that Judah Landa cannot possibly be right because nobody thought of it up to now, is prima facia nonsense. Had Einstein had that attitude in 1905, special relativity would not have seen the light of day.

I realize that often specific examples are used as rhetorical devices to illustrate a more general principle and that to get bogged down arguing the specific example is to forget that the point of the argument lies elsewhere. But I think your specific example is rubbish and therefore can’t support your general case. Your assertian that Special Relativity could not have been discovered without Einstein is prima facia nonsense. S. Relativity was (not to diminish Einstein’s great genuis one iota) in the cards at the turn of the twentieth century. Very specific and quantifiable problems existed in physics, everybody was thinking about them, and somebody was going to formulate S.R.’s principles. To pull just two names from the hat: Lorentz was as close as any of a score of the great physicists of the period, and Poincare practically had S. Relativity screaming at him in the face. And I think my counter-example does discredit your general case. There were 4, maybe 5, orders of magnitude fewer physicists of that period than there have been rabbis, hebrew, and talmudic scholars arguing this stuff for the last 2,000 years, and I can name two besides Einstein who could have come up with S. Relativity. Landa has not come up with anything that could not have already been argued hundred times over. The fact that he can make yet one more argument demonstrates that consensus is never going to happen, and everything boils down to cheerleading, something you seem well equipped to do.

Amiel Rossow indicated that a list of your publications is available on Google. Now, I don’t consider myself an expert at googling, but I’m no slouch either, and try as I might I can’t for the life of me find a website for your company. You would think that a company that has staked it’s existence on the internet would at least have a frig’gin webpage. In the world of selling, making things easy for the customer beats making it hard for them any day.

Comment #36070: Posted by Carol Clouser on June 23, 2005 09:41 AM

Then you come to his defense by looking for fraud in the messenger (me). What a great demonstration of scientific open mindedness! I wonder what your colleagues think about such behavior.

I am not one of Amiel’s colleagues (I’m just a troll) but I think his behavior was so much more appropriate than yours. Fraud may be too strong a word, but I like it. And Amiel wasn’t looking to defend Dr Perakh but to investigate a suspicious commenter. As far as your behavior is concerned:
Comment #36026: Posted by Carol Clouser on June 22, 2005 08:57 PM

Folks, Before some of you get carried away congratulating yourselves on your great detective work, here are the simple facts:

You would never have disclosed your ‘simple facts’ if Amiel had not done his detective work. So we all congratulate him.

Comment #36434
Posted by Carol Clouser on June 25, 2005 09:19 PM

Flint, The point of Landa’s book is not to reconcile scientists to the Bible, but to reconcile fundamentalists to science. In this endeavor the support of scientists vis-a-vis the cultural war going on is crucial.

The dissonance that many people feel between their beliefs and the fact of biological evolution is the tool (weapon?) used by fundamentalist leaders for controlling their flocks in the cultural war. Try and remove that weapon from their armory and see what happens to the idea that a mistranslation is all that stands between us and scientific harmony. In as much as scientists have no way of using science to support or oppose one side or the other, it is proper that they stay out of such a debate. Especially if fundies try to accuse ‘Landans’ of twisting the bible with deceitful translations, scientists don’t need to be associated with them.

Comment #36002
Posted by Carol Clouser on June 22, 2005 03:38 PM

Carol is not Mark. Their approaches are VERY different.

Going back to the only real lie you can be pinned to:
Comment #35941
Posted by Carol Clouser on June 21, 2005 03:56 PM

I found the book at www.Amazon.com and…

Indeed, Carol is not Mark. Having read quite a bit now about Dr Perakh’s eighty odd years, I regard him as an honest and good human being.

Shake your fist all you like now, I’m done.

Comment #36535

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 27, 2005 02:18 PM (e) (s)

Paul Flocken,

I do not run the company nor is marketing my responsibility. I came here to discuss a book with which I was thoroughly familiar ON THE MERITS. When people started commenting on the issues raised in the book without having read it, I recommended that they read it. That is all.

What all this demonstrates is that some scientists are just as human as some fundamentalists - both sides are incapable of calmly and objectively listening to opposing arguments on sensitive issues. Instead of responding to my citations of ‘yom’ meaning ‘era’ on the merits, we have people slamming doors on their way out and seeking to attack the proponent of the argument. As if that has anything to do with anything.

Your taking words of mine out of context and twisting some imprecisions in those words into major crimes, is not appreciated. But I am not shaking my fist. Instead I offer my sympathy at your predicament, which is: how do I demolish the argument without reading the book?

