Dembski’s Obsessive Complaints of Obsession

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William Dembski has this odd habit when someone publishes a criticism of his writings. Rather than engage in substantive refutation of those criticisms, he often claims either to be the victim of some cosmic unfairness by the Darwinian Inquisition, or he claims that the person criticizing him is obsessed with him. As an example of the first, I point you to his frantic complaints of copyright violation and ethical mistreatment by Rob Pennock in early 2002, after Pennock had included a couple of essays of his in an anthology he edited called Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics. He accused Pennock of copyright infringement, but in fact he had the written permission of the actual copyright owners, Metanexus. The owners of Metanexus published a public exoneration of Pennock in the matter.

For an example of the second strategy, I point you to his having called Richard Wein, Wesley Elsberry and Jeffrey Shallit his “internet stalkers” because they - gasp! - read and criticized his work. And in public. The nerve of these people, actually analyzing and critiquing the work of a scholar! He hasn’t done much to actually answer their critiques, mind you, but he’s called them “obsessed” and it appears that he thinks that actually defeats their arguments. Now he’s back making more weird accusations about the Dover trial, involving Shallit yet again. He writes:

Continue reading Dembski’s Obsessive Complaints of Obsession at Dispatches from the Culture Wars

244 Comments

Of course, let’s remember that they tried to sneak in Dembski’s expertise in the amicus that was thrown out: http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]dge_str.html

How much of Dembski’s writing is smoke and mirrors? It seems to be fooling his hard core fans (others get censored off his site).

I was reading a post of his, “Retrospective Fallacy”: http://www.uncommondescent.com/inde[…]archives/442

Miller accused Dembski of a retrospective fallacy, which is like “equating the odds of drawing two pairs in poker with the odds of drawing a particular two-pair hand - say a pair of red queens, a pair of black 10s and the ace of clubs… demanding a particular outcome, as opposed to a functional outcome,…”

Dembski does look like he deals with the substance here: “… charge is unwarranted. In fact, I’ve explicitly countered this concern in my writings (notably in section 5.10 of No Free Lunch, where I assign probabilities in terms of perturbation tolerance and perturbation identity factors — these factors take into account variants/perturbations of tokens that belong to the same functional type).”

If I didn’t suspect I was getting fooled, I’d believe him.

So, how am I getting fooled by Dembski?

I’m just a suspiciously confused reader trying to make sense of both sides and without enough time to tackle all the relevant writings noted.

I know Dembski has to be wrong about “No Free Lunch” and it’s relationship to genetic algorithms because if he were right, then genetic algorithims wouldn’t work any better than “brute searches”… but they do work better.

“Among the many posts I’ve deleted from the previous thread …”

What an amazing way to begin a sentence.

“… are those vindicating Shallit on the grounds that because the Thomas More Law Center removed me as an expert witness …”

I’m starting to get the picture here. One, Dembski purges dissent routinely. No biggie I guess. I mean it’s his blog, his editorial voice. Two, the disagreement is heavy enough that Dembski removes “many” postings for all kinds of reasons. I don’t think he’s suggesting that the number was unusual in this particular thread. He gets a lot of stuff he does not like and makes sure to delete it. Three, among the deleted postings were those that addressed a point that he doesn’t dismiss as tasteless or irrelevant. He just wants to make sure that only his side is presented.

What else do you need to see? I mean, what a jackass.

Also, if Dembski is indeed interested to see what Shallit might have said in his deposition, it can rather easily be inferred from Shallit’s expert report to the court, which is available online on at least two sites, for example at Talk Reason (see the What Is New section there) as well as on the NCSE site here. Anybody who has read this Shallit’s devastating critique of Dembski will conclude that Dembski’s supposition regarding ACLU’s and Shallit’s “embarrassment” is pure fantasy. If somebody should be embarrassed, it certainly is not Shallit. Shallit’s well substantiated analysis of Dembski as a scientist or mathematician reveals a picture of a man obsessed with a mania of greatness not supported by any actual achievements. Of course, it is known from experience that Dembski is never embarrassed by any revelation of the emptiness of his output, so his preposterous claim about Shallit’s alleged embarrassment adds little new to what is known about Dembski to everybody except for his usual admirers from ID crowd.

