Bill Maher Rules Out ID

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From Bill Maher’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”* for August 23rd, 2005:

And finally, New Rule: You don’t have to teach both sides of a debate, if one side is a load of crap.

(Transcript of “New Rules” segment)

It’s a bit sad that many of our journalists don’t have the insight shown by our comedians.

Hat tip to Bill Farrell. *Correction on title of show provided by Bill Gascoyne.

111 Comments

Quick correction: The name of the show is not “Politically Incorrect”. That was the ABC show that got canceled. It’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” according to the link provided.

When journalists talk to astronomers, they don’t ‘balance’ by giving equal time to astrologers.

But, sometimes they do semi-sympathetic stories on psychics and ‘remote viewing’ &c. Since this stuff has been known to be crap for decades, and is older than ID, we can at least rest assured that they’re not biased regarding evolution–a lot of them are just uninformed.

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If evolution is true, why is there still Larry King?

I think there are probably more people on that list who have genuine objections or doubts about mainstream evolutionary theory, but are (or should be) upset at the exploitation of their name by the DI to promote a fake controversy about ID. Stanley Salthe comes to mind. Heck, even good old John Davison thought ID as pushed by the DI stooges was mostly a bunch of baloney.

Andrea Bottaro Wrote:

Stanley Salthe comes to mind.

Funny you should mention Stanley Salthe. From the DI’s “Journalists are so mean to us” blog on 8/23:

New York Times Story About God and Science The New York Times has another front page story about the origins debate, “Scientists Speak Up on Mix of God and Science.” The reporter, Cornelia Dean, does a good job of interviewing both theists and atheists, but she leaves out of the picture scientists like Michael Behe, who has made it clear that his religious background left him perfectly open to the possibility that God had front-loaded design into the fine-tuned laws of nature at the instant of the Big Bang, allowing it to evolve from there all the way to our living earth.

Behe and other Darwin-doubters, like quantum chemist Henry F. Schaefer III and evolutionary biologist and textbook author Dr. Stanley Salthe, reject the Darwinian story simply because they find the evidence for it unconvincing.

Speaking of funny guys, Lewis Black once observed that there is no reason to debate creationists. “We got the fossils. We win.”

“It’s a bit sad that many of our journalists don’t have the insight shown by our comedians.”

My favorite comedians for this very reason are; Lewis Black, Bill Maher, John Stewart, and Dennis Miller. Go out and rent them now.

It was on an episode of Babylon 5 where Penn and Teller said something along those lines as the characters Rebo and Zooty. I paraphrase “Politicians always do such funny things in a serious way. Comedians always talk about such serious things in a funny way.”

If journalists didn’t report on a statement or event just because it was full of crap, the words “White House” or “Congress” would not have appeared in print for years.

I’m finding that a few pop culture folks are doing a much better job of explaining science than are the media or even many scientists. In addition to Maher, I recently read something that former SNL cast member Julia Sweeny (“Pat”) wrote on her blog about evolution that was quite good, and yesterday I copied in a review of “War of the Worlds” that Roger Ebert wrote that did a good job of stumping for evolutionary science and against ID. How can it be that some people on the entertainment side seem to get it better than the supposedly skeptical and objective journalists do? Or maybe journalists often feel more constrained by the sensibilities of their readership than do entertainers, seeing how they’re writing for a more general audience and not just “fans.”

I don’t usually like Bill Maher, but this one-liner of his is great.

Bill Maher is astute on a lot of things. It comes as par for the course that he sees through ID. If you watched the segment, he has more pithy criticisms of this scientifically bankrupt movement.

Speaking of funny guys, Lewis Black once observed that there is no reason to debate creationists. “We got the fossils. We win.”

That’s pretty good.

I’m curious, what fossils actually “win it” for you? Why are you trying to “win” in the first place? Shouldn’t science be about getting at the truth instead of trying to indoctrinate one into one’s own ideology? If ID is such a ludicrous idea then wouldn’t an honest, open dialogue and debate quickly repudiate it? Why not open it up for debate and quickly debunk ID then? Just curious.….I hold to ID and would be up for the scrutiny. Why aren’t evolutionists?

Mike: “.….I hold to ID and would be up for the scrutiny.” Scratch beneath the surface and in nearly every case, ID = ideology. The scrutiny is up for public inspection all over TalkOrigins.

