Ed Brayton posted Entry 1485 on September 17, 2005 10:22 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1481

Fresh off his electrifying performance on the Daily Show, the intrepid Dr. Dembski is still, it seems, attempting to do comedy. Witness the extraordinary chutzpah it took to write this post about the speaking schedule of NCSE staffers. He writes:

Have a look at http://www.ncseweb.org/meeting.asp. One of my colleagues describes reading this page as “watching a car wreck.” I’m just sorry we can’t get a percentage cut from all the speaking engagements they are getting as a result of attacking us. Life is so unfair.

Well Bill, we’d love to have a cut of your speaking fees, and of the fees you charged the Thomas More Law Center for your expert witness work on the Dover trial (over $100,000, if I recall correctly, while all of the experts on our side donated their time and took only expenses), and of all the books you write in the copious free time that you save by avoiding publishing your claims for a scientific audience, books for which you find a ready audience in the churches among people who, as a group, have little hope of understanding your ideas. For that matter, I’m sure the NCSE staff would sacrifice body parts to get even a small percentage of the funding that the Discovery Institute enjoys. The DI has enough money laying around to give fellowships to rougly five times as many people as the NCSE has on their entire staff, not to mention the multiple directors, staff members, spokespeople and legal counsels they have and the PR firm they can afford to hire (more on that later).

Several things things should impress you about this page. First, the number of talks to atheist organizations; second, the number of talks paid for by university biology departments; and third, Eugenie Scott’s willingness to travel.

Well let’s take a look, shall we? The number of atheist groups….I count exactly one, a group called “Atheists United”, to whom Glenn Branch spoke last week. He’s probably counting Rationalists, Empiricists and Skeptics of Nebraska as an “atheist group”, but that is illogical. One does not have to be an atheist to be a rationalist, empiricist or skeptic. In fact, Genie Scott appeared at their conference last week along with Chuck Austerberry, a Christian and founder of the Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education.

He might also be counting Americans United for Separation of Church and State as an “atheist group”, but that is patently false. That organization is headed by a Baptist minister and about half of their board of trustees are Christians.

The number of university biology departments that invite Genie to speak is notable….why, exactly? He doesn’t complete the implication with any conclusion, it’s just thrown out there as though it was meaningful. I suppose it could mean that university biology departments are concerned about the attempts to water down science education and distort science for the purpose of religious indoctrination, so they ask Genie to speak to give them updates on what is happening in that arena. But somehow I doubt Dembski would see it that way. Still, this appears to be an argument by insinuation without bothering to spell out what exactly is being insinuated.

Lastly, why is Genie’s willingness to travel and speak so noteworthy? A charitable person might see this as indicative of someone highly dedicated to their job. Just another argument by insinuation without the actual insinuation. But even more chutzpah can be found in this post, about the letter signed by 38 Nobel Prize laureates and sent to the Kansas State Board of Education. In his list of complaints against this letter, he writes, presumably with a straight face:

Why don’t they instead put the energy into presenting scientific rebuttals against our side?…Doesn’t that choice — to allocate resources to PR instead of scientific rebuttals (which they always accuse Discovery of doing) — reveal that something is seriously amiss with standard evolutionary theory?

I’ll take Textbook Examples of Psychological Projection for $1000, Alex. This is stunning even for a man as disingenuous as Dembski. When asked, for example, why he doesn’t develop a scientific theory of ID and publish it in the science journals so that it may be examined by other experts in the field to see if it holds water - you know, the way the advocates of every other idea in science do - Dembski responded:

Baylor’s Mr. Dembski also has little interest in publicizing his research through traditional means. “I’ve just gotten kind of blasé about submitting things to journals where you often wait two years to get things into print,” he says. “And I find I can actually get the turnaround faster by writing a book and getting the ideas expressed there. My books sell well. I get a royalty. And the material gets read more.”

And as far as focusing on PR rather than on scientific research, all one can say is wow. This is a bit like watching Mike Tyson accuse someone else of being mentally unstable. It takes extraordinary gall to make that argument when the Discovery Institute just hired a huge PR firm, the same firm that handles AT&T, to help them peddle their wares. Does Dembski think that this suggests that “something is seriously amiss with intelligent design”? Of course not.

When IDers hire actual PR firms to sell their ideas, that doesn’t suggest anything negative about ID. But when evolution advocates write a letter to a school board advocating evolution, he calls that an undue focus on PR and suggests that this proves something wrong with evolution. Dr. Dembski works at a seminary; one would think he’d have stumbled across the biblical concept of not pointing out the splinter in someone else’s eye when one has a log in their own by now.

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Comment #48579

Posted by Martin on September 17, 2005 10:23 AM (e)

It continues to be a tragedy that real scientists doing real science in the interests of expanding humanity’s knowledge about the world are continually distracted by the hand-waving, self-serving shenanigans of Dembski and the rest of the ID frauds in the interests of stifling knowledge and defending fundamentalist dogmas.

Comment #48582

Posted by Skip on September 17, 2005 10:31 AM (e)

Years ago someone predicted to me that the ID movement, through lack of any real scientific theory, publications or research, would eventually slide into the same state of irrelevance as Young Earth Creationism.

The first example I saw of this prediction coming to fruition was WAD appearing at a conference alongside the likes of “Dr.” Carl Baugh.

But Dembski, as he continually loses his grip on reality, is far more entertaining than even Baugh. If I were a psychologist, I would say that Bill is suffering the same kind of frustration and petulance the skinny kid with glasses on the playground feels when he can’t “play with the big boys.” And indeed, as the criticisms of his work go unanswered, the tantrums are only mounting.

The next piece of evidence that ID will be standing next to the water boy on the sidelines will surely be Dover.

What is also amusing, and quite revealing, is years back Dembski referred to NCSE as a “cheesy little non-profit”… and then goes and rents a PO Box and calls it an “Institute,” complete with phone lines to the various officers with extensions. However, the extensions were all single digits. This seemed odd. I’ve worked in a lot of offices, but never one with single digit extensions.

The building he claimed was the “suite” turned out to be a Mailboxes Etc!
http://www.antievolution.org/people/dembski_wa/ISCIDoffice.jpg

This little stunt took “cheesy” to a whole new level.

So it is with great amusement, as my friend’s prediction continues to come true, we watch Dembski lead the charge to marginalization.

Comment #48586

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 17, 2005 11:00 AM (e)

First, the number of talks to atheist organizations

So much for that whole “ID isn’t about religion” thingie, huh Bill.

I always suspected you were flat-out lying to us about that. Thanks for confirming it so publicly. I hope you testify to that in Dover.

Ohhhhh, that’s right ——- you got your butt kicked OUT of the Dover trial, didn’t you.

So sorry about that. Gee, I can’t understand for the life of me why the Thomas More Law Center wouldn’t want to have the much-vaunted Isaac Newton of Information Theory testifying.

But look on the bright side, Isaac — at least when the IDers lose in Dover, your syncophantic sidekicks like Sal can all give you verbal ***jobs about how they only lost because YOU weren’t there.

Comment #48588

Posted by Shirley Knott on September 17, 2005 11:06 AM (e)

You know, there’s another aspect of this that I’ve not seen pointed out, and that is the total irrelevency of Dembski’s claims even if he is correct and there are things that natural science takes to be undesigned that are in fact designed.
There are two things he’s not taking into account (nor are Heddle, Scott, Behe, Cordova, or any of the rest of the IDiots):
some things exist which are not designed, else WAD et al have no basis or ability to extract properties as indicative of design.
When you put this together with the fact we know of many designs which are never implemented, we can clearly see that design is reduced to a scientific irrelevency.
If things may come about in undesigned fashion, design *by itself* is not sufficient. It cannot be since we have countless examples of designs which are not implemented and of implementations which were not designed.
Implementation, the act of doing with the design or according to the design is essential.
And all that we know about doing with design is mechanistic. So even if we were to determine that the FSM, sauce be upon him, designed the universe, we are still fully warranted to seek the mechanisms by which the thing designed is brought to being. And that is what science does – it is never about design, it is always about implementation.
And it is absurd for Dembski or his ilk to claim that they are doing science without need of mechanism. If all he wants to claim is that he is studying design per se, fine, but we might well ask why he doesn’t broaden his field to include the unambiguous cases.

hugs,
Shirley Knott

Comment #48589

Posted by bill on September 17, 2005 11:11 AM (e)

What was better about Dembski on the Daily Show, the irony or the farce?

To me the best part of the show was when Jon asked Dembski:

Jon: Which came first? The religious conversion or the evidence convincing you?

Dembski: )pause( The religious conversion.

Watch here.

Comment #48590

Posted by Jim Harrison on September 17, 2005 11:14 AM (e)

Political movements need money and usually aren’t too scrupulous about how they acquire it since even illegal activities can be excused as means to an end–before the revolution, Stalin used to rob banks. Of course most revolutions don’t come off, but there’s a consolation prize. It is often possible to go on using even a Lost Cause to make more money for a long time. Various organizations of the old right, for example, morphed into straight-up mail fraud after the failure of McCarthy. If ID flops as a movement, as I think it is beginning to do in a country that is obviously getting a little fed up with reaction, I expect that people like Dembski will go for years on cashing checks for delivering the same old spiel, though, like many an aging TV actor, I expect he’ll find himself invited to less and less impressive venues for less and less money. Well, cutting the ribbon on the new strip mall isn’t grand work, but it’s a living.

Comment #48591

Posted by Les Lane on September 17, 2005 11:23 AM (e)

Thanks for the publicity for Rationalists, Empiricists and Skeptics of Nebraska. We are indeed a congenial mixture of theists and atheists (and probably others as well).

Comment #48592

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on September 17, 2005 11:30 AM (e)

In 2003, the Discovery Institute used $122,809.00 for travel expenses, when in the same year NCSE spent $16,803.00. The DI’s travel budget that year was over 7 times the size of NCSE’s travel budget for 2003.

I’m looking forward to speaking at the Greer-Heard Forum next spring. I wonder if Dembski will complain about that one, seeing as he is on the panel there, too.

Comment #48597

Posted by Mike Walker on September 17, 2005 12:39 PM (e)

Can anyone remember Dembski ever admitting to making a mistake–and not laughing it off as inconsequential or irrelevant?

I can’t.

It’s this sort of behaviour that places this man firmly in the company of people like Baugh, Ham, and Hovind. It doesn’t matter how complete and irrefutable the evidence against him (e.g. in this very topic) he won’t–no, *can’t*–admit to being mistaken.

I’ve come across people like that in my own life, and they can be incredibly frustrating to be around. Even the most grevious of mistakes are brushed off as an irrelevance. I’ve found they don’t make for good friends or good colleagues.

For example, Dembski proclaims to be a Christian, and yet he constantly churns out snide and mean-spirited attacks on anyone he see as an enemy. No thought of taking the high-road, no consideration for even the most basic of Christian virtues. And what does he do when confronted about his behaviour? Laugh it off as a big joke.

I’m curious to know if there is a proper psychiatric term for this type of personality. He might make an interesting psychological study one of these days :-)

Comment #48598

Posted by Ed Darrell on September 17, 2005 1:05 PM (e)

The serious questions are completely left off of Dembski’s tantrum: Why isn’t Discovery Institute talking to university departments? What about all those religious groups Discovery Institute addresses – why no science groups?

Genie Scott is talking evolution to scientists. Bill Dembski, a professor at a theological institution, is talking religion to churches. And he has the gall to complain about Scott’s work for education?

