# Stupid ID statement of the month

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Okay, cubs, it’s time to play everyone’s favorite game, “Who Said Something Stupid?” Rules are simple: in your comment to this post, identify the dim bulb who uttered each of the following outrageous statements. Creativity in your guess will be rewarded, but points will be deducted for snorts and guffaws that lead to spewing coffee on your keyboard.

After finding the author of the quote, place your vote for the stupidest statement of the month. Winners will be decided by me at an arbitrary point in time, and will be notified telepathically. The prize for correctly identifying all of the authors will be a sincere pat on the back (i.e., with claws retracted) and a virtual pint of virtual Pilsener at the virtual Pub.

The prize for the author of the winningest statement will be the negative attention of a small number of people for a fairly short period of time. And the perpetual linking of his or her name with his or her stupid comment on web archives everywhere.

Ready? Let’s play!

• Our first contestant is a software engineer. When solicited for a discussion about how one might find the solution to a particular class of mathematical problems, he responded (with such composure and self-assurance!):

“To find a solution, one could try the software at: http://www.diku.dk/geosteiner/

Try this on your next college calculus problem set: find the answer to a problem by looking in the back of the book. In the space where you’re supposed to show your work, write “looked up the answer in the back of the book”. Sit back and bask in your enhanced credibility and in the TA’s admiration of your command of the subject.

• Continuing the mathematical theme:

“…no population geneticist would assume…that variance is a parameter that might remain unchanged for more than 360,000 generations, not least of all because it is well-known that changes in gene frequencies affect variance, often by linkage disequilibrium. The word variance might suggest as much, suggesting, as it does, something that varies.

Uh, did this guy just suggest that it’s called “variance” because it varies?!? Oh, indeed he did!

Maybe these are the words of a mathematical naif, untutored in the arcane points of mathematical statistics. Maybe this person is the internet equivalent of Gauss’s classmates, who – que stupide! – could not see what was so obvious to that prodigy. “Certainly,” you cry, “this is not someone who claims any mathematical expertise whatsoever!”

• We got “engineers”, we got mathematicians. We also got LAWYERS (yea! woohoo!). Our next entry, by a lawyer, concerns the “Demarcation Problem” of distinguishing science from all the other human crap there is out there (y’know: art, religion, “American Idol”). Mr. JD Esquire says:

“Who gave Karl Popper the authority to set the epistemological ground rules for all of the rest of us? I feel like the peasant in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. The peasant asks Arthur, ‘How did you get to be king? I didn’t vote for you.’ Similarly I don’t recall voting to put science in a box marked ‘falsification line of demarcation – do not open.’”

Lawyers talking epistemology and quoting from Monty Python movies (not, it should be noted, from “The Life of Brian”)? Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends!

Wait a minute: “Popper”? Did you say “Popper”? Who but Phillip Johnson cares about Popper anymore? That’s sooooo old paradigm! And by the way: so what? You didn’t get to vote on the law of gravity either.

There are of course many more such stupidities just waiting–as the philosophers and house movers say–to be ‘unpacked’.

Whenever I get around to it, I’ll post the answers and links below. Thanks to my fan club for pointing these out! As always, email me ([Enable javascript to see this email address.]) with more examples for next month’s Stupid ID Statement!

## 73 Comments

Are write-ins allowed?

“However, his argument is like that a wet noodle, it’s not strong.”

OK, I know the first one was Sal, but I have no idea about the other two.

My vote would be for Contestant Two - the idea that the variance of something must change a lot because it’s related to the verb “to vary” is the daftest mathematical statement I’ve seen (bar one).

Write-ins are most certainly allowed!

Let it not be said that I limit the opportunities for stupidity!

1. Slaveador Cordova. no doubt. he always likes to bypass tough questions by referring to authority. Though usually he refers to his umm, no I won’t say it. I’ll just say his “bu__ buddy” William Dembski.

and speaking of which…

the use of circular mathematics that ain’t geometry is a common form of discourse for above mentioned WD40, so I put

2. squarely in the lap of WD.

3. I just saw that in comments on another thread, but immediately blocked it out of my mind… the combination of Popper and Python short circuited some part of my brain.

Corkscrew Wrote:

…is the daftest mathematical statement I’ve seen (bar one).

Ohmygod. Pi=3. Ohmygod. And he gives a proof.

Popper originally viewed his falsification “line of demarcation” between science and non-science as descriptive, not prescriptive. This eventually caused him a lot of trouble from other philosophers because it is arguable that science doesn’t really work that way. I think in a broad scence and in practice, falsifiability is at least a sine qua non for successful science, but you can debate about the relative importance of other, less objective, things.

