But it’s all about the science …

| 411 Comments

Most of our readers are no doubt aware of the recent near-expulsion of William A. Dembski from the ranks of true believers. This story in the Florida Baptist Witness covered it in some detail. The basics:

1. Dembski, now a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote an apologetics book in which he suggested that one can reconcile an old earth with the initiation of natural evil by a literal Fall of a real pair, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden in the recent (~6,000 years) past by positing that the Fall echoed backward in time to tarnish all 4.5 billion years of earth’s history (or some such blather). Dembski mentioned en passant that Da Flood was probably a local event, not a global deluge.

2. Dembski was criticized for his apparent old earthism and deference to actual science in a book review by a faculty member at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dembski’s former employer.

3. After some to-ing and fro-ing involving (among others) the Presidents of the two seminaries, both of them young earthers, Dembski issued a clarification reiterating his belief in an inerrant Bible, etc., etc.

One thing I found of interest in this tempest in a theological teapot was Dembski’s comment on his treatment the local/global flood issue. He was quoted as writing

“In a brief section [of his book] on Genesis 4-11, I weigh in on the Flood, raising questions about its universality, without adequate study or reflection on my part,” Dembski wrote. “Before I write on this topic again, I have much exegetical, historical, and theological work to do.”

Um, Bill? You might consider that you have much geological work to do. After all, a putative global flood is geological event and geologists have been gathering relevant data for, oh, say, three centuries or so. And this is all about the science, isn’t it?

411 Comments

Gee, I wonder if Dembski requires much theological study to determine whether or not he’s a geocentrist? And did the Sun stay still for Joshua?

Poor Dembski.. rejected by the scientific community and now being “re-educated” by his own.

Stupidity should be painful.

Dembski really means he has to read “Genesis Flood.”

Richard B. Hoppe Wrote:

Um, Bill? You might consider that you have much geological work to do.

Of course. He not only knows that, but knows better than to even try.

Does anyone else notice a similarity between Dembski’s “confession” and that of Behe ~5 years ago where he tried to placate common-descent-deniers? Behe reiterated his long-standing acceptance of common descent, but qualified it by saying that some IDers who deny CD are “more familiar with the relevant science.”

Once again I’m having trouble locating the actual Behe quote, but I’m pretty sure that he did not name those IDers.

Sheesh! That story in the Florida Baptist Witness is just plain creepy.

I’ve been wandering around in some of the aftermath of this brouhaha and ran onto this from a current student of Dembski:

Knowing Dr. D through our class discussions, his views are extremely conservative. Indeed, he repeatedly stated that he wanted to see theology as the “queen of the sciences” again, guiding all of our disciplines.

Richard B. Hoppe Wrote:

Um, Bill? You might consider that you have much geological work to do.

You have to be aware that it is not, nor has it ever been Bill Dembski’s responsibility to stoop to our level of pathetic detail.

Apparently.

RBH said:

I’ve been wandering around in some of the aftermath of this brouhaha and ran onto this from a current student of Dembski:

Knowing Dr. D through our class discussions, his views are extremely conservative. Indeed, he repeatedly stated that he wanted to see theology as the “queen of the sciences” again, guiding all of our disciplines.

So, exactly the same as ever, as usual?

I for one see Dembski well on his way to being the Queen of Science, although he may have to forfeit his crown as the Alfred E. Newman of (What, me worry?) Information.

As for it being all about the science, uh, negativo, it’s all about the paycheck. They could make him say anything. Oh, they already have!

Stoop? Dr. Dr. rarely manages to rise to the level of delusions of adequacy. He is far to low to be able to stoop. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, has he ever, ever, even once. demonstrated the faintest trace of contamination by any sense of responsibility of any sort.

no hugs for thugs, Shirley Knott

These developments are very significant.

The original point of ID was to state creationist dogma in a “plausibly denial” way, so that it could taught taxpayer funded public schools without being successfully challenged in court.

Well, actually, that wasn’t necessarily the true original goal. The original goal may have been for the DI to pretend that they were doing that, in order to keep the money flowing.

But the Thomas More Law Center and the Dover, PA school board believed the DI, much to the detriment of the Dover PA school board.

Since that time, the constitutional threat of the ID strategy has been largely eliminated.

Still, the once-common false claim that ID was something other than religious creationism cannot be too strongly or too completely repudiated.

Dembski’s current activities are extremely helpful for those who work to keep any form of unconstitutional, religion-based science denial out of public schools.

