More DI dishonesty and obfuscation

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Bruce Chapman of the DI has a letter in the New York Times:

At home, recent articles in The Wall Street Journal and Knight Ridder papers have described intelligent-design scientists at major universities (including Iowa State, the University of Minnesota and the University of Georgia). One National Public Radio story alone featured 18 intelligent-design scientists, though most “would not speak on the record for fear of losing their jobs.” There is far more support, indeed, than appears on the surface.

If there is more support than appears, how come they keep recycling the same old creationist hacks? We’ve been all over the so-called scientists at these universities who support Intelligent Design creationism.

Notice that all of the best examples the DI can dig up are matched by that tiny, minute subset of scientists in their respective states who are active bloggers. The number of scientists supporting ID is miniscule, and support is actually much, much more limp and negligible than you would expect from all the effort the Discovery Institute dedicates to fluffing them.


Chapman’s piece also mentions a “European conference on design”—Right Wing Professor makes this comment about that “conference”:

We have no way of independently verifying who or how many attended, but the conference schedule is on line, and it featured a measly five speakers - four of them old antievolution hacks of long standing - over one day. The conference registration was a little over $20 – too much to pay for rubbish, you might say, but it included coffee and lunch. The web page looks like it was put together by a computer science student on a wet Saturday morning. There was a booth where they sold the standard antievolution tracts translated into Czech, and that’s it. If this is an international conference, my group meeting is an international conference.

Man, these DI flacks sure can puff up a bit of hot air, can’t they?

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As discussed on the inestimable Panda's Thumb, Bruce Chapman in yesterday's New York Times claimed ... Read More

53 Comments

Given that the output of the boys and girls from the Disco is possibly one of the more dishonest slurries ever to vomit forth from any human orifice or organisation, I have to disagree with this thread title.

It should be:

“Discovery Instiute Spokesman Lies: Film at 11.”

Knackers! TYPO the GAWD of clerical errors has smitten me again.

Should read:

“Discovery Institute Spokesman Lies. Film At 11”

Apologies

I have attended lectures by both Jed Macosko and Henry Schaefer ,both were full of pseudo science and evangelical waffle,Schaefers was particularly bad. He spent most of the evening telling the audience what a wonderful role model King David was,and’No evidence in any field can be valid ,if it contradicts the Bible’ Alternative connotation for ID Increasingly Disingenuous,if thats the best they can do ,well God help them.

test

At home, recent articles in The Wall Street Journal and Knight Ridder papers have described intelligent-design scientists at major universities (including Iowa State, the University of Minnesota and the University of Georgia). One National Public Radio story alone featured 18 intelligent-design scientists, though most “would not speak on the record for fear of losing their jobs.” There is far more support, indeed, than appears on the surface.

And yet no one has put forth any scientific theory of ID that can be tested using the scientific method.

Why not?

As a biophysicist who does a bit of quantum chemistry, I feel I’m in a good position to comment on Fritz Schaefer. He is a first rate theoretical chemist, and there’s no point in trying to deny or minimize that. I doubt he’s of Nobel caliber, but that’s just a personal opinion. Second, the commentary in the link above is spot-on; his views on evolution, as I’ve read them, are simplistic and somewhat ignorant.

One wonders, though, how he’d feel if there were a religiously motivated movement to teach ‘alternatives’ to quantum mechanics. Professional courtesy, IMO, requires that one gives experts in their field credit for being experts; and expressing ill-considered and amateurish opinions of a field on which one’s intellectual peers have spent their life, is over the top.

Nothing new here, though it’s a pity we can’t just move on.

An honest letter would have said that any “idea,” whether scientific or not, must be taken seriously when enough right-wing money is ponied up to promote it. It does seem that “truth” in the 21st C. perversion of relativism that fundamentalists (of all/no faiths) have seen as their only possible salvation has been declared as the property of the party with a big-enough pocketbook in the U.S., and 50%-plus-one of the votes declared valid by judges of the same.

Win or lose, the facts remain what they are, and the theory that best explains them will emerge and be confirmed, then improved.

Of course. I expect Macosko is also a very good chemical engineer.

