The Vise Strategy Undone

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Barbara Forrest has written an article that will supposedly appear in January’s print edition of Skeptical Inquirer but is available online now. Titled, The “Vise Strategy” Undone, it’s a recount of the events leading up to and including the Dover trial. And it contrasts William Dembski’s pre-trial fantasies about forcing “Darwinists” to testify under oath (his self-described “vise strategy”) against what actually happened, which is that pro-science testimony carried the day while Dembski and most of his crew chickened out.

Although we’ve all been inundated with tales of Dover for the last year, this article contains a lot stuff that was new to me. This part was my fave:

Dover’s problems actually started in 2002. Bertha Spahr, chair of Dover High School’s science department, began to encounter animosity from Dover residents toward the teaching of evolution. In January 2002, board member Alan Bonsell began pressing for the teaching of creationism. In August, a mural depicting human evolution, painted by a 1998 graduating senior and donated to the science department, disappeared from a science classroom. The four-by-sixteen-foot painting had been propped on a chalkboard tray because custodians refused to mount it on the wall. Spahr learned that the building and grounds supervisor had ordered it burned. In June 2004, board member William Buckingham, Bonsell’s co-instigator of the ID policy, told Spahr that he “gleefully watched it burn” because he disliked its portrayal of evolution.

That’s so wrong on so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin.

(Cross-posted to Sunbeams from Cucumbers.)

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Via The Panda's Thumb, I found this article by Barbara Forrest that nicely summarizes the Kitzmiller decision. My jaw dropped open when I read this bit:In August, a mural depicting human evolution, painted by a 1998 graduating senior and donated to the... Read More

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Thanks for the link to the Barbara Forrest article, which is certainly well done!

But this account can’t be a valid scholastic critique - there are no fart noises!

board member William Buckingham, Bonsell’s co-instigator of the ID policy, told Spahr that he “gleefully watched it burn” because he disliked its portrayal of evolution.

The moral righteousness I’m feeling right now, it’s like a good strong cigarette.

And no one was prosecuted for that destruction of public property?

Why not?

Willfully (and gleefully) destroying artwork donated by school children. That is low.

When can we declare the “Intelligent Design” movement officially dead in the USA? They seem to have given up here and moved to England, where the snubbing was initially slow but now fast and furious. The DI had a very lame year-end review of all of their supposed successes since Dover, but it was pure fantasy.

Or are we at a vacant interim, while we wait for “Sudden Emergence Theory” to make its debut?

I say we remain vigilant, but get back to doing real science while the DI reels into a disillusioned state of irrelevance.

I wish I had the skills of Barbara, she is truly a great asset and feared by ID. for obvious reasons

… Dembski has been reduced to riding the coattails of conservative pundit Ann Coulter, who devoted four chapters of her latest book, Godless, to attacking evolution. These chapters contain the standard creationist canards, but with Coulter’s recognizable stylistic stamp: “Imagine a giant raccoon passed gas and perhaps the resulting gas might have created the vast variety of life we see on Earth. And if you don’t accept the giant raccoon flatulence theory for the origin of life, you must be a fundamentalist Christian nut who believes the Earth is flat. That’s basically how the argument for evolution goes.” [63] Coulter credits her ability to write these chapters to “the generous tutoring of Michael Behe, David Berlinski, and William Dembski, all of whom are fabulous at translating complex ideas.” [64] Dembski acknowledges his assistance: “I’m happy to report that I was in constant correspondence with Ann regarding her chapters on Darwinism —indeed, I take all responsibility for any errors in those chapters.” [65] He has dubbed Coulter “the Wedge for the masses.” [66]

hahaha Coulter won the donkey trifecta, the 3 mad Doctors of dualism. The unholy trinity of multiple personalities.

Behe, who just knows real science is .…er unreal like astrology.… and he knows because he can read his own mind.

Berlinski Berlinksi the man who interviews himself …himself, and Dr. Dr. Wedge-Vise Dembski.

Gee Dembski has a hide to go after his pound of flesh, the guy is the absolute last word in ID scruples.

