Klinghoffer clangs

| 56 Comments

David Klinghoffer, Disco ‘Tute apologist, has responded to the recent kerfuffle involving Ann Gauger’s mangling of population genetics and phylogenetics (see Joe Felsenstein’s comment on Sandwalk) whilst green-screened over a stock laboratory photograph. Klinghoffer doesn’t bother to address the scientific nonsense Gauger promoted, of course–how could he?–but claims that the green-screened lab was convenient because

Typically, filming in a genuine location like this would be troublesome for us and bothersome for others who work there – a distraction for all involved, including viewers, when the intent is to focus on the argument. Many other times, in other contexts, we have similarly used backdrops where, to get to an actual locale, it would require travel not to mention complicated, time-consuming setup and many other headaches. Going with a green screen makes sense for an organization that operates under a constrained budget.

So in Klinghoffer’s head there are just two alternatives: use a stock photo and green-screen Gauger into it, or tape Gauger speaking in her own lab. Here’s a third alternative for Klinghoffer and the DI’s film producers: Take a still photo of Gauger’s lab, which might be 10 minutes or so of interruption of the horde of minions working in it, and then green-screen her into that photo. That would have saved $19.00 (the reported cost of the stock photo) for the constrained budget of the DI. But it would also mean escaping from a false dichotomy, and ID proponents seem to be cognitively unable to entertain more than two alternatives at once; witness their decades-long efforts to equate (mostly specious) critiques of evolution with evidence for ID.

56 Comments

Would somebody PLEASE send the DI a cardboard box–you know, the kind appliances come in–so they can have their very own play lab? Some of Daddy’s white shirts and a toy stethoscope would also be much appreciated.

The Friendly Atheist has invaded Gauger’s lab!

I love the Axe youtube link that shows the DI has a fake conference room, too.

Enough about the green screen already. Takes attention away from her words. If there’s pointing and laughing to be done, it’s the words we need to talk about, and force the DI to defend if they can.

I’ve seen lots of interviews with scientists, nearly all of them more than 50 times productive than the BI/DI. None of them have ever been filmed in front of a green screen and using a stock photo of a research lab.

The reason why they used camera tricks is obvious: they have no “laboratory” space or equipment at the BI. They probably only have offices. That is not a negative; I myself don’t have any wet lab space and only have dry-lab/office space. However, since the DI doesn’t actually understand science and the scientific community, they falsely believe that Grauger needed to be shown in front of a “real” laboratory.

Well if the intent is to focus on the argument, you lose. It was just a bunch of mindless lies and blubbering, kind of like someone arguing that the sun revolves around the earth because apples and oranges both fall to the ground. The argument is ignorant and fallacious, almost =certainly dishonestly so. I notice that none of the trolls have even tried to defend it, just a bunch of blubbering about nonsense.

The field of phylogenetics has been wildly successful at the reconstruction of evolutionary relationships. The major assumptions have been tested and independent data sets have been found to yield the same results. The issue of homoplasy has been dealt with extensively. It is not an impediment to reliable reconstruction, if done properly. Is that the argument you really want to focus on?

Or maybe it’s just the first four letters of the word that have her a a twitter?

If Gauger really wants to “focus on the Argument” how about reading this article that deals with statistical analysis of the effects of homoplasy:

Branddley et. al. (2009) Homoplasy and Clade Support. Systematic Biology 58(2):1840198.

Now I wonder why she never mentioned this, or any other article in her tirade? Maybe because she didn’t have the slightest clue what she was talking about.

And I will take great delight in reminding a certain Brown Un. alumnus who occasionally comments here that Mr. Klinghoffer, like Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal got his degree from Brown. End snark.

That’s 58(2):184-198

How about this one:

Goloboff et. al. (2008) Weighting against homoplasy improves phylogenetic analysis of morphological data sets. Cladistics 24:1-16.

The paper outlines ways of minimizing the effects of homoplasy for morphological characters, just as has been done for molecular characters for many years. So I guess it’s not such a deep dark secret after all. In fact, it is a well known problem that has been dealt with extensively in the real scientific literature by those who have real labs and collect real data.

Is this really the issue you want to focus on? Better to discuss the green screen issue, at least there is some defense for that one. It really would have cost more to get a real lab.

It must be cheaper to buy a stock photo of a laboratory in which the lights are off. With gimp I can crank up the brightness and contrast to turn the lights on.

”…or tape Gauger speaking in her own lab.”

But therein lies the problem. What DI/ID lab?

John Harshman said:

Enough about the green screen already. Takes attention away from her words. If there’s pointing and laughing to be done, it’s the words we need to talk about, and force the DI to defend if they can.

