Richard B. Hoppe posted Entry 1837 on December 23, 2005 09:57 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1832

Casey Luskin has announced that (in effect) the January 3 debate on the evidence for intelligent design, which Bill Dembski previously accepted, is off. Luskin wrote

Discovery and its fellows are delighted to debate Dr. Princehouse and/or Kenneth Miller or whomever and want only to do so in a neutral forum with reasonable and MUTUAL agreements on topic, location, timing, and the other modalities associated with civilized debate. One side does not simply announce a place, and a time a few weeks’ hence, and demand that the opponent show up. Otherwise it looks like a publicity stunt.

As of this writing, however, Dembski has not notified Princehouse of his withdrawal, so we don’t know if he’ll be there or not.

Nevertheless, the show will go on. The Department of Biology at Case Western Reserve University will sponsor Ken Miller’s appearance at Strosacker Hall on January 3 at 7:00 p.m. If Dembski doesn’t appear, he doesn’t appear, but we’ll all be there and we’ll be sorry he missed the party.

Note that the event will be webcast: details to follow.

RBH

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Comment #64568

Posted by PvM on December 23, 2005 10:36 PM (e)

The Kitzmiller ruling may have scared them off? After all, the DI is trying to do a lot of damage control and they focus on Ohio, arguing incorrectly that the Kitzmiller ruling has no relevance to the Ohio case.

Seems they are running scared. I do not blame them.

Comment #64569

Posted by bill on December 23, 2005 10:40 PM (e)

One side does not simply announce a place, and a time a few weeks’ hence, and demand that the opponent show up. Otherwise it looks like a publicity stunt.

Oh, Casey, you mean like the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt held earlier this year? For once you are right, the Kansas exposition was, indeed, a publicity stunt.

Thanks for pointing it out.

Comment #64570

Posted by PvM on December 23, 2005 10:42 PM (e)

And what could Dembski really have done to improve ID’s track record? Argue that ID is not really about ‘pathetic details’?

Dembski wrote:

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

ID is scientifically vacuous (although theologically and philosophically it may have some relevance). Which may help understand why Dembski returned to apologetics.

Perhaps Dembski does not want to show up ‘empty handed’…? Or perhaps he could argue front-loading, a position which even further undermines any hope for ID to become scientifically relevant.

A Waterloo indeed…

Comment #64578

Posted by CBBB on December 23, 2005 11:11 PM (e)

Game Over for the ID Crowd. It seems like these guys have been in a downward spiral ever since the decision came down from Judge Jones. A few more pro-science court rulings and the DI will be in full retreat and in a couple of years will be able as influential as AiG; meaning your average crackpot fundie will take them seriously but no one else will.

Comment #64579

Posted by CBBB on December 23, 2005 11:13 PM (e)

will be able as influential as AiG

I mean ABOUT as influential.

Comment #64581

Posted by Gerry L on December 23, 2005 11:32 PM (e)

I wouldn’t write them off too quickly. IDers may not know much about science, but they are masters of PR and manipulation.

We can revel in our victory for a few days, but we’d better get busy figuring out how build on it … and how to counter the IDers next stunt. They’re not going away any time soon.

Comment #64582

Posted by Tara Smith on December 23, 2005 11:38 PM (e)

Too bad. I’d already hyped the “debate” and convinced my brother (a CWRU alum) to attend (and probably take a few of his science-minded frat buddies along for the entertainment). I’ve seen Miller speak before and I’m sure he’ll be great, but I think they were already thinking of drinking games for Dembski’s talk…

Comment #64590

Posted by Brian on December 24, 2005 12:02 AM (e)

As a non-scientist I am not aware of what type of environment and ground rules are appropriate for such a debate. Nonetheless I would like to see the organizers for the event accomdate the ID proponents as much as possible.

Give them as little reason to back out as possible and see if they still find a reason to back out.

Comment #64592

Posted by PvM on December 24, 2005 12:11 AM (e)

I wouldn’t write them off too quickly. IDers may not know much about science, but they are masters of PR and manipulation.

Well, their PR firm is the same who did the Swift boat ads… While they may win the PR battle, they will likely lose the war unless they can provide some scientically relevant claims.

ID can only hide in the shadows of our ignorance.

Comment #64598

Posted by Registered User on December 24, 2005 1:10 AM (e)

I know people who have challenged Luskin to a debate about the Discovery Institute and whether the Institute and it employees are part of a sham, as suggested by Judge Jones.

And of course I’ve offered on this blog to pay Salvadore Cordova’s expenses to debate similar issues.

They ain’t interested.

Why?

They can’t win that debate. They can’t even succeed in confusing about people in such a debate.

And confusing people – and frightening people – is all the Discovery Institute is good for.

