Dembski Finds the Transcript

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William Dembski finally managed to find the transcript of Shallit’s testimony. Since I’ve been correct on predicting his behavior all the way along so far, I’ve taken another stab at it at Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

Update: Holy cow, I missed this the first time. Yesterday I asked the rhetorical question, would Dembski continue to embarrass himself in this situation regarding Shallit’s testimony? Well, we have our answer. Not only is he continuing to embarrass himself, he’s digging the hole even deeper. He’s now compounding his dishonesty with an attempt to erase the past. He has now deleted all three of his previous posts where he made the false claim that Shallit had been pulled from testifying by the ACLU because his deposition was an “embarrassment” and a “liability” to their case, even after one of those posts got almost 100 comments in reply to it. There’s no word so far on whether he will change his name to Winston Smith.

This really is dishonest behavior, there’s no two ways about it. Clearly, Dembski’s world is one in which he thinks he can rewrite history and no one will notice. I’m dying to hear how his toadies will defend this behavior. It’s not defensible on its own, so they can only attempt to distract attention away from it with a tu quoque argument or pointing fingers at others. So let’s hear what they have to say. Salvador? O’Brien? DonaldM? Let’s hear you defend this dishonest and Orwellian behavior. And tell us again how it’s evolution that undermines ethics and morality while you’re at it.

Update #2: Oh, here’s Dembski’s latest on the subject, in a comment responding to being asked what happened to the previous posts on the subject:

The previous postings were a bit of street theater. I now have what I needed. As for responding to Shallit and his criticisms, I have been and continue to do so through a series of technical articles under the rubric “The Mathematical Foundations of Intelligent Design” — you can find these articles at www.designinference.com. The most important of these is titled “Searching Large Spaces.” Shallit has indicated to me that he does not intend to engage that body of work: http://www.uncommondescent.com/inde[…]archives/155.

A bit of street theater? Okay, let me see if I understand this. Dembski engaged in a bit of “street theater” - meaning “told a lie” - to get a copy of the transcript that he could have gotten two months ago because it’s been publicly available all along? And now instead of admitting to the lie, he’s just erasing the evidence of it? Okay, let’s call a spade a spade here. Dembski is a lying scumbag with no regard for the truth whatsoever. Period. Just when you think he’s hit rock bottom, Dembski begins to tunnel.

470 Comments

Hilariously, Dembski has now deleted all his previous posts on Shallit “embarassing himself”, and in his new post he doesn’t even acknowledge that he got to the transcript only after days of whining the ACLU, the NCSE, and Shallit himself were hiding it (this while people kept telling him it was freely available, if he just looked for it). Not a word of apology, not an acknowledgment. The guy just cracks me up.

Someone should ask Salvador Cordova what he thinks of Dembski in light of this dishonest behavior.

My guess is he’ll think something like “Bill Dembski is a sexy genius”, if his previous sycophancy is any indication.

Did anybody save the Dembski posts before he deleted them? Or do we need to look in Google Cache?

Sin of pride.

I hear it goeth beofre a fall.

bets on whether Sal will decide to post in this thread?

> google cache:

Cool. I just printed the pages into PDF.

By the way:

http://web.archive.org/web/*/www.un[…]archives/438

“We’re sorry, access to http://www.uncommondescent.com/inde[…]archives/438 has been blocked by the site owner via robots.txt.”

F’n coward.

Dembski begins to tunnel

…like a naked mole rat.

one wonders if he tunnels far enough, whether he will find where he really belongs.

BTW, I think someone should download the whole blog.

hell, dembski’s claims border on liable, much more so that whats-his-face’s claims against Scott.

I wonder if Shallit will sue him?

naw, that’s a pussy attitude reserved for IDiots like dembski et. al.

Dembski’s revisionist history is no new thing. Didn’t he promise to put a timestaped webpage after his next cunning ruse? URL, anyone.

The great irony is of the course that the Fig Newton of information theory who can tell us how to find go.….intelligence in the design of things can’t find a publically available document on the web. I eagerly await his next book, “finding your arse with both hands, a guide for christians”.

lol. don’t doubt he would write just such a book if he thought it would make him some bucks. It’s all he’s about.

