Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Behold the Glory of Bill Dembski

“But enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?” So goes the classic scene with the insufferable bore. Now compare that to Dembski’s comments about Barbara Forrest signing her book for him “with thanks”:

She thanked me. Why was that? Because, at a deep level, she realizes that her professional advancement (she is now an endowed professor — she was largely unknown, like O’Leary, before entering this debate) and, indeed, her reason for having any sort of intellectual career worth talking about is that she has become a principal opponent of ID. What’s more, my contributions to ID have been seminal in that regard, giving her an adequate foil against which to devote her energies (why else does she devote three pages of the index — over 100 references — to yours truly?). To make a career attacking something, the object attacked has to be sufficiently dangerous and threatening. My colleagues and I have provided her with precisely such an object.

When I was in second grade, I had a crush on Joan Gillespie. To show my affection, I was mean to her and kept thinking up ways to be mean to her. Fortunately, I outgrew that childishness. When it comes to ID, Darwinists have yet to do so.

There’s a classic Saturday Night Live sketch where Jon Lovitz does an impression of Harvey Firestein in all his flamboyant and gravel-voiced glory. In the sketch, Firestein had his own talk show, and every week the SNL host would come on his show and he would continually turn the conversation to himself, finally asking, “Now I know you’re not gay…but if you were…would you find me attractive?” The sketch ended with his plaintive cry, “I just wanna be loved, is that so wrong?”

Yes Bill, it’s all about you. You and only you. The Isaac Newton of Information Theory. Our opposition to ID has nothing to do with a sincere opposition to your scientifically sterile collection of outdated and long ago disproven critiques of evolution with inclusion in science classrooms. It has nothing to do with not wanting to reward your highly dishonest public relations campaign. It’s all about bathing in the reflected glory of your sheer genius. So bright doth the light from your insatiable ego shine that we are drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I think I speak for everyone when I say: No…you are the logos of John’s gospel, come to take human form and dwell among us. I wanna be just like you when I grow up.


Your biggest fan,



  1. #1 J-Dog
    August 8, 2006

    Ed – Any chance you can get Kathy Bates to be his “biggest fan”? I think a big dose of “Misery” is just what Dr. Bill
    needs! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100157/

  2. #2 mark
    August 8, 2006

    We’re all thankful for William (“Oh, if I could but touch the hem of my own garment”) Dembski for all of the entertainment he has provided over the years. His zany antics make Moe, Larry, and Curly look like pallbearers.

  3. #3 No One of Consequence
    August 8, 2006

    If we were in the business of quote mining, there are some real gems…
    Dembski admitted that he has a history of abusing young girls —

    to show my affection, I was mean to [a second grade girl named Joan Gillespie] and kept thinking up ways to be mean to her.

  4. #4 Rich
    August 8, 2006

    Tssk tsssk, Ed. You’re been drawn in by his street theatre. Baited if you will. He is, the master baiter.

    Strange it took him over a year to read the inscription.

    Too much CSI, I expect.

  5. #5 John J. McKay
    August 8, 2006

    It’s about time Dembski admitted this is all about his unrequited love for Darwin.

  6. #6 Skip Evans
    August 8, 2006

    Wow. So now ol’ Delusional Dembski thinks B. Forrest has a crush on him.

    Ladies and gentleman, that sound you now hear is Barbara Forrest tossing her cookies.

  7. #7 Rhampton
    August 8, 2006

    And here I thought the Discovery Institute was all about the “science” of ID…

    The New Coalition – Links:
    Discovery Institute‘s mission is to make a positive vision of the future practical. The Institute discovers and promotes ideas in the common sense tradition of representative government, the free market and individual liberty. Our mission is promoted through books, reports, legislative testimony, articles, public conferences and debates, plus media coverage and the Institute’s own publications and Internet website.
    1511 Third Ave Suite 808
    Seattle, WA 98101
    Phone 206/292-0401
    Fax 206/682-5320
    Email info@discovery.org

  8. #8 Keanus
    August 8, 2006

    I don’t know her personally but after reading Creationism’s Trojan Horse I would describe Forrest as being an observer of the ID movement and its development, who made it her business to unearth all that she could so she could chronicle and analyze it in CTH. In other words an historian. Like many historians she became a student of a social/cultural phenomenon and, in so doing, made a name for herself(although I seriously doubt she’s made anything like as much money from it Behe has from a far inferior work). I’m sure her interest in it stemmed largely from her opposition to what its proponents espoused, but to read her testimony in the Kitzmiller trial she was nothing if not the informed historian and very much not the political operative. But I’m sure there are times when she may wonder why on earth one should achieve professional fame by chronicling the bizarre. Nonetheless, I’m sure she is grateful to Dembski and his fellow IDers for the vehicle they offered her. She has ridden it well.

  9. #9 Ed Brayton
    August 8, 2006

    The Discovery Institute does more than just ID. They’re also involved in transportation issues and other things. It’s the Center for Science and Culture, their largest subgroup, that deals with ID.