Yes, special relativity would most likely have been developed without Einstein over time, probably in bits and pieces. But not as a package in 1905.

The “thousands of rabbis over thousands of years” had no reason to suspect that the nuances of their translations carry heavy baggage - conflict with as yet undiscovered science. So they opted for the simplest most common translations. But they would agree that Landa’s translations constitute sound and reasonable Hebrew and, if alive today, might very well reconsider (as many rabbis have indeed been doing). At least that is Landa’s contention. And there is nothing wrong with this approach. Science always accomodates theory to fit the data. So the “thousands of rabbis” theme repeated here lately ad nauseum is an irrelevancy.

Back to sunstance: What about the five citations where ‘yom’ means ‘era’ even with a number associated with the term? There are many more, but let us focus on these. They are: Hosea 6:2, Psalms 86:3, Genesis 2:4, Psalms 137:7 and Hosea 2:2.

Carol

Comment #36541

Posted by Flint on June 27, 2005 02:54 PM (e) (s)

The point of Landa’s book is not to reconcile scientists to the Bible, but to reconcile fundamentalists to science. In this endeavor the support of scientists vis-a-vis the cultural war going on is crucial.

Then why do you wish to argue these points HERE, where for the most part contributors are concerned with science. Very few people here have any control over, or even participate in, fundamentalist interpretations of scriptures.

Let’s all hope you are right, and that fundamentalists who purchase your favorite book are gripped by Truth as by an electric current, rejoice at discarding the error of their lifelong convictions, and embrace the scientific method in all its tentative and falsifiable glory. The best way to test this hypothesis is at a fundamentalist website. Telling us at PT we don’t know what the Bible “really” says (even those of us fluent in Hebrew, which I take it you can’t read at all) and that we’re too closed-minded to listen (even those who have used their fluency to read this very material in its entirety several times) makes you no converts and no friends.

Sure, we may all be as wrong as the many thousands of native-speaking Hebrew scholars whose knowledge is so obsolete. But as I think we agree, this is irrelevant. Go preach to the fundamentalists, where your proper target audience is to be found.

Comment #36543

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 27, 2005 02:58 PM (e) (s)

Carol Clouser wrote:

I came here to discuss a book with which I was thoroughly familiar ON THE MERITS. When people started commenting on the issues raised in the book without having read it, I recommended that they read it. That is all.

No, that’s not all. Propriety and good sense, if you had either, would have caused you to disclose your association with the publisher both here and at Amazon.com.

Carol Clouser wrote:

Yes, special relativity would most likely have been developed without Einstein over time, probably in bits and pieces. But not as a package in 1905.

That statement is positively Hovindish. It’s amazing to me that an educated person could come to a blog run by scientists, and frequented by other scientists and science junkies, and post something so blindingly ignorant.

Comment #36548

Posted by steve on June 27, 2005 03:28 PM (e) (s)

I have a BA in physics, and that statement (I’m seeing it entirely by itself, with no modifying context) look fine, and not Hovindish.

Comment #36555

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 27, 2005 04:15 PM (e) (s)

Flint,

First, I am quite fluent in Hebrew and science and a few other things (if that matters). One does not become a scholarly books editor on a whim, believe me.

Second, science and scientists are one side of the war. And not the winning side, despite some court victories. We (and I am one of you) need a different strategy. Beating our opponents with ridicule just causes them to come out and vote in ever greater numbers, as the last election demonstrated. It is a losing proposition.

Besides, I was just trying to have a nice discussion with some intelligent people. Why is that “preaching”? Just because the Bible is part of the discussion?

Carol

Comment #36573

Posted by steve on June 27, 2005 06:46 PM (e) (s)

Perhaps what Jim meant was, relativity was already being developed in bits and pieces by people such as Poincare and Lorentz. Well, it was, that’s true. On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies was still a phenomenal set of ideas, though.

Comment #36575

Posted by Russell on June 27, 2005 07:44 PM (e) (s)

Beating our opponents with ridicule just causes them to come out and vote in ever greater numbers, as the last election demonstrated.

It did? Who was beating whom with ridicule? Specifics, please.

Comment #36580

Posted by Flint on June 27, 2005 08:28 PM (e) (s)

Carol:

So you think fundamentalists will “rejoice at discarding the error of their lifelong convictions, and embrace the scientific method in all its tentative and falsifiable glory” if you can get a bunch of scientists to argue about possible interpretations of ambiguous words in ancient Hebrew, on a website precious few fundamentalists would read even if all of them had heard of it? Really?