Someone should ask Salvador Cordova what he thinks of Dembski in light of this dishonest behavior.

Prediction: The next spin from the Dembski camp will be that this entire situation is somehow the panda’s thumb’s fault, because they are “obsessed” with him.

Dembski is the poor, abused victim of a bunch of vindictive, obsessive internet stalkers, who just refuse to leave Dembski in peace to perform his important personal work of making false and damaging statements in writing about another public figure.

Street theatre is good description of the entire intelligent design debate.

btw, a synthesis of BD’s lies would be a good thing to post on any open reviews of his books. He obviously lives on book incomes and grants from DI, so why not encourage folks to stop sending him money?

or would that be like trying to convince folks to stop sending Pat Robertson money?

This reminds me of that scene in My Cousin Vinny:

Mona Lisa: Don’t you wanna know why Trotter gave you his files? Vinny Gambini: I told you why already. Mona Lisa: He has to, by law, you’re entitled. It’s called disclosure …

It’s actually funnier, considering the deposition was made by his side in the trial. Wouldn’t TMLC give him a copy? He could have got it any number of ways without resorting to “street theater” (i.e., lies, baseless accusations, and whining).

He obviously lives on book incomes and grants from DI, so why not encourage folks to stop sending him money?

I’m not completely clear on your point. Surely you’re not suggesting that the DI would cut off grant support for dishonesty, lack of integrity, sleaziness, or anything else this whole exchange highlights? Heck. Those are minimum qualifications to get a DI grant in the first place.

In his latest post regarding Shallit’s deposition Dembski refers to his “technical” articles on the so-called “mathematical foundation of intelligent design.” He asserts that these articles respond to Shallit’s critique. This is not true. As far as I know, there are so far three such articles. One of them was dated many years back, so it obviously could not in any way respond to Shallit. The other two - one introducing an allegedly novel measure of information which Dembski dubbed Variational Information or something like that (but which in fact is a well known for over 40 years Renyi divergence of the second order), and the other about a search for a small target in a large search space - contain nothing that can be construed as a response to Shallit’s critique. This reference to his other articles as allegedly responding to Shallit is just one more display of Dembski’s habitual tactics of evasions and distracting maneuvers instead of a decent response to critique. Besides Shallit, Dembski has never responded in a substantial way to many other critics of his output (and I am just one of such critics)- instead he resorted to supercilious and dismissive remarks - so this most recent story about Dembski supposedly being unable to locate Shallit’s deposition adds little to what is known about his concept of honesty anyway. There is ample material documenting Dembski’s often unethical behavior both on this blog and on Talk Reason (see here)

Ed Brayton Wrote:

I’m dying to hear how his toadies will defend this behavior. It’s not defensible on its own, so they can only attempt to distract attention away from it with a tu quoque argument or pointing fingers at others. So let’s hear what they have to say. Salvador? O’Brien? DonaldM? Let’s hear you defend this dishonest and Orwellian behavior.

I responded to you here

The banner across the home page of William Dembski’s current employer, the Southrn Baptist Theological Seminary, begins “For the Truth…”. I guess it all depends on what the meaning of “Truth” is…

And perhaps Dembski should reread a speech made by the president of his institution, Albert Mohler, to remind himself of the standards to which he is (supposedly) being held accountable to:

Core Values

[T]here are many “core values” behind such a God-centered mission. For instance, the seminary wants its students to have a passion for the Great Commission. It also wants its students to maintain personal integrity and to have God-honoring families.

– Personal integrity.

“We as an institution must take responsibility to make certain that those who serve here, teach here, lead here and govern here … know that that is a non-negotiable expectation,” he said. “Nothing will destroy a ministry … so immediately … than a default in personal integrity.”

Not surprising that ID is in such bad shape, is it?

But then, I’m not really sure Dembski is there for any higher moral purpose than to perpetuate his self aggrandizing career after being hounded out of Baylor. This is what he said back then:

The position at Southern Baptist may look like a step backward, Dembski said, but it really just requires a different tack.