Maybe it’s not gall at all. Maybe it’s a lack of wit.

Wasn’t it Euripides who said, “Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad?”

Comment #48599

Posted by Jim Lippard on September 17, 2005 1:06 PM (e)

Dave Scot writes at Dembski’s blog:

“Ed doesn’t seem to grasp what those speaking engagements have in common.

Hey Ed, does the phrase “preaching to the choir” ring any bells for you?

LOL”

Is Genie speaking to undergrads more “preaching to the choir” than ID theorists speaking to a church (where “preaching” may be a more literal description of what’s going on)?

Comment #48603

Posted by Mike Walker on September 17, 2005 1:42 PM (e)

It’s Dave Scott who doesn’t grasp what the speaking engagements are about…

From the NCSE web site:

We educate the press and public about the scientific, educational, and legal aspects of the creation and evolution controversy, and supply needed information and advice to defend good science education at local, state, and national levels. Our 4000 members are scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens with diverse religious affiliations.

Seems to lil’ ol’ me that the most of the speaking engagements are doing exactly what the mission of NCSE is all about.

Try again Dave…

Comment #48606

Posted by George Mason on September 17, 2005 1:50 PM (e)

Speaking of GMU and its IDEA club, does this pro-ID college organization allow non-Christians to join, or are IDEA centers Christians-only clubs?

George Mason University has an anti-discrimination policy that reads

The University’s non-discrimination policy prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, sex, or age.

For more information, see:

www.gmu.edu/facstaff/policy/sexb.html
www.gmu.edu/equity/discrimination_prohibiting.shtml
www.gmu.edu/facstaff/handbook/aA/discrimination.html

Comment #48607

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on September 17, 2005 1:51 PM (e)

IIRC, Dembski’s bill to the Thomas More Legal Center was closer to $22,000 than to $100,000.

Comment #48612

Posted by Skip on September 17, 2005 2:19 PM (e)

I do believe meetings to IDEA clubs are open to anyone, but a few years back I attended a conference sponsored, in part I believe, by the IDEA clubs. In a meeting about how to organize an IDEA club on your campus Casey Luskin pointed out that only Christians could hold positions of leadership in an IDEA club.

Which brings up an interesting question: If ID is really about science and not about religion, what is the scientific basis for the institutionalized religious discrimiation practiced by the IDEA clubs?

Do they have a “Jesus Gene” that the rest of us don’t? And if so, is there a plausible evolutionary pathway for this gene? Is it a duplicate/modification of the John, Mark, Matthew or Luke gene?

Maybe this could be the first actual scientific problem for ID to take on.

Comment #48615

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on September 17, 2005 2:26 PM (e)

George asked:

Speaking of GMU and its IDEA club, does this pro-ID college organization allow non-Christians to join, or are IDEA centers Christians-only clubs?

Our GMU constitution allows them to join and be even be elected. However if non Christians are elected to become officers, the club can continue under it’s constitution, but it can no longer be a recognized as sanctioned chapter by the IDEA center in San Diego, but rather would have to delcare itself a renegade ID chapter.

We would have to rename our club to something like “EA” instead of IDEA. :-)

Or better yet, the renegade organization could be renamed the “The William Dembski fan Club”. :-)

See my comments on the issue:
Is GMU trying to Justify a Witch Hunt?

Salvador

Comment #48616

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on September 17, 2005 2:26 PM (e)

The real irony so far as people not getting a cut, of course, are the thousands of evolutionary biologists whose work ID advocates parasitize, and who don’t get a dime from the ID advocates’ “talks” around the country. (I was at a lab get-together of a group at U.C. Davis the other night, where we were talking about the number of graduate students in evolutionary biology a department could support with the level of funding one DI CRSC Fellow receives. The number we came up with was between three and four. The typical evo-bio grad student, they said, manages at least a couple of scientific publications during grad school, and many produce a lot more than that. Compare that with the post-ID-recruitment scientific productivity of the major ID advocates, and it’s like I said in 2001 at the CSICOP conference, “Maybe the DI is funding the wrong people.”)

I can’t think of a single thing produced by ID advocates de novo. Either they’ve passed on, pretty much verbatim, arguments made by young-earth and old-earth creationists before them, re-worked young-earth and old-earth creationist arguments (expansion of “What good is half a wing?” into “irreducible complexity”, expansion of “Tornado in a junkyard” into “specified complexity”, bringing in different examples for Paleyist argument, etc.), or used critical-sounding stuff from the biological literature as a jumping-off point for their own misinterpretations. Yeah, there’s a basic unfairness to be pondered, but it certainly isn’t the one Dembski thinks it is.

Comment #48617

Posted by Skip on September 17, 2005 2:32 PM (e)

Hey Salvador,

What does the IDEA Center have against non-Christians?

How are they less qualified to lead an IDEA club than Christians are?

Or are the IDEA clubs really about religion?

I would have no beef at all if they would just confess that IDEA clubs are really about evangelizing, and therefore, Christians are best suited to lead such clubs. That is more than reasonable.

But to claim that IDEA clubs are about science, and then disenfranchise groups that have non-Christians on the board is just plain crap.

Comment #48618

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 17, 2005 2:33 PM (e)

Our GMU constitution allows them to join and be even be elected. However if non Christians are elected to become officers, the club can continue under it’s constitution, but it can no longer be a recognized as sanctioned chapter by the IDEA center in San Diego, but rather would have to delcare itself a renegade ID chapter.

Is there a legitimate scientific reason for that, Sal, or is this just plain old-fashioned religious bigotry we are seeing?

By the way, Sal, last time you were here, you ran away without answering a few questions. So I’ll ask again. And again and again and again and again, every time you show up here, until you either answer or run away. I want every lurker who comes in here to see that you are nothing but an evasive dishonest coward.

(1) what is the scientific theory of creation (or intelligent design) and how can we test it using the scientific method?

I do *NOT* want you to respond with a long laundry list of (mostly
inaccurate) criticisms of evolutionary biology. They are completely
irrelevant to a scientific theory of creation or intelligent design.
I want to see the scientific alternative that you are proposing—-
the one you want taught in public school science classes, the one
that creationists and intelligent design “theorists” testified under
oath in Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas and elsewhere is SCIENCE and is
NOT based on religious doctrine. Let’s assume for the purposes of
this discussion that evolutionary biology is indeed absolutely
completely totally irretrievable unalterably irrevocably 100% dead
wrong. Fine. Show me your scientific alternative. Show me how your
scientific theory explains things better than evolutionary biology
does. Let’s see this superior “science” of yours.

Any testible scientific theory of creation should be able to provide
answers to several questions: (1) how did life begin, (3) how did the
current diversity of life appear, and (3) what mechanisms were used
in these processes and where can we see these mechanisms today.

Any testible scientific theory of intelligent design should be able
to give testible answers to other questions: (1) what exactly did
the Intelligent Designer(s) do, (2) what mechanisms did the
Designer(s) use to do whatever it is you think it did, (3) where can
we see these mechanisms in action today, and (4) what objective
criteria can we use to determine what entities are “intelligently
designed” and what entities aren’t (please illustrate this by
pointing to something that you think IS designed, something you think
is NOT designed, and explain how to tell the difference).

If your, uh, “scientific theory” isn’t able to answer any of these
questions yet, then please feel free to tell me how you propose to
scientifically answer them. What experiments or tests can we
perform, in principle, to answer these questions.

Also, since one of the criteria of “science” is falsifiability, I’d
like you to tell me how your scientific theory, whatever it is, can
be falsified. What experimental results or observations would
conclusively prove that creation/intelligent design did not happen.

Another part of the scientific method is direct testing. One does
not establish “B” simply by demonstrating that “A” did not happen. I
want you to demonstrate “B” directly. So don’t give me any “there
are only two choices, evolution or creation, and evolution is worng
so creation must be right” baloney. I will repeat that I do NOT want
a big long laundry list of “why evolution is wrong”. I don’t care
why evolution is wrong. I want to know what your alternative is, and
how it explains data better than evolution does.

I’d also like to know two specific things about this “alternative
scientific theory”: How old does “intelligent design/creationism theory”
determine the universe to be. Is it millions of years old, or
thousands of years old. And does ‘intelligent design/creationism theory’
determine that humans have descended from apelike primates, or
does it determine that they have not.

I look forward to seeing your “scientific theories”. Unless of course you don’t HAVE any and are just lying to us when you claim to.

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

(3)

What, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than, say, weather forecasting or accident investigation or medicine. Please be as specific as possible.

I have never, in all my life, ever heard any weather forecaster mention “god” or “divine will” or any “supernatural” anything, at all. Ever. Does this mean, in your view, that weather forecasting is atheistic (oops, I mean, “materialistic” and “naturalistic” —- we don’t want any judges to think ID’s railing against “materialism” has any RELIGIOUS purpose, do we)?

I have yet, in all my 44 years of living, to ever hear any accifdent investigator declare solemnly at the scene of an airplane crash, “We can’t explain how it happened, so an Unknown Intelligent Being must have dunnit.” I have never yet heard an accident investigator say that “this crash has no materialistic causes — it must have been the Will of Allah”. Does this mean, in your view, that accident investigation is atheistic (oops, sorry, I meant to say “materialistic” and “naturalistic” — we don’t want any judges to know that it is “atheism” we are actually waging a religious crusade against, do we)?

How about medicine. When you get sick, do you ask your doctor to abandon his “materialistic biases” and to investigate possible “supernatural” or “non-materialistic” causes for your disease? Or do you ask your doctor to cure your naturalistic materialistic diseases by using naturalistic materialistic antibiotics to kill your naturalistic materialistic germs?

Since it seems to me as if weather forecasting, accident investigation, and medicine are every bit, in every sense,just as utterly completely totally absolutely one-thousand-percent “materialistic” as evolutionary biology is, why, specifically, is it just evolutionary biology that gets your panties all in a bunch? Why aren’t you and your fellow Wedge-ites out there fighting the good fight against godless materialistic naturalistic weather forecasting, or medicine, or accident investigation?

Or does that all come LATER, as part of, uh, “renewing our culture” … . . ?

(4) The most militant of the Ayatollah-wanna-be’s are the members of the “Reconstructionist” movement. The Reconstructionists were founded by Rouas J. Rushdoony, a militant fundamentalist who was instrumental in getting Henry Morris’s book The Genesis Flood published in 1961. According to Rushdoony’s view, the United States should be directly transformed into a theocracy in which the fundamentalists would rule directly according to the will of God. “There can be no separation of Church and State,” Rushdoony declares. (cited in Marty and Appleby 1991, p. 51) “Christians,” a Reconstructionist pamphlet declares, “are called upon by God to exercise dominion.” (cited in Marty and Appleby 1991, p. 50) The Reconstructionists propose doing away with the US Constitution and laws, and instead ruling directly according to the laws of God as set out in the Bible—they advocate a return to judicial punishment for religious crimes such as blasphemy or violating the Sabbath, as well as a return to such Biblically-approved punishments as stoning.

According to Rushdoony, the Second Coming of Christ can only happen after the “Godly” have taken over the earth and constructed the Kingdom of Heaven here: “The dominion that Adam first received and then lost by his Fall will be restored to redeemed Man. God’s People will then have a long reign over the entire earth, after which, when all enemies have been put under Christ’s feet, the end shall come.” (cited in Diamond, 1989, p. 139) “Christian Reconstructionism,” another pamphlet says, “is a call to the Church to awaken to its Biblical responsibility to subdue the earth for the glory of God … Christian Reconstructionism therefore looks for and works for the rebuilding of the institutions of society according to a Biblical blueprint.” (cited in Diamond 1989, p. 136) In the Reconstructionist view, evolution is one of the “enemies” which must be “put under Christ’s feet” if the godly are to subdue the earth for the glory of God.

