Design detectives fooled by urban legend

| 91 Comments

This is really funny. It seems that claiming expertise in “design detection” theory and methods is no guarantee against falling for the crudest of urban legends. Of course, it helps if the urban legend is based on stuff that pushes the religious right’s buttons (although, we are told, ID has nothing to do with religion-based political movements!), such as a story about praying marines being under attack by the ACLU.

Dembski’s blog got snookered by a silly chain e-mail to post the following entry, which I copy in its glorious entirety after the fold (caution: large) so that everyone can appreciate the imaginative use of fonts, caps and pompous rhetoric, which alone should have set off some alarm bells (note also the boisterous approval by Dembski himself in the comments). Ironically, this urban legend was already completely debunked in 2003 (see here and here), so here’s my suggestion, folks: if your design detection methods clearly need some tuning, you can still avoid looking foolish by simply checking the relevant literature.

Here’s a reproduction of the page, for historical purposes (a couple additional pictures of praying marines, several links and ads were cut for space reasons). UD page.JPG

91 Comments

As of this writing, there’re three comments over at UD, warning that this is a hoax. Look for the UD entry to come down very quickly …

Tune in to uncommonly dense next week, when DaveScot will show you:

* How he’s helping a Nigerian prince come to the US by sending him cash so that he can share his fortune * How he reconfirmed his credit card and social security details via unsolicited email * How ‘Hotgrl99’ (who apparently knows him) sent him ‘funny_Joke.exe’ and he’s opening it now * How he trying to locate his arse with both hands…

He used to work for Dell, dontchaknow. I suspect they used have experts watch him browse the web and open emails so they could, erm, Idiot-proof things.

Seriously. These guys are experts at telling us stuff where things came from / how they were made?

*falls of chair, tears streaming from eyes*

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHA

Man, he’s gotten really brazen religion on his web page now that his con is exposed.

Also,

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Lord, watch over these troops as they do unto the least of your servants, bless them as they incarcerate dangerous elements of Iraqi society and administer unto them Your justice, guide them in their faithful punishment of Saddam Hussein for his part in the attacks on us, and reattach not the ears and limbs of those who raise hands against us.

Or, maybe it’s a ruse; he’s using ‘street theatre’ to show how corally-corrupt-atheist-darwinists are anti war. Or something.

How is this different from any of the other fabrications they’ve posted recently?

Also, they seem to have generally gone to just the one argument over there:

We don’t like [what we think are] the social implications of evolution being correct, (therefore) evolution is not correct.

Making this kind of argument seems to be one of the features that differentiates logic from apologetics.

LOL now davetard has erased some things, and offers a new interpretation:

#2

To everyone who’s pointed out that the ACLU story is a fabrication according to snopes.com - that’s hardly the point. The pictures of Marines praying are real. The fighting and dying to protect the interests of the United States is real. The request to pray for them is real. So I think I’ll just echo the supposedly non-existent Colonel Fessender and say, from the very real former Marine Sergeant David Springer, “Screw the ACLU and screw anyone who’s got a problem with this post.”

HOO RAH! Semper Fi!

Comment by DaveScot — May 22, 2006 @ 12:49 pm

Did DaveScot acutally say that the fact that this

“story is a fabrication…[is] hardly the point” ?

Of course he did.

Ooh, cat’s out of the bag:

“To everyone who’s pointed out that the ACLU story is a fabrication according to snopes.com - that’s hardly the point. The pictures of Marines praying are real. The fighting and dying to protect the interests of the United States is real. The request to pray for them is real. So I think I’ll just echo the supposedly non-existent Colonel Fessender and say, from the very real former Marine Sergeant David Springer, “Screw the ACLU and screw anyone who’s got a problem with this post.”

HOO RAH! Semper Fi!

Comment by DaveScot — May 22, 2006 @ 12:49 pm “

No Dave, the point is Uncommon Descent is supposed to be about science and discovering where things come from. So you publishing a fake, religious diatribe speaks volumes to your credibility.

No Dave, the point is Uncommon Descent is supposed to be about science and discovering where things come from. So you publishing a fake, religious diatribe speaks volumes to your credibility.

Amusingly, one of their posts is titled “Natural Selection — losing credibility fast”

“Sure we are making stuff up, but that’s hardly the point, because we’re right anyway.”

/> SLEEPER AGENT DAVESCOT: ***REACTIVATED***

/>NEW PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: POST EASILY ESPOSED RIGHT WING CHRISTIAN LIES

This man needs a reality show. Fox, make it happen.

Update 3:

“To everyone who’s pointed out that the ACLU story is a fabrication according to snopes.com - that’s hardly the point. The pictures of Marines praying are real. The fighting and dying to protect the interests of the United States is real. The request to pray for them is real. So I removed the fake names, noted the ACLU statement is rumor, and quoted a very real former Marine Sergeant’s sentiments instead. If anyone has a problem with that they can KMA. Google that.

HOO RAH! Semper Fi! “

It’s not a ‘rumour’, Dave, its false. BELLEND.

I just noticed the tag line:

Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, US Soldier, Sailor, Airman &others deployed in harm’s way, Prayer is the very best one!

I’m not in the military, but if I were deployed in harm’s way I’d probably rather have the gift of body armor. That, and a guarantee that my deployment wouldn’t be indefinite.

Watching the Intelligent Design flameout is pretty amusing.