Mike Wrote:

If ID is such a ludicrous idea then wouldn’t an honest, open dialogue and debate quickly repudiate it?

The honest, open debate has already happened, as far as the science and the logic are concerned. The Modern Synthesis settled the issue of whether there is a plausible mechanism to generate diversity around 1945 or so. The argument from design, which is what ID is, was shown to be insupportable by Hume in the latter part of the 18th century. A more modern treatment by Sober sums it up:

The problem is that the design hypothesis confers a probability on the observation only when it is supplemented with further assumptions about what the designer’s goals and abilities would be if he existed.

These assumptions are the stuff of theology and not science.

I will pray for your faith to be strengthened so that you can see this.

Mike, The problem with ID is there is no science to it to scrutinize. With evolutionary biology, EVERY publication of any merit is peer reviewed, so it is always being scrutinized. Maybe if you IDers were a even a little bit intellectually honest, you’d understand the overwhelming scientific evidence for current evolutionary theory.

Why are you trying to “win” in the first place? Shouldn’t science be about getting at the truth instead of trying to indoctrinate one into one’s own ideology? If ID is such a ludicrous idea then wouldn’t an honest, open dialogue and debate quickly repudiate it? Why not open it up for debate and quickly debunk ID then? Just curious.….I hold to ID and would be up for the scrutiny. Why aren’t evolutionists?

Mainly because creationists and IDers are motivated by religious concerns. Even when you show them they’re wrong, they don’t change their viewpoint. Instead, they keep cranking out the books that religious Americans love so much. Heck, have you ever read any of Kent Hovnid’s stuff? There are claims in some of his books that are so patently false that I can’t imagine that he did anything but make the claim up on the spot. Yet, if it were true, it would be a slam-dunk against evolution. The problem is that people read his book, think he’s telling the truth and then believe that evolution has been completely debunked. Here’s a quote from Kent Hovnid:

Well, now, hold it. If you want to just pick one item and that’s supposed to prove relationship, did you know that human Cytochrom [sic] C is closest to a sunflower? So really the sunflowers are our closest relative folks. It depends what you want to compare. If you want to compare the eyes, we are closest to an octopus. Not a chimpanzee. Pick something. What do you want to compare? Human blood specific gravity is closest to a rabbit or a pig. Human milk is closest to a donkey. It depends on what you want to compare. Pick something. If there were not some similarities between us and other animals we could only eat each other. So God designed all animals from the code so we could eat other plants and animals and digest them. Not proof for evolution. It’s proof of a common Designer!

I looked up the information on cytochrome-c (http://www.turbulentplanet.com/Writ[…]chromec.html). Human cytochrome-c is nearly identical to chimpanzee cytochrome-c, and vastly different than sunflower cytochrome-c. Human eyes are NOT built like octopus eyes.

Additionally, creationists and IDers are “poisoning the water” by telling people that evolutionists are liars so that people don’t listen to the powerful counterarguments against them. Many people listen to their pastors and religious people like AIG and don’t ever read TalkOrigins or Panda’s Thumb. In short, most people have made-up their minds to believe in creationism or ID and avoid information that might change their minds.

First, I really liked this line from Bill’s article:

Bill Maher Wrote:

Now as for me, I believe in evolution and intelligent design. I think God designed us in his image, but I also think God is a monkey!

Second, Mike, ID has been repudiated repediatedly. The truth has been gotten, and no matter how many times the vacuous assertions and arguments of ID are shot down, they simply act as though nothing happened.

If you can actually state “I hold to ID and would be up for the scrutiny” then you are clearly totally clueless and oblivious to the fact that ID (and creationism) has been killed to death. The supporters of ID keep holding up its dead body claiming it can’t be killed.

It’s dead! It’s been dead. It was never alive to begin with, and the only way anyone can pretend it’s alive is to ignore the massive evidence to the contrary.

The only people claiming that anyone’s “trying to indoctrinate one into one’s own ideology”[sic - is that indoctrinating oneself?] are the ideologues who willfully ignore all the facts, all the (valid) logic, and keep propping up a dead body.

No IDaught has ever honestly engaged in an honest debate because they simply pretend it never happened after they have lost. Your post is another example of that same willful ignorance.