In effect, the Reconstructionists are the “Christian” equivilent of the Taliban.

While some members of both the fundamentalist and creationist movements view the Reconstructionists as somewhat kooky, many of them have had nice things to say about Rushdoony and his followers. ICR has had close ties with Reconstructionists. Rushdoony was one of the financial backers for Henry Morris’s first book, “The Genesis Flood”, and Morris’s son John was a co-signer of several documents produced by the Coalition On Revival, a reconstructionist coalition founded in 1984. ICR star debater Duane Gish was a member of COR’s Steering Committee, as was Richard Bliss, who served as ICR’s “curriculum director” until his death. Gish and Bliss were both co-signers of the COR documents “A Manifesto for the Christian Church” (COR, July 1986), and the “Forty-Two Articles of the Essentials of a Christian Worldview” (COR,1989), which declares, “We affirm that the laws of man must be based upon the laws of God. We deny that the laws of man have any inherent authority of their own or that their ultimate authority is rightly derived from or created by man.” (“Forty-Two Essentials, 1989, p. 8). P>The Discovery Institute, the chief cheerleader for “intelligent design theory”, is particularly cozy with the Reconstructionists. The single biggest source of money for the Discovery Institute is Howard Ahmanson, a California savings-and-loan bigwig. Ahmanson’s gift of $1.5 million was the original seed money to organize the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture, the arm of the Discovery Institute which focuses on promoting “intelligent design theory” (other branches of Discovery Institute are focused on areas like urban transportation, Social Security “reform”, and (anti) environmentalist organizing).

Ahmanson is a Christian Reconstructionist who was long associated with Rushdooney, and who sat with him on the board of directors of the Chalcedon Foundation – a major Reconstructionist think-tank – for over 20 years, and donated over $700,000 to the Reconstructionists. Just as Rushdooney was a prime moving force behind Morris’s first book, “The Genesis Flood”, intelligent design “theorist” Phillip Johnson dedicated his book “Defeating Darwinism” to “Howard and Roberta” – Ahmanson and his wife. Ahmanson was quoted in newspaper accounts as saying, “My purpose is total integration of Biblical law into our lives.”

Ahmanson has given several million dollars over the past few years to anti-evolution groups (including Discovery Institute), as well as anti-gay groups, “Christian” political candidates, and funding efforts to split the Episcopalian Church over its willingness to ordain gay ministers and to other groups which oppose the minimum wage. He was also a major funder of the recent “recall” effort in California which led to the election of Terminator Arnie. Ahmanson is also a major funder of the effort for computerized voting, and he and several other prominent Reconstructionists have close ties with Diebold, the company that manufactures the computerized voting machines used. There has been some criticism of Diebold because it refuses to make the source code of its voting machine software available for scrutiny, and its software does not allow anyone to track voting after it is done (no way to confirm accuracy of the machine).

Some of Ahmanson’s donations are channeled through the Fieldstead Foundation, which is a subspecies of the Ahmanson foundation “Fieldstead” is Ahmanson’s middle name). The Fieldstead Foundation funds many of the travelling and speaking expenses of the DI’s shining stars.

Ahmanson’s gift of $1.5 million was the original seed money to organize the Center for Science and Culture, the arm of the Discovery Institute which focuses on promoting “intelligent design theory”. By his own reckoning, Ahmanson gives more of his money to the DI than to any other poilitically active group – only a museum trust in his wife’s hometown in Iowa and a Bible college in New Jersey get more. In 2004, he reportedly gave the Center another $2.8 million. Howard Ahamnson, Jr sits on the Board Directors of Discovery Institute.

Since then, as his views have become more widely known, Ahmanson has tried to backpeddle and present a kinder, gentler image of himself. However, his views are still so extremist that politicians have returned campaign contributions from Ahmanson once they learned who he was.

So it’s no wonder that the Discovery Institute is reluctant to talk about the funding source for its Intelligent Design campaign. Apparently, they are not very anxious to have the public know that most of its money comes from just one whacko billionnaire who has long advocated a political program that is very similar to that of the Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

Do you repudiate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson, and if so, why do you keep taking his money anyway? And if you, unlike most other IDers, are not sucking at Ahmanson’s teats, I’d still like to know if you repudiate his extremist views.

Oh, and your latest round of blithering about “anti-God” and “anti-religion” prompts yet another question, Sal (whcih, of course, you also will not answer).

(5) Sal, you must KNOW that your ID heroes are in court right now
trying to argue that creationism/ID is SCIENCE and has NO RELIGIOUS
PURPOSE OR AIM. You must KNOW that if the courts rule that
creationism/ID is NOT science and IS nothing but religious doctrine,
then your ID crap will never see the inside of a science classroom. So
you must KNOW that every time you blither to us that creationism/ID
is all about God and faith and the Bible and all that, you are
UNDERMINING YOUR OWN HEROES by demonstrating, right here in public,
that your heroes are just lying under oath when they claim that
creationism/ID has NO religious purpose or aims.

So why the heck do you do it ANYWAY? Why the heck are you in here
yammering about religion when your own leaders are trying so
desperately to argue that ID/creationism is NOT about religion? Are
you really THAT stupid? Really and truly?

Why are you in here arguing that ID/creationism is all about God and the Bible, while Discovery Institute and other creationists are currently in Kansas and Dover arguing that ID/creationism is NOT all about God and the Bible?

Why are you **undercutting your own side**????????

I really truly want to know.

Comment #48619

Posted by Edin Najetovic on September 17, 2005 2:39 PM (e)

Much as I know that ID’ists in America need a thorough kicking since rational arguments and science seem to be blatantly ignored by them, I still can not agree to the increasingly ad hominem attacks that are being launched on this site. Educative as I find it (being a linguist myself), it is increasingly becoming more of a slugfest and less in-depth response to people or discussion of evolutionary theories (I quite enjoyed the article on lateral gene transfer posted her e not long ago).

Admittedly, I see things differently here since I am in Europe but I do not see why good and respectable scientists should lower themselves to shouting matches with creationists in disguise using only such arguments as ‘but you do it much worse than us!’ whereas the real argument gets muddled by all this. Maybe I don’t underestimate the American christian lobby, but can anyone in the higher-ups be ultimately convinced by fallacies? That answer should be ‘no’, which means there should be no attacks on ID the kind I’ve seen. If the answer is ‘yes’, then I’m happy that I’m dutch and not American…

Comment #48620

Posted by Mike Walker on September 17, 2005 2:51 PM (e)

Our GMU constitution allows them to join and be even be elected. However if non Christians are elected to become officers, the club can continue under it’s constitution, but it can no longer be a recognized as sanctioned chapter by the IDEA center in San Diego, but rather would have to delcare itself a renegade ID chapter.

So, in other words, Salvador, the IDEA organization is merely paying lip service to college anti-discrimination rules in full knowledge that no chapter is going to want to risk losing its official sanction by electing one of those “many” non-Christian ID-supporters to its board.

Nice of you to point this out, but I’m not sure you did yourself any favours.

Comment #48621

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on September 17, 2005 2:52 PM (e)

See my comments on the issue:
Is GMU trying to Justify a Witch Hunt?

Salvador

I was referring to the NCSE visit, not the constitutional issue of IDEA chapters.

Skip asked:

Which brings up an interesting question: If ID is really about science and not about religion,

ID at the college level is a totally different ball game than the argument over ID in the public schools and peer-reviewed journals.

ID in the colleges is about voluntary open discussion and exploration among the students.

There are many Christians on the college campuses, many are science majors, some are creationists. IDEA is targeted to teach them ID, to help this demographic group who are naturally friendly to design to apply their sceintific learning in weighing the case for ID vs. purely naturalistic origins.

Many of the Christians and creationists are for the first time learning about ID’s “science only” approach of IDists, versus the “scripture only” approach of the creationists.

The loophole I give the creationists is the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:20 where the “science only” approach is offered. IDEA is an outreach to the students who may have strong religious commitments to not be afraid of what science will teach them about origins, as we believe that science indicates intelligent design, and that can be quite re-assuring to those of a strong religious persuasion….

It is those students, who are already inclined by their world view, but who are science majors (especially biology majors) who are interested to hear what we have to say. It’s up to them to decide if IDist have a better case than the Darwinists.

I’ve yet to see any biology major/IDists in our Virgina chapters ever “de-converted” to Darwinism. Our arguments seem to do a good job of immunizing them from Dariwian indoctrination and brain washing. It’s very hearting to see them get diplomas and dissing Darwin at the same time. :-)

Many of the ID leaning physcians (37 to 60% of the physicians) were ID leaning biology students. Other science majors are represented as well in our IDEA clubs, especially, no surprise, engineers!

In the promotion of ID into public schools, the affiliation of the proponents of ID with Christianity can be a legal barrier, but at the college level it is a major asset.

The Christian organizations have rolled the red carpet out for IDEA on 3 of the Virginia campuses. In my view, this is wonderful to see the churches defending real science versus unscientific Darwinian dogma.

Salvador

Comment #48622

Posted by Edin Najetovic on September 17, 2005 3:01 PM (e)

… forget what I said, this Salvador guy is rather scary.

Comment #48623

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on September 17, 2005 3:04 PM (e)

So, in other words, Salvador, the IDEA organization is merely paying lip service to college anti-discrimination rules

Discrimination? People are free to join and leave and run the club under the constitution. If they want to take over the club and make an “Atheists for Dembski” group, they are more than welcome to. I personally think that would be an absolute riot.

The JMU FreeThinkers, an atheist and agnostic group, supported our JMU IDEA chapter. The indirectly helped promote the friendly coverage I got in the scientific journal, Nature. They were passingly mentioned in that article and are mentioned at the ideacenter.org website.

Anyway, enough about my club, the topic was Dembski’s making $100,000 a pop being an IDist expert witness. I’ll have uphold him to our club as something to aspire to. :-)

Salvador
PS
Eugenie’s visit to our school will be welcomed with courtesy and civility by IDEA. I can’t however speak for any potential mis-behavior of the creationists in the nearby community. However, the IDEA members will be encouraged to behave in polite and civil manner, if for nothing else, it’s good Public Relations.

Comment #48624

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 17, 2005 3:05 PM (e)

The Christian organizations have rolled the red carpet out for IDEA on 3 of the Virginia campuses. In my view, this is wonderful to see the churches defending real science versus unscientific Darwinian dogma.

I see, so all those IDers who cliam that ID isn’t about religion, are just lying to us. Got it.

Now then, would you mind answering my questions for me, Sal? They were:

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

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

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

4. do you repudiate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson, and if so, why do you keep taking his money anyway? And if you, unlike most other IDers, are not sucking at Ahmanson’s teats, I’d still like to know if you repudiate his extremist views.

5. Why are you undermining your own side by proclaiming here that ID is all about defeating “atheism” and “anti-religion”, while your side is desperately trying to argue in court that ID has nothing at all whatsoever to do with religion or religious apologetics? Are your fellow IDers just lying under oath when they testify to that, Sal?

Comment #48625

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 17, 2005 3:08 PM (e)

Anyway, enough about my club

YOUR club?

