January 30, 2005

QUICK, HIDE THE EVIDENCE:

Stealth Attack On Evolution: Who is behind the movement to give equal time to Darwin's critics, and what do they really want? (MICHAEL D. LEMONICK NOAH ISACKSON; JEFFREY RESSNER, Jan. 31, 2005, TIME)

Ken Bingman has beern teaching biology in the public schools in the Kansas City area for 42 years, and over the past decade he has seen a marked change in how students react when he brings up evolution. "I don't know if we're more religious today," he says, "but I see more and more students who want a link to God." Although he is a churchgoer, Bingman does not believe that link should be part of a science class. Neither does the Supreme Court, which declared such intermingling of church and state unconstitutional back in 1988.

But that decision does not sit well with a lot of Americans. So at a time when religious faith is increasingly worn on public sleeves--most prominently that of the President--a dispute that dates back to the celebrated 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial" is being replayed around the country in legislatures, courts, school-board meetings and parent-teacher conferences. School administrators in rural Dover, Pa., visited biology classes last week to read a declaration proclaiming, among other things, that "Darwin's theory [of evolution] ... is a theory, not a fact." And in suburban Cobb County, Ga., officials pasted stickers on biology textbooks declaring the same thing and are now appealing a court order to remove them.

The intellectual underpinnings of the latest assault on Darwin's theory come not from Bible-wielding Fundamentalists but from well-funded think tanks promoting a theory they call intelligent design, or I.D. for short. Their basic argument is that the origin of life, the diversity of species and even the structure of organs like the eye are so bewilderingly complex that they can only be the handiwork of a higher intelligence (name and nature unspecified).

All the think tanks want to do, they insist, is make the teaching of evolution more honest by bringing up its drawbacks. Who could argue with that? But the mainstream scientific community contends that this seemingly innocuous agenda is actually a stealthy way of promoting religion. "Teaching evidence against evolution is a back-door way of teaching creationism," says Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education.


It's not even necessary to make fun of them anymore, they make fun of themselves.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 30, 2005 11:02 PM
Comments

"This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

Your Constitution contains material on the proper role of the judicial branch. Unfortunately, actual Constitutional jurisprudence has become a theory, not a fact, especially regarding the origins of judicial power, and any likeness to actual jurisprudence is strictly to create the illusion thereof. Unlike this vapid court ruling, your Constitution should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.

Posted by: Noel at January 30, 2005 11:38 PM

Waving your arms and saying Darwin 'Bad! Very bad!' is one approach.

One that actually engages what the theory says, or does not say, might carry more weight.

I'm waiting.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at January 31, 2005 12:54 AM

Their basic argument is that the origin of life, the diversity of species and even the structure of organs like the eye are so bewilderingly complex that they can only be the handiwork of a higher intelligence (name and nature unspecified).

So their basic argument leaves completely undefined both intelligence and design, and finds its firmest ground on appeals to incredulity.

Reminds me of the kid shoveling out a stable.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at January 31, 2005 7:12 AM

Jeff:

Yes, it's identical to Darwinism which is why it's likely wrong too.

Posted by: oj at January 31, 2005 7:22 AM

Harry:

Enjoy!:

http://www.brothersjudd.com/blog/archives/cat_darwinism.html


BTW: You and Jeff use "hand waving" as some kind of dispositive epithet--can either of you explain to those of us who don't have handy copies of the Atheist Catechism what it is you mean by it?

Posted by: oj at January 31, 2005 8:00 AM

"Hand waving" is the attempt to use dramatic gestures in the place of logical argument. I always thought it was a geek thing, from the experience of watching a professor flummoxed by a hard question literally wave his hands while uttering a banality and quickly moving on to another question/subject.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 31, 2005 9:20 AM

I do have a copy of that Catechism handy, so I can tell that ‘hand waving’ occurs when you seek to avoid a tricky problem or difficult question by dismissing it, dissembling, pretending it doesn’t exist or otherwise avoiding meeting it head on.

A good example would be your attitude to Mayr. The Darwinists here have asked you to take your attack to the theory as they actually hold it, not your straw man versions. So they’ve pointed you towards Mayr and, for example, allopatric speciation. But your response is to selectively quote over and over the same section of Mayr’s introduction, and to dismiss Mayr’s explanation of speciation by saying “that’s just something you made up when you found it couldn’t happen just by natural selection.”