The scrutiny has been done. The debate has been won.

Evolutionist are scientists. Science is all about debate and discussion, evidence and facts. The problem is, scientists do honest debating. There is no place in ID for honesty, facts, or evidence. That’s just one more reason why ID’s not science.

I’m curious, what fossils actually “win it” for you? Why are you trying to “win” in the first place?Shouldn’t science be about getting at the truth instead of trying to indoctrinate one into one’s own ideology?

Lewis Black is a comedian.

If ID is such a ludicrous idea then wouldn’t an honest, open dialogue and debate quickly repudiate it? Why not open it up for debate and quickly debunk ID then? Just curious.….I hold to ID and would be up for the scrutiny. Why aren’t evolutionists?

I don’t think I can give you a better reason than BC did. This dishonesty thing is a real problem with the IDers. The controversial ID-oriented lesson plan here in Ohio is clearly derived from Jonathan Wells’s “Icons of Evolution”, which is the most dishonest popular book (supposedly) on science I’ve ever seen.

The point is that the “evidence” the IDers are trying to wedge into the school curricula, unlike the evidence that forms the basis of legitimate science, has not been vetted by any body of scientists except those recruited by the Discovery Institute.

Now if I have to explain why the Discovery Institute is a less reliable broker of information than, say, the National Academies of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and dozens of other respected scientific and scholarly organizations that oppose “intelligent design”, I give up.

Speaking of which: here’s a challenge I’d like you, Mike, or any other ID sympathizer to address. Name one scientific or scholarly organization that does endorse ID. And if you can’t, I don’t understand why Bill Maher didn’t answer your question at the top of this thread.

I visited your website Mike, and I’m going to assume you’re honest with your questions:

Shouldn’t science be about getting at the truth instead of trying to indoctrinate one into one’s own ideology?

You are offering a false dichotomy, neither of which is a real option. Science is about finding the best explanation for the scientific evidence. “If it’s truth you’re looking for, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall.” (Indiana Jones)

As for ideology, I think you’re confusing science with religion. I have no other explanation for why you would offer such a choice, given that I’m assuming you’re being honest with your questions.

If ID is such a ludicrous idea then wouldn’t an honest, open dialogue and debate quickly repudiate it?

Yes and it has. ID proponents have responded with dishonesty, asserting they have scientific evidence backing their claims, offering none, and hoping people are too ignorant of science to notice that what they are offering is not scientific evidence.

“Why not open it up for debate and quickly debunk ID then?”

It HAS been.

The ID folks have been ignoring the results and keep claiming they’re “winning.”

Same sort of technique as the Pat Robertson School of Diplomacy.

Now if Maher will only take his own advice on the germ theory of disease, we’ll be golden…

Why not open it up for debate

You can start.

What is this scientific theory of ID, and how can we go about testing it using the scientific method.

Let the debate begin.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Hmmm, seems as though we have sort of a problem here . … .

I hold to ID and would be up for the scrutiny. Why aren’t evolutionists?

I’m game.

Let me start with a question, a very simple question:

All I want to know is this: what is the scientific theory of creation (or intelligent design) and how can we test it using the scientific method?

I do *NOT* want you to respond with a long laundry list of (mostly inaccurate) criticisms of evolutionary biology. They are completely irrelevant to a scientific theory of creation or intelligent design. I want to see the scientific alternative that you are proposing—- the tne you want taught in public school science classes, the one that creationists and intelligent design “theorists” testified under oath in Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas and elsewhere is SCIENCE and is NOT based on religious doctrine. Let’s assume for the purposes of this discussion that evolutionary biology is indeed absolutely completely totally irretrievable unalterably irrevocably 100% dead wrong. Fine. Show me your scientific alternative. Show me how your scientific theory explains things better than evolutionary biology does. Let’s see this superior “science” of yours.

Any testible scientific theory of creation should be able to provide answers to several questions: (1) how did life begin, (3) how did the current diversity of life appear, and (3) what mechanisms were used in these processes and where can we see these mechanisms today.

