Back to the Quote Mines

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Well, at least William Dembski has used an accurate title this time. Back to the Quote Mines is his latest installment of his professional disintegration. He has basically stopped pretending that he has not maligned real scholars and scientists, and has adopted the position of a petulant 10 year-old, “Nah nah nay nah nah- ya can’t catch me.” This is explicit when he stated,

“The quote by Peter Ward that served as my point of departure elicited the usual reaction from evolutionists, for whom justifying evolution means supplying enough words and irrelevant details to cover their ignorance. My post took a few minutes to write up. Evolutionists wrote detailed responses many times its length on places like the Pandasthumb to justify that the problem with the Cambrian explosion was not really a problem. Look: if it wasn’t a problem, we wouldn’t be discussing it.”

We weren’t discussing the Cambrian, Dr. Dembski, we were exposing your dishonest use of scientific writers. I am having a hard time understanding why Dembski would be dropping his pretense of being a “serious scholar” this way. Maybe there is some residual honesty left after all?

What I find amusing is that the paper Dave and I originally wrote took quite a bit of work. And hardly anyone noticed. Nearly a year later, and Dembski has given it more attention than ever, and embarrassed himself in the bargain.

If Dembski wanted to pretend that he has studied Cambrian geochronology, I can hardly imagine that he could have missed Grotzinger, J. P., S. A. Bowring, B. Z. Saylor, & A. J. Kaufman. 1995. Biostratigraphic and geochronologic constraints on early animal evolution.–Science 270:598-604.

There Grotzinger et al analyzed the Namibian Precambrian and Cambrian fossils they discovered, concluding that there was an extended period (nearly 60 million years) where the earlier Vendian and Ediacaran (now they are merged together in the Edicaran) extended well into the Early Cambrian.

Or, Dembski might try some other references used (incompetently) by Steven Meyer. Such as, Aris-Brosou and Yang (2003). This is a paper on the statistical analysis of some genetic data which then uses “molecular clocks” to estimate the evolutionary rate of the early Cambrian radiation compared to the geological data. Their abstract is:

Quote: Multicellular animals, or Metazoa, appear in the fossil records between 575 and 509 million years ago (MYA). At odds with paleontological evidence, molecular estimates of basal metazoan divergences have been consistently older than 700 MYA. However, those date estimates were based on the molecular clock hypothesis, which is almost always violated. To relax this hypothesis, we have implemented a Bayesian approach to describe the change of evolutionary rate over time. Analysis of 22 genes from the nuclear and the mitochondrial genomes under the molecular clock assumption produced old date estimates, similar to those from previous studies. However, by allowing rates to vary in time and by taking small species-sampling fractions into account, we obtained much younger estimates, broadly consistent with the fossil records. In particular, the date of protostome–deuterostome divergence was on average 582 ± 112 MYA. These results were found to be robust to specification of the model of rate change. The clock assumption thus had a dramatic effect on date estimation. However, our results appeared sensitive to the prior model of cladogenesis, although the oldest estimates (791 ± 246 MYA) were obtained under a suboptimal model. Bayes posterior estimates of evolutionary rates indicated at least one major burst of molecular evolution at the end of the Precambrian when protostomes and deuterostomes diverged. We stress the importance of assumptions about rates on date estimation and suggest that the large discrepancies between the molecular and fossil dates of metazoan divergences might partly be due to biases in molecular date estimation. ( Aris-Brosou, S., & Z. Yang. 2003. Bayesian models of episodic evolution support a late Precambrian explosive diversification of the Metazoa.–Molecular Biology and Evolution 20:1947-1954.)

After all these were also referenced in Steve Meyer’s paper.

He could have just copied the list from Meyer’s paper directly.

Meyer, “The ‘Cambrian explosion’ refers to the geologically sudden appearance of many new animal body plans about 530 million years ago. At this time, at least nineteen, and perhaps as many as thirty-five phyla of forty total (Meyer et al. 2003), made their first appearance on earth within a narrow five- to ten-million-year window of geologic time (Bowring et al. 1993, 1998a:1, 1998b:40; Kerr 1993; Monastersky 1993; Aris-Brosou & Yang 2003). Many new subphyla, between 32 and 48 of 56 total (Meyer et al. 2003), and classes of animals also arose at this time with representatives of these new higher taxa manifesting significant morphological innovations. The Cambrian explosion thus marked a major episode of morphogenesis in which many new and disparate organismal forms arose in a geologically brief period of time. Stephen C. Meyer, 2004 “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories,” PROCEEDINGS OF THE BIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON 117(2):213-239.

