PvM posted Entry 1465 on September 10, 2005 02:49 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1461

Dembski quotes Dawkins but somehow drops relevant parts of the sentence…

WAD wrote:

What’s Your Favorite Dawkins Quote?

Quotes like “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist” and “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose” are right up there, but my all-time favorite is “Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.” (All these quotes are from The Blind Watchmaker.)

It’s comforting that evolutionary theory is in the capable hands of rigorous empirical scientists like Dawkins.

As opposed to ‘rigorous empirical scientists’ like Dembski he probable means? Of course there are some interesting problems with his ‘logic’. First of all Dawkins is among thousands if not tens of thousands of capable scientists who move evolutionary theory forward. What does ID have to offer? Poof…. But let’s explore the ‘empirical evidence’ presented by Dembski with respect to Dawkin’s quote:

The Dawkins quote “Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.” has been extensively quote mined by ID creationists on the web. Rather than making an effort to understand what Dawkins was saying, they seem to believe that they get more mileage out of it by quote mining it.

Let’s consider this quote in its proper context and marvel at how it was mined

Richard Dawkins wrote:

“Instead of examining the evidence for and against rival theories, I shall adopt a more armchair approach. My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of the Darwinian theory (there is, of course) we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories”

R. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker p 287

I highlighted in bold the part quoted by Dembski. I believe that the omission of the “If I am right” and the removal of “(there is, of course)” significantly changes the meaning of what Dawkins was actually saying.

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Comment #47303

Posted by PvM on September 10, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

Dembski added an interesting comment to Nick’s quote

[Nick: Thanks for this quote. It is so easy to villainize Dawkins (and he is a villain). But not all of his impulses are bad. –WmAD]

Interesting how Dembski sees Dawkins as a villain…
Does that help explain the (unhealthy) fixations of ID proponents with Dawkins?

See for instance Dembski’s posting

Thanks Bombadill for alerting me to this photo (that’s Richard Dawkins on the left, Steve Aldrich on the right). To view all the festivities of the 2004 Center for Inquiry cruise, go here.

Imagine someone putting a gun to your head and forcing you to go on this cruise. Imagine you died and woke up in hell. But I repeat myself.

Comment #47307

Posted by mark on September 10, 2005 3:14 PM (e)

With these examples of taking quotes out of context and spinning them to support their theses rather than trying to figure out what they mean, can we conclude that IDers are also likely to grab any pieces of scientific evidence and spin them to fit their theses instead of trying to interpret what they mean?

The ID camp persists in the dishonest practice of quote mining, taking especial glory in cases where an evolutionist introduces a concept with the rhetorical device of saying something “looks” like it was designed, but… (as discussed at this site somewhere). If they were real scientists, this would catch up with them eventually and they would begin to lose grant money, peer support, or be sanctioned.

Comment #47308

Posted by sanjait on September 10, 2005 3:16 PM (e)

Maybe it is because I’m a relatively young graduate student, but I had never heard of Dawkins until I read ID arguments. It reminds me about the hullabaloo over Ward Churchill a while back, where Bill O’Reilly and other blowhards bloviated about how he was spreading an anti-American message, but they didn’t see the irony in the fact that Churchill would have been an obscure and unheard of college professor if the columnists and talkshow hosts didn’t make him into a media phenomenon.
On the Telic Thoughts board, on the thread “Evidence fron Plausibility” (which is a deeply ironic arguments for the IDists to use), I wrote that Dawkins could “paint his fact blue and say he evolved from smurfs” and the mountains of science and hordes of scientists behind the theory of evolution would remain unchanged.
ID is a movement led by a few apostles, with the remaining masses mostly unable to comprehend even the pseudoscience the few main characters produce, so they just quote them ad nauseum. They don’t seem to understand that real scientists don’t work the same way. As far as I can tell, we are leaderless, and not dependent on any characters like Dawkins, or even Darwin.

Comment #47311

Posted by PvM on September 10, 2005 3:34 PM (e)

Please do not sanction ID ‘researchers’. Their own works speaks too well against their own ideas.

Comment #47320

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 10, 2005 4:27 PM (e)

Dembski quotes Dawkins but somehow drops relevant parts of the sentence…

More than that, he capitalized a letter to make it appear that the quote was the start of a sentence, rather than the consequent of a conditional. In other words, Dembski is a lying piece of scum.

Comment #47321

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 10, 2005 4:32 PM (e)

It reminds me about the hullabaloo over Ward Churchill a while back, where Bill O’Reilly and other blowhards bloviated about how he was spreading an anti-American message, but they didn’t see the irony in the fact that Churchill would have been an obscure and unheard of college professor if the columnists and talkshow hosts didn’t make him into a media phenomenon.

No, they were well aware of the irony; they made a big deal of Churchill and his statement in order to push the idea that the academy has been taken over by radical leftists.

The IDists have somewhat different motives in drawing attention to Dawkins, but again, don’t make the mistake of thinking that they don’t know what they’re doing.

Comment #47325

Posted by TonyB on September 10, 2005 4:46 PM (e)

The IDists have somewhat different motives in drawing attention to Dawkins, but again, don’t make the mistake of thinking that they don’t know what they’re doing.

As ts (not Tim) pointed out, IDists spin their deceits consciously. Quotes don’t get cunningly distorted by accident (unless there’s some kind of sinister natural selection process going on among the IDists – and wouldn’t that make them unhappy!). These conscious distortions are based on the idea that a juicy misquote will be more broadly distributed by ID sympathizers and apologists than the actual quote and context. It’s a useful lie, so it’s okay. (No doubt they pray that the mysterious Intelligent Designer will forgive them their false witness.)

Comment #47326

Posted by Paul Christopher on September 10, 2005 4:49 PM (e)

One of the figureheads of a right-wing conspiracy to undermine science and culture in America refers to Dawkins as a ‘villian’. Keep on projecting, Dembski.

Comment #47327

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 10, 2005 5:00 PM (e)

Coming soon: photos of a Dawkins stuffed doll with its head in a vise

Comment #47328

Posted by Ed Darrell on September 10, 2005 5:13 PM (e)

Dembski said (Dave Barry is on vacation – no one could make this stuff up):

Imagine someone putting a gun to your head and forcing you to go on this cruise. Imagine you died and woke up in hell. But I repeat myself.

In one fell swoop he plagiarizes Mark Twain, makes a petty jab at Richard Dawkins, makes a petty jab at people who like to read and study, and reveals himself as one who would find it hell to be on a cruise ship, eating fine food, drinking fine drinks, and hobnobbing with really bright people who find intellectual exercise to be among the most stimulating possible.

Would-be despots prefer their peasantry to be uneducated, the better to oppress them. No doubt it IS hell for creationists* of all stripes, Dembski included, to be among people who know a thing or two and who don’t take crap for thought.

* By “creationists” here I lump in all those who blindly and foolishly oppose Darwinian theory and other demonstrated facts and theories of science – Lysenkoists, homeopaths, scriptural literalists and other IDists, etc.

Comment #47329

Posted by Russell on September 10, 2005 5:19 PM (e)

It amazes me that Dembski’s fans think that all those quotes they offer are so damning. I believe that Dawkins serves pretty much the same purpose for Dembski as Michael Moore does for thinkers such as Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh. All you have to do is pronounce the name to elicit a chorus of “Boo! Bad!” from your Ditto-Heads.

Substance? Who needs substance.

Comment #47334

Posted by pough on September 10, 2005 5:52 PM (e)

You have to remember that to someone like Dembski, the facts will never get in the way of the Truth. Truth is something he knows about, albeit in a strangely ironic way. Here are his Truths, which can never be shaken (solid rock, not sand, and all that):

1. There is a God
2. Evolution is not True
3. #1 and #2 are so very, very True
4. When I change someone’s quote, it becomes closer to the Truth; it is the message that they meant to write, even though what they actually wrote is quite different

I think that Dembski honestly believes that when he changed the quote, it became MORE accurate, not less. When you already have the Truth in your head about what someone else believes, it barely matters at all what they write. You can take the bits and pieces that match (or almost match) and discard the rest; it’s mere dross.

The Truth has set him free; fact-free!

Comment #47339

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on September 10, 2005 6:55 PM (e)

Quote mining Dembski:

“Even without specialized biological knowledge, it is possible for laypersons to see that evolutionary theory, as taught in high school and college biology textbooks, is desperately in need of fuller treatment and more adequate discussion…..” In Defense of Intelligent Design

It’s a slow afternoon at the Delta Pi Gamma fraternity house.

Comment #47341

Posted by bill on September 10, 2005 7:09 PM (e)

Hmmm, I’m surprised that Sal, Dembski’s Renfield, hasn’t appeared to defend his master.

Somebody toss in another bucket of chum, OK? Where’s Toejam when we need his caustic hide?

Comment #47342

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 10, 2005 7:25 PM (e)

In “In Defense of Intelligent Design”, Dembski argues that ID is like SETI. But SETI isn’t the notion that radio waves traveling through space cannot be explained without recourse to an intelligent designer. Rather than SETI, ID is more like the view of schizophrenics that the voices in their heads are from God or the Devil or from devices planted in their teeth by evil scientists.

Comment #47343

Posted by Michael Hopkins on September 10, 2005 7:26 PM (e)

ts wrote:

Dembski quotes Dawkins but somehow drops relevant parts of the sentence…

More than that, he capitalized a letter to make it appear that the quote was the start of a sentence, rather than the consequent of a conditional. In other words, Dembski is a lying piece of scum.

And to make it even worse he fails to put in the ellipses to mark the ommission.

I wonder if he simply copied and pasted someone else’s quote mine of Dawkins instead of double checking the original.

Comment #47346

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on September 10, 2005 8:00 PM (e)

bill requests: Somebody toss in another bucket of chum, OK?

Quote mining Dembski:

“Darwin looms larger than life in the study of biological origins because his theory constitutes the very bedrock of evolutionary biology. Indeed, nothing in evolutionary biology makes sense apart from Darwinism.”(1)

and

“Life over the course of natural history has become more complex. One of the great appeals of evolutionary theory, when thinkers such as Darwin first proposed it, was to underwrite a progressive, onward-and-upward, complexity-increasing form of evolution.”(1)

1. Dembski, W. A. 2004. Unintellignet Evolution. Talk presented at the annual American Academy of Religion meeting, San Antonio, November 22, 2004.

Comment #47349

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 10, 2005 8:21 PM (e)

And to make it even worse he fails to put in the ellipses to mark the ommission.

Well, I think the capitalization is considerably worse, because it’s an active and necessarily intentional misrepresentation, not just an omission.

I wonder if he simply copied and pasted someone else’s quote mine of Dawkins instead of double checking the original.

Dembski fancies himself a scholar, and certainly owns and has read Dawkins’ book, and claimed these to be his favorite Dawkins quotes, so if he did copy someone else’s quote mine he didn’t simply do so.

Comment #47350

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 10, 2005 8:28 PM (e)

Quote mining Dembski:

I don’t think you quite have the hang of it. Try this, from the same Dembski talk:

“Darwin’s greatest achievement was to show that the organized complexity of living things could be brought about without recourse to a designing intelligence…. all organisms trace their lineage back to a universal common ancestor. Thus you, the fly buzzing around your head, and the bacteria perched on the fly all share the same great-great-great grandparent…. any two organisms are n-th cousins k-times removed where n and k depend on the two organisms in question…. an unintelligent physical process can account for the emergence of all biological complexity and diversity.”

And so on.

Comment #47363

Posted by bevets on September 10, 2005 9:34 PM (e)

even if there were no actual evidence in favour of the Darwinian theory (there is, of course) we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories

Finer weasel words have never been crafted. Having his cake and eating it too. He wants everyone to admire the rationality of his atheism, but he can not let go of his ‘empirical’ saftey net. Each side is a house of cards stacked on top of each other.

Comment #47365

Posted by carol clouser on September 10, 2005 9:51 PM (e)

So lets analyze this carefully. Dembski is guilty of omitting “If I am right it means that” and “(there is, of course)”. The former omission replaces a suppsedly doubtful Dawkins with a certain one. Does any reasonable human being believe that Dawkins’ saying “If I am right” is really expressing doubt? He would go so far as write an entire book to support a theory and still doubts it? I submit that is extremely unlikely. So omitting those words did not materially alter the message Dawkins was conveying. And the latter omission is altogether irrelevant. Whether there is or is not evidence in favor of evolution, Dawkins is clearly indicating that even in the absence of said evidence it would still be preferable to prefer evolution over all rival theories. So this omission also does not materially alter Dawkins’ message.

So folks here are just nit-picking Dembski in the extreme. It’s much ado about nothing. And it’s all so very disingenious and unscientific. Whether we like what Dembski is doing or not, and I don’t care for him at all, we still need to be fair. Let us reserve our criticism for more worthy situations.

Comment #47366

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 10, 2005 9:52 PM (e)

Finer weasel words have never been crafted.

Noting that there’s evidence for a position is hardly weasely.

quote Having his cake and eating it too.

No, he’s having his cake and his coffee too.

He wants everyone to admire the rationality of his atheism, but he can not let go of his ‘empirical’ saftey net.

Uh, his statement has nothing to do with atheism, it was to do with the explanatory power of various theories. And it would be silly to “let go” of empirical evidence.

Each side is a house of cards stacked on top of each other.

Even your metaphors are nonsensical.

Comment #47367

Posted by Bruce McNeely on September 10, 2005 9:53 PM (e)

Hi Bevets:

Each side is a house of cards stacked on top of each other.

Nice stragetic quote editing.
Nice spacially impossible metaphor.
Couldn t take the heat on Fark.com, eh…

Bruce

Comment #47368

Posted by Bruce McNeely on September 10, 2005 9:59 PM (e)

Hi Carol:

Here is the key part that Dembski left out:

“Instead of examining the evidence for and against rival theories, I shall adopt a more armchair approach. My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life.