Any testible scientific theory of intelligent design should be able to give testible answers to other questions: (1) what exactly did the Intelligent Designer(s) do, (2) what mechanisms did the Designer(s) use to do whatever it is you think it did, (3) where can we see these mechanisms in action today, and (4) what objective criteria can we use to determine what entities are “intelligently designed” and what entities aren’t (please illustrate this by pointing to something that you think IS designed, something you think is NOT designed, and explain how to tell the difference).

If your, uh, “scientific theory” isn’t able to answer any of these questions yet, then please feel free to tell me how you propose to scientifically answer them. What experiments or tests can we perform, in principle, to answer these questions.

Also, since one of the criteria of “science” is falsifiability, I’d like you to tell me how your scientific theory, whatever it is, can be falsified. What experimental results or observations would conclusively prove that creation/intelligent design did not happen.

Another part of the scientific method is direct testing. One does not establish “B” simply by demonstrating that “A” did not happen. I want you to demonstrate “B” directly. So don’t give me any “there are only two choices, evolution or creation, and evolution is wrong so creation must be right” baloney. I will repeat that I do NOT want a big long laundry list of “why evolution is wrong”. I don’t care why evolution is wrong. I want to know what your alternative is, and how it explains data better than evolution does.

I’d also like to know two specific things about this “alternative scientific theory”: How old does “intelligent design/creationism theory” determine the universe to be. Is it millions of years old, or thousands of years old. And does ‘intelligent design/creationism theory’ determine that humans have descended from apelike primates, or does it determine that they have not.

I look forward to seeing your “scientific theories”.

Unless, of course, ID is nothing but religious doctrine, and IDers are simply lying to us when they claim it’s not. …

Yes, Bill Maher, for all his self-proclaimed “skepticism” is really quite credulous about a lot of pseudoscience. He’s right about “intelligent design” creationism, but he’s so wrong about vaccination and the germ theory of disease that it isn’t even funny.

Real Time with Bill Maher Wrote:

MAHER: I don’t believe in vaccination either.

HEALY: Oh, dear.

MAHER: That’s — what? That’s another theory that I think is flawed. And that we go by the Louis Pasteur theory even though Louis Pasteur renounced it on his own death bed and said, “Beauchamps was right; it’s not the invading germs, it’s the terrain. It’s not the mosquitoes, it’s the swamp that they’re breeding in.” [applause]

Uh, you do know that this is an allusion to a classic antievolution myth?

Don’t you?

I’m not sure it’s so much an allusion as another iteration of a classic pseudoscientific argument that keeps coming up over and over like a bad penny.

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I think that arguing that Maher’s lines on deathbed recantation were less likely to be said in satire than in some sort of comedic fulmination because cranks so often use deathbed recantation is self-defeating. I’ve sent off a question via the web form for “Real Time”. I guess I’ll wait and see if Maher or a minion takes note of the question.

Damn, and for a second there I thought you had gone to look at the article I gave you and to look for an ID experiment. A pitty, jamie. I had expectations for you. See, we *have* addressed your point. We have pointed out that yes, there have been a few (so very few!) frauds in the last 150 years of evolution science, and that those attempts have been long discredited by other evolution-friendly scientists, because that is how science works. Those arguments have not been used since in science.

On the other hand, ID has hundreds of frauds, all of which have been pointed out by non-ID scientists for years before ID people accepted that they had been caught lying. What is worse, many ID people continue to use the same false arguments for years after they have been proved false. For example, the “recant in death bed” or, more modern, “IC structures” (“blood clotting cascade”, anyone?). This is one of the big differences between real scientists and cranks: when a scientist is caught lying, he is forever suspect, and everything he said is examined to see what else is false. When and ID-er is caught lying, he goes on as if nothing has happened.

jamie, Lenny’s list is a pre-made post that doubles as a troll/crank detector. Faced with the very basic questions that ID would have to answer to be science, anyone claiming that ID *is* science must admit that it is not, since they cannot address those question. Fact is that your point has been addressed five times already in this thread and you have yet to acknowledge that the one fraud (piltdown), the one distortion of evidence (Haeckel) and the two overblown by the press possibilities are *nothing* compared to the hundreds -or thousands- of creationist/ID lies and frauds. You must also admit that science self corrects, for it was other “evolutionists” that caught the Piltdown hoax and found problems with Haeckel’s theory and so on, while ID people are incapable of self-correction (for God’s sake, they won’t even state how old the Earth is! “somewhere between 6000 and 4500000000 years” is not a scientific answer!)

