Nick Matzke posted Entry 1886 on January 5, 2006 05:33 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1881

I just got a shiny, new, titanium-alloy, extra-heavy-duty new irony meter for Christmas. I hook it up to my computer, and wouldn’t you know it, the very first blogpost that comes across my screen happens to be the Discovery Institute Media Judge Complaints Division blog, where Rob Crowther endorses this quote from an op-ed:

“Moreover, based upon the extensive expertise he [Judge Jones of the Kitzmiller case] professes to have acquired in the course of a six-week trial, he defined science and determined that the scientific claims of intelligent design were invalid, neither of which are exactly legal questions best decided by a single lawyer.”

BLAM! Oh, my, that was close, that shrapnel almost took my head off–hey, that’s odd. What are the odds that a titanium irony meter would explode into red-hot fragments spelling Darwin on Trial, pp. 12-13”?

Well, I guess we better look it up. Turn your irony dampening setting to max:

Phillip Johnson (1991), Darwin on Trial, pp. 12-13 wrote:

In the chapters to follow I will look at the evidence to see whether a mechanism is known that can accomplish the large-scale changes which the theory of evolution supposes to have occurred, such as the change from single-celled bacteria to complex plants and animals, from fish to mammals, and from apes to men.

[…]

Before undertaking this task I should say something about my qualifications and purpose. I am not a scientist but an academic lawyer by profession, with a specialty in analyzing the logic of arguments and identifying the assumptions that lie behind those arguments. This background is more appropriate than one might think, because what people believe about evolution and Darwinism depends very heavily on the kind of logic they employ and the kind of assumptions they make. Being a scientist is not necessarily an advantage when dealing with a very broad topic like evolution, which cuts across many scientific disciplines and also involves issues of philosophy. Practicing scientists are of necessity highly specialized, and a scientist outside his field of expertise is just another layman.

Maybe Phillip Johnson deserves a pass because he is the Program Advisor for the Discovery Institute “research” program, the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, who “all but invented the modern intelligent design movement,” may be “the smartest man in California,” “the most important Christian thinker in the United States,” and let us not forget, “the Gandalf of the West.”

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Comment #68073

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 5, 2006 6:43 PM (e)

Though not as ironic or even funny, it’s odd that judges decide on cases every day for which they do not posess any expertise and no one complains.

They rule on medical matters (malpractice), business matters, and all sorts of subjects where they are not recognized experts. That is why we have expert witnesses.\

And let’s ignore th judge and his ruling for a moment. Every single legitimate scientific organization in north america has come out saying that intelligent design creationism is not science. So you have every legit sci organization and a judge (who listened to 6 weeks worth of testimony and heard from the scientific leaders from both sides of the issue) saying intelligent design creationism is not science, what the hell do they need to accept the fact that IDC is not science?

And one need not have a degree in biology to conclude intelligent design creationism is not science. I suppose that is where the irony lies. A 7th grader could tell you intelligent design creationism has no scientific merit.

On an even more unrelated note, the new admin of the Intelligent Design Weblog of Theologian William Dembski is a freshman English and Philosophy major and has no scientific training or education. That says alot about how scientific intelligent design creationism is.

When the “experts” on intelligent design creationism start yapping under oath about how Astrology has made a contribution to science (I wonder if Behe’s horoscope told him that), that a time traveller or space alien may be the intelligent designer, that the definition of science must change in order for intelligent design creationism to fit in, and that mouse traps are like biological entities, any reasonable person is going to reject those notions.

Anyhow, I think I am going to like your irony meter.

Praise the time travelling space alien!

Comment #68074

Posted by RBH on January 5, 2006 6:48 PM (e)

For the benefit of those not lucky enough to have received one for Kitzmas, the Mark V Excelsior is being discounted for a little while, until Ohio and Kansas again drive up demand again.

RBH

Comment #68075

Posted by argy stokes on January 5, 2006 6:57 PM (e)

On an even more unrelated note, the new admin of the Intelligent Design Weblog of Theologian William Dembski is a freshman English and Philosophy major and has no scientific training or education. That says alot about how scientific intelligent design creationism is.

In the interest of accuracy, he’s a college junior.

Comment #68087

Posted by Pastor Bentonit on January 5, 2006 7:48 PM (e)

argy s. wrote:

In the interest of accuracy, he’s a college junior.

Oh, I would have thought…proud waterfront property owner, IQ of 148 or thereabouts..?