My goodness, Sal, you seem to have an awfully inflated sense of your own self-importance ….

the topic was Dembski’s making $100,000 a pop being an IDist expert witness.

Um, hey Sal, in case you didn’t hear, the Dover defendants kicked Dembski’s out on his ass. They, uh, apparently weren’t very impressed by his, uh, “expert witness”.

Now answer my questions, Sal.

Comment #48626

Posted by Skip on September 17, 2005 3:13 PM (e)

Very interesting. So IDEA clubs exist for religious students (of a specific stripe) who feel their faith threatened by evolution.

Therefore, IDEA clubs feed them a bunch of stuff the mainstream scientific community soundly rejects in order to bolster their faith, regardless of the materials standing in real science.

Then, they can go out into the world and redefine science as it is currently practiced, combine science and religion, and basically bring out a new way of thinking not at all unlike the Orangs in Planet of the Apes.

Thanks Sal, that was the best and most honest description of what ID is really all about. I think we, and the public at large, owe you a debt of gratitude.

Comment #48627

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on September 17, 2005 3:14 PM (e)

… forget what I said, this Salvador guy is rather scary.

Is that why they’re sending Eugenie to our school to see our ID marketing campaign first hand?

The motto I’m thinking to give the pre-med biology majors in our IDEA chapters:

“Evolution doesn’t get you into med school, biology does.”

Allen Orr on the situation:

Although many science, and all biology, students are required to endure molecular courses, evolution - even introductory evolution—is often an elective. The reason is simple: biochemistry and cell biology get Junior into med school, evolution doesn’t. Consequently, many professional scientists know surprisingly little about evolution.

Thank you, Allen Orr. So much for the most supposedly most important theory in biology. It’s not even good enough to get some one into medical school.

Here’s another saying I want them to be aware of, ala Jerry Coyne:

In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics.

Jerry Coyne

Salvador

Comment #48629

Posted by Skip on September 17, 2005 3:20 PM (e)

Oh, Brother, Jerry Coyne being quoted out of context by yet another creationist. What a shock.

Comment #48630

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on September 17, 2005 3:21 PM (e)

ID is simply a different label on the same old antievolution playlist of invalid criticisms of evolutionary biology. It is pseudoscience. It is, by the words of its major advocates, aimed at furthering a particular religious outlook in the society at large. These are not fallacies. These are solid facts. The Dover case is going to put exactly these issues into the courtroom. I expect that the judge will also consider these to be facts after all is said and done there.

King Canute failed to turn back the tide at command, and wishful thinking does not constitute planning for disaster relief. Neither does the evidence accommodate “intelligent design” as a legitimate alternative to science.

Comment #48633

Posted by Jody on September 17, 2005 3:36 PM (e)

Salvador wrote:

“The loophole I give the creationists is the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:20 where the “science only” approach is offered….Our arguments seem to do a good job of immunizing them from Dariwian indoctrination and brain washing “

Given that ID has no positive statement of it’s theory, what it claims, what its testability and repeatability happens, you aren’t doing science but rather “evangelizing.” You can spin it any way you want, but its bleepin’ obvious, taken right from your own fingers.

Slightly off the topic and on a personal level, I find it very disheartening that two of my alma matters, James Madison University and George Mason University, have IDEA clubs.

Comment #48634

Posted by Ved Rocke on September 17, 2005 3:37 PM (e)

Evolution doesn’t get you into med school, biology does.

You need biology for med school, got it. So what does Intelligent Design contribute to the field of biology? Does it provide us any practical, useful theory?

Comment #48636

Posted by Alan on September 17, 2005 3:47 PM (e)

Salvador

While you are not anwering awkward questions here, could you also find time to not answer why you are misrepresenting the company Genetic-ID as applying Dembski’s explanatory filter in their work, when they are just performing standard DNA fingerprinting techniques in analysing crop samples. Care to comment, Salavador.

Comment #48637

Posted by Alan on September 17, 2005 3:49 PM (e)

Excuse Freudian typo; S/B Salvador

Comment #48638

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 17, 2005 4:01 PM (e)

Hey Sal, are you gonna answer my questions, or aren’t you?

Comment #48639

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 17, 2005 4:05 PM (e)

Maybe I don’t underestimate the American christian lobby, but can anyone in the higher-ups be ultimately convinced by fallacies? That answer should be ‘no’

You mean political higher-ups like President Bush, Senator Santorum, and potential presidential candidates Senator Bill Frist and Senator McCain?

Or maybe by some odd chance you meant scientific higher-ups? Not many of those convinced.

Comment #48640

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 17, 2005 4:09 PM (e)

Slightly off the topic and on a personal level, I find it very disheartening that two of my alma matters, James Madison University and George Mason University, have IDEA clubs.

My university also has an IDEA club. The faculty advisor is a professor of mechanical engineering, not a biologist.

Comment #48641

Posted by wad of id on September 17, 2005 4:10 PM (e)

IDEA clubs are a joke. I went to a local chapter to hear the President of the club whine after ID had been given a public drubbing by a professor during a seminar. During the IDEA meeting, this guy was thoroughly demolished on intellectual and scientific standards, and I mean it was so bad that he really looked like he was about to cry. Several professors from the departments of biology/biomedical research came and provided the scientific evidence for evolution – there was even an engineer who provided the most damning testimony of just how unintellligent the supposed “intelligent design” was. If I recall, everything that was said of ID was either in a political or cultural context. The club officer valiantly tried to shift the focus anytime he was asked to detail an ID experiment.

Here’s what happened after that meeting (the second in the only two years it was active). This guy, a biology major who had been gloating about wanting to participate in the “defeat of Darwin” on a scientific level, went on to law school. None of the other other club officers reconvened a singled IDEA meeting thereafter. As far as I know, this local chapter of IDEA is dead. Last time I checked the student government records, it received no funding what so ever. Good riddance.

Comment #48642

Posted by steve on September 17, 2005 4:13 PM (e)

I for one am happy that IDEA requires it’s officers to be christian. They should take it further. Require all their members to be christians.

I’m looking forward to Dover.

Comment #48643

Posted by Skip on September 17, 2005 4:16 PM (e)

Frankly, I don’t see it as any great disaster for a school to have an IDEA club. In fact, if can be helpful. If you are at a university that has an IDEA club, encourage biology and other science majors to attend.

One of the problems facing pro-science activists used to be the large number of scientists who were ignorant of what creationism really is. Thankfully, that is changing for the better.

These clubs offer a great way for those who will become our scientists and science professors a chance to see it firsthand, better equipping them to deal with it after graduation.

Heck, I love going to creationist shindigs!
http://venomouspenguin.com/modules/Pages/2005-08-07/index.html

It’s like going to a nightclub to hear comedy without the two drink minimum!

Comment #48644

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on September 17, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

Hey, “wad of id”, drop me a line. I’d like to find out which school that IDEA club was at.

Comment #48650

Posted by darwinfinch on September 17, 2005 4:38 PM (e)

It is sickening that tabs even have to be kept on someone as useless as WD, and time wasted having his farcical-yet-unfunny idiocies challenged.

WD (and “Yeah-I-know-I’m-wrong-and-I’m-ashamed-of-myself-but-it’s-a-living” M. Behe) isn’t really crazy (today, anyway, though in a few more years, he’ll complete his move into crazy cultism), he’s just a totally dishonest, greedy, pompous shit.

Comment #48655

Posted by Norman Doering on September 17, 2005 5:13 PM (e)

Ed Brayton wrote: “Well Bill, we’d love to have a cut of your speaking fees, and of the fees you charged the Thomas More Law Center for your expert witness work on the Dover trial (over $100,000, if I recall correctly, while all of the experts on our side donated their time and took only expenses), and of all the books you write in the copious free time that you save by avoiding publishing your claims for a scientific audience, books for which you find a ready audience in the churches among people who, as a group, have little hope of understanding your ideas. For that matter, I’m sure the NCSE staff would sacrifice body parts…”

That’s the best argument I’ve seen for being an ID advocate – there’s simply more money in it. If the NCSE staff would sacrifice body parts, then what about sacrificing a little integrity?

I’m starting work on my pro-ID book now!

Comment #48657

Posted by The Archivist on September 17, 2005 5:18 PM (e)

Slaveador Cordova wrote:

“IDEA is targeted to teach them ID”

So what is it that the unrepentant liar-for-Jesus Casey Luskin and you are “teaching” Sal?

Lenny Flank and I and the world’s honest scientists are really curious about what the scientific theory of “intelligent design.”

To date, you have not answered this question and neither has Lyin’ Luskin.

But you’ve been caught making up garbage and passing it off as truth. In fact, I remember you getting caught red-handed telling a bald-faced lie right here on this blog, Silly Sal!

Do you remember that happening, Sal?

Or did you and Luskin engage in your ritual brainwashing to remove that ugly episode from your version of history?

Comment #48658

Posted by ivy privy on September 17, 2005 5:21 PM (e)

The Cornell IDEA club has some answers to Lenny’s questions: Cornell IDEA club - click through to ‘Objections’

# How can you say that intelligent design is testable?

Intelligent design has already demonstrated itself as an extremely testable and productive element of science. (Are you surprised?)
Belief that the universe was intelligently designed spurred Kepler on to make sense of the previously very confusing astronomical observations. Likewise Newton did not believe that “mere mechanical causes” could give rise to the solar system but declared that “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” Time and space is not sufficient to name all those including Copernicus, Boyle, Faraday, Maxwell and Einstein who acknowledged a designer and were motivated to uncover that design. In general intelligent design expects that as our understanding of biology grows, information-rich and irreducibly complex structures will continue to be discovered, and predicts, for example, that there are purposes for “junk-DNA”.

Besides their lying about Einstein, most of the people on their list are dead, or at least haven’t published much lately. Rumor has it that Copernicus also didn’t believe in relativity or quantum mechanics.

Comment #48659

Posted by Greg on September 17, 2005 5:40 PM (e)

There’s a much easier (and, I suspect, less painful) way to understand ID than going to one of these IDEA meetings.

For some reason, WAD doesn’t like it.

Comment #48671

Posted by PvM on September 17, 2005 6:32 PM (e)

Sal wrote:

The Christian organizations have rolled the red carpet out for IDEA on 3 of the Virginia campuses. In my view, this is wonderful to see the churches defending real science versus unscientific Darwinian dogma.

Real science :-)… ID is scientifically vacuous

But then again, Sal _is_ a YECer, so I am not surprised that he is a bit confused.

Comment #48672

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on September 17, 2005 6:42 PM (e)

For some reason, WAD doesn’t like it.

The substantive content is close to nil, which would make it like much of the ID literature, but it is less objectionable than some of the stuff output by ID advocates.

Comment #48673

Posted by spencer on September 17, 2005 6:44 PM (e)

I want every lurker who comes in here to see that you are nothing but an evasive dishonest coward.

Rest assured, Lenny, that this lurker got that message a looooooong time ago.

Comment #48674

Posted by Ed Darrell on September 17, 2005 7:01 PM (e)

The Christian organizations have rolled the red carpet out for IDEA on 3 of the Virginia campuses. In my view, this is wonderful to see the churches defending real science versus unscientific Darwinian dogma.

Shame on those Christian organizations. Don’t they have ethical standards to live up to?

Comment #48675

Posted by spencer on September 17, 2005 7:02 PM (e)

Slightly off the topic and on a personal level, I find it very disheartening that two of my alma matters, James Madison University and George Mason University, have IDEA clubs.

For some reason, I’ve always sort of mentally combined those two institutions into James Mason University.