I don’t think it’s a waste of electrons to call attention to duplicity. The DI is steeped in scienciness, reminiscent of Hyacinth Bucket’s perpetually unsuccessful social climbing efforts in Keeping Up Appearances, and this is but another manifestation of it.

Note also that Gauger’s words have been heavily criticized in several venues, including one I linked to. Gauger says

We call that homoplasy, and it’s a hidden secret in population genetics and in evolution. They don’t want to admit that similarity now can’t be used as a rule for anything. (italics indicate her voice stress)

A hidden secret? See the reference DS supplied, or check this review:

Abstract Understanding the diversification of phenotypes through time–“descent with modification”–has been the focus of evolutionary biology for 150 years. If, contrary to expectations, similarity evolves in unrelated taxa, researchers are guided to uncover the genetic and developmental mechanisms responsible. Similar phenotypes may be retained from common ancestry (homology), but a phylogenetic context may instead reveal that they are independently derived, due to convergence or parallel evolution, or less likely, that they experienced reversal. Such examples of homoplasy present opportunities to discover the foundations of morphological traits. A common underlying mechanism may exist, and components may have been redeployed in a way that produces the “same” phenotype. New, robust phylogenetic hypotheses and molecular, genomic, and developmental techniques enable integrated exploration of the mechanisms by which similarity arises.

Sure is well hidden.

But the emissary they send, Klinghoffer, makes only a weak appeal to authority with respect to the science.

Well you know, the Designer is the biggest thing around.

Makes the lab crowded when it shows up, so they can hardly entertain photographers at the same time.

Glen Davidson

John Harshman said:

Enough about the green screen already. Takes attention away from her words. If there’s pointing and laughing to be done, it’s the words we need to talk about, and force the DI to defend if they can.

It’s too fun to laugh about these people actually doing science–especially when they’re so opposed to “materialistic science,” then pretending to be doing it.

Fun at their expense is what keeps us on forums like these.

Glen Davidson

The DI just lost their right to complain about photos of peppered moths.

I see all of the trolls have rushed to “focus on the argument”. Oh well, at least Gauger was partially correct, the homoplasy problem can in fact be important in population genetics. For example, in the analysis of microsatellite data. I’m sure it’s a deep dark secret. Oh wait, here is a paper from ten years ago that shows it’s not a problem. Form the abstract:

“In a third section, we show that homoplasy at microsatellite electromorphs does not represent a significant problem for many types of population genetics analyses realized by molecular ecologists, the large amount of variability at microsatellite loci often compensating for their homoplasious evolution.”

Estoup et; al. (2002) Homoplasy and mutation model at microsatellite loci and their consequences for population genetics analysis. Molecular Ecology 11:1591-1604.

Some deep dark secret. In fact, we have know about this issue for other data sets for about forty years. So even the made up crap that she got wrong was wrong. Doesn’t anybody want to “focus on the argument”? Anybody?

Karen S. and DavidK:

I believe that however bad the work they do there, the Biologic Institute does have a lab (if not the one they showed behind Gauger). David Klinghoffer showed a picture of it in response to the present flap.

Are you ready to retract your statements? That would be the honest thing to do.

Or are you determined to give ammunition to the Discovery Institute?

People have also stated flatly that Gauger only took her Ph.D. because she wanted to refute evolution. But the topic she studied was straight cell biology (cell adhesion molecules in Drosophila). I can’t see why anyone who wanted only to refute evolution would study that.

When there are plenty of valid criticisms to make of Gauger and the Biologic Institute, these loud overstatements are do everyone a disservice.

Joe Felsenstein said:

Karen S. and DavidK:

I believe that however bad the work they do there, the Biologic Institute does have a lab (if not the one they showed behind Gauger). David Klinghoffer showed a picture of it in response to the present flap.

Are you ready to retract your statements? That would be the honest thing to do.

Or are you determined to give ammunition to the Discovery Institute?

People have also stated flatly that Gauger only took her Ph.D. because she wanted to refute evolution. But the topic she studied was straight cell biology (cell adhesion molecules in Drosophila). I can’t see why anyone who wanted only to refute evolution would study that.

When there are plenty of valid criticisms to make of Gauger and the Biologic Institute, these loud overstatements are do everyone a disservice.

This comment is intended as an interested and civil extension of the discussion.

I have stated that people who do a PhD in biology, and then make a career of denying the basic central theory of biology, have a strange psychological makeup.

The most prominent example is Jonathon Wells, who has openly stated that he did, in fact, pursue a PhD in biology in order to “Destroy Darwinism” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonath[…]to_evolution

It is highly, highly unusual to bother to get a PhD in a field in which one disagrees with the most fundamental underlying theory. (For full disclosure I do not have a PhD, I am an MD pathologist.)