Kind of changes things a bit…I wonder why you didn t notice this.

Bruce

Comment #47369

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 10, 2005 10:05 PM (e)

So lets analyze this carefully.

Like Judah Landa’s lying lapdog is capable of such a thing.

Dembski is guilty of omitting “If I am right it means that” and “(there is, of course)”.

Clouser manages to omit mentioning what “it” refers to.

He would go so far as write an entire book to support a theory and still doubts it?

Yes, scientists do retain doubt about things that they have written books about. But in any case, Dembski’s misquote radically misrepresents Dawkins’ claim, which is that

“[If] Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life [then], even if there were no actual evidence in favour of the Darwinian theory (there is, of course) we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories”

And it’s all so very disingenious and unscientific.

Clouser gazing into the mirror. “disingenious” indeed.

Comment #47373

Posted by PvM on September 10, 2005 10:29 PM (e)

Carol, who seems to be unfamiliar with Dawkin’s book ‘argues’

Carol wrote:

So lets analyze this carefully. Dembski is guilty of omitting ‘If I am right it means that’ and ‘(there is, of course)’. The former omission replaces a suppsedly doubtful Dawkins with a certain one. Does any reasonable human being believe that Dawkins’ saying ‘If I am right’ is really expressing doubt? He would go so far as write an entire book to support a theory and still doubts it? I submit that is extremely unlikely. So omitting those words did not materially alter the message Dawkins was conveying.

Note that Dawkins made his statement in the final chapter of his book where he presented an ‘armchair argument’. By presenting Dawkins’ statement out of its proper context, Dembski gave it a meaning quite a bit different from Dawkins.

So folks here are just nit-picking Dembski in the extreme. It’s much ado about nothing. And it’s all so very disingenious and unscientific. Whether we like what Dembski is doing or not, and I don’t care for him at all, we still need to be fair. Let us reserve our criticism for more worthy situations.

Exposing quote mining is a very worthy situation for many reasons. Nitpicking Dembski? Or showing a poor scholarship? This is very relevant as he is portraying Dawkins as somehow being (the main) representative of evolutionary theory.

One may argue that Dembski merely took the quote from another source and made a type II error (thanks Casey…). Perhaps all Dembski did was being very sloppy with his quotations but he turned a statement made by Dawkins in a very restricted sense to sound as if Dawkins was making a very general statement.

Perhaps Dembski can admit his error? Time shall tell. But history has shown that Dembski has been very reluctant to admit any errors on his part.

Comment #47375

Posted by PvM on September 10, 2005 10:38 PM (e)

People on this blog and those commenting on Dembski’s blog seem to have missed the part which is really the relevant omission namely

If I am right… Which refers to a preceding argument where Dawkins explains what he is really arguing about…

Instead of examining the evidence for and against rival theories, I shall adopt a more armchair approach. My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life.

This omission is quite material. At least when quote mining it would be helpful to indicate that parts are omitted by using the common indicators such as ellipses or the use of square brackets.

Sigh… Two many type II errors here by ID proponents. Ironically when Casey Luskin wrote about type I and Type II errors and ID critics, he must have missed how ID proponents are far more prone to such errors. Not just when criticizing evolutionary theory but worse, when presenting the ID argument(s). People seem to blindly accept claims and statements without realizing the lack of supporting foundations or the fact that others have shown these statements to be without merrit.

Comment #47377

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 10, 2005 10:49 PM (e)

So folks here are just nit-picking Dembski in the extreme. It’s much ado about nothing.

Wait, Carol, let me guess – Jay El figured it out long ago, and all we need to do is read his wonderful book.

Right?

Comment #47378

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 10, 2005 10:52 PM (e)

People on this blog and those commenting on Dembski’s blog seem to have missed the part which is really the relevant omission namely

Not “people”, just Carol Clouser. Both Bruce McNeely and I already pointed out the relevant omission just a little ways upthread.

Comment #47382

Posted by Norman Doering on September 10, 2005 11:10 PM (e)

If anyone wants to quote mine Dembski, here’s a good place to start:

http://www.idthefuture.com/index.php?title=the_truth_about_how_i_got_into_id&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

[quote=Dembski][b]The Truth about How I Got into ID[/b]
William Dembski

Many critics of intelligent design think I got into ID because I’m a right wing fundamentalist who takes Genesis literally and wants to see its 6-day creation as mandatory teaching in the public school science curriculum. WRONG! Here’s the real story.

Back in the mid-80s, Sahotra Sarkar and I were grad students at the University of Chicago, he in philosophy, I in mathematics. One day, at the International House (a 500-room dorm for grad students on the UofC campus), we were discussing what it would take to bring down Darwinism. He remarked rather off-handedly that it would take a “revival of William Paley.” “Hmm, Paley,” I mused.

Suddenly, I had my life’s mission. Even though I was raised in a largely secular home with a biologist father who taught evolutionary biology and who was fond of reminding me that our ancestors swung from trees, I decided what better way to make a name for myself than to bring down the most popular and infamous theory in science.

My plan quickly fell into place:

* I would concoct a specious mathematical theory of design detection that critics of evolution could use as a weapon against Darwinism.
* I would network with right-wing fanatics for whom a recrudescence of Paley could be a tool for their political agenda.
* And finally, I would cash in on the celebrity associated with bringing down Darwin.

On this last point, let me just say that intelligent design has been very, very good to me.

Well, I’m glad I finally got this off my chest. So thank you Sahotra and all you valiant defenders of Darwinism for the fame and fortune you’ve made possible for me. I could never have done it without you.[/quote]

Comment #47383

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 10, 2005 11:13 PM (e)

One day every year, William Dembski tells the truth.

Comment #47385

Posted by Jim Harrison on September 10, 2005 11:45 PM (e)

The relentless dishonesty of Dembski and his supporters provides more evidence that religion is bad for your morals. As Nietzsche once warned, priests make evil enemies.

Comment #47388

Posted by Arden Chatfield on September 10, 2005 11:49 PM (e)

Suddenly, I had my life’s mission. Even though I was raised in a largely secular home with a biologist father who taught evolutionary biology and who was fond of reminding me that our ancestors swung from trees, I decided what better way to make a name for myself than to bring down the most popular and infamous theory in science.

Lord, Dembski sure seems to be awfully full of himself for a person of such trivial real accomplishments…

Comment #47390

Posted by PvM on September 11, 2005 12:07 AM (e)

April Fools… Check the date on the article my dear friends.

Comment #47391

Posted by Timothy Chase on September 11, 2005 12:38 AM (e)

ts (not Tim) wrote:

One day every year, William Dembski tells the truth.

PvM wrote:

April Fools… Check the date on the article my dear friends.

Jeez, a little slow on the uptake, I guess…

http://www.idthefuture.com/index.php?title=the_truth_about_how_i_got_into_id&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

Comment #47396

Posted by natural cynic on September 11, 2005 1:35 AM (e)

Dembski’s 4-1 quote: In this crazy world sometimes telling the truth, especially an outrageous truth, will be perceived only as an amusing lie.

Doesn’t the ToE predict the appearance of parasites that will take their sustenance from successful organisms. Thus, the success of evolutionary biology would require the emergence of intellectual parasites. Sigh

Comment #47399

Posted by Norman Doering on September 11, 2005 3:12 AM (e)

I think Dembski and Dawkins are secretly partners and promoting each other in order to improve the world’s understanding of evolution.

How many laymen would have learned so much about a theory without a public fight to get involved with?

These guys are selling each other’s books. You just can’t read Dembski trashing Dawkins without wanting to know what Dawkins really said, and you can’t read Dawkins trashing ID without trying to figure out what they really say.

Comment #47404

Posted by SEF on September 11, 2005 5:25 AM (e)

How many laymen would have learned so much about a theory without a public fight to get involved with?

I don’t believe many of them have learned anything much at all about the theory - just about the public fight.

You just can’t read Dembski trashing Dawkins without wanting to know what Dawkins really said …

I’ve done quite well generally avoiding reading either. I don’t need Dawkins in order to understand evolution in biology. Neither did anyone older in their education than his entry onto the scene. Meanwhile, Dembski is merely a waste of space-time and apparently someone else’s money.

Comment #47409

Posted by antoine on September 11, 2005 6:03 AM (e)

Dembski’s quote-mining is bad enough. Read how Dembski treats qualifying exams. What would Jeff Shallit say about this? What a perfect account of the training of an ID ‘researcher’.

William Dembski wrote:

[L]et me give an example from my graduate days in mathematics. At the end of the first year in grad school at the University of Chicago, the math students take oral exams. Depending on whom you get to examine you, this can be a stressful experience. One way to relieve the stress, when asked to prove a theorem on the blackboard, is to introduce a small inaccuracy, one that takes a bit to unravel but is easily rectifiable. The inaccuracy, depending on the professor who is examining you, will consume considerable time and energy. Yes, you will have to endure some berating. But when it’s gone on long enough, you rectify the error. By then the clock has run out and you’ve passed the exam.

Comment #47410

Posted by Alan on September 11, 2005 6:20 AM (e)

antoine

Yes I read this, because he actually links to it on his site. That he appears to revel in such conduct and recommends it to others speaks volumes on the man’s character.

Comment #47411

Posted by sanjait on September 11, 2005 6:45 AM (e)

I second the notion from SEF. My education has come about recently, after the advent of Dawkins and Demski books, but I don’t feel lacking in understanding for having read neither.

Comment #47412

Posted by Norman Doering on September 11, 2005 6:51 AM (e)

SEF wrote: “I’ve done quite well generally avoiding reading either.”

Then why did you bother to read about Dembski quote mining Dawkins? That’s what this thread is about. How can you get anything out of it if you’ve never read either?

Comment #47414

Posted by SEF on September 11, 2005 8:40 AM (e)

Evidently the other part of the point sailed right over your head, Norman. Or perhaps it skewered you and, as a result of your inattentiveness, you simply haven’t noticed yet.

Comment #47416

Posted by Norman Doering on September 11, 2005 9:26 AM (e)

SEF wrote: “Evidently the other part of the point sailed right over your head, Norman. Or perhaps it skewered you and, as a result of your inattentiveness, you simply haven’t noticed yet.”

Still haven’t noticed your point. Maybe you think it’s this: “I don’t believe many of them have learned anything much at all about the theory - just about the public fight.”

How would you know that if you only read about those writers and not what they’ve written themselves? That’s like claiming to know “War and Peace” because you read the Cliff notes.

I disagree – I’ve learned a lot from Dawkins books. Maybe you have other sources, but Dawkins is a pretty good introduction to the theory. I’ve also learned from Dembski – but you do have to play a game of find the lies when reading him.

I think if you’re going to defeat ID you’re going to need to read ID books and know what you’re talking about.

Comment #47430

Posted by PvM on September 11, 2005 11:44 AM (e)

I wondered if Dembski would admit and apologize for his use of the quotes. Given his history, I was sceptical and it seems for good reasons. Dembski now has admitted to “leaving off a little parenthetical in that sentence that doesn’t at all change its significance”. It’s a start of course he still has not explained why he omitted the start of the sentence.

Dembski, unable to admit to much of any error on his part predictably states

Now, you may be thinking that I’m just making this all up after the fact. Let me assure you that I’m not. Unlike the evolutionary process with which they are so enamoured, kneejerk Darwinists are supremely predictable. In the future, when I do something like this, I will provide prior confirmation with a date-time stamp elsewhere on the Internet.

So did Dembski paint the bullseyes around the arrows or not…

Dembski continues:

By the way, in case you’re wondering what is the point of this exercise, it is to highlight that Dawkins regards evolution as an axiom that does not require empirical confirmation (note that he has made this point in other places and not just in the above quote). What’s gratifying is to see the kneejerk Darwinists at The Panda’s Thumb falling all over themselves trying to justify Dawkins’s ludicrous claim.

Nobody at PT seemed to be trying to justify Darwkin’s claim, we are merely pointing out how the omission of relevant parts has changed the meaning and intent of Dawkin’s argument. Dawkins does not regard evolution as an axiom that does not require empirical confirmation other than in his armchair excercise.

As far as the “Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.” quote is concerned, Searching google returns various sites which make the same mistakes.

Creation Notes

“Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory…we should still
be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.”

Note that they indicate the omission of (of course there is) but fail to indicate that the sentence did not start with “Even if”

Why I believe

“Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory… we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories,”

David Alexander on ARN

My selected quote is another specimen from Dawkins of that bombast that seems to enlist many deconstructors of Darwinism or at least grows the ranks of the unconvinced and canny observers.

“Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory… we should be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.” -Richard Dawkins

Anyone wants to attempt a design inference ?

Comment #47431

Posted by wad of id on September 11, 2005 11:50 AM (e)

I welcome Dembski’s continuing attempts to politicize and polemicize anti-evolutionism. In doing so, it makes it that much easier for people to associate him with other shameless, anti-intellectual Creationists such as “Dr.” Hovind, and Kurt Wise. Do the good work, Bill.

Comment #47432

Posted by SEF on September 11, 2005 12:47 PM (e)

Norman, if you have learned a lot from Dawkins books (assuming you are right about that) then that’s nice but: (a) it is a reflection of how little you knew before; and (b) it doesn’t say anything about other people - ie being anecdotal of yourself only. Dawkins doesn’t do new scientific research in new scientific papers (at least not that I’ve come across). So for anyone who had a decent education in the relevant area to start with, Dawkins can’t possibly have much to add. He isn’t claiming to have made up a whole new branch of science which is genuinely influencing the scientific world, eg from or rivalling evolution, or the ID/creationists might be railing against Dawkinsism instead of Darwinism.

Your “War and Peace” anecdote is not relevant. It’s more like you are claiming instead that reading that book would be a substitute for studying Russian history for years from proper documents (or even living through some significant part of it yourself). It might contain some reasonable starting feel for Russian history if you are an ignorant foreigner but would hardly be the real thing.