I don’t know why. I just can’t help it.

Comment #48680

Posted by Ed Brayton on September 17, 2005 7:33 PM (e)

Salvador wrote:

Many of the Christians and creationists are for the first time learning about ID’s “science only” approach of IDists, versus the “scripture only” approach of the creationists.

Uh, yeah. And what better way to demonstrate that IDists take a strictly “science only” approach than by requiring that only Christians can join their club. I’m sure there’s some bizarro world somewhere in which this is not ridiculous, but I’m having a hard time imagining where it might be. It’s as ridiculous as your claim on Dembski’s blog that you think Genie’s visit to GMU is a signal of a “witch hunt” against IDers, yet simultaneously claim that “Eugenie is supportive of what I consider reasonable treatment of ID leaning students and the development of college courses where the pros and cons of ID can be discussed, and the discussion of ID on university campuses.” How do you write such contradictory nonsense with a straight face? Do you take the same medications that Dembski does?

Comment #48686

Posted by mark duigon on September 17, 2005 8:29 PM (e)

Baylor’s Mr. Dembski also has little interest in publicizing his research through traditional means. “I’ve just gotten kind of blasé…

Just like all those psychics, perpetual-motion-machine designers, diviners, and other quacks who won’t condescend to demonstrating their talents and win the million-dollar prize offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation.

Comment #48693

Posted by bill on September 17, 2005 11:24 PM (e)

Good old Sal! Right on time and right on cue.

I figured the drubbing that Count Dembski was taking at the hands of the Darwinian Pressure Group would elicit the protective instincts of Sal, the Renfield of “intelligent design”, rushing in to gobble up the little spiders and roaches too slow to escape his grasp.

Thanks, Sal, for explaining in Comment #48621 how “intelligent design” is in no way, shape or form a religious concept. Most entertaining. Have another spider.

Comment #48697

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on September 18, 2005 4:47 AM (e)

Sal Cordova wrote:

However if non Christians are elected to become officers, the club can continue under it’s constitution, but it can no longer be a recognized as sanctioned chapter by the IDEA center in San Diego, but rather would have to delcare itself a renegade ID chapter.

OK. Now tell me again, Sal. The “Theory of ID” is just about finding evidence of a “designer”, any ol’ “designer”, and not a specific actual creator, and certainly not about finding the Gawd of Christianity, right?

Oh, yeah, sorry, I forgot myself for a moment: There is no “theory of ID”. So, Sal, care to tell us what you folks do in your little coffee klatches there? Say, it wouldn’t be readings from the Holey Babble where they teach you that bats are birds or anything…..

Cheers,

Comment #48698

Posted by Moses on September 18, 2005 8:28 AM (e)

Comment #48597

Posted by Mike Walker on September 17, 2005 12:39 PM (e) (s)

I’m curious to know if there is a proper psychiatric term for this type of personality. He might make an interesting psychological study one of these days :-)

You mean: A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy. This is a link to the narcissistic personality disorder and is prepared for laymen:

http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/

The article has lots of pages linked to the bottom of over-view and is very well done. You can see Dembski has the mild form written all over him. As for Dembski being an interesting subject, I doubt Dembski would merit much interest for psychological study as he’s a rather garden-variety sort. (Which I find ironic.)

Comment #48699

Posted by Les Lane on September 18, 2005 9:08 AM (e)

Sal says-

In my view, this is wonderful to see the churches defending real science versus unscientific Darwinian dogma.

Does this mean that apologetics is “real science”

Comment #48706

Posted by Lixivium on September 18, 2005 1:40 PM (e)

I don’t think Sal is really the Renfield of intelligent design. He’s more like the Sancho Panza to Dembski’s Don Quixote.

Comment #48713

Posted by Norman Doering on September 18, 2005 4:20 PM (e)

Lixivium wrote: “… [Sal is] more like the Sancho Panza to Dembski’s Don Quixote.”

An excellent example of analogical, or metaphorical, reasoning.

Comment #48716

Posted by darwinfinch on September 18, 2005 5:01 PM (e)

I suppose whacking that sack of Sal must still be entertaining, since so many bother to continue doing so. I just scroll on when I see the name: he is the sort of Xian from whom nothing can be learned, about others or oneself.
I do wish he could simply be challenged on his lies (and ANY “information” he cites proves to be some variety of obvious lie) and used, if someone finds it possible, as the springboard to elaborate on aspects of ToE, or the “debate” over ToE, that ARE interesting.

BTW, I see no need to tarnish Cervantes and his characters by linking them, with their simple, sincere humanity, with two such odious and ugly examples of living humans as WD and Sal.
Dracula and Renfield? Well, maybe, although one must respect aspects of the Count (WD, now that I have seen his performance, has sunk into the lower circles of Unrespect), and Renfield has aspects of playfulness and a turn of phrase Sal could never hope to achieve. Or understand.

Comment #48718

Posted by Grey Wolf on September 18, 2005 5:27 PM (e)

darwinfinch wrote:

BTW, I see no need to tarnish Cervantes and his characters by linking them, with their simple, sincere humanity, with two such odious and ugly examples of living humans as WD and Sal.

Besides, the comparison doesn’t really hold: Don Quixote was the one seeing giants where only windmills stood (or armies in the packs of sheep, or even enemies in the barrels of wine) and Sancho Panza saw reality but stood by his lord anyway. Meanwhile, I am pretty sure that D*mbski knows perfectly well that ID doesn’t have any leg to stand upon, while it is Sal that keeps seeing the world of his own devising.

Mind you, it is true that as the end of the book grows near, they exchange views (Don Quixote sees reality and Sancho is taken by the fantasy world). Maybe it is an indication that ID is coming to an end? We can only hope, I supose.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

Comment #48719

Posted by Lixivium on September 18, 2005 5:41 PM (e)

How about the Waylon Smithers to Dembski’s Mr. Burns?

Comment #48720

Posted by darwinfinch on September 18, 2005 5:59 PM (e)

Smithers also shows many positive qualities, though misplaced. Burns also seems preferable to WD in both forthrightness and personal goals, since he simply wants the rest of humanity to cower before him.

Frankly, I cannot think of any fictional character whom I would wish to dirty by comparison with any member of the Creationist (“ID” included) “leadership.” Even Iago and Bill Sikes are inventions which illuminate, rather than feed upon, aspects of every human being’s nature.
It’s like the more ordinary derogatory comparisons made with animals, penguins or whatever, or varieties of filth: they may be used to limited effect but weaken upon deeper examination. If I compare WD with a pile of useless gerbil droppings, or chide Sal with the fact that his mother was a hamster, and his father smelled of elderber…
Well, I’ve made my point.

Comment #48723

Posted by bill on September 18, 2005 6:27 PM (e)

Excellent discussion fellow Darwinian Pressure Groupies!

I picked Renfield to represent Sal because Renfield aspired so hard to be like his master, Count Dracula. The Count never grants Renfield the immortality he sought, although, and I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I think Dracula simply kills Renfield when he is no longer of use.

I thought that Dembski as Count Dracula was particularly fitting as both feed off the living without contribution. Both Dembski and the Count are adept at casting illusion. Where Dembski and the Count are mirror images, pardon the pun, are with respect to legality and ethics. The Count killed people which is illegal, but acted ethically in that he did not pretend to be other than what he was or duck his crimes. Dembski, on the other hand, does nothing illegal but is both intellectually and ethically bankrupt. He pretends to be more than he is, ducks responsibility and consequently has been marginalized to a Bible college in Tennessee, all the while proclaiming, unethically, that ID is all about science and not religion.

Darwinfinch has it right. “Intelligent design” cannot withstand humor. So, in my best, or worst, French accent I say: Monsieur Dembski, I fhart een yhour zheneral di-rection!

Comment #48726

Posted by steve on September 18, 2005 7:31 PM (e)

Comment #48719

Posted by Lixivium on September 18, 2005 05:41 PM (e) (s)

How about the Waylon Smithers to Dembski’s Mr. Burns?

Boss Hogg and Roscoe P. Coltrane.

Comment #48727

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on September 18, 2005 7:32 PM (e)

Sal Cordova wrote:

Many of the Christians and creationists are for the first time learning about ID’s “science only” approach of IDists, versus the “scripture only” approach of the creationists.

Ummm, just to ask (again): What “science”???

But seeing as you’re doing the service of “science” here and enlightening “scripture only” people, I’d hope that you’re explaining to them that bats aren’t birds, insects have six legs, and the real provenance of spotted goats.

(See this for some more lesson plans, Sal…)

And then, seeing as the principle … nay, only … source of authority for the claim of existence of your favoured “designer” seems to be chock full of garbage, wouldn’t you say, logically speaking, that we can safely rule this one out? You know, lots of evidence against, and absolutely none for. That’s usually about the time sensible people chuck a “theory”…..

Cheers,

Comment #48728

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on September 18, 2005 7:48 PM (e)

Ummm, sorry, make that spotted lambs….

But while we’re on the subject, Sal: Wouldn’t you say that an “intelligent designer” could make Jacob’s strategem work? Why doesn’t it work now? Why shouldn’t an “intelligent designer” make things work this way?

In fact, one of the requirements of evolution is that changes be inherited; that they persist – this is what gives natural selection a chance to do its work. But why, if you’re the “intelligent designer”, bother with genetic inheritance when you can just keep things the way you “designed them”, and then order up something new when some new inspiration strikes you (assuming that “new inspirations” are in fact logically possible for such an “intelligent designer”)?

Cheers,

Comment #48729

Posted by Moses on September 18, 2005 7:50 PM (e)

Comment #48706

Posted by Lixivium on September 18, 2005 01:40 PM (e) (s)

I don’t think Sal is really the Renfield of intelligent design. He’s more like the Sancho Panza to Dembski’s Don Quixote.

Quixote was delusional, but sincere. And Panza was sincere in his loyalty to his loopy master. I look at them as post-fall Saruman and Wormtounge.

Comment #48730

Posted by Philip Torrens on September 18, 2005 8:07 PM (e)

Since we’re pointing out that Sancho was not delusional, we should also note that neither was King Canute. Though the legend of him having his throne set in the path of the incoming tide is often cited as proof of his vanity, in fact in the original story, it was the opposite. It was his hangers-on and sycophants (his “Sals”, if you will) who tried to flatter him by telling him his power was so great as to stop natural forces. Canute did his little demo to prove he knew full well the limitations of his power - and that he recognized BS, however flattering, when he heard it.

Comment #48731

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on September 18, 2005 8:07 PM (e)

Sal Cordova wrote:

“Evolution doesn’t get you into med school, biology does.”

But no thank you, I don’t want anyone cutting on me that’s unable to shake mythology, properly evaluate actual evidence, properly consider real alternatives and discard false steps, and use logic and reason to solve questions that may come up.

But that’s just me, Sal. Care to answer if you’d pass by a Christian Scientist healer to go to a licensed doctor? If so, by what rationale did you make that decision, and yet persist in your “first shopping” in other realms?

Cheers,

Comment #48733

Posted by Eric Murphy on September 18, 2005 8:24 PM (e)

One of the things I find fascinating about ID supporters is their fanatical devotion to Dembski (yes, that’s a joke). Someone will claim that Dembski’s Explanatory Filter has demonstrated design. I’ll then point out that the Explanatory Filter is deeply flawed, and has never demonstrated design in any biological structure.

The response: “The EF works. Everyone just uses it incorrectly.”