Well maybe, but how about addressing it?

You'd rather hand-wave.

What’s interesting looking over your Darwinism archives is the amount of ground you’ve had to concede since the old days when we were still arguing over what teleology and natural selection meant. Your straw men have had to become a lot more sophisticated.

But what’s puzzling is your motivation. Your motivation doesn’t seem to be just to engender debate. You don’t like debate. You prefer answering long, considered comments with sassy one-liners. You even like to break up debates between third parties by inserting sassy one-liners. Which is your prerogative of course.


So why the obsession? Your posts have taken a triumphalist tone in recent months. But nobody spends that much time and effort flogging a horse they think they’ve already killed.

Nor, surely, would anyone spend that much time and effort attacking a position which is held by "nobody whose intellectual integrity I respect".

No, I think it runs deeper than that. The archive reads like a man who is trying to convince himself. There is such a thing as "protesting too much."

So why don’t you leave it alone? Because, OJ, I've seen your face...and you’re in love, you’re a Believer, and you couldn’t leave it if you tried.

Posted by: Brit at January 31, 2005 9:22 AM

In practice, it usually means refusing to attack on the ground prepared by your enemies.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 31, 2005 9:23 AM

David:

In practice it usually means refusing your enemies’ request to step onto the landmines in the ground you’ve prepared for yourself, by pretending the mines don’t exist.

Posted by: Brit at January 31, 2005 10:07 AM

Brit:

Why would I attack Mayr when I agree with him?

That the leading Darwinist of the 20th Centurythinks it just a philosophy would seem as much evidfence as I need marshall for the case that Darwinism as a science is a dead letter:

The natural laws apply to biology just as much as they do to the physical sciences. But the people who compare the two, or who, like some philosophers, put in biology with physical sciences, they leave out a lot of things. And the minute you include those, you can see clearly that biology is not the same sort of thing as the physical sciences. And I cannot give a long lecture now on that subject, that's what the book is for.

I'll give you an example. In principle, biology differs from the physical sciences in that in the physical sciences, all theories, I don't know exceptions so I think it's probably a safe statement, all theories are based somehow or other on natural laws. In biology, as several other people have shown, and I totally agree with them, there are no natural laws in biology corresponding to the natural laws of the physical sciences.

Now then you can say, how can you have theories in biology if you don't have laws on which to base them? Well, in biology your theories are based on something else. They're based on concepts.
http://www.brothersjudd.com/blog/archives/014073.html

Posted by: oj at January 31, 2005 10:50 AM

AOG:

So, say, producing the peppered moth or Piltdown Man and claiming case closed?

Posted by: oj at January 31, 2005 10:52 AM

Yep, that's the selective quotation. You must know it off by heart by now.

Not waving, but drowning?

Posted by: Brit at January 31, 2005 11:00 AM

We never waded into the water with y'all. We're on shore laughing.

But you find any writing by Mayr that pretends to more than philosophy and I'll gladly read it.

Posted by: oj at January 31, 2005 11:36 AM

OJ;

No, not really, because those are relevant if not determinitive. The key element of handwaving is something that sounds relevant and explanatory but isn't. It would be more like

"What criteria do you use to decide if a physical feature involves irreducible complexity?

"Well, uh [vigorous hand motions] we view that as emerging from information theory contraints. Next slide!"

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 31, 2005 12:06 PM

AOG:

Yes, but they were hoaxes used to prove the theory, so, by definition, sounded relevant but weren't explanatory. well, actually, since they're the onloy examples and proved hoaxes they are quite relevant, but in a way much different than intended. were there real evidence they'd not need to invent fakes.

Posted by: oj at January 31, 2005 12:15 PM

Brit:

The fundamental problem is that OJ is convinced according any validity to a naturalistic Theory of Evolution is a very, very, bad thing. Regardless of how correct that theory may be.

