I guess that means he has no shame

| 22 Comments

The Sarkar Lab at U Texas Austin is maintaining a Hall of Shame, a list of faculty who "must believe that creationism in one of its guises provides a better explanation of biotic change than contemporary evolutionary theory". The list so far is short, and includes the name of the person nominating the faculty member. Bill Dembski is one of the three (the others are RC Koons and J Budziszewski), and the bizarre thing is that he nominated himself.

We can therefore take it on good authority that Dembski is a creationist; I wonder if he'll take exception to the nomination, though?

(via The Loom)

22 Comments

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Would someone here please nominate me for the Hall of Shame? I’m serious. I’ve asked Sahotra to add me to the list (we’ve known each other since the mid 1980s, when we shared Bill Wimsatt as a dissertation advisor), but so far, he hasn’t.

Use this listing:

Paul Nelson, Visiting Faculty, Master of Arts Program in Science & Religion, Biola University.

Paul wrote

Would someone here please nominate me for the Hall of Shame?

C’mon, Paul. If Dembski can nominate himself, surely you can too.

BTW, remember that response to questions about actually calculating Ontogenetic Depth that you were going to post “tomorrow” a couple of months ago? How’s it coming?

RBH

Paul Nelson wrote

Would someone here please nominate me for the Hall of Shame?

C’mon, Paul. If Dembski can self-nominate surely you can, too.

BTW, remember that response to questions about the calculation of “Ontogenetic Depth” that you were going to post a response to “tomorrow”? Will we see that one of these days?

RBH

Oh, I’d be willing to nominate you. But how about saving me a little effort, and polling your fellow Fellows at the DI CSC and finding out which of them also meet the criteria, so I can nominate the whole grand gang in one swoop?

I nominated myself yesterday, and Sahotra told me he would include my name. But maybe he had second thoughts when he saw that my academic rank at Biola (which he requested) was only visiting faculty. In any case, I’ll be dismayed if I can’t find a spot in the Hall. Koons, Budziszewski, and Dembski getting all the attention – when I’ve actually called myself a creationist in print? That’s not right.

About ontogenetic depth. I said here some weeks ago, when I posted my reply to PZ’s critique of the Nelson/Ross SDB poster, that it’s proved much hard than I expected to make the concept work. As I wrote, “It’s easy to name an idea; hard to make it work.” I still think ontogenetic depth has merit, but that’s a bit like saying, before it was actually constructed, “Well, a canal right about at this spot in Panama would be a good idea.” I’ll explain why in the response, which I was (far) too hasty in promising by the dates I mentioned originally.

I commend Paul’s honesty and straightforwardness about the difficulty in moving his concept of ontogenic depth to a viable, empirically-based measure. Would that some others that we know would follow his example.

A brief review of Ontogenetic Depth claims:

In ISCID’s Encyclopedia of Science and Philosophy:

Developmental biology has mapped the ontogenetic depth of a handful of species, in the so-called “model systems” of the discipline, such as the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans or the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

And again, in a live chat on ISCID:

The ontogenetic depth of a handful of extant animals (from the model systems of developmental biology) is known with precision.

Now Paul tells us that

About ontogenetic depth. I said here some weeks ago, when I posted my reply to PZ’s critique of the Nelson/Ross SDB poster, that it’s proved much hard than I expected to make the concept work. As I wrote, “It’s easy to name an idea; hard to make it work.”

In the light of that, will we see the retraction of claims of ontogenetic depth being “known with precision”?

Jack is too kind. The claim was very definite and repeated: The ontogenetic depth of some organisms is “known with precision.” That is at very best a gross exaggeration; at worst it is simply and flatly false and has been since it was first made.

RBH

Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think we should be at all discouraging to creationists who are willing to retract erroneous claims.

Try to make it work? Why not take the easier route: come up with a new Capitalized Creationist Term, and maintain that it’s the new proof for awhile. How do you think we got IC, EF, and the various CSIs?

Hmm. For this one, I suggest…Non-Evolutionary Information Content. That should be good for 5-10 years. And when the evolutionists break that one, maybe try Irreducible Specificity. That’s 20 years right there, then you can retire.

I concur with PZ (comment 7065). I am not acquainted with Paul Nelson and cannot say I am sufficiently familiar with his work (which is why I have never written anything about his work) but I have gained the impression that he differs favorably in various respects from many other ID advocates like, say, Dembski and Koons. If that is the case, we better treat him with respect and perhaps those of us who possess requisite qualifications may have a reasonable discussion of substance with him. {I guess I am not one of those).

The claim was very definite and repeated: The ontogenetic depth of some organisms is “known with precision.” That is at very best a gross exaggeration; at worst it is simply and flatly false and has been since it was first made.

RBH

Nevertheless, it did its job, which was to be a foot soldier in an army of pseudoscience.

I don’t think we should be at all discouraging to creationists who are willing to retract erroneous claims.

Hmm. Maybe. Has Paul Nelson retracted any of his erroneous claims about creationism to date?

Is he willing to admit that ID is a bogus game to wedge anti-science pro-religious philosophy into public school science classrooms?

GWW, your bullying behavior is becoming boring and counter productive.