It is reasonable to state that when people do this, it is usually either to insincerely enjoy the financial and social benefits of the degree (as, for example, a secret atheist becoming a clergyman for the money and relatively easy lifestyle), or to use the degree as a prop for attacking the field of study (the “since I have a PhD in such and such, therefore you must accept my authority when I say that such and such is completely false” approach).

Prominent ID/creationists often simply do behave in ways that are, by most standards, unethical and/or apparently motivated by abnormal psychology.

There is a difference between civility and obsequiousness.

It is not unfair to note this. It would be unfair to selectively ignore their faults, in an excessive effort at “fairness”, which would actually end up being unfair to everyone else.

At one level this lab background thing is the height of triviality.

At another level, everyone sees how much it captures the spirit of the DI.

It’s true that it really all comes down to content. Some of the intelligent comments here come from people with PhD degrees directly in evolutionary biology, others come from people with advanced degrees in other fields, and others come from people with no advanced formal scientific education whatsoever. The intelligent pro-science comments don’t invite questions about degrees, because if the comment is well-informed, it’s well-informed, regardless of how the person came by the correctly understood information. Likewise, a generic backdrop is unlikely to raise attention when it forms a stage for worthwhile content.

On the other hand, when props like degrees or lab backdrops are mixed with incorrect, illogical claims, an examination of the validity of the props is immediately provoked.

Ann Gauger has a legitimate PhD, and may or may not have functioning laboratory space at the DI. However, her incorrect and ill-informed statements provoked questions about her video background. It was shown to be fake, and most of us get that that is tacky. It is also strange that she is an evolution denier who bothered to get an advanced biology degree, and cell adhesion is certainly not a field that is somehow divorced from the theory of evolution.

(She could have “converted” to creationism later, and her biography isn’t easy to find, but if I recall correctly, she’s a lifelong fundamentalist.)

Joe Felsenstein said:

People have also stated flatly that Gauger only took her Ph.D. because she wanted to refute evolution. But the topic she studied was straight cell biology (cell adhesion molecules in Drosophila). I can’t see why anyone who wanted only to refute evolution would study that.

Adhesion? Hmmmm.

According to David L. Abel, it’s all “spontaneous molecular chaos” down there; a tornado-in-a-junkyard according to the “scientific” creationists right from their beginning.

Uniform random sampling distributions and placement of atoms in infinitesimally small subsets of essentially infinite distribution spaces according to the “Isaac Newton of information theory,” William Dembski. Irreducibly complex assemblies according to Behe.

Adhesion implies “stickiness;” i.e., the existence of forces and energies of interaction among atoms and molecules. Shouldn’t that conjure up some doubts about ID/creationist notions about how atoms and molecules interact?

Indeed adhesion is an anti-creationist concept about atoms and molecules, especially the molecules of living organisms. Why would someone aware of a notion such as adhesion be a creationist? In ID/creationist land, complex molecules form from ideal gases by being pushed around with information and intelligence.

Was Gauger an ID/creationist at the beginning of her studies; or did she become one later?

Richard wrote “That would have saved $19.00 (the reported cost of the stock photo) for the constrained budget of the DI.”

Ah, but did the Dishonesty Institute pay the $19 or not? It would be so in character for them not to have done so.

Mike Elzinga said:

Joe Felsenstein said:

People have also stated flatly that Gauger only took her Ph.D. because she wanted to refute evolution. But the topic she studied was straight cell biology (cell adhesion molecules in Drosophila). I can’t see why anyone who wanted only to refute evolution would study that.

Adhesion? Hmmmm.

According to David L. Abel, it’s all “spontaneous molecular chaos” down there; a tornado-in-a-junkyard according to the “scientific” creationists right from their beginning.

Uniform random sampling distributions and placement of atoms in infinitesimally small subsets of essentially infinite distribution spaces according to the “Isaac Newton of information theory,” William Dembski. Irreducibly complex assemblies according to Behe.

Adhesion implies “stickiness;” i.e., the existence of forces and energies of interaction among atoms and molecules. Shouldn’t that conjure up some doubts about ID/creationist notions about how atoms and molecules interact?

Indeed adhesion is an anti-creationist concept about atoms and molecules, especially the molecules of living organisms. Why would someone aware of a notion such as adhesion be a creationist? In ID/creationist land, complex molecules form from ideal gases by being pushed around with information and intelligence.

Was Gauger an ID/creationist at the beginning of her studies; or did she become one later?