It has been awhile, and my terminology may be mistaken, but OJ seems to be pursuing a dialectical end (a convincing naturalistic alternative to the Biblical narrative is very, very bad) using rhetorical means (all manner of sophistry, quote mining and deliberate obfuscation in the attempt to establish a rhetorical position negating the validity of any naturalistic explanation).

This disconnect is not unwitting, and rather the less attractive because of that.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at January 31, 2005 12:25 PM

Jeff:

Just because Darwinism is so evil that it should be fought even if it were true does not make it so. It's dying because its falsehood has become undeniable.

Posted by: oj at January 31, 2005 12:35 PM

OJ:

Well, if It's dying because its falsehood has become undeniable is true, then make rhetorically sound case for that conclusion. Your efforts so far would be dismissed as utter nonsense if coming from someone far less intelligent and informed than you.

But in considering the source, ineptitude isn't an option. Willful deceit, sophistry, and logic chopping are, though. As in The Secular Inquisition, where you blatantly misconstrue deductive consequences when you aren't substituing induction and circular logic.

Meaning you demonstrate nothing.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at January 31, 2005 3:05 PM

Jeff:

So you think Darwinism a fact, not a theory? Such is the nature of Faith, not of science. Does prove my point though--Darwinism is recognized now as nothing more than another religious sect, a very minority one in America.

Posted by: oj at January 31, 2005 3:46 PM

Willful Deceit Exhibit A:

So you think Darwinism a fact, not a theory? Such is the nature of Faith, not of science.

Words, syntax, and context are valuable additions to meaning. Only someone wholly devoid of intellectual integrity, or immune to meaning, could read what I have written, then type that sentence.

The posters here are, almost without exception, a very savvy group. You don't think you are fooling anyone here, do you?

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at January 31, 2005 8:56 PM

That's the post you refered to. And, no, I don't think anyone here doubts that folks like you, Harry, Brit, & Robert have theological, emotional, racial reasons for your faith, rather than scientific ones.

Posted by: oj at January 31, 2005 9:00 PM

I'm somewhat surprised by how well you fool yourself, Jeff. You're talking "words, syntax and context", whatever the heck that means. OJ's talking politics. You're apparently so tone deaf you can't tell when someone's openly making fun of you. You're not from Massachusetts, are you?

Posted by: joe shropshire at January 31, 2005 11:27 PM

'Prepared ground' would be the theory, right?

It has, in fact, been very well prepared. Orrin dares not venture in, because he has no scientific arguments to offer.

As he admits himself, he knows of no scientific alternative theory. He does not pretend ID is scientific.

So, since he cannot think of any scientific arguments against darwinism, he has to deny the science of darwinism.

This requires ignoring a great deal of stuff.

I still cannot understand why religion in general and the Christian religion in particular voluntarily made itself hostage of a particular scientific view of the world. What was the point of that?

But, silly or not, they did; and while we are all far too sophisticated to imagine that there is a 'Jewish physics,' there was certainly a Christian physics.

Nobody believes in any of it any more, not even Orrin. Yet for over a thousand years it was offered as proof of a particular cult.

Orrin has exactly two examples of hoaxes (actually one and a half, as he has misrepresented the Biston episode) concerning darwinism, both of which were disproved, which shows that darwinism can defend itself against attacks from within. Which is more than Christianity has ever been able to do.

Despite Dave W.'s advice, I spent part of today again listening to the Calvary Satellite Network. It was all about hoaxes and pulling the wool over the eyes of the believers.

Yet, despite the success of such hoaxes as Millerism, Orrin continues to believe that there is something to Christianity.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at February 1, 2005 12:15 AM

Harry:

The analogy to Jewish Science is apt. No one ever believed or now believes in Darwinism but white Northern european makles, who were flattered by its thesis. It's just a cultural artifact.

That's why all the supposed evidence has turned out to be hoax or misobservation.

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 12:49 AM

Joe:

There's always somebody laughing at you somewhere.

OJ's response to my complaint that he just repeats the same selective Mayr quotation over and over....is to repeat it again!

Takes a certain kind of comedic genius to pull that one off.

Posted by: Brit at February 1, 2005 4:55 AM

OJ:

Read the post I referred to. Your characterization of it here is just as willful as your rampant misdirection there.