Comment #47433

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 11, 2005 12:53 PM (e)

Russell wrote:

thinkers such as Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh.

Just wanted to let you know that this small comic gem did not go unnoticed. You forgot the scare quotes on thinkers, though.

Comment #47435

Posted by plunge on September 11, 2005 1:08 PM (e)

“Whether there is or is not evidence in favor of evolution, Dawkins is clearly indicating that even in the absence of said evidence it would still be preferable to prefer evolution over all rival theories. So this omission also does not materially alter Dawkins’ message.”

Uh, read the quote. The REASON one would prefer evolution over other theories, in the abscence of any evidence one way or another, is that according to Dawkins evolution is only theory that actually explains what needs to be explained. That’s VERY different than saying we should prefer it… just because. He’s saying that we should prefer it because it it is the only theory that is “in principle capable” of doing what needs to be done.

Comment #47437

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 11, 2005 1:20 PM (e)

I highlighted in bold the part quoted by Dembski. I believe that the omission of the “If I am right” and the removal of “(there is, of course)” significantly changes the meaning of what Dawkins was actually saying.

You believe wrongly. Did I ever tell you, Pim, that you are the Sal Cordova of anti-ID? Your endless, saccharine cheerleading for your team is extremely grating.

Robert

PS Sal Cordova is genuinely a nice guy and means well, but his obsequious fawning over Bill is a little much

Comment #47439

Posted by Ken Willis on September 11, 2005 1:23 PM (e)

This site would be much more useful and interesting to a non-scientist but well-read and enthusiastic devotee of Richard Dawkins like me if you all could manage to stick to science for a little while and take your creepy left-wing radical numbskull politics somewhere else. Couldn’t you find a suitable outlet for it at moveon.org or some similaly loco-weed website?

Yes, I could just drop out of here. I’m sure that is what you all will recommend. But is that what you really want? Do you just want to talk to yourselves who all think in lockstep or do you want this site to appeal to others who might learn from you and be persuaded to the facts on evolution?

P.S. Do you think maybe Ward Churchill’s problems might have a little more to do with him, his blatant plagiarism, false bio, and his labeling those who died in the smoking towers on 9/11 as “little Eichmanns” than it does with Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh?

Comment #47440

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 11, 2005 1:23 PM (e)

Tim wrote:

More than that, he capitalized a letter to make it appear that the quote was the start of a sentence, rather than the consequent of a conditional. In other words, Dembski is a lying piece of scum.

No.

Comment #47441

Posted by Dene Bebbington on September 11, 2005 1:35 PM (e)

The story continues:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/320

I wonder how long it’ll be until Dembski starts to seek psychological help.

Comment #47442

Posted by Arden Chatfield on September 11, 2005 1:50 PM (e)

if you all could manage to stick to science for a little while and take your creepy left-wing radical numbskull politics somewhere else

You’re free take your childish name calling ‘somewhere else’.

Buh bye.

Comment #47443

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 1:57 PM (e)

P.S. Do you think maybe Ward Churchill’s problems might have a little more to do with him, his blatant plagiarism, false bio, and his labeling those who died in the smoking towers on 9/11 as “little Eichmanns” than it does with Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh?

I’m a little puzzled how any of this diatribe has to do with either science or evolution or ID.

Perhaps you could explain for me?

Or maybe you could just take your pointless politicking somewhere else, where people actually give a flying fig about it?

Comment #47444

Posted by PatrickS on September 11, 2005 1:58 PM (e)

TonyB wrote:
As ts (not Tim) pointed out, IDists spin their deceits consciously. Quotes don’t get cunningly distorted by accident (unless there’s some kind of sinister natural selection process going on among the IDists — and wouldn’t that make them unhappy!). These conscious distortions are based on the idea that a juicy misquote will be more broadly distributed by ID sympathizers and apologists than the actual quote and context. It’s a useful lie, so it’s okay. (No doubt they pray that the mysterious Intelligent Designer will forgive them their false witness.)

Something most ID proponents certainly can identify with and accept as truth is that Satan is also known as the great deceptor. This fact should cause some inner turmoil among true ID proponents.

Comment #47445

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 1:59 PM (e)

Sal Cordova is genuinely a nice guy and means well, but his obsequious fawning over Bill is a little much

I don’t care who he fawns over – I just want him to answer my damn questions.

He seems not to have the ping-pongs for it, though. Nice guy or no.

Comment #47446

Posted by BlastfromthePast on September 11, 2005 2:04 PM (e)

ts (not Tim) wrote:

But SETI isn’t the notion that radio waves traveling through space cannot be explained without recourse to an intelligent designer.

Then what is it?

Comment #47448

Posted by PatrickS on September 11, 2005 2:10 PM (e)

Russell wrote:

thinkers such as Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh.

Just wanted to let you know that this small comic gem did not go unnoticed. You forgot the scare quotes on thinkers, though.

For the record, Rush Limbaugh is NOT an advocate of ID. O’Reilly is an loudmouth, arrogant idiot that is totally unaware of what his own church’s position on ID is.

Comment #47449

Posted by Albion on September 11, 2005 2:18 PM (e)

I don’t know whether it’s scarier to think that the Isaac Newton of information theory (or whatever he’s the Isaac Newton of) doesn’t understand that there’s a difference between the original and his reworking of it, or that one of the leading lights of the evolution-is-atheistic-and-will-destroy-your-ethical-standards argument does understand the difference.

Comment #47450

Posted by SEF on September 11, 2005 2:21 PM (e)

SETI is based on the notion that some of the radio etc waves might turn out to be intelligently designed (and that we might be able to tell the difference!) out of the many which are fairly clearly not, ie all the current ones which are well accounted for by existing and newly discovered natural processes (eg special kinds of stars or matter doing interesting but unintelligent things).

With all the world being grass and some knowledge of what a watch is and how to make it, the watch stands out as unnatural. With all the universe being matter and energy and some knowledge of how humans have manipulated it as opposed to what it does on its own, an alien signal might stand out as unnatural.

Comment #47451

Posted by PatrickS on September 11, 2005 2:33 PM (e)

Out of curiosity, has anyone on this blog ever suggested or made the comparison of ID proponents being similar to the Islamic faith? In other words, the islamic religion attempts to control the minds of others making all believe as they do. Similarly, the proponents of ID seek to impose their view of creationism on everyone that doesn’t believe as they do. They cleverly disguise it in a manner that appears to be palpable to all Christian denominations, yet hide their true intent. When it comes right down to it, ID is anti-science, yet they trust science enough to use it to spread their message. How ironic! Am I the only person in the world that sees the obvious as to what is going on with this whole debate?

Comment #47452

Posted by Douglas Theobald on September 11, 2005 2:33 PM (e)

What’s Your Favorite Dembski Quote?

Dembski wrote:

“Except for the burger-eating, fries-munching, coke-swilling moronic masses, who refuse to accept evolutionary theory for purely religious reasons and, to their further embarrassment, take the public policy recommendations of design theorists like me to heart, there is absolutely nothing of intellectual substance to intelligent design.”

Dembski wrote:

“The design community is entirely misguided and confused in finding fault with evolution.”

Dealing with the Backlash Against Intelligent Design

http://www.designinference.com/documents/2004.04.Backlash.htm

Comment #47453

Posted by PvM on September 11, 2005 2:55 PM (e)

Robert wrote:

You believe wrongly. Did I ever tell you, Pim, that you are the Sal Cordova of anti-ID? Your endless, saccharine cheerleading for your team is extremely grating.

Thanks for sharing your opinion although you present really little or no argument. Dembski’s omissions did significantly change the meaning of the sentence.

I did learn a new word though saccharine

Gosh Robert, thanks… Blush…

Comment #47454

Posted by PvM on September 11, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

Blastfromthepast wrote:

Then what is it?

It is the set theoretic complement of chance and regularity. Or in other words a gap argument.

Douglas, that’s clever and shows how the omissions can significantly alter the meaning of the sentence. Maybe now ID proponents will ‘get it’…

Comment #47456

Posted by Mona on September 11, 2005 3:12 PM (e)

I wish to second Mr. Willis’s objection to all the gratuitous slamming as illegitimate, all critics of leftists in general, and those who identify problems in the academy specifically. Are you aware that one of the standard bearers of the anti-ID movement – who is a contributor to PT! – has affiliated himself with the National Association of Scholars, and published several times in their journal, Academic Questions? I mean, of course, Paul R. Gross.

NAS exists to highlight what many of us see as the leftist follies that have significantly overtaken huge swathes of academia. Gross is not a fool, and neither am I. (I also have published in NAS’s journal, and I’m as anti-ID as Gross is.)

Here is a google search result for Dr. Gross and NAS (some of the results include another contributor named Barry Gross):

http://www.google.com/custom?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&c2coff=1&cof=AWFID%3A7fe78d4afc647dd7%3BL%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.nas.org%2Fimages%2FMASTERS%2FNASLOGONEW3small.gif%3BLH%3A176%3BLW%3A130%3BBGC%3AWhite%3BT%3A%23000000%3BLC%3A%23990000%3BVLC%3A%23990000%3BALC%3A%23990000%3BGALT%3A%23008000%3BGFNT%3A%23000000%3BGIMP%3A%23000000%3BDIV%3A%23990000%3BLBGC%3AWhite%3BAH%3Aleft%3B&domains=nas.org&q=Paul+R.+Gross&btnG=Search&sitesearch=nas.org

Here are some of the articles Dr. Gross has published in AQ:

Gross, Paul R.

On the “Gendering” of Science

(vol. 5, no. 2; Spring 1992)

Gross, Paul R. and

The Natural Sciences: Trouble Ahead? Yes.

Norman Levitt

(vol. 7, no. 2; Spring 1994)

These are other articles AQ has published, to give you a sense of what Dr. Gross finds acceptable to be listed with (not, I am sure, that he agrees with every other author, and neither do I):

How Politicized Studies Enforce Conformity: Interview

with Elizabeth Fox-Genovese

(vol. 5, no. 3; Summer 1992)

PC on Stage

(vol. 6, no. 4; Fall 1993)

And, of course, there was this 1994 book:

Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science by Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt,

I suggest to PT contributors and commenters, you should not alienate your allies who do not view leftist ideology and its significance in the academy as a Limbaugh boogeyman. That is a distinct issue from the problem of ID, and it would be folly for you to marginalize friends like Dr. Gross, or myself.

Comment #47457

Posted by McE on September 11, 2005 3:23 PM (e)

Robert OBrien wrote:

Tim wrote:

More than that, he capitalized a letter to make it appear that the quote was the start of a sentence, rather than the consequent of a conditional. In other words, Dembski is a lying piece of scum.

No.

What part of ts (not Tim) does OBrien fail to understand? It would seem that he has carelessly attributed a quote to the wrong person.

Whereas not Tim is clear, OBrien’s response of No is ambiguous. Is he objecting to ts’s first sentence, his second, or both? No matter. However it is interpreted, he is wrong.

In rational discourse, there are conventions for quoting that are expected to be observed. The reader should be alerted, by use of the appropriate conventions, to any modifications made in the text, and such modifications should not alter the meaning of the original. In his first sentence, ts pointed to a violation of both these principles.

We have names for those who intentionally violate quoting conventions to misrepresent the original author’s intent. One name is “quote miner.” Another, which seems entirely appropriate, is “lying piece of scum.”

If OBrien plans any sort of career where honesty is valued, he would be wise to avoid the appearance of endorsing those who misrepresent the works of others.

Comment #47459

Posted by steve on September 11, 2005 3:43 PM (e)

Comment #47449

Posted by Albion on September 11, 2005 02:18 PM (e) (s)

I don’t know whether it’s scarier to think that the Isaac Newton of information theory (or whatever he’s the Isaac Newton of)

I changed my mind. After watching a Dukes episode last night, I now think William Dembski is the Boss Hogg of Information Theory. And Salvadore is Roscoe P. Coltrane.

Comment #47461

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on September 11, 2005 3:48 PM (e)

Dembski’s description of a qualifying exam sounds pretty lame. At TAMU in WFSC, qualifying exams comprise written questions from each committee member over the period of a couple of weeks, and is topped off by an oral examination of indefinite duration with the committee and a graduate school representative.

Looking back at the written questions I got, I find:

What is a Buonomano/Merzenich neural network? What advantage might it have?

How would you introduce time into a neural network hearing model?

Do dolphins process clicks and whistles differently?

Comment on the quote from F. Crick below. Could the statement refer to neural network makers as well?

Discuss afferent and efferent routes between the ear and brain.

How have efferent fibers been identified?

How could efferent input be considered in designing a neural network model of dolphin hearing?

Classify or otherwise organize animal orientation on the basis of properties of environmental stimulus and characteristic patterns of orientative response.

Consider the problem of fish orientation in a spatial gradient of temperature. Construct a conceptual model of sensory perception, neural processing, and behavioral response that would enable the fish (with high probability) to achieve its temperature preferendum and avoid exposure to temperature extremes. Does it matter whether the gradient is 1-,2-, or 3- dimensional? if the gradient changes through time?

Is successful behavioral enviroregulation necessarily dependent on acute perception of environment?

Speculate on evolutionary linkages among communication, behavioral enviroregulation, and long-distance migration in whales.

What is the functional significance of the network principle of opponent processing (as used, for example, in the gated dipole network)? Give one example of a possible application of this principle to sensory (e.g., auditory) pattern processing.

Describe the major components of the adaptive resonance model, and in what ways it was an advance over previous coding or categorization models on which it was based.

Neurons are typically described as all-or-none (firing or not firing). Yet neural networks have frequently been used to model continuous behavioral phenomena, such as graded reactions to stimuli of different intensities. Describe how neural network models and equations bridge the gap from discrete to continuous.