Coulter is “the Wedge for the masses?” I heard it was “asses.”

Has anyone seen this new book about Coulter; Brainless

What’s the saying? Those who burn books will eventually burn people?

Barbara is a real treasure. Thank you Barbara (and Steve for the link).

It appears that this article has gotten Dembski into another snit.

Over here at UD

He challenges Forrest for a symposium debate. I say she go for it. My prediction is that Dembski will make unreasonable demands (including, likely, that he and his crowd not have to pony up any cash, as well as limits on what can be used), and then he won’t attend, claiming “bias” or some other foofaraw.

Not surprisingly Dembski felt compelled to ‘respond’ on UcD.

First Barbara

Barbara Forrest Wrote:

These tactics by DeWolf and Dembski highlight the bankruptcy of ID and the blustering cowardice of its leaders, who must capture support with brazen deceit and sarcastic punditry. The trial was Dembski’s moment to shine, to explain on the legal record why ID is a “full scale scientific revolution,” as he wrote in The Design Revolution (InterVarsity Press, 2004, p. 19). Instead, plaintiffs’ witness Robert Pennock read to Judge Jones Dembski’s statement regarding ID’s revolutionary status— and then dismantled it [67]. Ironically, Dembski had his arch-critics right where he wanted us —on the witness stand and under oath. He could have been there, implementing his strategy, helping to “squeeze the truth” out of us, “as it were.” In November 2005, after the trial ended, Dembski posted on his “Design Inference” website a pdf made from his May 11 and 16, 2005, “vise strategy” blog pages, labeled as a “Document prepared to assist the Thomas More Law Center in interrogating the ACLU’s expert witnesses in the Dover case.” He appended a list of “Suggested Questions,” which, he wrote, “will constitute a steel trap that leave the Darwinists no room to escape.” [68] But when he had an opportunity to witness firsthand how his trap would operate, he was nowhere to be found. He “escaped critical scrutiny” by quitting rather than face cross-examination. He is apparently $20,000 richer for it, however, marking yet another difference between us: whereas I served pro bono, Dembski charged $200 per hour and threatened to sue TMLC for payment for 100 hours of work he claims to have done prior to quitting. In late June 2005, he told Canadian ID supporter Denyse O’Leary that TMLC had agreed to pay him. [69]

After ID’s dramatic, unequivocal defeat in Kitzmiller, Dembski’s priorities remained remarkably consistent: “This galvanizes the Christian community. … People I’m talking to say we’re going to be raising a whole lot more funds now.” [70] If failure is that lucrative, one can only imagine how well-remunerated he and his ID colleagues would be if they could tell the truth and back up their claims about “intelligent design theory.”

And then Bill’s response

Dembski Wrote:

(4) Forrest charges me with cowardice. This from a woman whose critique of ID has made her the darling of a secular elite that rules the academy. Has her job, salary, privilege, or social status ever in any way been compromised for her role as an ID critic? She wears her position as a foremost critic of ID as a badge of honor. Indeed, her endowed professorship is just one of the many benefits she has received for assuming the role of ID critic (where would her career be without me?). Perhaps we can settle the matter of cowardice directly: let Forrest and me debate the matter at a symposium spanning a day with each of us delivering two hour-long lectures and then going toe-to-toe in a final debate.

Barbara seems to have touched a nerve. Yet, was it not Dembski’s victorious email that caused him to compromise his position at Baylor’s “ Michael Polanyi Center”?

The report marks the triumph of intelligent design as a legitimate form of academic inquiry. This is a great day for academic freedom. I’m deeply grateful to President Sloan and Baylor University for making this possible, as well as to the peer review committee for its unqualified affirmation of my own work on intelligent design. The scope of the Center will be expanded to embrace a broader set of conceptual issues at the intersection of science and religion, and the Center will therefore receive a new name to reflect this expanded vision. My work on intelligent design will continue unabated. Dogmatic opponents of design who demanded the Center be shut down have met their Waterloo. Baylor University is to be commended for remaining strong in the face of intolerant assaults on freedom of thought and expression.