Joe:

Words have individual meaning. The manner in which they form a sentence conveys an idea. That idea has to be considered along with the others around it. Surely you must know this.

So when OJ says of my words So you think Darwinism a fact, not a theory?, then, unless that statement is either a mistake or a lie, then there must be a combination of my words, syntax and context that support that statement.

There is not.

So the problem here is that in lieue of an actual discussion of either the dialectic or rhetorical merits of the Theory of Evolution, OJ substitutes noise.

You might find that admirable. I do not.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 1, 2005 6:57 AM

Jeff:

THE SECULAR INQUISITION:

Georgia Evolution Lawsuit Is a Fact (Ellen Barry and Rennie Sloan, November 9, 2004, LA Times)

In Cobb County, outside Atlanta, teachers used to tear pages out of textbooks rather than wrangle with the divisive topic of evolution. Two years ago, the school board reached a more modern compromise: On the inside cover of a biology textbook, a sticker warns that "evolution is a theory, not a fact."

That solution came under fire Monday in an Atlanta District Court, where a group of Cobb County parents backed by the American Civil Liberties Union has sued the school district, charging that it has mingled religion with science by using the sticker.


And they wonder why the Red States feel they're under attack from Blue elites?

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 7:22 AM

joe:

Fanatics have neither a sense of humor nor self-knowledge.

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 7:23 AM

Who's a fanatic? What's humorous is the idea that a (literally) full-time Darwin-baiter can accuse anyone else in the world of fanaticism.

And what was that about self-knowledge?

Posted by: Brit at February 1, 2005 9:02 AM

Words have individual meaning. The manner in which they form a sentence conveys an idea...
In other words, you can't believe you're losing to this idiot. Jeff, let's go at this another way. This post, what's it about? A one-sentence paraphrase, if you please.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 1, 2005 9:48 AM

Brit:

Darwinists are.

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 11:16 AM

OJ:

So when OJ says of my words "So you think Darwinism a fact, not a theory?", then, unless that statement is either a mistake or a lie, then there must be a combination of my words, syntax and context that support that statement.

Emphasis added to help you keep in mind that words, context and syntax are essential to meaning. Quoting the source story is completely irrelevant to your to your characterization of my thoughts.

Joe:

The post is about the latest religionist attack on evolutionary theory.

I changed the subject to highlight what OJ is doing here, as elsewhere, is pursuing a dialectical end, frequently using patently dishonest rhetorical means. (quote mining, strawmen, and the whole rest of the logical fallacy barnyard)

Your characterization is off base. I have never accused OJ of being an idiot--far from it. Even here I clearly respect his intellect.

But that doesn't stop me being mystified. His approach might, just, sell to an uninformed audience. However, the audience here is anything but uninformed.

Further, it would seem wiser to pursue a dialectical end directly rather than end running it.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 1, 2005 11:49 AM

Jeff:

It's the story you referred to that you're now objecting to being associated with. no one can blame you, but it is a case of incoherence.

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 12:17 PM

Jeff: fair enough, and what I expected you'd say. I disagree there's any mystery, because all the post actually says is : Darwin's low-hanging fruit. He's weak; he's a goner. Not worth making fun of, which of course is a way of making fun of him. I know you don't agree with that, but it's a reasonable-enough political hypothesis. Set it against your belief that Darwin's strong, and you have a perfectly testable political controversy. I tend to think OJ knows what he's talking about here. For instance, evolution's had a monopoly on the high school classroom for the last what, eighty years? With the result that around sixty percent of the population doesn't believe in it! Music to any politician's ears. And oj's always been frank that he considers science to be a subset of politics. Again, you may not agree with that; but again, it's a reasonable-enough political hypothesis. There's no mystery here: oj means to beat you, and thinks he can.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 1, 2005 12:37 PM

By the way, Jeff: why do you tell yourself you're not sold? You keep coming back, don't you?

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 1, 2005 1:10 PM

joe:


Shhhhhhh...I don't wreck your fun, do I?

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 1:25 PM

I couldn't, even if I wanted to.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 1, 2005 1:58 PM

Joe:

Fine. OJ's argument is dialectical argument, and should be made as such. On rhetorical grounds he is forced to dispense with all intellectual integrity.

