Dembski as the David Seville of Information Theory

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Mathematician, theologian, and philosopher William A. Dembski branches out, now lending his vocal talents to a Flash animation taking a low-humor poke at federal district court judge John E. Jones III. Jones is represented as a pull-to-speak doll spouting snippets of his decision in a high-pitched voice with added farting noises, and various pro-science advocates (myself included) are represented as pulling the string. Dembski read aloud various portions of the 2005 decision of the court in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, and then pitch-shifted up the result. Pitch-shifting in pop culture is most famously associated with David Seville, the stage name of Ross Bagdasarian, whose single, “Witch Doctor”, went to the top of the charts in 1958. Seville’s other pop culture contribution with pitch-shifting was The Chipmunks, the musical phenomenon that later became a cartoon franchise, with characters Alvin, Simon, and Theodore as the chipmunks and Seville as songwriter/manager/father figure.

The uncredited appearance of Dembski’s voice in the production was worked out by “After the Bar Closes” commenter “keiths” in this comment. Once his role in the production was out in public, Dembski posted a notice to his “Uncommon Descent” blog and also sent out an email to various “intelligent design” creationism critics saying that he’d like them to pass on his request to Judge Jones so that Jones could provide his own voice for their animation project. Dembski generously offered to reduce the frequency of farting noises if Jones agreed to participate. One of the email recipients was University of California at Berkeley professor and NCSE president Kevin Padian, the paleontologist whom Dembski compared to Archie Bunker based on inaccurate hearsay from someone who, it turned out, hadn’t even correctly identified whose lecture he had been listening to. Dembski offered Padian the opportunity to be included in the animated fart-fest if Padian would provide a clear photograph of himself.

This latest foray into “street theater” by Dembski should have people asking the hard question: Is Dembski “the David Seville of Information Theory” or is he “the Isaac Newton of Street Theater”? Enquiring minds want to know.

See Ed Brayton’s exposition on Dembski’s premiere “street theater” event.

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I hesitate to mention this, but I seem to be the target of creationist humor. It's not being targeted that I mind, but that the 'humor' is so lame and the photoshopping is so bad. I would have thought that... Read More

49 Comments

Wesley, is there any trace of “humor” in that animation? It looks more like sheer stupidity of a talentless but spiteful clown. Perhaps Dembski has finally found his real vocation of a cheap jester.

Wes, I’m impressed that you managed to stop laughing log enough to write this.

Bob

Wouldn’t all the farting make him the Terrance and Philip of Information Theory?

Dembski is more like the Neville Chamberlaine of ID: “We will have Intelligent Design in our time! Can I get a ‘praise Jesus’ from the choir?”

Could you quote some of the farting from the soundtrack? I suspect they may be the most intelligent phrases uttered by wMAD in many years.

No offense to Mr Elsberry or the other people, but how many people could recognise Judge John Jones on sight, let alone the others? That’s what I find sad.

Worse, is that overwhelmingevidence is intended for the younger generation. So Dembski is teaching kids to fart at people they don’t recognise.

I’m sure you will all see this at some point, and I assume someone is keeping all this, but here’s Dembski’s latest:

The motivation behind the Judge Jones School of Law by William Dembski on December 17th, 2006 · 1 Comment

The other side is making much about my having attained yet another “new low” in being the creative force behind the Judge Jones School of Law (go to www.overwhelmingevidence.com). Just to be clear, my aim in this flash animation was not to shake up the convictions of convinced Darwinists. Rather, my aim was to render Judge Jones and his decision ridiculous in the eyes of many young people, who from here on will never take Darwinian evolution or him seriously. If the cost of accomplishing this is yet another lowering of my estimation in the eyes of PT or Richard Dawkins, that’s a price I’m only too glad to pay — heck, I regard that as a benefit of the deal.

Dembski is … I lack adjectives. He thinks that young people who see his Judges Jones animation will “from here on never take Darwinian evolution or him seriously.” How stupid does he think young people are? Who does he think his audience is?

And then he says that “If the cost of accomplishing this is yet another lowering of my estimation in the eyes of PT or Richard Dawkins, that’s a price I’m only too glad to pay — heck, I regard that as a benefit of the deal.”

This is a clear sign (as if we needed another one) that he is being driven by personal animosity rather than any reasonable sense of either his cause itself (ID) or of tactics that might influence those in the middle. His behavior is genuinely pathological, it seems to me.