Dembski was relieved of his duties

William Dembski was relieved of his duties as director of Baylor University’s Michael Polanyi Center today. He will remain associate professor in conceptual foundations of science within the university’s Institute for Faith and Learning.

and Dembski released yet another press release

Baylor University President Robert Sloan has removed me as director of the Michael Polanyi Center despite his having personally solicited me to come to Baylor and establish the Center as a means of furthering work on intelligent design. Some Baylor faculty have exerted enormous pressure on Baylor to disassociate the university from me and my research. Earlier President Sloan had properly characterized these efforts as “intellectual McCarthyism.”

Because I released a press statement [see above] applauding the results of the peer review committee that passed upon and approved the academic soundness of my work, I am now being labeled as not “collegial” and the statement is said to have fatally compromised my ability to serve as Director. My press release allowed me publicly to state my full support for the results of the peer review committee report. Having made that statement, I then expected to proceed full steam ahead to implement the committee’s recommendations by expanding the scope of the center while still focusing my own research on intelligent design – just as the peer review committee recommended and President Sloan agreed.

Instead, I was informed that my press release created a “firestorm” on campus. Shockingly, the administration formally asked me to retract my press release. I explained that the press release accurately conveyed how I perceived the outcome of the peer review committee and that for me to retract it would be tantamount to giving in to the censorship and vilification against me that had been a constant feature since I arrived on campus. I could not and would not betray all that I have worked for in my professional career.

In the utmost of bad faith, the administration claimed my refusal to retract my press release constituted a lack of collegiality on my part and charged that this compromised my ability to serve as director, thereby providing the fig leaf of justification for my removal. Intellectual McCarthyism has, for the moment, prevailed at Baylor. The announcement of my removal from the Polanyi Center directorship states that I am to be kept on in my capacity as an Associate Professor in Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning. I look forward in that capacity to continuing to work on intelligent design and its implications.

So close and then he threw it all away.

Barbara Forrest was exposed to much mud slinging from both the lawyers as well as the Discovery Institute for exposing the historical roots of Intelligent Design. Combined with the scientific vacuity of ID, it is clear that ‘ID (as a science) is dead’. ID as a Christian movement will undoubtedly continue, or as Barbara so well stated: “The legal defeat of ID is forcing Wedge strategists to seek new markets for their creationism and to work their conservative Christian market more thoroughly. “

Red State Rabble on Forrest

Forrest combines a frank, straightforward manner with considerable personal charm. A barely detectable drawl hints at her Louisiana upbringing. Even in this newly liberated age she insisted on a courtly chivalry from her sons, who she raised to open doors and give their seats to sometimes uncomprehending modern women. She is a tiny woman, whose diminutive physical size belies great personal courage and a strong commitment to acting as a public intellectual.

Despite her tiny physical stature, personal warmth, and old-fashioned Southern manners, Forrest seems to bring out the worst in those who say they want to restore traditional values to a society they fear is fast going to hell in a handbasket.

Richard Thompson, the lead attorney for the Thomas More Law Center, which describes itself the sword and shield for people of faith, went to extraordinary lengths to prevent the soft-spoken Forrest, a professor of Philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University, from testifying as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the Dover intelligent design trial last fall.

and

In September, as the Dover trial got underway, Thomas filed a highly unusual motion to exclude Forrest’s testimony, expert reports, and the data they were based on. The motion described Forrest as “little more than a conspiracy theorist and a web-surfing cyber-stalker.”

At the trial, Thomas’ questioning of Forrest’s credentials centered on her membership in the American Civil Liberties Union, American United for Separation of Church and State, and the New Orleans Secular Humanist Organization, which, he hinted darkly, made her unfit to be an expert witness.

The hostility of Richard Thompson’s defense team was more than matched by activists in the intelligent design movement. John West of the Seattle-based intelligent design think tank, the Discovery Institute, for example, described Forrest’s expert witness report as “innuendos and conspiracy-mongering” a “potpourri of smears and overheated rhetoric.” He went on to predict, wrongly as it turned out, that Judge Jones would rule Forrest’s expert report and testimony inadmissible in court.

