The Bluff Being Called Was Behe’s

| 65 Comments

One of the contributors on the “Uncommon Descent” weblog, “BarryA”, has joined the ranks of intelligent design advocates who want in on Monday-morning quarterbacking the Kitzmiller v. DASD case. “BarryA” wrote that Judge Jones was incompetent in permitting Eric Rothschild to present defense expert Michael Behe with a stack of papers and textbooks about the evolution of the immune system, one of those systems that Behe calls “irreducibly complex”. Behe had said this about it, ““We can look high or we can look low in books or in journals, but the result is the same. The scientific literature has no answers to the question of the origin of the immune system.” Rothschild wanted to go into how many papers and how much work was out in the literature. ID advocates have become fond of calling the practice of showing up their essential cluelessness by reference to the scientific literature as “literature bluffing”. The only bluff around that point in the KvD trial, though, was Behe’s.

My response is over at the Austringer.

65 Comments

So the argument is that the internet limits the extent to which “literature bluffing” can be engaged in, because anyone can look up the cited papers? Pretty humorous that this claim is being made by people too lazy, even with the internet, to actually look up the articles.

Pontificating about how you could call someone’s bluff is not the same as actually, y’know, calling the bluff. Do it, already, or shut up about it.

Dangit Matt, you called their bluff.

Pretty humorous that this claim is being made by people too lazy, even with the internet, to actually look up the articles.

I thought they did, but they had to stop because of their chronic condition of misquoting articles.

Oh wait, they still do that. No. We have to give them credit. They do look up articles. They acknowledge only the ones they can quotemine, though.

This is the second time recently I have heard the phrase “Monday morning quarterbacking”. I know that a quarterback has something to do with American football but what he does and why he does it on Mondays I have no idea. Would someone mind explaining what it means for all the Australians, like myself, and other non-Americans who enjoy the discussions on PT.

Since the game is played on Sunday, “Monday morning quarterbacking” is the same thing as using 20/20 hindsight. After the fact, it is easy to see what turned out to be the right and the wrong decisions. In the middle of the game (battle, election campaign, etc.) it’s never so easy.

I suppose it should also be mentioned that this probably comes from what would be the coffee room/water cooler discussions at work on Monday as to why the local team lost on Sunday.

Layer upon layer of culture showing. In American football, the quarterback is the lead player on offense, who calls the plays and is most responsible for running the offense. Often referred to by the purple prose journalists as the “field general”.

Thank-you DAB, much appreciated.

I suppose you all know by now that “BarryA Responds to His Critics at Panda’s Thumb” in now up on UncomDe:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/inde[…]rchives/1443

He has, it seems, decided to dig his grave a little deeper.

Man, those UD threads are hilarious. It took them like a week to figure out that the immune system articles list, annotated bibliography, etc., as well as a review of it all in Nature Immunology, have been online for months, and therefore was not a “bluff”.

Then we have them proudly acting like their own tenditious and unlikely interpretation of a federal rule allows them to exclude the scientific evidence on a legal technicality! As if that would solve the fundamental issue of the scientific facts on immune system evolution, and Behe’s brazen and proud ignorance about them!

This comment was particularly precious:

I have not read any of the 58 articles/books that were put down in front of Behe nor do I feel capable of understanding most of them without a lot of guidance on what particular terms might mean. But I do understand human behavior and I know that just about every biological process has been written in such a way that a mother can understand. Which is a phrase that the lawyer in the Dover case used when talking to Ken Miller.

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.

Since no such document has arisen and knowing the mindset of Darwinists, the only conclusion is that the 58 documents were a giant bluff.

An additional point. If sometime someone comes along and provides a thoroughly documented description of the Darwinian evolution of one of the examples of IC, then so what. I will say nice job but there are hundreds of these IC cases and just because you have shown 1 of several hundred has been solved does not mean that they all will be. Maybe they will be but solving one does not eliminate the objection. Now if they solved a large number, say over 50% of the examples, then it would be time to admit that IC may be just a God of the Gaps argument but till then there is essentially nothing but gaps with not even one solution.

