IDC Advocates Like Co-Option… of Conferences

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“Intelligent design” creationist Paul Nelson was bragging recently on “Uncommon Descent” about getting a presentation accepted at a conference in the UK, the Ian Ramsey Center for Science and Religion at Oxford’s “God, Nature and Design: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives”. Apparently, the fix is in for IDC advocates, and several openly pro-IDC abstracts have been accepted.

There seem to be about five that have been spotted so far, Paul Nelson’s included. Nelson’s presentation is titled, “The Logic of Dysteleology”. Having attended the 1997 “Naturalism, Theism, and the Scientific Enterprise” conference and heard Nelson’s talk there, if I were attending the Ian Ramsey conference now I could go visit a snack bar during Nelson’s talk and not miss much. It looks to be the same topic, just with a few more recent references tossed in.

Now, as to the rigor of this conference, let’s look at another abstract that was deemed worthy by the reviewers, submitted by one Don Booker of Pace University.

Don Booker Wrote:

Symmetric Complex Specified Information is Conserved Don Booker Pace University

In “No Free Lunch” Dembski bases a number of arguments critical to the intelligent design program on a ‘law’ of conservation of information. However, his various aspects of his argument have been severely criticized : by Shanks and Karsai from the perspective of self organizing systems: by Shallet [sic] and Elsberry who who assert his probability “justification is fatally flawed;” by Edis, and Perahk [sic], who both questions [sic] the applicability of his use of Wolpert and Macready’s “no free lunch theorem”.

This paper reviews these criticisms and suggests several alternative arguments for the conservation of information from mathematics and physics based on symmetry considerations.

I wonder what might have proved appealing about this abstract to the reviewers. Did they not know the cited work, and thus passed over the apparent unfamiliarity of Booker with even how to spell various authors’ names? That doesn’t excuse overlooking the grammar error contained in it. Then there is the complete lack of detail concerning what, if anything, there might be of substance to this presentation. Maybe the paper is as meritless as the short description, or it could be something cogent despite the uninformative abstract. (I have requested a preprint from Booker.) But since all that the reviewers had was the abstract, it seems that the conference organizers have set a very low bar for admission.

How many IDC advocate abstracts can the readers find in the list of submitted abstracts? Add your finds to the comments.

72 Comments

When I registered for Evolution 2008, they were accepting all abstracts. I’m surprised the DI hasn’t tried to attend that one. It’d be a hoot.

Stands up…

“Goddidit.…symmetrically. And here is one symmetrical fossil to prove everything.

Thank you”

I have re-posted my 1997 response to Nelson.

I think what really galls IDC advocates about the “dysteleology” theological argument made by scientists is that it is so compelling. Nelson’s argument boils down to “But you are talking out of your field.” As the IDC advocates so often must talk out of their own fields, when they have such, this is a response that is rife with potential for hypocrisy.

I wonder whether the reviewers also noticed the equivocation in Booker’s abstract. There may well be symmetry considerations, or at least arguments, in physics for conservation of information per se, but that has precisely nothing to do with Dembski’s “fourth law”, which asserts that his incoherent “complex specified information” represents something that is conserved.

From www.ratemyprofessors.com page for a Don Booker at Pace University:

“Test’s are full of grammatical and spelling errors.”

http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/Sho[…]6&page=1

Ye’s, a lot of folk’s seem to think that any word’s ending in ‘s’ need apostrophe’s to indicate thi’s is the last letter.

How many IDC advocate abstracts? Ok, I’ll give one find for the time being: Christopher Beling on Dembski’s ‘4th law of thermodynamics’:

[…] Even though the thermodynamics of non-equilibrium open systems removes any fundamental breaking of the 2 nd law there continues to be much debate as to how energy flow can produce the order found in functionally complex systems causing some to believe that a deeper 4 th law of thermodynamics must be involved. […] A recently proposed alternative formulation of the 4 th law as derived by mathematician William Dembski is discussed. This alternative version has all the hallmarks of being correct. […]

Flint said: thi’s is the last letter.

Nitpick: Methink’s you mean “i’s”. ‘T’i’s a hard game for a Shakespear, it’s.

Btw, shouldn’t Beling’s abstract be unacceptable on the formal point of claiming that Dembski is a ‘mathematician’? The last time Dembski published peer reviewed math was 14 years ago, I believe.

Hey, all your have to do is submit an abstract and $3000 and you can get selected for the conference at the Ian Ramsey Center. I have been invited the past several rounds. I ain’t wastin’ $3000. Essentially it is set up for cranks with money. (IMHO)

oops, looks like I was thinking of wrong conference. I was thinking of the Oxford roundtables (which I thought also had a similar theme this year.)