Also, if you actually read the study (as opposed to OJ's torturing of the numbers), 60% of the respondents believe the Theory of Evolution adequately explains the material aspects of natural history. And, further, if you consider what correspondents claim about what they believe, another sizable chunk says they don't believe in Evolution while simultaneously agreeing with Evolutionary statements.

Further, he continually poses a strawman that you are happy to go along with. Darwinism and current evolutionary theory are two different things.

So why do I keep coming back? Because I dislike dishonest argumentation (It's the story you referred to that you're now objecting to being associated with. no one can blame you, but it is a case of incoherence. is a perfect example. As with this thread, what I wrote--which is what he mischaracterized--isn't only peripherally related to the orginal story; and what's more, OJ willfully distorts the terms involved in that story)

Now you may think it fun to parade the panoply of dishonest argumentation techniques.

I happen to think if that is what is required to achieve some dialectical end, then perhaps that end isn't worth having.

Never mind that such an approach makes an otherwise high quality (possibly the highest I have seen to date) blog look ridiculous.

If you have the time and the stomach for it, read through the thread I cited. Do you think that is something of which to be proud?

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 1, 2005 2:54 PM

OJ:

Well, if It's dying because its falsehood has become undeniable is true, then make rhetorically sound case for that conclusion. Your efforts so far would be dismissed as utter nonsense if coming from someone far less intelligent and informed than you.

But in considering the source, ineptitude isn't an option. Willful deceit, sophistry, and logic chopping are, though. As in The Secular Inquisition, where you blatantly misconstrue deductive consequences when you aren't substituing induction and circular logic.

Meaning you demonstrate nothing.
Posted by: Jeff Guinn at January 31, 2005 03:05 PM


THE SECULAR INQUISITION:

Georgia Evolution Lawsuit Is a Fact (Ellen Barry and Rennie Sloan, November 9, 2004, LA Times)

In Cobb County, outside Atlanta, teachers used to tear pages out of textbooks rather than wrangle with the divisive topic of evolution. Two years ago, the school board reached a more modern compromise: On the inside cover of a biology textbook, a sticker warns that "evolution is a theory, not a fact."

That solution came under fire Monday in an Atlanta District Court, where a group of Cobb County parents backed by the American Civil Liberties Union has sued the school district, charging that it has mingled religion with science by using the sticker.


And they wonder why the Red States feel they're under attack from Blue elites?
Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 07:22 AM

Jeff:

So you think Darwinism a fact, not a theory? Such is the nature of Faith, not of science. Does prove my point though--Darwinism is recognized now as nothing more than another religious sect, a very minority one in America.
Posted by: oj at January 31, 2005 03:46 PM

Willful Deceit Exhibit A:

So you think Darwinism a fact, not a theory? Such is the nature of Faith, not of science.

Words, syntax, and context are valuable additions to meaning. Only someone wholly devoid of intellectual integrity, or immune to meaning, could read what I have written, then type that sentence.

The posters here are, almost without exception, a very savvy group. You don't think you are fooling anyone here, do you?
Posted by: Jeff Guinn at January 31, 2005 08:56 PM

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 3:04 PM

Meanwhile, you're just confused about the poll, which simply says that some portion of people believe in Darwinism provided that God guides it. That's creationism in Evolutionary clothing.

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 3:20 PM

Last, the dialectic goal is seemingly obvious, to demonstrate to the remaining fanatics that Darwinism is false as science and dangerous as philosophy or, alternatively, to use the fanaticism to demonstrate the points conclusively to those of open mind.

We've made some progress in the first regard--even you don't buy the Peppered Moth myth anymore--and the second has been fully realized.

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 3:24 PM

Jeff: allright, We're used car salesmen. Guilty as charged. (Actually, we'll get back to that. I believe we are giving you the most honest answer we know how, it's just that it's to a question you don't seem to realize you're asking.) Let me ask you one first: what does Darwin want? Or rather, what's his political significance? (His "dialectical end", if you prefer. How would you describe Darwin's Dialectical End? ) Again, one sentence if you please.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 1, 2005 4:53 PM

Joe:

Sorry, your turn. Read through the thread cited above. Does anything I say substantiate:

So you think Darwinism a fact, not a theory?