If you are to have an intelligent discussion, jamie, you must address the points of those who answer you. In this particular case, you must admit that ID is crank science and evolution is nowhere near ID’s level of lying and fraud and that scientists at least try to discover false claims, while ID-ers hope no-one notices that they made stuff up.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

Oh, damn, I forgot to add this to my previous post:

jamie Wrote:

Any information I could present you with would just be discredited as creationist propaganda

How do you know that, jamie? You have yet to present a single peice of evidence for your position. Unless you are gifted with future seeing capabilities, you cannot know what we will do. As a matter of fact, we have asked you to 1) show us that text book that uses Haeckle’s embryos and 2) show us the record of an ID experiment. I, for one, would be very interested to see either one of them.

BTW, please note that just having Haeckle’s embryos wouldn’t make the science book wrong. It could be presented as a historical perspective, just like a geography book might mention that some cultures used to believe the world was flat, and show a drawing of a flat world (sort of like the one deduced from the Bible, with columns under it and a solid sky with windows for water to fall trhough and so on). So when you show us the text book, include some of the context, not only the pictures. And do read the article in pharyngula - you will learn what Haeckel got right and what he got wrong. Believe me, he did get *some* things right.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

ts, all debate and rhetoric aside, honestly, your last post cracked me up. Anal orfice! that was great.

Wolf, I agree with you that the science book could have Haekle’s embryos just for historical perspective. Nothing wrong with that , I just want to know if that is the case. If it isn’t then we have a problem.

Rev, just what I thought a long list of “can you prove it” bullshit. I notice you didn’t say anything about the frauds I addressed.

I notice that you didn’t say anything about my detailed description of why the ID/creationuts are full of it about Piltdown and Nebraska Man, as well as the, uh, “cretaceous human tooth” (not to mention the, uh, “paluxy footprints” and the “squashed trilobite” and the “jurassic human finger”).

I also notice that you’ve not answered the original question i asked of you.

Here, I’ll ask again:

*ahem*

All I want to know is this: what is the scientific theory of creation (or intelligent design) and how can we test it using the scientific method?

I do *NOT* want you to respond with a long laundry list of (mostly inaccurate) criticisms of evolutionary biology. They are completely irrelevant to a scientific theory of creation or intelligent design. I want to see the scientific alternative that you are proposing—— the tne you want taught in public school science classes, the one that creationists and intelligent design “theorists” testified under oath in Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas and elsewhere is SCIENCE and is NOT based on religious doctrine. Let’s assume for the purposes of this discussion that evolutionary biology is indeed absolutely completely totally irretrievable unalterably irrevocably 100% dead wrong. Fine. Show me your scientific alternative. Show me how your scientific theory explains things better than evolutionary biology does. Let’s see this superior “science” of yours.

Any testible scientific theory of creation should be able to provide answers to several questions: (1) how did life begin, (3) how did the current diversity of life appear, and (3) what mechanisms were used in these processes and where can we see these mechanisms today.

Any testible scientific theory of intelligent design should be able to give testible answers to other questions: (1) what exactly did the Intelligent Designer(s) do, (2) what mechanisms did the Designer(s) use to do whatever it is you think it did, (3) where can we see these mechanisms in action today, and (4) what objective criteria can we use to determine what entities are “intelligently designed” and what entities aren’t (please illustrate this by pointing to something that you think IS designed, something you think is NOT designed, and explain how to tell the difference).

If your, uh, “scientific theory” isn’t able to answer any of these questions yet, then please feel free to tell me how you propose to scientifically answer them. What experiments or tests can we perform, in principle, to answer these questions.

Also, since one of the criteria of “science” is falsifiability, I’d like you to tell me how your scientific theory, whatever it is, can be falsified. What experimental results or observations would conclusively prove that creation/intelligent design did not happen.

Another part of the scientific method is direct testing. One does not establish “B” simply by demonstrating that “A” did not happen. I want you to demonstrate “B” directly. So don’t give me any “there are only two choices, evolution or creation, and evolution is wrong so creation must be right” baloney. I will repeat that I do NOT want a big long laundry list of “why evolution is wrong”. I don’t care why evolution is wrong. I want to know what your alternative is, and how it explains data better than evolution does.