Well, I guess they didn’t quite show him the instruments of torture, but for any contemporary U.S. academic, it was pretty damn close:

“Patterson said that when Dembski’s questionable statements came to light, he convened a meeting with Dembski and several high-ranking administrators at the seminary. At that meeting, Dembski was quick to admit that he was wrong about the flood, Patterson said.

“Had I had any inkling that Dr. Dembski was actually denying the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible, then that would have, of course, ended his relationship with the school,” he said”

This seems to me to pretty much end any claim Dembski might have had to any kind of committment to reason and experience (not that I think he ever actually had one).

Karen S. said:

Dembski really means he has to read “Genesis Flood.”

Snelling has published an update, so read that

“Had I had any inkling that Dr. Dembski was actually denying the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible, then that would have, of course, ended his relationship with the school,” he said”

Hey, I wonder why the DI hasn’t been all over Southwest for suppressing academic freedom! Shouldn’t Dr. Dembski be accorded basic Academic Freedom to pursue his research interests? After all, he is a research professor of something or another.

Where’s the DI on this? Why so coy, Casey? Blatant case of viewpoint discrimination I’ve ever seen and poor old Dembski, a fellow Fellow of the DI get’s no love. Show some indignant fervor, Anika! Dembski was nearly EXPELLED, don’t you guys care? We want academic freedom, not dogma. Ain’t that right, Crowther? Dembski’s First Amendment rights are being trampled and you guys in Seattle just sit there! I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked by your complacent behavior.

Doc Bill said:

I for one see Dembski well on his way to being the Queen of Science, although he may have to forfeit his crown as the Alfred E. Newman of (What, me worry?) Information.

As for it being all about the science, uh, negativo, it’s all about the paycheck. They could make him say anything. Oh, they already have!

Given his ego, he will now claim he is the Gallileo of Information theory.

Snelling has published an update, so read that

Does the SBC know that Snelling publishes in mainstream science journals under the pretence that he believes in an old Earth etc. ?

Stuart Weinstein said:

Doc Bill said:

I for one see Dembski well on his way to being the Queen of Science, although he may have to forfeit his crown as the Alfred E. Newman of (What, me worry?) Information.

As for it being all about the science, uh, negativo, it’s all about the paycheck. They could make him say anything. Oh, they already have!

Given his ego, he will now claim he is the Gallileo of Information theory.

Do all heretics falling from grace fall at the same rate; or do the heavyweights fall faster?

Mike Elzinga said:

Stuart Weinstein said:

Doc Bill said:

I for one see Dembski well on his way to being the Queen of Science, although he may have to forfeit his crown as the Alfred E. Newman of (What, me worry?) Information.

As for it being all about the science, uh, negativo, it’s all about the paycheck. They could make him say anything. Oh, they already have!

Given his ego, he will now claim he is the Gallileo of Information theory.

Do all heretics falling from grace fall at the same rate; or do the heavyweights fall faster?

I don’t know, but they do not fall gracefully and that is not their saving grace.

“[Southern Seminary President R. Albert] Mohler worries that most Christians who hold to an old earth are not thinking through all the logical implications of their position.”

But it’s all about the logical implications! (Or was that “the[o]logical implications”??)

Why is it that “Christian Logic” seems to have certain boundary conditions? There seem to be boundaries around the Bible and around certain college campuses where “Logic” isn’t allowed.

Does anyone else notice a similarity between Dembski’s “confession” and that of Behe ~5 years ago where he tried to placate common-descent-deniers?

Looks more or less identical to the “confessions” in the Soviet Union during the time of Stalin.

Dembski is lucky he didn’t get sent to the Southern Baptist Gulag in their Siberia for 10 years of hard labor and reeducation.

Not sure why he left Comrade Commisar Mohler’s bureau in Tennesseestan but Mohler and the SBC purged a bunch of people about then.

William Dembski:

The implications of intelligent design are radical in the true sense of this much overused word. The question posed by intelligent design is not how we should do science and theology in light of the triumph of Enlightenment rationalism and scientific naturalism. The question is rather how we should do science and theology in light of the impending collapse of Enlightenment rationalism and scientific naturalism. These ideologies are on the way out…because they are bankrupt.

Dembski’s goal was to destroy Western civilization. The Enlightenment and science are the basis of the 21st century West, including the leader, the USA. To set up another unworkable hell on earth theocracy.

No point in feeling sorry for a nihilistic christofascist.

And Dembski whined to Hitchens in the “debate” that he’d been shut out from academia for his views (if so, good).

IOW, it’s much safer to attack those who aren’t dictating his public positions at the present time, than those who are.