Direct quotes only, please.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 1, 2005 6:23 PM

Jeff:

Here's what you took issue with:

"On the inside cover of a biology textbook, a sticker warns that "evolution is a theory, not a fact."

What other conclusion is possible but:

"So you think Darwinism a fact, not a theory?"

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 6:36 PM

My words are there to be quoted, OJ.

So if you aren't just hand-waving, here, I am sure you can find the supporting quote.

Unfortunately, like virtually everything else you say on this topic, you don't worry yourself overmuch with intellectual integrity.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 1, 2005 9:53 PM


OJ:

Well, if It's dying because its falsehood has become undeniable is true, then make rhetorically sound case for that conclusion. Your efforts so far would be dismissed as utter nonsense if coming from someone far less intelligent and informed than you.

But in considering the source, ineptitude isn't an option. Willful deceit, sophistry, and logic chopping are, though. As in The Secular Inquisition, where you blatantly misconstrue deductive consequences when you aren't substituing induction and circular logic.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 1, 2005 11:31 PM

THE SECULAR INQUISITION:

Georgia Evolution Lawsuit Is a Fact (Ellen Barry and Rennie Sloan, November 9, 2004, LA Times)

In Cobb County, outside Atlanta, teachers used to tear pages out of textbooks rather than wrangle with the divisive topic of evolution. Two years ago, the school board reached a more modern compromise: On the inside cover of a biology textbook, a sticker warns that "evolution is a theory, not a fact."

That solution came under fire Monday in an Atlanta District Court, where a group of Cobb County parents backed by the American Civil Liberties Union has sued the school district, charging that it has mingled religion with science by using the sticker.

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2005 11:32 PM

Jeff, I'll get back to you in the morning. Stay with this and I'll be grateful.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 2, 2005 12:07 AM

Joe:

OJ knows and explicitly admits that evolution is a fact.

But he also knows that Darwinism is almost certainly true.

There's really no other explanation for his approach to the subject.

Posted by: Brit at February 2, 2005 4:04 AM

Brit:

Creation is evolutionary. Eve is made from Adam. No one has ever doubted evolution.

It is the notion that change occurs via Natural Selection that is patently absurd.

Posted by: oj at February 2, 2005 7:28 AM

If one truly believes that something is absurd, is dead as a science, is no longer believed by anybody and is not a threat to one's equilibruim, one does not obsessively devote so many hours of this short, short life to arguing against it or ridiculing it.

Which is why I don't waste any time obsessing about "Eve is made from Adam" and so forth.

The dishonesty of the arguments is a good indication of the dishonesty of the motive.

Posted by: Brit at February 2, 2005 8:07 AM

Brit:

Rather few Americans believe in it any more, but those who do are the most danmgerous portion of the society. It's not fighting the secular amoralists that has doomed Europe.

Posted by: oj at February 2, 2005 8:48 AM

That is paranoid nonsense upon unbalanced stilts, but it is funny.

Posted by: Brit at February 2, 2005 11:38 AM

That is paranoid nonsense upon unbalanced stilts

Now THAT is a line worth remembering.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 2, 2005 11:42 AM

Yet it declines.

Posted by: oj at February 2, 2005 11:54 AM

Ok, Jeff, I read the thread you pointed to. Nothing painful about it as far as I'm concerned. Looks to me as though oj did what he needed to do to accomplish his goal, which as ever and always is to frustrate you -- by you I mean yourself, Brit, Harry, the usual crew. I note that you all recognize this to some extent -- here's Brit :

You know you're not a fool.

I know you're not a fool.

So why, on the specific subject of evolution, do you do such a damn fine impersonation of one?

Hear, hear to the first two lines at least. He's right: oj's not a fool. So I'll ask you again: what's Darwin's political significance? Or to restate the question, when someone you know to be no fool is telling you, over and over, to stop, put the theory down, and back away slowly, why won't you at least consider his advice?


Posted by: joe shropshire at February 2, 2005 3:00 PM

Funny, you should claim that only white northern Europeans accept darwinism, Orrin.

For two generations, at least, global polling has found only one place where large numbers of people do not accept it.

