Dembski comments on his career

| 35 Comments

Dembski presented a series of lectures at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003.

Arguing that declaring support for ID in science ends one’s career (one very sharp fellow working in ID is waiting until he gets tenure), Dembski makes the following remark:

Dembski Wrote:

In my case my cards have been on the table, my career is ruined so (laughter) it doesn’t matter at this point but eh I say just what I want in this regard but it’s a real problem.

It seems particularly ironic to me that Dembski, who considers his scientific career to be ruined, has joined the Southern Seminary faculty to focus on theology

Dembski Wrote:

‘Theology is where my ultimate passion is and I think that is where I can uniquely contribute … “

Dembski is not shy about his motivations either

Dembski Wrote:

‘This is really an opportunity,” Dembski added, “to mobilize a new generation of scholars and pastors not just to equip the saints but also to engage the culture and reclaim it for Christ. That’s really what is driving me.

Indeed… Combine this with the scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design and it should not come as much of a surprise that Dembski has chosen to pursue the true nature of Intelligent Design.

35 Comments

So in the list of “recycled creationist arguments being used by IDers”, we have:

1. A creator/designer diddit using, uh, unknown methods 2. The eye/flagellum/whatever can’t have evolved one step at a time (“what good is half an eye/flagellum”) 3. the Cambrian Explosion disproves evolution 4. “Information theory” disproves evolution”

and

5. “evolutionists are all atheists”

we can now add:

6. “IDers/creationists are unfairly discriminated against”

And these are the folks who keep telling us they are NOT creationists … right?

Are they next going to tell us that the Second Law of Thermodynamics can only be cirumvented by a Designer?

“Theology is where my ultimate passion is and I think that is where I can uniquely contribute … “

Dear Bill Dembski: While I will not dispute your opinion that science is not where you can uniquely contribute, please do not switch to full-time theology. Please continue to work on ID “Theory”. It’s too much fun watching you get manhandled by scientists such as David Wolpert. Also, please encourage your DI colleague Jay Richards to write more ID commentary on Einstein. It’s even better than ID biology. I wonder why the scientific community refuses to publish such cutting edge research.

Re “Are they next going to tell us that the Second Law of Thermodynamics can only be cirumvented by a Designer?”

And here I thought all you’d need would be a long lasting (i.e., a few billion years) power source? Would a Designer put out an amount of energy similar to what a yellow star puts out?

Henry

At least Dembske has the correct venue for his theological remarks but he still seems a little confused about the difference between theology and science. Perhaps he will get over this confusion also. We can always hope.

totally offtopic(?) shameless plug:

heyall.

I posted a rough proposal for forming a new ngo dedicated to meeting the needs expressed by Debbie: http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archi[…].html#c23777

It is located on a discussion board i formed on google. It is public, so anyone can join in.

I not only welcome commentary, I plead for it. From previous experience, I know that an ngo can’t get off the ground without a dedicated group of individuals. One person just can’t do it alone.

go here:

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thanks for your interest

cheers

He may never have a career as a scientist, but he can look forward to a lifetime of gushing plebians hurling money and praise at him. Somehow I find it hard to feel sorry for him.

I find that the key ID proponents consistently fumble when they don’t have a script to read. Dembski follows that trend in these lectures, especially in the Q&A, even despite facing a friendly audience of his peers. Some of the questions by the students, quite frankly, suprised me for cutting straight to the issue. Rather than reciprocate their directness, however, Dembski displayed obvious discomfort addressing them. Here are some of the ones I found intriguing:

“Was curious on, how old do you perceive the universe to be? And how does carbon-dating and the fossil record play into those beliefs? And second, is there any DNA evidence for Adam and Eve … ?”

“I was wondering if you could discuss the similarities between the ID movement and scientific creationism, particularly as it is espoused by Henry Morris and ICR?”

“I was wondering what you think the difficulties of Intelligent Design are that keep a scientist from accepting it?”

“You mentioned during your lunchtime talk that it’s no good just to critique a worldview without positively asserting something in its place. Then, you mention this morning during chapel that a worldview, each worldview, has 4 components: questions of origin, a predicament, some sort of solution to the predicament, and then some sort of eschatology. I am just wondering, What does the Design movement assert positively in light of those 4 categories. And how does a Design movement plan on setting up even just a basis for a worldview w/o being self-consciously Christian?”

“… because I am initially very excited about the movement but since it is divorced from self-consciously Christian worldview, I have a hard time as a Christian getting ultimately excited about it. Like, for example, say Intelligent Design prevails, and then another predominant worldview is setup that is based on that, but it is not Christian at all. Will the Intelligent Design movement as it is, feel some sort of success?”