Historically, Pace University has never been known for its academic excellence here in New York City. Am disappointed, but not surprised, that there’s an IDiot teaching there by the name of Don Booker. Maybe he ought to change his last name to “Bookie” since he’s probably on the Disco Tute payroll, acting as yet another shill for my “pal” Bill Dumbski.

Regards,

John

Pace University is a fairly large, secular, mainstream university, mainly located in New York City, with campuses in suburban areas as well. It has a historical emphasis on business.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pace_University

Don Booker is an associate professor of information systems.

I couldn’t find out much about him on Google beyond “ratemyprofessors”, which can be summarized as saying that students find him somewhat dull and absent minded, and some article on ADA, with multiple coauthors, which may have been about the computer language Ada, although the American Dental Association or Americans with Disabilities Act cannot be ruled out as subjects unless I can get more access to it.

Pace is not necessarily the most academically distinguished institution in the world, but it hardly a hotbed of fanaticism or pseudoscience, either. It is very unfortunate for Pace that an associate professor has chosen to draw negative attention by taking up with creationism.

Wesley R. Elsberry said:

I think what really galls IDC advocates about the “dysteleology” theological argument made by scientists is that it is so compelling. Nelson’s argument boils down to “But you are talking out of your field.”

So far as I’m concerned, one person’s theological opinion has exactly as much support as the next. There’s no such thing as “out of your field” when you’re talking about arbitrary belief systems.

So far as I’m concerned, one person’s theological opinion has exactly as much support as the next.

And if one’s “theological opinion” is that science has it wrong, should evidence matter?

Flint said:

So far as I’m concerned, one person’s theological opinion has exactly as much support as the next.

And if one’s “theological opinion” is that science has it wrong, should evidence matter?

Evidence matters if you’re interested in the objective question of what science has right and wrong.

But as a purely theological position, it’s neither more nor less arbitrary than any other. It simply requires the ancilliary theological axiom that evidence isn’t relevant. (Which, AFAICT, is already implicit in every theological position.)

But as a purely theological position, it’s neither more nor less arbitrary than any other. It simply requires the ancilliary theological axiom that evidence isn’t relevant.

While I agree with you that evidence is irrelevant to “purely theological” positions, I should also note that in actual practice, these opinions are NOT being positioned as “purely theological”. They are instead being positioned as levers to manipulate school board voting, judicial appointments, and public school science curricula.

And it is these very real-world practical effects that have inspired the Discovery Institute (and those who fund it). Nobody would mind a bit if they all were content to preach harmlessly at one another. But when their theology is deployed as a justification to do genuine harm, THEN a certain amount of rational evidence-grounded resistence can be expected.

Perhaps we should say that while theological opinion may be irrelevant to anything, evangelical opinion is not. In this context, theologists are content with their own faith; evangelists aren’t content with YOUR faith.

Bobby said:

Flint said:

So far as I’m concerned, one person’s theological opinion has exactly as much support as the next.

And if one’s “theological opinion” is that science has it wrong, should evidence matter?

Evidence matters if you’re interested in the objective question of what science has right and wrong.

But as a purely theological position, it’s neither more nor less arbitrary than any other. It simply requires the ancilliary theological axiom that evidence isn’t relevant. (Which, AFAICT, is already implicit in every theological position.)

Unfortunately, in the real world in which we exist, some theological positions conflict with reality.

As long as people have to share information, that information has to be validated in the real world. As long as people have to compete for and/or share resources to survive as a working society, the knowledge they pass among each other has to have relevance in the real world.

So-called “theological positions” that conflict with science also conflict with all other objective information people share among themselves. Such theological positions are not irrelevant; they impact people’s behaviors. If those behaviors become parasitic and disruptive to the free flow of objective information and knowledge, if it interferes with the learning paths of members of society, if it results in the propagation of misinformation and confusion, then such beliefs become a burden to society.

When societies are wealthy enough and robust enough to tolerate such misinformation, demagogues flourish within subcultures in those societies, in effect enjoying a parasitic relationship with the larger society that protects and feeds them. In harder times, such dysfunctional beliefs get sorted out quickly and discarded, or else the larger society falls into chaos.

So, only people who can nest comfortably within a larger, more robust society, and who can exist as though the real world has no relevance, are able to act as though their “theological positions” are just as valid as the objective information on which the larger society survives. Such people are actually parasites.

