Total Agreement, For Once

| 45 Comments

by Joe Felsenstein,
http://evolution.gs.washington.edu/felsenstein.html

There’s a remarkable statement over at Uncommon Descent right now. Gil Dodgen is, as always, drawing dramatic conclusions that Darwinism has collapsed and that scientists refuse to recognize it (he’s very good at drawing that conclusion - evidence is another matter).

Anyway, he opens with a statement that, for once, evolutionary biologists can agree with:

At UD we have many brilliant ID apologists, and they continue to mount what I perceive as increasingly indefensible assaults on the creative powers of the Darwinian mechanism of random errors filtered by natural selection.

I really can’t think of anything to add to that.

45 Comments

Bless their incompetence, for occasionally they thereby get it right for once (“indefensible” for anyone who missed it).

You know they’re not going to be right by design.

Glen Davidson

Y’know … the Panda (understandably) take their fair share of cheap shots at the opposition, but in this case the shot was clearly impossible to resist.

After I post this, I’ll have to hold my nose and go over to see if it’s corrected.

And on doing so … GD appears to have been needled on this and is (surprisingly? unsurprisingly?) defending it.

Someone also needs to point out to him Glenn Morton’s citations of “evolution is on its last legs” going back over a century.

I think that the adjective “indefensible” applies to the “assaults” and not the arguments.

If an assault cannot be defended then it is indefensible and it is successful against the defender. But I don’t think that this is what Joe or Glen took to be the meaning.

Tricky chaps, words.

A quick retreat, regroup and further attack is required.

Gil Dodgen reminds me of Josef Goebbels reassuring the German people in the early spring of 1945 that victory for the Reich was certain.

Oh, it’s perfectly clear what GD meant. But that is flatly not what he said.

I suppose picking on the phrase in the title “Recognizing The Forrest … Through The Trees” would be a cheap shot, but it certainly does suggest someone who needs to improve his grasp of the admittedly complex (though not really designed) English language.

They may have “many brilliant ID apologists” but they neglected to hire a competent proofreader. That sounds more like “idiotic dolts” than “intelligent design”.

See, the perfect example of a random mutation that increased function. In this case a mistake that made the statement true. Evolution in action.

Samphire said:

I think that the adjective “indefensible” applies to the “assaults” and not the arguments.

If an assault cannot be defended then it is indefensible and it is successful against the defender. But I don’t think that this is what Joe or Glen took to be the meaning.

Tricky chaps, words.

A quick retreat, regroup and further attack is required.

I have instead made a quick check of several online dictionaries. All say the same thing. Here is the Oxford online dictionary:

adjective

1 not justifiable by argument:

this behaviour is morally indefensible

2 not able to be protected against attack:

the towns were tactically indefensible

No sign of Samphire’s meaning, so I think Samphire’s argument is, er, indefensible. Tricky chaps, words.

A much more workable phrase would have been “overwhelming assault”. But I am happy to let it stand as is.

There is no doubt that Darwinists would like to believe that natural selection is a creative force in life but the reality is that it is a conserving one. It filters out all those nasty mutations.

Some of the best examples of evolutionary adaptation observed by the Darwinists are actually instances where selection has failed to preserve, as it usually does,and has instead allowed some degeneration to occur. I would recommend people read Mike Behe’s paper on loss-of-function mutations and their role in adaptive evolution:

http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/pdf/B[…]RB_paper.pdf

Enjoy.

Any post which quotes what Gil said is a falsehood.

mrg said:

Oh, it’s perfectly clear what GD meant. But that is flatly not what he said.

I suppose picking on the phrase in the title “Recognizing The Forrest … Through The Trees” would be a cheap shot, but it certainly does suggest someone who needs to improve his grasp of the admittedly complex (though not really designed) English language.

What about “transparently obvious”?

Atheistoclast said:

I would recommend people read Mike Behe’s paper on loss-of-function mutations and their role in adaptive evolution:

http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/pdf/B[…]RB_paper.pdf

Enjoy.