I can agree if you are implying that this is a battle of hearts and minds, and the use of brains is really useless. You really have come to the wrong place. The Bible is not a biology text. Much as you may wish otherwise, it’s not part of the discussion. And I submit that science is, very slowly, winning this battle. As a scholarly book editor, surely are aware of the difference between the role religious ritual and doctrine play in public life today as opposed to 50, 100, and 150 years ago. The trend at this 50-year-increment remove is unmistakeable.

Another indication is that we are not really fighting against the broad majority of scientifically unexposed but sensible people, but rather against those whom scientific advance has forced into rote and rigid rejection. They fight a rearguard battle, losing ground within a culture where science is valued and honored. Contrast with the Islamic world, where the very concept of the scientific method is deeply suspect, and where being primitive and backward is the only badge of honor progress has left to them.

The majority of American Christians (and Jews) accepts that the Bible was written by primitive people. Perhaps their words were inspired, but people wrote them down. And so most people can recognize that God’s Creation itself is the primary source, and what some poorly informed interpreters wrote about that Creation thousands of years ago is at best a poor secondary source. And therefore, any apparent conflict between “objective reality” and what some people once wrote can ONLY result from human error in either the original writing, or our interpretation of that writing, or both.

And so what you claim for Landa really resembles a majority position, if not with respect to the meanings of Hebrew words, at least with respect to the irrationality of most Biblical literalism. There is no prospect of “converting” any appreciable number of fundamentalist creationists. There is a very good prospect of making science “real” enough to their children to break the cycle. And to do this, scientists need to do science and try to ensure that science is presented correctly. Not discuss Hebrew.

Comment #36632

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 28, 2005 03:12 PM (e) (s)

Steve and Paul,

Special relativity was indeed “in the air” in the years just prior to 1905. Lorentz and others were staring it in the face and the expression represented by gamma (one over the root of one minus v squared over c squared) which appears so often in SR was beginning to appear in the literature. But they all (except for Einstein) failed to make the intellectual leap to the point that time and length are not invariant across inertial frames of reference and that the speed of light is invariant. Why was that leap so hard to make? Why did it take Einstein’s intellectual courage to make it? Because nobody had thought of it before! They couldn’t fathom that all the great luminaries of physics over decades and everyone’s basic assumptions about time and length could be faulty. In other words, they hesitated to go against what everyone believed!

This why my bringing up SR as an example is right on target. It is actually a perfect fit! I was told Landa cannot possibly be right because “thousands of rabbis over thousands of years” had thought differently. Besides the fact that this is not correct, it is the wrong attitude. And the story of SR demonstrates just that. And for scientists here to take that attitude just goes to show that …. (I will leave it for others to fill in the blank).

The problem actually goes deeper. Scientists are supposed to look at facts, fundamentalists tend to refer to a “higher authority”. I was actually told to desist because higher authorities disagreed with me and Landa. Scientists here sound very much like fundamentalists when sensitive issues come up.

I am still waiting for a response to my five citations.

Flint,

I can agree with much of what you said. But the bottom line is that scientists have a social responsibility as educators of all people. And it is in our interest as scientists to do so. The fact that the Bible, taken on its own terms, does not conflict with science, as Landa demonstrates, is a huge point that is just too important to ignore. I am not sure who, what or how this message is to be conveyed, but conveyed it needs to be.

Carol Clouser

Comment #36634

Posted by Flint on June 28, 2005 03:48 PM (e) (s)

Carol:

The fact that the Bible, taken on its own terms, does not conflict with science, as Landa demonstrates

The problem with the message is, it comprises only a very very small minority of all scriptural analysis. If you persist in referring this minority view as a “fact” you will get little positive attention from scientists. After all, every creationist refers to his own interpretation as a “fact”. How are your preferred interpretations any more factual than theirs? Because you believe them real real hard? And they don’t? Because your selected Biblical authorities are “right” and theirs are not? It’s a fact that Landa is in a small minority. It cannot be a “fact” that his interpretation is correct, because it’s an interpretation. You have made it redundently clear that your opinion is your measure of factuality. Try the following on for size: “Gee, some of these people know a lot more than I do, and they disagree with me. Could it possibly that I am wrong? Could it possibly be that Landa is wrong? How would I know?”

Doesn’t fit, does it? We’re pretty accustomed to people whose opinions have ossified beyond accommodation of conflicting views, no matter how well attested.