Just who does make these little Flash objects for them? First it was the game, then the nursery rhyme, now a virtual doll. What’s next, a Flash action figure?

And why can’t they drop a line to Judge Jones directly? Or do they think y’all Thumbers have a direct hotline to his office, used whenever innocent science is imperiled by nefarious criminal disasterminds?

”… how many people could recognise Judge John Jones on sight, let alone the others?”

I got all but three, Wes got them all. I can’t believe that Dembski left out Nick. Eric Rothchild should have been peeking over the Judge’s shoulder. And Wes is really on to something, they need a theme song. Maybe Alvin is available?

Well this is clearly the result of an intelligent designer. Anyone know if they used that filter thingy on this? I utilized my ‘making money’ off of religious extremists dectector and found that the overwhelming evidence page has adds for Dembski’s latest book. Hmmmmmm.….. Guess Dembski’s still selling books and not doing science.

Did anyone else notice that all of the women had hairy arms in the animation?

Alvin? Alvin?! Alllvinnnnnn!

I thought the comments quoted were really insightfull and correct.

This seems to be a pro-anti-id cartoon.

Dembski owes chipmunks everywhere an apology.

Has Dembski entering a second childhood? The tone over at UD, never terribly adult at any time, has recently become kindergartenish.

Or maybe DaveScot’s reaction to the scientific demolition of his two attempts to argue molecular evolution has been to retreat to ‘nyah nyah nyah’.

Did anyone else notice that all of the women had hairy arms in the animation?

Yep.

Not that women never have hairy arms (not speaking for me, just putting it out there).

I suppose it has something to do with their assertion about Darwinists all being “curmudgeonly old men” except for “girly man” Dawkins. (Hey! Am I not here?)

Thanks, UDudes. If I stick your heads on my dancing flash animation, will you come over to my blog to do the voices? Solstice present.

This whole episode really backfires on Dr. Dr. Dembski. I can’t understand how he thinks that this animation constitutes either effective propaganda or effective refutation, or for that matter why he thinks it is funny. Unless you’ve already drunk the Kool-Aid and are a TrueBeliever™, the quotes sound rational, notwithstanding the farts and grunts.

In a country where it can be difficult to find someone who can name the current vice-president, let alone recognize his picture, Judge Jones is neither a well-known name nor a recognizable face, so Dembski’s unseemly obsession with him (the “wacky zany” bit on OE, and this animation) make Dembski appear to have crossed to the wrong side of sane and rational. This is compounded by the subsequent bizarre e-mails. What’s up Bill? - you scared yourself out of testifying and now you are trying to find some way of dealing with your big bad bogey-man?

This stunt is just icing on the cake of the last twelve months of Uncommonly Dense. Between the two, he’s shot all hope of ever again being taken seriously. If ID ever makes it back into court, our side is going to do almost anything to haul him into the witness box to testify about his views on ID, and on the law.

It seems that many an “evolutionist” has been been praying Voltaire’s Prayer, and the big guy has really come through!

When I first heard that Dembski was considered (by an elect few) to be “the Newton of Information Theory”, I couldn’t see what either Fig or Wayne had to do with information theory.

Now, Dembski is saying that his animation is.… an “instrument of grace”.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/arch[…]871#comments

“I see the JJSchLaw as an instrument of grace to bring Dawkins and others to their senses (if such a thing were possible).”

Maybe the fart noises are because the ID people don’t know beans?

The farting noises come naturally to them, since they are always talking out of their asses. They probably call it IF - Intelligent Flatulation.

Now if only they were racoons…

This whole episode really backfires on Dr. Dembski

So to speak…

Gerard, don’t insult Dr. Dr. Dembski - he has two Ph.D.’s after all, and according to someone over at UD deserves the appropriate level of respect.

Apparently, that doesn’t include judges. “Do as we say, not as we do.” (I’m sure that’s in the bible somewhere.)

Hey, Bill, PPFFFFFFTTT.

One of the leaders of the ID movement made a flash animation with fart noises.

I just like saying that.

One of the biggest names in ID…thought fart noises were appropriate for mockery.

I love this!