Popper then applied his descriptive model to produce a prescriptive recommendation for scientific theorizing - you should make theories falsifiable if you want them be reasonable and potentially successful scientific theories. This makes good sense whether you believe in a Popperian model of science or not.

Popper’s demarcation criteria was initially seized upon by the logical positivists because they thought it would replace verificationism to support their rather dogmatic ideology. It didn’t and Popper was very non-dogmatic himself and never had such a thing in mind, although he often got the brunt of criticism instigated by the dogmatism of those positivists. And when they realized Popper didn’t support logical positivism they often turned on him as well, so he was attacked from both his “left” and his “right”. Unfortunately, he opened the door for the relativists by emphasizing the social aspect of human knowledge in order to objectify it (he was a nominalist) and spent the rest of his career trying beat back the relativists who rushed in.

In any event, he was right about the neccessity of falsificationism because otherwise everybody could put out their own theory of anything and as long as it’s observationally equivallent to the available data, it’s as good as anyone else’s theory. We could each have our own theory for everything and nobody could criticize it! That might be kinda cool, but it would allow a lot of untestable nonsense to be passed off as science, which would totally devalue the really good and useful scientific theories. So this lawyer is just an idiot.

Larry, Moe, and Curly, respectively.

If it’s just jaw-droppingly stupid… It’s GOT to be Uncommonly Dense.

#3 is “BarryA” (AFAIK he’s not revealed his last name). Actually I think the stupidest things he’s said this past month are related to the Dover trial. To hear him tell it, if HE, rather than the Thomas More Legal Center, had been the defense lawyer at the trial, Dover would’ve won the case in a slam dunk.

He then goes on to show repeatedly that he’s about as good a lawyer as Dembski is a mathematician.

I just hope he gets to run the next courtroom defense of ID and has the good sense to call upon Salvador Cordova and Dave Scott Springer as expert witnesses!

Hmmm…I remember us at AtBC making fun of Sal for saying the first one, and BarryA for saying the last one, but I don’t recall seeing the middle one.

I nominate:

So understanding human nature and knowing that the immune processes could probably be written in a less technical way so all of us could follow the logic I have come to the conclusion that the 58 references do not support the evolution of the immune system. Why, because if they did then someone would want to pile on and shove it in our faces that here is a well documented and scientifically accurate description of a process that proves Behe a fool. But if they did so then their interpretation of the 58 documents would be on paper where their logic and accurate interpetation could be challenged.

By Jerry

“BarryA” (AFAIK he’s not revealed his last name).

He’s Barry Arrington, from Colorado, and he’s Uncommonly Dense.

Don Wrote:

. To hear him tell it, if HE, rather than the Thomas More Legal Center, had been the defense lawyer at the trial, Dover would’ve won the case in a slam dunk.

Before the trial even began, Lenny Flank presciently noted: “Already, I am seeing the makings of the standard ID/creationist refrain that they give every time they lose (yet again) —- ‘the guys representing our side weren’t really trying’.”

As Judge Jones noted, Thomas More did about as well as could be expected, given their hopeless case. At least they had the sense to fire Dembski, who would have turned the Waterloo into an Armageddon.

In response to a comment suggesting that sequencing chimp and human chromosomes would provide conclusive evidence for the fusion event leading to human chromosome 2:

Sequencing doesn’t tell us squat except for the sequence of nucleotides. From that we may be able to extract the number of genes but not of the coding sequences from alternative gene splicing.

Do quotes get more points for being coherently wrong, or just stupid? Because this one doesn’t even begin to make sense.

Jerry,

I’ll see your stupid and raise you 3 drools:

The very fact that the Darwinist side presented a stack of *58 books and articles* on the immune system, shows that it in fact has *no* “detailed testable answers to the question of how the immune system could have arisen by random mutation and natural selection.”

If it did, it would only have to read out *one page* in all those 58 books and articles where it is. That they didn’t, proves Behe’s claim that there is *no* such “detailed testable answer… to the question of how the immune system could have arisen by random mutation and natural selection.”

Ahh, Barry Arrington. Google shows him to be a Colorado State Legislator, which I know to be true of BarryA due to statements he’s made. Good.

Now, let’s see, what’s his legislative track record. Pretty much vanilla conservative stuff … end partial birth abortions, end state funding for county courthouse furnishings, protect minors from bare buttocks.

OK.

Now, he poses at UD as an expert on the federal rules of evidence and trial procedures.

Is he, really?

Hmmm …

HE IS A REAL-ESTATE LAWYER!

Oh my, oh my! Yeah, he’s an expert trial lawyer, yabetcha!

1. Cordova 2. Dembski 3. Luskin

What was the context of stmt #2? Just curious…

Before the trial even began, Lenny Flank presciently noted: “Already, I am seeing the makings of the standard ID/creationist refrain that they give every time they lose (yet again) —- ‘the guys representing our side weren’t really trying’.”

