And the Winner of the First Annual Quote-Mine-Off is…

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Over at Darwin Central, some impressively-obsessed blogger has attempted to rate 50 creationist websites on their propensity to use commonly-mined quotes. Methods: (1) start with the quotes in the Talkorigins.org Quote-Mine Project; (2) search for those quotes on the creationist websites; (3) somehow put it all in a relational database; (4) tabulate.

The winner, with 75 of the 158 quotes listed at Talkorigins, was Anointed-one.net/. It is followed by a couple of sites that are primarily creationist quote-mine collections (studying the evolution of such collections would be an interesting project). Answers in Genesis (#9), the ICR website (#8), and Harun Yahya (#5) make the top ten list, but the famous Velikovskian Ted Holden, aka The Inimitable One, beats them all with his website bearfabrique.org (#4). The Discovery Institute comes out at a disappointing #30, but there is a lot of competition out there, and they spend a lot of their time trying to dumb down the education of U.S. children.

All in all, this is a rather impressive effort, and another example of the kind of “creoinformatics” that the web and modern technology makes possible.

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Whipping the Flagellum in the Quote-Mine Read More

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Next task; find out which ID/creationist website uses the highest percentage of the T.O. “index to creationist claims”.

As the guy responsible for the Quote Mine Project, I have to say that it is not quite fair to include Anointed-one in this survey. If you go to the Introduction of the QMP you will see that the original 86 quotes we ran down all came from that site. A certain creationist (who will remain Nameless) had posted Anointed-one’s list of quote mines to talk.origins, which is how the QMP started. I don’t know why only 75 are still at Anointed-one’s site … unless creationists can be embarrassed.

LOL, so we are seeing an observer effect in the #1 ranking.

“Next task; find out which ID/creationist website uses the highest percentage of the T.O. “index to creationist claims”.”

Just a quick guess, maybe this one.

Concerning the 75 vs 86 quotations: I realized (and discussed) the potential problems with my methodology. For one thing, it isn’t practical to Google a long quotation, so I broke the TalkOrigins quotes into snippets. This is an art rather than a science. I did spot checking to be sure I wasn’t getting false hits.

An example of a problem quote would be Hsu’s “The emperor has no clothes.” For this quote I cheated and included the author in the Google search.

My method queried some of the TalkOrigins quotes several ways, because some sites only use snippets. My database can link multiple snippets and their Google results back to the original TalkOrigins article.

I am delighted that my method seems to yield results that are close to independently obtained numbers.

Darn, several of us at ARN were trying to win the top prize.

See: ARN Quote Mine by Mung, Sal, and friends.

Be sure to check out the link I provided for “Quote Mining for Kids”. No kidding.

My absolute favorite quote mine was from Ken Miller.

In this article, Ken Miller is quoted as saying of himself and his Darwinist colleagues:

“We [Darwinists] suck…”

Who am I to disagree with Ken’s characterization of himself and his friends.

Next task; find out which ID/creationist website uses the highest percentage of the T.O. “index to creationist claims”.

Seriously, I would like to do this for a number of websites and books. Unfortunately there is no simple way to automate a search for a specific claim. You would have to go through a creationist text and tag each observed claim manually.

Alternatively, you might be able to develop keywords for many creationist claims. Creationist literature operates in an incredibly stereotyped fashion, such that every time you see “panda’s thumb” in a creationist book they are probably referring to the “But the panda’s thumb works quite well!” argument. This might not be far off as a way to estimate the frequency of usage of various creationist claims.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

Next task; find out which ID/creationist website uses the highest percentage of the T.O. “index to creationist claims”.

That would probably be a YEC site. And as we have seen, the most militant YEC sites also criticize OEC and ID, which means that there’s at least some semblance of honesty instead of the increasingly popular “anything for the big tent”.

Far more interesting to me would be to see which site has the most strictly negative claims (i.e. misrepresentations of evolution) and is most evasive about its own claims regarding what the designer did and when.

Matzke Wrote:

every time you see “panda’s thumb” in a creationist book they are probably referring to the “But the panda’s thumb works quite well!” argument.