Tell you what. If you can get one noted creationist to even *listen* to you, I’ll be impressed. Even if all you can elicit from them is ridicule, at least you’ll have captured their attention momentarily, and I’ll be impressed. Meanwhile, I agree it’s the social responsibility of scientists to do and teach science. The Bible is stonkingly irrelevant.

Comment #36637

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 28, 2005 04:20 PM (e) (s)

Flint,

I need to rephrase that sentence, it didn’t precisely express what I was trying to say. (This happens when I type quickly in such media.) It should have said, “The proposition that a reasonable translation of the Biblical story of creation can be made that does not conflict with any tenet of modern science, even if the Bible is interpreted literally, is a huge point that is too important to ignore.”

By the way, your challenge has already been fulfilled and you can be impressed. I myself have attended conferences where Landa’s ideas were presented, either by Landa or others familiar with them, and it gave “cause for pause” to more than one fundamentalist.

Don’t under-estimate the human mind. Despite its shortcomings it never ceases to amaze!

Carol

Comment #36639

Posted by Steviepinhead on June 28, 2005 04:38 PM (e) (s)

“Carol,” Flint’s challenge, fairly construed, would require you to provide the NAME of a “noted creationist” and the OCCASION and DATE on which they gave a fair listen to Landa’s reasoning. Just making the naked claim that some creationist at some conference at some date was in your mind given pause won’t quite cut it, at least among this group…

And, it’s again going to seem a little bit implausible that some marketing employee in this publishing enterprise would have had the time and budget to spare to attend conferences, plural, on this narrow topic involving just one of the publisher’s titles.

Comment #36642

Posted by Flint on June 28, 2005 04:53 PM (e) (s)

Carol:

I certainly wish you lots of success. I’m probably the wrong person for you to talk to, since I have no realistic hope of ever grasping what might go through the mind of the Believer. But as an outsider, I see that they don’t “believe in the Bible” regardless of which translation you present; rather they use the Bible (or more properly, their peculiar interpretations of selected verses) to support positions that seem to arise from less intellectual urges — prejudices, hatreds, early training, insecurities, fears, aversion to doubt. At least these are the motivations of the pure creationists, which may be a subset of the fundamentalists.

My understanding is that the “young earth” calculations are riddled with unlikely assumptions having little to do with any of the actual statements the Bible contains, in ANY translation. Why would anyone believe such a thing in that case? My guess is, they do so in order to deny implications about their own history they don’t wish to face. They fear their lives are “meaningless” (a term whose actual intent has always escaped me). To neutralize this concern, they “discover” that the Bible says what they WISH it to say. I simply can’t picture Landa’s interpretation alleviating these concerns anymore than assuring an agoraphobic that “there’s nothing to worry about.” The source of the problem isn’t scripture, scripture is simply a convenient rationalization.

There is a tension in all people, I speculate, between the desire to be sure, and the desire to be correct. You can have either one, at the expense of the other. Science as a profession attracts those at the far end of the curve, who are willing to entertain vast doubts to purchase greater accuracy. But many of those we talk to here cannot seem to understand even the idea of uncertainty. To them, science is just another religion, whose set-in-stone doctrines are intolerable. The ONLY way they can grasp science’s admission of possible error, is as a confession of total error. And they regard tentative conclusions as a weakness rather than as a strength. So far, none of us have found any way to communicate at that level.

So even if Landa’s interpretations are a scholarly breakthrough more soundly insightful into the minds of the ancients, we make no headway in this deeper issue. Apparently “meaning” is available to some only after all possible doubt has been dispelled. Science would make no progress convincing such people that some scientifically compatible interpretation were absolute truth instead. The goal is to discard absolute truth, not rearrange it.

Comment #36645

Posted by Paul Flocken on June 28, 2005 05:07 PM (e) (s)

Steviepinhead,
The shill would have you know that she is NOT a marketing employee. SHE is the SCHOLARLY BOOK EDITOR.

Ms. Clouser a reply forthcoming, but not quickly. I compose with great difficulty, not quickly at all, and I sometimes wonder if the amyloid hasn’t started building up.
Paul

Comment #36646

Posted by SEF on June 28, 2005 05:18 PM (e) (s)

Carol Clouser wrote:

the Bible, taken on its own terms, does not conflict with science

False. Right from the beginning the bible is wrong and it doesn’t improve with distance through it nor with time nor with re-translation and re-interpretation. Since I’ve already pointed out examples for you in this very thread, you are either incompetent or dishonest. Eg:

SEF wrote:

even re-ordering the days/eras won’t save the bible from being unscientific rubbish. It has fish and birds together in one (5) and land beasts in another (6) whereas land beasts have to come between fish and birds. Did you genuinely not know this? Was Landa similarly ignorant or just(!) careless and dishonest?