Glen Davidson

The fact is that the Bible texts (including some of the words of Jesus) clearly support a global Noahic Flood, not a local flood.

Now, for those who reject the Bible, and who reject Jesus, that’s no big deal. Go ahead and reject the Flood as well, no problemo.

But for those who accept the Bible, and for those who accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, some choices gotta be made here. Even an Old-Earth Creationist like the late Old Testament Prof. Gleason Archer acknowledged in his classic book Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties that the the Biblical texts allowed only for a global Noahic Flood, NOT a local flood.

So that’s the way it goes. Dembski is clearly a Christian, not a skeptic, so it’s good to see him altering his stance away from the “local flood” stuff. That sort of crap is best left to the religion of skepticism.

FL

Dembski has really stuck it to ID/creationism.

As I mentioned above, his activities make a mockery of the strategy of trying to claim that ID “isn’t religious”.

They also make a mockery another major strategy - the “Expelled” strategy of false claims in the media that ID/creationists are being uniquely persecuted.

Patterson said that when Dembski’s questionable statements came to light, he convened a meeting with Dembski and several high-ranking administrators at the seminary. At that meeting, Dembski was quick to admit that he was wrong about the flood, Patterson said. “Had I had any inkling that Dr. Dembski was actually denying the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible, then that would have, of course, ended his relationship with the school,” he said”

Southwestern Seminary is an entirely private institution, and assuming that they wouldn’t violate a contractual agreement in doing so, and don’t receive a single penny of taxpayer funding, I strongly support their right to kick Dembski’s or anyone else’s ass out the door for not parroting the exact science-denying dogma that they exist to propagate. In fact, if Dembski starts deviating from it, he’s probably the one in breach of contract.

However, screeching “Expelled” out of one side of your mouth, and endorsing the most rigidly enforced dogmatic censorship out of the other, looks pretty ridiculous.

wikipedia Baptist beliefs:

Most Baptist traditions believe in the “Four Freedoms” articulated by Baptist historian Walter B. Shurden:[39]

Soul freedom: the soul is competent before God, and capable of making decisions in matters of faith without coercion or compulsion by any larger religious or civil body Church freedom: freedom of the local church from outside interference, whether government or civilian (subject only to the law where it does not interfere with the religious teachings and practices of the church)

Bible freedom: the individual is free to interpret the Bible for himself or herself, using the best tools of scholarship and biblical study available to the individual Religious freedom: the individual is free to choose whether to practice their religion, another religion, or no religion; Separation of church and state is often called the “civil corollary” of religious freedom

The Baptists started out as screaming liberals revolting against the RCC.

That was then. The SBC was taken over a few decades ago by right wingnuts who seemed far more interested in politics than religion.

One of their core principles was religious freedom, both in terms of sect and for individuals to interpret the bible any way they wanted. This follows from the idea that everyone is a priest. The SBC’s dropped all that long ago as Dembski just found out for a new nonfreedom, christofascism.

But there is a silver lining to the dark cloud. They have been losing total members for a few years now and their own projections have them being cut in half in a few decades.

FL said:

The fact is that the Bible texts (including some of the words of Jesus) clearly support a global Noahic Flood, not a local flood.

Now, for those who reject the Bible, and who reject Jesus, that’s no big deal. Go ahead and reject the Flood as well, no problemo.

But for those who accept the Bible, and for those who accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, some choices gotta be made here. Even an Old-Earth Creationist like the late Old Testament Prof. Gleason Archer acknowledged in his classic book Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties that the the Biblical texts allowed only for a global Noahic Flood, NOT a local flood.

So that’s the way it goes. Dembski is clearly a Christian, not a skeptic, so it’s good to see him altering his stance away from the “local flood” stuff. That sort of crap is best left to the religion of skepticism.

FL

Where exactly in the Bible does it specifically state that rejecting the Flood is tantamount to rejecting Jesus Christ?

How come you’ve never stated where Jesus said that? Maybe because He never said that to begin with, and you’re too cowardly and too dishonest to admit it?

How come you refuse to quote Dembski when he allegedly explained exactly what is and exactly how to tabulate “specified complexity?” Maybe because he never that to begin with, either, and you’re too cowardly and too dishonest to admit it?

“[Southern Seminary President R. Albert] Mohler worries that most Christians who hold to an old earth are not thinking through all the logical implications of their position.”

Those old earth xians include the vast majority of xians worldwide. Which Mohler knows unless he is excluding Catholics as Fake Xians. Which is quite likely.

Science always asks, “What if we’re wrong.” Religion never or rarely does.