There's a link to a new poll over at pharyngula.org that cites 96% acceptance of darwinism in Japan, majority acceptance everywhere but the USA.

That proves nothing one way or the other about darwinism, which is not a matter of opinion, but it does suggest something about your reliability.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at February 2, 2005 7:14 PM

Joe:

So, if I understand you correctly, you agree that a statement like

"So you think Darwinism a fact, not a theory?"

is a lie, in that it knowingly misrepresents my thoughts. You may find that merely annoying. I find it rather more than that--it amounts to bearing false witness, after all. I have heard in some quarters that is considered a sin.

Now presuming OJs goal is merely to annoy, just what does gaining that goal accomplish? Other than act against interest, that is.

Prior to engaging in these discussions, I had a superficial knowledge of Evolutionary Theory, and scarcely any at all about Creationism/ID. As a consequence of OJ's seemingly (at the time) ignorant assertions, I started reading extensively on both sides of the argument.

That investigation, instigated by OJ, not only redounded badly on Creationism/ID, it led me to conclude Evolutionary Theory is far more overdetermined than I had presumed, and possibly more overdetermined thany any other scientific theory.

Before answering your question, though, I'll pose one for you: Why on earth would I take the word of someone who, while no fool, cannot make an honorable argument to establish a point?

Why on earth would I accept the conclusion of someone who apparently thinks it is good strategy to pursue a fraudulent rhetorical argument to gain a dialectical end?

Why on earth would I accept the conclusion of someone of faith who refuses to accept that the works of God just might be other than what he prefers?

Okay, that is the same question beat to rhetorical death. One answer will do just fine.

Above you asked:

[W]hat does Darwin want? Or rather, what's his political significance? (His "dialectical end", if you prefer. How would you describe Darwin's Dialectical End? ) Again, one sentence if you please.

I'll apologize in advance--there is no way I can get it one sentence. (Based on the amount of oomph Brit can accomplish in so few words, though, he probably could. You should have asked him.)

Unusually for a wild eyed Darwin acolyte, I have never read Origin of Species, or anything else Darwin wrote. I have only read of his works. But I have read plenty of other books dealing with Evolutionary Theory.

Except for Gould (who, ultimately, couldn't let reality interfere with his left leaning politics), I didn't once get the notion there was any dialectical end in mind.

Paleontologists and Evolutionary biologists just have a drive to systematize observations. That's what science does, after all. And, like most scientists, I'll bet they were focussed on developing explanations for the observations, and didn't give a thought about dialectics.

Speaking personally, that is all I ever thought about Evolutionary Theory. Like Thermodynamics or Electromagnetics, it just is what it is.

Now if OJ, or you, want to make an argument that we should shy away from the theory, no matter its veracity, then by all means make that argument honestly.

Or, if you, or OJ, thinks the theory is just flat wrong, than by all means make that argument honestly.

Because, frankly, if you can't, then the only conclusion I can reach is that, no matter OJ's intelligence, the argument simply isn't there to be had.

BTW--thanks for your thoughtful replys.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 2, 2005 8:58 PM

Harry:

Of course the Japanese buy it--no one believes in their own racial superiority more. americans are the only ones in the West who don't buy it, because we're religious.

Posted by: oj at February 2, 2005 9:48 PM

Jeff:

That's the post you objected too. What other conclusion can be drawn but that you think the sticker wrong?

Posted by: oj at February 2, 2005 9:54 PM

You say I objected to it.

What was my objection?

Direct quotes, please.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 2, 2005 10:28 PM

Again?

"[I]n considering the source, ineptitude isn't an option. Willful deceit, sophistry, and logic chopping are, though. As in The Secular Inquisition, where you blatantly misconstrue deductive consequences when you aren't substituing induction and circular logic."