What is the dive response in marine mammals? What is the basis for determining the Aerobic Dive Limit? How does the dive response differ between dives that are within an animal’s ADL and those that exceed the ADL?

Describe the role of passive sonar in underwater orientation and prey detection in pinnipeds. Specifically, comment on the possible use of passive sound by Weddell seals that successfully forage beneath thick ice (> 50 m) during the winter under conditions in which there is no ambient light.

Some marine mammals such as sperm whales are able to dive to great depths and withstand extreme pressures in which humans and other mammals normally experience High Pressure Nervous Syndrome (HPNS). What are some of the possible explanations for the resistance of these deep diving mammals to this debilitating condition? What evolutionary factors may have contributed to the ability of some marine mammals to tolerate pressures that are lethal to terrestrial mammals?

I don’t have the questions from my advisor in the above list, since he handed me those in print in person.

As for the strategy of using some time-wasting avoidance method during the oral part of the qualifying exam, I didn’t even consider it, as the people on my committee could be trusted to detect and appropriately respond to such subterfuge. I seem to have gotten a better grade of tutelage than some.

Comment #47464

Posted by steve on September 11, 2005 4:17 PM (e)

dembski image test

Comment #47465

Posted by PatrickS on September 11, 2005 4:18 PM (e)

Mona wrote:
I suggest to PT contributors and commenters, you should not alienate your allies who do not view leftist ideology and its significance in the academy as a Limbaugh boogeyman. That is a distinct issue from the problem of ID, and it would be folly for you to marginalize friends like Dr. Gross, or myself.

Here! Here! to Mona. This is not a left vs. right ideological issue. To a larger extent, and in my most humble opinion, it is an evolving internal struggle emerging within the conservative right. Clear thinking, level headed conservatives, as well as liberals, must join forces in opposing the confusion proposed by ID. I’ll go one step further and make the outrageous statement that ID is Satanic and is prolonging the inevitable second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting!

Comment #47466

Posted by steve on September 11, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

Didn’t work. That KwickXML syntax page could be a little clearer.

Here’s the link.

http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/5671/done3ms.jpg

Comment #47467

Posted by Art on September 11, 2005 4:27 PM (e)

I am willing to bet that the members of Dembski’s graduate committee would be, um, interested in his apparently very low opinion of their acumen, and of the qualifying exam process that they participated in.

Comment #47468

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 4:34 PM (e)

I wish to second Mr. Willis’s objection to all the gratuitous slamming as illegitimate, all critics of leftists in general, and those who identify problems in the academy specifically. Are you aware that one of the standard bearers of the anti-ID movement — who is a contributor to PT! — has affiliated himself with the National Association of Scholars, and published several times in their journal, Academic Questions? I mean, of course, Paul R. Gross.

NAS exists to highlight what many of us see as the leftist follies that have significantly overtaken huge swathes of academia. Gross is not a fool, and neither am I. (I also have published in NAS’s journal, and I’m as anti-ID as Gross is.)

Once again, who the hell cares? What has any of this to do with ID, evolution or science?

So you don’t like liberals. Alright, already. We get it. We understand. You definitely do not like liberals. Not in any way shape or form.

Just in case you’re not sure, we really really do understand. You don’t like liberals.

Not at all.

None of them.

At all.

Can we get back to fighting the IDers now?

Geez.

Comment #47469

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 4:39 PM (e)

Hey Blast, now that you’re back, would you mind answering two simple questions for me?

(1) why is the Super Mice not an example of “frontloading”, and how can you tell?

(2) What *is* an example of “frontloading”, and how can you tell?

Time to run away again, little boy.

Comment #47470

Posted by H. Humbert on September 11, 2005 4:53 PM (e)

So Dembski purposely edits Dawkin’s quote so that it appears to say something Dawkin’s never intended, and then claims that he can “predict” that honest people will call him on any abuse of future quotes? How utterly amazing. I “predict” that if I rob a bank the police will look to arrest me.

(Squeamish readers of this blog may worry that I’m cynically manipulating the police. Quite the contrary. I’m doing this for the police’s benefit, giving them the reality therapy they need to exit the land of training exercises and return to the realm of true crime.)

Comment #47472

Posted by darwinfinch on September 11, 2005 5:05 PM (e)

Dear Mona,

Anyone who uses the expression “leftists” to describe ANY political grop that is allowed coverage by the news media in the USA really has a number of screws that need tightening.

I really think you need to either keep on the subject of PT (unless you have something witty or interesting - I’ve read neither from you, only whining and complaining about some ghostly “bias” that offends your sensitive, in-the-air nose - to OCCASIONALLY pipe up about) or tighten those screws.

You are as tiresome and distracting in your political observations as any troll could be.

Comment #47473

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 5:19 PM (e)

You are as tiresome and distracting in your political observations as any troll could be.

Indeed. But please don’t encourage the troll. Some of us are trying to fight IDers here, and don’t really give a damn about the “big bad liberal leftists”.

Comment #47474

Posted by Mona on September 11, 2005 5:21 PM (e)

Once again, who the hell cares? What has any of this to do with ID, evolution or science?

So you don’t like liberals. Alright, already. We get it. We understand. You definitely do not like liberals. Not in any way shape or form.

Just in case you’re not sure, we really really do understand. You don’t like liberals.

Not at all.

None of them.

At all.

Can we get back to fighting the IDers now?

Geez.

Aaaargh!

I don’t want to start a grade school “but he started it” sort of nonsense, but really, I keep seeing gratuitous dissing of non-leftist positions in the PT threads. These lobs have nothing whatever to do with ID. And they are insulting to a significant sector of the pro-science, anti-ID population.

And also, I do not dislike “liberals.” I consider myself one in the classical sense, and certainly I am not socially conservative. Not that this has anything to do with the ID controversy, but there are liberals who are very concerned about the problems in academe wrt far left silliness. Indeed, Alan Sokal and Richard Dawkins have written scathing indictments of it. (I am a huge Dawkins fan, even tho his announced socialism is not my own political stance – but he is above all a rationalist, and so is well able to identify fashionable academic nonsense when he encounters it.)

But in any event, I totally agree with you that we should be discussing, here at PT, the ID travesty. Not dissing our comrades’ (in the anti-ID movement) politics. I would simply, and respectfully, request that others also act accordingly.

Comment #47475

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 5:23 PM (e)

Am I the only person in the world that sees the obvious as to what is going on with this whole debate?

No, you’re not.

See:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/fundies.htm

Comment #47477

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on September 11, 2005 5:27 PM (e)

PatrickS: … the islamic religion attempts to control the minds of others making all believe as they do.

And this differs from, say, christianism, how?

They cleverly disguise it in a manner that appears to be palpable to all Christian denominations…

So the christians are led to believe that they can palpate it, until they actually try to get a grip on the thing? Well… maybe.

Comment #47478

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 11, 2005 5:29 PM (e)

Some pedant wrote:

What part of ts (not Tim) does OBrien fail to understand? It would seem that he has carelessly attributed a quote to the wrong person.

No, it was intelligently designed ™.

Whereas not Tim is clear, OBrien’s response of No is ambiguous. Is he objecting to ts’s first sentence, his second, or both?

Only to a schoolmarm.

Comment #47479

Posted by Norman Doering on September 11, 2005 5:29 PM (e)

PatrickS wrote: “…has anyone on this blog ever suggested or made the comparison of ID proponents being similar to the Islamic faith?”

Not that I know of. Probably because that would be an insult to Islam. Islam is a very diverse religion – they’re not all Taliban.

“In other words, the islamic religion attempts to control the minds of others making all believe as they do.”

It’s not the “attempt” it’s the methods. I think everyone should be an agnostic, but I won’t kill you if you’re not. Killing infidels and apostates is not a fair method of argument. A few Muslims do that, not all. Christians had the Spanish Inquisition (were you expecting that?).

Only agnostics play fair.

“Similarly, the proponents of ID seek to impose their view of creationism on everyone that doesn’t believe as they do.”

Not really. They aren’t killing people or arresting them for heresy.

Some Christians, however, do want to make Christianity the state religion (like in Texas) and they would mandate ID in schools. That is not necessarily the position of all ID supporters.

“They cleverly disguise it in a manner that appears to be palpable to all Christian denominations, yet hide their true intent.”

You can see into their heart and know their intent – using the wedge document?

“When it comes right down to it, ID is anti-science,…”

More like crank or crackpot science.

“… yet they trust science enough to use it to spread their message. How ironic! Am I the only person in the world that sees the obvious as to what is going on with this whole debate?”

No. I see it too, but it’s more complicated than the way you’re stating it. You cannot identify either evolution or ID with the way some people want to use them. If you want to compare Islam with something you’ll have to compare specific muslims with the tactics of specific people in ID.

You can’t identify modern theories of evolution with Dawkins and you can’t identify ID with Dembski. Id and evolution are just ideas with no political motives of their own.

The ideas in question are:
1) Is natural selection working on natural random variations over billions of years enough to create the diversity of life we see around us? – My answer is: I don’t know, but I think so.

2) Is what Dembski identifies as “specified complexity” or what Behe calls “irreducible complexity” aspects of design that can not be achieved by natural selection? – My answer is: No. It has been shown that examples of what would be called “specified complexity” and “irreducible complexity” can be produced using selectionism on random variation via genetic and evolutionary algorithms as well as, perhaps, seen in the natural world (is anti-biotic resistance specifically complex?).

Therefore the ID supporters have to go back to the drawing boards and try again. They don’t have anything sound yet.

Comment #47480

Posted by steve on September 11, 2005 5:37 PM (e)

No, there are islamic creationists, and they have been discussed on this board. Anytime people believe a religious book can override science, the conditions are set for creationism.

Comment #47481

Posted by Mona on September 11, 2005 5:42 PM (e)

Indeed. But please don’t encourage the troll. Some of us are trying to fight IDers here, and don’t really give a damn about the “big bad liberal leftists”.

Now I’m really p*ssed. I have read this blog practically since its inception, and have referred people to it. I didn’t typically participate, because I’m a lawyer, not a scientist. When, as is usual, the subject here pertains to what is wrong with the so-called science of ID, I have no competence to contribute, and so I merely observe.

I have never, not once, initiated a discussion of irrelevant political subjects; rather, I have objected when others began to do so, in a manner suggesting that anyone who is not left-of-center is part of the problem, or otherwise is an idiot. Or gratuitously praising leftists who have nothing to do with the ID controversy and about whom I hold strong objections.

Let’s take an example, merely as a model, of the abortion issue. NARAL and the National Right to Life Committee, neither takes positions on any issue unrelated to their primary purpose. They do this because both groups attract people who support their position on abortion, but who otherwise disagree about all manner of other things. That singlular focus keeps them unified.

If I have given the impression that all I care about is ragging on “liberals,” I am sorry. That was not my intent. I sincerely believe, however, that I have only been reactive.

darwinfinch writes this: Anyone who uses the expression “leftists” to describe ANY political grop that is allowed coverage by the news media in the USA really has a number of screws that need tightening

I don’t grasp the point here. But I use the term “leftist” to distinguish from “liberals.” My intent is to distinguish people I think are totalitarian and nihilistic (and often enough, anti-science) from mere Democrats. I certainly do not think Democrats or mere liberals are a threat of any sort. Some of my best friends, and all that…

Comment #47483

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 6:08 PM (e)

but really, I keep seeing gratuitous dissing of non-leftist positions in the PT threads.

Consider it an object lesson in how to get along with others. (shrug)

Comment #47484

Posted by Mona on September 11, 2005 6:09 PM (e)

As simply one example of the value I see to PT, and that I cite it frequently in online discussions, and to defend myself against accusations of being a freakin’ troll:

http://left2right.typepad.com/main/2005/06/dealing_with_de.html#c6130093

If y’all want to declare that anyone who doesn’t care for a too-frequent sense of left-wing superiority that is manifest in the comments here, fine. Don’t slap the left-of-center commenters when they go on as they please in a political vein; only label as trolls the non-left-of-center anti-IDists who object. Very good strategy for building a coalition, that.

Comment #47486

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 6:12 PM (e)

Or gratuitously praising leftists who have nothing to do with the ID controversy and about whom I hold strong objections.

Nobody CARES about your “strong objections”, Mona. This blog isn’t your private soapbox. It’s not here for you to harangue “liberals” or “leftists” that you don’t like. Take it elsewhere.

Comment #47487

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 6:14 PM (e)

They do this because both groups attract people who support their position on abortion, but who otherwise disagree about all manner of other things. That singlular focus keeps them unified.

As *we* should be.

In case you haven’t noticed, the fundies don’t give a flying fig if we are “leftists” or “rightists”. They want to force their opinions onto us regardless.

And bitching about things that don’t help, doesn’t help.

Comment #47488

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 6:16 PM (e)

If y’all want to declare that anyone who doesn’t care for a too-frequent sense of left-wing superiority that is manifest in the comments here, fine. Don’t slap the left-of-center commenters when they go on as they please in a political vein; only label as trolls the non-left-of-center anti-IDists who object. Very good strategy for building a coalition, that.

(sigh) We’re all commies, Mona, and we’re all out to get you.

Comment #47489

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 6:27 PM (e)

I think everyone should be an agnostic, but I won’t kill you if you’re not.

I think it could be argued that, deep down, everyone IS an agnostic, since *no one* alive knows any more about god or gods than anyone else alive does.

Killing infidels and apostates is not a fair method of argument.

But it can be a damn effective one.

IDers of course won’t (yet) go that far. But their “Big Tent” already shows signs of sagging severely.

Comment #47490

Posted by Mona on September 11, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

Nobody CARES about your “strong objections”, Mona. This blog isn’t your private soapbox. It’s not here for you to harangue “liberals” or “leftists” that you don’t like. Take it elsewhere

Fine. You really are not hearing me, and seem immune to my protestations (and Ken Willis’s) that the comments section here frequently exhibits a sense that non-leftists can only be idiots/wrong/stupid/dangerous.

