An “apology”, Dembski style

| 21 Comments

Unless this is yet another one of those Dembski ‘parodies’, Dembski has ‘apologized’ and conveniently removed the offending postings which showed the depths to which Dembski had gone.

The only redeeming part of Dembski’s “apology” is that he references an excellent paper by Paul Gross

PZ Myers, in his wisdom, observes that

After his recent rampage against the Baylor administration, Bill Dembski now claims to be offering an apology to Baylor…only not really. I don’t think he knows what ‘apology’ means — a statement loaded with reservations like “I mean in no way to mitigate the gravity of Baylor’s wrong in censoring the research of Robert Marks and his Evolutionary Informatics Lab” and “I hurt my family and lost about three weeks of productive work by being consumed with anger about the injustice against Robert Marks” is not an apology — it’s an opportunity to reiterate your grievances. And closing with the injunction to “leave justice in the hands of a God” is just a standard Christian passive-aggressive threat.

What is ironic to me is that if Dembski had apologized after his ill-timed “Waterloo” email, he would still have been in charge of the ID Friendly Institute at Baylor. Now Bill laments that his ill temper caused him to lose 3 weeks of productivity. Somehow, many may see this as a three week gain.

PZ Wrote:

This wasn’t an apology. It was an opportunity for Dembski to flush several embarrassing posts down the UD Memory Hole™.

So what do PT readers think, was this a real apology or if not, what was it?

21 Comments

I think the link to the Gross paper is wrong

what was it? it’s more reason to believe Dembski has significant personality disorders.

Link corrected. Thanks

If Dembsli really wanted to apologize he would have disclosed who Botnik is (was?).

We forget sometimes that the meaning of ‘apology’ has changed. Originally it simply meant roughly: “explanation of actions” (This meaning is retained in the phrase ‘christian apologist’, which is used to describe someone who explains (interprets?) passages in the babble.

It seems that Dembski is using the word in this sense. Despite this etymological explanation, I can only conclude that Mr D. has a severe problem in understanding the gravity of his original deed. Put succinctly: the guy doesn’t have a clue.

Online Etymology Dictionary

1533, “defense, justification,” from L.L. apologia, from Gk. apologia “a speech in defense,” from apologeisthai “to speak in one’s defense,” from apologos “an account, story,” from apo- “from, off” (see apo-) + logos “speech.” The original Eng. sense of “self-justification” yielded a meaning “frank expression of regret for wrong done,” first recorded 1594, but it was not the main sense until 18c. The old sense tends to emerge in Latin form apologia (first attested 1784), especially since J.H. Newman’s “Apologia pro Vita Sua” (1864). The Gk. equivalent of apologize (1725 in the modern sense of “acknowledge and express regret”), apologizesthai, meant simply “to give an account.”

Considering the short life of Botnik at UD I think he is not real. Thus any apology of Dembski is worthless without saying who Botnik is.

Nah this isn’t a real apology in the sense that he feels sorry for what he did. He has regret that there were negative things that happened to him and maybe his family but he couldn’t care less about any damage that was done to Baylor, its reputation or anyone employed there.

He’s “sorry” he got busted. Period. That’s not a real apology.

I actually think that this represents progress for Dembski.

No informed person dedicates themself to promoting an idea that is demonstrably wrong without some kind of biasing factor(s) in place.

Although the biasing factor(s) may include conscious efforts to advance a favored political agenda through propaganda, or even conscious fraud motivated by greed, personality disorder or other mental illness that inhibits ability to think objectively and accept criticism may also play a role.

Since such disorders, or similar sub-clinical personality structures, may predispose to extreme attachment to violent, authoritarian political and social ideas, and damage ability to self-criticize when tempted by greed, these factors may not be cleanly seperable from one another.

It is extraordinarily clear with even minimal exposure to his public output that Dembski reacts to any critique or setback with self-destructive rage. In other words he cannot handle the slightest criticism. While the study of personality disorders is not an exact science, it is an interesting field. An example of an interesting personality disorder is…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcis[…]ity_disorder

It may be cynical or it may be sincere, but even the admission that he reacted to criticism with excess rage in any context may be a sign of developing insight.

PvM Wrote:

The only redeeming part of Dembski’s “apology” is that he references an excellent paper by Paul Gross

I hope that by “redeeming” you mean the act of actually posting the link instead of quote mining it. Dembski is, however, quite in character, in criticizing Gross’s excellent paper, by copying (not just linking) and agreeing with the words of a colleague:

“[Gross’s paper] is loaded with extreme polemical language almost from the first sentence. I find it so biased that I simply cannot get beyond the first page.”

Of course, if one actually reads Gross’s paper (& most UD readers won’t) one finds that it is nothing of the sort. To paraphrase the colleague, if whining about “extreme polemical language” is the best that one can do to criticize Gross’s paper, I guess that there’s not much that Dembski or his colleague could find wrong with the content.

Dembski, if not his colleague, knows well that Gross’s paper was not meant to be “the best that the ‘scientific establishment’ can do” to discredit ID pseudoscience, but only a brief summary on how ID pseudoscience has discredited itself.