Posted by: oj at February 2, 2005 10:48 PM

Jeff: thanks! I'll respond at some length in the morning. Briefly:
(1) Nobody wants you to shy away from anything. Quite the contrary. Never shy away from knowledge! What I'd hope for, and what I expect oj prays for, is for you to embrace knowledge, but not the thrill of power that knowledge can inspire.
(2) Consistency is but one element of honest rhetoric. It's necessary, at some scope, but by no means sufficient. By "at some scope" I mean to suggest that arguments are like icebergs: there's a bit that everyone can see clearly, and a mass that remains unseen.
(3) OJ is, in his forays against Darwin, very often deliberately obtuse. And of course he's out of his mind at all times, not just when he's bashing Darwin. But he's neither a fool nor a scoundrel, and I promise I'll do my best to explain why I think that's so.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 2, 2005 10:56 PM

Yes, again.

That quote has absolutely nothing to do with

"So you think Darwinism a fact, not a theory?"

A short sentence containing both a strawman and misdirection.

It would be far more helpful if you could cite the quote from the thread where I say, or even hint, that the Theory of Evolution is a fact.

That could be difficult, because the only point I was hoping to establish in that thread is that the ToE satisfies the requirements for a hypothetico-deductive scientific theory.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 3, 2005 7:02 AM

Joe:

Well, it sure sounded like I should consider Evolutionary Theory a really, really, bad thing simply on account of OJs say-so.

I agree that it is possible to overdo consistency in rhetoric. However, the only thing separating a meaningful discussion from noise is at least some mutual desire to adhere fairly closely to rhetorical norms.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 3, 2005 7:11 AM

So you agree with the sticker. Well, you're making progress.

Posted by: oj at February 3, 2005 7:37 AM

Joe:

"But he's neither a fool nor a scoundrel"

Perhaps not a 'fool' in the biblical sense, but certainly in the Yorick sense.

And you're right, he's not serious enough to be a 'scoundrel'. More a wee rascal, or perhaps a rapscallion.

Posted by: Brit at February 3, 2005 8:25 AM

OJ:

I disagreed with the sticker not because of its content, but because it proclaimed the screamingly obvious solely at the Theory of Evolution.

The ToE is no more a fact, or less of a scientific theory, than Relativity or Thermodynamics, etc. Singling out the Theory of Evolution (clearly you have missed how rigorously and continuously I use the term) for special treatment is merely theologocal axe-grinding.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 3, 2005 11:54 AM

Jeff:

So you do object to students being told that Darwinism is just a theory. As I said, that was the only possible conclusion from your comment and suggests that you don't believe it to be theory but fact.

Posted by: oj at February 3, 2005 5:14 PM

Brit:

I am a fool, but even a fool can rend Darwinism. It's nonsense.

Posted by: oj at February 3, 2005 5:26 PM

It is clear from everything I have written here that I consider the Theory of Evolution just that: a theory.

What I object to is not the statement, but theological axe grinding.

If you can't figure that out, despite my having spelled it out in very clear English, then you really are a fool.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 3, 2005 6:40 PM

So you agree with the sticker again?

Posted by: oj at February 3, 2005 10:19 PM

Never said I didn't agree with the sticker contents.

I clearly said I don't agree with theological axe grinding.

Stop being a fool.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 3, 2005 10:49 PM

Darwinism is not 'just a theory,' it is the only scientific theory of life that is self-consistent and also consistent with observation.

There are other theories, but they are not scientific.

Schools need not teach science at all. Most don't. But they should not teach antiscience and deceive the tots into believing that it is science.

I picked the Japanese because they were unusually high in that poll. There is no group anywhere that scores under 50%, except ours. Now are you going to argue that no other society but ours is religious?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at February 3, 2005 10:52 PM

Jeff: this thread has gone to archive. I'd promised you a response -- I's still like to respond at some length. I'll stand by my statement that I think oj's well worth listening to on this. Would you like to continue here, not at all, or offline? Thanks.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 4, 2005 1:21 AM

Joe:

Here will be fine--I have been keeping up with this precisely because I am interested in what you have to say.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 4, 2005 7:24 AM

Harry:

Darwinism is a philosophy, not a science.

The secular need some way to explain the world to themselves, so they adopted Natural Selection as their God and Darwin as His prophet.

Posted by: oj at February 4, 2005 8:11 AM

OJ:

You are the last person who should be passing judgment on what constitutes science.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 4, 2005 1:06 PM

Jeff:

Ah, yes, the Gnostic view of science...

Posted by: oj at February 4, 2005 8:45 PM
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