Comment #68090

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 7:54 PM (e)

Gandalf of the West???

ROFLMAO!

Comment #68091

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 7:57 PM (e)

it incorporates the latest in digital technology for accurate mensuration from
very low levels to high-density irony field environments (accuracy better than
0.5% from 0.1 microHolden to 1.5 kiloHolden).

well, there’s your problem, the thing is just too damn sensitive for the amplitude of irony being expressed commonly by the DI.

I find a divining rod arrangement works just fine, and is much less volatile.

Comment #68101

Posted by BWE on January 5, 2006 8:26 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'i.'

Comment #68102

Posted by Liz on January 5, 2006 8:32 PM (e)

What level do you think will be registered on the Mark V Excelsior irony meter for this latest pronounciation from Pat Robertson… (as just reported by the AP)

NORFOLK, Va. — Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested today that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s stroke was divine punishment for “dividing God’s land.”

“God considers this land to be his,” Robertson said on his TV program “The 700 Club.” “You read the Bible and he says ‘This is my land,’ and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, ‘No, this is mine.’”

Comment #68106

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 8:39 PM (e)

Gees, Is Robertson suffering from syphillis or something? what a complete nutter!

Comment #68108

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 8:40 PM (e)

I wonder if his coannouncers at the 700 club secretly shake their heads when he says stuff like that.

Comment #68112

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on January 5, 2006 8:49 PM (e)

Please note, the Mark V Excelsior is specifically not licensed for Kansas.

Comment #68115

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 8:54 PM (e)

right, i’ll prepare some extra sets of irony divining rods.

or i suppose you could buy your own and modify as needed:

http://www.naturesprite.com/

Comment #68119

Posted by the pro from dover on January 5, 2006 9:09 PM (e)

I read “Darwin on Trial” and I clearly remember that passage from the book (it’s in the preface) and I thought that anyone who believes that this is what lawyers do will believe anything Mr. Johnson tells them. I showed it to my wife (a district court judge) who was appalled at this hubris and deception. Lawyers are highly paid advocates for a particular point of view and their job is to maximally inflate what benefits their clients and maximally discredit that which does not. There is no logic involved here. Lawyers who do nothing but logically figure out what happened based on evidence will be pounding the pavement in their daddy’s wing-tips pretty darn quick. Their only connection to logic is to make their client’s position to be the only logical one (if the glove dont fit you must acquit). I dont know who or what Gandalf is but Johnson is the Sam Wilberforce of the 20th century (if the fish has lungs you must babble in tongues?)

Comment #68128

Posted by Bob Maurus on January 5, 2006 9:39 PM (e)

Pro from Dover,

You don’t know who Gandalf is? Where have you been the past several years. Peter Jackson’s “Lord Of The Rings” film trilogy swept the Oscars last year.

Comment #68129

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 9:42 PM (e)

Where have you been the past several years

try at least 40! how could someone whose name is “the pro from Dover” be unaware of JRR Tolkien?

gotta be a poke at irony in there somewhere.

damn, gotta drop the divining rods and go back the the computerized irony meter.

Comment #68133

Posted by CJ O'Brien on January 5, 2006 9:54 PM (e)

at least 40? why, ol’ Gandalf’s first appearance is in The Hobbit, IIRC 1933. Old boy’s pushing 80.

btw Johnson = Wormtoungue

Gandalf should never be so maligned.

Comment #68136

Posted by Ginger Yellow on January 5, 2006 9:59 PM (e)

If scientists outside their field are just laymen (which is to a certain degree true), why does the DI shout so loudly about the non-biology scientific credentials of its fellows?

Comment #68138

Posted by neuralsmith on January 5, 2006 10:00 PM (e)

With regard to Dembski reopening his blog and giving his regular posters admin status, the first thing I thought was that now the patients are running the asylum. Then I remembered that Dembski was not much better. Oh snap!

Comment #68139

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 10:02 PM (e)

most of their followers have been convinced scientists in general are evil, and biologists are the worst of the bunch. ergo, they HAVE to make clear that they also don’t support any real science or biology.

simple.

Comment #68142

Posted by the pro from dover on January 5, 2006 10:12 PM (e)

sometimes the pro just sees the world pass him by. just yesterday i went to buy shelly fabres latest 78 rpm record and the tattood young man with the 20 earrings looked at me like i was from mars.