Mohler clearly has never thought through his position either. “What if the earth is over 6,000 years old and Noah and the Big Boat is a fairy tale.”

It would mean his loony cult is wrong and on the way to join the Olympians, Aesir, Mithras, and Marduk.

And it does happen to be wildly wrong and this was known centuries ago. Say hello to Thor and Athena when you see them, Al Mohler.

Where exactly in the Bible does it specifically state that rejecting the Flood is tantamount to rejecting Jesus Christ?

As I understand it, this is a package deal. The bible is the only source for the existence of a global flood, and it’s also the only source for the existence of a Jesus. So you either buy the whole package or you don’t. Like the US President, you don’t get a line-item veto in fundieland.

Oh cmon, Stanton. You reject John 3:16, let alone the Flood. (And if you want to deny that statement, I’m listening. Double dog dare ya.)

For Jesus, the global Noahic Flood was historically factual, literal, and global in scope, a planetwide act of divine judgment, taking place in actual Earth history (Matt. 24:37-39).

And you can see from that text, that Jesus even employed that past historical event to predict a future historical event on Earth–his own Second Coming, (which again will involve judgment across the planet.)

So, do you agree with Jesus there? Or do you not? You a follower of Him, or are you not? Speak up, please!

FL

Flint said:

Where exactly in the Bible does it specifically state that rejecting the Flood is tantamount to rejecting Jesus Christ?

As I understand it, this is a package deal. The bible is the only source for the existence of a global flood, and it’s also the only source for the existence of a Jesus. So you either buy the whole package or you don’t. Like the US President, you don’t get a line-item veto in fundieland.

If that’s so, then that means eating pork, growing two different kinds of vegetable crops together, eating meat and dairy together, rejecting the Geocentric model of the Universe, and not killing people who wear polyester, eat shellfish, or are sassy children who act up in public are all tantamount to rejecting Jesus Christ, too.

I mean, FL constantly goes on and on and on and on and on about how the only way to accept Jesus Christ is to mindlessly accept that the Flood literally happened without evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the fact that Jesus Christ said that the only criterion for Salvation was to accept Him as one’s Savior.

On the other hand, FL doesn’t seem to care at all about the fact that Jesus DID say that demanding to meddle with and dictate other people’s spiritual matters IS tantamount to rejecting Jesus.

raven said:

William Dembski:

The implications of intelligent design are radical in the true sense of this much overused word. The question posed by intelligent design is not how we should do science and theology in light of the triumph of Enlightenment rationalism and scientific naturalism. The question is rather how we should do science and theology in light of the impending collapse of Enlightenment rationalism and scientific naturalism. These ideologies are on the way out…because they are bankrupt.

Dembski’s goal was to destroy Western civilization. The Enlightenment and science are the basis of the 21st century West, including the leader, the USA. To set up another unworkable hell on earth theocracy.

No point in feeling sorry for a nihilistic christofascist.

Said the raven, “Never more”

Ichthyic said:

I suspect that part of the psychology that underlies science denial is a need for certainty (“proof”).

…and where does THAT need come from?

why doesn’t anyone here EVER cite the vast literature there is published on this?

it’s mind boggling.

START HERE:

http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~deenasw[…]0science.pdf

it’s a nice, short review paper, with a good summary of what research has been done on how science denialism gets started and is maintained in cultures, and the bibliography is also extremely useful.

Much of this research goes way back. For example, Fig. 1. in the article you cite has been a staple of physics education research for well over 50 years. It’s is one of the questions in what is referred to as the Force Concept Inventory along with many other questions that address a well-known variety of misconceptions in physics.

Much of this has moved from anecdotal reports of instructors over many years to a well-catalogued set of misconceptions that are now used in tests (such as that Force Concept Inventory) to assess the effectiveness of various types of instruction.

Biology and chemistry have similar catalogues of misconceptions and tests.

So a lot of this kind of stuff has been known for at least 50 or 60 years. However, what is different is the institutionalization of the spread of misinformation and misconceptions about science. This has occurred within the last 40+ years; easily within the memories of those of us who were there when it began formally in the 1970s.

There are some other things that have happened in that timeframe also; namely dramatic changes in technology that produced things that could no longer be taken apart and put back together by kids growing up and wanting to know how things work.

A number of us have also witnessed the effects of video gaming on learning how to drive. Kids develop an idea from some of these games that they are skilled at maneuvering a race car down a track. But they never feel any of the inertial forces; and as a result, they grossly overestimate the maneuverability and breaking ability of a car when they get behind the wheel.