Who is William Dembski and why should I give a crap about anything he says or does?

“The original Eng. sense of “self-justification” yielded a meaning “frank expression of regret for wrong done,” first recorded 1594, but it was not the main sense until 18c.”

So it’s not just Dembski’s science that’s pre-1594.

Who is William Dembski and why should I give a crap about anything he says or does?

I can explain why I give a crap.

Let me begin by explaining that I do NOT give a crap to any significant extent about other peoples’ private beliefs and lifestyles, as long as they do not violate the rights of others. On the contrary, I strongly support their right to believe and worship as they see fit.

However, Dembski is associated with a group of creationists who do act in ways that attempt to violate my rights, promote bad public policy, and undermine the scientific literacy of the US population.

1) In many venues, creationists have sought to have sectarian pseudoscience creationism (in its ID or YEC form) taught as “science” in taxpayer-funded public schools. This is a major violation of the rights of US taxpayers. Dembski has come up short for creationists who tried to hire him as an expert witness, but the fact that he was considered as an expert witness in favor of creationism is important.

2) A variety of science-denying or sectarian-morality-promoting views have been used to influence public policy over the last few years. Although Dembski is associated publicly only with creationism, not with climate change denial, anti-stem cell research extremism, HIV-denial, anti-birth control extremism, anti-environmentalism, etc, he is clearly associated with those who promote this general trend, to the detriment not only of their fellow Americans, but of the entire world.

3) Although it is Dembski’s right to mislead the ill-educated by publishing nonsense and calling it “science”, this activity does negatively impact on me to the extent that it makes my fellow citizens more ignorant and confused.

Therefore I have some reasons to care about what Dembski is up to, at least until he becomes totally irrelevant.

No, I do not think this was an apology. What I think it might be is Dembski slowly realizing how much he has torpedoed his own career and painted himself into a corner and intellectually irrelevant seminary.

Now it is probably apparent to most readers here, and other pro-science blogs, that this has happened a while ago. An individual’s own denial can be hard to overcome.

Lastly, it is a bit sad, I think. You don’t get a PhD from U of C and other advanced degrees without being very smart and having some potential to contribute to human knowledge.

Since Harold and I are usually on opposite ends of arguments, let me just say I 100% endorse his brief but excellent explanation of why we should care about Dembski and his cronies.

A patina of apology. But the whole thing about how he tortured and murdered his family (or was snippy–I can’t remember which) because the affair made him so rabid with righteous indignation smacks of coming up with an excuse for the missus rather than a sincere mea culpa. There were hints at actual remorse, but the overall tone was not overwhelmingly contrite or humble. I’ve never heard of a Christian with less finely-honed guilt skills. Isn’t that what they do? Say they’re sorry a lot?

And what the HELL is Steve doing to that koala? Once you go marsuplial…

A patina of apology. But the whole thing about how he tortured and murdered his family (or was snippy–I can’t remember which) because the affair made him so rabid with righteous indignation smacks of coming up with an excuse for the missus rather than a sincere mea culpa. There were hints at actual remorse, but the overall tone was not overwhelmingly contrite or humble. I’ve never heard of a Christian with less finely-honed guilt skills. Isn’t that what they do? Say they’re sorry a lot?

And what the HELL is Steve doing to that koala? Once you go marsupial…

It was a red herring, so that he could confuse us long enough to crawl back into the UD Memory Hole.

Harold, I wouldn’t be too sure that Dembski doesn’t promote climate change denial. See this blog article, which Dembski reportedly asked DaveScot to write.

No apology but an acceptance of a problem and a means to stop further negative development.

A variety of science-denying or sectarian-morality-promoting views have been used to influence public policy over the last few years.

There are also lesser problems in that:

a) Denialists accepts other forms of denialism as they can support each other.

b) Some denialists are genuine multi-denialists, correlated with the above views and movements. (It is hard to say in general if the multi-woo was before or after the sectarian interest.)

You don’t get a PhD from U of C and other advanced degrees without being very smart and having some potential to contribute to human knowledge.

I don’t know about the specific U, but in general you need hard work to get that far. The smarts helps but as in sports it is perhaps 95 % training and 5 % talent. Afterwards success and smarts are selected for, “the best of the best” and all that.

Dr Dr Dembski has one degree qualifying him for natural sciences, in math. Apparently his contribution there has been his thesis, which was technically capable but not exciting. Afterwards he has only produced pseudomath according to working mathematicians, in the service of pseudoscience no less. And he has nothing published.

Did anyone expect a real apology from Dembski? I’d have been more surprised if it was a genuine admission of wrong.

To me it looks like an apology. What triggered it is hard to tell.

Consider this peculiar coincidence. On the same day the apology was posted (plus or minus 24 hours), Dembski’s name was put back on the list of people associated with Robert Marks’ Evolutionary Informatics Lab.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on October 2, 2007 10:33 PM.

The Spiritual Brain was the previous entry in this blog.

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