I then provide links to five different criticisms of Dembski’s work, by mathemeticians, biologists, even a theist who believes that the universe was designed!

The response: “Dembski has rebutted his critics.”

I point out that Dembski’s rebuttals are no more persuasive (or comprehensible) than his original arguments, and that he still has not shown evidence that his Explanatory Filter actually works.

The response: “That’s because they keep using it on snowflakes!”

I point out that Dembski claims the Explanatory Filter is infallible (i.e., it does not generate false positives), and yet it’s been shown to fail even on simple, non-biological phenomena. Is Dembski’s claim actually that the EF is infallible only with biological phenomena?

The response: “The EF works!”

At that point, I usually give up.

Comment #48734

Posted by PvM on September 18, 2005 8:34 PM (e)

I point out that Dembski claims the Explanatory Filter is infallible

In fact Dembski accepts that the EF could be fallible but seems unwilling to accept the consequences.

Comment #48736

Posted by frank schmidt on September 18, 2005 9:07 PM (e)

Perhaps Sal is Boris to Dembski’s Fearless Leader? So who’s Natasha? Come clean, Sal!

Comment #48738

Posted by Lixivium on September 18, 2005 9:12 PM (e)

darwinfinch wrote:

Smithers also shows many positive qualities, though misplaced. Burns also seems preferable to WD in both forthrightness and personal goals, since he simply wants the rest of humanity to cower before him.

I was thinking more along the lines of Sal wanting to have Dembski’s baby.

Comment #48744

Posted by bill on September 18, 2005 9:53 PM (e)

Does that mean that Moose and Squirrel would be PZ and Wesley?

Comment #48756

Posted by frank schmidt on September 18, 2005 10:53 PM (e)

Well, now that you mention it, Bullwinkle and Rocky did hail from Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, which has to be pretty close to where PZ resides….

Comment #48782

Posted by slpage on September 19, 2005 7:07 AM (e)

Our GMU constitution allows them to join and be even be elected. However if non Christians are elected to become officers, the club can continue under it’s constitution, but it can no longer be a recognized as sanctioned chapter by the IDEA center in San Diego, but rather would have to delcare itself a renegade ID chapter.

We would have to rename our club to something like “EA” instead of IDEA. :-)

Or better yet, the renegade organization could be renamed the “The William Dembski fan Club”. :-)

So here we have yet another inadvertent admission that ID is a religious notion. Thanks Sal!
Your PR machine is starting to break down.
By the way - it is most entertaining to watch you - yet again - have your naive notions re: molecular biology/phylogeny get demolished.
Are you ever going to learn?

Comment #48784

Posted by slpage on September 19, 2005 7:12 AM (e)

.. if for nothing else, it’s good Public Relations.

Which is yet another inadvertent admission - ID is all about public relations, not science.

So much for the Wedge - skip the ‘research’ part and go directly to public relations.

Which is just what the DI did.

Pathetic.

Comment #48793

Posted by Tracy P. Hamilton on September 19, 2005 8:45 AM (e)

ivy privy wrote:

Besides their lying about Einstein, most of the people on their list are dead, or at least haven’t published much lately. Rumor has it that Copernicus also didn’t believe in relativity or quantum mechanics.

And Ptolemy! Hence everything revolves around the earth.

Comment #48794

Posted by Bruce McNeely on September 19, 2005 9:09 AM (e)

Maybe Sal as Beavis to Dembski as Butthead…

Bruce

Comment #48798

Posted by slpage on September 19, 2005 9:19 AM (e)

From the Cornell IDEA club quote offered above:

In general intelligent design expects that as our understanding of biology grows, information-rich and irreducibly complex structures will continue to be discovered, and predicts, for example, that there are purposes for “junk-DNA”.

So, these wizards of ID are ‘predicting’ something that actual biologists have known about for a few decades? Great stuff! Sign me up!

Comment #48803

Posted by Jim Wynne on September 19, 2005 9:46 AM (e)

Sal is the Beaver, and Dembski is a hybrid of Wally and Eddie Haskell.

Comment #48822

Posted by JS on September 19, 2005 12:25 PM (e)

“Posted by Tracy P. Hamilton

ivy privy wrote:

Besides their lying about Einstein, most of the people on their list are dead, or at least haven’t published much lately. Rumor has it that Copernicus also didn’t believe in relativity or quantum mechanics.

And Ptolemy! Hence everything revolves around the earth.”

You’re suggesting that Copernicus was a Ptolemyan? Close, but no cigar. Tycho Brahe was, though.

- JS

Comment #48843

Posted by Norman Doering on September 19, 2005 2:20 PM (e)

Cornell IDEA club quote “In general intelligent design expects that as our understanding of biology grows, information-rich and irreducibly complex structures will continue to be discovered, and predicts, for example, that there are purposes for ‘junk-DNA’.”

You’re going to have to go into more detail than that and make much stronger and detailed predictions that answer why there would be a difference between evolution and design.

Does ID also have to claim there are no ‘vestigial’ organs?

Is the appendix and other parts of our bodies useless ‘vestigial’ organs, which our evolutionary ancestors needed but which we no longer do? What is the appendix for?

Junk DNA would be ‘vestigial’ DNA and when you mean it has a use or purpose, you can’t mean that use is to make us more evolvable (giving us some code for old solutions to problems we no longer use).

Comment #48844

Posted by Savagemutt on September 19, 2005 2:38 PM (e)

Well, now that you mention it, Bullwinkle and Rocky did hail from Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, which has to be pretty close to where PZ resides….

But did PZ matriculate at Whassamatta U?

Comment #48848

Posted by Mattdp on September 19, 2005 4:01 PM (e)

how about Saruman and Grima?

Comment #48925

Posted by Norman Doering on September 20, 2005 2:52 AM (e)

Well, I saw on Dembski’s site a competition. You can win from $100 to a $1,000 in his “Technological Evolution Prize Competition” here:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/341

I posted an entry and it was deleted. I was quite nice about my post and Dembski has no reason to know who I am except from reading comments here.

What I entered was a web site with a book on it here:
http://www.history.rochester.edu/steam/thurston/1878/index.html

A HISTORY OF THE GROWTH OF THE STEAM-ENGINE.
BY
ROBERT H. THURSTON, A. M., C. E.,
PROFESSOR OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING IN THE STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, HOBOKEN, N. J.; MEMBER OF INSTITUTION OF ENGINEERS AND SHIPBUILDERS OF SCOTLAND, ASSOCIATE BRITISH INSTITUTION OF NAVAL ARCHITECTS, ETC., ETC.

NEW YORK:
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
549 AND 551 BROADWAY.
1878.

The above book gives an account of the evolution of the steam engine from Ancient Greece to the Steam locomotives of the Northern Pacific.

Then I entered a personal web site with a summary I was taking notes on:
http://www.geocities.com/normdoer/EvoInvent1.htm

Now, why would Dembski delete that and leave the jokers on his site?

Comment #48927

Posted by Norman Doering on September 20, 2005 3:32 AM (e)

I wrote: “I posted an entry and it was deleted.”

No, now it’s back. I don’t know if I was deleted or not now. I sware it wasn’t there for awhile.

Comment #48947

Posted by Russell on September 20, 2005 10:41 AM (e)

the clueless Sal wrote:

…an atheist and agnostic group, supported our JMU IDEA chapter.

In response to which one Skip spilled the beans thus:

Frankly, I don’t see it as any great disaster for a school to have an IDEA club. In fact, if can be helpful. If you are at a university that has an IDEA club, encourage biology and other science majors to attend.

Fortunately, I think we can count on cluelessness to prevent effective countermeasures.

Comment #48949

Posted by James Taylor on September 20, 2005 11:19 AM (e)

Norman Doering wrote:

Well, I saw on Dembski’s site a competition. You can win from $100 to a $1,000 in his “Technological Evolution Prize Competition” …

My Entry Norman

The Toilet.

The first archeological information on toilets was the Roman toilet where running water ran below benches.

Later in England the toilet was improved by adding a flushing mechanism to reduce the need for a large volume of constant running water.

Later again, a small bend was made in the outflow pipe to trap sewer gases.

The flush mechanism was then greatly improved and viola the modern toilet.

But why stop there, the modern toilet was still inefficient about water usage, so the low-flow toilet was invented and used less than half of the water of its precursor.

Currently, the Japanese are improving upon the current design with more innovation and technology such as a heated seat, built in bide and various other modernities.

Comment #48951

Posted by JIm Wynne on September 20, 2005 11:29 AM (e)

James Taylor wrote:

The first archeological information on toilets was the Roman toilet where running water ran below benches.

Later in England the toilet was improved by adding a flushing mechanism to reduce the need for a large volume of constant running water.

Aha! A missing link! When did they put a hole in the bench?

Comment #48953

Posted by James Taylor on September 20, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

JIm Wynne wrote:

Aha! A missing link! When did they put a hole in the bench?

Sorry Jim, the hole was always there. That is in essence what makes a toilet a toilet; otherwise, it’s just a seat.

Comment #48956

Posted by James Taylor on September 20, 2005 11:43 AM (e)

Norman Doering wrote:

I wrote: “I posted an entry and it was deleted.”

No, now it’s back. I don’t know if I was deleted or not now. I sware it wasn’t there for awhile.

I don’t see your post Norman on the competition page.

Comment #48959

Posted by James Taylor on September 20, 2005 12:03 PM (e)

My second entry Norman…

The clock

The first archeological evidence for measuring time are sundials found dating back to Ancient Egypt.

A second more effective attempt to measure time orginated in the water clock developed in ancient Greece necessitated by the need to keep time at night.

Later entrepreneurs realized a need for less messy time keeping and so developed a mechanism which works fundamental the same as the water clock, but utilizes weights and counterweights instead.

Later again, enterprising technologists realized that the same potential energy required for the gravity clock exists in a wound spring so moved to the smaller compact mechanism found in mechanical clocks.

Still later, once physicists established that quartz resonates at a known frequency, the time keeping mechanism was altered to work off the oscillations of the crystal and the potential energy was supplied by a battery.

Now, more branches of the time keeping mechanism have taken root and now we have atomic, kinetic, spring driven, gravity driven, quartz, water clocks and the lowly sundial which are all used for specific purposes.

Comment #48970

Posted by James Taylor on September 20, 2005 1:29 PM (e)

My third entry Norman…

The Gun

The first incarnation of the gun (a variant on the bow but to be simplistic assume gun is defined as gunpowder-powered) appeared in China around thousand years ago. It launched tiny arrows fitted with gunpowdered filled bamboo (yes technically missles, but once again gunpowder-powered).

European traders brought back the secret of gunpowder and immediately developed a crude gun featuring a muzzle and powder hole. These were very dangerous to the shooter due to the poor refining techniques of the time. They often exploded in the weilders hand, so were rarely employed unless the ruler had disposable manpower or was significantly desperate.

This crude weapon changed once refining and metal working techniques improved. It evolved into the arquebus and eventually the musket. However, without appreciable knowledge of ballistics, this incarnation lacked accuracy and was significantly slow to reload, but this did not outwiegh the intrinsic power and capability of the tool, so it became bow, sword (when with bayonette), and club and displaced all manner of weapons and tactics.

Immediately after the gun’s capability was realized, heavy artillery was developed as a specialized version of the gun. Heavily artillery is just a big gun that has to be trucked around the battlefield.