Information spreads much faster these days; but so does misinformation and disinformation. And these don’t usually come with labels telling which is which. Librarians have frequently observed that students are much poorer at vetting information than they used to be; and it is becoming harder to convince them to make the effort when so much can be easily copy/pasted from the internet.

And the processes of misinforming have been honed to an art as well. Disinformation campaigns are at least as effective as some of the best planned information and outreach programs. In fact, implementing effective propaganda has probably been studied and practiced more because it plays on strong emotions and already established prejudices.

Kris said: Why do some people believe that Bill Dembski is wrong about ID/creationism?

I would really like to see serious answers to the last question, and whether any of you think it would be a good question for a scientific study, and whether you would condone the spending of taxpayer dollars for the study.

Already done. See here for an overview and the references therein for details. And it didn’t cost the taxpayers a penny. Correction: I see that Joe acknowledges NIH support.

Mike Elzinga said:

Kris said:

A news story mentions that yet another “scientific study” has determined that obesity is bad for your health. The cost of the study? Hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe even millions, from government grants (taxpayer money).

Another reason you need to know about the threat of ID/creationist pseudo-science is its cost.

You complain about the cost of obesity studies; but do you know what it cost the Dover Area School District when the creationists attempted to mess with curriculum? Look it up.

And this kind of crap has been going on for decades; and many school districts have been affected. Its deep and it’s hidden. And education suffers needlessly.

I know about the cost. I know about the cost. I know about the cost. I know about the cost. And it doesn’t, in any way, change the fact that some scientists waste a lot more money.

What are you advocating Mike? Are you saying that lawsuits should be outlawed? Are you saying that when creationism is involved there should be no cost? Are you saying that people who believe in creationism shouldn’t be allowed to be involved in law suits in any way, shape, or form? Are you saying that the courts should automatically reject any claim or dispute that has anything at all to do with religion?

What would be your solution for dealing with situations like the one in Dover that would prevent a lawsuit and/or the possibility of a lawsuit, and would also be constitutional and cost free?

I’m VERY aware that some creationists are doing everything they can to get their message into public schools. I’m also aware that they have lost some well publicized cases. I’m glad they lost in Dover.

Even though I would like to see all religions go the way of the Raphus cucullatus, I know that that isn’t going to happen. I also know that some creationists will continue to ‘test’ the legal system on occasion and will also try to get laws enacted that are favorable to their way of thinking.

Be glad that the legal system usually works in these cases and that creationists are very likely fighting a losing battle when it comes to infiltrating the public school system.

I strongly doubt that:

Kris said: Be glad that the legal system usually works in these cases and that creationists are very likely fighting a losing battle when it comes to infiltrating the public school system.

‘Tis likely you’re a troll, heaven sent to us courtesy of Bill Dembski. Why? Haven’t seen you conduct a rational dialogue with anyone here.

Kris said:

Be glad that the legal system usually works in these cases and that creationists are very likely fighting a losing battle when it comes to infiltrating the public school system.

It isn’t just luck; there are years of background work, research, and documentation that go into it.

You could learn a lot from reading the transcripts of just the Dover case alone.

The main problem I have with ID is that it ends the discussion with evidence of a designer. Okay so what is the designer? If the designer is a god, then which god is it? Is the supreme force’s name god or is it some kind of god? Would the designer be supernatural or could one argue that evolution has worked a scientific masterpiece which gives the illusion of design which is actually found within great science? Feel free to offer insight or opinions. I am sure there will be a few.

Frank J said:

Richard B. Hoppe Wrote:

Um, Bill? You might consider that you have much geological work to do.

I assume that geology provides us with empirical evidence which proves without a shadow of a doubt that a world wide flood could not have possibly occurred? Those who lean on “science” place all their chips on the evidence. Personally I find it quite arrogant that one could claim to have “all the evidence.” Are you claiming that we have uncovered every possible fossil and fossil record available to us at the moment? I will go out on a limb and argue that it is highly unlikely that geologists have surveyed ALL of the fossil record on the face of the Earth. This is more unlikely than a world wide flood occurring in my opinion. They have based their entire belief system on what they can examine up to this point. That is just as much a leap of faith as believing Noah’s ark actually occurred. However, because modern science must explain everything they must go with the evidence they have in hand up to this point. Is that good science? People thought the Earth was flat based on all the “evidence” they had. They too looked at the evidence in a scientific manner and were wrong. Are you arrogant enough to state that beyond a shadow of a doubt geology can prove Noah’s ark is a myth?

Of course. He not only knows that, but knows better than to even try.