As a biologist, though, he’s a twit.

Louis Wrote:

“Discovery Institute Spokesman Lies. Film At 11”

Not a chance. That’s not news.

You know what the NYTimes will say: it’s just a letter to the editor and why don’t you write your own?

So, do it! Be nice, be brief, be sure to mention that the Project Steve Steve-o-meter is up to 680.

It seems odd that they would publish Chapman’s letter now; you’d think they could hold off until the Kitzmiller v. Dover verdict is in.

Should that be “scientists at major universities who also engage in fantasies of intelligent design creationism”? Of all those mentioned, how many are actually doing intelligent design research as part of their official employment? And how many have earned as much admiration and respect from colleagues for believing in non-science as has Michael Behe?

Re: Gerard Harbison, comment 62365. Gerard write about “five time Nobel nominee” Fritz Shaeffer:

He is a first rate theoretical chemist, and there’s no point in trying to deny or minimize that. I doubt he’s of Nobel caliber, but that’s just a personal opinion.

I take the liberty of disagreeing with Gerard regarding Shaeffer. His list of publications lists, IIRC, over 1000 items. You may recall that a few years ago the IgNobel prize was awarded to some guy in Russia (I forgot his name) who has a similar extra-long list of publications. A research scientist simply cannot accumulate that many research articles during a normal lifetime. All Shaeffer’s articles have more than one co-author. There is little doubt that there must be an unwritten rule in Shaeffer’s lab - the boss’s name has to appear in the byline of every paper coming out of that lab regardless how significant Shaeffer’s contribution is. In Russian it is called Nesmeyanov syndrome - after the one time President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR Nesmeyanov who, like Shaeffer, had published over 1200 papers and books, each with co-authors, most of them during his tenure as the President. Instead of respect for Nesmeyanov, this led to a derision among scientists in the USSR. A contrast to such a self-aggrandizement was the behavior of Sergey Vavilov, a physicist who also was a President of the same Academy of Sciences before Nesmeyanov. When his student Cerenkov, who was performing certain experiments under Vavilov’s guidance, came across a hitherto unknown phenomenon, which he could not understand, Vavilov, who immediately realized what was observed, dictated to Cerenkov a paper which he then submitted for publication, listing only Cerenkov as the author. Several years later, Cerenkov got the Nobel prize (alone) and Cerenkov effect, Cerenkov counters, etc., are in every textbook on physics in the West (in Russia it is always referred to as Vavilov-Cerenkov effect). Vavilov was highly respected, while Shaeffer’s extra-long list of publications makes anyone having any experience with scientific research, pause and shrug with a knowing smirk, recalling the Nesmeyanov syndrome.

Despite this article appearing in the editorial section, it should also be remembered that the New York Times is hardly a bastion of objective reporting.

It would be nice if news reporters would refer to scientists supporting intelligent design as a “vanishingly small group of non-expert scientists,” or as a “die-hard, but tiny, diminishing band of scientists largely outside their areas of expertise.”

Can we get the PR firm for evolution to do that?

What? Well, then, can we hire a PR firm for evolution?

Ed Darrell Wrote:

Well, then, can we hire a PR firm for evolution?

Why bother? The Discovery Institute is doing it for us!

Ed Darrell Wrote:

Well, then, can we hire a PR firm for evolution?

Why bother? The Discovery Institute is doing it for us!

What I can’t understand is how reporters lap up the Discovery Institute’s propaganda and don’t seem to evaluate it. Look How Chapman is using the stupid list of “scientists” that dissent from Darwinism to support ID. Why dosen’t a single reporter that puts that kind of junk in their articles ever notice that the dissent statement doesn’t even mention ID. You’d think someone would have enough brains to notice that if you are claiming that these “scientists” are on your side that you should at least have some evidence that they are. An honest statement would say exactly what they want to use the statement for, and not weasel around and pretend it says something that it doesn’t. The statement doesn’t claim that ID is scientifically viable, it doesn’t claim that biological evolution is under scrutiny, it doesn’t claim anything that the creationists are interested in. They don’t care if one mechanism of biological evolution can’t explain everything. No credible scientists expects natural selection and mutation to explain all of evolution, mainly for the simple reason that we can measure the effects of other engines of evolutionary change.