Among many other things, cell adhesion is likely to have a great deal to do with how multicellular life evolved.

Joe Felsenstein said:

I believe that however bad the work they do there, the Biologic Institute does have a lab (if not the one they showed behind Gauger). David Klinghoffer showed a picture of it in response to the present flap.

People have also stated flatly that Gauger only took her Ph.D. because she wanted to refute evolution. But the topic she studied was straight cell biology (cell adhesion molecules in Drosophila). I can’t see why anyone who wanted only to refute evolution would study that.

Well if she does have a real lab, does she do any real research? Does she publish the results in peer reviewed journals? Why does she think that studying cell adhesion makes her an authority on evolution, or phylogenetics, or population genetics? Why doesn’t she understand even the most basic concepts like homoplasy? Why does she misrepresent it as some deep dark secret? Why didn’t she provide any evidence to support her claims?

You are correct, there is plenty to criticize these people for. Let’s forget about the fake lab and start discussing their ignorance and fundamental dishonesty.

Gauger’s “real lab” is a 10 minute drive from the Disco Tute headquarters. Two people work in the lab, maybe three. Yeah, such an imposition to film there and disrupt the “research.”

IDiots all.

Well if none of the creationists want to Focus on the argument, ho about this, how about if they just tell us how they explain homoplasy? (HINT: common design is not the answer). After all, they are the ones who exposed the deep dark secret. Surely they have an explanation. Surely it’s not a problem for them. Surely they will want to enlighten us. Waiting.

People really need to stop and think before they post. The DI paid for the photo. Ann Gauger has a real PhD from a real university. They do have a real lab, if by that you mean a facility with real equipment at which real procedures are performed, and if you don’t demand that real science be done. They’ve apparently done at least site-directed mutagenesis there.

There are plenty of real problems with Gauger’s video to talk about. Concentration on the real, if tiny issue of the green screen and on fake issues like payment just lets Klinghoffer ignore those real problems. You give him the opportunity, he takes it.

You call this trolling?

Now, over in Sandwalk I’ve pointed out Theobald, D. 2010. A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry. Nature 465: 219–222, which directly tests what Gauger claims is merely assumed. That’s the sort of thing you really need to ask Klinghoffer and Gauger about, not the green screen crap.

Why does she think that studying cell adhesion makes her an authority on evolution, or phylogenetics, or population genetics? Why doesn’t she understand even the most basic concepts like homoplasy?

The best cell adhesion expert in the world is not an advanced expert on these topics. In a trivial way, Gauger is using the creationist tactic of waving irrelevant credentials.

However, denying these basic topics from evolutionary biology does call her competence as a cell adhesion expert into question. Cell adhesion molecules evolved and evolve. That must be understood, in order to correctly understand cell adhesion.

Gauger apparently has a real lab, but for some reason or other, she chose to use a backdrop that could be shown to be fake. She could be said to do research, broadly defined, but she does remarkably little of it according to her publication record, and what research she does do has been solely focused on “disproving” a straw man version of evolution. She has a valid PhD but now makes a living publicly denying the most basic underlying ideas from the field her PhD is in.

And the fact that she ostensibly has a lab, yet used a fake backdrop, does raise questions. Why on earth not take a shot of her own lab and use it as the background? Why not proudly state “the background you see is my lab”? Is there something strange about the actual DI lab?

John Harshman said: The DI paid for the photo.

How do you know that? Did you see the actual receipt?

DS said: Surely they have an explanation. Surely it’s not a problem for them. Surely they will want to enlighten us.

Don’t call me Shirley. (RIP Leslie Nielsen.)

Paul Burnett said:

John Harshman said: The DI paid for the photo.

How do you know that? Did you see the actual receipt?

There’s no digital watermark in the DI’s video.

John Harshman has a not unreasonable argument–that the emphasis should be on the science–but in my view that’s an incomplete approach. If I have time over the holidays I’ll expand on my claim.

If you were dealing with a scientist then, you’re right, the emphasis should be on the science.

But, you’re not dealing with a scientist. You’re dealing with a propagandist and there the rules are different. You can’t engage a propagandist, all you can do is expose, mock and hold them up to public ridicule to make the propaganda less effective.

Also, the notion of engaging Klem Kladiddlehoffer or any of the Disco Tooters on science is utterly laughable.

Finally, Merry Christmas to all my fellow curmudgeons, misfits and jackasses out there! Pizza’s on Lenny.

John Harshman said:

People really need to stop and think before they post. The DI paid for the photo. Ann Gauger has a real PhD from a real university. They do have a real lab, if by that you mean a facility with real equipment at which real procedures are performed, and if you don’t demand that real science be done. They’ve apparently done at least site-directed mutagenesis there.