Booker’s paper is in regard to the ADA programming language …

Experiences in ADA: Perspective problems and prospects for a potential primary language of instruction

1984. 0 citations. In SIGCSE (ACM Special Interest Group, Computer Science Education).

Not much indication of any knowledge relevant to evolutionary biology thus far …

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

Btw, shouldn’t Beling’s abstract be unacceptable on the formal point of claiming that Dembski is a ‘mathematician’? The last time Dembski published peer reviewed math was 14 years ago, I believe.

Torbjörn,

18 years actually.

Bobby said: So far as I’m concerned, one person’s theological opinion has exactly as much support as the next.

So add irony to hypocrisy: creationists admit that the necessary testing through such a descriptive teleological argument is impossible, that it isn’t science, and that it is theology.

Mike Elzinga said: Such people are actually parasites.

Agreed. But it can now be strengthened, if one accept the review that claimed that Expelled is a blood libel on science, that creationists in particular are actually discriminating against scientists on one side and atheists on the other. The first is based on misconstruing the merit of science and the second on opinion of atheists (which, as I understand it, is the larger crime perpetrated here).

Ironically, if one accept the fundamentalist conspiratorial view of Expelled fully, and reflect on your argument, one could probably start to use now familiar language such as creationist war on science and terrorism against society. So I’m glad that no one outside its propaganda targets takes the movie seriously.

PO said: Torbjörn, 18 years actually.

Thanks, I stand corrected.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

PO said: Torbjörn, 18 years actually.

Thanks, I stand corrected.

:) I have MathSciNet at my fingertips. “Uniform probability” J. Theoret. Probab. 3 (1990).

When you can do nothing more, perhaps you can disparage the person who allows a voice of dissent to be heard. It is this approach to “science” in our country and particularly in our media and left wing universities that recently brought this comment from a Chinese paleontologist:

“…In China we can criticize Darwin but not the government. In America you can criticize the government but not Darwin.”

Actually, he is wrong. We still are permitted legally to critizie Darwin, but if one is in the field of science, he must be prepared to withstand persecution.

An Observer said:

When you can do nothing more, perhaps you can disparage the person who allows a voice of dissent to be heard. It is this approach to “science” in our country and particularly in our media and left wing universities that recently brought this comment from a Chinese paleontologist:

“…In China we can criticize Darwin but not the government. In America you can criticize the government but not Darwin.”

Actually, he is wrong. We still are permitted legally to critizie Darwin, but if one is in the field of science, he must be prepared to withstand persecution.

Actually, that’s an urban myth - you’ve been reading too many creo-idiot web-sites.

An Observer said:

When you can do nothing more, perhaps you can disparage the person who allows a voice of dissent to be heard. It is this approach to “science” in our country and particularly in our media and left wing universities that recently brought this comment from a Chinese paleontologist:

“…In China we can criticize Darwin but not the government. In America you can criticize the government but not Darwin.”

Actually, he is wrong. We still are permitted legally to critizie Darwin, but if one is in the field of science, he must be prepared to withstand persecution.

And no one is persecuted for criticizing Darwin. That’s simply a lie that you’ve bought into. “Expelled” is that lie writ large, but it’s a lie nonetheless.

Besides, who cares about Darwin? His version of the theory was out-dated a century ago.

Bobby said:

So far as I’m concerned, one person’s theological opinion has exactly as much support as the next. There’s no such thing as “out of your field” when you’re talking about arbitrary belief systems.

You think Dawkins a-theology is no more or less valid than Will Wimpskies?

Clearly any arbitrary belief system should be rejected, since it is arbitrary, which is doubtlessly your point.

However, I respect the theological opinions of many people a great deal more than I respect the theological opinions of others.

A strong epistemology is one of my central requirements, because I get tired of just how many people make the “we can’t know it’s not wrong” argument about theology, astrology, faked moon landings and bush bombing the world trade center, just to name the arguments that my friends make. (I have decided to believe that the mob killed JFK arbitrarily just to fit in, and this doesn’t seem to bother any of them. *sigh*.)

Theology is essentially a specialized form of philosophy IMHO, and, as such, people can be either fairly reasonable or ludicrously delusional, just like w/ any other intellectual endeavor.

While there might not be any established philosophical core of truths, carefully study can help you avoid ridiculous mistakes, and even professional scientist (my favorite group of people) make silly philosophy mistakes from time to time because they have not studied philosophy rigorously.

Serious and thoughtful study in almost any field is likely to make you better informed than if you had not engaged in that study.

An Observer said:

We still are permitted legally to critizie Darwin, but if one is in the field of science, he must be prepared to withstand persecution.