Comment by jerry — August 10, 2006 @ 12:25 pm

For the record:

Bottaro, Andrea, Inlay, Matt A., and Matzke, Nicholas J. (2006). “Immunology in the spotlight at the Dover ‘Intelligent Design’ trial.” Nature Immunology. 7(5), 433-435. May 2005. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/[…]opt=Abstract

Da list http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibit[…]e/index.html

Annotated Bibliography http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibit[…]ted_bib.html

Long Unannotated Bibliography http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibit[…]ib_long.html

Paraphrase of jerry: “I haven’t read this stuff and don’t understand it, but if the evolutionists had the goods they would have put the immune system list online and rubbed it in our faces. But even if they did explain one IC system, but we ID advocates could just switch to another one, and we don’t have to give up until they have explained over 50% of the thousands of IC systems.”

You can’t make up stuff this good…what’s even funnier is that none of the IDists thought these ridiculous statements were worth correcting.

I know ID jumped the shark long ago, but if you need evidence that it has totally collapsed, here you go.

I’ve taken to hedging my attempts to post at UD; despite BarryA’s professed love of criticism, he dinged at least one post of mine on one of the earlier threads. I’m no evidence expert, but I’ve studied and applied the Rules of Evidence. BarryA is way off track in the application of 803(18):

“BarryA, you are presenting an extremely inaccurate characterization of FRE 803(18). (I’ll limit my criticisms to just that issue, to prevent a repeat of your censorship of one of my comments on your last thread.) You say, for instance, that under the rule “the plaintiffs should have asked Behe one by one if each of the 58 books and articles was authoritative.” That is not the case, as is clear from the commentary to Rule 803: “The rule does not require that the witness rely upon or recognize the treatise as authoritative, thus avoiding the possibility that the expert may at the outset block cross-examination by refusing to concede reliance or authoritativeness.” The authoritativeness of the texts was abundantly clear in this case; both parties treated these documents as authoritative. In such instances, the court is entitled (and probably encouraged for the sake of judicial economy) to take judicial notice of the fact that the material qualifies under Rule 803.

You’re beginning to argue the law as Fafarman does; picking a desired outcome and structuring all the rules to lead to it. It fits the common perception of what lawyers do, but it’s poor practice and poor advocacy. One reason for that is that it leads you to make severe errors, as you have here, in this analysis: “I am sure that after reviewing them one by one Behe would have said that all or most of them were. For those that Behe refused to admit were authoritative, plaintiffs could have had another expert testify they were.”

They could have, but they certainly wouldn’t be required to do so. You’re reading in an enormous amount of substance that simply doesn’t exist in Rule 803, in order to justify your preconceived criticism of the court. It’s great form for ID and UD, but it’s factually inaccurate. For instance: “There has to be some evidence from a person qualified to comment on the issue that a book or article is authoritative.” That is not true. FRE 803(18) imposes no such requirement, nor does any case that I am aware of. “The judge is not entitled to simply assume that books and articles with fancy titles are authoritative.” That is also not true. FRE 803 explicitly allows for judicial notice, which in this case would have been entirely appropriate as both parties treated the texts in question as authoritative and learned treatises.

You have an extremely shallow understanding of the rule in general. For instance, you say: “In the PT example, if expert A truly is unaware of a definitive work in the field, then the opposition could call expert B to testify that the work is definitive, and then impeach A with the work even if he had never read it.” Your characterization is inapposite to this case, but ironically you have described a common trial practice. A supposed expert’s ignorance of certain texts (such as a psychologist who had never heard of the DSM) is relevant to their expert qualification. Again, from the FRE 803(18) commentary: “In Reilly v. Pinkus, supra, the Court pointed out that testing of professional knowledge was incomplete without exploration of the witness’ knowledge of and attitude toward established treatises in the field. The process works equally well in reverse and furnishes the basis of the rule.”