“I see it as a very strategic move in terms of getting my ideas and the conception that I have of science and theology into the mainstream, that is, through people who are very much like-minded,”

Frankly, I doubt he cares one iota how his personal antics reflect on his employers. So long as the paychecks keep coming.

I’m not completely clear on your point. Surely you’re not suggesting that the DI would cut off grant support for dishonesty, lack of integrity, sleaziness, or anything else this whole exchange highlights? Heck. Those are minimum qualifications to get a DI grant in the first place.

lol, true, butmy point is, there are other ways to cut off his money supply - check out all those books he has published. posting the facts behind his dishonesty in public reviews about his books could go a long way towards convincing a would be book buyer to think twice about purchasing. it’s easy enough to post a synopsis of who dembski really is in public reviews at amazon, for example.

Dembski has been pulled from just about every official DI function recently, including depositions in Kansas and Dover.

It’s become readily apparent that BD’s prime motivation at this point is just to make a living from the poor suckers who buy his books. why not encourage him to make a living in a more reputable way?

R.O., this is nothing to do with whether or not Dembksi has the right to ban posters with dissenting viewpoints. It’s a question of whether Dembski is even capable of admitting he had ever made a mistake.

I’ve met this kind of person in my own life, and what I’ve seen borders on the pathalogical. They just can’t do it. They evade, cover up, deny, make excuses, trivialise… anything to avoid saying the words “I was wrong”.

Every. Single. Time. Dembski has been shown to be incorrect about something he has gone way way out of his way to employ one of these tactics. He’s simply incapable of owning up to his mistakes.

He does all his loyal ID acolytes or the ID movement in general any favours with this behaviour. But to be honest, I see no chance of him changing since this pathology appears to be rooted too deep in his personality.

just a general point…

Dembski’s whole attack against Shallit is EXACTLY the same strategy used by DI folks in general, it’s just a form of projection I like to call “the mirror strategy”, also known from elementary school days as, “I know you are, but what am I”. All he did was preempt the discussion about his being pulled from testimony (first in Kansas and now Dover), by accusing his opponents of exactly the thing he himself is most representative of. That is, being an embarrasment.

I responded to you here

lol. yeah, uh, your response is to say “no comment”.

congratulations.

Slightly but not entirely OT: Seeing as my accounts and comments at Dembski’s blog get deleted faster than I can make them (due no doubt to excessive civility and a desire for open intellectual discussion that is so fatal to a good blog conversation), I’ll post here. Trying to deal with Dembski is an exercise in frustration. This is in response to Ben Z, comment #4, asking whether or not Dembski answers his critics: http://www.uncommondescent.com/inde[…]480#comments

My comment: “I present these two links for you to decide for yourself whether or not Dembski answers his critics. I think the answer is pretty clear. Go read em!

In this first link, read the second comment. That is my personal experience with Dr Dembski. http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/[…]ks/#comments

This second one just popped up a few days ago, and parallels my experience nicely. http://groups.google.com/group/talk[…]09b3eedd12af

Oh, and Hi Panda’s Thumb!

Why would anyone ‘respond’ to Dembski or comment on his papers, allowing him to revise ‘history’? Dembski’s approach of ‘using critics’ has been well documented. If and when Dembski gets something published in a respectable peer reviewed journal, it will be the time and place to show what’s wrong with his arguments this time around.

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 1, column 54, byte 54 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

BD’s behavior left you speechless?

This “paper” (it’s a PDF but the content is small!) is touted by Dembski as a response to Professor David Wolpert’s “Jello” critique. The only reference to Wolpert is

Wolpert and Macready (2005) generalize this set-up but don’t add anything fundamentally new to it.

How is this a response?

On an earlier post, a couple of links were given. I found this interesting little bit of information on one of the posts there:

“A common confusion is between the expert witness statement and the deposition. What is available at the NCSE is the expert witness statements (for all expert witnesses in the case).”

Are you perhaps confusing the expert witness statement–given by Shallit to the ACLU attorneys weeks before Dembski’s deposition, with the deposition taken from Shallit by the TMLC weeks after Dembski’s deposition?