Norman Doering quotes Dembski as follows:

“in section 5.10 of No Free Lunch, where I assign probabilities in terms of perturbation tolerance and perturbation identity factors — these factors take into account variants/perturbations of tokens that belong to the same functional type).”

Just another example of Dembski’s penchant for inventing seemingly meaningful new terms which in fact are often useless. His “perturbation factor” is essentially nothing more that the well known “redundancy” introduced already by Shannon (which, btw, Dembski miscalculated in his NFL book).

AR wrote: “Just another example of Dembski’s penchant for inventing seemingly meaningful new terms which in fact are often useless. His “perturbation factor” is essentially nothing more that the well known “redundancy” introduced already by Shannon …”

He didn’t make that “perturbation factor” term up. There are “perturbation factors” in my 3D graphics software for creating noisy textures in computer generated images. However, I don’t understand his use of the term in regards to denying a “retrospective fallacy.” I haven’t read his “No Free Lunch” yet and see no value in doing so yet.

Shallit is “obsessed” with Dembski, yet still finds time to publish in the literature.

Norman said

There are “perturbation factors” in my 3D graphics software for creating noisy textures in computer generated images.

That is “artificially imposing computer generated random noise on (virtual) information”.

The reverse is to extract information from random noise. The more processing power and time you have the deeper actual information can be buried in noise and still be retrievable.

In any case noise is just noise no amount of analysis will produce information.

Unless of course you define noise as information.

Dembski isn’t doing anything on his site that Winston Smith didn’t do every day, to make his living. And both Dembski and Smith are doing it for exactly the same reason.

Orwell, though, seemed to think that if *anyone at all* should contradict the Official Story, then it wouldn’t fly and the system would collapse - to the point where Smith himself needed to be subjected to torture. Orwell may not have been cynical enough to recognize the “Sal Cordova factor” in all this: in censoring reality entirely away, Dembski has created the sort of shrine True Believers feel comfortable, unthreatened, and uplifted praying at.

Dembski understands intuitively that if HE only hears what he wants to hear and it works for him, it will work for many others for the same reason. I do hope, though, that the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has discovered cordless microphones.

Every piece of information I discover about Dembski, including the contents of his own blog, convinces me even more that the guy’s ego is the size of a small planet but has little more resilience than an over-fried poppadum. The exceptional defensiveness over perceived personal slights reminds me of the story of the U.S. senator back in the 1970s who was called the “dumbest man in the Senate” in a magazine article – and who promptly called a press conference to deny the accusation.

Metanexus We offered Rob Pennock the opportunity to publish his own statement in response to Bill Dembski, but he has chosen to “turn the other cheek.”

That must have shattered BillD. Imagine Pennock dismissing him with those famous words, and can’t be bothered to even pen a few lines. BillD, “What would I give to for something to chew on!”

According to Pigliucci and Pennock, intelligent design proponents are not scholars to be engaged on the intellectual merits of their case. Rather, they are charlatans to be discredited, silenced, and stopped. That’s the whole point of _Intelligent Design Creationists and Their Critics_.

Looks like BillD gets the idea here.

…but has little more resilience than an over-fried poppadum

Julie BillD is like last night’s poppadum gone soggy. There was a time when his brittleness was atleast amusing. It’s a big bore now.

Oh, it’s just what’s happening at the various UFO conventions, this carping about obsessive gov’t and scientific bad-guys keeping the evidence and the truth down. What are you going to do when you have no evidence, actually admit to the rank and file that we’re just hoping something will come along some time? One needs a reason to go on, both for oneself and for the sheep, and that reason is that Jeff Shallit, et al, “are so concerned about the threat of ID that they are actually obsessed with ID and with Dembski”.

No point in psychoanalyzing it, without a willing subject. Is Dembski monomaniacal, or just backed into a desperate little corner from which he hopes vainly to come out triumphant? Both? We don’t know, the fact is that scientifically there is little difference between the two, with Dembski’s empirical vapidity being the real issue.

Poor Raymond Dart, a genuine victim of elitist scientists in the first half of the 20th century, was beaten down by the system. What did he and his few supporters do? Science, including science supporting the Taung baby as being nearly on the ancestral line to humans (still not certain, but a good model at least). Likewise, J. Harlen Bretz with his Missoula Flood went on to do more science in the face of opposition. If these guys could have hit back more at the establishment they may have done so, but the crucial thing is that they worked on corroborating their concepts rather than on honing their PR.