I’d also like to know two specific things about this “alternative scientific theory”: How old does “intelligent design/creationism theory” determine the universe to be. Is it millions of years old, or thousands of years old. And does ‘intelligent design/creationism theory’ determine that humans have descended from apelike primates, or does it determine that they have not.

I look forward to seeing your “scientific theories”.

Unless, of course, ID is nothing but religious doctrine, and IDers are simply lying to us when they claim it’s not.…

Put up or shut up, Jaimie.

That reminds me: there is a typo in your set of questions, one I always puzzle over for a little while. Immediately after the long slash, it says “the tne” (full context “I want to see the scientific alternative that you are proposing—— the tne “). I think it should be “the one”.

You are right.

Generally, I post my messages either before I go to work in the morning, or after I get back while dinner is cooking. In either case, I’m usually ina hurry and so don’t proofread any of my posts. And because I type very fast, I tend to make lots of typos (oftentimes the very same ones over and over again).

Alas, it did drive my copy editors nuts. ;>

in #45088, it was:

…they [Haeckle’s false claims] still apear in some text books like “Evolutionary Biology” by Douglas J. Futuyma.

Now (#45145) it’s

I just want to know if that is the case.

Was this whole discussion about the relative honesty and credibility of evophobes vs. evophiles?

Any information I could present you with would just be discredited as creationist propaganda

Ahhh, the old “Ralph Kramden” response:

“You think I’m not gonna tell you, Alice? You think I’m not gonna TELL you? Well just for that, I’M NOT GONNA TELL YOU!”

It is a longtime favorite of creationuts and IDers. Ranks right up there with the “I won’t answer you because you are a big meanie.”

As for whether any information “you” cut-and-paste, er, I mean, present to us is or isn’t creationut propaganda, I guess we will never know, will we, since you seem to have some sort of lethal allergy to PRESENTING any. (shrug)

jamie morris Wrote:

Maybe you can tell me why they [Haeckel’s false claims] still apear in some text books like “Evolutionary Biology” by Douglas J. Futuyma.

Luckily for us, I happen to have a copy of Evolutionary Biology, Third Edition on hand. I looked up Haeckel’s Embryos in the index and found that the major discussion of this topic takes place on pages 652 and 653. I was going to type the entire relevant section word for word (and even started to do so), but I’ve gotten lazy. In short, Futuyma starts the section on Ontogeny and Philogeny with Von Baer’s law that the features common to a more inclusive taxon often appear in development before the specific charaters of lower-tax.

He gives a short description of this then goes on to talk about Haeckel and his Biogentic Law that “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” He briefly summarizes what Haeckel meant by this and then uses the next five paragraphs to show why Haeckel was largely wrong (using Gould 1977). He ends with this:

There are, to be sure, many cases in which certain features of an ancestor are recapitulated in the ontogeny of a descendent; for example, the metatarsals of a bird, as we saw above, at first develop separately (the ancestral condition) before becoming fused together. Still, the biogenetic law is honored more often in the breach than in the observance and it is certainly not an infallible guide to phylogenetic history.

Interestingly enough, the drawing of Haeckel’s embryos that was reproduced in Romanes’ (1901) Darwin and after Darwin is shown in the text, but it is used as an illustration of Von Baer’s law, not Haeckel’s Biogenetic law.

Overall, it seems that those people who predicted that Haeckel’s claims would be treated in a mostly historical context have proven to be correct. Futuyma does not claim that Haeckel’s ideas are accurate. To the contrary, he carefully shows what is wrong with them.

jamie Wrote:

Wolf, I agree with you that the science book could have Haekle’s embryos just for historical perspective. Nothing wrong with that , I just want to know if that is the case. If it isn’t then we have a problem.

Well, Dave Carlson has now shown that it was, indeed, a historical perspective. jamie, I hope you realise that this means that you made an unfounded and unsupported accusation right at first. Now, you have shown a much better quality than our average creationist, so I am going to give you a honest advice. Please don’t take it the wrong way, for I do mean it: *Never* take a creationist at their word. They have been peddling false arguments for a good 300 years now (predating Darwin, since they had, and some still have, a beef with Old Earth).