Alas, no prescience involved, however —– simply the recognition that ID, having nothing new to offer, cannot help BUT simply repeat all the things that creation “science” did decades ago.

Within a few years, DI will be forgotten and ignored, and its “leading lights” will make their living by selling religious tracts to the gullible. Just like ICR.

“Who did not say Something Stupid?”

oh yes, that thread where barry “demolishes” Andrea was quite a hoot.

Andrea:

here are the summary details that were presented in the bulk of the research from those 58 publications (link).

barry:

what details, I don’ see no stinkin’ details.

Andrea:

I also put together an entire review paper on the evolution of the immune system, which you can read here (link).

barry:

Yeah, i read that link. there is no evidence of evolution there.

Andrea:

??? but I just.. gave… you… the evidence… ???

barry:

I win! yay me!

god, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Well, it look like I may have the wrong “Barry Arrington”, since he claims to be a constitutional law expert in Denver, rather than a Real Estate lawyer in Arvada.

Ah, well.

If he were Real Estate Barry he’d at least have an *excuse* for being so mind-numbingly off-base.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Real Estate laywers, mind you.

1. Christler Cordova 2. Dumski the Chimp 3. Tinkie Winkie (the one with the Luskin lined purse.)

he claims to be a constitutional law expert

So did Beckwith, pre-Dover.

(snicker) (giggle) (howls of laughter)

Amazing how all these ‘scholars’ are crawling out of the woodwork after the dhulai (means getting laundered in Hindi ie., washed and scrubbed thoroughly) in Dover. Wonder where they were while debacle was in progress. BillD could come up with a counterfactual account of Dover; and Berlinski could in rugby style start a series, Dover Jokes, More of Dover Jokes, Son of Dover Jokes

Once we are done with mathematical jokers like BillD and Salzo Panza could we get started on the physics frauds like Dave “Gravity is the strongest force” Scott?

Hey, my immune system poofed into existence “ex nihilo” only this morning. Good thing… you shoulda seen my “line of demarcation” yesterday—hoo mama!

Lenny Wrote:

he claims to be a constitutional law expert

So did Beckwith, pre-Dover.

So does Pat Robertson. He even admits to having gone through law school without reading the document.

Folks, you should all be aware that we’ve just been visited by the illustrious Richiyaado, of Nippon and New Orleans.

Richi is the genius behind that famous ad campaign that sold so many of those… you know, those little… they go on the ends of the… you know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.

I also heard somewhere that he played a seminal role in this public service ad campaign. He clearly had a hand in it: his fingerprints are all over it.

I’m also told that Sir Richi routinely smacked ‘em around on the old ARN battlefields, back when people were still taking ID seriously enough to try to actually calculate how much CSI was contained in Bill Dembski’s ego. Answer: a lot. (Of course, this was way back, before Dembski’s prime-time TV show “CSI: Waco” was even in its first season. And waaayyyy before Dembski started doing those Home Shopping Network specials.)

Anyway, give ‘em heck, Richi. And welcome!

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 2, column 2, byte 152 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/mach/5.18/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Richi is the genius behind that famous ad campaign that sold so many of those… you know, those little… they go on the ends of the… you know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.

Oh Yeah! Moose turds on a stick. I’ve seen those for sale in various places.

Yes, very clever.

Try this on your next college calculus problem set: find the answer to a problem by looking in the back of the book. In the space where you’re supposed to show your work, write “looked up the answer in the back of the book”. Sit back and bask in your enhanced credibility and in the TA’s admiration of your command of the subject.

When I TAed calculus for business majors, at least one student did exactly that on every problem set. (Not the same student every time, thankfully.)

The best part is when students write some incorrect calculations, copy the correct answer from the back of the book–which doesn’t follow from their calculations–and then ask (completely honestly, mind you) for full credit because they got it right and showed their work.

Somehow my connection to PT is not stable today. So I will try to post again:

John A Davison is a safe bet for Stupid ID statement of the month, although I don’t know if he made any statements during the last weeks. Besides I never quite get it: Is he an IDist or does WD only allows him to play the jester at UD?

#2 is Berlinski.

#2 is Berlinski

Which one ? …guffaw …snicker…I could just about dine out on that. It’s a pity I don’t live in sad Paris, I’d make him buy 3 drinks, one for each of him and 1 for me.

Dear steviepinhead: my apologies, my mind was elsewhere – probably gamboling in the gutter, per usual. And doesn’t it hurt to wax your wroth? Cheers, deadman

To be fair to Berlinski, I am sure he knows that variance doesn’t need to vary and he was just making a bad pun.