That Dembski does little but repeat himself and whine puts him solidly in the pseudoscience camp. Nothing new, that, but his response to his nonsense does identify him closely with the losers who can do nothing except carp, whine, and blame others when their widely-known ideas manage to convert almost no one in the science community (btw, why does he want the approval of such “close-minded” people anyhow?). He writes what works, and what works is avoiding all sound criticisms of his claims.

Little wonder that even National Review has taken to noting that one can write little about ID without confronting the fact of its pervasive dishonesty.

Ed Brayton writes:

William Dembski has this odd habit when someone publishes a criticism of his writings. Rather than engage in substantive refutation of those criticisms, he often claims either to be the victim of some cosmic unfairness by the Darwinian Inquisition, or he claims that the person criticizing him is obsessed with him. As an example of the first, I point you to his frantic complaints of copyright violation and ethical mistreatment by Rob Pennock in early 2002, after Pennock had included a couple of essays of his in an anthology he edited called Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics. He accused Pennock of copyright infringement, but in fact he had the written permission of the actual copyright owners, Metanexus. The owners of Metanexus published a public exoneration of Pennock in the matter.

There’s seems to be a misunderstanding of some facts here. Dembski did not accuse Pennock and the publishers of Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics of copyright infringement. In his article How Not To Debate Intelligent Design he writes:

Pennock has just published _Intelligent Design Creationists and Their Critics_ with MIT Press. It includes two essays by me. Pennock never contacted me about their inclusion. Indeed, I only learned of their inclusion after his volume was published and became available to the public last week.

It appears that Pennock and MIT Press are legally in the clear – Pennock selected pieces for which he was able to obtain copyright permissions without having to consult me.

Perhaps ID critics would be happier if Dembski and others would just roll over when the likes of Pennock play the kind of games they play with Dembski’s work. The issue with the Pennock volume was one of fairness and ethical (read professional) treatment. In the same article referenced above, Dembski notes that:

Pennock chose a popular 2,000 word essay of mine titled “Who’s Got the Magic?” and followed it with a 9,000-word rebuttal by him titled “The Wizards of ID.” For the other essay of mine, Pennock chose “Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information,” which was a popular piece on information theory that’s now five years old. I’ve written much on that topic since then, and the essay itself is now outdated. Moreover, Pennock followed that essay with three critical responses. One of those responses, by Elliott Sober, was a lengthy technical review (from the journal _Philosophy of Science_) of my technical monograph _The Design Inference_ (Cambridge University Press, 1998). No portion of that monograph or anything comparable from my work was included in Pennock’s book. Finally, I was given no chance to respond to my critics.

Dembski’s complaint is well grounded because Pennock acted unprofessionally and unethically.

Ed Brayton continues:

For an example of the second strategy, I point you to his having called Richard Wein, Wesley Elsberry and Jeffrey Shallit his “internet stalkers” because they - gasp! - read and criticized his work. And in public. The nerve of these people, actually analyzing and critiquing the work of a scholar! He hasn’t done much to actually answer their critiques, mind you, but he’s called them “obsessed” and it appears that he thinks that actually defeats their arguments.

If only it were that simple. Richard Wein wrote some 37,000 word “rebuttal” to Dembski’s book No Free Lunch.(it is my understanding that that article is now archived somewhere on Talk.Origins.) In response, Dembski wrote Obsessively Criticized but Scarcely Refuted: A Response to Richard Wein. And The Fantasy Life of Richard Wein. To say that Dembski “hasn’t done much to answer their critques” and that he only calls them “obsessed” is simply false. Dembski’s website has a long list of articles with detailed responses to several of his critics.

something which becomes innate and automatic with a bit of mathematical training is the sense that you can take almost any fact and express it mathematically (which obviously has a lot of subsequent uses):

Martin: Ooh, I think I understand … [takes a pencil and starts writing] the potential for mischief varies inversely with one’s proximity to the authority figure!

Dembski, unable to escape his religious convictions, can’t abandon his delusion that he can SEE obvious design in nature, and can’t abandon his delusion that he is merely expressing that truth mathematically. It is his intuition that he is expressing a plain truth which informs his opinion that his mathematics cannot be wrong, and prevents him from being able to address the possibility that a dissenter has seen a flaw in his reasoning.