Forrest charges me with cowardice. This from a woman

Yell “Tu quoque!” much, Bill? A refutation of the charges seems lacking.

whose critique of ID has made her the darling of a secular elite that rules the academy. Has her job, salary, privilege, or social status ever in any way been compromised for her role as an ID critic? She wears her position as a foremost critic of ID as a badge of honor. Indeed, her endowed professorship is just one of the many benefits she has received for assuming the role of ID critic

How does any of this amount to cowardice?

(where would her career be without me?)

Bill’s pathetic version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

Perhaps we can settle the matter of cowardice directly: let Forrest and me debate the matter at a symposium spanning a day with each of us delivering two hour-long lectures and then going toe-to-toe in a final debate.

This would “settle the matter of cowardice”? directly?

Bill Dembski, aside from being a proven coward, you are an IDIOT.

I take all responsibility for any errors in those chapters.

We should take Dembski seriously about this. For instance, “According to Ann Coulter’s ghost writer William Dembski, the theory of evolution holds that the diversity of life on Earth is a result of a giant raccoon passing gas.”

So when Dembski starts losing the debate, would the audience be treated to live farting from Dembski as evidence of his intellectual/creative prowess?

Actually, if Dembski does somehow get to a debate, I’d like to see him called on his association with Ann Coulter. If he’s so big on her, does he agree with such statements she’s made as noted at salon.com.

Regarding Iraq: “[I]f my plans had been implemented, the anti-war crowd would be weeping about Iraqi civilian deaths so much they wouldn’t have time to pretend they gave a damn about the loss of American lives.”

Regarding the mideast: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians.

I suppose that, since he’s quite the booster for her, he clearly wishes we were engaged in carpet bombing in Iraq to the point where mass amounts of civilians are wiped out, followed by forced religious conversion. Engaging him on her extremism would be quite amusing, especially considering the whole “Atheists and/or Darwinists are immoral” schtick that goes on over at UD.

From Dulce et decorum est by Wilfred Owen

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! — An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime … Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

Dembski claims that he demanded his $20,000 from the poor saps at the TMLC (and possibly indirectly, from the even poorer saps at the Dover school board, and therefore the Dover residents) because:

Unlike Forrest and Miller, who have nice cushy jobs with tenure, at the time I came on as an expert witness for Thomas More, I was in the process of losing my job with Baylor.

So, since things thankfully turned out to be OK for Dembski after all, with subsequent “cushy” jobs at important Theological Seminaries that he is certainly unlikely to loose because of his opposition to “Darwinism” and advocacy of ID, I would imagine he will agree that the ethical thing to do now is to donate the proceedings back to either the TMLC, or to the Dover school system, as appropriate. Right?

This would “settle the matter of cowardice”? directly?

Those ID guys are very good at making use of the logical fallacy thing, but they usually do a pretty crappy job in constructing a halfway decently persuasive fallacious argument. That’s because they’re morons.

Dembski accuses Forrest and Miller of having cushy, tenured jobs while Dembski was doing…what?

Getting paid.

For nothing.

Classes to teach at Baylor? No. Papers to grade at Baylor? No. Research projects, symposia to organize, ID to promote at Baylor? No.

Dembski wrote that after he was sacked as director of the Creationists-R-Us Institute Baylor paid him for the next 4-5 years.

Paid him to do nothing.

Meanwhile, Forrest and Miller were teaching classes, grading papers, doing research projects, organizing symposia and promoting science. That’s a cushy job? Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

Now, I don’t know about you guys but getting paid to do sod all sounds like a pretty cushy deal to me.

Doc Bill — Boring as all get out, which leads to eating too much rich food, which leads to the discovery of

Devine Wind!

PvM coos:

I wish I had the skills of Barbara, she is truly a great asset and feared by ID. for obvious reasons.

Au contraire my misinformed friend, Barbara Foreest is considered a joke by most IDP’s and to be very intellectually dishonest. She is “feared” by no one in ID. But, by all means, enjoy your delusion!