There are plenty of real problems with Gauger’s video to talk about. Concentration on the real, if tiny issue of the green screen and on fake issues like payment just lets Klinghoffer ignore those real problems. You give him the opportunity, he takes it.

You call this trolling?

Now, over in Sandwalk I’ve pointed out Theobald, D. 2010. A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry. Nature 465: 219–222, which directly tests what Gauger claims is merely assumed. That’s the sort of thing you really need to ask Klinghoffer and Gauger about, not the green screen crap.

Thanks for the reference. If Gauger wants “focus on the argument” let her address this finding. If not, who cares whether she has a lab or not?

Most importantly, we can focus on the “science” and laugh at their clumsy propaganda efforts at the same time, and Klinghoffer will just lie and ignore all of the science issues regardless of what we say.

Harshman’s claim that anything we do allows dishonest propagandists like the IDiots to do any of their mendacious and vile attacks is completely misinformed. When you just make up the science, as they typically do (and don’t tell me about their going through the motions at the Biologic Institute–a baking soda volcano is more science when done by an honest child, than is any technologically-impressive thing done by these disingenuous apologists), you hardly have to deal with any meaningful questions posed by the science side. Just twist whatever is said into your preferred strawman, and set it ablaze.

Glen Davidson

Alright, I guess no creationist or troll can describe what homoplasy is, let alone explain it. So, I’ll make it real easy for you. Just explain one of the following:

1) Why do whales have flippers and flukes but not lungs? Or, how do we know that whales are mammals? (HINT: common design is not the answer).

2) Why do bats have wings but not feathers? Or, how do we know that bats are not birds? (HINT: common design is not the answer).

Given the above, (and countless other examples), does it really make any sense at all to claim that similarity is not a valid indicator of relationships? Wouldn’t it be more honest to say that it is indeed possible to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships using sound principles of cladistics, taking homoplasy into account?

Now ask yourself, why did Ann lie about this? SInce it is demonstrably not true, your only choices seem to be ignorance or duplicity. If ignorance, there is little defense for someone with a PhD in the “field”. If duplicity, why defend or encourage such blatant dishonesty in order to appease a supposedly all knowing and all loving god?

DS said:

Alright, I guess no creationist or troll can describe what homoplasy is, let alone explain it. So, I’ll make it real easy for you. Just explain one of the following:

1) Why do whales have flippers and flukes but not lungs? Or, how do we know that whales are mammals? (HINT: common design is not the answer).

2) Why do bats have wings but not feathers? Or, how do we know that bats are not birds? (HINT: common design is not the answer).

Given the above, (and countless other examples), does it really make any sense at all to claim that similarity is not a valid indicator of relationships? Wouldn’t it be more honest to say that it is indeed possible to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships using sound principles of cladistics, taking homoplasy into account?

Now ask yourself, why did Ann lie about this? SInce it is demonstrably not true, your only choices seem to be ignorance or duplicity. If ignorance, there is little defense for someone with a PhD in the “field”. If duplicity, why defend or encourage such blatant dishonesty in order to appease a supposedly all knowing and all loving god?

I was shocked, when I first became acquainted with organized political/legal oriented creationism, circa 1999, to note that they could not even correctly explain what they were arguing against.

Such a thing had never occurred to me before. Even most of the worst ideologues I had been acquainted with before could accurately explain whatever it was that they opposed.

You could make a really simple challenge for ID/creationists, and I will right now.

Creationists, mainstream science holds that whales are more closely related to terrestrial placental mammals than to fish, even though they superficially look like fish. Regardless of what you think, explain why mainstream science holds this view. You can explain why you think it is wrong later, just explain the scientific view correctly first.

They can’t do it. Not one of them will ever do it. It won’t happen. I can say this right here, and it won’t happen. Some blustering troll might show up and claim to try to do it, but I can predict in advance that the scientific answer to this somewhat simple question will be unfairly presented.

I conjecture that this is due to a sum of true incompetence and fear of being convinced (or convincing others). Which side of the sum dominates depends on the person. Certain people who post here are on the incompetence end; they don’t have to worry about being convinced because they can’t really understand the science. On the other hand, a fair number of people who work at the DI are on the other end of the spectrum. They’ve shown that they have the ability to understand the science. Nevertheless, they never fairly state the scientific side. It does not happen.

DS said:

1) Why do whales have flippers and flukes but not lungs? Or, how do we know that whales are mammals? (HINT: common design is not the answer).