You provide a great deal of bloviation predicated on your own expert status, but your legal analysis is not good. I am not convinced that Rule 803 is applicable in this instance, given the use of the literature in regards to Behe’s admission that publications are a measure of scientific validity, but you’ve pegged your own argument to it. And yet, you not only don’t seem to understand it, you’re teaching a (very credulous) audience that they should scorn a court of law for not following your own shoddy reasoning.

If I’ve been harsh, then I apologize, but I dislike seeing people twist the law to create politically correct results. And, of course, I’ll add my standard disclaimer — it’s unlikely that anyone other than BarryA will see this post.”

They’re getting awfully postmodernist over there. It’s pretty clear that any credibility ID might have had as an intellectual movement has long ago been squandered by this kind of legalistic petty quibbling about semantics.

Has anyone at UD read any of the literature identified by the plaintiffs? Has any single one of them ever read any scientific publication that bears on the question? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crew that is this proud of their ignorance.

It won’t be long now before even the YECs are seeing through their masquerade and concluding that absence of any scientific content makes ID nothing more than warmed over Scientific Creationism. I imagine that the YECs will at that point decide go with the genuine article and leave Dembski and friends to their meta-analyses.

So what do the readers here think will eventually become of Dembski? I really do think he’ll be going over to the televangelism circuit, hawking his pretty pictures about watchmakers on late night pay-TV infomercials. It’s hard to believe that many of us once thought of him as some kind of scholar, and that his arguments actually needed to be answered seriously. What a joke that he’s become.

The case is over, the decision has been rendered yet those at uncommondescent continue with a “what if” mentality. Not surprising, the “what if” science why not the law as well. Do they know the humor they cause us?

Some of them do, some of them don’t. For instance, AFDave at After the Bar Closes, has posted hundreds of comments. Each of his claims is destroyed ten ways to sunday, after which he claims victory. Most of the IDers, like AFDave, are oblivious. They don’t understand science and they don’t care to. Then you have frauds like Dembski and Behe–people who started out believing what they were saying, and now know they were wrong, but they’re making money off the obliviods, so they keep it going. Dembski doesn’t give a crap if he’s refuted over here or not. He doesn’t give a crap if Elsberry and Shallitt write a book deconstructing his work line by line. Because it’s not going to affect his bank account one whit. The money will roll in, day after day, from the Salvadors, and the DonaldMs, and the BarryAs.…

obliviods

I like it, but shouldn’t that be “oblivioids”?

You are correct sir. A little too much drinky-drinky tonight.

hey, pass that over here, would ya?

If you are anywhere near Durham/RTP NC, you are welcome to it.

alas, unless you have quite an arm on ya, I guess I won’t impose.

It’s a bit of a ways between NC and CA, last i checked.

I think rule 803 will soon become the ID advocates equivalent of the “tuck rule”. I can almost see Dembski dressed in black and silver, with a viking helmet adorned with little plastic skulls on his head, screaming “We wuz robbed, man!!!”

(And I’ll leave our Aussie and European friends to ponder what the heck the “tuck rule” is…)

It’s hard to believe that many of us once thought of him as some kind of scholar, and that his arguments actually needed to be answered seriously. What a joke that he’s become.

Yep, ID is dead. Utterly and unalterably dead. It no longer has any chance at all as any sort of effective political movement. And, from the looks of things, the entire fundamentalist Christian movement is following it headlong into oblivion.

This fight is all but over. ID will follow ICR into obscurity, making its living by continuing to sell religious tracts to the uneducated rubes.

Once, they were a serious threat to democracy. Now, all the IDers are good for is entertainment value.

If I’ve been harsh, then I apologize, but I dislike seeing people twist the law to create politically correct results.

I’ll repeat my standard response to all the nutters who weep and whine about the Kitzmilelr decision:

Sorry that you don’t like the judge’s ruling. Please feel free to whine, weep, moan, groan, jump up and down, and throw as many hissy fits as you want to over it. After all, it simply DOES NOT MATTER whether you like the decision or not. All that matters is that you FOLLOW it. If you don’t, then we’ll sue the crap out of you. (shrug)

Well, I posted a comment last night on UD, but so far it hasn’t shown up. Either they haven’t checked their moderation cue, or they don’t want me to post. Here is what I was going to post, provoked by a link to Andrea’s website and a claim that it supported IC:

IC states that intemediates are unlikely, given that from all we know about changing existing systems, what Andrea says is true. Severe reductions in function generally result from the alteration of even one component.