I can see no reason why there should not be advanced civilisations on other planets.

Making contact might be problematic though.

Yep. Not much opportunity for conversation when each query/answer cycle takes 100 years or so. ;>

Most people do not really understand how vast interstellar space actually is.

Add to that the effect we are having on the sustainability of our species.

Me, I’ve always said that if we humans want to destroy ourselves, we should at least be polite enough to move offplanet to do it, and not take all the rest of life on earth out with us. ;>

My goodness, we certainly have strayed awfully far afield of the original topic of this thread. ;>

This comment reminded me of something.

Most people do not really understand how vast interstellar space actually is.

Quite a few years ago, myself and some mates (friends in USA speak) were staring at the stars. One member of the group came out with the comment “when you think about it, the distances in space are astronomic”. Made me laugh and I have never forgotten it…yet.

BlastfromthePast Wrote:

Actually, they frequently pop up without lab scientists culturing them. They’ve contaminated many other cell cultures unbeknownst to the researchers (which usually leads to the poor researcher being super-happy at how well his culture is suddenly growing!) They’re now a successful invasive species of a very specialized and recent environment—the culture plate.

Anton, this is so strained an argument that I can’t believe you’re making it.

It’s not an argument at all, actually–just a couple of observations in response to your question of whether H. gartleri has to be cultured by scientists. I wouldn’t think there needs to be an argument on that count unless you’re arguing that that question is actually relevant to the classification of H. gartleri. Is that what you’re arguing? And if so, why?

You have an artificial environment, with a cell line that is no more than degraded human cells. If this is your definition of crossing the species barrier, then all it does it further point out what we already know: most variations are harmful. This hardly helps Darwinism.

Hmm. So are you now arguing that H. gartleri is the same kind of organism as Homo sapiens? I mean, that’s fine, nothing wrong with changing one’s mind. I’m just not sure what side you actually came down on there.

As for whether the genetic changes between H. sapiens and H. gartleri were “harmful”…well, Henrietta Lacks is dead. H. gartleri is not, and probably won’t be for the foreseeable future, and by some estimates now packs more total biomass than Mrs. Lacks’ body ever did. It seems that, far from being “harmed” by its evolution, H. gartleri has if anything enhanced its fitness. (Of course, to balance that out, Mrs. Lacks had children.)

On the other hand, maybe by “harmful” and “degraded” you simply mean that human beings are better/cooler/smarter/more lovable than H. gartleri. I’m not sure I can argue with that, but that really has no relevance to evolutionary theory.

Lenny only a 100 years turn around ?

The nearest inhabitable solar system is how far away ? 20,000 -40,000 light years if the message was via radio(not sure on actual nearest imaginary planet) Turn around time 80,000 years (lets say) twice the time we went from nomads to now and who knows what in another 40,000 years.

What should an interstellar message have

a simple fax would do it repeated over and over

A picture of my family with and my dog.

Guess what ?

we are already doing it the first “I love Lucy’s are what ? 50 Light years on their way to some nomad on the planet Zork or 2 brains in a bottle on a remote star-ship in a solar system far far away

As for whether the genetic changes between H. sapiens and H. gartleri were “harmful”…well, Henrietta Lacks is dead. H. gartleri is not, and probably won’t be for the foreseeable future, and by some estimates now packs more total biomass than Mrs. Lacks’ body ever did. It seems that, far from being “harmed” by its evolution, H. gartleri has if anything enhanced its fitness. (Of course, to balance that out, Mrs. Lacks had children.)

Vous etes francais, ne-c’est pas?

Anton, Henrietta Lack walked and talked. H. gartleri never will. Isn’t that an awful lot of “loss of fitness”?

Anton, Henrietta Lack walked and talked. H. gartleri never will.

Um, how do you know that? After all, it already has ALL the genetic information necessary to do so. The ultimate example of “frontloading”, eh Blast? (snicker) (giggle)

Isn’t that an awful lot of “loss of fitness”?

Isn’t that “two different kinds”?

One of which, uh, evolved from the other?