Comment #68149

Posted by theo on January 5, 2006 10:40 PM (e)

So will Dembski’s new collegiate factotum be doing most of the damning – I mean banning – on Dembski’s blog now? His warning “I have very little tolerance for brazen rudeness” is *very* intimidating.

Seriously, though, I can’t wait to see what depths DaveScot etc. will sink to. As well as being a notable troll, he also stoops to random insinuations like like “[John] Derbyshire was an abused child.”

Comment #68150

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 10:40 PM (e)

sometimes the pro just sees the world pass him by

which of us couldn’t say that about ourselves, at least to some degree. We kinda rely on each other to fill us in on what we missed, yes?

Comment #68152

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 10:42 PM (e)

btw, uh, who is shelly fabres?

Comment #68159

Posted by Henry J on January 5, 2006 11:04 PM (e)

Re “Practicing scientists are of necessity highly specialized, and a scientist outside his field of expertise is just another layman.”

That’s interesting. A scientist out of his field is just another layman. That makes me wonder something - what’s a lawyer who’s out of his field?

Henry

Comment #68167

Posted by Michael Hopkins on January 5, 2006 11:28 PM (e)

btw Johnson = Wormtoungue

Wormtongue was just a lackey. Johnson is a leader. Johnson, if a Tolkien reference is to be used, should be the Witch-king of Angmar (head honcho of the Nazgûl).

Comment #68168

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 11:32 PM (e)

hmm, do we get Eugenie to slay him then?

naw, i see Johnson more like Saruman, deceived and deceiving, with a masterful forked tongue.

Comment #68169

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 11:33 PM (e)

uh oh, it’s starting to look like the ID movement might be ripe for a LOTR parody…

who’s game?

Comment #68171

Posted by Eugene Lai on January 5, 2006 11:41 PM (e)

Merry and Eowyn slayed the chief Nazgul…

Comment #68178

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 5, 2006 11:59 PM (e)

so… Eugenie Clark = Eowyn?

Comment #68179

Posted by Eugene Lai on January 6, 2006 12:00 AM (e)

hmmm. I don’t know who Eugenie is until now

Comment #68181

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 12:17 AM (e)

sorry, I’m tired. I’m also an ichthyologist who studies sharks, so you can forgive my mislabel.

I meant Eugenie Scott, who is one of the leading ID opponents:

Eugenie C. Scott is Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education

http://www.ncseweb.org/

Eugenie Clark is one of the most famous ichthyologists of all time, and i’m sure also a staunch anti-ider.

Comment #68182

Posted by Eugene Lai on January 6, 2006 12:24 AM (e)

Yeah I googled Eugenie Clark and found out who she is. Eugenie Scott is closer to Gandalf, I think.

Comment #68183

Posted by steve s on January 6, 2006 12:44 AM (e)

Comment #68159

Posted by Henry J on January 5, 2006 11:04 PM (e) (s)

That’s interesting. A scientist out of his field is just another layman. That makes me wonder something - what’s a lawyer who’s out of his field?

Henry

Who is Philip Johnson? I’ll take Retards for 1000, Alex.

Comment #68184

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 12:54 AM (e)

oh, and it’s a daily double…

how much money will you wager, Steve?

Comment #68186

Posted by David Wilson on January 6, 2006 12:59 AM (e)

Nick Matzke wrote:

Maybe Phillip Johnson deserves a pass because he is the Program Advisor for the Discovery Institute “research” program, … , who … may be “the smartest man in California,” …

Well, after all, he was able to absorb “the literature on Darwinian evolution” and determine what “the problem” with it was all “within a few weeks”, so he must be really smart.

Comment #68191

Posted by dale on January 6, 2006 1:15 AM (e)

at least 40? why, ol’ Gandalf’s first appearance is in The Hobbit, IIRC 1933. Old boy’s pushing 80.

Gandalf was in middle earth at least 2000 years, and was around pretty much from the beginning of it all. Tolkein’s creation myth had him as one of the original lesser angels.

Comment #68220

Posted by Renier on January 6, 2006 3:01 AM (e)

Uh, just nitpicking, but Gandalf first appeared in the Elder Edda (Poetic Edda - Viking Sagas), though it was the name of a dwarf, thus the “alf” in the name…

I am really disgusted with the way the IDiots have been handling their defeat in court. Talk about a bunch of bad losers! The worst though is the way they attacked the character of judge Jones. What a bunch of malicious people, and then they feel they have the right to dictate what OUR children should learn in school.