Whenever you are given a reason why 150 years of scientists are wrong, your first impulse should be to doubt the argument, not the scientists. Check the argument yourself. On-line resources like talk origins help, but if you don’t feel you can trust it, talk origins always refers to other sources, many quite prestigious, that you can check for yourself (a well-stocked university library can help there).

At this point, you have two major options. You can dig trenches and self delude yourself that your arguments about the fraudulent methods of science being as bad as that of ID is true, or take this chance to examine both alternatives. Check talkorigins to see the evidence for evolution, and visit the creationist arguments list, and check those you have heard the most. And, by all means, if you feel that there is any argument that still stands, bring it here. But don’t do so confrontationally - that just puts people on the defensive, and insults might start to fly.

Seriously, you ahve a nice chance for learning here. Don’t spoil it.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

http://talkorigins.org/ http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/

Re “Whenever you are given a reason why 150 years of scientists are wrong, your first impulse should be to doubt the argument, not the scientists. “

That one sentence sums it up very well.

Henry

Well, let’s see if Jaimie will be the first creationist I can remember who will have the ping-pongs to stand up and say “I was wrong, the creationist argument I parroted was wrong, and next time, I will make an effort to check facts *before* I go spouting off more drivel from soem creationist crapsite.”

Or, will Jaimie do the standard creationist routine, shout “You all just hate God!!!!!!”, and then run away to spout out the very same argument somewhere else.

Overall, it seems that those people who predicted that Haeckel’s claims would be treated in a mostly historical context have proven to be correct. Futuyma does not claim that Haeckel’s ideas are accurate. To the contrary, he carefully shows what is wrong with them.

So IDers are lying to us, yet again.

I’m shocked.

Utterly shocked.

Lenny Wrote:

Well, let’s see if Jaimie will be the first creationist I can remember who will have the ping-pongs to stand up and say “I was wrong, the creationist argument I parroted was wrong, and next time, I will make an effort to check facts *before* I go spouting off more drivel from soem creationist crapsite.”

The fact that jamie (for a while I thought it was jaime, but she’s consistently used jamie) has left without a “final word” does give me some hope, Lenny. The usual pattern for a creationist troll is to dig trenches, call us all deluded hell-spawned atheists and repeat their original claim. Call me hopelessly optimistic, but the fact that she mellowed her position from “evolutionists are as bad as IDs” to “I don’t really know that my argument is correct, and am willing to forgive historical perspective”.

The real clincher right now is that I *have* asked her to read through talk origins, and that is going to take a while. Of course, the modus operandi of the standard troll is also to leave for a few days till they forget they got their arguments demolished, so the fact she has left is not, in itself, an indicator of “trolldom”. If the next time she drops by is to repeat the same baseless acusation, à la davison, then we can declare her a troll and ignore her. I am hoping that next time, however, she comes with a variant of “I read that IDs claim to detect design with some kind of formula - isn’t that an experiment?” so we can point her to the uselessness of Behe’s Black Box or whatever.

Sometimes I feel that we’re a little too brusque and heavy handed to the visiting creationists. Of course, from our perspective it is justified, since we get so many that look cloned that are simple trolls unwilling to listen, but I fear that every so often we get someone who might be willing to listen and our short patience turns them off. That is why I take the time to gently engage them. Mind you, in all previous occasions I tried, they turned out to be trolls, but that’s not going to stop me. As I said, hopelessly optimistic.

So IDers are lying to us, yet again.

That doesn’t worry me as much as the fact that they lie to each other. At least *we* know that they are going to lie to us - it’s the people that are viciously lied by Behe and D*mbsky (not to mention the Kent Hovinds of the world) that I feel worst about.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf, who wonders if we should move this over to BW, except that the article *is* about someone buying into creationist propaganda and then realising what he signed into

Disclaimer: I have assumed in this post that “jamie” is a female name. I am terribly sorry if this is not the case.

but that’s not going to stop me. As I said, hopelessly optimistic

:-D

That’s what the god-botherers are though - hopelessly optimistic. Some want to believe they can argue equally about science without actually knowing anything much about it. Many are hoping to get away with multiple crimes (including dishonesty which ought to be a crime) and still get forgiven by their god. All(?) want to believe that their god both exists and is nice despite the preponderance of evidence against it.