You don’t care. PT is just for people who are either left-of-center, or for non-leftists who will humbly acquiesce, in silence, to political attacks on their positions that have nothing to do with ID. If any such person from the latter group objects, we are trying to hijack PT as our “private soapbox,” but commenters who declaim on the glories of leftwing thinking and/or who demonize non-leftists, that is on point here, and no cause for objection.

Got it.

Comment #47492

Posted by Mona on September 11, 2005 6:51 PM (e)

Very early in this thread, we had a discussion that elicited this comment: No, they were well aware of the irony; they made a big deal of Churchill and his statement in order to push the idea that the academy has been taken over by radical leftists.

Rev. Dr. Flank, when this sort of thing goes on – and it often does here – does it constitute a “hijacking” of the blog for a “private soapbox”? (Ken Willis, please note, did NOT introduce the subject of Ward Churchill.) Or does that hijacking occur only when people, like me, Willis (and Paul Gross) object to dismissing concerns about the politicization of the academy?

Comment #47493

Posted by Jim Harrison on September 11, 2005 6:53 PM (e)

Point of Information:

American universities are not dominated by the ideas of Ward Churchill, indeed nobody ever heard of that gentleman until he turned out to be useful as a boogie man. Meanwhile, the terrifying postmodernists are mostly found in small and unifluential departments like comparative literature and anthropology where, come to think of it, most of ‘em are getting a bit long in the tooth since the heyday of deconstructionism and gender studies was about 30 years ago. Most students major in subjects like business or computer science where profs are not exactly lefties.

The fantasy that conservatives endure an endless reign of terror from commissar-like profs is rhetorically useful, but I have seen very little evidence that has much to do with reality. I suspect that what really upsets rightist intellectuals is that they don’t get very much respect from educated people who aren’t particularly leftist.

Comment #47494

Posted by BlastfromthePast on September 11, 2005 6:59 PM (e)

PvM wrote:

BlastfromthePast wrote:

ts (not Tim) wrote:

ts (not Tim) wrote:

But SETI isn’t the notion that radio waves traveling through space cannot be explained without recourse to an intelligent designer.

Then what is it?

It is the set theoretic complement of chance and regularity. Or in other words a gap argument.

You sound like Jacques Monod.

Now, let me see… “SETI isn’t the notion that radio waves traveling through space cannot be explained without recourse to an intelligent designer”; yet, SETI stands for “Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence.” Anyone want to make some corrections to their posts?

Comment #47495

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 7:09 PM (e)

You sound like Jacques Monod.

And you sound like an uneducated high schooler. (shrug)

Monod, at least, had the capacity to do his own research. Unlike you, who brags about your, uh, “extensive study” of evolution but who not only gets all your, uh, “science” information from ID religious tracts and “ecological visionaries”, but never even heard of the most basic bits of information until *I* gave them to you. (snicker) (giggle)

You never did answer my question about why anyone should pay the slightest attention to your uneducated opinions, Blast….

Comment #47496

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 7:12 PM (e)

You don’t care. PT is just for people who are either left-of-center, or for non-leftists who will humbly acquiesce, in silence, to political attacks on their positions that have nothing to do with ID. If any such person from the latter group objects, we are trying to hijack PT as our “private soapbox,” but commenters who declaim on the glories of leftwing thinking and/or who demonize non-leftists, that is on point here, and no cause for objection.

You are either an utter paranoid, or you drink WAYYYYYYYY too much coffee, Mona.

Mona, listen very carefully to me ——– NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR POLITICAL OPINIONS.

Let me repeat that for you:

NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR POLITICAL OPINIONS.

Not “we’re all out to get you”.

Not “we conspire to keep your voice from being heard”.

Not “we love leftists”.

WE SIMPLY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR POLITICAL OPINIONS.

Get over yourself, Mona.

Geez.

Comment #47497

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 7:15 PM (e)

Rev. Dr. Flank, when this sort of thing goes on — and it often does here — does it constitute a “hijacking” of the blog for a “private soapbox”?

Yes, Mona, it does.

So how does YOUR adding to it, help? Instead of gently reminding everyone that this isn’t a political-discussion blog, why do you instead go off your nut with yet another Red Menace tirade?

Comment #47499

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 7:38 PM (e)

The fantasy that conservatives endure an endless reign of terror from commissar-like profs is rhetorically useful, but I have seen very little evidence that has much to do with reality.

I quite agree (there hasn’t been any sort of effective “left” in the US since the Wobblies were all arested in 1919).

But, I fear, this ain’t the place to discuss it.

On my DebunkCreation email list, I generally let everyone make offhand political/social/whatever comments when they want to. It helps humanize us all, and lets us all see each other as people instead of just words on a computer screen. Alas, the danger of that, as we have seen, is that there is ALWAYS some tight-*ss who wants to start a fight over it.

So this is the message that I periodically post to the list:

Many of us have been there on the list for several years and are “cyber-friends”, and we always are ready to welcome new cyber-friends. We are a very wide-ranging bunch. Geographically, we have list members from the US, UK, Canada, Sweden, South Africa, Australia, and probably elsewhere. Politically, we range from Republican to British Tory to Labour Party-ite to “yellow-dog Democrat” to Libertarian to “anarcho-syndicalist”(whatever the heck THAT means) ;> . Religiously,
we range from atheist to agnostic to Christian (from several different denominations, including a couple of ordained priests/ministers) to Jewish to Taoist/Buddhist. Mostly, we all get along. Mostly.
:>

Some of us here indeed are atheists or agnostics. Some of us, on the other hand, are ordained ministers of one sort or another. Some of us are conservatives, some of us are moderates, some of us are liberals, some of us are commies. Name a religious, social or political group, and there’s *very likely* someone here from it. Alas, the wide range in opinions that is found (and expressed) here does inevitably mean that, yes indeed, *everyone here* will hear beliefs and ideas that they disagree with, don’t like, and may even find absolutely utterly horrifyingly abhorent, distasteful, loathsome, blah blah blah. I can *absolutely guarantee* it.

Consider it a lesson in how to get along with people who are different than you are. (shrug)

What we ALL have in common, though, is that we firmly conclude (1) ID/creationism isn’t science and doesn’t belong in a science classroom, and (2) the separation of church and state MUST be upheld and protected against fundamentalist efforts to impose theocracy onto us.

ALL of us here, whether Democan, Republicrat, liberal, conservative, radical; atheist, theist, don’tgiveadamnist; straight, gay, both; male, female, both; black, white, Asian, Latin; Christian, Buddhist, Jewish; tastes great, less filling, or WHATEVER, oppose the efforts of the creationists/IDers and the Religious Right that holds their leashes. So remember that, despite all our differences, we are all on the same side here.

Anyone who agrees with the Wedge Strategy, is on our side. Anyone who disagrees, ain’t. We’re here to fight the ones who ain’t. Not the ones who are.

sounds of “We Are the World” in background>

“Can’t we all just … get along?”
–Rodney King

As for those who simply *cannot* tolerate those who are different than they are … well … I don’t think people like that will last very long here.

Comment #47500

Posted by Rich on September 11, 2005 7:39 PM (e)

Aha! I’ve tricked you all - in the future I will leave a timestamp somewhere on the internet to prove it. The reason I didn’t do it this time is, erm - look I know that it looks like a massive deflection / backpeddle but I thought I hit ‘submit’ on my timestamped entry but there must have been some server error or something and it was such a brilliant idea that I had to show how clever I’d been even though the proof was lacking. So there. It wasn’t that I got busted qoutemining (again) though. Oh no no no no no!

Ps - all the answers are in my book (and The GOOD book). I wont be dragged into this peer reviewed nonsense.

Comment #47501

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 7:43 PM (e)

Anyone who agrees with the Wedge Strategy, is on our side. Anyone who disagrees, ain’t. We’re here to fight the ones who ain’t. Not the ones who are.

DOH!!!!

See, that’s what I get for not proofreading. ;>

That should be “FIGHTING the Wedge Strategy”.

(Although, it may be helpful if I were to publicly convert to ID, worm my way into the Inner Circle, and clandestinely pass along all the inside strategies and secrets.)

Comment #47502

Posted by Moses on September 11, 2005 7:55 PM (e)

Comment #47365 Posted by carol clouser on September 10, 2005 09:51 PM

So folks here are just nit-picking Dembski in the extreme. It’s much ado about nothing. And it’s all so very disingenious and unscientific. Whether we like what Dembski is doing or not, and I don’t care for him at all, we still need to be fair. Let us reserve our criticism for more worthy situations.

Your criticism and analysis is incredibly flawed. Dembski isn’t striking at just one goal - to manufacture a non-existent controversy - and, thus, is “sexing up” his quotes.

He is also using these lies to whip up fevor in the footsoldiers and create a hostile environment in where reason and ideas are thrown aside for hostile polemics and broadening the “scientific dispute” into a broad-based cultural dispute lead by ignorants in what should be just a scientific endevour. In short, he is attempting to use the politics of anger to triumph over the merits of the argument.

Additionally, he is deliberately making a farce out of science. And he’s doing it in a way that gets people like you, to run interference as appologists due to their not quite getting that science runs on integrity and merit. And that by deliberately lying via quote mining, Dembski is showing the worst sort of character – that of a used-car salesman. In the realm of science, liars are ****.

Comment #47503

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 8:36 PM (e)

Ward Churchill, indeed nobody ever heard of that gentleman until he turned out to be useful as a boogie man.

As an aside, I *did* indeed hear of him, some twenty years ago. Churchill (a Cherokee) was at that time very active in Native American affairs and was, like Vine Deloria (an Oglala Lakota), a very good spokesman for the tribes (I, a precocious lad of 12, lived near the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1973 when the American Indian Movement took over Wounded Knee, and met Russell Means, Dennis Banks and Leonard Crow Dog at the time, and so I have also had a longstanding interest in “Indian” affairs). During the 1980’s, Churchill was very active in the efforts to expose the illegal COINTELPRO operations against AIM.

Both Churchill and Deloria were “traditionalists”, who asserted the right of the native tribes to their own national self-identity and existence. So characterizing them as “anti-American” is, in those quarters, a GOOD thing. ;> The traditionalists are, indeed, quite literally, anti-American. They do not consider themselves part of the US, and do not *want* to be part of the US. They consider themselves as an illegally occupied nation. And I think there is much merit in that view.

It is sad for me to see Deloria and Churchill recently descending into looniness, though. In their time, they were very effective at putting “Indian” affairs on the public agenda. Deloria’s book “Custer Died For Your Sins” is still a very very good description (and condemnation) of 20th century “Indian” affairs.

Comment #47504

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 11, 2005 8:39 PM (e)

carol clauser wrote:

Dembski is guilty … extreme … very disingenious and unscientific … Let us reserve our criticism for more worthy …

Quote mining is a powerful technique to those who are willing to use it to extreme extent.

Comment #47506

Posted by sanjait on September 11, 2005 8:51 PM (e)

IT’S MY FAULT, AND I’M SORRY: I brought up the Ward Churchill example.
My point wasn’t to say that people shouldn’t complain about the intellectual lock that “liberalism” or “leftists” have on some university departments (since in my experience, there is some truth to this). My point was that Bill O’Reilly and used a single insignificant college professor as an iconic straw man to represent universities or liberalism as a whole. This was, I thought, a simple and relevant analogy to how IDists seem to focus on Dawkins and his self-proclaimed atheism. Churchill’s opinions are unimportant and unknown to most liberals, and Dawkins’s books are unimportant and unknown to most evolutionary biologists.
So here is my updated list of people who have not contributed and are not relevant to my evolutionary biology education: Dawkins, Demski, Ward Churchill, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh.
I didn’t think it was a very political statement, I just assumed it was common knowledge among intellectuals that O’Reilly was a pointless gasbag, but I shall be more careful with assumptions in the future.

Comment #47507

Posted by ag on September 11, 2005 9:04 PM (e)

I see Robert O’Brien is back. Long time no see. Perhaps we well finally get from him the promised (a long time ago) explanation of Kantorovich metrics?

Comment #47511

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 9:27 PM (e)

I didn’t think it was a very political statement

It wasn’t. But as I noted earlier, there is ALWAYS some tight-*ss who can’t tolerate hearing opinions they don’t like, and wants to make a fight out of it. (sigh)

Comment #47513

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 11, 2005 9:29 PM (e)

I see Robert O’Brien is back. Long time no see. Perhaps we well finally get from him the promised (a long time ago) explanation of Kantorovich metrics?

No chance at all of getting a scientific theory of ID from him, I’m guessing … ?

Comment #47517

Posted by sanjait on September 11, 2005 9:47 PM (e)

Update from Demski’s site: I went to the post on uncommondescent where Demski claims to have pulled a trick on the people at PT (who he mentions specifically multiple times, I’m starting to think he doesn’t like you guys). Yesterday I posted the complete quote from Dawkins listed at the top of the page, and very politely explained how there seemed to be a large difference between “preferring” a theory, and accepting it as an “axiom that does not require empirical confirmation.” Today, it was interesting to observe how Demski edits the posts on his site. Some criticisms from Alan Fox were answered by Demski with a link, and triumphant but senseless mocking by “DaveScot”. Another criticism from “Germline”, polite but tongue in cheek, describes how ID could benefit from developing their modeling and probability models for evolution, as Behe suggests in his Protein Science paper. Demski just cut off his access, but left his post up with the strange note “[[Germline: You are very boring. Goodbye. –WmAD]]”
My post he simply deleted. I heard Demski has no tolerance for criticism, and I am sad to report that my polite and simple post got me banned on my first try. So much for indulging the controversy.