I would cite what Andrea writes as supportive of IC.

Then you would be wrong. VDJ recombination is accounted for by the highly successful transposon hypothesis (the main issue in the trial and here), and Andrea himself has published peer-reviewed work showing that the CSR system didn’t have to come together all at once.

Despite you folks claiming that PT consists of “ankle-biting” and we need to “raise [our] standards”, we did managed to get a nice detailed post up on the CSR question, when Bottaro’s paper was published.

“3 recent reports use evolution to study mechanisms of antibody diversification” http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]_report.html

We did this just in case anyone like you might want to actually learn some science instead of sitting around on the Uncommon Descent blog, sticking your fingers in your ears, closing your eyes, and saying “LA LA LA LA LA I’M NOT LISTENING LA LA LA LA” any time someone tries to present the evidence of the scientific community’s progress on the question of how the immune system evolved.

Of course, Bottaro didn’t provide an infinitely detailed reconstruction of every single mutation over billions of years – merely a peer-reviewed research study testing a hypothesis – so you guys are cleary justified in dismissing the work completely, ignoring it, not bothering to read the paper, and instead preferring your tremendously detailed miraculous creation explanation instead. (/sarcasm)

PS: BTW, you all have missed Judge Jones’s actual point about the immune system articles. Jones was well aware – exquisitely aware – that the articles didn’t meet Behe’s criteria of being infinitely detailed and giving every mutation over 500 million years ago. We know he was aware of this because he mentioned it in the paragraph just after the ones you guys keep quoting. Here it is:

We find that such evidence demonstrates that the ID argument is dependent upon setting a scientifically unreasonable burden of proof for the theory of evolution.

That’s your real problem. Nothing will satisfy Behe except for infinite detail – every mutation and selection pressure over hundreds of millions of years, hundreds of millions of years ago. Even with a time machine this demand would be impossible to meet. Behe’s demand may be psychologically comforting, since he doesn’t have to bother to read scientific articles to know they aren’t detailed enough. But the demand is ludicrous and unscientific. All science demands is testable hypotheses and passed tests. The transposon hypothesis for the origin of VDJ recombination has passed a bunch of tests – unique and surprising tests – with flying colors – and the results have been published in Science and Nature.

That’s your real problem. Nothing will satisfy Behe except for infinite detail — every mutation and selection pressure over hundreds of millions of years, hundreds of millions of years ago.

Indeed. According to the nutters, science must explain absolutely everything, while ID needn’t explain absolutely ANYTHING.

Of course, that is the only possible tact to take when ID quite simply has no theory to offer and CAN’T explain anything. (shrug)

BarryA, who professes to be a lawyer, posts a reply

August 12, 2006 BarryA Responds to His Critics at Panda’s Thumb

As I write this there have been 80 comments to my posts about the evidence issues implicated by the plaintiffs’ literature bluff at the Dover trial. Our friends at Panda’s Thumb have also opened a thread to discuss my posts see (here) and also (here). For those interested in my response to PT, read on.

1. The Literature Bluff and Jones reliance on it.

To set the stage once again, here is the passage from the transcript where plaintiffs make their literature bluff followed by the passage from Judge Jones’ opinion where he swallowed it hook, line and sinker: …

“Jones reliance”? “Judge Jones’ opinion”? This guy’s supposed to be a lawyer, and he has no idea how to work a possessive apostrophe?

I suppose you all know by now that “BarryA Responds to His Critics at Panda’s Thumb” in now up on UncomDe:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archive

He has, it seems, decided to dig his grave a little deeper.