What is clear from this Q&A is that Dembski is trapped. Between juggling Behe’s acceptance of common descent and the “undogmatic” positions he shares with young earth creationist, Dembski leaves little room for doubt that ID has had to sacrifice a lot of intellectual legitimacy on both sides of the Tent. I thought the moment of crisis came when a student (presumably) asked about whether or not ID would be considered a failure if some non-Christian worldview used it to gain prominence. It revealed quite a dilemma for Dembski – namely, how to apologize for a supposedly nonapologetic “science”. Though Dembski essentially asserted with incredulity that he could not forsee such a result, I think, the student was more astute in his concerns, the danger being that another “science” comes back in the end to bite Christians in the back.

“whether or not ID would be considered a failure if some non-Christian worldview used it to gain prominence”

hmm, you mean like Islam? Now that would be interesting…

cheers

He may never have a career as a scientist, but he can look forward to a lifetime of gushing plebians hurling money and praise at him. Somehow I find it hard to feel sorry for him.

Dembski wrote:

In my case my cards have been on the table, my career is ruined so (laughter) it doesn’t matter

What career?

his imaginary career in science, i gather.

Sorry for posting twice. I didn’t think the first one went through; there were errors and loading failures.

So he’s no longer the “Einstein of information theory”. Is he now the “Martin Luther of evolution”?

lol

sir_tojam Wrote:

I posted a rough proposal for forming a new ngo dedicated to meeting the needs expressed by Debbie: http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archi[…].html#c23777

I don’t suppose you could qualify for faith-based initiative funding for that? That would appeal to my strong sense of irony.

Does declaring one’s support for a flat Earth in science also end one’s career? Inquiring minds want to know.

I would hope so. But in spite of being looked down upon by the scientific community, one would probably become rich from selling books about such pseudoscience. Like Mark McCutcheon. So one would still have some sort of career.

“I don’t suppose you could qualify for faith-based initiative funding for that? That would appeal to my strong sense of irony.”

lol. yeah, i was thinking the same thing. I think it would cause more problems than it is worth, tho.

Sorry to go OT, but something Henry wrote:

And here I thought all you’d need would be a long lasting (i.e., a few billion years) power source? Would a Designer put out an amount of energy similar to what a yellow star puts out?

reminded me of an old joke that made the rounds on the internets a few years ago. It dealt with an engineering professor who posed the following question to his students on the final, “Is Hell endothermic or exothermic?” And the email proceeded to give one ingeneous answer to the question.

I used to have a copy of it, but through numerous computer changes and HD backups it has moved to some dusty box somewhere… Anyway, I would like to get another copy of it.

Can anyone out there help me?

Evolutionary Humor

Please feel free to let me know of good candidates for new entries.

Hmmm. I guess my site didn’t have the exothermic anecdote, but rather one relating temperatures in heaven and hell. The exothermy of hell is available online in a number of places, here is one.

Thanks Wesley, that is exactly the one I was looking for. But I do see it had “evolved” from the one I remember!

I do have some other good bits of science humor, and if I get around to culling if from my archives, I will forward them on to you.

Again, tanks! –jeff-perado

Come on Bill, don’t give up science. You barely gave it a chance. If you can get all those degrees and write all those books, surely you can juggle two passions. Here’s a suggestion: Let Mike Behe take care of “evidence for design” so you can concentrate on investigating how the designer gives us new species. There are plenty of opportunities for research, even for non-biologists. Just leave out references to the designer in your publications, and make sure that they are more than just arguments from incredulity, and you’ll have no problem getting published. Use Ken Miller as an example; he even tells us who the designer is, and has had no problems.

You may want to start with the origin of the human lineage. Maybe you can tell us once and for all (beyond reasonable doubt at least) whether it’s via “modified monkey” or “modified dirt.” From your recent article on that subject you seemed undecided, even though Mike made it clear that the evidence favors “modified monkey.” If you and Mike find yourselves disagreeing, you can have heated public debates, just like real scientists.

Come on Bill, don’t give up science. You barely gave it a chance. If you can get all those degrees and write all those books, surely you can juggle two passions. Here’s a suggestion: Let Mike Behe take care of “evidence for design, “so you can concentrate on investigating how the designer gives us new species. There are plenty of opportunities for research, even for non-biologists. Just leave out references to the designer in your publications, and make sure that they are more than just arguments from incredulity, and you’ll have no problem getting published. Use Ken Miller as an example; he even tells us who the designer is, and has had no problems.

You may want to start with the origin of the human lineage. Maybe you can tell us once and for all (beyond reasonable doubt at least) whether it’s via “modified monkey” or “modified dirt.” From your recent article on that subject you seemed undecided, even though Mike made it clear that the evidence favors “modified monkey.” If you and Mike find yourselves disagreeing, you can have heated public debates, just like real scientists.

here’s one for your files wesley:

http://www.improb.com/airchives/pap[…]/chicken.htm

cheers

Dembski Wrote:

In my case my cards have been on the table,

Let’s see…Bill was holding 2 & 5 of clubs, 8 of hearts, and 3 & 6 of diamonds. With a hand like that, I’d get out of the game, too.