Wow! I am impressed that Dr. Dr. Dembski, the Isaac Newton of Information Theory, in the last week, has managed to call Judge Jones, a narcissistic putz, a schlemiel, and made a satire of him farting and using a funny voice. A scientific mind should not be wasted on backing up ones claims with evidence, when name calling and kiddy propaganda can achieve ones goals a bit quicker. The reason people get a kick out of Dr. Dembski’s antics is because his reasoning is so pathetic. I thought the evidence behind ID was so strong that you would be crazy not to see the truth? He posted the kiddy propaganda on Overwhelmingevidence.com, why? Because there is no content to ID, just attacks on evolution.

Looks like the Isaac Newton of Information Theory has deep-sixed his farting noises on his Flash animation. Given the feedback from his peers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him cite the animation as a peer reviewed journal article supporting ID.

OMG, this is beyond self-parody:

From UD, Dembski on deleting the fart noises:

(we are keeping the original, however, so that when the history of evolution’s demise is written, all versions of this animation will be available to historians).

These records will be a goldmine to future fartologists.

I never thought I’d say this, but everyone should go read the stuff on this issue on UD before Dembski gets some sense and deletes it all. It has moved past self-parody. I don’t know which broke more ribs, reading the debate over whether Judge Jones’ offenses rose to the level where Jesus would approve of mocking farting, or Davescot taking the mantle of Uber Role Model for Children over a concerned school teacher.

Don’t just read it, archive it. Archive all of it.

Dawkins’s site saved a copy of the original.

http://richarddawkins.net/article,4[…]am-A-Dembski

reading the debate over whether Judge Jones’ offenses rose to the level where Jesus would approve of mocking farting,

That was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read on that site. These clowns are so entertaining. Breathtaking inanity.

hmm, Dembski’s latest (not clever beyond measure) “contribution” is so over the top ridiculous that it makes me think it might just be a distraction from something far more underhanded they are trying to pull.

what else is going on out there right now, that this kind of idiotic jesterism might be drawing our eye away from?

Is it to draw attention away from what Souder is up to?

something else?

after all, all Dembksi is to the ID movement anymore is simply a distraction anyway.

When will Dembski graduate from elementary school? From his public antics on line, it would appear his sole ambition is to be a buffoon, perhaps in a never-written Moliere comedy. I think he would fit right in.

Or maybe we could interest Mel Brooks or Eric Idle in creating new Broadway shows, “The Creationists” or “Liealot.” Dembski’s blatherings could provide most of the lyrics.

When will Dembski graduate from elementary school? From his public antics on line, it would appear his sole ambition is to be a buffoon, perhaps in a never-written Moliere comedy. I think he would fit right in.

Or maybe we could interest Mel Brooks or Eric Idle in creating new Broadway shows, “The Creationists” or “Liealot.” Dembski’s blatherings could provide most of the lyrics.

Dembski is … I lack adjectives.

The tone over at UD, never terribly adult at any time, has recently become kindergartenish.

The best fitting German adjective for UD is “freudlos”.

UD’s tactics has been appropriately described as throwing Dreck (another German word) on people in the hope that something will stick. Thus, Double Doc Dembski is indeed unintentionally applying some kind of evolutionary algorithm to run UD: Randomly chosen statements (to label them as arguments would be far too much) obviously not being intelligent and displaying only lousy design are first thrown into the environment. After that Dembski and Co are hoping that selection will find those statements that do the worst to the evolutionary biology. Their proliferation in the net can indeed be traced and is a measure for their success and one may even generate some kind of stupidity and Dreck clocks from these data.

Apparently he doesn’t believe that some convincing evidence for ID will show up some day.

Sorry, I must apologize. Following UD’s logic throwing Dreck is not an evolutionary algorithm because the Dreck is indeed front-loaded and the selection in UD’s comments is biased due to pre-programming effects of DaveScot’s moderation policy.

I love humor. Especially when it is witty, dry, clever and biting. But, in judging Dembski’s little piece just on its humorous merits alone, it really fails on all accounts. To say it is sophomoric would be to elevate to a collegiate level of humor that it really doesn’t deserve. Sophomoric humor can at least be clever.