With regard to Davescot’s “The pictures of Marines praying are real”, he doesn’t know this as a fact. The top one looks photo-shopped to me. The depth cues certainly ‘feel’ wrong. Oh, I know, I’ll use my explanatory filter* to find out:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/[…]/05/ef20.gif

Dembski’s blog got snookered by a silly chain e-mail

hmm. did they now?

While I’m sure Dave scott springer, oh he of the imaginary talk show, could easily be fooled by drivel like this; the fact that Dembski chose this particular imagery and text to post a wish to pray for troops is interesting.

What if Dembski KNEW this was a hoax?

He’s posted this kind of stuff before.

Can anybody think of an alternative to why he might have posted that specific, well known hoax, than he is just a dimbulb?

I can think of a few.

We can still use parsimony to conclude what is obvious (dimbulb theory) and explore other possibilities simultaneously.

Note that the first google hit on “David Springer ACLU” is to an old PT post, a comment in which refers to “DaveScot aka Dave Springer aka David Scott Springer.”

To everyone who’s pointed out that the ACLU story is a fabrication according to snopes.com - that’s hardly the point. The pictures of Marines praying are real.

I’m not a photoshop expert, but the pic certainly does look a little suspecious. ed brayton says

P.S. And by the way, even the first picture, the huge one of all the marines praying, is faked - and badly, I might add. It’s a doctored photo of the same 3 or 4 guys copied over and over until it looks like hundreds of guys.

Relating to the movie, “Stripes” (w/ Bill Murray), I know that in times of trouble, our troops can count on DaveScot to always stand* behind them…

…directly behind, that is.

and who didn’t see this coming?

#3

The ACLU has certainly stood against prayer in public school even if led by students in extra-curricular settings like graduation ceremonies and football games. There is not one iota of doubt in my mind that the ACLU would love to do the same thing to prayer in the military. Prayers led by commissioned and non-commissioned officers in the Corps are common. The military builds and maintains chapels on military bases. They employ religious clerics whose job is spiritual counseling and leading worship services. Anyone that thinks the ACLU wouldn’t stand against that if they could get away with it needs their head examined. They simply know the American public wouldn’t tolerate it and the ACLU would be so harmed they might never recover as an organization. So they bite their anti-religious tongues in the interest of self-preservation.

Comment by DaveScot — May 22, 2006 @ 1:59 pm

and someone promptly smacks him down, in a comment which probably won’t last long, so I reproduce it here:

#4

The ACLU has taken many religious freedom cases including definding churches and conservative Christians, including Jerry Fallwell. The ACLU has also defended the right of students to form prayer and Bible study clubs in school and both are ubiquitous at least in the south.

None of the Marines depicted are forcing other people to pray. I can only assume that *they* are not being forced to pray, but are doing so of their own free will. Students are free to pray at any time during a football game or a graduation ceremony. They are NOT free to force others to pray or to force others to listen to them pray. I can never quite understand why forced prayer is so desirable. Certainly it pleases the person doing the forcing, but I can’t imagine that it would please God.

Comment by MrsCogan — May 22, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

Yes, the picture is known to be a photoshopped fake, and the event never happened. But the insight Dave gives us is quite priceless, if redundent: *Evidence does not matter*. Sure, it’s false, but so what? It says the right thing, which is really all that matters. In the religious world, things become true when those who want them badly enough SAY they’re true. So that fact that both the story and the pictures are false is beside the point. They’re true, false or not!

Somebody tell DaveScot that the word “gullible” is not in the dictionary.

The ACLU has certainly stood against prayer in public school even if led by students in extra-curricular settings like graduation ceremonies and football games. There is not one iota of doubt in my mind that the ACLU would love to do the same thing to prayer in the military. Prayers led by commissioned and non-commissioned officers in the Corps are common. The military builds and maintains chapels on military bases. They employ religious clerics whose job is spiritual counseling and leading worship services. Anyone that thinks the ACLU wouldn’t stand against that if they could get away with it needs their head examined. They simply know the American public wouldn’t tolerate it and the ACLU would be so harmed they might never recover as an organization. So they bite their anti-religious tongues in the interest of self-preservation.

Dave, the point here is not that you think that the ACLU does this or that it’s that you presented this obviously faked email, picture and event as fact and then said that facts don’t matter when you were shown to be 100% wrong. Not to mention the deleting of comments.

To everyone who’s pointed out that the ACLU story is a fabrication according to snopes.com - that’s hardly the point.

In your eyes and obviously DI’s eyes ,as long as you think something is true then it’s true. Facts be damned.

What color nose and big floppy shoes is it today Davey?

I was just checking out UncommonlyDense to see what all the hubbub was about…and noticed Demski’s and Scot’s comments regarding Woody Allen’s Match Point.

Seems like Darwin is responsible for everything!

It’s all making sense now.…when the Yanks were up 3-0 against the Red Sox in 2004…and then Sox came back and won 4 straight!.…and the time I lost my sunglasses.…and my socks disappearing in the dryer!…

How do they find time to do scientific research???.….Oh wait,…nevermind.

That is truly bizarre if even the image is faked. One would think it would not be very difficult to find a real image of marines praying.

Soon to be banned from UD:

#5

You people are retarded.

The email is a fake and you’re an idiot for not realizing that.

Good show, Professor. This type of thing does wonders for your credibility.

Comment by mamoulian — May 22, 2006 @ 2:38 pm

Good show, Professor. This type of thing does wonders for your credibility.

What credibility?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Andrea Bottaro published on May 22, 2006 1:28 PM.

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