Comment #64602

Posted by Flint on December 24, 2005 1:42 AM (e)

…want only to do so in a neutral forum with reasonable and MUTUAL agreements on topic, location, timing, and the other modalities associated with civilized debate.

If we can translate this request based on previous creationist debates, this means the moderator must be a creationist, the audience should be mostly bused in from fundamentalist churches, Jack Chick tracts are to be sold in the lobby, and the Gish Gallop is to receive official blessing.

As they realize at least as well as anyone else, debates are purely PR events, having nothing to do with science, education, or accuracy. Any forum not carefully (and drastically) tilted in their favor isn’t “neutral” enough, for example peer review or courts of law…

Comment #64603

Posted by Registered User on December 24, 2005 1:58 AM (e)

civilized debate

I can translate this for everyone. This means that you can’t tell the audience that you’re opponent is lying even when (1) the facts contradict what your opponent is saying and (2) your opponent was made aware of those facts publicly.

And in a sense, this definition is not terribly inaccurate when used to describe political discourse in the “civilization” called the United States of America in 2005.

People know now that the “right” to recite self-serving lies to make yourself look good trumps the “right” of people to call you lying ass when you get caught doing so. And anyone who doesn’t take advantage of this fact is, well, a stupid whiner who simply doesn’t want to win badly enough.

Comment #64613

Posted by MikeHol on December 24, 2005 7:06 AM (e)

We already had the debate. It was Kitzmiller v. Dover. As I recall, Dembski didn’t have the stones to show up for that one, either.

Comment #64615

Posted by Steverino on December 24, 2005 8:17 AM (e)

Well, dont’ we have their slides/and or materials from previous debates? Begin with a statement/disclaimer that says these/their points have not been altered and that after accepting they decided to withdraw. Then present those same materials, without alteration, and just respond to those debate points???

Invite people to attend from both sides. The Q&A would take place as usual becuase ID/Creationist always as the same questions…Second Law of Thermo….blah…blah…blah. This way real answers can be given without the circus atmosphere.

Begin with a statement that says these/their points have not been altered and that after accepting they decided to withdraw.

Comment #64627

Posted by Ed Darrell on December 24, 2005 11:58 AM (e)

Luskin’s announcement should be framed and printed on wallet cards. It should be thrown up for every appearance by Ken Hovind, and for every showing the Discovery Institute does at any church.

Heck we could print ‘em up as “disclaimer” stickers …

(Luskin hasn’t been at this game long, has he? Do you think he understands that he’s disowning one of the chief tactics of his side?)

Comment #64631

Posted by RBH on December 24, 2005 12:36 PM (e)

Ed Darrell wrote

Do you think he understands that he’s disowning one of the chief tactics of his side?

That’s a nice point. Thanks!

And it’s worth asking why a University is a not a “neutral forum” for the discussion of what is allegedly scientific work. Where then does one discuss it? A fast food restaurant? A rest stop on I-71?

RBH

Comment #64642

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on December 24, 2005 1:25 PM (e)

Well if Dembski and the other big names of IDC won’t show up, maybe we could go deep to the bench, and invite Salvador or BlastfromthePast.

Comment #64653

Posted by Skip on December 24, 2005 2:35 PM (e)

“Well if Dembski and the other big names of IDC won’t show up, maybe we could go deep to the bench, and invite Salvador or BlastfromthePast.”

How about standing an inflatable clown next to Ken? I don’t think anyone would be able to tell the difference between an inflatable clown and someone from the DI.

Comment #64659

Posted by Registered User on December 24, 2005 2:59 PM (e)

I don’t think anyone would be able to tell the difference between an inflatable clown and someone from the DI

Inflatable clowns don’t lie.

Comment #64665

Posted by RBH on December 24, 2005 3:24 PM (e)

Someone (I name no names) remarked elsewhere that the time required for a presentation of the affirmative evidence for ID was independent of an IDist’s presence or absence. :)

RBH

Comment #64666

Posted by Flint on December 24, 2005 3:27 PM (e)

That’s a nice point. Thanks!

No, I think it misses the point. What Luskin is trying to do is to redefine “neutrality” as overhwelming bias in his favor. War is peace, ignorance is knowledge, bias is neutrality. Luskin has learned from the best…

Comment #64669

Posted by Ben on December 24, 2005 3:44 PM (e)

How about standing an inflatable clown next to Ken?

Perhaps we could get the inflatable autopilot from [i]Airplane[/i].

Comment #64670

Posted by Registered User on December 24, 2005 3:45 PM (e)

It’s creepy when you think about it.

The Discovery Institute is not a small-potatoes organization in terms of national exposure.

Luskin just graduated from a 2nd tier law school and passed the Bar a month ago and now he’s some sort of official spokesperson for the DI.

I mean it’s no suprise to any of us. The litmus test for being a shill for the DI has never had anything do with experience or success in one’s field. It’s about cronyism and the willingness to recite the script and drink the kool-aid regardless of the consequences.