  10. #10 386sx
    August 8, 2006

    Mr. Dembski said:

    I decided to bring Forrest’s book (Creationism’s Trojan Horse, coauthored with Paul Gross) to the deposition and asked her to sign it just before I left.

    Maybe she was thanking him for leaving. His testimony would have been quite devastating to evolution, you know.

    “Put ’em up! Put ’em up!” — Bert Lahr

  11. #11 goddogit
    August 8, 2006

    I believe Dembski is likely pseudo-science’s answer to Tiny Tim: someone who makes a big splash with an outrageous but very silly (to all but himself and his circle of fans, who see him as the New Caruso) act and burns it out through injudicioous touring.
    He certainly is destined to be even more obscure, very soon. I mean, he doesn’t even have a memorable catch-phrase!

    “Tip-toe! through the nonsense, through the horseshit
    in dishonesty!
    Oh tip-toe! through creationism with me!”

  12. #12 Doc Bill
    August 8, 2006

    It’s funny that Dembski has been reduced to making up news about himself. The guy cracks me up!

    Three words, Bill: stand up comedy

    Go for it!

  13. #13 Rocky
    August 8, 2006

    “Tip-toe! through the nonsense, through the horseshit
    in dishonesty!
    Oh tip-toe! through creationism with me!”

    Dammit goddogit!!! Now I’ll be humming that to myself all day…….

  14. #14 Chris Hallquist
    August 8, 2006

    This logic could be used by cockroaches to flatter themselves: “Look at us! There are entire companies devoted to exterminating us!”

  15. #15 Rocky
    August 8, 2006

    A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

    Comment by John A. Davison — August 8, 2006 @ 4:26 pm

    If you want a real laugh, go look at Dumbski’s site that Ed linked above. Davison is even quoting himself!!!!!!!
    Humbug hubris………

  16. #16 Michael Hopkins
    August 8, 2006

    Take what Dr. Forest wrote on Bill’s copy of her book. Replace “Bill” with “Mike”. Then change the date. Then one will have exactly what she wrote in my copy of her book.

    I was someone that she did not know. She asked my name. I answered “Mike.” And she signed my copy. Thus Dembski is making a mountain over a molehill. Forest signed Dembski’s copy of her book in the exact same way she signed for a stranger a few months before. Now maybe Dembski would sign something nasty for a “Darwinist” asking for an autograph, but I am sure that Forest is neither vicious enough or stupid enough to do so.

    (On second though, the autographs are not exactly the same. In my copy she put “To Mike” only in the first line and “with my thanks,” in the second. In Dembski’s copy she had “To Bill with” on the first line and “my thanks,” on the second line. Most people would think that has no implications. But Dembski might be able to find some “design” in that. He certainly can find it in everything else. Maybe he can apply some graphology pseudoscience as well in an effort to prove that it is all about him.)

  17. #17 Ed Brayton
    August 8, 2006

    That gave me an idea. I picked up a copy of Barbara’s book at a used book store a while back and it was signed to someone named Katie. I just looked and, sure enough, it says the exact same thing, in exactly the same way – “To Katie, with my thanks, Barbara Forrest” and the date below. Obviously, this is Barbara’s standard way she signs books and the phrase “with my thanks” merely refers to someone buying her book. I guess Dembski isn’t so good at discerning purpose and teleology as he pretends, eh?

  18. #18 Skip Evans
    August 8, 2006

    To show my affection, I was mean to her and kept thinking up ways to be mean to her. Fortunately, I outgrew that childishness.

    Oh, really, Bill? When was that?

  19. #19 susannah
    August 8, 2006

    Whom the gods would destroy…

  20. #20 Reed A. Cartwright
    August 8, 2006

    I guess Dembski isn’t so good at discerning purpose and teleology as he pretends, eh?

    The lack of humility will do that for you.

  21. #21 PaulC
    August 8, 2006

    This is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever read about Dembski. In a weird way, it’s almost humanizing though, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that. Sounds like Barbara Forrest is Dembski’s answer to Charlie Brown’s “little red haired girl” and now he’s gone to the point of overinterpreting a simple autograph, repeated many times over for friend and stranger alike.

    Eh, I’m sure he’s aware it’s all boilerplate. Just more “street theater”, right?

  22. #22 386sx
    August 9, 2006

    susannah said: Whom the gods would destroy…

    Whom the gods would destroy…
    — Euripides

    …Are whom the gods would revive.
    — Eumenides

  23. #23 slpage
    August 9, 2006

    Billy’s narcissism is old news, frankly, but what really surprised me was that he admits to having had a crush on a girl.

    I mean, have you seen this guy???

  24. #24 Pieter B
    August 9, 2006

    Sounds like Barbara Forrest is Dembski’s answer to Charlie Brown’s “little red haired girl”

    Only if she signed it “To Mike, my sweet Baboo . . .”

  25. #25 Stephen Murphy
    August 20, 2006

    “Only if she signed it “To Mike, my sweet Baboo . . .”

    Or if she signed it “Of all the Bill Dembskis in the world, you’re the Bill Dembskiest”

    (yes I know, not from the Little Red Headed girl but I’d guess Barbara would make an excellent Lucy, at least as a foil to Bill)

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