Why hasn’t a single reporter noticed that the stupid propaganda statement doesn’t mention ID? If Chapman were honest he would admit that the statement doesn’t include ID because they’d have to say something like ID doesn’t make the grade at this time, but some “scientists” think that it is worth thinking about. Thinking about something and having that something be good science are two different things. How long would the list be if their “scientists” had to sign something that claimed that ID was good enough science to teach in the science class?

Not even Dembski and Meyer would sign something as bogus as that, unless they obfuscated and put in enough wiggle words to say something that they know that they can’t defend honestly. That is the current state of ID whether the ID scam artists want to admit it or not.

It’s unusual, but not unheard-of, for a chemist to have over 1000 publications. Al Cotton, one of the gods of inoirganic chemistry, has over 1000. In a long career, it’s quite feasible - after all, that’s only 25 a year over a 40 year career. I’ve worked with several of Cotton’s postdocs or grad. students - and sometimes it seems everyone in inorganic chemistry has worked with Cotton at one stage - and they’d sneer at the idea he did not contribute substantially to his own papers. E.J. Corey also had over 1000; I shared a grad. dorm with several of Corey’s grad. students, and while I’d shoot my kids rather than let them work for Corey, again, there is no doubt that he was the bona fide senior author on his papers.

w.r.t Shaefer, computational chemists publish profusely, On of my more junior colleagues is above 150 in a 10 year independent research career, and he writes almost all of his personally - he’s not merely editing drafts.

By the way, I was apparently banned from Dembski’s website for merely noting that the conference Chapman mentions was one day conference with only five speakers. It appears ‘uncommon descent’ is really ‘uncommon dissent’, because the slightest dissent seems to be removed.

One name is missing from the list. We all know whose that is right?

In comment 62392 Gerard Harbison wrote:

It’s unusual, but not unheard-of, for a chemist to have over 1000 publications.

Apparently the IgNobel committee (which includes real Nobel prize winners) has a different opinion.

Ron,

Why don’t you write a letter to the editor making these points?

They might publish a correction or your letter. Neither is as good as getting the story right on the first try. But it is better than letting the story go as is.

Again about chemists having over 1000 publications. As Gerard wrote (comment 62392) it is “only” 25 papers per year in the course of 40 years. It means a paper or a book every 14 days, year in and year out, 40 years in a row, not accounting for vacations, attending conferences, overseeing doctoral students, department meetings, teaching duties, meeting friends, etc., etc., etc. A material sufficient for a publishable peer-reviewed paper accumulated every 14 days for 40 years in a row? Plus time for writing the papers, discussing them, setting up a lab, etc., etc., etc? Plus books of non-scientific character authored by Shaeffer? Come on, Gerard. If this is not a secret, how many papers have you published in your career? Is it any close to a paper every 14 days? Einstein had about 50 papers published in all of his long career.

Comment #62393

Posted by Gerard Harbison on December 11, 2005 10:23 AM (e) (s)

By the way, I was apparently banned from Dembski’s website for merely noting that the conference Chapman mentions was one day conference with only five speakers. It appears ‘uncommon descent’ is really ‘uncommon dissent’, because the slightest dissent seems to be removed.

We really should keep a list of his ridiculous inability to handle criticism. I got banned one time for posting a Dembski quote which disputed his current post.

FYI, Dembski posted in late November:

Stewart & Co. had some lines that were not only funny but also memorable. The one that sticks out poked fun at ID: “We’re not saying that the designer is God, just someone with the same skill-set.” That line is now being reused on the debate circuit, with Eugenie Scott, for instance, deploying it this November at a debate at Boston University (go here).