Dembski, unable to escape his religious convictions, can’t abandon his delusion that he can SEE obvious design in nature, and can’t abandon his delusion that he is merely expressing that truth mathematically. It is his intuition that he is expressing a plain truth which informs his opinion that his mathematics cannot be wrong, and prevents him from being able to address the possibility that a dissenter has seen a flaw in his reasoning.

Nah. Don’t even give him that much credit. He’s just snake oil salesman trying to generate publicity, so he can sell his books, advance his career, etc. Any controversy makes him $.

Just to get this bit clear, I belatedly realized that NCSE does have Jeff Shallit’s deposition, along with 30 other depositions (I counted) that have been taken in the Kitzmiller case. I think we didn’t put them all online (except for a few key fact witness depositions) because each deposition is hundreds of pages long, and often the PDFs we have are just flat scans of paper copies, which can end up being quite large.

As for Dembski’s cries about “Let Shallit and the ACLU make his deposition public” (emphasis original) – the deposition is part of the public record, and has been since August 2005, when it was filed as part of the plaintiffs’ brief opposing summary judgement! (specifically, Appendix III, Tab O).

Nick

Nick, I did not find that appendix as part of the linked PDF. Obviously at some point a complete seet of files will need to be created as in some of the other key losses by creationists.

It’s interesting that a prominent member of a group which is touting academic freedom and the need for all sides to be heard is a person who routinely deletes from his site anything that he happens to think is incorrect for whatever reason. All sides have a right to be heard as long as they don’t disagree with Bill Dembski, apparently. I suppose that’ll be the standard for peer review when “design theory” triumphs. Something to look forward to.

(long-time lurker, first time comment-poster, easy on the noob)

The revelation that struck me as I read the comments to that thread was that the sycophancy on display at Demski’s blog would make me want to be violently ill even if I agreed with him. The fact that I don’t gives me the same impulse - but tempers it with a bit of relief, that the other side seems to consist chiefly of megalomaniacal idols and fawning idolators, rather than anyone interested in any actual discourse.

It seems to me that Demski enables comments on his blog not for discussion, but for adulation. If your comment doesn’t soothe his ego, you’re outta there. I’d like to think that even if I was so spectacularly scientifically misinformed as to reject evolution, I’d still recognize Demski as a disgusting prick.

It’s interesting that a prominent member of a group which is touting academic freedom and the need for all sides to be heard is a person who routinely deletes from his site anything that he happens to think is incorrect for whatever reason.

What is more interesting is: why don’t pro-science organizations work diligently to make this unfavorable unflattering fact about Bill “Professional Hypocrite and Liar” Dembski widely known to the media and public?

No one cares what Dembski obsesses about. And no one should care. That’s not what makes Dembski a profoundly disturbing human being.

Donald M wrote:

There’s seems to be a misunderstanding of some facts here. Dembski did not accuse Pennock and the publishers of Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics of copyright infringement. In his article How Not To Debate Intelligent Design he writes:

Pennock has just published _Intelligent Design Creationists and Their Critics_ with MIT Press. It includes two essays by me. Pennock never contacted me about their inclusion. Indeed, I only learned of their inclusion after his volume was published and became available to the public last week. It appears that Pennock and MIT Press are legally in the clear — Pennock selected pieces for which he was able to obtain copyright permissions without having to consult me.

In my little two sentence summary of this situation, I did indeed leave out a lot of detail, but since you brought it up let’s clear up the confusion. Dembski’s first complaint was that there was copyright infringement; that complaint, as I recall, was made privately. He was quickly informed that Pennock had the full permission of the copyright owners. He then went public with this charge that perhaps Pennock was legally covered, but it’s still unethical. But you should notice something else in that public exoneration from the owners of Metanexus.