Of course, Steve Meyer’s paper is pathetic, and was demolished here in PT’s articles Meyer’s Hopeless Monster, and “Meyer: Recycling arguments”.

But why should that bother Dembski? He has descended to the status of an internet troll, and as we all know- “Don’t Feed The Trolls.”

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Dembski

My post took a few minutes to write up.

No … really?

Poor Dembski, he’s trying so incredibly hard to loose what credibility he has left without even realising he already lost it a long time ago. It’s like one of those angry monkies at the zoo that constantly throws its feces at people to get attention.

“My post took a few minutes to write up.”

Shows, too.

If I did what Dembski did for my thesis committee, I’d be kicked out of the graduate program so hard, my ass would still be bouncing (after 20 years).

Frankly, I’m astounded Dembski has the gall to complain about this. He’s being sloppy and dishonest, and he’s rightly being called on it.

Straighten up and face the music. Or show what kind of witness you REALLY are.

As a relative novice here, I’m wondering if someone could explain the “clock hypothesis” in relation to molecular dating. I have a rough understanding off how this dating occurs, but don’t understand what these reseachers were correcting… is it an assumption that rates of mutation are constant? How does criticism of this affect other predictions of date of divergence for exampple. I thought moleculalr clocks were pretty good estimates. Obviously i’m in way over my head here, but would really like to understand the limitationsa on moleculalr dating. Thanks.

Bill will fool nobody excepting his own factotums with such a poorly written analysis. ID is long past the stage of debate. After a lot of sound and fury ID debates are all but settled with every assertion of the “movement” refuted many times over. The only reason the ID/Cists aren’t hammering away at the table is the fear of having more knowledge emerge in the public domain; rendering their own statements absurd.

Dumbski writes “.….. My post took a few minutes to write up. Evolutionists wrote detailed responses many times its length on places like the Pandasthumb to justify that the problem with the Cambrian explosion was not really a problem. Look: if it wasn’t a problem, we wouldn’t be discussing it.”

Indeed, Dumbski is upset that the *evolutionists* actually know how to conduct proper research, which includes examining the primary soruces. Doing actual research, examining sources, documenting claims etc. is indeed time consumming. Dumbski is a lazy ass who won’t bother spending the time to conduct a proper report, so he chastizes those who do.

THanks Dumbski, for further illustrating my earlier claim regarding your research skills.

You’re a slob with research.

WHo died and left you a Ph.D. ?

“Dumbski writes”

note:

not clever beyond measure.

there, now that we have that out of the way…

Gary,

Do you regard Peter Ward’s position – that the Ediacaran organisms were ancestral to the Cambrian taxa – as correct?

William Dumbski Wrote:

My post took a few minutes to write up.

Good, good. Goes to show you care just as much about your research as I do about my English assignments. And put in as little effort as well.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

“Dumbski writes”

note:

not clever beyond measure.

there, now that we have that out of the way …

I think we should stop acting like Berlinski is extorting us. It’s true–and quite obvious–that calling him ‘Dumbski’ is not clever beyond measure, but because this is quite obvious, there’s no need to point it out everytime someone calls him Dumbski. Berlinski isn’t some kind of authority figure whom we have to please. Hell, I may as well call Dembski ‘Dumbski’ just to spite Berlinski.

William Dumbski Wrote:

Look: if it wasn’t a problem, we wouldn’t be discussing it.

Look: if it was a problem, you wouldn’t have to deliberately misrepresent the viewpoints of scientists in order to support your claim that there is a problem. If there wes a problem, then you could’ve honestly said that there was instead of resorting to this.

Do you regard Peter Ward’s position — that the Ediacaran organisms were ancestral to the Cambrian taxa — as correct?

I think that it is totally irrelevant what I think about the Ediacaran.

The topic is did William Dembski honestly represent what Ward thought, and clearly intended in his writing?

That answer is categorically No.

At least you have acknowledged that Ward understands the Ediacaran to be ancestral to the Cambrian. That ought to mean that you also recognize that Dembski has misrepresented Ward’s writing. Will you come right out and say so publicly?

@malkuth.

you seem to have a small problem recognizing sarcasm when you see it.

I know, I have the same problem.

I think we should stop acting like Berlinski is extorting us. It’s true—and quite obvious—that calling him ‘Dumbski’ is not clever beyond measure, but because this is quite obvious, there’s no need to point it out everytime someone calls him Dumbski. Berlinski isn’t some kind of authority figure whom we have to please. Hell, I may as well call Dembski ‘Dumbski’ just to spite Berlinski.