Although the line is funny, it is not accurate. God’s skill-set includes not just ordering matter to display certain patterns but also creating matter in the first place. God, as understood by the world’s great monotheistic faiths, is an infinite personal transcendent creator. The designer responsible for biological complexity, by contrast, need only be a being capable of arranging finite material objects to display certain patterns. Accordingly, this designer need not even be infinite.

and i commented with

William Dembski himself said: “The fine-tuning of the universe, about which cosmologists make such a to-do, is both complex and specified and readily yields design.” (in The Act of Creation: Bridging Transcendence and Immanence)

“Who was it that said if your going to tell a lie make sure its a big lie” ?

Warp people’s views and anything is possible. The power of propaganda is the power of intellectual hypnotism

For those interested in an enlightening view of how they get away it and an antidote here is a transcript of a lecture by John Pilger. It follows a *much* different topic but the *Mechanism of propaganda* is the same.

I am a reporter, who values bearing witness. That is to say, I place paramount importance in the evidence of what I see, and hear, and sense to be the truth, or as close to the truth as possible. By comparing this evidence with the statements, and actions of those with power, I believe it’s possible to assess fairly how our world is controlled and divided, and manipulated — and how language and debate are distorted and a false consciousness developed.

When we speak of this in regard to totalitarian societies and dictatorships, we call it brainwashing: the conquest of minds. It’s a notion we almost never apply to our own societies. Let me give you an example. During the height of the cold war, a group of Soviet journalists were taken on an official tour of the United States. They watched TV; they read the newspapers; they listened to debates in Congress. To their astonishment, everything they heard was more or less the same. The news was the same. The opinions were the same, more or less. “How do you do it?” they asked their hosts. “In our country, to achieve this, we throw people in prison; we tear out their fingernails. Here, there’s none of that? What’s your secret?”

The secret is that the question is almost never raised. Or if it is raised, it’s more than likely dismissed as coming from the margins: from voices far outside the boundaries of what I would call our ‘metropolitan conversation’, whose terms of reference, and limits, are fixed by the media at one level, and by the discourse or silence of scholarship at another level. Behind both is a presiding corporate and political power. ….….….….….….….…… Continues here re. media self censorship *way off topic*on new western imperialism http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/pilger3.html *For J.Joyce lovers there’s a nice reward* . it concludes .….….…. ….….…..and a cause for optimism. Why? Because I think a great many people are beginning to listen to that quality of humanity that is the antidote to rampant power and its bedfellow: racism. It’s called conscience. We all have it, and some are always moved to act upon it. Franz Kafka wrote: “You can hold back from the suffering of the world, you have free permission to do so and it is in accordance with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering that you could have avoided.”

No doubt there are those who believe they can remain aloof — acclaimed writers who write only style, successful academics who remain quiet, respected jurists who retreat into arcane law and famous journalists who protest: “No one has ever told me what to say.” George Orwell wrote: “Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks the whip. But the really well-trained dog is the one that turns somersaults when there is no whip.”

For those members of our small, privileged and powerful elite, I recommend the words of Flaubert. “I have always tried to live in an ivory tower,” he said, “but a tide of shit is beating its walls, threatening to undermine it.” For the rest of us, I offer these words of Mahatma Gandhi: “First, they ignore,” he said. “Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.”

I think Mark simply doesn’t appreciate the significant differences in publication style and practices between different fields of science. Highly successful research groups in Chemistry often contain fifty graduate students and postdoctorals. The rate I mentioned is merely one paper per researcher every two years - hardly unusual.

I have a little over 80 papers, but I could work harder. :-)

Of course, you might prefer to take a joke awards ceremony as your authority. But I’ve worked as an indepedent researcher in Chemistry for 20 years, and I do know something about the field.

Comment #62401

Posted by Gerard Harbison on December 11, 2005 11:13 AM (e) (s)

I think Mark simply doesn’t appreciate the significant differences in publication style and practices between different fields of science. Highly successful research groups in Chemistry often contain fifty graduate students and postdoctorals. The rate I mentioned is merely one paper per researcher every two years - hardly unusual.

I have a little over 80 papers, but I could work harder. :-)

Of course, you might prefer to take a joke awards ceremony as your authority. But I’ve worked as an indepedent researcher in Chemistry for 20 years, and I do know something about the field.

Which tends to prove the point being made. That these individuals are suffering from grossly inflated publication counts due to their being in on every paper, regardless of their level of true contribution.