Regardless, his actual claim in that sentence still sounds just wrong: not only assuming constant variance is a common and legitimate statistical approximation for modeling purposes, but since in fact artificial selection of quantitative, polygenic traits shows that genetic variance can persist even in the presence of selection (because of new mutation and recombination), it seems perfectly biologically reasonable for Nilsson and Pelger to assume that variance over the course of eye evolution averaged out at their modest proposed value (expressed as a coefficient of variation, V=0.01), especially under a small selection coefficient of just 0.01.

(Or, if Berlinski thinks this is not reasonable, he could change the model by introducing a factor for the variation of variance, and do the calculations again to show how it would affect the outcome. At least, he’d be putting his money where his mouth is, and perhaps even get some interesting result for once, instead of just criticizing the real work of scientists while comfortably sitting on his derrière.)

Oh, and I don’t see what “linkage disequilibrium” has to do in this context, since there is no reason to assume the underlying loci are in LD at all (and even if any of them were, in the case of an additive quantitative trait they would just behave as a single locus, and not affect the model).

But wait, the month is not yet over, and John Calvert wants to enter:

First, accounts of origins are generally built on one of two causal concepts: Life derives from (a) only material causes or (b) from both material and intelligent causes.

Very odd. This doesn’t make sense unless one substitutes ‘supernatural” for “intelligent”.

After replicating life starts, biological evolution writes the rest of the chapters using imagined random mutations and natural selection.

Bolding added.

Fourth, in our country, government is constitutionally required to be neutral as to religion. Public schools may not take sides in any debate “respecting” “religion.”

Any clear thinking requires schools to avoid any bias that favors one origins story over another.

That’s right, it’s the old “materialistic science is another religion” gambit.

Here is another write in candidate for IDiot of the week,month,day, year: Dense O’learing states:

“Indeed, sophophile confirms just what I was trying to say - that when you have to explain why Darwin matters, he doesn’t.”

Wow, does this mean that when I explain something and how it matters I automatically prove it doesn’t matter? Ok, Ok … ID must be promoted to stop the evil onslaught of materialistic science! Did I just make ID not matter?

Accepted, deadman.

Whatever minor pain is involved in waxing wroth, at least my froth is all shiny and squeaky now.

So thanks for that!

I’m becoming worried that this contest is going to become very, very boring in months to come.

Denyse O’Leary is putting up dumbest-post-of-the-month candidates about once an hour over there. While Bill and Sal and the choir can compete with her in quality (so to speak), they’re not even in the same league quantity-wise.

I second Gerard’s nomination of Sarah Tomlin.

WTF is up with that statement she made? It makes me think there must be more to it than that. It’s hard to imagine the level of ignorance that statement would require out of context.

Amazing. As Hooligan noted above, Dense O’Leary at Uncommonly Dense writes a three-parter about the topic of book titles and their “real” significance. Her “reasoning” ( and responses to her) run as follows: 1. A book with the with the title “Why ____ Matters” (e.g. “Why Darwin Matters”) automatically means the subject of the title is less significant than in the past. 2. Dense O’Leary is presented with a list of titles from Amazon which include “Matter” or some variant thereof in the title and Dense O’Leary refines her claim to say that “well, I only meant non-abstractions, so “Why God Matters” means “God” is exempt. 3. The same critic that posted the list (“sophophile” –bravo, by the way)points out that children, as in “Why Children Matter” are not abstractions. Dense O’Leary fails to respond. 4. Dense O’Leary says that this doesn’t alter her original claim because “ the ID controversy is actually hot, hot hot,” but that she’s “bored with this topic and will delete future posts on it”

Good to know that there will still be lots of Dense at UD even without DaveScot

DM said:

4. Dense O’Leary says that this doesn’t alter her original claim because “ the ID controversy is actually hot, hot hot,” but that she’s “bored with this topic and will delete future posts on it”

Well that shows their usual anti-logic, followed by an arbitrary obstruction of criticism of her original abstraction.

Perfect.… another BRILLIANT day at the office for Dense Denies.

Tomorrow: Arbitrary criticism of obstruction followed by abstraction.

The next day: Abstracted obstruction followed by critical arbitrariness .

Day 3: A warm change “Do cats believe in god, and should we GAF”

I have a write-in vote for pretty much anything Larry Fafarman said, but especially: “You don’t have to believe in evolution to use it as a scientific theory.”

Or, anything he said about imaginary numbers.

I have a write-in vote for pretty much anything Larry Fafarman said, but especially: “You don’t have to believe in evolution to use it as a scientific theory.”

I think it’s even better than that. I think he actually once said something along the lines of “just because the theory of evolution works, that doesn’t mean it’s true”.

### About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Prof. Steve Steve published on August 17, 2006 12:21 PM.

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