Being publicly ridiculed for revealing one’s own gross stupidity, or being ridiculed for refusing to produce evidence supporting one’s claim are not persecution.

Being burned in effigy is persecution, as is having your own demise plotted.

Actually, he is wrong. We still are permitted legally to critizie Darwin, but if one is in the field of science, he must be prepared to withstand persecution.

And of course, by “persecution”, A Prevaricator means “knowledg(e)able criticism and demands for evidence”.

Grow up.

gmta, Stanton.

An Observer said:

Actually, he is wrong. We still are permitted legally to critizie [sic] Darwin, but if one is in the field of science, he must be prepared to withstand persecution.

Darwin was a rich namby-panmby with poor hygiene, a bad sense of balance, and no apresiation for the performing arts.

When can I expect my persecution to begin?

In all seriousness, if you make illogical arguments and demonstrate ignorance, it is likely to damage your career if you are expected to be logically rigorous and studious.

This is not a bad thing.

The Observer Liar said: Now, to get to the information you requested. Here is ONE example.

http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/38440/

Sternberg is a known fraud. The vast dishonesty of his whining has been amply demonstrated. The martyr myth promoted in Expelled is a pack of lies, just like everything else in that worthless blood libel pseudodocumentary.

The Observer Liar said: I will not bother to do more because I think the evidence is overwhelming.

What evidence? You haven’t offered any. None of your ilk ever does. You don’t have any evidence, never have, never will. You’re just a whining little fraud who can’t stand the truth.

The Observer Liar said: You want say that you only criticize, but those who have felt the ‘effects’ of the political winds say otherwise. Regardless of what is presented here, the same spin is always placed on it and the same rehearsed answers are used to squelch information from ‘non-believers’. Truthfully, evolution raises as many questions as it answers, but looking outside the already decided hypothesis is not acceptable.

More whining and lies, but still not the slightest shred of evidence. And of course you ignore raven’s list of actual, documented instances of creationists persecuting real scientists, because the truth is your mortal enemy.

You think evolution doesn’t work? Explain how, and show some evidence. You won’t, because you can’t.

You’ve got nothing. Your entire movement is nothing more than a bunch of delusional idiots huddling together in a frantic attempt to keep the lies alive. If you weren’t so determined to force your delusions on other people, you’d just be a pathetic joke. But trying to destroy knowledge and freedom, while pathologically lying about it, makes you dangerous.

RotundOne said:

And that is a claim that is false.

No one said that you can ‘criticize Darwin in China’? Someone just made that up?

Is that what you are referring to?

Are you naturally this stupid, or do you have to work at it?

The creationist myth that there is some vast “Darwinist” conspiracy in the US persecuting them is the lie I was referring to.

Sternberg is a known fraud.

A more accurate statement would be that the Sternberg case was overblown at best. Just compare the actual emails with how the republican majority committee decided to interpret them. A political whack job…

Sternberg made some poor decisions when letting the, what many consider to be substandard, paper by Meyer to be published. The rest seems to be mostly a conspiracy argument that is taking on its own life such as being laid off by the Smithsonian…

PvM said:

Sternberg is a known fraud.

A more accurate statement would be that the Sternberg case was overblown at best. Just compare the actual emails with how the republican majority committee decided to interpret them. A political whack job…

Sternberg made some poor decisions when letting the, what many consider to be substandard, paper by Meyer to be published. The rest seems to be mostly a conspiracy argument that is taking on its own life such as being laid off by the Smithsonian…

Sternberg was aware of the facts of the case, but knowingly misrepresented them in order to paint himself as a martyr. This is a fraudulent act. Given that, I don’t see where the inaccuracy is in calling him a fraud.

phantomreader42 said:

RotundOne said:

And that is a claim that is false.

No one said that you can ‘criticize Darwin in China’? Someone just made that up?

Is that what you are referring to?

Are you naturally this stupid, or do you have to work at it?

The creationist myth that there is some vast “Darwinist” conspiracy in the US persecuting them is the lie I was referring to.

No stop attacking. I was just asking who actually said this. Just wondering why he would say that if it is not true. What was his purpose?

RotundOne said:

phantomreader42 said:

RotundOne said:

And that is a claim that is false.

No one said that you can ‘criticize Darwin in China’? Someone just made that up?

Is that what you are referring to?

Are you naturally this stupid, or do you have to work at it?

The creationist myth that there is some vast “Darwinist” conspiracy in the US persecuting them is the lie I was referring to.

No stop attacking. I was just asking who actually said this. Just wondering why he would say that if it is not true. What was his purpose?