At the dawn of the technological revolution, during the US civil war, the gun was further refined. This era displaced the muzzle-loading flint-lock smooth-bore rifle (this had undergone a significant evolution from arquebus to musket) with the semi-automatic cartidge-fed rifle and witnessed the specialization of artillery in the form of a mortar/howitzer and direct fire artillery guns.

Following the Civil War, artillery was further specialized due to the resurgence of anti-gun technology e.g. armor. Naval doctrine changed, so forced the development of large sea-bourne weapons capable of penetrating and sinking other heavily armored naval ships. Army doctrine changed and required lighter more mobile varieties of artillery, mortars and the now specialized howitzer to defeat land based armored systems. A significant study could be launched into the development of armor and fortifications at this point.

The machine gun was then invented which changed the nature of warfare forever. One of its first incarnations was a bulky towed unit called the Gatling Gun. It was treated conceptually as an artillery piece instead of the usage it eventually became but it was no less a machine gun than today’s assault rifles. This gun design still exists for various specialized purposes and it is used on all military fighter aircraft as a defensive weapon because it fires super fast and the plane can handle the weight burden. I am specifically thinking of the A-10 Warthog, but it also is used on F-16s, F-14s, etc.

The machine gun diverged into small portable weapon systems e.g. the Maxim and Browning heavy machine guns during WW1 and the advent of a new gun system appeared called the tank. The tank is simply an armored gun married to another technology, the car. The tank now gave land forces a way to quickly move heavy guns around the battle field thus stimulating a whole new focus for the technological development of the gun as well as readoption of cavalry tactics and strategem.

After WW1 further refinement increased the efficiency of the concept and reduced the size and weight for small arms enabling the introduction of the sub-machine gun and the assault rifle. Both were used extensively in WW2 as they are today.

WW2 also witnessed the development of another useful technology to integrate into gun design, e.g. radar. Guns were more accurate and therefore more useful and desirable. Less waste of missed rounds and a higher effectiveness.

WW2 and the ensuing Cold War stimulated the development of rocket research which brings us back to the Chinese. A rocket is just a big bullet attached to a barrel that fires backward and carries propellant onboard. Now several new technologies are being incorporated into rockets and they will most likely supplant almost all of the existing guns in the world armory today.

So now here we are. People still use muskets for reenactments and hunting, the Gatling Gun is still in use as an aircraft weapon, the heavy machine-gun is at the core of modern squad tactics, every soldier is issued an assault rifle or sub-machine gun or some other more specialized gun, e.g. sniper rifle, AT-Rockets, the howitzer, mortar and direct-fire artillery are valuable tools to commanders, tanks rule the open battlefield, and naval ships still mount large guns but are being rapidly displaced by missle technology.

Comment #48971

Posted by shenda on September 20, 2005 1:31 PM (e)

Pipes originated as a technology for moving water with little loss, as well as other things. Since then pipes have been adapted/evolved for such uses as:

Air flow systems
Cooling systems
Fire arms and artillery
Construction support material
Tent Poles
Smoking implements
Oil drilling and extraction
Distillation equipment
Wiring
Surgical instruments
Furniture
Temporary support systems (scaffolding)
Rockets
Tunnels
Transport systems
Nano Technology
Lab equipment
Pistons
Etcetera etcetera etcetera…………

Pipes have also changed shape from basically round to include square and triangular pipes. Some pipes are very flexible, others are very rigid.

Of course, they are all still pipes!

I’d put this on Dembski’s site, but why bother…. I trust him to pay out as much as I trust Hovind.

Comment #48985

Posted by James Taylor on September 20, 2005 2:34 PM (e)

My fourth entry Norman…

The Auto

The first incarnation of a car was farm tractors that utilized bulky steam engines for a powerplant. These vehicles were powerful, but very dangerous because they suffered from all of the perils of steam power, e.g. prone to overpressure from irregular heating and subsequent explosion.

With the advent of the internal combustion engine, several enterprising technologists took the same tractor concept, but replaced the steam powerplant with the safer, more compact, lightweight internal combustion engine and started showing off their work by driving around town and scaring all the horse carriages with a few backfires. These were fairly dangerous vehicles in themselves because many lacked effective braking systems, wheels and suspensions and used a hand crank starter. Wheels were solid rims and there were no springs, so a rider felt every bump in the road.

The first truck emerged. The truck quickly became adopted for commerce because it reduced the dependance on quartering, forage and caring for draft animals. These trucks were very unsafe. They suffered from the same problems as the first automobiles but more accutely due to bad dirt and gravel roads and significantly harder work environments or tasks.

Henry Ford attempted to create the car market. His attempt was partially successful in introducing the “car” to the average population, but at the time it was very expensive and a luxury item to most. It was extremely uncomfortable, hard to start and potentially dangerous to start, and a handful to maintain in a reliable condition. This is partly due to the state of gasoline and oil refining at the time and partly due to the incomplete development of the technology package.

Better breaks were developed to reduce the number of accidents. The electric starter was introduced and drastically reduced the occurances of Chauffeur’s Fracture. Rubber Tires were introduced and helped deal with traction and suspension. Suspension was improved to enhance the ‘feel’ of the ride thus reducing discomfort.

There it was, the car as we recognize it. All of this developement applied to the car was also applied to the truck so two seperate technological branches underwent the same refinements because of similar selective pressures, but the truck is a specialized tool and so has undergone significant specialization depending on application from flatbeds and tankers to tractors and all manner of construction equipment. Oh yes, and then there is the tank and all other specialized military equipement.

But they weren’t done. Brake lights, headlights, automatic transmission, power steering, spedometers, tachometers, intermittant windshield wipers, radios, air conditioning, CB radio, fuel injection, on-board computers, gps, lcds, hydrogen powerplants, hybrid powerplants, jet turbines, nitrous injection, etc.

Comment #48986

Posted by James Taylor on September 20, 2005 2:36 PM (e)

Really I could just keep this up all day. I wonder when Bill is going to take down the challenge or rewrite the rules.

Comment #48998

Posted by Ved Rocke on September 20, 2005 4:13 PM (e)

Don’t forget to precede the automobile with a person dragging a load behind them on two sticks tied together like the plains indians did, add an animal for animal power. Combine this with the beginnings of the wheel, rolling a load on top of a few logs, and you’ve got a cart, add an animal for animal power. Add 2 more wheels and you’ve got a wagon. The next big leap would be changing out the animal for a different sort of power plant. One mutation that would work in some cases is adding a sail for wind power.

WmAD wrote:

The evolution of a motorcycle from a motor and a bicycle is not a good example in this regard because the motor and bicycle require extensive design-work to adapt them to each other.

Bull. It doesn’t take much effort to slap a motor on a bike good enough to make it work. The Wright brothers might be a better example of having to modify a motor to fit a vehicle. They had to build their own to get a decent power to weight ratio. Still, they made this leap in only a few years work, and, they still had to build their flier from scratch.

Comment #49001

Posted by James Taylor on September 20, 2005 4:26 PM (e)

Ved, I’ve been keeping the evolution within the framework of the concept(i.e. when a car evolved to a recognizable car). I fully realize that there were thousands of evolutions on the car concept before it became what it is today (we still use horsepower as a measurement so that ought to prove evolved concepts well enough), but I am trying to play by his rules and succeeding. I could have talked about arrows, catapults, ballista, trebuchets in the gun segment, but I don’t think it would have played well. I could have laid out the foundations of the car as you did so well, but it would have been a waste. He wants the full organism with no adaptation, so I give him the first recognizable instance and move forward. It’s a very rewarding exercise.

Comment #49014

Posted by Norman Doering on September 20, 2005 6:03 PM (e)

James Taylor wrote: “I don’t see your post Norman on the competition page.”

I do. I just checked the page and my entry is number 5. Is something funny going on or did you miss it?

Did you submit those clock, toilet and gun evolutions? I don’t see them.

Try it and see what happens. Just copy and paste.

Comment #49015

Posted by James Taylor on September 20, 2005 6:08 PM (e)

Awesome, he deleted my entries. Such a small man. Glad I documented it here as well.

Comment #49017

Posted by James Taylor on September 20, 2005 6:31 PM (e)

As a result, my personal opinion of William A. Dembski is that he is a pompous, lying, unethical charlatan. Not that that’s different than before; however, it is now a valid opinion drawn from personal interaction.

Comment #49072

Posted by James Taylor on September 21, 2005 9:26 AM (e)

This guy (WAD) kills me. The comments are there this morning. Then their not, then they are. He can’t decide which is more damaging, information or supression of free speech. I would think that I am crazy, except the comments still total 7 as they did last night after he removed the entries, but he subsequently has re-added them to the page and now the actual posts total up to 11. 11-7 = 4 which is the number of posts I submitted and he deleted. He has some nerve offering an open challenge, silencing entries, then reposting them like nothing has happened. So, what other smoke and mirrors do you have Bill?

Comment #49080

Posted by Henry J on September 21, 2005 10:04 AM (e)

James,
Are you checking from the same computer and internet connection each time, or sometimes checking from different systems or connections?

Henry

Comment #49082

Posted by James Taylor on September 21, 2005 10:22 AM (e)

Yes, I am checking from multiple connections, and yes I already suspect he tunes what is displayed based upon the IP of the computer accessing the site. I will confirm this later today. Henry, do my four posts show up on your system?

Comment #49083

Posted by Ved Rocke on September 21, 2005 10:38 AM (e)

James, I don’t see your entries on that Technological Evolution Prize Competition page. I see 7 posts. If he can remove entries from the view of everyone except the objectionable poster that would be, well, pretty weasely.

Comment #49088

Posted by James Taylor on September 21, 2005 10:49 AM (e)

Ved Rocke wrote:

James, I don’t see your entries on that Technological Evolution Prize Competition page. I see 7 posts. If he can remove entries from the view of everyone except the objectionable poster that would be, well, pretty weasely.

It’s not a question of can. I could probably whip up the code in an afternoon; however, it is an excellent indication of his compromised ethics, lack of credibility and authoritarian polical alignment. And yes, it’s pretty weasely too. That is the difference between can and should. Just because one can doesn’t mean one should especially in a field where credibility is paramount. Isn’t the can vs. should argument what he and his ilk base their moral objection on. And they call science materialistic.

Comment #49092

Posted by Ved Rocke on September 21, 2005 11:20 AM (e)

Good point James. If that’s what he is doing, it’s pretty darn insidious. That’s the worst kind of censorship- where the censor is covering up the fact that he is even doing any censoring.

Speaking of things that can be done with computers. It would be fun to set up a program to watch the RSS feed from his site and log all of the new posts as they come in. It would make a good resource to compare to the actual site.

Comment #49095

Posted by James Taylor on September 21, 2005 11:40 AM (e)

Ved Rocke wrote:

Speaking of things that can be done with computers. It would be fun to set up a program to watch the RSS feed from his site and log all of the new posts as they come in. It would make a good resource to compare to the actual site.

Very good idea. It could be logged to a database and compared regularly to his site to determine what he considers censorable material. And of course, there is nothing ethically compromising about monitoring a public site.

Comment #49101

Posted by James Taylor on September 21, 2005 12:17 PM (e)

This behavior is confirmed. The competition list is entirely different when viewed from my home computer. Bill is filtering posts via IP address. So, if you post to uncommon descent, what you see is not necessarily what the rest of the world sees. I would avoid the site at all costs, since they are filtering, censoring and obfuscating. Nothing on it can be trusted.

Comment #49103

Posted by Jim Wynne on September 21, 2005 12:32 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote.'