But there is something telling in all this. If you go back through the archives of UD and looks at Dembski’s other humorous postings you will definitely find a trend. He seems to have penchant for the kind of sniggery, hand-over-mouth type humor that appeals mostly to 10-year old boys. Not exactly what you expect from a twice-doctored professor. His sense of humor is childish in every sense of the word. I could not imagine the likes of Dawkins or Eugenie Scott, although they do definitely have good senses of humor, ever resorting to such a level of immaturity. It really makes me wonder about Dembski’s state of mind and what his world-view is. Yet to his mind he obviously thinks himself funny, and sadly he has enough fawning sycophants around to maintain that delusion for him (although it is telling that several on UD are less than happy with what he is doing with this flash animation). Also, there seems to be a very unhealthy obsession with Judge Jones that he really ought to give up, if not for the rest of us at least for his own peace of mind.

I’ve been following UD for several months as an attempt to try and openly understand what Intelligent Design is all about. But of course it did not take me long to realize that Dembski has nothing to say about ID anymore. He is truly more interested in apologetics and being “an instrument of grace” than writing anything about helpful or insightful about ID.

I cannot find a single original piece of writing on UD about ID from Dembski for months now – his attempts to blog are mostly just links to other peoples articles. They are either anti-evolution and ad hominem attacks, or links to other articles that reference ID (usually tangentially). He never writes anything original. Compare him to other bloggers like PZ Meyers and it would not be unreasonable to draw a conclusion that Dembski seems to have exhausted original thought.

It’s a strange situation, almost like a cult. A leader who is bright enough to say what some folks want to hear, but having to compensate for enormous professional failure. An immense but delicate ego, who, when he could not become famous in the legitimate scholarly world, invented a new one in which he could reign over others without being challenged. It’s sad, yes, but more so that so many cannot see that the emperor has no clothes. When he runs out of kool-aid, he will be quite alone.

“Has Dembski entering a second childhood?”

Naahhh.

He’s still finishing up his first.

“Rather, my aim was to render Judge Jones and his decision ridiculous in the eyes of many young people, who from here on will never take Darwinian evolution or him seriously.”

Unfortunately for Dembski, good ridicule takes wit. Something he lacks.

Most young people over the age of 10 will wonder what is funny about internet flatulence. Unable to argue his way out of a paper bag, Dembski has given up the ghost, and instead of writing arguments in defense of ID, he is trying humor.

Only one problem. Dembski simply isn’t funny.

William A. 'Divine Wind' Dembski Wrote:

I see the JJSchLaw as an instrument of grace to bring Dawkins and others to their senses (if such a thing were possible).

This animation must be the result of that secret DI-funded research program Paul Nelson was babbling about a few months ago.

As a comedy writer (who can actually get people to PAY for stuff I wrote), I can say, “ Mr. Dembski…don’t try that at home. Leave it to the trained professionals.”

William Dembski, the Clown Prince of Fartistry

Wesley R. Elsberry Wrote:

Seville’s other pop culture contribution with pitch-shifting was The Chipmunks, the musical phenomenon that later became a cartoon franchise, with characters Alvin, Simon, and Theodore as the chipmunks and Seville as songwriter/manager/father figure.

The 1961-62 prime time cartoon featured a recurring commercial: J-E-L-L.…(David): Alvin!..(Alvin):O…K!? That’s “Jello,” as in “written in.”

Hey, at least he’s doing something. This could be his best work. Even the Olivia Newton John of Information Theory has to earn a paycheck.

(I’m new here) I remember one time in middle-school I got my ass kicked by this huge kid. I was about 98 pounds and not a very good fighter and I just got destroyed. Afterwords, the shame of it all just got to me and, in a vain (vein?) attempt to do somehting to regain my, well, dignity, I decided to write (cringe) that my attacker was “gay” all over the school, on tables, lockers, wherever … In hindsight, its easy to see how idiotic my reaction was (not that this boy-man beating me up was warrented - the way Science and Reason humiliating ID in Dover was warrented), but it shows how an immature person deals with utter humiliation. So I see where Dembski is coming from, that poor little thing … G

Welcome, Conn!

I think two words come to mind in describing Dembski:

Arrested Development

Thanks for the Welcome!

I actually tried to get in touch Dembski when I was writing my thesis … kind of glad I didn’t - though I love is red plaid jacket in the BBC “war on science” doc.

happy holidays all, g

May be I am “old fart” (pun intended), but I don’t find the anymation funny at all. Old foggers like me are so not funny ;-)

Wait a sec, is not me is that Dumbsky is not funny at all !!!!!!!!!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on December 16, 2006 8:10 PM.

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