“The Observer” said this, and he said it because his twisted religious and political ideology requires him to lie. His purpose is to spread falsehoods and undermine science, because his imaginary god demands the rejection of reality. In short, he’s a typical creationist fraud.

DeliberatelyObtuseOne said:

I think what they are saying is that in China you can say that overall Darwinism is invalid but you cannot do that here.

That is the lie, liar. You can do that here. You just have to back it up with… you know, the “e” word that you anti-reality types hate so much.

A more accurate statement would be that the Sternberg case was overblown at best. Just compare the actual emails with how the republican majority committee decided to interpret them. A political whack job…

Sternberg made some poor decisions when letting the, what many consider to be substandard, paper by Meyer to be published. The rest seems to be mostly a conspiracy argument that is taking on its own life such as being laid off by the Smithsonian…

Now wait a minute. From all the rather exhaustive discussion here and elsewhere, we seem to have established:

1) Sternberg belongs to the baraminology study group, a creationist outfit if ever there was one.

2) Sternberg attended a creationists-only conference, where he discussed Meyer’s paper with Meyer.

3) Sternberg was WELL aware that Meyer’s paper was (a) creationist in nature; and (b) covered a topic well outside the focus of the journal he edited.

4) Sternberg was WELL aware that by prior schedule, he would be sticking Meyer’s paper into the last edition he was editing, after which he’d be out anyway.

5) Sternberg used his editorial position to carefully skirt the responsibilities of peer review, so as to get the paper published. Seriously, if there WERE any reviewers, does anyone have the slightest doubt of their religious persuasion?

6) Sternberg was WELL aware that by doing so, he could spike the otherwise-accurate complaint that creationists had no peer-reviewed publications. This would be a PR coup of the first magnitude.

7) Sternberg subsequently misrepresented his scheduled departure as editor as a case of persecution.

8) Sternberg was WELL aware that (a) he never was employed by the Smithsonian; and (b) his research position there never changed, yet at the very least he allowed to stand, the creationist claims to the contrary.

So PvM’s representation is disingenuous at best, probably mendacious. Sternberg did NOT just passively “let the paper be published”; he actively and deliberately engineered that publication, in the process undermining both the journal and the procedures usually followed to publish there. There is in fact strong circumstantial evidence that Sternberg was instrumental in getting Meyer to write the paper in the first place, by promising to sleaze it into the journal. The entire enterprise from planning to execution to misrepresentation illustrates the very essence of creationist tactics. And of course, Sternberg is a creationist.

This is an exact replica of Leonard’s efforts to get a creationist PhD from Ohio State, except that effort ran into the glare of public awareness before they got away with it. Leonard picked the only two creationists on the Ohio State faculty, despite their having nothing to do with the PhD topic, and the three of them arranged to circumvent the procedures (and trash Ohio State’s reputation) in the interests of creationist PR.

The implication that Sternbert (or Leonard) just kinda fell asleep at the wheel is flat false.

RotundOne said:

phantomreader42 said:

RotundOne said:

And that is a claim that is false.

No one said that you can ‘criticize Darwin in China’? Someone just made that up?

Is that what you are referring to?

Are you naturally this stupid, or do you have to work at it?

The creationist myth that there is some vast “Darwinist” conspiracy in the US persecuting them is the lie I was referring to.

No stop attacking. I was just asking who actually said this. Just wondering why he would say that if it is not true. What was his purpose?

The same thing all creationists and IDers have as purpose: to impose their religious view of life as scientific truth in our schools without ever offering any scientific research to support it.

And all creationists lie. All of them. Most of them without consciously acknowledging it, but all of them lie. That claim about criticism and China was just another lie.

Rilke’s Granddaughter said:

Bobby has already been shown to be a childish troll. You will not receive a meaningful

Watch those details folks:

“bobby”: lower case, childish troll

“Bobby”: upper case, reasonable guy

Bobby, I suggest you choose a different moniker so as to avoid this confusion, unless you like catching flack you didn’t earn.

Science Avenger said:

Rilke’s Granddaughter said:

Bobby has already been shown to be a childish troll. You will not receive a meaningful

Watch those details folks:

“bobby”: lower case, childish troll

“Bobby”: upper case, reasonable guy

Bobby, I suggest you choose a different moniker so as to avoid this confusion, unless you like catching flack you didn’t earn.

Actually, I’ve seen troll-bobby swap case several times.

Oopsie. My apologies to Bobby, but not to bobby.

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This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on May 22, 2008 10:58 PM.

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