Just because you were in the building doesn’t mean you should get first or second author credit.

Comment #62386

Posted by buddha on December 11, 2005 03:26 AM (e) (s)

Ed Darrell wrote:

Well, then, can we hire a PR firm for evolution?

Why bother? The Discovery Institute is doing it for us!

Yeah really. it would be funnny to find out John West is a cryptoevolutionist, whose secret plan was to thwart the creationists by leading them on futile quests for 20 years. Let’s weigh the evidence: Dembski could have been a legitimate researcher advocating ID, now he works at the Eastern Kentucky Institute for Bible Thumping. Instead of recruiting eloquent followers, they’ve got Sal Cordova, who barely speaks English. They could have gotten respectable funding, but they took lots of money from “christian reconstructionist” wackos. They could have promoted a college Intelligent Design club which wasn’t obviously religious, instead they have IDEA, which requires officers to be christian. They could’ve found a school-board which was sympathetic to ID, but not full of pill-popping mouth breathers. Instead they got Dover. And they hired Casey Luskin.

Now this is starting to look downright suspicious.

Just because you were in the building doesn’t mean you should get first or second author credit.

None of the cases I cite involve coauthors who were merely in the building. Chemistry is a team sport.

Gerard, your 80 papers in 20 years is a respectable result, especially if a substantial portion of them was without or with a few co-authors. 1000 papers in 40 years is pointing to Nesmeyanov syndrome. As another commenter rightly pointed out, those 1000 papers by Shaeffer are certainly results of a labor by a large group of people (as you yourself noted) and it was physically impossible for Shaeffer (or whoever else claims so many papers and books) to contribute substantially to every one of those publications. That is the reason the IgNobel committee found it justified to award their mocking prize to the guy from Russia with such a long list of publications. Of curse IgNobel is awarded in a satirical manner, but only after a serious consideration and with a good dose of serious reasons behind the joke. The ceremony at Harvard where IgNobel is awarded is always attended by large crowds and there are perverts who are seeking that prize. Anyway, my attitude is not due to the IgNobel decision but rather to my own personal experience during my very long years of research. I simply know what it takes to have a paper published and am well familiar with students’ inclination to add the boss’s name to the byline as a tool of having the paper published while also getting the boss’s favorable attitude. Even if Shaeffer himself did not put his name in the bylines, he obviously did not forbid his slaves to do so, as he should have.

Gerard and Mark,

Interesting discussion. I am closer to Gerard’s opinion. Quantum chemists are notorious for publishing far more papers than anyone else. It often works like this: the boss of the research group has a minor idea that goes epsilon beyond something they did last week. Graduate students then scurry off to run GAUSSIAN. GAUSSIAN is a canned code that includes pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. To a first approximation the result of running the code is a paper, complete with snazzy graphics. GAUSSIAN can be used as a machine that produces everything but the prose for the paper. For example, you can write 10 papers on, say, gold clusters with Si. Paper one is SiAu, paper two is SiAu_2 … and on up to 10 or 20 or whatever. Unlike actual theoretical work, quantum chemistry is now almost reduced to being a “skill set.” Or, let me say it a bit differently, it is possible to have a large number of papers in quantum chemistry without actually understanding such terms as “density functional”, “basis set” etc. because all the details are in the black box called GAUSSIAN. In fact, many quantum chemists can’t even write a line of FORTRAN let alone solve the Schroedinger equation. Now, this harangue is not meant to indict all quantum chemists since there are a few who don’t operate like this and who actually know what they’re doing (e.g.,, they develop methods instead of running canned codes). But it does help explain how Fritz Schaefer can have 1000+ publications with his name appearing on most of them, and probably as deservedly as any of the other co-autors. The real question is not whether authorship is deserved but whether the paper should have been published at all. The quantum chemist’s mantra is often “why publish one paper when you can, instead, ‘churn out’ ten?”