Remind anyone of any other contemporary clowns that monopolize our country’s discourse? ;)

Even when you look at the ultimate fuel for the DI’s antics you don’t see a sign of intelligence. Howie Ahmanson is a mentally ill bigot who was born with a $300 million platinum spoon in his mouth.

Just out of curiosity – is anyone here aware of any documented public evidence of Howie’s alleged Tourette’s Syndrome?

I’m wondering if he isn’t kept out the public eye simply because he is incapable of saying more than a paragraph without revealing himself to be a religious lunatic of the sort that would make Osama bin Laden look reasonable. You know, stuff like “execute the gays,” and other garbage that Howie paid his guru Rushdoony to recite not too long ago.

Has anyone actually heard Howie spouting profanity in public?

And a related question: why doesn’t the Panda’s Thumb write more about Howard Ahmanson on its front page????

That doesn’t make sense to me if the goal of the Panda’s Thumb is to diminish the power of the Discovery Institute in our country’s discourse. If that were the goal, I’d keep Howie’s disgusting garbage close to the front and center.

Can someone from the PT star chamber explain the rationale for shying away from Howie’s disgusting exploits? Again, it seems like something that the American public would “understand” if presented properly, if you get my drift.

Comment #64672

Posted by sir_toejam on December 24, 2005 3:49 PM (e)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Ahmanson,_Jr…

Comment #64674

Posted by Registered User on December 24, 2005 3:59 PM (e)

Sir TJ

Thanks for the link, which really doesn’t do Howie “justice”. As always, the allegations regarding Howie’s alleged mental illness are just that.

I’m not aware of any documented event which shows that the guy, in fact, has any medically recognized disease.

Relatively speaking, Mirecki’s “alleged” beating has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

I suspect that Howie’s only disease is that he is an unrepetent bigot that (surprise!) can’t keep his trap shut when it comes to his fanatic opinions.

If unrepentent bigotry is a medical disease, then there are a lot of self-identifying Christians in this country in need of therepy.

Comment #64677

Posted by sir_toejam on December 24, 2005 4:14 PM (e)

ok, maybe this will convince you:

http://www.ocregister.com/ocr/2004/08/09/section…

this is the second part of a mini-biography on howie. Trust me, he has tourettes:

David was bright from the start - learning to read when he was 3 - but he struggled with tying his shoes or walking down stairs. For years, they took him to speech and physical therapy, but life at home and at school was fraught with frequent meltdowns and tears.

When David was in elementary school, he was finally diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome, a neurological disorder best known for its involuntary physical twitches and verbal tics.

Not long after, Howard Ahmanson asked for the same tests and was told he also had Tour ette’s.

satisfied?

Comment #64682

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 24, 2005 4:42 PM (e)

“Well if Dembski and the other big names of IDC won’t show up, maybe we could go deep to the bench, and invite Salvador or BlastfromthePast.”

How about standing an inflatable clown next to Ken? I don’t think anyone would be able to tell the difference between an inflatable clown and someone from the DI.

In all seriousness, back in my environmental organizer days, we would routinely invite our opponent’s to a “public discussion” or “public debate”. They, of course, always refused.

So we went ahead anyway, and put a big empty chair on their side of the stage.

It got the message across with crystal clarity.

My suggestion for the “debate”? Once again, read the Dover deicison aloud. Every word of it.

Stop every so often and ask the empty chair if they have any response.

Particlarly whenever the word “lied” or “dishonest” appears in the decision.

Comment #64683

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 24, 2005 4:44 PM (e)

And a related question: why doesn’t the Panda’s Thumb write more about Howard Ahmanson on its front page????

It appears as if, uh, that’s *my* job. :)

Howie did get mentioned during the trial, as I recall.

He should have been much more prominent.

Comment #64695

Posted by Registered User on December 24, 2005 6:25 PM (e)

Sir TJ

this is the second part of a mini-biography on howie. Trust me, he has tourettes:

Are you joking? I should trust you based on on the fact that you read an article that reports information that was obtained from … who exactly? Howie’s wife?

I’m highly dubious, Sir TJ, but that’s only because (1) Howie is sort of a notorious bigot so why should I believe anything that his wife is instructed to say about him and (2) Howie funds organizations that lie about every other subject other than the sun and (3) I’m not aware of a single contemporary observation of these symptoms of Howie’s “Tourettes.”

I haven’t done a Google search to see whether Tourettes is treatable by any of the multitude of psychoactive pharmaceuticals on the market. You’d think Howie could afford to get some treatment.

But maybe it’s simply convenient for the Discovery Institute to keep Howie hidden behind the curtain if he can’t be trusted (or refuses for some reason) to recite the Discovery Institute’s scripts verbatim.