I beg your pardon? Whales have no… what?

harold said:

I was shocked, when I first became acquainted with organized political/legal oriented creationism, circa 1999, to note that they could not even correctly explain what they were arguing against.

This same thing happened to a lot of us back in the 1970s when we were first confronted with Henry Morris’s and Duane Gish’s “arguments.” I distinctly remember that many of us in the physics community just laughed. Here were two goofy, panting PhDs who couldn’t even get basic science concepts right; and we thought those two idiots were just making fools of themselves (they were) and that nobody would take them seriously (unfortunately, too many people did).

Gish had these overheads of ridiculous caricatures of a fish with the head of a cat, or of a half dog half cat creature; stupid little cartoons that he just made up. He beat up biologists with Morris’s “evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics” argument; and we just laughed. We thought it was the biologist’s fight; and most of the physicists just stayed on the sidelines shaking their heads and snickering. It made for hilarious conversation during our luncheon research group meetings.

Man we were stupid back then. We had no idea of the socio/political tactics the creationists were using. We didn’t recognize these as taunts being used to bait scientists into public debates where the creationists would simply mock science and bamboozle their audiences while getting free rides and the appearance of “legitimacy” on the backs of any scientist who naively tried to take them on.

I was one of the few physicists that got pulled into explaining things to the public; but I never got sucked into debating a creationist. It took several iterations and some good feedback from friends for me to start cutting the math out of my talks and becoming more effective. I didn’t reveal to my colleagues that I was doing this. Most of them didn’t approve of physicists getting involved and wasting time on things that had nothing to do with bringing in research money and advancing research. It was the biologists who were being attacked, and it was their problem.

But to this day, ID/creationists caricature science; only now, they firmly believe their own caricatures. They have constructed a self-contained pseudoscience that allows them to keep their sectarian dogma. Now they can sneer and accuse the scientific community and laypersons who are interested in science of not understanding science. They now live in an alternate reality while they accuse the scientific community of living in an alternate reality.

What is more, their alternate reality is now bolstered with their own pseudo-philosophy and their own rewrite of history. ID/creationists now live in a parallel universe that is a complete, self-contained and self-reinforcing fake. As Granville Sewell actually said when he attempted to resurrect that old second law canard, physicists can’t understand the obvious implications of entropy and the second law that even a layperson can understand. That is how cock-sure they have become about their own “understanding” of science.

Yet, when confronted with a concept test on basic high school level science, every damned one of them fails miserably or simply avoids answering. They continue to jump directly into advanced topics, hijacking the publications of scientists and pretending to be able to interpret them to their audiences while giving the appearance that they are an integral part of the research community. They are fake right to their very core.

Piotr Gąsiorowski said:

DS said:

1) Why do whales have flippers and flukes but not lungs? Or, how do we know that whales are mammals? (HINT: common design is not the answer).

I beg your pardon? Whales have no… what?

Sorry, gills.

DS said:

… Or, how do we know that whales are mammals? (HINT: common design is not the answer).

Interestingly, what convinced Linnaeus that whales should be removed from the class Pisces and reclassified as mammals was very possibly a drawing that he had acquired, showing a female bottlenose whale and her calf (she was stranded on the Norwegian coast in the last stage of pregnancy). A fragment of the calf’s umbilical cord and its mother’s mammary glands are visible in the picture. Linnaeus’s intuition somehow told him that the presence of such morphological traits had a deeper meaning than obvious adaptation to marine life.

Piotr Gąsiorowski said:

DS said:

… Or, how do we know that whales are mammals? (HINT: common design is not the answer).

Interestingly, what convinced Linnaeus that whales should be removed from the class Pisces and reclassified as mammals was very possibly a drawing that he had acquired, showing a female bottlenose whale and her calf (she was stranded on the Norwegian coast in the last stage of pregnancy). A fragment of the calf’s umbilical cord and its mother’s mammary glands are visible in the picture. Linnaeus’s intuition somehow told him that the presence of such morphological traits had a deeper meaning than obvious adaptation to marine life.

And yet a “scientist” today still claims that homoplasy prevents us from accurately reconstructing phylogenetic relationships. Such a person should suffer the ridicule that they so richly deserve.

I’ll try once more. Bullshit complaints that they don’t actually have a lab or didn’t pay for the photo are counterproductive because they can easily be answered. Complaints about the science can’t be answered, only ignored. The bullshit complaints make you look bad, while the scientific complaints make them look bad. Which are you going to pick?

How about both, but with greater emphasis on the subject matter?

(That’s my two cents here.)

John Harshman said:

I’ll try once more. Bullshit complaints that they don’t actually have a lab or didn’t pay for the photo are counterproductive because they can easily be answered. Complaints about the science can’t be answered, only ignored. The bullshit complaints make you look bad, while the scientific complaints make them look bad. Which are you going to pick?