She is “feared” by no one in ID.

Right. That’s why they desperately tried to get her testimony excluded at the Kitzmiller trial, and failing that they shamefully tried to personally smear her, focusing on anything but what she had to say. Very believable.

Fantastic article. Ms. Forrest has a very concise and professional style. Assuming her speaking skills are as polished as her writing, it’s no wonder the defense in the Dover trial did all they could think of to discredit her.

And this is the person Dembski wants to debate face to face? Oh, I hope so. Like someone else said, you can’t buy entertainment like that…

Intellectually dishonest? Got anything other than the stark accusation to back that up with? Thats all we ever get from you “IDP”s is hot air. Considering that you’ve lost every legal case you’ve been involved in I would say that the burden of proof is squarely in your court for ANY kind of claim you make. Expecting us to take you at your word is idiotic.

Perhaps we can settle the matter of cowardice directly: let Forrest and me debate the matter at a symposium spanning a day with each of us delivering two hour-long lectures and then going toe-to-toe in a final debate.

Er.… didn’t Bill agree to debate Ken Millar after Dover (Case Western University Jan 6th 2006) - and then fail to show up, without even having the courtesy to cancel??

Millar gave a great presentation - which starts off with a subtle dig at Bill - he starts off the talk with “well I guess I’m next”.

For anyone who wants to know what a Dembski ‘debate’ looks like you can watch Millar’s talk here:

Ken Millar debates an non-existent Bill Dembski

So basically Bill issues thes grand challenges - then runs away like a litte girl when someone decides to take him up.

‘All fur coat and no knickers’ as we say in the UK

Dean Morrison wrote

Er.… didn’t Bill agree to debate Ken Millar after Dover (Case Western University Jan 6th 2006) - and then fail to show up, without even having the courtesy to cancel??

Dembski agreed in principle, but then (a) demurred on the format (a discussion of the evidence supporting ID as distinguished from bogus criticisms of evolution), and then (b) partway through the negotiations switched us to the Disco Institute to negotiate arrangements. So his participation fell through. Ken Miller came and did a great talk, though.

And Dembski didn’t issue that challenge – we did, responding to a Cal Thomas column in USA Today. Dembski initially accepted, and then the negotiations over format failed. (Reminiscent of his non-participation in Kitzmiller, in fact.)

RBH

Dean Morrison — Around here little girls learn Akido…

For more video of ID creationism advocates in a debate setting, try this page.

Bill ‘Divine Wind’ Dembski, Michael ‘The Alchemist’ Behe, and Warren ‘What Establishment Clause?’ Nord for IDC; me, Ken Miller, and Genie Scott for good science education.

What’s interesting is how very little IDC advocates have had to say about the events of June 17th, 2001 since that time.

Dean Morrison — Around here little girls learn Akido…

yep - sorry - didn’t mean to insult little girls by comparison with Dembski - especially as my ex-girlfriend is an Aikido Black Belt.

.….

and thanks for putting me straight on the details RBH - but as far as I’m concerned Dembski chickened out, and for him to accuse Barabara Forrest of ‘cowardice’ shows what a ‘silly billy’ he is.

Au contraire my misinformed friend, Barbara Foreest is considered a joke by most IDP’s and to be very intellectually dishonest. She is “feared” by no one in ID. But, by all means, enjoy your delusion!

Haha, you go on thinking that Donald if it helps you sleep at night.

Tell ole William “Devine Wind” Dembski that there is no need to debate him anywhere, because he chickend out when it mattered anyway.

Poor ole William, left with nothing more to his career than the fart noises he has fallen to in trying to attack his opponents positions.

I’d almost shed a tear it’s so sad.

Almost.

Donald M Wrote:

PvM coos:

I wish I had the skills of Barbara, she is truly a great asset and feared by ID. for obvious reasons.

Au contraire my misinformed friend, Barbara Foreest is considered a joke by most IDP’s and to be very intellectually dishonest. She is “feared” by no one in ID. But, by all means, enjoy your delusion!