Does anyone else notice a similarity between Dembski’s “confession” and that of Behe ~5 years ago where he tried to placate common-descent-deniers? Behe reiterated his long-standing acceptance of common descent, but qualified it by saying that some IDers who deny CD are “more familiar with the relevant science.”

Once again I’m having trouble locating the actual Behe quote, but I’m pretty sure that he did not name those IDers.

Mike Elzinga said:

Kris said:

Be glad that the legal system usually works in these cases and that creationists are very likely fighting a losing battle when it comes to infiltrating the public school system.

It isn’t just luck; there are years of background work, research, and documentation that go into it.

WHERE in my comment above did I say it had anything to do with luck?????????????????????

Can you read English and comprehend it at all????

You’re crazier than Dembski.

John Kwok said:

I strongly doubt that:

Kris said: Be glad that the legal system usually works in these cases and that creationists are very likely fighting a losing battle when it comes to infiltrating the public school system.

‘Tis likely you’re a troll, heaven sent to us courtesy of Bill Dembski. Why? Haven’t seen you conduct a rational dialogue with anyone here.

‘Tis likely you don’t have a clue.

John Kwok said:

I strongly doubt that:

Kris said: Be glad that the legal system usually works in these cases and that creationists are very likely fighting a losing battle when it comes to infiltrating the public school system.

‘Tis likely you’re a troll, heaven sent to us courtesy of Bill Dembski. Why? Haven’t seen you conduct a rational dialogue with anyone here.

Actually, ‘tis certain you don’t have a clue.

bill don said:

The main problem I have with ID is that it ends the discussion with evidence of a designer. Okay so what is the designer? If the designer is a god, then which god is it? Is the supreme force’s name god or is it some kind of god? Would the designer be supernatural or could one argue that evolution has worked a scientific masterpiece which gives the illusion of design which is actually found within great science? Feel free to offer insight or opinions. I am sure there will be a few.

You’re making some good points, and it makes me think of the question, “Who (or what) created God, and who (or what) created the God that created God, etc.?”

Something else to consider, though, is where does the discussion ‘end’ with evolutionary theory? No one really knows, yet, and may never know.

RBH said:

Kris said: Why do some people believe that Bill Dembski is wrong about ID/creationism?

I would really like to see serious answers to the last question, and whether any of you think it would be a good question for a scientific study, and whether you would condone the spending of taxpayer dollars for the study.

Already done. See here for an overview and the references therein for details. And it didn’t cost the taxpayers a penny. Correction: I see that Joe acknowledges NIH support.

Another of your non-responsive evasions.

Try again.

Correction:

My comments to RBH directly above were a mistake on my part. I thought I was replying to Mike Elzinga.

So, instead of what I said, I’ll say this:

Your reply is non-responsive to my questions. I didn’t ask about the validity (or not) of Dembski’s position on ID, and I didn’t ask for a critique on his position.

One thing though: what Joe Felenstein said about mutations (quoted below) is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen from a ‘scientist’. I hope he was joking.

“Mutations In the real world, mutations do not act like this. Yes, they are much more likely to reduce fitness than to increase it, but many of them are not lethal. I probably carry one — I have a strong aversion to lettuce, which to me has a bitter mineral taste. This is probably a genetic variation in one of my odorant receptor genes. It makes salad bars problematic, and at sandwich counters I spend a lot of time scraping the lettuce off. But it has not killed me — yet.”

Kris’s question:

I would really like to see serious answers to the last question, and whether any of you think it would be a good question for a scientific study, and whether you would condone the spending of taxpayer dollars for the study.

My answer, with a reference:

Already done. See here for an overview and the references therein for details.

Kris’s response:

Your reply is non-responsive to my questions. I didn’t ask about the validity (or not) of Dembski’s position on ID, and I didn’t ask for a critique on his position.

Was it worth doing? Sure, since Dembski is a representative of a movement that purports to be changing the very nature of science. And the reference shows he’s up a creek without a paddle.

Kris said:

Stanton said:

Kris said:

I’m honestly beginning to see why at least some creationists feel that at least some atheists act like religious zealots.

Because you find it aggravating that we don’t mindlessly bow down and worship you because you make inane, vague or completely and totally inaccurate statements about Science, scientists and the Scientific Community?

Are you saying that none of the things I’ve brought up have ever happened in science and don’t occur now?

I for one am saying that ALL of things you’ve brought up are not “messes of science”. That and the fact that your posts are vague and don’t present a point plainly make for a rather unproductive discussion.

Kris said:

Mike Elzinga said:

Kris said:

A news story mentions that yet another “scientific study” has determined that obesity is bad for your health. The cost of the study? Hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe even millions, from government grants (taxpayer money).