Or do you think the walking talking Henrietta and the non-talking non-walking single-celled life form gartleri are the SAME “kind” . . ?

Which is it, Blast. Same kind, or not. And how can you tell.

(This should be good. … . )

BTW, Blast, pine trees don’t walk or talk either, and they seem to be pretty damn “fit”, since they’ve been around for millions of years.

Henrietta was fit for her environment. Gartleri is fit for its.

BlastfromthePast Wrote:

Vous etes francais, ne-c’est pas?

One of the few countries I don’t have ancestors from, actually.

Anton, Henrietta Lack walked and talked. H. gartleri never will. Isn’t that an awful lot of “loss of fitness”?

It would be if H. gartleri had the same sort of life history as a human being, but, of course, it doesn’t. As Lenny said, plenty of organisms get by without walking or talking. The ability to grow and reproduce from a single cell is much more useful than the ability to dance or write poetry…when your niche is a Petri dish.

Unless by “fitness” you mean “ability to do cool stuff,” in which case I must repeat:

On the other hand, maybe by “harmful” and “degraded” you simply mean that human beings are better/cooler/smarter/more lovable than H. gartleri. I’m not sure I can argue with that, but that really has no relevance to evolutionary theory.

So, aside from your feelings on whether H. gartleri is fit or lovable or suited for political office–would you consider it within the Homo sapiens “kind” or not? I think your answer was still no, but I’m not sure.

This is the kind of ad hoc hypothesis that makes neo-Darwinism unfalsifiable

William Bateson, in his critique of Darwinism…

This hardly helps Darwinism

Etc., etc.

I suggest that since IDiots endlessly try to use the ‘Darwinism’ straw man against evolutionary theory (‘Darwinism’ being a straw man because evolutionary theory has evolved far past Darwin and because evolution isn’t an ‘-ism’ at all but a scientific theory), it would be appropriate to start obstinately referring to their beliefs as ‘Dembskiism’ or ‘Beheism’, no matter how many times it may be pointed out that Dembski or Behe is not an accurate representative of their particular viewpoint. Mmm?

And Blast, it’s “n’est-ce pas.” Vous n’êtes pas français, vous êtes ennuyeux simplement.

William Bateson, in his critique of Darwinism

Bateson has been dead for almost 80 years. He never even knew what “DNA” was. (shrug)

Once again, we see Blast’s basic dishonesty, by citing century-old “science” and claiming that it represents state of the art.

Hey Blast, I’m still waiting for you to answer my questions about HeLa, Blast.

Or have you run away already?

I suggest that since IDiots endlessly try to use the ‘Darwinism’ straw man against evolutionary theory (‘Darwinism’ being a straw man because evolutionary theory has evolved far past Darwin and because evolution isn’t an ‘-ism’ at all but a scientific theory), it would be appropriate to start obstinately referring to their beliefs as ‘Dembskiism’ or ‘Beheism’

“Gishism” would be more accurate, since every ID argument I’ve ever heard was lifted, almost intact, straight from decades-old young-earth creation “science”.

decades-old young-earth creation “science”.

Something about the phrase, old young Earth creationism jars on the ear.

ben Wrote:

I suggest that since IDiots endlessly try to use the ‘Darwinism’ straw man against evolutionary theory (‘Darwinism’ being a straw man because evolutionary theory has evolved far past Darwin and because evolution isn’t an ‘-ism’ at all but a scientific theory), it would be appropriate to start obstinately referring to their beliefs as ‘Dembskiism’ or ‘Beheism’, no matter how many times it may be pointed out that Dembski or Behe is not an accurate representative of their particular viewpoint

It’s an old-if-not-exactly-honorable tactic in theological battles–the “Nestorians” and the “Arians” and all the other early Christian sects never called themselves that, they just called themselves “Christians.” They’d call all the other guys by names derived from human founders/priests/prophets/bishops to make them look like dirty idolators. Tradition dies hard, I suppose.