It’s common to ridicule that which we do not understand my dear ID friend. If Barbara were truly considered to be nothing more than a joke, why did the many attempts to trivialize her contributions, why the efforts to have her testimony excluded.

Seems that the ‘joke’ is on you.

Forrest Wrote:

He [Dembski] has dubbed Coulter “the Wedge for the masses.”

Considering flatulent raccoons and flash animations, its more like “the Wedge for the gasses.”

Reading Coulter’s Godless was one of the most scary experiences of my life.

If we might take a break on troll-feeding, I highly recommend following the earlier link to Dembski’s comments on UD and the subsequent link to his “Vice Strategy” that he thought was going to be so devastating to scientists. It’s a joke, one long string of equivocations, black/white fallacies, insistence on absolutes, and appeals to authority. It would have gotten shredded. Here are two of my favorite examples of questions Dembski thought would trap the scientists:

Would you be comfortable in claiming that intelligence constitutes a legitimate category of explanation within the natural sciences? If so, then how can you say that intelligent design is non-scientific?

Can you say “non sequitor”?

and this:

But how can you say that ID is not testable. Over and over again, Darwin in his Origin of Species compared the ability of his theory to explain biological data with the ability of a design hypothesis to explain those same data. Moreover, Darwin stressed in the Origin that “a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” How, then, can you say that ID is not testable when Darwin clearly claimed to be simultaneously testing a design hypothesis against his own theory?

Note the religiously tainted authoritarian presumptions. Darwin said it (supposedly), therefore we have to accept it.

What a joke. Dembski seems to consistently get involved in situations where his ass getting kicked is assured, then runs away at the last minute claiming he would have won. It’s the perfect strategy to keep ones biases unsullied by facts.

You need radiometric dating to date the fossils in the first place

For absolute dates yes, for relative age no.

Geology as currently practiced requires evolutionary theory

I’m not really sure I’d phrase it like this Andrea. Evolutionary theory explains why fossils change over time and it is this change which ultimately enables biostratigraphy. However, this would remain the case, irrespective of whether or not we knew anything about evolution. The geologic column was developed considerably before Darwin came along.

Creationists frequently charge the geologic column with being an evolutionary construct, hoping to tarnish by association. However, it was developed entirely independently of evolutionary theory.

SteveF: I’m not really sure I’d phrase it like this Andrea. Evolutionary theory explains why fossils change over time and it is this change which ultimately enables biostratigraphy. However, this would remain the case, irrespective of whether or not we knew anything about evolution. The geologic column was developed considerably before Darwin came along.

Well, I am no geologist, but it seems to me that while the existing observations would remain the same, the predictive power of biostratigraphy is based on an evolutionary framework. If the current dominating idea were that a whimsical Intelligent Designer created organisms at the time and place of His choosing, then the position of fossils in the geologic column could well be arbitrary, and one could not assign strata to geological epochs based on them. That’s why Creationists spent so much time inventing bizarre mechanisms to explain the biotratigraphical evidence in a non-evolutionary way.

Ro’B: That appears to be a fine example of circular reasoning.

No, it isn’t. You can assign strata to certain geological epochs based on the fossils they contain (relative dating). If you directly dated rocks in the same strata using radioisotopic methods, you’d find that rocks from strata with the same type fossil date to the same times. That’s why geologists in the field do not bother radioisotoping every rock they encounter in order to date it, because relative dating using fossils is generally accurate enough. Get it?

You might want to read up on the term creole, friend. It need not refer to persons of mixed racial heritage.

Yes, that’s why I used “ethnic stereotyping” instead of “racial stereotyping”. You might want to read up on the meaning of “ethnic”, I guess.

The output of people associated with the DI ultimately has nothing to do with the “quality” of Barbara Forrest’s work.

Neither does her affiliation, or the fact that she is a historian/philosopher of science instead of a scientist. It’s you who are using those as negative labels, not me. As for the quality of her work, so far all you did was to quote a sentence by Forrest and Gross and claim it was wrong, but of course the only one wrong was you.

If you want to criticize her work, by all means do it, but so far all you have done is to use irrelevant name-calling, and manage to sound like a fool.