I find it telling (tho typical) that Barry is afraid to come here to ‘debate’ this, but instead chooses to lay out his arguments on an ID site where opposing views are heavily censored. Says something about his confidence in his whole jailhouse lawyer shtick.

Even LARRY wasn’t that much of a wuss, and HE’s completely insane. :-)

“Jones reliance”? “Judge Jones’ opinion”? This guy’s supposed to be a lawyer, and he has no idea how to work a possessive apostrophe?

(putting on English major’s hat)

Actually, his second instance is correct. It is perfectly acceptable to write “Jones’” instead of “Jones’s”.

As for his, uh, legal opinion, I put it on a par with the big long legal missives written by Beckwith —- pure baloney. The fundies went to Dover, made their arguments, presented their “evidence”, and called all their witnesses. They shot their load. They lost. The fundies might not like it, but … well … tough. (shrug)

Speaking of another Jones, you have to love Stephen E. Jones’ remark that the existence of 58 peer-reviewed articles, books, etc. on the evolution of the immune system actually demonstrates that there isn’t a detailed explanation, because Einstein said it would take “only one” to disprove his work with Relativity. As far as I know, disproving something and making the case for something else, including detailed descriptions of something as complicated as the evolution of the immune system, are two somewhat different things. But I supposed somebody who buys into the ID negative-argument-equals-positive-evidence idea wouldn’t know that.

I think rule 803 will soon become the ID advocates equivalent of the “tuck rule”.

I still remember that game.

grrr.

I think rule 803 will soon become the ID advocates equivalent of the “tuck rule”.

The mind boggles at the unfairness of this trial. The plaintiffs were allowed to have lawyers, they were allowed to present evidence, and then in the end the judge went ahead and actually issued a decision, even though it worked in the plaintiffs’ favor!

Where is the sense of moderation here? Why did no one ever step forward to say “you know, the plaintiffs just plain have too much evidence, this is placing the defense at an unfair disadvantage”?

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

Would we atheists be more common if we banded together to do such things?

Maybe —- but how’re you gonna get the “faith-based” funding?

;)

Atheists should demand faith-based funding. The creationists have been telling you you were a religion for years, so demand that your faith in no-god deserves funding just like their faith in God. After all, you don’t have absolutely proof of no-god, so it’s just faith, right? Only agnostics can’t claim faith in something.

Sure, I know you atheists want to quibble with that, but THINK! FREE MONEY!

:-)

The problem, I suppose, is that when atheists do charitable work, they have no strong desire to declare it as having been done in the name of nobody in particular. You’re just people being nice to other people, you weren’t made to be nice by belief in atheism, while the religious claim a causal connection.

Ahh, wouldn’t it be nice if we (h. sapiens sapiens) could just adopt the sensible philosophy like Matt. 7:12 (the golden rule) without all the superstitious nonsense. Maybe those rules were always there in human culture, and just got co-opted by religion. I wonder.

Michael Suttkus, II Wrote:

Atheists should demand faith-based funding. The creationists have been telling you you were a religion for years, so demand that your faith in no-god deserves funding just like their faith in God. After all, you don’t have absolutely proof of no-god, so it’s just faith, right? Only agnostics can’t claim faith in something.

I’ve always wanted one of our side to try claim tax exempt status on the basis that evolution and/or atheism are religions. We could have a court case, which we would lose, and have it determined once and forall that evolution and/or atheism are not religions.

Anyone want to take one for the team :)

I’d do it myself of course, but as an Aussie working in the US only by the grace of the INS, I’m a little hesitant to rock the boat :)

(Please note I am not trying to imply that evolution implies athiesm or vice versa, just that creationists often claim that evolution is a religion, and that atheism is a religion.)

Re “Anyone want to take one for the team :)”

An interesting if probably rather impractical suggested “strategy”… :ROFL:

Henry

We could have a court case, which we would lose, and have it determined once and forall that evolution and/or atheism are not religions.

No need, it’s already been decided.

In every case where fundies have tried to argue that evolution is a religion, they got laughed right out of the building.

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This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on August 11, 2006 2:12 PM.

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