Schaefer is a decent chemist and has done much to advance computational chemistry. In particular, he was around well before quantum chemistry got reduced pretty much to pushing buttons. But in my view he’s not Nobel Prize material - certainly he’s no Rudy Marcus or Bill Miller (of UC Berkeley, where Schaefer was before leaving for the more fundamentalist pastures of Athens.)

It is also easy to understand how Schaefer can be an ID-er. Quantum chemistry is very much about rules and intuition and, above all about GAUSSIAN (or its rivals). Many of the quantum chemists I know and have know are among the most incurious people you can come across. They operate in the imaginary world of GAUSSIAN which insulates them from reality. GAUSSIAN is now so big that it is impossible for any one person to understand how it operates or what it does. In a sense GAUSSIAN is like a priest interceding between them and the world - it spits out the gospel and that gospel has to be accepted. Attending a quantum chemistry conference is often a lot like a revivalist meeting. They talk as if Slater Type Orbitals (or whatever) have actual existence yet many of them have no real understanding of the theory behind their methods. They are a very strange lot.

One National Public Radio story alone featured 18 intelligent-design scientists, though most “would not speak on the record for fear of losing their jobs.”

Let’s have a count; how many scientists have been beaten up and stripped of a departmental chairmanship for supporting Intelligent Design creationism?

It appears ‘uncommon descent’ is really ‘uncommon dissent’, because the slightest dissent seems to be removed.

In light of the near hysterical scrutiny for signs of insufficient sycophancy, coupled with the shameless disregard for truth, I suggest:

“Uncalm, indecent”

PZ

“The number of scientists supporting ID is miniscule, and support is actually much, much more limp and negligible than you would expect from all the effort the Discovery Institute dedicates to fluffing them.”

Oh my god I have never been so offended! Doesn’t anybody care about the CHILDREN??????

james heres another for your list…

http://fortress-forever.com/upload/[…]i-censor.png

Robert King: “Or, let me say it a bit differently, it is possible to have a large number of papers in quantum chemistry without actually understanding such terms as “density functional”, “basis set” etc. because all the details are in the black box called GAUSSIAN”

“Many of the quantum chemists I know and have know are among the most incurious people you can come across. They operate in the imaginary world of GAUSSIAN which insulates them from reality. GAUSSIAN is now so big that it is impossible for any one person to understand how it operates or what it does. In a sense GAUSSIAN is like a priest interceding between them and the world - it spits out the gospel and that gospel has to be accepted.”

I’ll throw in my two cents here as a computational/physical chemist who works with Gaussian and every other comp chem software/discovery package on the market. Robert is correct that there are research groups where Gaussian is treated like a black box: you draw a structure in GaussView, put HF/STO-3G or some other simple combination in the command line, hit “Calculate,” and wait for the answer. That’s mostly what you see in groups where Gaussian and comp chem methods in general are used as peripheral tools for some other purpose, like drug design, solvent interactions, etc. Some researchers who call themselves “computational chemists” are really just dabbling in point-and-click modeling, and someone’s name on a paper might mean that he/she just ran a couple of simple calculations and didn’t contribute substantially to the work beyond that. So yes, caution is justified here when looking at the number of papers someone in this field has published.

On the other hand, the distinction isn’t as simple as running canned software vs. writing your own code. I work with nanoparticles and transition metals in weird coordination environments, and with those systems, you can’t just push a few buttons and get an answer. You have to dig deep into Gaussian’s innards (and much more cumbersome packages like GAMESS) and know how to write input files and interpret every arcane detail in the output files in order to fine-tune methods that will work for those systems. Although Gaussian certainly is complicated, I would not say that it’s “impossible for any one person” to understand how it operates or what it does. Even though you’re working with so-called “canned code” there is still an enormous amount of customization to be done, and you *have* to know how Gaussian works or you won’t be able to customize it. Beyond knowing what “density functional” means, you need to know the functional forms for each theory level and which basis sets will be appropriate for what type of system. And of course you recognize that any software package can give incorrect results, which is why theoreticians always do validation studies against experiment, when those data are available. The idea is to develop a method that reflects reality as accurately as possible. No honest theoretician would accept Gaussian output as “gospel.”