I prefer not to go that route myself, partly because a lot of creationists seem to be consciously proud of their allegiance to particular authority figures–indeed, they’re quite happy to say that Dembski and Behe are both accurate representatives of their viewpoint, as is the Book of Genesis, even when they contradict one another or themselves. So I wouldn’t imagine that calling it “Dembski-ism” or something would really bother them that much. Well, it’d probably bother Behe…

So I wouldn’t imagine that calling it “Dembski-ism” or something would really bother them that much. Well, it’d probably bother Behe…

I am quite sure that Dembski would see it as a badge of honor. He is, after all, precisely the sort of arrogant narcissistic full-of-himself prick who gets off on that sort of thing.

Bateson has been dead for almost 80 years. He never even knew what “DNA” was. (shrug)

Once again, we see Blast’s basic dishonesty, by citing century-old “science” and claiming that it represents state of the art.

Hey Blast, I’m still waiting for you to answer my questions about HeLa, Blast.

Or have you run away already?

Lenny, you can double-check this, but I’m pretty sure that when I mentioned Bateson I said “at the beginning of the 20th century.” So, how am I being “dishonest.”

Nonetheless, Bateson’s criticism is just as ripe now as then. He understood about “alleles” and their expression and the mathematics behind their expression. He saw clearly that the problem is one of producing “new” alleles. He didn’t see anyway of that happening. It took Fisher, and his mathematics, to provide a mathematical basis for “new” alleles (basically, a mutation that then becomes “fixed”). This formed the basis of neo-Darwinism, or the Modern Synthesis–whatever you want to call it. Hoyle (and Wright–to some extent) criticize Fisher’s mathematics as being overly optimistic about how quickly fixation can occur. When gel electrophoresis came into its heyday, this was a further bump for Fisherian neo-Darwinism. Those represent real hurdles. So, which side you come down on in this debate really has a lot to do on whether or not you trust Fisherian mathematics or not.

About HeLa: Lenny, answer this for me: let’s say a man decides he wants to become a woman. He has a sex change operation–the whole works. Is he now a man or a woman?

So, aside from your feelings on whether H. gartleri is fit or lovable or suited for political office—would you consider it within the Homo sapiens “kind” or not? I think your answer was still no, but I’m not sure.

There’s a strange kind of logic that permeates the world of Natural Selection. Life, in its many-splendored forms, comes about through (as Dawkins puts it) Death!–the Grim Reaper at work.

Now, cancer cells, these cells which “killed” this woman, these same cells–death itself–are now some kind of new LIFE-form?

And is it really possible for “true believers” to so cover their eyes from reality that they can’t determine whether human life is superior to cultured cancer cells?

The good Rev asked Blast about HeLa as follows:

Anton, Henrietta Lack walked and talked. H. gartleri never will.

Um, how do you know that? After all, it already has ALL the genetic information necessary to do so. The ultimate example of “frontloading”, eh Blast? (snicker) (giggle)

Isn’t that an awful lot of “loss of fitness”?

Isn’t that “two different kinds”?

One of which, uh, evolved from the other?

Or do you think the walking talking Henrietta and the non-talking non-walking single-celled life form gartleri are the SAME “kind” . . ?

Which is it, Blast. Same kind, or not. And how can you tell?

Blast’s devastating response, compsed after four days of, um, deep thought, was to answer Lenny’s questions with a question:

About HeLa: Lenny, answer this for me: let’s say a man decides he wants to become a woman. He has a sex change operation—the whole works. Is he now a man or a woman?

Lenny’s sarcastic prediction about Blast’s response:

(This should be good.… . )

Judge for yourselves.

(Sigh.)

Blast said:

Now, cancer cells, these cells which “killed” this woman, these same cells—death itself—are now some kind of new LIFE-form?

Are you saying that cancer cells aren’t alive? Or are they of the “Death Kind?”

Blast

Posted by BlastfromthePast on November 22, 2005 06:44 PM (e) (s)

There’s a strange kind of logic…

Now, cancer cells, these cells which “killed” this woman, these same cells—death itself—are now some kind of new LIFE-form?…

Is a lion that kills a zebra a life form? Have I missed something fundamental here?

Three phrases should be among the most common in our daily usage. They are: Thank you, I am grateful and I appreciate.

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