Comment #47518

Posted by PvM on September 11, 2005 9:54 PM (e)

Dembski is far more predictable than he realized. Of course asking Dembski for details as to how the flagellum evolved using more realistic models is of little interest to ID proponents. After all ignorance is their friend.

Scientific vacuity the consequence.

Comment #47519

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 11, 2005 10:11 PM (e)

Robert OBrien wrote:

I highlighted in bold the part quoted by Dembski. I believe that the omission of the “If I am right” and the removal of “(there is, of course)” significantly changes the meaning of what Dawkins was actually saying.

You believe wrongly.

Tim wrote:

More than that, he capitalized a letter to make it appear that the quote was the start of a sentence, rather than the consequent of a conditional. In other words, Dembski is a lying piece of scum.

No.

I’m not Tim, and you’re a moron.

BlastOfGas wrote:

Now, let me see… “SETI isn’t the notion that radio waves traveling through space cannot be explained without recourse to an intelligent designer”; yet, SETI stands for “Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence.” Anyone want to make some corrections to their posts?

As are you. Notably, some radio waves traveling through space can be explained without recourse to an intelligent designer. The word “yet” there suggests some sort of inference, but it’s not the sort that would be made by an intelligent, rational thinker.

Comment #47520

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 11, 2005 10:21 PM (e)

Norman Doering wrote:

I think if you’re going to defeat ID you’re going to need to read ID books and know what you’re talking about.

SEF does know what he’s talking about, and he doesn’t need to read ID books to do so, any more than it’s necessary to read astrology, homeopathy, or phrenology books, the Book of Mormon, the works of Mary Baker Eddy, the Bhagavad Gita, Dianetics, etc. etc.

Comment #47521

Posted by steve on September 11, 2005 10:36 PM (e)

SETI, now that’s an interesting topic. Is the SETI project using Dembski’s CSI to detect design in the signals? If not, why not?

Comment #47522

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 11, 2005 10:38 PM (e)

Mona wrote:

Very early in this thread, we had a discussion that elicited this comment: No, they were well aware of the irony; they made a big deal of Churchill and his statement in order to push the idea that the academy has been taken over by radical leftists.

Rev. Dr. Flank, when this sort of thing goes on — and it often does here — does it constitute a “hijacking” of the blog for a “private soapbox”?

Methinks Mona doth protest too much. sanjait suggested that Bill O’Reilly didn’t realize that Ward Churchill would have been virtually unknown if O’Reilly hadn’t made a big deal of him, but that makes no sense – O’Reilly made a big deal of him because he wanted people to know about him, and specifically he wanted people to know that people like Churchill (i.e., radical leftists) had tenure and was teaching in an American university. That was the whole point of O’Reilly’s campaign against Churchill, regardless of whether one thinks that’s a good thing or not, or whether one thinks the point is valid or not. I simply pointed out the fact about O’Reilly’s motivation, and that O’Reilly knew just what he was doing, just as the creationists know what they’re doing when they advertise that Dawkins is an atheist evolutionary biologist.

Comment #47523

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 11, 2005 10:44 PM (e)

Ken Willis wrote:

P.S. Do you think maybe Ward Churchill’s problems might have a little more to do with him, his blatant plagiarism, false bio, and his labeling those who died in the smoking towers on 9/11 as “little Eichmanns” than it does with Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh?

I realize that it takes a certain amount of intelligence to grasp this, but no one here defended Ward Churchill. The point made was simply that O’Reilly and Limbaugh made Churchill and his various sins far better known than they would have been otherwise.

Comment #47524

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 11, 2005 10:49 PM (e)

No chance at all of getting a scientific theory of ID from him, I’m guessing … ?

Like David Heddle, I prefer “cosmological ID.” I think “biological ID” has problems.

Comment #47525

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 11, 2005 10:52 PM (e)

Tim wrote:

I’m not Tim, and you’re a moron.

Pithy.

Comment #47527

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 11, 2005 11:01 PM (e)

I see Robert O’Brien is back. Long time no see. Perhaps we well finally get from him the promised (a long time ago) explanation of Kantorovich metrics?

Once I obtain Dr. Rachev’s book on probability metrics and confer with him about it I’ll let you know.

Comment #47528

Posted by Norman Doering on September 11, 2005 11:05 PM (e)

ts (not Tim) wrote:
“… he doesn’t need to read ID books … any more than it’s necessary to read astrology, homeopathy, or phrenology books, the Book of Mormon, the works of Mary Baker Eddy, the Bhagavad Gita, Dianetics, etc. etc.”

Actually, if you want to know for sure if astrology is bunk, you do have to read what its advocates say and then test their claims. Same with knowing scientology is bunk, you better get it from the horses mouth and test their claims – or else you’re going on faith…. faith that others have.

Actually, I do have that faith and I don’t read all those books… but I also can’t claim to “know” homeopathy and phrenology are frauds, I just assume it. I’m not even sure what homeopathy is.

Comment #47529

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 11, 2005 11:11 PM (e)

Actually, you don’t.

Comment #47530

Posted by Yamikage on September 11, 2005 11:12 PM (e)

Does Demsbki delete posts alot on his blog? I tried to clarify for poster jboze3131 why some people might view this as dishonest quote mining, trying not to use any ad hominems or insults or anything like that, and my posts were deleted about 15 minutes after posting them.

What I said was this (I didn’t save either of the actual posts, unfortunately, so this is from memory, though it should be pretty accurate as I just typed all of this not too long ago):

“Look at what Dawkins wrote: “My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of the Darwinian theory (there is, of course) we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories”

Compare this to Dembski’s quoting of the same: “Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.”

The way that Dembski quotes Dawkins makes Dawkins look like an idiot (notice also that Dembski capitalizes a letter that is not capitalized in the actual book and thus gives the false impression that this is the beginning of a sentence). What Dawkins actually says, however, is perfectly logical; if Darwinism is, in fact, the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life (which may or may not be true, but notice how Dawkins says “If I am right…” which means that we are operating under the assumption that this is true), then it (even if it has no actual real-world evidence that suggests it is true) has an advantage over other theories, theories that cannot even explain these aspects of life in principle, and thus it is preferable.

I hope this helps you see a little clearer why some view Dembski’s quote as a distortion of Dawkins words and an example of “quote-mining.””

A few minutes later I posted again to add:

“To add to what I wrote above, note also that Dembski removes “(there is, of course)” in his quoting of Dawkins, yet he does not give any indication that something was removed. I’m not going to say that he purposefully misquoted Dawkins, but can anyone honestly say that someone who views this is as dishonest quoting of Dawkins is not justified when letters are capitilized that weren’t capitilized in the source material, when parts are removed without any indication of their removal, when reading the previous sentences changes the meaning of the quoted portion, ect.? Even if you disagree with the idea that Dembski did this on purpose just to make Dawkins look bad, hopefully you can see why some people see it this way.”

I really don’t see why anything like that would be worthy of deletion. No foul language, no ad hominems, no being rude to anyone, ect.

This makes me wonder: Why did it get deleted? Has anyone else had something like this happen to them?

Comment #47531

Posted by Norman Doering on September 11, 2005 11:13 PM (e)

Robert OBrien wrote:
“I prefer ‘cosmological ID.’ I think ‘biological ID’ has problems.”

Define Intelligence.

If you’re going to claim an intelligence did something then you ought to be able to clarify exactly what intelligence is.

Does being intelligent mean you necessarily have desires and emotions, or are computers intelligent?

Comment #47532

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 11, 2005 11:15 PM (e)

Define Intelligence.

If you’re going to claim an intelligence did something then you ought to be able to clarify exactly what intelligence is.

Ask someone who has ruminated on that question, like David Heddle.

Comment #47533

Posted by Norman Doering on September 11, 2005 11:17 PM (e)

ts (not Tim) wrote: “Actually, you don’t.”

Bald assertion. Why not? Support your claim.

Comment #47534

Posted by Norman Doering on September 11, 2005 11:21 PM (e)

Robert OBrien wrote: “Ask someone who has ruminated on that question, like David Heddle.”

No. I read Marvin Minsky (among others) to know what intelligence is. From that alone I can say neither you nor David Heddle know what intelligence is if you believe in any version of ID.

Comment #47535

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 11, 2005 11:25 PM (e)

I read Marvin Minsky (among others) to know what intelligence is.

That works.

Comment #47536

Posted by sanjait on September 11, 2005 11:33 PM (e)

Yamikage: My post on Demski’s site said almost exactly the same thing as yours, even with a deferential tone (“I may be mistaken, but I interpreted Dawkins entire quote as saying…”), and my post was also deleted. I’d say we are the newest members of probably a large club of people who have ideas to which Demski is unable to respond. The fact that he deletes any reference to Dawkins’s full quote does strongly suggest that he is deliberately misleading his followers. Bad form WmAD.

ANd also, it’s pretty funny to see Salvador’s comments on the site, if you practice shaudenfreude. He actually calls Demski “Master Obiwan” as he quotes a recent Demski blog entry to Demski. I feel sad for him when I imagine him one day in a few years, after Demski finally loses it calls himself “Jesus” in a fraudian slip, and Sal will have the painful realization that his belief in the Newton of IT for all those years was completely wasted.

Comment #47537

Posted by steve on September 11, 2005 11:47 PM (e)

Dembski:Salvador::Boss Hogg:Roscoe P. Coltrane

Comment #47538

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 11, 2005 11:49 PM (e)

Dembski:Salvador::Boss Hogg:Roscoe P. Coltrane

LOL! You are funny every so often.

Comment #47540

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 11, 2005 11:54 PM (e)

Norman Doering wrote:

Bald assertion.

No more bald than yours.

Why not? Support your claim.

For the same reason that we didn’t need to be there when saber tooth tigers became extinct to know that they did. The idea that you must have read Dianetics to know whether Scientology is bunk, and that a belief that it is is mere faith if you haven’t read it, is absurdist epistemology. You would do better to go with inference to the best explanation.

Robert OBrien wrote: “Ask someone who has ruminated on that question, like David Heddle.”

No. I read Marvin Minsky (among others) to know what intelligence is. From that alone I can say neither you nor David Heddle know what intelligence is if you believe in any version of ID.

See, you don’t really believe your absurdist epistemology.

BTW, Marvin says that we think someone is intelligent when we don’t know how they figured something out.

Comment #47541

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 12, 2005 12:07 AM (e)

This makes me wonder: Why did it get deleted?

Because you said something critical of Dembski.

Comment #47542

Posted by ag on September 12, 2005 12:13 AM (e)

Robert O’Brien wrote

Once I obtain Dr. Rachev’s book on probability metrics and confer with him about it I’ll let you know.

Certainly you mean, Robert, that you need a meeting with Dr. Rachev to first explain to him Kantorovich metrics, and only after that you’ll deign to explain it to the poor underqualified contributors to PT? We’re waiting.

Comment #47545

Posted by Ken Willis on September 12, 2005 12:27 AM (e)

ts (not Tim) wrote:

I realize that it takes a certain amount of intelligence to grasp this, but no one here defended Ward Churchill. The point made was simply that O’Reilly and Limbaugh made Churchill and his various sins far better known than they would have been otherwise.

Yeah, no tim, it does take a certain amount of intelligence to read the English language.

sanjait wrote:

Maybe it is because I’m a relatively young graduate student, but I had never heard of Dawkins until I read ID arguments. It reminds me about the hullabaloo over Ward Churchill a while back, where Bill O’Reilly and other blowhards bloviated about how he was spreading an anti-American message, but they didn’t see the irony in the fact that Churchill would have been an obscure and unheard of college professor if the columnists and talkshow hosts didn’t make him into a media phenomenon.

That’s defending Ward Churchill and it ain’t the first time you fruitcakes have done it. So why don’t you stick to science before I am forced to conclude that none of you know anything about that either?

Comment #47546

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 12, 2005 12:31 AM (e)

That’s defending Ward Churchill and it ain’t the first time you fruitcakes have done it.

It is obvious to anyone who isn’t a moron that it’s not.

So why don’t you stick to science before I am forced to conclude that none of you know anything about that either?

No one cares what you conclude.

Comment #47548

Posted by carol clouser on September 12, 2005 12:38 AM (e)

Mona,

Did you not realize that there is a wolf pack roaming the corridors of this blog, consisting of the trio of Ts, Lenny and SEF and led by the alpha male himself Gray Wolf, whose purpose in life it is to sniff out undersirable opinions. One is welcome here, in the view of these self-appointed guardians of the faith, only if one agrees totally with the party line or if one comes begging for nuggets of wisdom and offers no backtalk. If you ordain to disagree, particularly if your cogent arguments give them a real run for their money, they pounce on you with mindless profanity and invective. And this is the “tolerant” blog, mind you! It has chased quite a few decent folks away. I would recommend you do what I do. Post whatever and whenever you want to say something and ignore the pack.

By way of illustration, let us take another look at this very thread. I pointed the following out earlier and got called a lying lapdog and a few other choice descriptions, but the substance of my argument was entirely avoided. So I will rephrase it, perhaps that will help the idea get the attention it merits.

Dawkins clearly proposes, in what he calls a “more armchair approach,” that EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF ACTUAL EVIDENCE we are justified in preferring evolution over all rival theories if it can be ARGUED (and he proceeds to argue) that it is IN PRINCIPLE the only theory capable of explaining CERTAIN ASPECTS of life. What does Dembski propose? He argues, also IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE (although he doesn’t say that loudly enough) that CHANCE and REGULARITY cannot explain certain aspects of life and the only alternative remaining is DESIGN which can explain those aspects. Thus, he concludes, DESIGN is the preferred theory. What do the fountains of wisdom on this blog do? They jump all over Dembski. They demand to know, where is the evidence? where is the science? But when Dawkins makes a serious proposal in his book to the public (armchair or otherwise) along the very same lines, what do we get here? No jumping on Dawkins but attacking the messenger, Dembski! And for what? For not quoting Dawkins with perfect accuracy!