Comment #36650

Posted by Steviepinhead on June 28, 2005 06:14 PM (e) (s)

Paul, you are correct, but it was so many comments ago—and with the whole slew of intervening comments about where and how to buy the book—that I had forgotten. I won’t say the story keeps changing, but the relevant facts do seem to be doled out only under duress.

Still, this seems to me to be one heck of an ODD small scholarly publishing house, with enough of a budget to send anyone BUT THE AUTHOR to “conferences” at which the “scholarly book editor” would be rubbing elbows with creationists. But not enough of a budget to list the book with the usual outlets. And what kind of conferences? And why pay for an editor—who presumably ought to be busy with forthcoming offerings—to schmooze with the conferees?

Comment #36669

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 28, 2005 11:01 PM (e) (s)

Flint,

Thank you for taking the time to write thoughtful and insightful comments, especially the third paragraph of comment #36642. It sounded eerily like position and momentum in quantum mechanics applied to human behavior.

I guess it’s a question of attitude. You probably are just more pessimistic and cynical than I am. I prefer not to dwell on psycoanalyzing people’s motives and optimistically focus on the positive possibilities. (Which is why I will not respond to the bafoons who continue to bait me with epitephs.)The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

Carol

Comment #36671

Posted by Paul Flocken on June 29, 2005 12:10 AM (e) (s)

Comment #36535: Posted by Carol Clouser on June 27, 2005 02:18 PM

I do not run the company nor is marketing my responsibility. I came here to discuss a book with which I was thoroughly familiar ON THE MERITS. When people started commenting on the issues raised in the book without having read it, I recommended that they read it. That is all.

You seem a little peeved that people here with the knowledge to do so would attack the thesis of this book without bothering to read it first. How dare they. Am I reading you right? But suppose the opposite had happened. Suppose everyone here had fallen all over themselves to heap praise, cheers, and sycophancy on this book as you have done with your endless cheerleading. But, if they haven’t read the book, would that have been any more legitimate? You came here to “solicit an opinion” and discuss this book “ON THE MERITS”, as you said, but from whom? It is practically impossible that anyone who frequents this blog would have read your book. How could uninformed opinions have any value to you or anyone else? If what you want is cheerleading and not critical analyse by people with what little information they DO have available then you are in the wrong place. Once you recommended that they read the book you could have simply left it at that. But you seem just as intent on shoving this down our throats as we do on not having it shoved down our throats. I am right now reading a book about the early bible that was recommended by Dr Elsberry some weeks back. I am not hostile to the idea of reading something new and probably no one else here is either. But your absolute insistence that we are about to be saved by this book and the Iamright/youarewrong routine has turned off even those who might have been strongly interested in it. You sound like you are on a crusade, something we have learned to recognize very quickly. Perhaps you OUGHT to go to work for the marketing dept. They may help you to realize how not to turn off a group of potential buyers. I’ll repeat something from earlier. The religion section of my bookstore is one of the five bestselling sections. If I could have found this book through normal channels it would now be on its way to my store and would eventually wind up on a shelf where I could point it out to people. Do I really care now? NOPE.

Your taking words of mine out of context and twisting some imprecisions in those words into major crimes, is not appreciated.

As I’ve said before, I am only a troll here, not a scientist, and I have probably abused the comment integrity policy more than my fair share. But let me try and get this into your eyes. YOU. ARE. THE. SHILL. HERE. Caught red handed. Who are you to demand courtesy? Especially considering, as I said above, the endless Iamright/youarewrong yammering. Enough said on that.

But I am not shaking my fist. Instead I offer my sympathy at your predicament, which is: how do I demolish the argument without reading the book?

I don’t need your sympathy. I know the thesis is wrong without having to demolish internally. Reality demolishes it externally just fine. I am an atheist, and as such I know the bible is a piece of human fiction, with no more bearing on physical reality then the Eddas, the Vedas, the Iliad, or Tolkien’s Silmarillian. It matters not one whit to me how you translate it. No translation will ever make the bible correspond to the facts of reality because it is FICTION. What is worse is that trying to make it do so is bad theology(whoever has used this phrase before, please forgive). I believe it was Michael Shermer who said it is a bad idea to try and make your theology conform to science because science changes. Let’s use Bill De(u)mbski’s little space alien scenario as an extreme example. Suppose space aliens landed on earth and showed in convincing detail and with highly advanced equipment how they created all life on earth. What translation of the bible would you turn to to square with that knowledge?