Madam P, Thanks for making the points about computational chemistry that I was going to make. (As an experimental physical chemist, I could not have made them nearly as well as you did.) Still, I think that Robert King makes a valid point: once you have a system and you know which basis sets and level of theory to use, you can make minor modifications to the system, use the same computational method, and churn out papers like crazy. Interestingly, one of Schaeffer’s graduate students was my quantum chemistry professor in graduate school. In class he would go on and on about how he had calculated the dipole moment of all these different molecules. Each one was done using the same level of theory, and most were different papers. It was a terrible class.

My PhD advisor has over 600 papers in just over 40 years. With a big group and applying known methods to slightly different problems, even greater output is possible.

Madam P and Laser,

Thanks for the comments and I certainly agree with you both. I overstated the cases a bit - somewhat intentionally :-) But my experience with computational chemists has been more like Laser describes. For example, it’s not unusual for quantum chemistry graduate students to publish several papers in their first year of graduate school. In most cases they were absolutely clueless as to the inner workings of their various black boxes.

Laser: “once you have a system and you know which basis sets and level of theory to use, you can make minor modifications to the system, use the same computational method, and churn out papers like crazy. Interestingly, one of Schaeffer’s graduate students was my quantum chemistry professor in graduate school. In class he would go on and on about how he had calculated the dipole moment of all these different molecules. Each one was done using the same level of theory, and most were different papers. It was a terrible class.”

That does sound terrible…partly the old academic occupational hazard of finding a niche and repeatedly bouncing back and forth in it, and partly a lack of creativity. I don’t let my own students get away with not knowing how the “black box” works, but Robert’s right, there are those who do. Too bad, because they’re missing all the fun. Letting science degenerate into rote memorization or repeated computer keystrokes is a sure way to deaden its appeal.

To get myself back on topic, the real problem here is that Schaeffer, Macosko and their ilk are nonexperts in the field of evolutionary biology and are using their credentials in other fields to lend credence to unsupported assertions. I don’t know about these two in particular, but when you see an established scientist start pitching ID, it’s usually because they’ve had some sort of religious conversion after becoming established, and they now try to cram the science into that religious framework. Of course any well-trained scientist (and some nonscientists as well) can recognize the scientific method, and spot bad science, and you don’t necessarily need a PhD to spot a crackpot or a bad used-car salesman like Dembski. But unlike mainstream scientists, IDists have few qualms about presenting themselves as *experts* in fields they know little about. Heck, I wouldn’t even feel comfortable teaching a class in synthetic organic.

One is only a scientist, after all, by virtue of doing science. Someone who starts pitching crackpot assertions, regardless of PhDs or publications, is not doing science.

PZ, y dn’t knw wh m. Th fnny thng s tht y wll prbbly nvr mt m r s m. Nnthlss, lv t blg hr. My nly mssn s t pt y dwn nd drl yr snslss ffrts. Y lv t hnt nd bt sympthzrs t D. Bt y knw wht, yr thry tslf s n th vrg f cllps. Th mr th mlclr vdnc bcms clrr th mr th vltnry scnr bcms lkly. n th nd, t’s my grt hnr t wtch y cry nd mn vr th dth f yr lvr-Drwn’s thry.

P.S-Y cn rs nd mnplt ths ll y wnt, bt n th nd t shws th sm Drwnn strtgy-gnr, rdcl nd smr sm mr.

njy PZ!!!

PZ, y dn’t knw wh m. Th fnny thng s tht y wll prbbly nvr mt m r s m. Nnthlss, lv t blg hr. My nly mssn s t pt y dwn nd drl yr snslss ffrts. Y lv t hnt nd bt sympthzrs t D. Bt y knw wht, yr thry tslf s n th vrg f cllps. Th mr th mlclr vdnc bcms clrr th mr th vltnry scnr bcms lkly. n th nd, t’s my grt hnr t wtch y cry nd mn vr th dth f yr lvr-Drwn’s thry.

P.S-Y cn rs nd mnplt ths ll y wnt, bt n th nd t shws th sm Drwnn strtgy-gnr, rdcl nd smr sm mr.

njy PZ!!!