After noting that they had given Pennock permission to use the articles, they say, “At that time Pennock was instructed to contact Dembski, which he did, though there was obviously a misunderstanding as detailed below in Dembski’s second statement on the matter. Dembski’s allegation of possible copyright violation is not an issue and as a result we have deleted the previous press release from Dembski from the archives of the NEWS list, as we don’t want to perpetuate this particular misunderstanding.” How did they know that Pennock had contacted Dembski? Because when he made the accusation, Rob sent copies of the emails they had exchanged on the subject to the Metanexus editors. Dembski later claimed that he hadn’t been told specifically that an article of his was being used, but the fact is that the Metanexus editors pulled Dembski’s allegations off their site for a reason, because Dembski was simply not telling the truth and they didn’t want that liability after Rob showed them the proof. Dembski sent a bio sketch to Pennock for inclusion in the book, for crying out loud. All of this was just his way of distracting attention away from the substantive criticism of his work in Pennock’s book.

Perhaps ID critics would be happier if Dembski and others would just roll over when the likes of Pennock play the kind of games they play with Dembski’s work. The issue with the Pennock volume was one of fairness and ethical (read professional) treatment. In the same article referenced above, Dembski notes that:

Pennock chose a popular 2,000 word essay of mine titled “Who’s Got the Magic?” and followed it with a 9,000-word rebuttal by him titled “The Wizards of ID.” For the other essay of mine, Pennock chose “Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information,” which was a popular piece on information theory that’s now five years old. I’ve written much on that topic since then, and the essay itself is now outdated. Moreover, Pennock followed that essay with three critical responses. One of those responses, by Elliott Sober, was a lengthy technical review (from the journal _Philosophy of Science_) of my technical monograph _The Design Inference_ (Cambridge University Press, 1998). No portion of that monograph or anything comparable from my work was included in Pennock’s book. Finally, I was given no chance to respond to my critics.

These arguments were quite stupid when Dembski made them; they’re equally stupid when you repeat them. Let’s take them one at a time:

On the age of the essays. There are several reasons why this is a lame argument. First, the run up to a book of the scope of Pennock’s is well over a year, from the identification of the essays to be included, the doling out of the response essays, the writing of those responses, editorial revisions, and so forth. The essays they respond to would have to be at least 2 years old in that circumstance.

Second, Dembski does not point to anything in those essays that he would not stand by at the time he logs the complaint. Was he wrong about something that he has since corrected? If so, he’s never told anyone so. Those same essays continue to be available on his various websites today without any disclaimers about the material being “outdated” or any admission that anything in them is no longer true or relevant. Indeed, if I recall correctly, Dembski himself had just used one of those essays virtually unchanged as a chapter in one of his books published just a few months before he logs this complaint. Obviously he didn’t really consider them outdated, this is just a convenient way to avoid the criticisms.

On the subject of more space being devoted to criticisms than to his essays. Frankly, who cares? If his arguments could withstand criticism, it doesn’t matter whether one uses 2000 words or 200,000 to analyze them.

On the subject of not being allowed to respond. Well gosh, Dembski criticizes the views of lots of scientists in his books and I don’t recall him giving them a chance to respond. Indeed, I don’t recall any of the prominent ID advocates doing so when they criticize the work of “Darwinists”. I guess “fairness” and “professionalism” only work in one direction.

Richard Wein wrote some 37,000 word “rebuttal” to Dembski’s book No Free Lunch.(it is my understanding that that article is now archived somewhere on Talk.Origins.) In response, Dembski wrote Obsessively Criticized but Scarcely Refuted: A Response to Richard Wein. And The Fantasy Life of Richard Wein. To say that Dembski “hasn’t done much to answer their critques” and that he only calls them “obsessed” is simply false. Dembski’s website has a long list of articles with detailed responses to several of his critics.

Donald, have you actually read his “responses” to Wein, Elsberry and Shallit? He calls them obsessive, claims that they aren’t qualified to critique him and then in almost all cases dismisses their arguments with a wave of his imperial hand. They are virtually devoid of any real substantive engagement of the issues they raise. Wein’s second response to Dembski, after his purported response, was a laundry list of all the arguments that Dembski ignored. And then he just insults him and accuses him of living in a “fantasy world”. This is not the actions of a scholar, they are the actions of an egomaniac who hates to be questioned.

This is not the actions of a scholar, they are the actions of an egomaniac who hates to be questioned.

I agree that Billy is an ego freak. I don’t think he “hates to be questioned”, however. Rather, he is simply thrilled when he gets to pull the plug on his critics or when he gets the chance to poot in their faces and run away. He has learned that he gets attention this way and he’s not picky about what kind of attention he gets as long as his base of True Fans doesn’t drop below a certain level.