I think the problem has two sides:

1) They can’t or won’t focus on the actual argument, because it’s silly and stupid and just plain wrong and if they try to discuss it honestly for just one second everyone will see this.

2) The argument is so silly and ridiculous that that’s the level of response it deserves, just ridicule and snide remarks. By stooping to their level you merely display the contempt that is appropriate for the argument.

So not one creationist or troll has even attempted to focus on the argument, even though that’s exactly what their fearful leader has commanded them to do. None of them has any idea what Gauger is trying to say, they just know they agree with her. Perhaps they realize how ludicrous the argument is, perhaps not. Perhaps they realize that she’s just plain lying, perhaps not. Perhaps they are just afraid to post on a real thread where their irreconcilable differences will become apparent, so they restrict themselves to the bathroom wall where they can argue incessantly about what the bible does and doesn’t say.

Either way, you can’t say that they didn’t have a chance to focus on the argument. Either way, you can’t say that real scientists refused to discuss the real issues. Either way, you can’t deny that they have once again been shown up for the lying hypocrites that they are and their feeble protests have once again proven to be disingenuous. Don’t these dipsticks ever get tired of lies and distortions? You would think that at some point they would read their holy book and realize that they are disobeying everything they profess to believe.

Or maybe they are just dipping into the egg nog a little too much to care any more.

To put it another way, there’s a famous quote about the Jesuits: “Accuse them of murdering three men and a dog, and they will triumphantly produce the dog alive.” Stop talking about the dog.

John Harshman said:

I’ll try once more. Bullshit complaints that they don’t actually have a lab or didn’t pay for the photo are counterproductive because they can easily be answered. Complaints about the science can’t be answered, only ignored. The bullshit complaints make you look bad, while the scientific complaints make them look bad. Which are you going to pick?

Okay John, if you want to “focus on the argument” fine I can do that. You can start by answering some of our questions about Intelligent Design.

The DI is always arguing that they are capable of “detecting design.” Explain the methodology of “detecting design?”

The DI is always using “Complex Specified Information” to say that design can be demonstrated. Okay, what is “Complex Specified Information?” Can it be quantified? How is “information” measured? How much “information” does it take to make a man? A fish?

Maybe you want to discuss the odds of evolution? Okay, what are the odds? Can you explain how they came up with that number? Can you show the exact calculations they used to produce this number? If that’s too hard, can you at least tell us where to start to calculate the odds?

Or maybe you’d like to take a stab at, what I’ve been running around the internet calling, “The Harold List”

1) Could any evidence convince you of the theory of evolution, and if so, what type of evidence is now lacking, that would convince you if present?

2) The Supreme Court ruled against the direct teaching of Biblical Young Earth Creationism as science in public schools; however, if that ruling were overturned, which would you support more, teaching of ID, or direct teaching of Bible-based YEC?

3) Do you think it is important for opponents of the theory of evolution to fully understand the theory of evolution? If so, can you explain it, and if not, can you explain why not?

4) Who is the designer? How can we test your answer?

5) What did that designer do? How can we test your answer?

6) How did the designer do it? How can we test your answer?

7) When did the designer do it? How can we test your answer?

8) What is an example of something that was not designed by the designer?

9) Some parts of the Bible suggest that pi equals exactly three, and that the earth is flat and has four corners. Do you accept these as facts of physical reality, and if not, why do you deny the theory of evolution on the grounds of Biblical literacy, if it can be symbolic about other scientific issues?

You want to “Focus on the Argument,” okay, start there.

Um.… Rando, I think Mr Harshman is on the side of the angels, he just disagrees about the methodology to be employed.

FWIW, I don’t actually think he’s right, because I think there is nothing to prevent the rational side from both using reasoned argument from evidence and taking advantage of a fortuitous publicity blunder. That is, there is no need to choose one or the other.

That stock photo is a priceless publicity blunder. It doesn’t demonstrate anything in rigorous logic, but it implies that the DI has no lab, does no research, and is nothing more than a front, a lobby group that does no science and has no evidence, and is interested only in appearances. All of which is true.

Remember Huxley, Darwin’s bulldog? His quip against Bishop Wilberforce was not logical argument either. It was simply a retort - but it is still quoted, because it made the good Bishop look like a prize chump.

This video makes the DI look like a bunch of fraudulent idiots. Which they are. Are we, the rational side, simply going to give them a free pass on it?

harold said:

You can explain why you think it is wrong later, just explain the scientific view correctly first.