Another reason you need to know about the threat of ID/creationist pseudo-science is its cost.

You complain about the cost of obesity studies; but do you know what it cost the Dover Area School District when the creationists attempted to mess with curriculum? Look it up.

And this kind of crap has been going on for decades; and many school districts have been affected. Its deep and it’s hidden. And education suffers needlessly.

I know about the cost. I know about the cost. I know about the cost. I know about the cost. And it doesn’t, in any way, change the fact that some scientists waste a lot more money.

What are you advocating Mike? Are you saying that lawsuits should be outlawed? Are you saying that when creationism is involved there should be no cost? Are you saying that people who believe in creationism shouldn’t be allowed to be involved in law suits in any way, shape, or form? Are you saying that the courts should automatically reject any claim or dispute that has anything at all to do with religion?

What would be your solution for dealing with situations like the one in Dover that would prevent a lawsuit and/or the possibility of a lawsuit, and would also be constitutional and cost free?

I’m VERY aware that some creationists are doing everything they can to get their message into public schools. I’m also aware that they have lost some well publicized cases. I’m glad they lost in Dover.

Even though I would like to see all religions go the way of the Raphus cucullatus, I know that that isn’t going to happen. I also know that some creationists will continue to ‘test’ the legal system on occasion and will also try to get laws enacted that are favorable to their way of thinking.

Be glad that the legal system usually works in these cases and that creationists are very likely fighting a losing battle when it comes to infiltrating the public school system.

So, to bring the point (hopefully) home to *YOU*, I’ll quote your own words slightly modified right back to you:

What are you advocating Kris? Are you saying that research should be outlawed? Are you saying that when science is involved there should be no cost? Are you saying that people who understand logic and rationality shouldn’t be allowed to be involved in the pursuit of understanding root causality in any way, shape, or form? Are you saying that the taxpayer should automatically reject any research or analysis proposal that has anything at all to do with everyday life?

That IS in fact what it sounds like to me. You seem to think that your opinion of what constitutes “important” work vs worthless research is somehow valid, but frankly it isn’t. Research on obesity *IS* important regardless of how obvious you think the analysis is. Mostly that ‘no duh’ connection to the announcement has more to do with how the media presents the research than the actual research itself, but even in such cases where *you* think that the research is covering something ‘common sense’, such understanding STILL requires confirmation.

I’m sorry you don’t like paying for (or perceiving you are paying for) research into areas you feel are no brainers, but alas such is a subjective opinion. We don’t have a better way to go about understanding our world and many things you think are obvious still need investigation for proper understanding of the underlying correlation vs causation parameters. I would suggest going after monies spent on truly wasted ventures, such bridges to nowhere and other such pork; far more of your money wasted there than in science.

Kris said:

Do you really believe that anyone would defend obesity and say that it isn’t bad for your health? Are more expensive, redundant, scientific studies actually needed for that to be verified?

Did you bother to look?

http://www.menopauselifestyle.com/b[…]th-after-all

http://biggerfatterblog.blogspot.co[…]or-your.html

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/05May/P[…]dforyou.aspx

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/[…]/3657640.cms

…and so on and so forth.

So…you were saying something about obesity studies being too redundant and a waist…I’m sorry waste…of time…

RBH said:

Kris’s question:

I would really like to see serious answers to the last question, and whether any of you think it would be a good question for a scientific study, and whether you would condone the spending of taxpayer dollars for the study.

My answer, with a reference:

Already done. See here for an overview and the references therein for details.

Kris’s response:

Your reply is non-responsive to my questions. I didn’t ask about the validity (or not) of Dembski’s position on ID, and I didn’t ask for a critique on his position.

Was it worth doing? Sure, since Dembski is a representative of a movement that purports to be changing the very nature of science. And the reference shows he’s up a creek without a paddle.

Actually, my questions included this one, “Why do some people believe that Bill Dembski is wrong about ID/creationism?” which you included in your first reply to me but not in your second reply. That is also the most important question, and the sentence that follows it (which is really more questions) doesn’t mean much with out it.

Ok, I’ll make it easy for all of you. It’s obvious from what I see posted here that most of you believe Dembski is totally wrong about ID/creationism because you believe you’re right about evolution, and that the two theories cannot co-exist. You are absolutely certain that Dembski is an idiot who doesn’t know anything about valid scientific evidence or methods. You’re convinced that evolutionary theory is correct and that all that is still needed are some details, that won’t change the basis of the theory in any significant way.