Wesley, I thought you knew about the section titled “Serious Notions With a Smile” on Talk Reason which contains a number of parodies and other pieces of a humorous bent.

mark Wrote:

Let’s see … Bill was holding 2 & 5 of clubs, 8 of hearts, and 3 & 6 of diamonds. With a hand like that, I’d get out of the game, too.

Unless you were playing lowball, of course. In ID poker, the weakest hand wins.

I’ve added a link to “Serious Notions With a Smile”.

Any truth to the rumor that D*mbski will hold the Alfred E. Newman Chair of Information Science at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary?

(one very sharp fellow working in ID is waiting until he gets tenure)

Given that the talks were given in ‘03, and that the tenure clock is usually only 7 years, this person is likely to be tenured, right? I must quote Fermi (on the possible existence of extraterrestials):

Where are they?

And Szilard’s answer

They are among us but call themselves Hungarians

won’t suffice.

Did anyone hear/see anything about the recent Trotter lecture, supposedly a debate or discussion between Dembski and Stuart Kauffman? Did this actually take place, and was anything interesting (or entertaining) said? Anyone have any reactions to the Trotter prize including Dembski?

Someone referred earlier to differences between theology and science. “At least Dembske has the correct venue for his theological remarks but he still seems a little confused about the difference between theology and science.” I didn’t hear Dembski’s speech so maybe I’m misunderstanding this statement. But, if the point is that theology and science are different fields with no relation to each other I would like to try and correct that view. It seems that the broad extent of religion can actually be forgotten as we get stuck on formalities. Everyone has a ‘religion’ in some sense of the word, even if it isn’t an official, organized one. Hinduism is a religion just as much as Atheism. Someone who doesn’t care, holds to the religion of ‘Whatever they care to think’. Our ‘religion’ provides us with our worldview, the way we analyze and rationalize, I would say even more than society since our worldview will even partly explain our actions within society. Nobody can help but apply their view to everything, including science. Some cultures have a story about a Turtle who carries the world on his back. This view was totally plausible until the ability to circumnavigate the globe. The space program allowed even further proof that the earth is just a spinning globe, a scientific fact. The Turtle myth can now be known for what it truly is, a myth. Religion cannot be separated from science. Science, likewise, cannot be separated from religion. It’s critical thinking skills involving rationalization and logic can prove to be great assets in analyzing beliefs and doctrines. Science can also help to prove religious stories, such as people and places discovered in archeological digs. Scientific discoveries can make or break a worldview idea or story. Compassion and patience should be exercised in helping people come to new ideas. We must always remember that when Galileo discovered the earth was not the center of the universe, his peers ridiculed him although they were valid scientists, and his controversial belief did not make him less of a scientist. He Was Right!

Someone referred earlier to differences between theology and science. “At least Dembske has the correct venue for his theological remarks but he still seems a little confused about the difference between theology and science.” I didn’t hear Dembski’s speech so maybe I misunderstood this statement. But, if the point is that theology and science are different fields with no relation to each other I would like to try and correct that view. It seems that the broad extent of religion can actually be forgotten as we get stuck on formalities. Everyone has a ‘religion’ in some sense of the word, even if it isn’t an official, organized one. Hinduism is a religion just as much as Atheism. Someone who doesn’t care, holds to the religion of ‘Whatever they care to think.’ Our ‘religion’ provides us with our worldview, the way we analyze and rationalize, I would say even more than society since our worldview will even partly explain our actions within society. Nobody can help but apply their view to everything, including science. Some cultures have a story about a Turtle who carries the world on his back. This view was totally plausible until the ability to circumnavigate the globe. The space program allowed even further proof that the earth is just a spinning globe, a scientific fact. The Turtle myth can now be known for what it truly is, a myth. Religion cannot be separated from science. Science, likewise, cannot be separated from religion. It’s critical thinking skills involving rationalization and logic can prove to be great assets in analyzing beliefs and doctrines. Science can also help to prove religious stories, such as people and places discovered in archeological digs. Scientific discoveries can make or break a worldview idea or story. Compassion and patience should be exercised in helping people come to new ideas. We must always remember that when Galileo discovered the earth was not the center of the universe, his peers ridiculed him although they were valid scientists, and his controversial belief did not make him less of a scientist. He Was Right!

Candide says: Everyone has a ‘religion’ in some sense of the word, even if it isn’t an official, organized one.

Well sure, depending of course on what we decide the word ‘religion’ should mean. I suppose we could also say that everyone has ‘the pox’ or everyone has ‘green hair’ too. It all depends on how we choose to define our terms.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on April 15, 2005 8:20 PM.

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