My advice to genuine professionals: if you see Billy spouting b.s., let him know that we know he is a professional b.s. artist and end it. Attempts to respond substantively to Billy’s drivel runs the risk of confusing others into believing that Billy has recited a string of facts worthy of a substantive response – something that never happens.

All hail “The Great Leader” Kim il Dembski

actually, if you look at the history of posts on billyboy’s site, you will see essentially “0” interest in anything that even remotely sounds like science. all of his sycophants only have the wit to post on his obsessive rants.

that, in and of itself, paints “uncommon descent” as more of a kiddies-corner than any significant site.

what gets me is the sheer “weight” he has gained in sycophants simply by being a complete asshole.

otoh, isn’t howard stern “the king of all media”?

insert your own joke here…

Donald M (comment 54547) wrote:

To say that Dembski “hasn’t done much to answer their critiques” and that he only calls them “obsessed” is simply false. Dembski’s website has a long list of articles with detailed responses to several of his critics.

Either Donald M did not read Dembski’s so-called “replies” to his critics, or, if he did, he deliberately misinforms PT readers. Dembski’s “replies” are full of insults of his critics and usually avoid answering the substance of their critique. Moreover, there is a whole list of critics to whom he has never responded at all, except for sometimes posting some supercilious dismissive comments consisting of a few sentences aimed at denigrating his opponents, but not touching on the substance. For example, such a list can be seen here.

Btw, Wein’s critique of Dembski can be seen here, here, here, and here.

Donald M apparently does not realize that most of PT visitors have sufficient knowledge of the matter to see through his attempts at presenting Dembski’s behavior in a positive light. Your spin, Donald, may work on Dembski’s sites, where half-truth and/or direct lies may be welcome as long as they favor Dembski, but not here.

As it’s Toussaints today, I’m at a loose end, so what better way to spend time than browsing Dembski’s blog and checking variations from screenshots. I recall Donald M pompously berating me for daring to post on uncommon descent while also posting at PT, and also impugning the motives of the 38 Nobel prizewinners who signed the anti ID statement. Strangely, all seem to have disappeared. I also came across this comment by DaveScot with an addendum by UriBill here

Panda’s Thumb is no bastion of free speech. Quite a few people are banned there including myself and University of Vermont Professor Emeritus of Biology John Davison. Before they outright banned John and I they were arbitrarily erasing and/or disemvoweling our comments without warning, rhyme, or reason. At least Dembski will tell you why you’re banned and won’t childishly mangle your comments into gibberish by removing all the vowels.

[The way WordPress works, I personally have to sign off on the first post someone makes. If I find that first post unhelpful, I will delete the post. If I find the person who makes such an unhelpful post also annoying, I’ll remove him/her from the user list. If someone has made it past this first line of defense and then starts posting things that I find unhelpful, I’ll usually ban this person. If the post has already appeared, I’ll ban the person publicly. If not (sometimes WordPress asks me to approve posts by people who in the past have already been approved), then I’ll often ban the person, and notification of the ban won’t be made public. I appreciate your sentiments DaveScot, and in a world with more time I would be more gentle and courteous in banning people.]

Oh Dembski, he’s a never ending source of paranoid hillarity. He’s like the survivalist that’s been trapped in his basement by the ATF with nothing but ammunition and some preserved jams left.

Pennock chose a popular 2,000 word essay of mine titled “Who’s Got the Magic?” and followed it with a 9,000-word rebuttal by him titled “The Wizards of ID.” For the other essay of mine, Pennock chose “Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information,” which was a popular piece on information theory that’s now five years old. I’ve written much on that topic since then, and the essay itself is now outdated. Moreover, Pennock followed that essay with three critical responses. One of those responses, by Elliott Sober, was a lengthy technical review (from the journal _Philosophy of Science_) of my technical monograph _The Design Inference_ (Cambridge University Press, 1998). No portion of that monograph or anything comparable from my work was included in Pennock’s book. Finally, I was given no chance to respond to my critics.

First Dembski tries to stop Pennock using his work because of copyright .. then criticises him for not using more examples of his work..Perhaps there could have been ‘copyright’ issues? - or did Bill offer to remove any such restictions? (…allowing Pennock to demolish his later ‘work’ as well).