Comment #68228

Posted by but on January 6, 2006 3:55 AM (e)

“alf” means, obviously, “elf”, and gandalf means “wand-elf”.

Comment #68231

Posted by Dave Thomas on January 6, 2006 4:02 AM (e)

I vote for Dembski as Smeagol/Gollum, and DaveScot as Wormtongue.

Comment #68236

Posted by djmullen on January 6, 2006 4:43 AM (e)

I think Johnson is a better Goodgulf, the fraudulent wizard in the Harvard Lampoon’s “Bored of the Rings”, written by the great Henry Beard and Douglas Kenney as a warm up before they launched the glory days of the National Lampoon.

“Do not mock powers beyond your knowledge, impudent hairfoot,” he said, as five aces materialized in his hand, “For you see the efficacy of my enchantments!”

Comment #68240

Posted by djmullen on January 6, 2006 5:09 AM (e)

Oh yeah, and speaking of “Bored of the Rings”, here’s the map of Lower Middle Earth that graced the first edition:

http://boredoftherings.150m.com/bored_map.html

Artwork by William S. Donnell

Comment #68255

Posted by k.e. on January 6, 2006 5:52 AM (e)

Which fits DJ
I met all the characters in Bored where (I must now decloak)
I grew up in Jackson’s land of country hobbits elves goblins and gandalfs coming out of my ears. Which is why I had to get away.As far a catholic/universal apologists go I prefer E.Waugh/Green/J.Joyce who were masters of idiom plus in Waugh’s case a sarky SOB. Waugh was unkind to the yanks in a brilliant English sort of way but they loved him for among others “The Loved One”.
Don’t get me wrong about our colonial cousins give me “The Great Gatsby” Joe Campbell and Intel over LOTR any day.

“A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us.”
W. H. Auden

Comment #68269

Posted by the pro from dover on January 6, 2006 6:29 AM (e)

shelly fabres was a 50s teen queen not far removed from annette funicello. you would never mistake her for brittany spear. Ive always wondered; is she the daughter of burning spear? Shelly was the daughter of nanette fabres i think (but really dont care). I never got past the 1st chapter of the hobbit.

Comment #68277

Posted by Mark Duigon on January 6, 2006 8:50 AM (e)

Some Creationists place all their faith in a literal reading of the Bible; some place their faith in the other Creationist bibles: “Darwin on Trial,” “Darwin’s Black Box,” “Of Pandas and People.”

Being a scientist is a disadvantage? When you’re an outsider, you try to put the insiders outside, in an effort to make people think the outside is inside, but what would you expect from the Bizarro World of ID where Up is Down?

Johnson is an intellectual Luddite who wishes to tear down a very effective means of knowledge production in order to preserve his lifestyle of wishful thinking and shifting of blame for society’s ills.

Comment #68279

Posted by Corkscrew on January 6, 2006 8:55 AM (e)

Mark Duigon wrote:

Johnson is an intellectual Luddite who wishes to tear down a very effective means of knowledge production in order to preserve his lifestyle of wishful thinking and shifting of blame for society’s ills.

Thanks, that’s going on my list of useful rhetoric.

Comment #68280

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 6, 2006 9:10 AM (e)

The governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is calling for intelligent design creationism to be taught in Texas public schools. As a native Texan I am fully qualified to say Perry is a complete Bozo.

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/01/6perry.html

…Perry “supports the teaching of the theory of intelligent design,” spokeswoman Kathy Walt said. “Texas schools teach the theory of evolution; intelligent design is a valid scientific theory, and he believes it should be taught as well.”

Karl Rove started advising him a couple of years ago, in short all he did was show him how to manipulate fundamentalist christians. Perry has shown a natural talent for it.

In better news Kinky Freedman (candidate for Texas governor) said there is nothing intelligent about intelligent design.

Comment #68293

Posted by k.e. on January 6, 2006 10:44 AM (e)

yah Kinky!!
IIRC he said sumt’n like “if you see me go by in a long black limo I’ll be on my way to the guvnors house or a funeral”

Comment #68389

Posted by Henry J on January 6, 2006 4:47 PM (e)

Is there such a thing as an incomplete Bozo? Or would that be like half a wing?

(Don’t mind me; I’m short on sleep today.)