I found the answer key to *every* class at Baylor here:

http://tinyurl.com/yf45gr

For anyone wanting to follow up on what SteveF is saying check out The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology.

From the Amazon page for this work.

Born to humble parents, Smith was also a child of the Industrial Revolution (the year of his birth, 1769, also saw Josiah Wedgwood open his great factory, Etruria, Richard Arkwright create his first water-powered cotton-spinning frame, and James Watt receive the patent for the first condensing steam engine). While working as surveyor in a coal mine, Smith noticed the abrupt changes in the layers of rock as he was lowered into the depths. He came to understand that the different layers–in part as revealed by the fossils they contained–always appeared in the same order, no matter where they were found. He also realized that geology required a three-dimensional approach. Smith spent the next 20 some years traveling throughout Britain, observing the land, gathering data, and chattering away about his theories to those he met along the way, thus acquiring the nickname “Strata Smith.” In 1815 he published his masterpiece: an 8.5- by 6-foot, hand-tinted map revealing “A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales.”

Note the age.

This is long before Darwin’s work and had an immense effect on thinkers at a time when slavery was predominant in North America and world trade was creating a new never before seen social class on Earth the petite Bourgeoisie.

Of course there are some who wish this were not the case.

If anyone fancies reading more on early geology, the following article is a good place to start. Funnily enough, its on an apologetics website. It also mentions my PhD site so I’m happy!

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p82.htm

My last post to Andrea got taken to the Bathroom wall. In the extraordinarily unlikely event that anyone cares what I have to say, here it is again:

Andrea

Well, I am no geologist, but it seems to me that while the existing observations would remain the same, the predictive power of biostratigraphy is based on an evolutionary framework.

Biostrat requires the change over time that is explained by evolution. However, it didn’t need this framework before it could begin to operate. It simply needed the observation of change.

So, it is best to say that geology requires evolution but doesn’t require evolutionary theory. This is what enabled British geologists (e.g. William Smith) to start constructing the geologic column before Darwin came on the scene.

This might seem like semantic nitpicking but I think it is quite important. Young Earth Creationists attempt to deny the validity of the geologic column by suggesting that it is a fiction dreamt up to support evolutionary biology. This isn’t true as the column was in existence before Chuck D; it is an indpendent achievement (and no less of one in this geologists opinion!).

Andrea writes:

“ Well, I am no geologist, but it seems to me that while the existing observations would remain the same, the predictive power of biostratigraphy is based on an evolutionary framework.”

No it not. Biostratigraphy was developed decades before OOS was published. The predictive power of biostratigraphy is due to the superpostion principle, not evolution.

SteveF writes:

“Biostrat requires the change over time that is explained by evolution. However, it didn’t need this framework before it could begin to operate. It simply needed the observation of change.”

Biostratigraphy simply requires change in life over geologic time. Whether that is do to terra-formers or evolution is not relevant to stratigraphy.

“So, it is best to say that geology requires evolution but doesn’t require evolutionary theory. This is what enabled British geologists (e.g. William Smith) to start constructing the geologic column before Darwin came on the scene.”

Stratigraphy in general requires change. How that change is accomplished is not particularly relevant for stratigraphy.

“This might seem like semantic nitpicking but I think it is quite important. Young Earth Creationists attempt to deny the validity of the geologic column by suggesting that it is a fiction dreamt up to support evolutionary biology. This isn’t true as the column was in existence before Chuck D; it is an indpendent achievement (and no less of one in this geologists opinion!).”

Yes. For all intents and purposes fossils are passive markers found in rocks as far as stratigraphy is concerned. Lithologic characteristics with or without fossils are used to define units and formations. The basic operation of stratigraphy requires nothing of evolution.

Stuart,

I rather think we are saying the same thing. The simple fact of the matter is that evolution explains the changes required for biostrat; the variation observed enables relative dating. Strictly speaking, evolution wasn’t necessary; it could be any agent of change, however in the absence of any other mechanism, it seems fair to say that evolution was necessary (but not understanding of evolution).