A more appropriate Lehigh University link concerning Behe.

TomS said: What about “transparently obvious”?

I had to think about that for a second. That is admittedly an ambiguous phrase on inspection, but it is common usage and generally understood.

“Languages have a rhyme and a reason – but not necessarily both at the same time.”

“Indefeasible” or possibly “indestructible” would have been words for Dodgen to use for his intended, though incorrect, claim.

Clearly “indefensible” is not used as Samphire twists it to mean, rather it declares that the assaults cannot be defended as having been correct–as Felsenstein’s first definition shows. We attack ID, but our assaults are entirely defensible, since they’re not dishonest attacks.

Tricky this thinking business, for too many people.

Glen Davidson

This outrageous, indefensible assault on Christian religious liberties provides a perfect opportunity for the church-state separation crusaders to prove they’re really devoted to religious liberty, as they claim.

Emphasis added

David Limbaugh

I wonder if Dodgen and Samphire think that the statement above means that said “indefensible assault” upon “Christian liberties” is something that cannot be defended against. I chose the statement of a right-leaning pro-religionist out of a myriad of examples on the web just because he’d be more on the side of the DI in at least most matters, yet clearly uses the phrase “indefensible assault” correctly, unlike Dodgen.

I saw many examples like this on a Google search, never once seeing it used like Dodgen and Samphire say it actually means. I don’t doubt that somewhere someone has made the same mistake that Dodgen made, but you won’t find it often, let alone by people who really understand what words and concepts mean.

Glen Davidson

Let’s give them the Humpty Dumpty defense for the moment. If the assault was that indefensible, why do they need so many people? Wouldn’t one do the trick?

And why would you ever need apologists? If you have a scientifically solid case, wouldn’t you want want scientists to make it?

Glen Davidson said: “Indefeasible” or possibly “indestructible” would have been words for Dodgen to use for his intended, though incorrect, claim.

“Irresistible”, “undefeatable”, or “overwhelming” would be my picks.

They still haven’t changed it. How long will it take? Any wagers?

In agreement with mrg, I read this and I thought of the irresistible force/immovable object thought experiment/paradox I was taught as a child. I think the word GD wanted was–irresistible.

Mike Elzinga said:

Atheistoclast said:

I would recommend people read Mike Behe’s paper on loss-of-function mutations and their role in adaptive evolution:

http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/pdf/B[…]RB_paper.pdf

Enjoy.

A more appropriate Lehigh University link concerning Behe.

Or read comments courtesy of Dave Wisker and yours truly that note how much Behe’s risible mendacious intellectual pornography, “The Edge of Evolution: The Limits to Darwinism” demonstrates fundamental incomprehension of population genetics, ecology, coevolution, Red Queen’s Hypothesis, the Gould and Lewonton “Spandrels of San Marco” paper, etc. etc.

On a happier note, it looks like Ben Stein - and Bill Dembski - are about to get EXPELLED:

http://ncse.com/news/2011/06/expell[…]block-006695

John Kwok said:

On a happier note, it looks like Ben Stein - and Bill Dembski - are about to get EXPELLED:

http://ncse.com/news/2011/06/expell[…]block-006695

I wonder who would want to buy it.

Most people pay to have their trash hauled away.

Mike Elzinga wrote “I wonder who would want to buy it. Most people pay to have their trash hauled away.”

I think Ken Hamm will purchase the movie for his “Creation Museum” and play it over and over and over again.

Mike Elzinga said:

John Kwok said:

On a happier note, it looks like Ben Stein - and Bill Dembski - are about to get EXPELLED:

http://ncse.com/news/2011/06/expell[…]block-006695

I wonder who would want to buy it.

Most people pay to have their trash hauled away.

Have seen comments over on FB hoping that the winning bidder will dispose of it as the garbage that it is.