Yes, special relativity would most likely have been developed without Einstein over time, probably in bits and pieces. But not as a package in 1905.

When I first read this I pulled down my copy of On the ElectroDynamics of Moving Bodies off the shelf and thumbed through it wondering how it could be broken up into bits and pieces. Perhaps the kinematics half could have been published by suchandsuch and the electrodynamical half would have been published by soandso. Then I realized I was looking at it wrong. S.R. WAS developed in bits and pieces, as Steve pointed out. From the 1860’s when Maxwell firsted demonstrated the computational derivation of light waves, to the Michelson interferometry work of the 1880’s, to Mach’s screaming about throughing the ether bums out the window on their ear, to Poincare’s work establishing time sync. systems throughout the world, to Lorentz’s mathematical treatments. Each of these was a step to S.R. Einstein culminated all these steps with a synthesis that was genius but was yet just another step, and I should think that by definition a synthesis is not something that can be broken into bits and pieces. And Einstein was not perforce the ONLY person in history who could have created that synthesis. I think you demonstrate a poor grasp of how science works and that is what Jim Wynne meant when he referred to you as hovindlike.

But notice how your argument changed from the first Einstein assertian to the second. Your first assertian was that S.R. would never have seen the light of day without Einstein. When I countered that, you trivialized what I said without actually answering me. Do you really think that today, in the year 2005, modern science would still be hampered by the null result of Michelson’s experiment, if Einstein had never lived? That’s a very fatuous position to hold.

But they would agree that Landa’s translations constitute sound and reasonable Hebrew and, if alive today, might very well reconsider (as many rabbis have indeed been doing). At least that is Landa’s contention. And there is nothing wrong with this approach. Science always accomodates theory to fit the data.

Are we talking science here, or linguistics? Because, as has already been pointed out, the art of translation is, well, an ART not a science. And did I see you use the word contention? What Landa needs to do is get a majority consensus from the Hebrew academic world on his contention and then bring it out to the rest of the world. That is how it would work in the science world, something we can’t seem to get ID’ers to realize.

Comment #36676

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 29, 2005 07:20 AM (e) (s)

In all this useless blather over a “scholarly” book from a piddley little “publisher” that nobody will ever read anyway, let’s not lose sight of the thing that started this thread:

William Dembski wrote:

Dear Ed. I have nothing to hide in this matter. If you like, give me a call at 1-254-710-4928 (leave a message with a number where I can reach you if I’m not in). I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

I take him at his word that he has nothing to hide (and that is genuine - I really don’t think he has anything to hide in this regard). Thus, there is no reason to hold that conversation in private and then report back here on what he says. Best to have it in public in his own words than to work through a middle man.

Of course, you could ASK for permission to record and transcribe the conversation, but who wants to take a bet that the persons we’re talking about will actually agree to THAT …

Well heck, let’s find out … .

Mr Dembski, do you have any objection to having the phone conversation you have issued an invitation for, recorded and transcribed?

[sound of crickets chirping]

Dembski offered to give an “explanation”, Dembski was asked to give that “explanation” publicly in writing, Dembski ran away.

Sounds to me as if Dembski might have “something to hide” after all … …

Or maybe, like all other IDers, he’s just lethally allergic to answering direct questions.

Comment #36677

Posted by SEF on June 29, 2005 07:43 AM (e) (s)

Yes, it does seem to be an unusual/revealing choice of behaviour. I on the other hand prefer things to be out in public and despise the private messaging and emails - including when those are ones of support which people are too cowardly to put up on site (ie not just ill-founded views or misdirected attacks which the incompetent, dishonest and nasty people would rather keep secret for fear of other people being able to pass judgement).

It looks (rightly or wrongly) as though Dembski would prefer merely to be thought a fool (or coward in this instance) than open his mouth (in public) and confirm it. Of course that interpretation has to assume he doesn’t regard everything else he’s written as already adequately confirming the view!

Post a Comment

Use KwickXML formatting to markup your comments: <b>, <i>, <u> <s>, <quote author="...">, <url href="...">, etc. You may need to refresh before you will see your comment.




Remember personal info?

  


Trackback: Dissent in Dover

Posted by reality based community - scott pilutik on June 21, 2005 12:06 AM

Via Panda's Thumb (stories here and here), and as reported by the York Daily Record, the Dover School District's attack on evolution, as funded by the Thomas More Law Center, has exposed an interesting rift between Intelligent Design 'secularists' and...