Don’t you think that’s asking too much? No knowledge of scientific view required to learn ‘weaknesses’ and ‘critical thinking’.

Dave Luckett said: …it made the good Bishop look like a prize chump.

Choked me up for a split-second there - I mis-read that as “a prize chimp.” :)

Paul Burnett said:

Dave Luckett said: …it made the good Bishop look like a prize chump.

Choked me up for a split-second there - I mis-read that as “a prize chimp.” :)

Why else would an alternative title be “Primate”?

That stock photo is a priceless publicity blunder. It doesn’t demonstrate anything in rigorous logic, but it implies that the DI has no lab, does no research, and is nothing more than a front, a lobby group that does no science and has no evidence, and is interested only in appearances. All of which is true.

Actually, no. It’s all true except that the DI does indeed have a lab. That’s one of the bullshit complaints I was talking about. Now whether they do research is dependent on precise definitions. I would say they do. It’s just bad research. Or you could say that they have performed lab procedures that other people use in doing research. It’s cargo cult science, but they do produce a pretty good model of a C-47 out of sticks and vines.

The problem with talking about their lab results is they tend to prove them wrong. The last time Ann Gauger brought up what she found in her lab, it ended up proving them wrong, and in true Creationist fashion they ran from the very thing that proves them wrong, evidence. http://pandasthumb.org/archives/200[…]lligent.html

Pay especial attention to what happened immediately after they were asked “So a beneficial mutation happened right in your lab?”

I got banned from Uncommon Decent because I kept demanding to know why they refuse to talk about this incident.

The problem with talking about their lab results is they tend to prove them wrong.

Why is that a problem?

The bullshit complaints make you look bad, while the scientific complaints make them look bad. Which are you going to pick?

The bullshit complaints, of course! The Disco Tooters and creationists in general don’t care and, furthermore, ignore scientific arguments. Take Behe (please!) for example. His arguments have been totally trashed over and over and over again such that his own university department put a sign on his door saying, effectively, “Danger! There be IDiots here!” Does that stop Behe from yakking about the mousetrap? Nope!

Bullshit arguments are more fun and more creative and, also, those are two characteristics that no creationist possess. Creationists always have to announce when they’re being “funny ha-ha,” like Dembski’s “street theater” otherwise there’s no way to tell absurdity from the “theory of intelligent design creationism.”

So, yeah, Gaugergate was totally High-Larry-Ous, great entertainment value and a lot more fun than Gretchen Carlson interviewing Santa’s Helper. Seriously, you can’t pay for comedy this good!

What antics await us from the Tooters in 2013? Will Casey get pencils from Santa and retire his crayons? Will Klinghopper get a clue? Will Meyers get a Signature Visa card? Will Dembski get a j.o.b? Time will tell. I can’t wait!

John Harshman said:

The problem with talking about their lab results is they tend to prove them wrong.

Why is that a problem?

Well, considering the fact that they spent, literally two days, saying a beneficial mutation is impossible, they decide to let their pet lab rat Ann Gauger prove them wrong. When that fact was pointed out to them they just turn to denial. They halt questioning, and block anyone who asks about it again. They like to hide their heads in the sand and say “evidence, what evidence, I don’t see any evidence.” This also seems to be the reason they never produce any actual scientific articles. Lying is all they know how to do, and anything that proves them wrong is ignored. That’s why the Gaugergate incident is so funny, they are so full of lies they can’t even take a photo in their own labs.

So again, why is that a problem?

OK, so everyone prefers the bullshit complaints to the real ones. Mmph. In my day we went straight for the dumbest creationist claims first, and we explained, calmly and rationally, with ridicule strictly for spice, why they were wrong. I would continue, but my curmudgeon minutes are running out.

Awwww, John, don’t give up! If you’ve been contending with creationists for 35 years or more like a “friend” of mine then you know that Gaugergate is just the fun part. Creationists don’t have any sense of humor whatsoever which makes mockery all that more enticing because the rest of us get the joke and Luskin goes to work with a “Kick Me!” sign taped to his back.

But, on the serious side you also realize that the real work goes on behind the scenes working with teacher’s groups, school administrators, boards of education and in the legislature quietly informing the decision makers what the creationist propagandists are really up to. That work has been very successful in spite of flare ups like Dover, which ended well, and Texas which is an on-going effort. Even in Louisiana the tide is slowly turning as voters realize that their tax money is going to support private education businesses, lining the pockets of lobbyists and special interest groups.

Have a Merry Christmas, John, and the rest of you bums! I modified my request to Santa and asked for a List. I don’t see why Harold should have a List and not me! It’s not fair.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on December 21, 2012 12:36 PM.

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