Ever since I started dropping by PT I’ve wondered exactly what the Panda’s Thumb claim *is*. For one thing, it is not in The CC Index and, for another, I’ve never read it in the creationist claims (doesn’t mean it was not there - my eyes glaze after three lines or so, and the first three are normally 2LoT related).

Missing this two key factors, I can only wonder what their bug with it is - I assume it is “vestigial organ” derivative, but I’d really like to know what their misrepresentation of it is (after all, knowing creationists, it could be either “evidence of decay” or “vestigials don’t exist”. Indeed, it could be both in consecutive sentences, given the creationist ability to doublethink and hold contradictory ideas).

Following in the “always wanted to know and never found a chance to ask” category, Nick, where is your surname originally from? I’m assuming east European, but that does cover a wide area.

Finally: Salvador’s pride about being a unrepentant sinner is very telling. Thanks to extremist imbeciles like him, all of religion is getting such a bad image that is easy to understand how rational people leave in droves. I certainly feel uncomfortable thinking that he believes to belong to my religion.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

Hi Sal. Welcome back.

I have a list of 31 questions for you that, for some odd reason, you always run away from.

Let’s start with just a few:

*ahem*

What, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than weather forecasting, accident investigation, or medicine?

I can’t think of any scientific advance made in any area of science at any time in the past 25 years as the result of ID “research”. Why is that? How many peer-reviewed scientific papers have there been centering around ID “research”? (I mean the ones that were NOT later withdrawn by the journal on the grounds that they were published fraudulently). None? Why is that?

Why is it that all of DI’s funding comes from fundamentalist Christian political groups and Reconstructionist nutjobs? Why is it that the Templeton Foundation, which focuses on issues of science and religion (right up ID’s alley, eh?) won’t fund DI?

Time to run away again, Sal.

Salvador,

Are you sure that you “sneaky, underhanded, cunniving Wedgies” want to “raise the ire of ID”?

Seriously, a reasonable (nor humorous) person wouldn’t joke about this from a creationist stance. Yet another series of telltale comments, with your metacomment to top it all.

I should have updated before commenting. Grey Wolf were so much more eloquent on this point.

I thought at least one of these would have made it onto the bloggers list:

http://www.creationtruthministries.org/home.html

http://www.understandthetimes.org/

http://www.amen.org.uk/cr/videos/index.htm

And he’s even forgotten about Baugh and Hovind (who was on Baugh’s programme the other day on TBN over here!). A good list however, and it contains a number of creationist sites I hadn’t heard of.

The quote I’ve heard recently was from Rod Parsley: “Even Darwin himself didn’t believe in evolution at the end of his life” He didn’t say where this came from but it sounded like a distortian of the Lady Hope story Re: Darwin recanted on his death bed etc.

Darn, several of us at ARN were trying to win the top prize.

ARN would be number six in my database with 40 of the TalkOrigins quotes, but I arbitrarily excluded forums and blogs from the published list. The list is a work in progress, and I haven’t figured out a way to tell whether a quote in a forum is being misused.

I judged sites as a whole and excluded those that are ambiguous. It appears that ARN is not ambiguous.

I thought at least one of these would have made it onto the bloggers list:

This is the only hit I got from your three sites. A pretty sorry showing from folks that claim to be anti-evolution.

understandthetimes

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

midwife toad wrote:

Concerning the 75 vs 86 quotations: I realized (and discussed) the potential problems with my methodology. For one thing, it isn’t practical to Google a long quotation, so I broke the TalkOrigins quotes into snippets.

I kind of figured that was it (I’ve had a lot of experience with that effect as I look up sites to serve as exemplars of the use of the quote mines). Still, hope springs eternal that some creationists might actually get a conscious about abusing other people’s ideas and words.

Re “given the creationist ability to doublethink and hold contradictory ideas).”

Yeah, they start out believing (1) an omnipotent being did it, and (2) said being was unable to use natural forces to do the whole job.

Is it just me, or don’t those two beliefs contradict each other?

Henry

Henry:

Omnipotence considered generally is inherently contradictory. An omnipotent being is by definition capable of preventing itself from doing everything it can’t be prevented from doing. After all, it’s capable of everything!

This problem is millennia old, and resolved in a fashion traditional millennia ago: ignore it.