Sometimes I feel that we’re a little too brusque and heavy handed to the visiting creationists. Of course, from our perspective it is justified, since we get so many that look cloned that are simple trolls unwilling to listen, but I fear that every so often we get someone who might be willing to listen and our short patience turns them off. That is why I take the time to gently engage them. Mind you, in all previous occasions I tried, they turned out to be trolls, but that’s not going to stop me. As I said, hopelessly optimistic.

Well, I salute your patience. And I wish you the best of luck.

Me, I long ago gave up on even attempting to “convert” the nutters. In the 20-plus years that I have been “debating” creationist/IDers, I can count on one hand the total number of people whom I have seen abandon creationism/ID. And in terms of the creationist/ID political movement, each of them was promptly replaced by ten more. No political movement in history has ever been beaten by “converting” a significant proportion of its members. So I view the attempt as simply not worth the effort.

My target has always been the lurkers who come in here for a short time just because they have seen something in the newspaper about ID and want to see “what the fuss is all about”. I’ve gotten enough emails from lurkers over the years to know that when IDers keep getting asked simple basic questions like “what the heck IS this scientific theory of ID that you are on about” and consistently run away from those questions, it doesn’t take long for the lurkers to understand that ID simply has nothing scientific to say, that ID is nothing but an attempt to force religious apologetics into a science classroom, and that IDers are simply lying to us when they claim otherwise.

Since I think that has much more practical effect than does trying to convert the nutters, that is where I have chosen to put most of my efforts.

But hey, as a political activist, I’m all in favor of attacking on every possible front. Any usable weapon, should be used. Convert their members. Exacerbate the ideological schisms in the Big Tent. Cut ID off from its funding. Show that their “science” is crap. Document their dishonest evasions. Tell the whole world about ID’s extremist political agenda. Point out that most of their funding comes from a single lunatic billionnaire who for 20 years preached a political program that is indistinguishable from that preached by the people we are currently dropping bombs on in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Let the Wedge-ites be forced into defending themselves everywhere at the same time.

who wonders if we should move this over to BW

Has the plumbing been fixed yet?

SEF Wrote:

That’s what the god-botherers are though - hopelessly optimistic. Some want to believe they can argue equally about science without actually knowing anything much about it. Many are hoping to get away with multiple crimes (including dishonesty which ought to be a crime) and still get forgiven by their god. All(?) want to believe that their god both exists and is nice despite the preponderance of evidence against it.

Hopefully you don’t classify me as a God-botherer, SEF. Mind you, I am weird since I am a conservative-at-home Catholic who would vote liberal if they weren’t so hopelessly corrupt in my country (i.e. I believe that everyone else can do whatever they want with their lives as long as they don’t hurt me or mine but that, given the freedom, I’m conservative enough I suspect fire as too modern ;p ).

Mind you, I don’t try to ram conversion down anyone’s throats. I *know* God exists, I *know* that trying to convince you is stupid, and I am told that we can learn what He expects of us by attending church, were people who have spent their lives wrestling with that old pile of documents known collectively as “the Bible” have taught the local priest the most likely interpretations, and who then passes it on to me. And that I am free to disagree as long as it is not a dogma (there aren’t that many, thankfully). But hopefully, as I say, I don’t belong in the same group of cronically insecure people who, lacking personal revelation, try to ameliorate their lack of faith by converting others or otherwise pretending that science supports their faith. Maybe they missed the lesson on why any faith needing support is not a good faith.

Anyway, I just wanted to clear up my position, SEF. Try to remember that not all religious people are nutjobs. We could have an interesting discussion on the cruelty of God, but I am afraid that I am no authority, so all I could give you is my own personal view, mostly unsupported by previous reasoning, and this is the wrong place to do so anyway. Not that I think you are that interested in my views, but we *could* continue over email, if you want.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

Disclaimer: I have assumed in this post that “jamie” is a female name. I am terribly sorry if this is not the case.

“she” also calls itself “james morris” (judging by the same style and same message) in another thread.

Oops, make that “james cohen”, as in http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…].html#c45085

The page attached to that link for the New Rules segment has changed. The archived segment under discussion is here

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This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on August 24, 2005 11:39 PM.

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