Comment #49106

Posted by Mythos on September 21, 2005 12:41 PM (e)

James Taylor wrote:

The competition list is entirely different when viewed from my home computer. Bill is filtering posts via IP address. So, if you post to uncommon descent, what you see is not necessarily what the rest of the world sees.

Just so I understand: Suppose I post an “objectionable” post on Bill’s site. He could make it so I see my comment but no one else does?

Comment #49107

Posted by Ved Rocke on September 21, 2005 12:47 PM (e)

Your home PC couldn’t be displaying a cached version of his site could it? I see that there is now an 8th comment to that post. If you’re seeing your 4 lost posts with now 8 others, that should eliminate any doubt as to what’s going on.

Mythos, that’s exactly what I understand James to be saying.

Comment #49109

Posted by James Taylor on September 21, 2005 1:05 PM (e)

Mythos wrote:

Just so I understand: Suppose I post an “objectionable” post on Bill’s site. He could make it so I see my comment but no one else does?

Yes. I am currently working up an explanation and analysis of the situation which I will post to my website. I have already copied the two seperate documents down to html and I will be posting a follow-up here once I have my argument and evidence ready for assessment.

Ved Rocke wrote:

Your home PC couldn’t be displaying a cached version of his site could it? I see that there is now an 8th comment to that post. If you’re seeing your 4 lost posts with now 8 others, that should eliminate any doubt as to what’s going on.

Absolutely not. I had never accessed the page on my home system until after I had posted the four essays. They were never visible from the second system. Everyone else here has stated that they cannot see them. The only computer they can be viewed from is this one. And yes the new posts appear right in line with mine. Once I post the two documents tonight, you should be able to judge for yourself.

Comment #49112

Posted by Arden Chatfield on September 21, 2005 1:32 PM (e)

This behavior is confirmed. The competition list is entirely different when viewed from my home computer. Bill is filtering posts via IP address. So, if you post to uncommon descent, what you see is not necessarily what the rest of the world sees. I would avoid the site at all costs, since they are filtering, censoring and obfuscating. Nothing on it can be trusted.

This should be a thread of its own. It shouldn’t be lost at the tail end of a several-days-old thread that began life as something else.

Comment #49120

Posted by Norman Doering on September 21, 2005 2:21 PM (e)

Arden Chatfield wrote: “This should be a thread of its own.”

Let’s email the owners of this site.

Comment #49122

Posted by Norman Doering on September 21, 2005 2:33 PM (e)

Maybe panda’s thumb should run a mirror of Dembski’s contest – get people to contribute money for the prize.

Comment #49126

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on September 21, 2005 2:55 PM (e)

James:
You should be able to tell for sure by using an anonymizer (e.g. http://www.anonymizer.com/) to access Dembski’s site. If your home computer shows one set of comments from a direct link, and a different one through an anonymizer, then the only explanation is that the site filters its content according to the reader’s i.p. (of course, he could be using some sort of cookie instead, but I doubt it). Why Dembski would do that, however, beats me. He already gladly admits censoring comments the old-fashioned way. I doubt he is concerned about people’s complaints.

Comment #49173

Posted by James Taylor on September 22, 2005 9:35 AM (e)

Aha, Bill has now started to not censor the submissions. I now see Norman’s and several others that were not visible as well. Guess now that the cat’s out of the bag, Bill had to show a little honesty for fear of loss of credibility (too late). Welcome to the real world Bill. I will continue to oversee this competition so that Bill is forced to remain honest. I will also continue to submit entries to undermine his politcal agenda and expose his historical ignorance.

Comment #49177

Posted by James Taylor on September 22, 2005 10:01 AM (e)

Norman, I want to thank and congratualate you on a successful lobby for free speech in the competition. I have no doubt that without your email challenging Bill’s behavior, ethics and credibility, he would have never publicized submissions that support evolutionary concepts. He will find that this exercise will be extremely detrimental to his “evolution never happens” ignorance movement. Technological advance is applied evolution by the human mind. All he would need to do is read a historical analyisis or watch the History channel for two days to realize that this competition will completely undermine his philosophy.

Comment #49203

Posted by Arden Chatfield on September 22, 2005 2:25 PM (e)

Aha, Bill has now started to not censor the submissions. I now see Norman’s and several others that were not visible as well. Guess now that the cat’s out of the bag, Bill had to show a little honesty for fear of loss of credibility (too late). Welcome to the real world Bill. I will continue to oversee this competition so that Bill is forced to remain honest. I will also continue to submit entries to undermine his politcal agenda and expose his historical ignorance.

Congratulations on a job well done. I don’t think Bill has so much credibility that he thinks he can afford to piss it all away with dishonest little tricks like that.

This is an excellent example of what a blog like this can accomplish with some vigilant people.

Comment #49204

Posted by Norman Doering on September 22, 2005 2:27 PM (e)

James Taylor wrote: “Aha, Bill has now started to not censor the submissions.”

Well, at least he has combined our IP addresses into one filter.

Would others here please enter and read Bill’s site looking for posts by me and James?

Comment #49207

Posted by James Taylor on September 22, 2005 2:32 PM (e)

Norman, Im pretty sure he’s opened it up for now. I have been able to view yours and other well argued submissions anonymously. I will be setting up an oversite website since he apparantly needs a nanny to keep him honest.

Comment #49209

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 22, 2005 2:44 PM (e)

You guys ROCK!!

Comment #49210

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on September 22, 2005 2:49 PM (e)

Ditto!

Pizzas on the house, boys!

(And when I say, “the house,” I think it’s only appropriate that we send the bill to Bill. He can always expense it on the tab of his BBQ joint. Or he could just send it in to the DI, and let Howard choke on it…heh, heh.)

Comment #49212

Posted by Da Troll Unter Da Bridge on September 22, 2005 3:13 PM (e)

Aha, you fuels!

You have just handed your dedicated foes, the Designer’s Own Homeboys (the few, the proud, the DOHs!!) the detailed proof of the Atheist Materialist Naturalist Evile-utionist Cornspiracy (er, AMNEC, fer short):

The linkages to this conspiracy are now unVAIL*ed for ALL THE WORLD to see: AMNEC > PT > Lenny Flank, PT’s “champion” > the “bag boy,” Lenny’s Pizza Guy > Italian food > Pastafarianism, aka Flying Spaghetti Monstrosity-IZM (which, in case ya din’t NO, equals ATHEISM in SHIP’s CLOTHES!!!).

Ya cain’t fuel usn’s, ‘cause we’s WAY 2 SMART fer y’all, y’hear!?! Yore bound ta lews, ‘cause we can OUT-CAPITALIZE and unter-spell yew ANY DAY OF THE WEEK (and TWICET on Sunday: the DESIGNER’S day, for the thick-witted, which WE KNOW YEW ARE!!!).

_______

* HA! Betcha some of you elite edjicated monkey-lovers thawt I misspellt THAT, but AH’M rilly sayin’ rite OUT LAWED what we at DOH have LONG SUSPECKTET: thet some of yew also SKEE on them thare “false positiff SNOWFLAKES! I woodn’t DAWT it FOR A MINNIT!!!

Comment #49215

Posted by Ved Rocke on September 22, 2005 3:35 PM (e)

Yes Norman, besides your excellent post about Danny Hillis, you did an excellent job calling Dembski out on his incredibly underhanded new(?) censorship tactic. I’m quite pleased to see some the words I used here end up in your post ;)

James, I hope you’ve captured the latest incarnation of the contest page to add to your evidence. I’m hoping to see this subject get a thread of it’s own here once you’ve gotten your information in a presentable state.

I can see now that yesterday at the time I said that I saw 8 posts, there appears to have been 16! I now see a total of 24. I’m also noticing that Dembski is now completely silent on that thread, there hasn’t even been his usually cheery quip of “you are out of here” as he apparently bans someone for a post nowhere near as damaging as James’ and Norman’s posts were, like this from yesterday:

Cogzoid wrote:

Sarcasm is a low form of humour. And probably one of the most mean-spirited. I guess I hoped that those involved in a intellectual debate would strive to be above it. I guess I was wrong.

[Cogzoid, you are out of here. –WmAD]

jboze3131 has now stepped in, accusing James of crying censorship when obviously (now) he’s posted “a million times” in that thread!

I wonder what Dembski’s excuse is going to be, a computer glitch?

Comment #49218

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on September 22, 2005 4:11 PM (e)

A couple weeks ago, someone reported Dembski doing this. While my feeble memory can’t dredge up the name of the poster or which thread he/she mentioned it in here on PT, the symptoms were identical. Said person even went so far as to clear out the cache just in case it was pulling up old data.

Three separate individuals experiencing the same symptoms seems pretty damning. Of course, if I were to get the treatment, I might never know, since I have a DHCP connection protocol.

Comment #49229

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 22, 2005 5:49 PM (e)

Where are all the IDiots *now* who were just in here whining and bitching about how the big bad atheistic scientists are unfarily censoring the poor little ID scientists …… .

Any of you have anything to say about Dembski’s dirty underhanded dishonest little trick?

Hey Bill, you wouldn’t happen to have been in the employ of the Committee to Re-Elect the President circa 1972, would you? Ya know, CREEP?

Comment #49251

Posted by SEF on September 22, 2005 8:44 PM (e)

I suggested that Dembski might be using an IP address trick to conceal censorship - back here:
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/08/what_else_could.html#comment-44057

Comment #49509

Posted by Hiya'll on September 25, 2005 1:56 AM (e)

“Can anyone remember Dembski ever admitting to making a mistake—and not laughing it off as inconsequential or irrelevant?

I can’t.”

neither can I, but I can’t remember anyone on this board ever admitting making a signficant mistake either. Also, I can’t remember Dawkins, Scott, or Ruse admitting a mistake. Dogma goes both ways.

Comment #49510

Posted by Hiya'll on September 25, 2005 2:10 AM (e)

I suspect Dembski is a megalomaniac. Literally a megalomaniac, I am not hyperboling, I think he’s a megalomaniac!!!! Consider the symptoms

1- Inflated self opinion ( when was the last time you heard him resist being labelled “The Isaac Newton of Information Theory”.)
2- Obsessive desire to propagate own ideas, and to destroy ideas one doesn’t like.
3- Desire to mould a significant part of the world, i.e Biology, popular culture, to his whims
4- Extravagant and bizarre claims, i.e his claim that Biology is a pseudoscience ( He actually said that, not evolutionary biology, not Darwinian biology, but Biology!)
5- Desperate questing to prop up questionable self esteem ( how many degrees does he have again?)
6- Desire to be surrounded by sycophants (consider his blog.)

That itself doesn’t tell us much though. Lot’s of Geniuses were and are megalomaniacs, even chartlans at times (i.e Loui Pasteur.)

Comment #49514

Posted by Alan on September 25, 2005 3:23 AM (e)

Norman wrote:

Would others here please enter and read Bill’s site looking for posts by me and James?

I can see your comments on the Tech.Evo. Prize thread. 42 comments as of now.

yours show as comments 5, 7, 18, 19, 38.

James as 8, 10, 12, 13, 22, 23, 25.

Nothing on any later thread. Did not check back further.

Comment #49516

Posted by Alan on September 25, 2005 3:53 AM (e)

I found something similar happening to me a while ago. I thought this couldn’t happen to me as I don’t have a fixed IP address.

Comment #49562

Posted by Norman Doering on September 25, 2005 3:17 PM (e)

Alan wrote: “I can see your comments on the Tech.Evo. Prize thread.”

Thanks for the report. That’s what I see too.