I think this is a very reasonable conclusion to draw. You seem to think otherwise. But I’m not persuaded by your evidence in light of the alternative obvious explanation for keeping Howie’s role in the Discovery Institute as hidden as possible.

Comment #64706

Posted by sir_toejam on December 24, 2005 7:54 PM (e)

look, i think your working cross purposes here.

Howie has tourettes, so does his father. It’s not now nor ever was used as an excuse for anything.

Tourettes does not affect one’s rationality, per sae. Howie’s irrationality is totally independent of his having tourettes. Did you read the article?

it seems likely his irrational support for creationism probably is founded in some sort of family crisis, rather than it being based on his having tourettes syndrome.

His having tourettes was never hidden in any articles I ever read about him, and there have literally been hundreds printed.

go look for yourself.

gees.

Comment #64726

Posted by Andrew McClure on December 24, 2005 8:52 PM (e)

What Luskin is trying to do is to redefine “neutrality” as overhwelming bias in his favor.

Luskin just wants the debate to be Fair and Balanced. Is that so bad?

Comment #64729

Posted by sir_toejam on December 24, 2005 8:56 PM (e)

Howie has tourettes, so does his father.

sorry, I meant his son.

Comment #64767

Posted by shiva on December 25, 2005 8:17 AM (e)

what a pity. I was looking forward to grilling BillD. I met Ken Miller last October at Case. I will be there this time too. It should be fun. If not Bill who else will represent ID? Some local luminary of the ‘science’?

Comment #64989

Posted by Registered User on December 26, 2005 3:16 PM (e)

Sir TJ, I know you’re not as dense as you’re coming across in your responses here:

Howie has tourettes, so does his father. It’s not now nor ever was used as an excuse for anything.

So you say. Why you insist on propagating this convenient tale on behalf of the Discovery Institute eludes me.

So you’re unable to come up with a single documented account of Howie displaying a symptom of his illness in public, huh? But you won’t admit that. Instead you just recite the conclusion.

Gosh, that reminds of the behavior of, well, you know who.

Tourettes does not affect one’s rationality, per sae. Howie’s irrationality is totally independent of his having tourettes.

Did I say Tourettes affected one’s rationality? Nope. I said there is no evidence of Howei’s Tourettes except for his wife’s say-so.

it seems likely his irrational support for creationism probably is founded in some sort of family crisis, rather than it being based on his having tourettes syndrome.

Where did I ever claim that his creationism stemmed from his Tourettes????!!!!

His having tourettes was never hidden in any articles I ever read about him, and there have literally been hundreds printed.

Dude. READ CAREFULLY.

I never said that the idea of Howie’s Tourette’s was hidden. On the contrary, I suspect this “diagnosis” is publicized every time he is written about because it provides a convenient excuse for the Discovery Institute and other organizations to keep Howie’s irredeemable and unsuppressible bigotry and his role per se out the public eye as much as possible.

This works well for Howie who is probably just one of those guys who can’t keep his big mouth shut (maybe he actually believes in the 9th Commandment) because it lets Howie let other do the dirty work of lying while keeping Howie and his sordid past under wraps.

Comment #64990

Posted by Andrew McClure on December 26, 2005 3:42 PM (e)

Did I say Tourettes affected one’s rationality? Nope. I said there is no evidence of Howei’s Tourettes except for his wife’s say-so.

This seems like a peculiar thing to focus on. If you’ll look at the link given above, the evidence is not just “his wife’s say so”, but also his own say so, and the claim that both Ahmanson and his son underwent medical testing. I cannot see any reason why they would mislead the press about this– they do not benefit from his Tourettes’ being published about in the context of that article, they certainly do not benefit from publicly slandering their son if he doesn’t have Tourettes’, and if for some reason they wished to fabricate a tale of mental illness it is unlikely they would claim to have nonexistent documentation (such as medical tests would provide) which they might potentially at some point be asked to produce. It is almost totally unlikely that this claim could be used to “excuse” anything at all, because not only do they claim that Ahmanson’s Tourettes’ is limited to nervous tics and “an inability to look people in the eye”, they claim the problem has now been placed under control by medication. This is neither serious insofar as Tourettes’ can go, nor is it really convenient to Ahmanson or any of his lapdog causes. It is a personal issue, and not a very big one.

Why you insist on propagating this convenient tale on behalf of the Discovery Institute eludes me.

“If you’re not one of us you’re one of them” then? :|

Comment #64996

Posted by Stephen Elliott on December 26, 2005 4:12 PM (e)

Posted by Registered User on December 24, 2005 02:59 PM (e) (s)

I don’t think anyone would be able to tell the difference between an inflatable clown and someone from the DI

Inflatable clowns don’t lie.

Laughed so hard I nearly choked.

Damn funny.

Comment #65005

Posted by RBH on December 26, 2005 4:38 PM (e)

That sounds like a good line on which to close this thread.

RBH