A slight correction, I meant Gould and Lewontin “Spandrels of San Marco” paper.

But, but, but, Expelled was so succesful! Everyone who’s anyone in the Framing Community ™ knew that!

As to Gil Dodgen’s gaffe: every time an IDer quotemines a scientist, they do what we mockingly do to Mr. D here - take the out-of-context literal meaning of what he said, instead of what he clearly means. So its goose and gander time for the IDers. How’s that shoe feel on the other foot?

Perhaps I am right. And perhaps I am wrong. But a quotation by a notorious local creationist who by reason of his doctorate in electronic engineering knows more about biology than your average/eminent biologist seems to be in the same league as the “indefensible” one. It is a sentiment expressed by the late Professor Philip Skell who reportedly said, “I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.” Somehow, according to our electronics chap, this indicates that eminent scientists doubt whether what he terms neo-Darwinism has any contribution to make to science. (Prof Skell, I gather, wasn’t a biologist himself, but he seems to be merely saying that Darwin shouldn’t be dragged in where he isn’t needed.)

Finally, in comment number 115 in his thread, Gil Dodgen has admitted that

And yes, I made a booboo concerning the indefensible assault. The assault is defensible, but no reasonable defense can be made against it.

but he hasn’t changed his original post. Which is good because it still enables people to see what we are laughing about.

Well if it is so indefensible, why is no one who is actually familiar with the evidence convinced? Let me guess, it’s all one big conspiracy, right? So then it is completely irrelevant if the assault is defensible or not. So why even mention it, even incorrectly? Man these guys play so many word games they can’t keep their indefensible story straight.

Jonathan Smith said:

Mike Elzinga wrote “I wonder who would want to buy it. Most people pay to have their trash hauled away.”

I think Ken Hamm will purchase the movie for his “Creation Museum” and play it over and over and over again.

AiG seems to be rolling in the dough; so I suspect you could very well be right. It’s exactly the kind of garbage they wallow in.

I just love it when this kind of thing happens…

Science Avenger said:

But, but, but, Expelled was so succesful! Everyone who’s anyone in the Framing Community ™ knew that!

As to Gil Dodgen’s gaffe: every time an IDer quotemines a scientist, they do what we mockingly do to Mr. D here - take the out-of-context literal meaning of what he said, instead of what he clearly means. So its goose and gander time for the IDers. How’s that shoe feel on the other foot?

Not the same thing at all. We’re quoting a mistake and laughing at it. It’s still a laughable mistake when read in its full context.

steve p. said:

Derision is intoxicating, isnt it Joe. As a bonus, it really does enhance your professionalism.

Smart move.

Keeper.

So how is the Taiwanese rug trade these days, Steve? Obviously not well if you have time to needle a scientist as distinguished as Joe Felsenstein.

I wonder when your Taiwanese friends will teach you something about biology for once!

Mike Elzinga said:

John Kwok said:

On a happier note, it looks like Ben Stein - and Bill Dembski - are about to get EXPELLED:

http://ncse.com/news/2011/06/expell[…]block-006695

I wonder who would want to buy it.

I would! If I had that sort of cash to throw around. Remember, no theater can show it without the owner’s permission. Which, in my case, would not be forthcoming.

Maybe Pandas should buy it. :)

Follow-up to my comment about buying Expelled, over at the Sensuous Curmudgeon’s blog, magpie61 had this to say about it:

BTW, purchasing the rights isn’t a terrible idea. As the new copyright owner you could reissue an official, annotated version that tells the truth. You could include straightforward interviews that aren’t deceptive or “creatively edited”, add real evidence in place of trumped-up “insinuendo”, or add a running commentary that answers, point-for-point, all the deliberate distortions and willful misinformation in the film.

eric said:

Follow-up to my comment about buying Expelled, over at the Sensuous Curmudgeon’s blog, magpie61 had this to say about it:

BTW, purchasing the rights isn’t a terrible idea. As the new copyright owner you could reissue an official, annotated version that tells the truth. You could include straightforward interviews that aren’t deceptive or “creatively edited”, add real evidence in place of trumped-up “insinuendo”, or add a running commentary that answers, point-for-point, all the deliberate distortions and willful misinformation in the film.