Why PZ can’t…:

Thanks for pointing out that “The more the molecular evidence becomes clearer the more the evolutionary scenerio (sic) becomes likely.” We’ll be sure to quote you liberally (and in context, even!).

Oh, and I’ll hazard a guess that you’re David Heddle

Nah, Heddle knows better than to double-post. Sounds to me like a parody, but that’s always risky because ID is already a parody, squeezing out any effective exaggeration space…

1) ‘m nt Dvd Hddl 2) rgnlly wrt ‘nlkly’, hwvr, knwng hw Drwnns lv t wrp th vdnc, spps PZ ntrvnd nd chngd t. 3) My cll y n dt

Probably not Heddle. There’s only one misspelling in an entire paragraph, so probably not Salvador.

Who cares? Why take the bait?

Please don’t waste time speculating about trolls like “Why PZ can’t face the truth”.

I will say that he is almost certainly not Heddle. His IP traces back to a small town near Lehigh, PA.

1) ‘m nt Dvd Hddl 2) rgnlly wrt ‘nlkly’, hwvr, knwng hw Drwnns lv t wrp th vdnc, spps PZ ntrvnd nd chngd t. 3) My cll y n dt

When did this mysterious practice of disemvowelling start?

P.S. f y’r gng t cll dn hcsn n dt, rmmbr t s n ‘a’ n hs nm nstd f n ‘o’.

With such flagrant dishonesty emanating from the Discovery Institute, it’s refreshing that someone is still willing to stand up for truth: Coleman talks about creationism

Eric Hovind’s motto is simple — he is against lies and for truth. “I want to talk about evolution. Things that just don’t add up,” Hovind said. Hovind, of Pensacola-based Creation Science Evangelism, talked to an estimated 150 people Monday night in Coleman High School’s gym. The event was sponsored by the Coleman Wesleyan Church, not the school district. … Hovind used the Grand Canyon as his first example. The creationist interpretation states the canyon was created with lots of water in little time. The evolutionist view states it was created with a little bit of water over a long period of time. … Next he tackled the idea of a geologic column… Hovind said there are layers to the earth. But, he asked, if the earth is billions of years old, why wouldn’t the layers be eroded? …

Hovind - must be related to ‘Dr. Dino’.

I believe Dr. Dino and Kent Hovind are, in fact, the same person. He runs a place called Christian Science Evangelism and has his own theme park called Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola, Florida. It’s a place where you can go and learn about all sorts of crazy Creationist mumbo jumbo. I highly recommend it for a fun afternoon … or if you’re in a more serious mood, it will drive home the point that people really believe this stuff. If you’re interested, here are some links:

Talk Origins FAQ on Hovind: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hovind/

Kent Hovind’s Christian Science Evangelism site: http://www.drdino.com/

The Theme Park: http://www.dinosauradventureland.com/

The speculation was whether Eric Hovind was related to Kent “Dr. Dino” Hovind, Baka. (sticks out tongue, pulls down eyelid, says the poster’s name ;)

Aha! Yes, that would make sense, now wouldn’t it. Sorry for the confusion. A quick querry to the Great And Powerful Google gives me to believe Eric is Kent’s son.

Oh, and since that was only my second post ever at PT, I’m shocked that you, being the first person to reply to me here, would happen to get the reference. Kudos to you on a well-rounded education! ;p

Baka,

Did you choose this name for it’s Japanese meaning?

Both yes and no. It’s actually been my nickname amongst the group of friends I’ve had since ninth grade. It originated as the name of a group of pigmies from Camaroon that we saw a film about in Geography class one day. From there, I used it as the name of a character in a role-playing game we used to play. Then, we discovered the Japanese meaning and it became a permanent nickname … and fitting, too! ;) Since then, I’ve come to learn that Baka is a Central African ethnic group as well as the grandson of Khufu, the pharoh who built the Great Pyramid at Cheops. But, it’s the Japanese meaning, and the character I played in that game so long ago, that really are responsible for making the name stick.

– Baka

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on December 10, 2005 4:08 PM.

ID rumblings in Muscatine, Iowa was the previous entry in this blog.

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