That is why I raised (#47365) the issue of fairness here, but it fell, as usual here, on deaf ears. The point is, what is good for the goose, is good for the gander. And this is totally independent of what anyone thinks of the merits of either Dembski’s or Dawkins’ views. The misquotes constitute a distinction without a difference. And these attackes on Dembski are nothing but overkill.

I now await the return of the wolf pack.

Comment #47549

Posted by Arden Chatfield on September 12, 2005 12:39 AM (e)

That’s defending Ward Churchill and it ain’t the first time you fruitcakes have done it. So why don’t you stick to science before I am forced to conclude that none of you know anything about that either?

Conclude whatever you like. No one here has the slightest interest in making you approve of them.

Comment #47552

Posted by Norman Doering on September 12, 2005 12:50 AM (e)

ts (not Tim) wrote:
“For the same reason that we didn’t need to be there when saber tooth tigers became extinct to know that they did.”

That’s not a very good metaphor. We do need to see a fossil of the tiger to know they once existed and we need to know there aren’t any more lurking around where we can’t see them. I would say it’s only highly probable that saber tooth tigers do not exist any more. Are you sure there’s not one alive somewhere?

“The idea that you must have read Dianetics to know whether Scientology is bunk,…”

Okay, I over stated my case. I was wrong. You still have to know what is being claimed and whether those claims can be tested. If you’re not getting it from the horse’s mouth at some point, then you have to trust someone else to accurately represent those claims. It is rare even among skeptics to get a fair representation of claims from someone they’re shooting down.

“… and that a belief that it is is mere faith if you haven’t read it, is absurdist epistemology.”

Well, I would say that most human beings are stuck with that absurdist epistemology to some level for most things they make judgements about.

Certainly the less you study a subject, the less you can claim to know about it. If you’re not getting some data directly from the horse’s mouth, you’re not seriously studying the subject and don’t know as much as you might think.

“You would do better to go with inference to the best explanation.”

Inference is important, but it’s not certain.

“See, you don’t really believe your absurdist epistemology.”

Not true. We’ll not true in this case. I have read Dembski and other ID advocates including cosmological IDers. I do need a clue to their claims and I trust them to make clear ones (they don’t really). I know from this that they think that at least God’s intelligence is necessarily a “supernatural” phenomena (God is after all the ultimate in supernatural phenomena). Something immaterial that is uncreated, unevolved. Some spooky unknown thing floating around out there.

Reading Minsky’s “The Society of Mind” clues one into the fact that intelligence as we humans know it is a necessarily incrementally evolved and material phenomena. How can a necessarily incrementally evolved and material phenomena exist before there is evolution and a material universe?

Any talk of intelligence existing before either life or the universe must make supernatural assumptions about intelligence.

“BTW, Marvin says that we think someone is intelligent when we don’t know how they figured something out.”

That’s not a definition of intelligence, by that measure you would have to say evolution is SEEMINGLY intelligent since we can’t figure out how all things evolved.

A better short definition would be: “Intelligence is the ability to solve problems.”

Comment #47553

Posted by Norman Doering on September 12, 2005 1:00 AM (e)

I said: “I read Marvin Minsky (among others) to know what intelligence is.”

Robert OBrien wrote: “That works.”

Not for any form of IDer. Minsky studies intelligence in evolutionary and materialistic ways.

“What magical trick makes us intelligent? The trick is that there is no trick. The power of intelligence stems from our vast diversity, not from any single, perfect principle.”
- Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind, page 308
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_Mind_theory

IDers need that “perfect principle.” But it’s an illusion.

Comment #47555

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 12, 2005 1:06 AM (e)

Mona,

We are well aware of Paul Gross- his professional achievements and his political opinions. He and I agree on quite a bit in spite of the fact that I am as far to the left as he is to the right- even stranger is that I am an anthropologist who professionally employs aspects of linguistic analysis some might confuse with “deconstruction.” Personally, I can assure you that Paul’s opinion of Bill O’Reilly is, if possible, even lower than mine and he will not be put off if poor Bill is “disrespected.”

For that matter, the entire “quote mine” issue is one of literary analysis. Dembski’s insistence that he is entitled to distort other peoples work is so perfectly “postmodern” that I nearly suspect the irony is purposeful. Maybe I should employ the Explanitory Filter Decoder Ring.

Regarding reading creationists generally, and IDist specifically, I agree here with Norman Doering. If one is to go beyond casual disagreement, or repeating the critical comments of trusted others, one must read creationist work very carefully. PT contributers and the TalkDesign list are very active in the discussion and study of the creationist position. The book many of us contributed to, Why Intelligent Design Fails grew out of a discussion group on Dembski’s book No Free Lunch. Years ago I found that I had to renew subscriptions to Nature and Science just so that there would be a bit of reality in my daily reading of creationists.

Comment #47557

Posted by The Kenosha Kid on September 12, 2005 1:15 AM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

Dawkins clearly proposes, in what he calls a “more armchair approach,” that EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF ACTUAL EVIDENCE we are justified in preferring evolution over all rival theories if it can be ARGUED (and he proceeds to argue) that it is IN PRINCIPLE the only theory capable of explaining CERTAIN ASPECTS of life. What does Dembski propose? He argues, also IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE (although he doesn’t say that loudly enough) that CHANCE and REGULARITY cannot explain certain aspects of life and the only alternative remaining is DESIGN which can explain those aspects. Thus, he concludes, DESIGN is the preferred theory. What do the fountains of wisdom on this blog do? They jump all over Dembski. They demand to know, where is the evidence? where is the science? But when Dawkins makes a serious proposal in his book to the public (armchair or otherwise) along the very same lines, what do we get here? No jumping on Dawkins but attacking the messenger, Dembski! And for what? For not quoting Dawkins with perfect accuracy!

Without using excessive capitalization, I would suggest that Dawkins states that the idea of evolution makes more sense than other ideas that have been presented. In other words, what we see makes sense in light of evolution. Our observations (e.g. male nipples) do not make as much sense in light of other hypotheses.

Of course, perhaps my ideas will not be as impressive if I do not capitalize important words.

The Kenosha Kid

Comment #47559

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 12, 2005 1:18 AM (e)

Inference is important, but it’s not certain.

Well, duh. Welcome to empirical epistemology 1. You can’t escape inference or uncertainty, even by reading the works of IDists. Your argument has passed the point of absurdity, and merits no further rebuttal.

“BTW, Marvin says that we think someone is intelligent when we don’t know how they figured something out.”

That’s not a definition of intelligence,

Complain to Marvin, who defines it that way; see, e.g., http://groups.google.com/group/comp.ai.philosophy/msg/1521ac06926cec79

A better short definition would be: “Intelligence is the ability to solve problems.”

Spiders and very simple computer programs have the ability to solve problems, which is one of the reasons that MM, among many others, rejects such a simplistic definition. MM’s position is that, when you try to try to shore up that definition to eliminate all the cases that you don’t want included and keep all the cases you do want included, you end up with something like his subjective definition.

Comment #47560

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on September 12, 2005 1:18 AM (e)

He argues, also IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE (although he doesn’t say that loudly enough) that CHANCE and REGULARITY cannot explain certain aspects of life and the only alternative remaining is DESIGN which can explain those aspects. Thus, he concludes, DESIGN is the preferred theory.

Please read this.

Comment #47561

Posted by Norman Doering on September 12, 2005 1:27 AM (e)

carol clouser wrote:
“Dawkins clearly proposes, …that EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF ACTUAL EVIDENCE we are justified in preferring evolution over all rival theories if it can be ARGUED (and he proceeds to argue) that it is IN PRINCIPLE the only theory capable of explaining CERTAIN ASPECTS of life.”

There is a point to that. The principle is that Darwin’s theory of natural selection tells us what to expect and how to classify the life we find (as a tree or maybe a web or net relating the sharing of genetic information and gradual differentiation). You get some sense of life’s limits that are in principle falsifiable (there shouldn’t be any jumps, chickens won’t suddenly give birth to a dog).

You don’t really get any expectations from ID theory without some idea of the intelligence you want to propose.

“Dembski … also IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE (although he doesn’t say that loudly enough) that CHANCE and REGULARITY cannot explain certain aspects of life and the only alternative remaining is DESIGN which can explain those aspects. Thus, he concludes, DESIGN is the preferred theory.”

The problem is Dembski is wrong about that. If you look at my earlier posts you’ll find one where I say that specified complexity and irreducible complexity fail to define information that can’t be generated by genetic and evolutionary algorithms.

“No jumping on Dawkins but attacking the messenger, Dembski! And for what? For not quoting Dawkins with perfect accuracy!”

That’s because Dawkins didn’t do anything wrong, but Dembski did. Dawkins is right. Evolution by means of natural selection is to be preferred on principal even if the evidence were not yet there.

Dembski is wrong to think evolution by natural selection can not be falsified just because he failed to do so. We didn’t necessarily have to find DNA that clearly mutates and changes in measurable ways after Darwin, we didn’t necessarily have to find the fossils that strongly indicate Darwin was right and there are transitions and branchings between species, we didn’t necessarily have to get positive results when we experimented with genetic and evolutionary algorithms. All those things could have resulted in data that falsified evolution – but they didn’t.

What does ID tell you to expect? Should life forms be related on a tree-like structure?
What experiments does it suggest? Praying for a positive mutation?

Comment #47563

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 12, 2005 1:39 AM (e)

Gary Hurd wrote:

If one is to go beyond casual disagreement, or repeating the critical comments of trusted others, one must read creationist work very carefully.

I would argue that one can go far beyond casual disagreement by reading your book and other critical works about creationism. This isn’t simply “repeating the critical comments of trusted others” – that is, as I’ve noted, absurdist epistemology. I have enough information from enough different sources to have very high confidence in my beliefs about ID. Of course I don’t “know” about ID in Norman’s sense of avoiding being “not certain” – no one can “know” the facts in that sense.

Carol Clouser wrote:

Did you not realize that there is a wolf pack roaming the corridors of this blog

Poor poor Carol. Boy will she be surprised when she learns that, when it comes to her defense of Dembski’s quote mining, Mona is likely to join the “pack” of “wolves” who point out Carol’s many errors and misrepresentations.

The Kenosha Kid wrote:

Without using excessive capitalization, I would suggest that Dawkins states that the idea of evolution makes more sense than other ideas that have been presented.

He makes a much stronger statement: that the theory of evolution is the only theory that makes a certain kind of sense, namely that it’s the only theory (that we know of) that can explain “certain aspects of life”.

Comment #47564

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 12, 2005 1:45 AM (e)

carol clouser wrote:
“Dawkins clearly proposes, …that EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF ACTUAL EVIDENCE we are justified in preferring evolution over all rival theories if it can be ARGUED (and he proceeds to argue) that it is IN PRINCIPLE the only theory capable of explaining CERTAIN ASPECTS of life.”

There is a point to that.

There’s a better point when Clouser’s misrepresentation is noted; what Dawkins proposed that we would be justified in preferring evolution if he correctly argued that it is in principle the only theory …. And it’s that all important “If I’m right” that Dembski, dishonest scumball that he is, omitted, an omission that changes something nearly tautologous into something that appears merely arrogant.

Comment #47569

Posted by Norman Doering on September 12, 2005 2:04 AM (e)

I said: Inference is important, but it’s not certain.

ts (not Tim) wrote:
“Well, duh. Welcome to empirical epistemology 1. You can’t escape inference or uncertainty, even by reading the works of IDists. Your argument has passed the point of absurdity, and merits no further rebuttal.”

I stated that badly. Let me re-word it: Inference is necessarily lower on the scale of confidence than a tested clear claim. There are things you can be certain of; that 1+1=2, that if I claim I can make a neural net that can recognise faces and I do make one – then it is certain that I can make one. If someone says pigs can fly and they show me a pig flying then, barring any magic tricks, pigs can fly. If Dembski really can show us something that cannot evolve then he has won.

“Spiders and very simple computer programs have the ability to solve problems,”

Not really. Computer programs don’t own the problem. It was a computer programmer who solved the problem by writing the programs. Who is intelligent, the program or the programmer?

I can be impressed by a program and feel the mystery of how did they write that, but who owns the problem being solved?

Spiders (organic living spiders, not the web search spiders) do have a kind of intelligence. They have a nervous system.

“… one of the reasons that MM, among many others, rejects such a simplistic definition. MM’s position is that, when you try to try to shore up that definition to eliminate all the cases that you don’t want included and keep all the cases you do want included, you end up with something like his subjective definition.”

I actually agree with Minsky there about how people use the word “intelligence” subjectively and how we want to find some absolute *thing* to apply the word to (Minsky called it the “perfect principle”). If there’s no such thing, then it’s wasting everyone’s time to try to define that one thing. And indeed, in “The Society of Mind” Minsky shows how an intelligence can be a collection of independent intelligent agents that are individually dumb but together do smarter things.

But I am not defining one thing by saying intelligence is the ability to solve problems. I’m just putting intelligence in context. What do you do with intelligence? You solve problems (is there anything else? We play, do art so its not all inclusive).

That’s why I ask people to define intelligence and throw out different definitions to get them thinking about that very thing.

Comment #47570

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 12, 2005 2:15 AM (e)

Not really. Computer programs don’t own the problem. It was a computer programmer who solved the problem by writing the programs. Who is intelligent, the program or the programmer?

You’ve changed the subject from ability to history. Even if the program came from rolling dice, it would still have the ability to solve problems. And as someone who has written programs for nearly 40 years, I can tell you that if I could solve the problem I generally wouldn’t need to write the program that solves it.

Of course it’s the programmer, not the program, that we consider intelligent, and that’s why your definition fails. Once again, I’m unimpressed by your arguments and don’t think they merit further rebuttal. g’night.