Hey, Malk, text doesn’t always convey the proper sarcastic tone. Trust me. We’re not doing it to please Berdumbski.

Er.. yes, apparently I do. Forget what I said.

William Dumbski wrote:

Look: if it wasn’t a problem, we wouldn’t be discussing it.

That’s exactly what they’re trying to convey. They are trying to convey the appearance of a scientific controversy. Actively engaging the details of their criticisms of evolution, assists them in presenting this picture. I submit that the proper way to engage them is to point out their dishonesty, demand their theory (which they don’t have), and refer them and others to preexisting refutations. And of course, mock and berate them, because people need to see that these guys are illegitimate and absurd.

Gary wrote:

I think that it is totally irrelevant what I think about the Ediacaran.

Really? In your original post last year, you cite Peter Ward’s position (that the Ediacaran fauna were ancestral to the Cambrian taxa) as answering Dembski – and thus that the Cambrian Explosion is no longer a problem.

So, does Ward answer Dembski or not? If I say, “X is a problem,” and you reply, “No, Prof. Smith showed that Y answers the X problem,” then it matters whether Prof. Smith is right (or not) about Y.

Are the Ediacaran organisms ancestral to the Cambrian taxa?

Hi, Paul. Last time you dropped in, I askred you to tell me pleaswe what is the scientific theory of ID and how can we test it using the scientific method. You, uh, never answered. I’m sure it was just an oversight on your part, and not an actual attempt to run away from a question that IDers would rather not answer. So I will ask again.

And again and again and again and again. As many times as I need to, every time you show up here, until you answer.

*ahem*

What is the scientific theory of ID, and whow do we test it using the scientific method?

Something else I’m also curious about — do you repudicate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson? If so, why do you keep taking his money anyway?

Ya know, I really oughtta start proofreading before I hit that “post” button . …

I cann spel, I jstu cannt tipe.

Ditto Flank’s question, Paul.

You can attempt to resuscitate Dembski’s career until your lungs implode but what we really would like to know is:

What is the scientific theory of ID, and whow do we test it using the scientific method?

do you repudicate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson? If so, why do you keep taking his money anyway?

gary asked:

“Will you come right out and say so publicly?”

answer, based on Paul’s last post:

Nope.

Repudicate should be a word.

I realize it is just so very natural to switch that “e” in Dembski for a “u” in Dumbski given that he is going so far out of his way to earn the moniker but the morality-challenged creationists and credibility challenged ID types have thrown this back in the faces of the PT authors before even though these references come from public comments.

Perhaps we should refrain from altering peoples surnames to more accurately reflect their character since they are generally not the only ones using the name. There could be a long tradition of intellectual Dembskis out there of whom the current example is only a random variant who is completely maladapted to academia.

GWW Wrote:

Repudicate should be a word.

To what purpose, though?

To re-zone as a development with individually owned lots plus a community common area?

Or to surgically reverse a bobbetting procedure?

I don’t disagree with the conventional wisdom expressed here but what does it accomplish other than venting some frustration and making us all quite smug? We forget that the DI isn’t really interested in scientific debate at all. Their published works, like Meyer’s hopeless monster, Dembski’s various theorems and monographs, Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box”, Wells’ “Icons” and Johnson’s assorted publications are not written for biologists. They are written for politicians and ID’s lay followers. They don’t seek or expect approval from professional biologists.

Look at their full court press in the Kansas farce. They’re marshalling a horde of “academics’ all putative experts in “intelligent design science” to testify. They’re playing to their audience of true believers who will read their testimony in the Kansas papers and hear/see their pithiest “truths” on the evening news (and I’m confident the broadcasters will pick just the quotes the DI wants). They’ve got a forum which gives them the official imprimatur they crave. We should recognize that we have to address the same public, not necessarily the true believers—who will never change—but the great mass of the public that doesn’t understand either evolution or science and who doesn’t really care about evolution or ID, and those folks comprise probably more than half the population.

I agree that every public pronouncement of Dembski and his ilk must be countered, but this is politics, not science, where the real audience, who need to buy evolution and science, is the fence sitters.

“Repudicate should be a word.”

according to the American Anglican Council, it is:

from:

http://www.americananglican.org/New[…]777&c=21

“2. We repudicate the actions of General Convention that have rejected biblical truth concerning human sexuality, thereby grieving the Holy Spirit and bringing the Episcopal Church under God’s judgment.”

there ya go. what more authority do you want to be able to use the word?