Henry

Comment #68392

Posted by Dene Bebbington on January 6, 2006 4:57 PM (e)

Nick, no irony meter ever made can ever withstand the IDers.

Comment #68394

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 5:04 PM (e)

having just read the complete course syllabus of WD’s over at the “seminary”, I challenge anybody’s irony meter to gauge the following course title:

28970 Critical Thinking and the Art of Argumentation

it gets better:

Course Description:
This course examines the means by which we convince ourselves and others that
something is true. Of special interest here are the pitfalls to logical thinking that prevent
us from coming to the truth.

yikes.

lies about even the definition of critical thinking.

bill is one scary dude.

Comment #68398

Posted by george on January 6, 2006 5:13 PM (e)

As to Pat,

I think Pat is so far off the deep end that he is actually a blessing. While it is truly a shame that he will twist the minds of some poor souls, he will push many more back to a more rationale place…. and, well, my 8 year old son loves to mock him. Sure, he is such an easy target it is child’s play, but a good source for the young skeptic to cut his teeth…

Comment #68480

Posted by i like latin on January 6, 2006 9:39 PM (e)

Has anyone else looked at some of the exams on Dembski’s site? They’re even scarier.
Welcome to the Dembski school. Disagree and get sit to the Seminary Gulag.
YIKES is all that can be said.

With regard to TX, I was happy to see this on the other blog:

Tincy Miller of Dallas, chairwoman of the State Board of Education…
“We had a huge discussion; it was just put to bed,” Miller said. “We teach evolution in Texas.” The board is slated to consider revised biology textbooks in 2008 at the earliest.

At least it sugests there is hope and the school board isn’t a bunch of nuts.

Comment #68579

Posted by Marek 14 on January 7, 2006 9:35 AM (e)

A modest suggestion: How about making stickers “Warning: May contain nuts” to put on school board doors?

Comment #68582

Posted by Bob O'H on January 7, 2006 10:13 AM (e)

On nuts etc, in 1999 the Colorado and Kansas State Boards of Education were jointly awarded an Ig for science education. Someone from the Colorado board responded by sending some bananas, and a letter. Marc Abrahams replied, ending with

The bananas are excellent. It’s good to see that the
Colorado State Board of Education maintains high
standards for its fruit baskets.

There. It became relevant eventually.

Bob

Comment #68586

Posted by steve s on January 7, 2006 11:22 AM (e)

Comment #68231

Posted by Dave Thomas on January 6, 2006 04:02 AM (e) (s)

I vote for Dembski as Smeagol/Gollum

you know, he does kind of look a bit like him, with that weird head and pencil neck.

“We hates the Darwin…”

Comment #68641

Posted by the pro from dover on January 7, 2006 9:31 PM (e)

Many at the thumb seem confused about what exactly is wrong with Pat Robertson. So in the spirit of Billy Frist who diagnosed Terry Schiavo without examining her the pro ventures a diagnosis for Pat: hypozyprexemia.

Comment #68642

Posted by steve s on January 7, 2006 9:33 PM (e)

Lol. I really think at some point his family’s going to intervene and get him off the air, because all he’s doing right now is transmitting the meme “People who say religious things are nuts”

which i’m down with.

Comment #68649

Posted by Dean Morrison on January 7, 2006 10:39 PM (e)

.. all Trolls look the same to me after a while…. remind me? how do you tell a ‘Holocaust Revisionist’ from a ‘White Nationalist’?

I know, neither of them agree with: ‘White Supremacists’ or ‘Holocaust Deniers’….

but apart from that; .. how on Earth do we tell them apart?

… perhaps by asking them their views on astronomy?

Comment #68715

Posted by Ron Okimoto on January 8, 2006 9:09 AM (e)

it incorporates the latest in digital technology for accurate mensuration from
very low levels to high-density irony field environments (accuracy better than
0.5% from 0.1 microHolden to 1.5 kiloHolden).

well, there’s your problem, the thing is just too damn sensitive for the amplitude of irony being expressed commonly by the DI.

I find a divining rod arrangement works just fine, and is much less volatile.

It does say that it is safe to the mega Holden range, but the current DI giga Holden bullshit could compromise the unit. The fact is that you don’t need a meter except at the lower ranges, just think what it would cost to get accurate readings in the full creationist range?

Want to bet that the court case referred to in the notes involved Dr. Parker and the rectal implant in Kansas? My guess is that he should have read the fine print.