Comment #47574

Posted by Norman Doering on September 12, 2005 2:51 AM (e)

ts (not Tim) wrote: “You’ve changed the subject from ability to history.”

Not really. The ability to solve problems necessarily implies you have problems. Writing or evolving a computer program is a way to solve a problem you can’t solve another way.

What this gets at is why do most people think it’s the programmer and not the program that is intelligent. Indeed you are right, the program may have more ability than you in some narrow task. We still don’t respect the program and most people won’t until they see the program looking smarter. One way to do that is to let programs own problems.

“Even if the program came from rolling dice, it would still have the ability to solve problems.”

Whose problem? How can a computer program solve its own problems when it doesn’t care if you erase it or if the problem gets solved?

“And as someone who has written programs for nearly 40 years, I can tell you that if I could solve the problem I generally wouldn’t need to write the program that solves it.”

But writing the program is solving the problem. Are you ready to step outside conventional ideas of intelligence and call some computer program intelligent?

“Of course it’s the programmer, not the program, that we consider intelligent, and that’s why your definition fails.”

No. That’s why it works. It tells you why most people think its the programmer and not the program that’s smart.

“Once again, I’m unimpressed by your arguments and don’t think they merit further rebuttal. g’night.”

That may be your problem, not mine.

Comment #47584

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 12, 2005 4:23 AM (e)

Certainly you mean, Robert, that you need a meeting with Dr. Rachev to first explain to him Kantorovich metrics, and only after that you’ll deign to explain it to the poor underqualified contributors to PT? We’re waiting.

Amusing, but no. Dr. Rachev is the “father” and I am the “son” and sequitur patrem, non passibus aequis.

Comment #47585

Posted by SEF on September 12, 2005 5:17 AM (e)

Please read this

As I pointed out elsewhere, it’s really the Discovery Suppression Institute. Dembski’s filter being just one means to that end.

Comment #47589

Posted by L.T. Paladin on September 12, 2005 6:30 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #47590

Posted by L.T. Paladin on September 12, 2005 6:34 AM (e)

“I believe that the omission of the “If I am right” and the removal of “(there is, of course)” significantly changes the meaning of what Dawkins was actually saying.”

Notice he never says WHY the meaning changes.

Comment #47592

Posted by Alan (Fox) on September 12, 2005 6:50 AM (e)

sanjait wrote:

Some criticisms from Alan Fox were answered by Demski with a link, and triumphant but senseless mocking by “DaveScot”.

Re 47517,47530 & 47536

My posts are disappearing too. I’ve re-registered several times there as I find I am unable to log on with registration details. I’ve taken a couple of screen shots, which nicely demonstrate the practice. As I don’t have a fixed ISP address. he can’t block it.

The responses I received boiled down to “buy the books (NFL &TDI)” and I am forced to conclude that Bill’s goals are financial, rather than religious, confirmed by this latest thread.

Comment #47597

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 12, 2005 7:04 AM (e)

No chance at all of getting a scientific theory of ID from him, I’m guessing … ?

Like David Heddle, I prefer “cosmological ID.” I think “biological ID” has problems.

Like David Heddle, no chance of getting a scientific theory of “comsological ID” from you, I’m guessing … ?

Such as: What did the designer do, specifically?

What mechanisms did it use to dow hatever the heck you think it did?

Where can we see any of these mechanisms doing anything today?

How can we test any of this using the scientific method?

Comment #47598

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 12, 2005 7:05 AM (e)

Ask someone who has ruminated on that question, like David Heddle.

I did.

He ran away.

Comment #47599

Posted by Alan on September 12, 2005 7:09 AM (e)

Lenny wrote:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/09/dembski_quote_m.html#comment-47499

Hear! Hear!

Comment #47600

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 12, 2005 7:10 AM (e)

That’s defending Ward Churchill and it ain’t the first time you fruitcakes have done it. So why don’t you stick to science before I am forced to conclude that none of you know anything about that either?

I think you should jsut go ahead and conclude that we don;t know anything about that either.

Indeed, you should jsut conclude that we don’t know anything about ANYTHING.

And then you should conclude that it’s a waste of your time to bother with all us uneducated commie dupes, and that it would be a better use of your time to go somewhere else, where your political genius would be better appreciated.

Bye. (waving as you ride off into the sunset on your pure white horse)

What an asshole.

Comment #47601

Posted by nikolaos stathopoulos on September 12, 2005 7:12 AM (e)

It is my first comment on this site and i want to say that i really respect all opinions.The only remark i have to make is that directing ad hominem arguments against people whose views we do not approve of does not do anything to promote science and in fact is contrary to any conception of morality which should characterise the conduct of educated people.Thank you very much for letting me express my opinion.

Comment #47602

Posted by Alan on September 12, 2005 7:24 AM (e)

Oops error in link #47592.

Link should be this.

OTOH it does demonstrate the vacuity of ID :)

Comment #47603

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 12, 2005 7:25 AM (e)

I now await the return of the wolf pack.

Still pissed ‘cause no one will buy the book you are here shilling for, Carol?

Comment #47604

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 12, 2005 7:27 AM (e)

Like David Heddle, no chance of getting a scientific theory of “comsological ID” from you, I’m guessing … ?

Such as: What did the designer do, specifically?

What mechanisms did it use to dow hatever the heck you think it did?

Where can we see any of these mechanisms doing anything today?

How can we test any of this using the scientific method?

Lenny:

You should be asking these questions of someone else. However, my short response is that “cosmological ID” lies on the cusp of physical science and philosophy and is not wholly contained in either.

Comment #47605

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 12, 2005 7:30 AM (e)

I did [ask David Heddle].

He ran away.

David Heddle left PT because he was routinely subjected to unwarranted to abuse.

Comment #47606

Posted by Alan on September 12, 2005 7:33 AM (e)

Hi Nico

you wrote:

…ad hominem arguments against people whose views we do not approve of…

Would an example be Dembski is a devious charlatan? This is a simple and easily demonstrable fact. Or had you other examples in mind?

Comment #47607

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 12, 2005 7:42 AM (e)

Would an example be Dembski is a devious charlatan? This is a simple and easily demonstrable fact.

No, it is a false assertion, nothing more.

Comment #47608

Posted by Alan on September 12, 2005 8:03 AM (e)

Robert O’Brien

I reiterate easily demonstrable. Have a look at Professor Perakh’s article here

Amongst many examples there I draw your attention to the section headed “The Displacement Problem” and how he deals with David Wolpert’s criticisms.

Comment #47609

Posted by nikolaos stathopoulos on September 12, 2005 8:06 AM (e)

HI ALAN
PROFESSOR DEMBSKI IS AN INTELLECTUAL WHO SOMETIMES BECOMES VERY ARROGANT.THE SAME HOLDS FOR PROFESSOR DAWKINS.I TRY TO FOLLOW THEIR SCIENTIFIC CLAIMS AND I AM NOT INTERESTED IN THEIR PERSONAL RIVALRY.
BEST WISHES,NICK.

Comment #47610

Posted by Alan on September 12, 2005 8:07 AM (e)

For clarity:

…and how he deals.. should be …and how the devious charlatan, Dembski deals…

Comment #47611

Posted by Alan on September 12, 2005 8:13 AM (e)

NICK

MY ADVICE IS ALSO TO DISTIGUISH BETWEEN A SCIENTIFIC CLAIM AND CHARLATANRY.

Regards
Alan

Comment #47612

Posted by SteveF on September 12, 2005 8:23 AM (e)

Robert,

You might want to check out the following for an example of Dembski lying:

http://evolutionblog.blogspot.com/2005/05/study-in-id-duplicity.html

Comment #47614

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 12, 2005 8:30 AM (e)

Robert O’Brien

I reiterate easily demonstrable. Have a look at Professor Perakh’s article here

Amongst many examples there I draw your attention to the section headed “The Displacement Problem” and how he deals with David Wolpert’s criticisms.

I do not have a very high opinion of Mark Perakh’s opining. And I contacted Dr. Wolpert myself.

Comment #47615

Posted by Robert OBrien on September 12, 2005 8:32 AM (e)

Robert,

You might want to check out the following for an example of Dembski lying:

Already seen it and don’t agree.

Comment #47616

Posted by Alan on September 12, 2005 8:50 AM (e)

Robert O’Brien

And I contacted Dr. Wolpert myself.

…and what did Professor Wolpert say? I am hoping to hear from him myself when he’s back from his holiday. Were you querying something in Wolpert’s article on Jello?

Comment #47623

Posted by BlastfromthePast on September 12, 2005 9:55 AM (e)

ts (not Tim) wrote:

As are you. Notably, some radio waves traveling through space can be explained without recourse to an intelligent designer. The word “yet” there suggests some sort of inference, but it’s not the sort that would be made by an intelligent, rational thinker.

Just love your ad hominem arguments–so much meat to them. Yes, we know about quasars, which, of course, emit radio frequencies. But in “searching” for “intelligence”, SETI is, as in the movie Contact, looking for radio-frequency patterns that bear the mark of intelligence. That’s exactly what Dembski’s work deals with; and your characterization of his analogy seems simply like an absurd caricature. Nice try, though.

Comment #47624

Posted by Alan on September 12, 2005 10:02 AM (e)

Blasstfromthepast wrote:

Yes, we know about quasars, which, of course, emit radio frequencies. But in “searching” for “intelligence”, SETI is, as in the movie Contact, looking for radio-frequency patterns that bear the mark of intelligence. That’s exactly what Dembski’s work deals with;…

I knew I was missing something in Dembski’s work.

Radio!

Comment #47625

Posted by Alan on September 12, 2005 10:04 AM (e)

Excuse typo. S/B “work”

Comment #47627

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on September 12, 2005 10:33 AM (e)

Robert,

You might want to check out the following for an example of Dembski lying:

Already seen it and don’t agree.

In which case, you should provide the precise reasons why you ‘don’t agree’. As it stands, you provide an opinion that a well-documented instance of lying on the part of Dembski is wrong. Your opinion, as weighed against the actual analysis of both Dembki’s writing and the original work from which the quote was taken, is worthless.

However, since you have been unable (or unwilling) to provide any evidence to back up any of your other opinions, I won’t hold my breath that you’ll demonstrate any intellectual integrity in this case, either.

Comment #47630

Posted by PatrickS on September 12, 2005 10:58 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'i'

Comment #47632

Posted by PatrickS on September 12, 2005 11:03 AM (e)

Rev Dr Larry Flank wrote:
I think it could be argued that, deep down, everyone IS an agnostic, since *no one* alive knows any more about god or gods than anyone else alive does.

That is quite a presumptuous and arrogant statement, don’t you think Reverend? Just because you believe that doesn’t mean everyone believes that. That is really what the ID debate is all about. I would take that argument up with you because you are, in FACT, WRONG!

Comment #47635

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on September 12, 2005 11:39 AM (e)

See, the problem is that some people mistake the verb “to believe” to be a synonym of the verb “to know”.

I agree with the Rev. Dr.; when it comes to “knowing”, we are ALL agnostics (some of us simply refuse to acknowledge this fact).

Thus we have theistic agnostics (“I don’t know whether god(s) exist(s) but I believe so”) and atheistic agnostics (“I don’t know whether god(s) exist(s) and I don’t believe so”).

Of course, this would make the word “agnostic” completely pleonastic; it would be more parsimonious to use the age-old words “theist” (one who believes in the existence of one or more gods) and “atheist” (one who doesn’t).

Sorry for the interruption. I promise I won’t contribute further to the derailment of the discussion.

Comment #47641

Posted by Ken Willis on September 12, 2005 11:59 AM (e)

Rev Dr. Lenny Flank wrote:

What an asshole.

Brilliant argument. You really know how to turn a phrase. Wish I could write like that.

Comment #47642

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on September 12, 2005 12:01 PM (e)

But in “searching” for “intelligence”, SETI is, as in the movie Contact, looking for radio-frequency patterns that bear the mark of intelligence.

That’s a persistent antievolutionist myth. The real SETI is looking for narrow-bandwidth carriers, not “patterns” in received signals. The FAQ answer demonstrates this, noting that trying to figure out any “message” is not part of the current SETI project.

Comment #47651

Posted by sanjait on September 12, 2005 12:47 PM (e)

It seems blastfromthepast needs it spelled out for him. SETI doesn’t look for “design” exactly, it looks for radio signals that look like the radio signals that humans emit, focused in a narrow band, as they are believed not to occur in nature. If they find such a signal, they will no doubt conference and earnestly hypothesize on whether the signal they observe could in fact be from any known natural sources.
There are many places where the IDists SETI/archaeology/forensics analogies fail. In all those fields, the searchers aren’t looking for some abstract and ill-defined concept called “design.” They are looking for known hallmarks of human activity, derived from first-hand knowledge of what humans are capable of doing. Even SETI bases, while looking for nonhuman activity, bases its search on what is known about how humans use radio waves. All those fields are also willing and able to subject their methods to vigorous peer-review and attempts at falsification.
By contrast, IDists make bald assertions (Behe- irreducible complexity) and use entirely fraudulent mathematical models of evolution (Demski), which have been neither demonstrated to be true nor subjected to peer-review and falsification. They claim to detect “design,” although they cannot describe the source, the time, the place, the methods or anything about the designer or how they designed or what they designed, except apparently the flagellum.
SETI/archaeologists/crime scene investigators all base their methods on experience observing human methods, and don’t claim the ability to see an abstract concept called “design” or “intelligence.”
Although that idea raises the interesting possibility; next time I commit a crime I might try the ID defense. While the forensic evidence points to my guilt, I’ll just say that given all the variables in the universe it was mathematically improbable for me to be at that place and time, and that they can’t prove that it wasn’t the intelligent designer of the universe who had in fact committed the crime, using unkown methods in an unknown way for an unknown reason. Would you pronounce me “not guilty” Blastfromthepast?