;)

Paul Nelson

So, does Ward answer Dembski or not? If I say, “X is a problem,” and you reply, “No, Prof. Smith showed that Y answers the X problem,” then it matters whether Prof. Smith is right (or not) about Y.

Put the goalpost back.

The issue is not what you said, Paul. It’s what Ward said.

Ward started the paragraph from which Dembski mined his quote with the following sentence

The seemingly sudden appearance of skeletonized life has been one of the most perplexing puzzles of the fossil record.

Ward used the words “seemingly” and “has been” for a reason. The reason is obvious when you read the rest of Ward’s piece.

The issue is not what Gary believes about the Ediacaran fauna. It’s about what Ward believes. Dembski quoted Ward as an authority on the subject but completely misrepresented Ward’s views – not only according to Gary but according to Ward as well!

It’s called a screw-up. You can get away with such mistakes once or twice but the ID peddlers have elevated the practice to a form of art. We understand that the reason is done is because you’ve nothing else to work with, i.e., there is no scientific theory of “ID”, only a political catchphrase whose worth is diminishing in direct proportion to its liabilities.

” what does it accomplish other than venting some frustration and making us all quite smug?”

works for me.

just kidding.

really tho, you kinda HAVE to laugh at the things these folks try to pull, or you end up pulling your own hair out. anybody who spends any time on PT becomes very clear on the fact that those who spend time here know the issues of which you speak.

As far as i have seen, anyone who comes here and asks a legitimate question, gets a legitimate answer right quick.

those that come here to post deceit and drivel, get the raspberry.

Nelson writes:

“Really? In your original post last year, you cite Peter Ward’s position (that the Ediacaran fauna were ancestral to the Cambrian taxa) as answering Dembski — and thus that the Cambrian Explosion is no longer a problem.

So, does Ward answer Dembski or not?”

Ward answered that D*mbski misrepresented his position.

Nelson also writes: “If I say, “X is a problem,” and you reply, “No, Prof. Smith showed that Y answers the X problem,” then it matters whether Prof. Smith is right (or not) about Y.”

The question before us is whether or not D*mbski represented Ward’s position correctly, not whether Ward is necessarily correct. If D*mbski felt Ward was wrong, he is free to criticize Ward’s views and offer evidence contradicting Ward’s point of view. He is not free, however, to misrepresent Ward’s POV, no matter how incorrect it may be.

As somebody else wrote, this kind of misrepresentation can get a grad student in hot water. Among professional scientists, it would damage their credibility. But rather than apologize, and present a criticism of Ward’s position, D*mbski taunts his critics that they spent much more time on this than he did. Perhaps misdirection is one of D*mbski’s weapons of mass disinformation.

Nelson writes: “Are the Ediacaran organisms ancestral to the Cambrian taxa?”

Beats the hell out of me.

Did the designer decide the Ediacaran fauna weren’t good enough, scrap them and then start over a few million years later?

Or do you have an actual scientific theory for the Cambrian explosion which is not a dressed up attempt to argue *ignorance* is evidence?

a political catchphrase whose worth is diminishing in direct proportion to its liabilities.

The absolute rate at which it’s diminishing, anyway. ;)

If you lose your patience, you’ll lose the argument, regardless of how much science is on your side. You’ll never convince Dembski or make him admit defeat; the battle is for the minds of everyone else.

I sincerely believe that to Dembski, that fact that he is lying about Ward’s intent really IS an irrelvant detail. The fact that he won’t admit it when his face is shoved in it is NOT an irrelevant detail. Lying about what some ‘evolutionist’ said is perfectly fair game to Dembski’s intended audience. Admitting he lied would destroy the very credibility he lies to achieve. Creationists live in a looking-glass world where lies are truth if the intent is correct, and the truth is lies if the correct intent is not ratified.

So far, this only seems to be working on 45% of the American public, but a majority isn’t that far off, once the educational system falls…ur, into line.

Lenny said: “Indeed, as its supporters admit, “intelligent design” is ALREADY dead. They’ve already backpedalled from any “alternative scientific theory”, and have been forced to retreat to whining about some vague undefined and unspecified “controversy” that they want to teach instead. “

On the bathroom wall I just posted an old article by William Saletan which talks about this. His opinion is that ID is creationism going out with a whimper instead of a bang: they’ve jettisoned all the religion and YEC nonsense they can, and they’re left with nothing.

OK

When the more appropriate comment is linked from the Bathroom Wall, it is time to move on.

Thanks to all of you for your cogent remarks, and special thanks to William Dembski without whom we could not have had so much fun.

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Hurd published on May 4, 2005 3:57 PM.

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