In other words, your mind is made up about Dembski because you’ve seen more than enough information already to be certain that Dembski is a delusional moron, and you feel perfectly confident and justified to fully act upon what you already know. No more research or studies are necessary (even though no peer reviewed scientific studies have been done on Dembski) because you’re sure that they would definitely only reinforce what you already know about him. In fact, you clearly think that your negative opinion of Dembski belongs in the Duh file because it’s a fully confirmed, unarguable truth. It’s a done deal.

Well, that also applies to many (not all) scientific studies. In a lot of cases we already know more than enough to make effective use of the information and don’t need any more useless and expensive studies of the same thing, and whether you like it or not that’s the way a lot of the public thinks.

Kris,

Perhaps you are unaware of how science is funded. SInce you claimed to be a scientist, this is somewhat strange, but whatever. In order to fund a project you must write a grant proposal to a government agency or other funding institution. They then approve the study and fund it, if they believe it has merit. Sometimes they turn out to be wrong. Sometimes the studies lead to spectacular discoveries. The point is that you cannot fault the process of science for any study or result. If you really want to blame someone one for what you consider waste, blame the funding agencies, they are the ones making the funding decisions.

As for creationism, all of the money they spend is wasted on propaganda and disinformation campaigns. None of it is spent on any real science, no publications are made in real journals and no discoveries have ever been made by creationists using any creationist model for research. If Dr. Dr. Dembski thinks his proposals have merit, then he can write a grant and find someone to fund them. If he doesn’t want to do this, then no one is going to do it for him. His refusal to do this, or to publish anything in any real journal, tells you all you need to know about his agenda. Now if you disagree, you can feel free to write a grant proposal and test his ideas yourself. Good luck. We’ll be waiting.

Kris asked:

“Why do some people believe that Bill Dembski is wrong about ID/creationism?”

Well first, he can’t define his terms and always talks in vague generalities that aren’t really testable. Second, he has no real scientific hypothesis to test. Third, he has no equations, no statistics and no predictions. Fourth, he refuses to write grant proposals, even to agencies that are begging him to. Fifth, he refuses to publish any of his supposed results in any real journal and give that excuse that it takes too long ( he has been giving this excuse for ten years now). Sixth, he appears to be completely ignorant of the relevant science and apparently isn’t even qualified to understand the biological literature. Seventh, he continually lies and distorts and evades, to the point where he talks out of both sides of his mouth and no one is ever sure exactly what he is trying to say.

If you disagree, by all means, feel free to do all of these things. Unless and until you do, everyone is perfectly justified in their rejection of Dembski and his pesudo scientific mumbo jumbo, for which neither he nor anyone else has ever presented any evidence whatsoever.

Kris wrote

It’s obvious from what I see posted here that most of you believe Dembski is totally wrong about ID/creationism because you believe you’re right about evolution, and that the two theories cannot co-exist.

No, we believe he’s wrong because the arguments he’s offered are invalid. My bet is that I’ve read a whole lot more of what Dembski’s published than you have, and I have yet to see a valid, supported reason from Dembski that suggests that some sort of conscious purposeful intelligence is necessary to account for biological phenomena. That would be the case whether one believed one was right about evolution or not. Dembski’s wrongness is independent of the validity of evolutionary theory.

Kris went on

You are absolutely certain that Dembski is an idiot who doesn’t know anything about valid scientific evidence or methods.

No, he’s not an idiot, but rather is a man blinded by his prior commitment to evangelical Christianity to the extent that he distorts, misrepresents, and flat lies about the science in order to support that commitment. He makes up natural ‘laws’ out of whole cloth (e.g., his law of conservation of complex specified information) without once even bothering to show how the supposedly conserved quantity is measured, say nothing of showing why it’s conserved.

Kris said further

In other words, your mind is made up about Dembski because you’ve seen more than enough information already to be certain that Dembski is a delusional moron, and you feel perfectly confident and justified to fully act upon what you already know.

Yup. Though the “moron” part may be a bit overstated, he’s certainly delusional. Look up his “vise” strategy for dealing with evolutionists in court, a strategy he published not long before he turned tail and fled from testifying in Kitzmiller.

Kris said further

No more research or studies are necessary (even though no peer reviewed scientific studies have been done on Dembski) because you’re sure that they would definitely only reinforce what you already know about him.

And no more research or studies are necessary on the flat earth hypothesis. If ID proponents want research on ID done, then let them get off their sorry asses and do it. Hell, Kris, you claim to be a scientist; you do it!

I think that does it for this thread. Thanks for playing, folks.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on November 28, 2010 1:04 PM.

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