I rather think we are saying the same thing. The simple fact of the matter is that evolution explains the changes required for biostrat; the variation observed enables relative dating. Strictly speaking, evolution wasn’t necessary; it could be any agent of change, however in the absence of any other mechanism, it seems fair to say that evolution was necessary (but not understanding of evolution).

I know it’s semantics, but as long as the change involved is biological change, it would be called “evolution”. It would not have to be evolution as we know it (RM + NS +), but it would still be evolution. It could even be IDist evolution, strictly for the sake of biostratigraphy (and not for explaining the details of that change).

The one caveat I’d add is that it is also true that successive extinction/creation events could also account for the fossil indexes (indices). The trouble with that, though, is that it would not really explain anything (however it could work as a heuristic), let alone tell us why successive “creation events” produced organisms based on past body plans.

What I am saying is that all that is actually needed for biostratigraphy are index phenomena, and that if indeed life had been successively re-created that would serve our purpose as well. But given that we don’t actually see distinct creation events and that what we do see is variation on themes, some sort of evolution is implied by the details of the succession of life. So that theoretically biostratigraphy needn’t depend upon evolution, while the facts of biostratigraphy as we know it does depend upon evolution (for instance, evolution tells us why life forms don’t repeat themselves after they become extinct, while under any sort of creationist scenario, including ID, there would be no reason to think that this would be the case).

The problem in discussing these matters is that although evolution is not necessarily needed for indexing the ages of the earth, one of the best (and with non-repeatable forms—subsequent to extinction of those forms) methods of indexing relies for its detailed understanding upon the evolution of life through time, and thus also relies upon some of the peculiarities of evolution. The principle of succession itself doesn’t depend upon evolution (though non-repeatability of any one single index is rare outside of the biological realm), yet the succession in biostratigraphy does depend upon how evolution proceeds, simply because life evolved and was not created. In reality, then, biostratigraphy is entangled with biological evolution, while the mere principle of succession has never depended upon evolution (as in, Lyell’s succession of geological strata did not depend upon evolution, nor does the succession of astronomical events (precessions, etc.) used in astronomical dating of the strata depend in the least upon evolution).

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Dembski wanting to debate Forrest is a laff riot. Forrest already debated ID advocates in the only forum that counts, the federal court. She (and others) won that debate.

Why would Forrest want to engage in a debate she already won?

Nice try Dembski. How about you make a farting Barbara Forrest video to make yourself feel better?

How, then, can you say that ID is not testable when Darwin clearly claimed to be simultaneously testing a design hypothesis against his own theory?

Gosh, maybe it has something to do with the fact that Darwin was dealing with a specific “Designer” of known identity, with a known timeline (~6000 years) and methods (global flood). Specific assumptions yield specific predictions that can be tested. Oh, and that particular Designer failed all his tests.

Compare this to “The Designer who dare not speak his name”, and whose timeline, motive and methods are all top secret.

I think one commenter has clued into the fact that Dembski has supposedly taken responsibility for all the errors in those chapters, which includes the flatulence. Recently, Dembski has paraded his lame pull-string fart-humor flash animation, and now he’s trying to hand out awards for more flatulence. I suspect that Dembski may have been the source of Coulter’s Raccoon flatulence hypothesis.

Why is he so bent on fart noises?

I read part of the Vise Strategy pdf and thought that there must be something on the Web that answers those questions. It seems so obvious – Dembski puts what he clearly considers his most clever attack out in the air, someone must have considered it worthwhile to show that it doesn’t work. But my cursory search did not turn up anything. Anyone know about something I didn’t find?

I read part of the Vise Strategy pdf and thought that there must be something on the Web that answers those questions. It seems so obvious — Dembski puts what he clearly considers his most clever attack out in the air, someone must have considered it worthwhile to show that it doesn’t work. But my cursory search did not turn up anything. Anyone know about something I didn’t find?

The Dover Court transcrips and decision.

http://www2.ncseweb.org/wp/?page_id=5

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on December 21, 2006 5:26 PM.

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