I see a thesis in network theory and/or memetics emerging from this research.

Abstract: We show that the creationist community exhibits scale-free network organization, where nodes are defined to be websites and links are determined by the common use of fallacious anti-evolution remarks. …”

Creationism in general is just a fantastic laboratory for memetic research.

Taking just one canard, 2LoT is ideal, and tracing its epidemiology (and I just can’t think about it in any other terms), would shed a lot of light on the madness our society is undergoing, I think.

I mean, how is it that such ideas, known to be incorrect, actively disowned by the leadership of the movement, continue to have currency in fundie circles?

Unless the memes are running the show?

Next task; find out which ID/creationist website uses the highest percentage of the T.O. “index to creationist claims”.

Aside from the wiki, I’d be willing to put money on these guys.

Having fried a good portion of my sanity reviewing their “Evolution Cruncher”, I can pretty much say that everything from the index is in there… plus a few I hadn’t seen before.

Henry J Wrote:

Is it just me, or don’t those two beliefs contradict each other?

Don’t be silly, creationists never contradict each other. ;-)

Note, you may have to scroll up to the first post in the thread.

Re: 75 vs 86 quotations

There are probably multiple reasons for this.

The QMP was based on what nameless posted to the t.o. newsgroup. If nameless edited anything that would break a search for an exact quote. The first batch of the QMP started as reply to nameless’s post. There was a long journey between the Annointed One and the QMP. In the journey between Annointed One, to newsgroup, to John’s edited in Word, and to the HTML in the QMP at the Archive there would have been numerous formatting changes (accent marks, use of ellipses character vs. three dots, paragraph breaks, etc.) that might theoretically influence Google even if we hope it does not. I sure have noticed that sometimes Google will find a shortened quote string but not a rather long when even though the long quote is there: Google is not perfect.

Of course if someone is really bored, they can check to see if Annointed One has been edited.

Missing this two key factors, I can only wonder what their bug with it is - I assume it is “vestigial organ” derivative, but I’d really like to know what their misrepresentation of it is (after all, knowing creationists, it could be either “evidence of decay” or “vestigials don’t exist”. Indeed, it could be both in consecutive sentences, given the creationist ability to doublethink and hold contradictory ideas).

Basically they say that the Panda’s Thumb works well, so it’s not an argument for evolution. Never mind the whole point of the evolutionists, which is that it is a frigging *wrist-bone* modified to take on a finger-like function. Paul Nelson is the major proponent of this one.

There is also a claim in Of Pandas and People about Red Pandas and Giant Pandas and how their “thumbs” are convergence, not homologous, and therefore homology is hopeless and common ancestry is wrong. But that claim is mostly restricted to Pandas and closely-related sources.

Following in the “always wanted to know and never found a chance to ask” category, Nick, where is your surname originally from? I’m assuming east European, but that does cover a wide area.

Well, my grandpa still cussed in German, so my forebears are basically German. But when I look up “Matzke” in Europe these days the hits are mostly Austrian so that could be it. I suspect the borders have gone back and forth quite a bit over the years.

Matzkes are all over Minnesota and Wisconsin, they were part of the German-speaking immigration in the post-Civil War period.

No Bevets?

John Pieret Wrote:

As the guy responsible for the Quote Mine Project, I have to say that it is not quite fair to include Anointed-one in this survey. If you go to the Introduction of the QMP you will see that the original 86 quotes we ran down all came from that site. A certain creationist (who will remain Nameless) had posted Anointed-one’s list of quote mines to talk.origins, which is how the QMP started. I don’t know why only 75 are still at Anointed-one’s site … unless creationists can be embarrassed.

Perhaps creationists can be embarrassed. Manually searching anointed-one and checking again via Google, I find no trace of TalkOrigins quotes 46, 56, 57, 67, 68, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, or 85. Quote 19 appears to be a duplicate of 6.

I think my count of 75 is accurate, and was obtained with a (semi) automated search.

Unless the memes are running the show?

well, that’s the fear, eh?

Midwife toad:

Manually searching anointed-one

How did anointed-one feel about that?

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on June 15, 2006 7:28 PM.

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