“Intelligent design” creationist Paul Nelson was bragging recently on “Uncommon Descent” about getting a presentation accepted at a conference in the UK, the Ian Ramsey Center for Science and Religion at Oxford’s “God, Nature and Design: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives”. Apparently, the fix is in for IDC advocates, and several openly pro-IDC abstracts have been accepted.
There seem to be about five that have been spotted so far, Paul Nelson’s included. Nelson’s presentation is titled, “The Logic of Dysteleology”. Having attended the 1997 “Naturalism, Theism, and the Scientific Enterprise” conference and heard Nelson’s talk there, if I were attending the Ian Ramsey conference now I could go visit a snack bar during Nelson’s talk and not miss much. It looks to be the same topic, just with a few more recent references tossed in.
Now, as to the rigor of this conference, let’s look at another abstract that was deemed worthy by the reviewers, submitted by one Don Booker of Pace University.
Don Booker wrote:
Symmetric Complex Specified Information is Conserved Don Booker Pace University
In “No Free Lunch” Dembski bases a number of arguments critical to the intelligent design program on a ‘law’ of conservation of information. However, his various aspects of his argument have been severely criticized : by Shanks and Karsai from the perspective of self organizing systems: by Shallet [sic] and Elsberry who who assert his probability “justification is fatally flawed;” by Edis, and Perahk [sic], who both questions [sic] the applicability of his use of Wolpert and Macready’s “no free lunch theorem”.
This paper reviews these criticisms and suggests several alternative arguments for the conservation of information from mathematics and physics based on symmetry considerations.
I wonder what might have proved appealing about this abstract to the reviewers. Did they not know the cited work, and thus passed over the apparent unfamiliarity of Booker with even how to spell various authors’ names? That doesn’t excuse overlooking the grammar error contained in it. Then there is the complete lack of detail concerning what, if anything, there might be of substance to this presentation. Maybe the paper is as meritless as the short description, or it could be something cogent despite the uninformative abstract. (I have requested a preprint from Booker.) But since all that the reviewers had was the abstract, it seems that the conference organizers have set a very low bar for admission.
How many IDC advocate abstracts can the readers find in the list of submitted abstracts? Add your finds to the comments.