Dembski’s website has a long list of articles with detailed responses to several of his critics.

Does it have a scientific theory of ID, and an explanation of how to test it using the scientific method?

Why not?

If ridicule and simple/formidable challenge doesn’t deter Dembski and his clones what will ?

Their empty content will not convince the rational their over-bloated self importance will suck in the rest so how are the Great Unwashed to be persuaded ?

A charter perhaps ?

Donald replied to me:

Well, if you’re correct, and there is no scientific way to eliminate intelligent causes as a factor in the cosmos, then we can focus on the evidence.

Not only can we not eliminate intelligent causes, we know of existing intelligent causes. Humans, for example. Crows. Beavers. Ants (sort of). No one is actually claiming that no intelligent designers exist - we do, however claim that no one has shown evidence that any intelligent designers other than the ones we’re currently aware of exist.

Contrary to your opinion that “no ID advocate has been able to answer this point”, most of the books and articles written by IDPs is about observational data that indicates design.

Do you actually enjoy making factually incorrect statements? No IDP has ever presented evidence of design. Ever. Dembski’s filter has never been applied; Behe has not even offered anything other than personal incredulity. There is NO OBSERVATIONAL DATA THAT INDICATES DESIGN OFFERED BY ANY IDP.

You can always prove me wrong - you can point to the research. Hint: you won’t be able to do so.

The way you present the argument here is tantamount to saying there is not a single observation that anyone has made that can be legitimately taken as evidence of intelligent cause.

Factually incorrect.

Well, then what would satisfy you as evidence of intelligent cause? And why would that be the only acceptable evidence?

Evidence of designers would be evidence of design. And until you demonstrate the actual inadequacy of evolutionary mechanisms to produce complexity, order, etc. you’ve got nothing on your side except personal disbelief - which is valueless in establishing science.

If intelligent cause can not be eliminated, then it is perfectly legitimate AND scientific to ask, what would be indicators or markers of intelligent cause.

Sure. And none of the ID advocates has managed to establish a single, reliable marker of ID. Not one.

That leads us to CSI, IC and all the other aspects of ID that the IDPs have been talking about.

All of which can be shown to be the product of unintelligent algorithms.

You’re operating on faith here - faith that the IDPs have actually said something meaningful. They haven’t. And you haven’t noticed it yet. Behe himself admits that evolutionary mechanisms can produce IC structures. He admits it in DBB. Dembski has never shown that anything possesses CSI. Ever. And from an ‘intellectual’ point of view, they’re all the ID movement has got.

And note that so stated, this focuses only what is empirically detectable, and therefore well within scientific bounds.

But they would have to actually show it. And they haven’t.

Show me the actual research in which Dembski demonstrates the CSI of something. Show me the actual point where Behe proves that IC means ‘didn’t evolve.’

They don’t exist.

You are correct in pointing out that there is no way to scientifically eliminate intelligent cause, or actual design as a live possibility.

Right. It’s unfalsifiable. It’s not science, therefore.

The objections to ID, then, rest entirely on philosophical grounds.

Absolutely false. The objections rest on the grounds that it’s (a) vacuous, and (b) motivated by religious beliefs.

That is what my question demonstrates clearly.

Yup. It sure doesn’t.

There is NO theory of ID. There is NO research demonstrating ID. There is NO informed atheist who supports ID. There is NO there there (as another poster said).

If God indeed designed the world, every object in the world is an instance of design. No particular object can serve as evidence for design since a cow pat is as contrived as a cat or a watch. Arguments from analogy are illegitimate if there is no instance of an undesigned object.

Of course those of us who have been paying attention know that somethings are not designed, some have been shaped by natural selection, some have been designed by animals that have been shaped by natural selection, and some have been designed by machines that were themselves designed by animals that have been shaped by natural selection. We’re within our rights to make an analogy between human design and natural selection or between natural selection and computer design programs.

This might be another thread where I might pose my request of the Dembski defenders yet again.

Please point to one serious academic in any relevant field (mathematics, statistics, information theory, biology…) who has given any of Dembski’s published work a positive review.

[cue crickets]

Th’weirdest sounding crickets I ever did hear…

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ed Brayton published on October 31, 2005 6:42 PM.

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