You can already do all of that, that’s 100% First Amendment protected fair use for satire and criticism.

I am thinking of putting in a very low bid and seeing if I end up with it (online auction is supposed to be between June 23 and 28, as Raven helpfully reminded me in another forum), but remember, you can satirize it and critique it all you want without owning it.

I’d buy the rights to Expelled for a dollar.

Then I’d eat a second dollar bill.

I think the dollar bill I digest would be more beneficial to my body, mind and soul than that crockumentary

Hercules Grytpype-Thynne said:

Science Avenger said:

But, but, but, Expelled was so succesful! Everyone who’s anyone in the Framing Community ™ knew that!

As to Gil Dodgen’s gaffe: every time an IDer quotemines a scientist, they do what we mockingly do to Mr. D here - take the out-of-context literal meaning of what he said, instead of what he clearly means. So its goose and gander time for the IDers. How’s that shoe feel on the other foot?

Not the same thing at all. We’re quoting a mistake and laughing at it. It’s still a laughable mistake when read in its full context.

Understood, but I’m drawing on a broader principle, or lack thereof if you like, in what the creationists do, which is “ignore meaning, focus on words”, like a 10 year old playing semantic gotcha games.

Believe it or not, Dodgen still hasn’t corrected his text.

That’s the kind of bug that if I found it on my website, I would drop what I was doing and fix it immediately. I’m starting to feel at least unusual if not unique in that I do mind looking like an idiot in public. Looking like an idiot and being proud of it seems like required procedure for the lunatic fringe.

It filters out all those nasty mutations.

But of course. While once in a while some nifty mutations ignite a creative process, like opening a gateway to human evolution.

harold said:

eric said:

Follow-up to my comment about buying Expelled, over at the Sensuous Curmudgeon’s blog, magpie61 had this to say about it:

BTW, purchasing the rights isn’t a terrible idea. As the new copyright owner you could reissue an official, annotated version that tells the truth. You could include straightforward interviews that aren’t deceptive or “creatively edited”, add real evidence in place of trumped-up “insinuendo”, or add a running commentary that answers, point-for-point, all the deliberate distortions and willful misinformation in the film.

You can already do all of that, that’s 100% First Amendment protected fair use for satire and criticism.

I am thinking of putting in a very low bid and seeing if I end up with it (online auction is supposed to be between June 23 and 28, as Raven helpfully reminded me in another forum), but remember, you can satirize it and critique it all you want without owning it.

But you might also get the parts of the interviews that were left on the cutting room floor. How devastating to show the clips that the Expelled crew expelled from the movie.

”…brilliant ID apologists…”

Fecking hell.

If ID was any more than a barely-defined notion based on ignorance or incredulity, it wouldn’t need apologists and it would have the support of more than just a handful of compartmentalised religionist scientists.

And if ID isn’t religious, why are apologists and aforemention religionists the only ones pushing it?

Also, calling an ID apologist “brilliant” devalues the word “brilliant” to the extent that I could be considered “brilliant” for being able to get dressed without strangling myself with my underpants.

mrg said: Someone also needs to point out to him Glenn Morton’s citations of “evolution is on its last legs” going back over a century.

That would be The Imminent Demise of Evolution: The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism.

Run, Forrest, Run!

Run, Forrest, Run!

Or to put it another way, “stupid is as stupid does”?

The demise of evolution is just as imminent as the rapture. Any time now, just you wait.…

Karen S. said:

The demise of evolution is just as imminent as the rapture. Any time now, just you wait.…

Or the arrival of Klingons via the James T. Kirk slingshot time travel maneuver.

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