GWW, your bullying behavior is becoming boring and counter productive.

Pim, is this you? Is your email really “[Enable javascript to see this email address.]”?

Pim (I think) admonished me thusly:

GWW, your bullying behavior is becoming boring and counter productive.

Okay, one at a time.

Bullying? You insist at every turn that none of the ID creatists are liars and then you accuse me of being a “bully”? C’mon ‘bro. If responding directly and frankly to thinly veiled assaults on the credibility of genuine scientists is being a “bully,” then yeah I guess I am a “bully”.

Counter-productive? Counter-productive to what exactly? To facilitating fake “intellectual” discussions between informed and honest people like myself and pretenders like David Heddle and Robert O’Brien?

Boring? The irony of this accusation coming from someone who insists on writing 1000 word responses to facially bogus creationist claims is not lost on me. But I won’t hold it against you. You must have had a rough night. Perhaps you miss the diamond-edged verbiage of Jerry Don Bauer. ;)

There are many ways to discuss these issues. I prefer dialogue rather than namecalling. Call me old fashioned. I find my discussions with Heddle far more productive and intellectually stimulating that listening to your insults and name calling.

During my flirtations with YEC what convinced me that YEC was wrong was not the assertions that YEC scientists were xxx but rather a well reasoned and documented rebuttal of their claims.

I find my discussions with Heddle far more productive and intellectually stimulating that listening to your insults and name calling.

Pim, it’s too late to claim the high ground. You’ve name-called and insulted plenty of creationists here (and at least one molecular biologist).

Please please take me to task for erroneous statements that I make about creationists in a fraudulent effort to advance my hidden agenda. I urge you to do that at every opportunity. I also beg you to obliterate every uninformed dissembling utterly self-serving post that I write with a direct no-prisoners-taken rebuttal of my dissembling allegations.

During my flirtations with YEC what convinced me that YEC was wrong was not the assertions that YEC scientists were xxx but rather a well reasoned and documented rebuttal of their claims.

Fascinating. During my flirtations with YEC (which ended when I was 10 or 11), what convinced me that YEC was wrong was the realization that YEC scientists were paranoid uninformed Christians attempting to defend their faith at any price against a perceived “attack” on their beliefs by scientists.

The facts about evolution are publically available for all educated people to accept or to ignore or to spin. Many people accept the facts because they trust that the majority of scientists are correct. Many people don’t accept the facts because their pastors tell them not to. Many people don’t accept the facts because they have been LED TO BELIEVE that a “controversial debate” about the validity of “evolutionary theory” is currently taking place.

Pim, is it your opinion that there is a “controversial debate” taking place? If so, can you please tell me what scientific principle relating to the validity of “evolutionary theory” has been thrown into question? Can you tell me who are the credible scientists who are engaged in this debate?

I have a hunch that the number of scientifically illiterate evangelical (or otherwise “serious”) Christian fence-sitters who can be persuaded by scientific facts that evolutionary biology is the real deal is miniscule. I also have a hunch that the number of *non-evangelical* scientifically illiterate fence-sitters who will recognize the obvious issues of bias and gamemanship on the part of the “marquee club” of ID creationists is substantially greater.

I don’t dispute the importance of ripping creationists’ arguments apart. But to do so in the same “spirit of intellectual pursuit” which one would take to ripping into the work of a genuine scientist whose goal is not to expressly misrepresent and trash the work of others for the purposes of promoting some dubious “worldview” is a mistake. Why is it a mistake? Because it blurs the lines between genuine scientists who deserve our respect and pseudoscientific fakers who lower the bar for all of us.

Hence, I can not promise to stop my “boring” “insults” of pseudoscientists and their “skeptical” apologists. I will try to make my posts less “boring” and less “insulting”, Pim, if you make your posts less “interesting” and less “encouraging.” Deal?

Sigh..

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Pim, you sure do get around, as far as I can tell you participate in every disscusion on the internet about the anti evolution movement ( note to all ID advocates, creationists and self organziation theorists, lets do the in your face reversal so common in lanuage and call ourselves anti evolutionists, using our own opponets taunt on our selves will leave them so shocked that they won’t know what to do.)

You post on virtually every disscusion at ISCID and post at many on panda’s thumb, why are you so intrested in the origns debate and the, “intelligent design movement”?( another reversal, lets put inverted comma’s around our own movements name, just like the NSCE!)

PS sorry about the grammar, message written in a rush. Until next time keep using “speech marks” at every “chance”

Pim, you sure do get around, as far as I can tell you participate in every disscusion on the internet about the anti evolution movement ( note to all ID advocates, creationists and self organziation theorists, lets do the in your face reversal so common in lanuage and call ourselves anti evolutionists, using our own opponets taunt on our selves will leave them so shocked that they won’t know what to do.)

You post on virtually every disscusion at ISCID and post at many on panda’s thumb, why are you so intrested in the origns debate and the, “intelligent design movement”?( another reversal, lets put inverted comma’s around our own movements name, just like the NSCE!)

PS sorry about the grammar, message written in a rush. Until next time keep using “speech marks” at every “chance”

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on August 27, 2004 5:23 PM.

Ediacaran fossils from Newfoundland was the previous entry in this blog.

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